Tuesday, July 3, 2007

6 days.

Discolored beads of sweat created chalk lines down his furrowed, brown forehead. His eyes, twitching at the ultraviolet rays bouncing off the windshield of his old, blue van, were stained red and blinked frantically, trying to keep the figures leaning inside his van in focus.

His white tank-top T-shirt was stained brown under the sweaty armpits. His jeans stained with sweat from the 100-degree heat. His brown palms, dusted with the white powder of the peanuts he had been selling on the street to wandering baseball fans, held the polyester fabric of the front seat he was struggling in.

He shifted left, then right. Forward, then back. As if he were sitting on a bed of hot coals, he repeatedly adjusted his body in the cramped front seat, looking for that one perfect, comfortable, forgiving position.

The roar of the cars on the street passing by became louder and louder. The chatter of the near-intoxicated baseball fans chewed at his consciousness as the barrage of questions from the sweaty, bunkered firemen assaulted his mind. The oldies on the am radio in the van became up-tempo and louder; the symbols of the drummer crashed every fourth beat and rattled his brain like a bird in a cage.

The sun's heat boiled his blood, dried his skin, and suffocated his breathing. The radiant heat off the blinding concrete singed the hair on his arms and dried his mouth. It became harder to swallow and the warm drool from his mouth dangled off his lower lip and hung over his heaving belly.

The questions got louder and faster. His heart raced and his hands twitched. His eyes bounced back and forth like that white plastic ball on a ping-pong table. The blood in his wrist pulsated. And as he glanced down at his damp skin, he could see the tidal waves of red blood coursing through his arm. Time slowed as his surroundings sped up.

Words became noises and the faces of the responders blurred only into colors. He felt as though he was suffocating and drowning at the same time. Alive, but dead. Awake, but asleep.

He stood, after pouring the chilled remains of the glacier-captured water down the back of his neck. His legs wobbled and buckled and he felt as though he were floating. The chilled water ran down his sore back and evaporated by the time it made it to his waistband. The cotton from the T-shirt fought with the dehydrated body for the rights to this refreshing oasis.

The clouds swiftly streamed across the sky and left white, hypnotic tracers. The flashing lights of the emergency vehicles merged into one kaleidoscope of color and the background voices of the portable radios, affixed to everyone’s waist, surrounded him and assaulted his senses. As if he were falling down a tunnel, he sat himself down onto the stainless steel bed.

The plastic from the seatbelts seemed to suffocate his breathing. The ones loosely tied around his legs grabbed him like a hungry python and tried to squeeze the life out of him. He felt as though he was floating and the world was 100 feet below him as he was slid into the back of the ambulance.

The box grew smaller and smaller and the red and green lights on the control switch to his right blinked with the intensity of the sun. The handrail grew hands and sank from above, trying to push him further into the bed. The oxygen was noxious and loud and the clear plastic tubing seemed to be transforming into a rope around his neck. And the slow, slurred, speech of the paramedic trying to reassure him drifted slowly off into the distance, eventually becoming only an echo.

He sat there wrestling with his mind. Deciphering reality from fiction, truth from hallucination, he struggled to maintain his sanity. What was real, what wasn't? Was this even happening? Was this a dream, or a nightmare? If it was, should he wake or remain asleep?

For he hadn't slept in 6 days.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Crack and meth are bad, bad, bad.
Your blog is good, good, good.
Fried Pie.

Anonymous said...

Crack, I thought he was describing finally getting to take a nap in the back of the bus?

Craig D said...

Whaddaya know, I was just in your town for the Barbershop convention.

Hope none of us were in need of your services!

I noticed the stadium paramedical staff while I was there.