It's more crowded than ever and filled
with more wounded then I have seen in my life.
Blankly staring until someone passes by...
then all eyes on the slow late night shuffle of the
lucky sucker about to go in to be seen.
My fever is so high I'm surprised my brain hasn't cooked.
I can't believe I can think straight... let alone find
a space on the floor to wait out my turn.
It's cold and hard and is just what I need to
cool my body down.
After watching "Cops" from afar and people
up close, I lock eyes with him.
Short and scrawny and wears a baseball
hat you know only leaves his head at bedtime...
he looks tired, sad and defeated.
I attract the wounded.
It's a lot in life I have parked securely in...
so long as I know when to drive away.
I don't... and like every other time, I can't seem
to get near the get-away car.
In the end, I don't want to I suppose.
After all, who am I to judge the wounded
when I myself am the walking broke?
"I have a screw here ... see... it's stickin'
out my neck... been there long time now
and my girlfriend say I reckon you go fix
that... so here I am... god damn...that surgery
never did feel right... but I guess I been
drunk so long I aint' feel nothin..."
His face red from his love of alcohol
getting brighter, more alive and more
Now he is talking to talk and every now and then looks
up to say, "you alright darlin?"
I nod my head and smile and answer with words
like, "yeah.. uh huh... that's great..."
And I know I'm an ass because what I am really
doing is thinking how much I want to know...
why he has a screw coming out of his neck...
where is his girlfriend?
But he is talking to fast and so much and to
the air, that I don't feel there's enough time or
space to jump in....
So..,I just listen and nod and say my insignificant
Another hour passes... then another.
The crowd isn't letting up and every time I think
it's slowing down, a new batch of the
bleeding and bruised wander in.
With red eyes, holding arms and faces...
limping and whining, scanning the room for
But no one gives in.
He's been quiet for awhile when I start to
I awake to him sitting on the floor beside
He tells me everything...
Born in Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
"Got me five brothers... count them five brothers.
Lived in every major city and hopped every
train from the west coast all the way across
to New York City...
Got me a bottle one night and decided to
hop on that train... me and my girlfriend..
we both fell at the same time...
I broke my neck...four places, four count them.
Got this here screw...see? She wasn't
so lucky. Lost her toes first. Then it
turned into gang green... got her no
feet, no legs no more. Just gone...
what's yer' name darlin?"
"Well.. nice to meet ya' Chris...
you wan' a soda from that there
"No thanks" I told him.
"I don't drink soda....
And he stood up to get a soda
"Dalton... calling Dalton.. please
come to the triage desk..."
No last name?
As it turned out, no more Dalton either...
That was the last time I saw him.
He never came back.
"Christene LeDoux...calling Christene
LeDoux to the triage desk..."
Almost 3:00 am in the Breckenridge
Hospital Emergency room and I'm