Chapter 18


an accent---Eastern European? wakened me, “you have x-ray now.”

i went to stand but she told me to relax and lay back down. she kindly laughed. and wheeled my bed down a very very short dark hall, entering the first room, which happened to be on the right.

she got me under the x-ray machine. there was this big coiled plastic pipe connecting the machines, in which i was able to sight more than two dozen hairline fractures.

i winced when she set a block sponge under my bad knee. i sat up like a mummy in a sarcophagus trance. again she told me to relax, and gently pushed my torso back to bed.

i decided to close my eyes. not do or resist anything. Succomb to the pain and hasten to follow her commandments. some time and a bunch of hums and flashes passed by. she rolled me onto my good side.

‘for the hip,’ she said to nobody.

i didnt listen again to the several more humming flashes which took place before the sponge block was taken; the leg which collapsed at that point was not my leg. the bed, not mine, but no ones at all, was set again into motion.

forty never took paces, 30 unspent seconds, however you want to not measure it, i opened (not my) eyes to (not my) same (maybe brighter now) exam room.

after a mere 30 seconds, or the refrain to 19th Nervous Breakdown, in came the original nurse, who told me, “the doctor looked at the x-rays. nothing is broken. sit tight, he will be right in.”

‘arent i to sit loose? like relaxed?’ i mused.

‘being tight, like tense couldnt be good,’ i reasoned, tipsy, to myself.

and i reached down into a well of relief, pulling up a bucket of anguish—when i saw that same clock—and knew id spent a night and god only knows how many dollars on goddamned bruises. he perused the film, i got the good news i needed to get cruising.

the apeman cameth, informed me and Brian i could work in 36 hrs, and ‘go about my business,’ and just to ice, and take Percocet as-needed.

ha! NOW he says i can ice, i thot, ever the nurses daughter.

“do you want crutches?” Dr. Williams asked me, an afterthot.


i was being an air-brain, again.

“naw,” i said, thinking it would just be (more) money (for nothing).

“ok then,” and the doctor was gone.

what would become later for me an unending thought-loop, was how he had never asked me to stand—to even try to stand, or to try and walk during his exam, or how 30 seconds is not long enough to review many dozens of x-rays.

back in came the nurse, with a packet of discharge papers and a bottle of pills, and i was at last, or so i believed, finally free, except who should appear in the exam room, but Officer Jeanie.

id forgotten she was coming to get photos of my wounds.

“you wont believe,” she shot my ‘good’ knee.

“what happened to me,” she shot the ‘bad’ one three times.

Jeanie took absolutely no effort. she held the camera out inches away from the wound and just kept clicking, without looking thru the lens.

how did she know what even made it into the frame? was she so practiced in hospital light she didnt need to so much as glance at the direction of the camera?

“a car hit me, and it was a hit and run,” she told me, beaming.

she shot my hip once, and i thot, from a bad angle.

“what?” me and Brian both said.

“right outside Garrys Grocery. there was a big birthday party at the club across the street, with rappers and whatnot. a riot broke out, so i was standing in the street, directing traffic.”

“the driver hit me head-on.”

“and he just drove away???” i couldnt believe.

“so stupid!” Brian chimed in.

“stupid enough to be a felony,” she stated.

“did you get the plate?”

“you know, i didnt. but at least im not hurt,” she added, “i had to come to the hospital, anyway, just standard.”

“im glad youre not hurt,” i said, and told her how my injuries were in fact just standard, amounting to bruises.

Jeanie told me id hear from her and, “sit tight,” something which was beginning to sound damn trite.


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