Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blood: Wheelman

He'd been roughed up. That was for sure. He looked like he'd been hit by a truck --close, as it turned out. He'd been in the truck when it hit the side of a hill and flipped. A long, pink trench had been dug from the side of his brow down his left cheek then taped together. One eye was black. There were bruises and from his hand to his forearm, there was a tightly wound bandage.

The worst wasn't what could be seen. It hurt to move. It hurt to walk, which he did slowly, and his voice trembled as he spoke.

"I don't remember anything," he said. "Not really. I remember driving."

Outside, he said it had been as perfect a day as West Virginia gets in early August. The sky was clear and the air was hot. He'd been riding in his truck, not really in a hurry --as he remembered --and not under the influence of anything. Of that he was sure.

Something happened, but he couldn't say what.

"There was a line of cars, they told me. There had been an accident up ahead and maybe when I was coming around, I couldn't see them."

Whatever happened, he'd jerked the wheel. The vehicle spun and went up a hill before flipping over. His face went into the steering wheel and knocked him cold first. He knows this because the investigators said if he'd been sitting up, he'd have lost his head.

He sustained largely superficial injuries. He was bruised all over, beat up and his thumb was broken, but they had trouble bringing him around. He said they spent hours trying to get him to wake up. The nurses told him he'd been so pale and cold. His body kept trying to curl in on itself.

The next morning, they let him go home. He called in sick. He called in sick the next day, as well, but the job he has, working at a car dealership --and judging by where he is, it's probably not the sales department --he's not sure how understanding they'll be if he calls in again.

"But I've got to," he said. "I need to call off."

But that also means he won't get paid. They pay him week to week. It's not a lot of money, but he counts on it.

"So, all I've got is this," he said. "It'll do."

The milkers listening to his story nodded their heads solemnly. One of them put their hand on his shoulder. None of them could say it would be all right.

"So, I guess I'll see you Tuesday."

No comments: