Monday, October 15, 2007


Bright lights! Damn! Where did all those bright lights come from and why is everything white? Is this heaven? What is that plastic bottle doing there, glistening against the light? And - and

what is that long clear tube doing? Oh my god, it’s attached to me!

That is when I understood I was in a hospital. The IV tube gave it away. What happened started coming back a little at a time. First, there were muffled voices, a concerned look on my wife’s face, men in white jackets doing things to me, suspension in a prone position like a magician’s assistant. Laughter, sudden, uncontrollable laughter...Yes, I remember now But, how is that I’m in the hospital?

“How’re you feeling?” A man’s voice inquired concernedly.

I looked to my left; an empty bed and plastic flowers on a metal stand; they needed water.

I looked right. There was a man in a metallic grey business suit standing beside my bed. His expression was stern but emanated apprehensive concern.

Spiffy, That’s what I thought, he was “spiffy”. The suit was supposed to look expensive, but I think it came from Mrs. Murphy’s Aluminum Siding and Haberdashery Boutique – designed by Alcoa. The knot in his cheap necktie was dark from sweaty fingers. He had a yellow legal pad in his hand and his other hand was poised over it with a Bic pen.

“How’re you feeling,” he repeated.

“Everything hurts.” I said and started to touch my forehead but the IV tube restricted my movement. My other hand told me that I had a bandage around my head. I suddenly realized that the apparition below me was my left leg suspended in traction. Then, I realized something else hurt too ... real bad. I reached under the sheet, groped, groped some more, a bandage? I didn’t ask about that, instead I said, “Is my leg broken?”

“Simple fracture, the doctor told me.” He replied. “You’ll be out of here in a few days, I’m sure.”

“Who are you? What do you want? You’re not a doctor. They wear better suits and have one of those thingies around their necks. You know a spthoscop...uh, spetho...”

“Stethoscope. I’m from the insurance company. I have a few questions.”

“Like what?”

“Whose cat was it?”

“My wife’s and when I get home I’m going to drown it in the toilet. What happened after the little shit ...”

“It was an accident, okay. Purely accidental, I can assure you it was unavoidable.”

“Alright already, I hear you.” I demanded, “Just tell me what happened. All I remember is that I was taking a shower when my wife yelled that the kitchen sink was clogged up. I put a towel around me and went in the kitchen. Damn woman was almost in hysterics. I got down and stuck my head under the sink and my towel came loose.” It was coming back to me now. That damn cat loves to play with dangling things.

Sudden, awful pain, like a red hot poker to my privates. No, it was worse. It was as awful as when - when Dale Earnhardt missed the NASCAR Nextel cup chase.
After what happened crystallized in my mind, I went on, “The little furry bastard decided he would claw any dadgum swinging thing he sees and went for the nearest with them sharp claws and I hit my head on the under side of the sink.”

The aluminum suit said nothing, waited for me to continue. He acted apprehensive, like he was in deep doodoo when, in fact, it was me that was in the doodoo. “I don’t know what happened after that, do you know?”

His face colored and he hemmed and hawed, finally blurting out that he represented the private ambulance service.

He said with all the sincerity he could muster, “We accept full responsibility, sir. I assure you it was an accident. I’m ready to offer you a most liberal settlement, sir. Your wife explained what happened as they were taking you down the steps and the attendants got so overcome with laughter that they dropped you and broke your leg. The doctors say you’ll be good as new, walking just fine. They didn’t have anything to with what happened to your balls, I mean your testicles.” He hid a snicker behind his fist. “You can, well, you know, you can, uh function normally in, you know ...uh when you’re aroused. As soon as they take out the stitches, I mean.”

“Are you an animal lover?” I asked him.

“Well, my wife and I do have a pet. Why do you ask?”

“Your settlement will have to be pretty damn high to save that damn cat’s life!”

Red Evans author On Ice

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