Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Traveler's Tale

"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."


Morocco Bama said...

That's a hell of a story. Yeah, sometimes it takes trauma to change our perspective on life. I know a guy from high school, a huge son of a bitch who played on the football team. He was strong as an ox. He used to throw opposing players around like they were rag dolls. He was a cocky SOB who didn't have a shred of sentimentality and mocked anyone who did. Long story short, one day, whilst getting out of his car in front of his home, two thugs held him up at gunpoint as he was face down on the pavement. He was certain he was a dead man. They pistol-whipped the shit out of him, stole his wallet and car, but didn't kill him, for whatever reason. You should see him now. It's as though he was castrated. He's pleasant to be around, as gentle as a lamb, and he doesn't have an ounce of that cockiness left in him. Not the same tale as Randy's, but it was a life-altering event.

Of course, it's not fool proof. I have another friend from high school who came this close to dying from Leukemia. He went to hell and back. He stared death in the face for a year, or more, and as you know, it's never fool proof even if you're "cured". Some people change their perspective on life after surviving cancer, but not this guy. He's basically the same and he has the same approach. He works in the Petroleum Industry and his name is on the list of individuals passed around as part of the Oregon petition that denies Global Warming is even happening, let alone Human induced. He's a die-hard conservative who sees things as Black or he always did. He works 80 hours a week for his masters and travels extensively, which means he doesn't spend enough time with his children who are now, for the most part, grown and almost out the house. He fits the profile of a character right out of the book Revolutionary Road. If the dance with death cancer can't change him, perhaps nothing will. Some people just can't, and won't be moved.

You never know.

Morocco Bama said...

Richard, I realize you'll probably be attending the
OccupyWallStreet Day Of Rage
this Saturday, so I wanted to wish you well. Please give me your twitter address as well as a link to your Facebook account so you can give us updates on how the coppers respond to bubbles being blown in their faces and silly string sprayed in their personal space. It's sure to be a game changing event, don't you think? You'll be making History. Just think of it. The Grandchildren will be proud.

just_another_dick said...

You know me so well Shrub. I've been doing tongue-ups for the last 3 months so I could maintain a marathon pace as I repeatedly stick my tongue out at bankers & other Wall Street wealthy types.

I also have plans to construct a "PULL MY FINGER FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE" booth where each protester will have an opportunity to aim a noxious cloud of my butt gas at any banker they feel animosity towards.

I've also built up quite a repertoire of songs, ranging from Good King Wenceslas to Thriller, that I've lyrically rearranged to accommodate the phrase "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE."

It should be quite a day.

See ya there!