"Man, I used to be heavily into drugs. Since I lived about 2 hours away from Memphis, it was easy to drive there, score some dope, and then bring it back & sell to my friends. But one night, back in '72, when I was 21 years old, something happened that changed the entire course of my life.
"Me and my friend Dave had just scored 3 pounds of pot & we were looking to turn it around as quick as possible. Now, we normally only dealt with people we knew, but this night we had agreed to meet a friend of a friend, someone neither of us had ever seen before.
"We had arranged to meet in this parking lot that sat right next to the Mississippi River. After about a 1/2 hour had passed, I told Dave that I didn't think the guy was going to show and that we should just leave. Dave said, "Let's give him 5 more minutes and then we'll split."
"At that moment, the guy stepped out of the shadows & walked up to Dave's car. He climbed in the back, and as we haggled over the price, Dave drove us up onto one of the levees where we'd stashed the dope.
"We settled on a price, and I jumped out, picked up our stash, and then got back in the car. I gave the guy the 3 pounds, and watched as he checked it out. As I turned back around, I heard this loud bang & then everything went black.
I found out later that the guy stuck a .38 in my ear & pulled the trigger. I then crumpled, face first, into my own lap.
Dave wasn't so lucky. After shooting me, he put a round in the back of Dave's head, right at the base of the skull, killing him instantly.
"I was only out for maybe a minute at the most. I came to wondering what the fuck had just happened. I could hear the guy moving around in the back and then it dawned on me that this motherfucker just shot me. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to play dead, so I didn't move at all.
"At that point, he grabbed Dave by his upper torso and pulled his dead body into the space between the bucket seats. He then climbed out of the back and into the driver's seat. He pulled the car off the road, evidently to hide it, and then jumped out and vanished.
"I knew I had to get out of the car & back up on the road so I could get some help. I sat back & repeatedly tried to open the passenger side door but nothing was happening. I couldn't move my right side. I later learned that the trauma from the bullet's impact temporarily paralyzed my entire right side. The bullet also severed several nerves in my face, as I quickly discovered when I tried to call for help and, again, nothing happened. I then lost consciousness for the second time.
"I don't know how long I was out, but I awoke to see our friend Henry staring through the passenger window. I lifted my head to show Henry I was still alive, and as he went for help, I looked around the car. There was blood & vomit everywhere.
That's when I went out for good.
"I have disjointed memories of the next few days that include waking up during my 8 hours of surgery, the look of worry, pain & fear on my mother's face, and a cop showing me a photo and saying, "Is this him?"
"While I regained my mobility fairly quickly, I could no longer speak. It took me months to relearn how to talk."
"Jesus Randy, how the fuck are you still breathing?"
"Well, the bullet shattered on my skull, sending bits of shrapnel down into my neck. Some of them are still there. I recently learned, when I tried to get one, that I can never have an MRI since the magnet might cause the shrapnel to move into places it doesn't need to be."
Randy is a 61 year old co-worker of mine. Genuinely nice guy. He cares about things.
Many of our other co-workers don't appear to like Randy much at all. They think he looks funny. They say that he appears to snub people.
Of course, his facial nerves were severed & reattached, but fuck him right?
He's also deaf in one ear so, unless you speak loudly, he doesn't always hear your cheery "hello," but fuck him again.
How does that Dylan line go?
"They mistake your shyness for aloofness
Your silence for snobbery"
Except, in Randy's case, it's more like,
They mistake your paralysis for ugliness
Your deafness for snobbery.
This ain't no sob sister cryfest though.
I doubt that Randy gives a shit about people & their dipshit thoughts.
He has a wife, a bunch of kids, and a bunch of grandkids.
After he finished his "I got shot in the head & lived" tale tonight, I looked at him & said, "Geez Randy, you should change your name to Lazarus. Either that or you must have one fucking hard "I can hammer nails with this thing" head."
He smiled and said, "It's all gravy baby. It's all gravy."