April 2012


Alone I sat, in my mentally made cell.
Why was I there, in that self created hell.
Thinking back to school, and my days of dope.
Foot by foot, rolling out the damn rope.
Hallucinogens were my rope, meth my noose.
Heroin in the needle, would have been my cooked goose.
One day in April, in the year ’99,
I awoke, did my prep, and did my last line.
I looked in the mirror, deep into my eyes.
I’m not am addict? Bullshit! No more lies!
I have stomped a mans head, into a curb.
He only mouthed off, something he didn’t deserve.
I broke my glass pipe, and then walked away.
No hospital detox, not even N.A.
13 years, this wagon’s been on this ride.
Not one relapse or slip up, I say this with pride.
For many years I sat, staring at my cell floor.
In the end, it was up to me, to walk out the door.

    On this day, 13 years ago, I was a completely different person. I was a meth head. I was a drug pusher, and a waste of life. As I looked into my hollow, empty eyes that morning, I realized exactly what I had become, and what my future held. I walked out of that life without a look back. I have never relapsed, although I sometimes have dreams. This has been a crazy ride, but given the chance, I would do it all over again. If I didn’t have that experience in my life, I wouldn’t be the same person. I want to take this chance to thank all of you who read what I write. It means the world to me.  And I’m happy to have you all along for the ride. 🙂

My eyes are open
and staring at the horizon.
Thinking of yesterdays
that seem so far gone.
Days when I thought
I was good enough to make it.
Instead, from this world
I have taken hit after hit.
I didn’t bite more than I could chew
it’s been forced down my throat.
Now I’m in the ocean
with a hole in my boat.
I’ve been busy bailing
as fast as I can.
Praying that someday
I will again see land.
It’s filling too fast
my boat starts to sink.
What do I do
there’s no time to think.
I look into the water
looks like today is the day.
I jump into it’s depths
the current takes me away.

    Jesse awoke drenched in sweat. He hardly ever got sick, but two weeks ago he had started to feel ill. It started with just feeling run down and a small case of the sniffles. He had attributed it to his late nights working as a bouncer in Macdougals Bar.
    Jesse had come across the job on accident about a year prior when he was a patron in the bar, and a fight broke out. The bouncer at the time was Nick. A very tall and slender man with long black hair, tribal tattoos, and an attitude that was brash at best. Another patron was harassing a woman and grabbing her rear when Nick grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. “What the hell do you think you’re doing asshole?” he yelled over the blaring music. The man didn’t respond with words. In a flash he pulled a knife that was hidden in a shoulder harness and stuck it right up under Nick’s chin. The blade partially cut through his adams apple as it plowed through his head.
    Jesse was not a tall man like Nick, and he was thick. He was a shy man, who had trouble speaking and being in public places. The only reason he was there that night, was because a friend convinced him that he needed to get out more. The screams and scattering of the crowd pulled him away from his thoughts, and he looked up to see Nick with the knife buried in his chin, drop and start convulsing. The man was standing over Nick, staring down and laughing. Jesse didn’t even have time to think as he arose and started toward the man. He turned toward Jesse just as a foot hit him in the guts, knocking him to the floor. As Jesse pounced on the man he saw the beer bottle in his other hand a second too late. It broke across the side of his head, but it didn’t slow him. He broke the mans nose with a swift punch, and knocked him out cold.
    After the police had arrived and taken statements, and the coroner had come and gone, Macdougall took Jesse aside. “That was an amazing display of bravery son. Were you in the service perhaps?” He asked with raised eyebrows.
    “No sir.” Jesse responded with a chuckle, “I just can’t stand by, and do nothing when there’s trouble.”
    “It’s a damn shame about Nick. He was a great kid. He might have had a bad attitude, but he certainly didn’t deserve that. Anyway, the bar will only be shut down for as long as it takes to clean. I still have bills to pay, you know. How would you like to come onboard and replace Nick?”
    Jesse’s eyes widened in shock, “That sounds good, but I have to think about it for a couple days, if that’s ok. I never thought about being a bouncer.”
    “Well, I assume you have about a week until we’re open again… How about you get back to me before then?”
    “I’ll do that sir.” replied Jesse with a smile. They shook hands on their gentlemans deal, and Jesse walked the dark streets thinking about this sudden job offer.
    He had been raised to fight, and it had come naturally to him. In a brawl, somehow his pain recepters were completely shut down. He had once been kicked in the crotch and felt nothing until the offender was laying on the ground in a heap. He had lied to Macdougal about never having thought about being a bouncer. He had contemplated it before, but was too afraid of failure to bother trying. He didn’t like to fail, and had somehow gotten it in his head that if he failed at something, he was completely worthless. He knew he had to take the job though. He had been out of work for awhile, and couldn’t find any. He decided he was going to take Macdougall up on the offer, but he was going to give it a couple days before calling him. He didn’t want to seem too eager.
    He arrived home and didn’t bother turning on the lights. He stripped to his skivvies, climbed into bed, and fell into a deep sleep, plagued with images of Nicks death.
    Jesse accepted the job, and the next year was fairly uneventful.  He had a few brawls to break up, but nothing so bad he couldn’t handle. Most of the regulars didn’t cause trouble, and anyone who thought about it, was regaled with the story of the night Jesse applied for the job. This was enough to calm all but the most idiotic of people. There were also the women. Jesse was referred to by one as, the perfect man. He was quick to act in a fight, with no fear, but he would avoid it if possible; and he wasn’t just a meathead. He could hold very intense conversations with eloquence and sincerity. In fact, most people that had never witnessed him fight, wondered why he would waste his time with something like bouncing. If asked, he would say something that gave no real answer, but basically said, he didn’t know.
    Two weeks ago a man entered the bar and started causing trouble. He seemed drunk from the moment Jesse laid eyes on him. He was staggering a bit, and staring with a vacant expression. He kept running into people, and spilling everyone’s drinks. Jesse finally had enough, and decided to get the man out of there before someone hurt him. He approached the man and asked, “Are you ok sir? You’re gonna have to leave I’m afraid. Would you like me to call you a cab?” The man just kept staring at him, so he grabbed the mans shoulder, to lead him out. With no warning, the man bit into Jesse’s forearm. The teeth sank down to the bone as Jesse punched the man in the side of the head. Staggering, but not falling, the man left the bar as people stopped Jesse from giving chase. The bite was pretty bad, and Macdougall called for an ambulance. A report was made to the police, and Jesse spent the next few hours in the E.R. getting stitches.
    Macdougall offered him time off of work, but Jesse refused. “Who’s gonna protect the bar? Some pissant kid off the street?” He exclaimed.
    “I’d watch it son… You were a pissant kid off the street, and you turned out ok.” Laughed Macdougall.
    “In that case, I’m certainly not taking time off.” Jesse responded, “I don’t want to lose my job.”
    As he worked, and continued to feel run down more and more each day, Jessie went back to the doctors. The bite looked fine, and they assured him that he must have gotten a touch of the flu that was making the rounds. Satisfied with that answer, he continued to work nights at Macdougall’s.

Dearest Bluebell,

    Hoping this letter finds you well. I’m sorry to hear about the Gnome causing trouble. If I were there with you, I could scare him away. You could always set a trap to catch him. 🙂
    David has returned. He popped up a few days after I sent the last letter. He came with tales of a vast underground cavern system beneath the humans dens. He wandered around for a few days taking notes, and then found a way back home. These Gnomes really are an ingenious group. Don’t worry about Badger. He has convinced David to show him where he came out out the caverns, and has spent quite a long time exploring them himself.
     We are all prepared for the coming of the Monarchs. I can’t wait! I really wish you were here to enjoy the festivities as well. But since you won’t be, I’ll be sure to send you a fottergraf.
    I am keeping the information about the cars away from the Gnomes because I’m afraid they might try to operate one. That would be quite a tale though.
    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I am swamped with work around the Vale. I haven’t worked so much in years. Its good to be so useful, but I am awfully tired. I have been working so much that when I return to my den, I just about fall over asleep. I certainly hope we don’t have another great wind like the one at the end of Frost.
    Well, I must be going. I have to go over the giant mound tomorrow and gather a few more supplies for the celebration of the Monarchs. I look forward to hearing from you soon. May the Spirit of the Vale guide you.

You’re friend,

Grinningbear

    The laughter continued until he got to my side of the truck to help me into the building. This was not an E.R. When you’re injured on the job, unless you are in a life threatening situation, you go to an approved doctors office. I hopped my way  into the office and sat down. Paul went over to get the paperwork to fill out. My leg was still throbbing as I sat there and answered the stupid questions on the forms.
    With the paperwork finished, we commenced the waiting game. I was shocked that Paul stayed to wait with me. When one of our spray technicians thought his leg was broken, he was dropped off at the doctors and told to call when he was done.
    “Now might not be a good time to tell you but,” Paul started with a somber look on his face, “but if it costs more than a couple hundred dollars, we have to take you out back and shoot you.”
    I laughed hard enough to hurt my leg even more. “Shut up Paul. Bullets are expensive with the war going on, you wouldn’t waste the bullet.” People were looking at us like we were crazy. I quickly shut up. Even in pain, I don’t like people starting at me.
    After what seemed to be forever, the nurse came out and wanted to take me to a room. She had a dumbass wheelchair that had to be pushed. It had 4 small wheels, and I was sad because I was looking forward to doing wheelies. My stepfather spent a lot if time in one after breaking his hip, so I am pretty adept at wheelies in a wheelchair.
    Paul left as I was wheeled into a cold room and was told I had to wait for the xray tech. Finally alone for the first time, I moaned and fought back tears as I removed my sock. (How about that huh? I’m not a robot after all.) After being taken to get xrays, and having my leg manipulated to the point of dizziness, I was wheeled back to my cold little room.
    A lady came is as I was flipping through a magazine and wheeled me out to look at the xray with her.  The doctor was still nowhere to be found. I played along, because, lets face it… I wasn’t getting up to go anywhere. But at this point I wasn’t happy with the service.
    The first thing I noticed was that the xray was blurry. I commented on this and the lady replied with, “Yeah… We are using our trainee for xrays because the normal guy is off today. She overexposed the xray.” I’m not an expert, but how the hell do you overexpose an electronic xray?! There is nothing to develop. But even tho I was irritated, I wasn’t about to piss off the people that were going to help me with my leg.
    I could see the break in the Fibula, but the lady told me, “I don’t see a break. It’s a little blurry, but I don’t want to say there is none. We’re going to wait for our xray guy to come in on monday and have him look at it just to be sure.” She smiled at me.
    “Ma’am,” I started slowly. I could feel my blood boiling. This lady was dumb as dirt. “How long have you been reading xrays?” I got out of the chair and hopped over to the moniter. All traces of pain were gone as I felt rage taking over. I pointed at the break. “What is this crack then? I’m sure you are not trained to read these as well as the xray techs, or doctors… but please don’t tell me I can read them better than you!”
    She shrank back a bit and retorted with a stuttering, “I am trained to read them. But I understand your concerns. How about I get the doctor and have him look at it?” She gave me what I can only assume was her winning smile, but I was unaffected. There would be no disarming my anger.
    “Yeah, lets do that.” I got back to my chair and she pushed me back to my room. I had a feeling I was going to be there for awhile. That’s what happens when you piss off doctors or staff members. So I proceeded to read while I waited for Dr. Invisible to appear. She closed the door and I opened it again. I wanted to see them.
    The doctor came into the room smiling. I assume he’d been told I was angry, but I pushed it aside. He told me it was broken (told ya so) and they were going to put me in a splint. I would have to go see a specialist in 3 days and he would let me know if I needed surgery. “Surgery?!” I asked, a little frightened. I was told that I probably had ligament and tendon damage, but it’s best to have a specialist look at it. I agreed with him. I just wanted out of there.
    I arrived in the treating room and was told to lie on my stomach with my knee bent at a 90 degree angle. They were trying to be careful as they did their job, and the lady was cute, so I offered no trouble. I was now sitting in a chair while one person was getting me a pair of crutches and the cute lady was offering me Vicodan. I wanted it so bad, but I couldn’t have it. I stopped using narcotics in ’99 and never had a relapse. I wasn’t about to have one then… especially since I needed a clear head. She nodded understandingly and gave me a smile that made me wonder if she’d ever date a guy like me. But of course I didn’t ask. Lol
    My crutches came wrapped in plastic, and I was busy setting them up to the right height before Assistant Hottie knew what was going on. She was trying to explain to me how to use crutches as I kind of crutch ran around the area. I did some sideways movement as well and she realized I already knew how to use them. (Yes, I was showing off a bit) I was given the address and time of my appointment with the specialist and hobbled outside to call Paul.
    I got in the truck and gave Paul the details, and he grimaced. “No painkillers?! Why?! You’re just going to go home and rest. I’ll take you to the office, get your check, and take you home.”
    “Umm… That’s not gonna work for me Paul.” I laughed. “Have Gil meet us at the yard with my check. I have no food in the house, and I have to get my kids.”
    His eyes widened like a lemur’s. “There’s no way in hell you’re able to drive. You have a stick shift! If you drove an automatic I could see that happening, but you can’t drive.”
    “We’ll see about that.” I chuckled. Why do people always underestimate me? I wasn’t trying to look tough. I just wasn’t about to miss a weekend with my kids. We arrived at the yard and Gil was waiting with my check. He tried to talk me out of driving, but I wasn’t hearing it. I got to my car and got in.
    “Moment of truth.” I said as I turned the ignition on. The car shuddered as I put it into first gear, but I managed. My splint barely allowed my knee to bend, but I found my focus. A spot where the pain was dulled, but I wasn’t so far removed that I couldn’t focus on the road. I had to hold my entire leg up to work the gas pedal, and my hip started hurting.
    The trip passed uneventfully. I stopped at the bank and deposited my check, went to pick up my kids, stopped at the store, and went home.  The kids were super helpful, and pushed the cart for me. Then they made me an awesome microwaved dinner. As I tried to sleep that evening I found myself thinking, “Why didn’t I take the painkillers?” This was going to be a very painful three days.
    I went to the specialist and was told that I would need surgery. Besides breaking  my leg, I had torn all the tendons holding my lower leg together. So basically my leg was held together by some muscle and skin. I had to ask, and my dr. confirmed, a very strong jerk to the foot would be able to remove it from my leg. (I know it’s pretty twisted, but I thought that was cool.) We set up the date for surgery and I continued to go about my days with no painkillers until then.
   
  To be continued…

I’m sick of trying.
Don’t know why I do.
I’m tired of crying.
Too much boo hoo.
I’m shutting myself in.
I’m locking the door.
I just can’t seem to win.
I fall upon the floor.
Why bother going out?
It just ends in pain.
I better take a new route.
I’ll be standing in the rain.
Looking up and pleading,
praying that this stops.
Drowning while you’re reading.
Choking on raindrops.

    I broke my leg on September 3, 2010. I was in tree service and a ladder slipped out from under me while climbing down from the top of the work truck. I did this every day, but that day was a bad day.
    It didn’t start as a bad day. I had not wanted to go to work all week. Every day that week, I had to explain to myself that I had to go to work. I woke up that Friday in a great mood. It was Memorial day weekend. I was going to go to work, work hard and go get my kids for the weekend afterwords. It was also payday. We were going to go shopping and have a barbeque.
    On the first job of the day, we were setting up when I was asked by my foreman to go get the orchard ladder off of the truck. We had some medium sized lemon trees to trim. I’m not fond of lemon trees. I’m the sucker who has to drag the brush to the chipper and chip it, and lemon trees have thorns.
    So, I was on top of the truck and placed the ladder against it, like usual. Mind you, orchard ladders don’t have rubberized feet. They are designed to be used in dirt. I pushed on the top to make sure it wouldn’t slip out from under me, as I usually did. I placed one foot on the ladder and was bringing the second around as I felt it start to slip. Have you ever noticed that when something like this happens, everything seems to move in slow motion? Its a real testament to how well our brains work when you can have so many thoughts in such a short time! The fall was about 13 feet, so I was probably on the ground within one second or so, but I swear it seemed to take a few minutes.
    As I watched the top of the truck pass my head, I realized it wasn’t just a little slip. I had nothing to grab onto to stop my fall. The top of the truck was kind of rounded, and the tie down supports were out of my reach. “This is going to suck!” I thought right around the time I was eye level with the top. I could hear the grating of the aluminum slipping on the asphalt. It sounded horrendously loud in the cloudless, morning light.
    I thought about my position on the ladder. If I stayed in the position I was in, I was probably going to break my arms and ribs when I landed.
    Let me give you a little background on myself real quick. I have always been kind of heavy, but that never stopped me from skateboarding, rollerblading, biking, and screwing around on trampolines. I have always had an ability to control my body while airborn. So the next logical thought in my fall was to jump off the ladder and roll as I hit the ground. In hindsight, I see two problems with this logic. There is a big difference between an expected airborn episode, and an unexpected one. Also, jumping off of something that is moving downward greatly reduces your ability to jump.
    When turning in the air you always lead with your head. Your body will follow. As I turned my head to the left I felt my shoulder start to turn and my feet leave the ladder. Looking back, it would be considered a backside turn… I was never good at those when I used to skate. As my feet touched the ground I hadn’t stopped turning. My right foot spun 180 degrees and I felt the bone snap before the rest of my body hit the ground.
    I still tried my best to absorb the impact as I bent my knees and hips, but it was evident that there would be no roll. My palms slapped the ground but thankfully not my head, since my hardhat was rolling across the street. So there I am laying in the street with my coworkers in the backyard. I’m sure they heard the ladder fall, but that would be no cause for alarm. Now came my next problem. I couldn’t stand up, it was too early to scream for help because I didn’t want to wake up the neighborhood, and as I looked at my watch… it was only 8:03 am. “Damnit!! This is not good!”
    I whisper/yelled for Jose as I used my arms and left leg to drag myself around to the front of the truck. Jose came up to me laughing, “What happened?” he asked, trying to contain laughter as it was apparent that I had fallen.
    “I broke my leg.” I said calmly as I started to unlace my boot. He didn’t believe me because of how calm I was.
    “You didn’t break your leg. It’s just twisted. If it was broken, you’d be screaming in pain.” He responded as I removed my boot and pulled up my pant leg.
    I lifted my leg at that point, but my foot stayed on the ground. You could see the tibia deforming my ankle area. My other coworker, Gerardo, had come out by this point. When they saw it, they both looked like they were going to vomit. I on the other hand started cussing. I had been hoping I was wrong about it bring broken… but it was evident that I wasn’t.
    Jose started freaking out. He didn’t know what to do. So I took the lead. “Get the radio and call the boss. Have him come pick me up. Gerardo, get me the ice pack out of the first aid kit please, and my phone. I gotta let a couple people know that I might be home late.” I chuckled. Jose’s English isn’t the best, so I talked to the boss because he couldn’t understand Jose. While talking with him I glanced to the right. On the other side of the truck was a patch of ivy. I mentally slapped myself. This could have been avoided.
     The pain in my leg was bad, but I’ve always had an ability to supress pain to a point that people just say I’m in shock. But believe me, I could feel it. My heart felt like it was actually in my leg, beating away, sending flashes of pain shooting up to my groin. But if I freaked out, it would only make it worse. So I sat talking with my coworkers until my boss showed up.
    He pulled up and laughed at me as he got out of his truck. “What the hell man? You sure its broken?” Jose chimed in and told him what they saw, and he laughed again, but a little nervously. No one seems to know how to act when someone is so nonchalant about pain.
    They helped me up and into the bosses truck, which thankfully is just a little 2 seater, and off we went to the doctor. Of course, the ride there was full of bumpy roads. My mind was already focused on what was going to happen. I knew I wouldn’t be able to work for awhile. A typical break takes six to eight weeks to heal. Looking at my boss I say, “Well Paul… I just didn’t think a three day weekend was going to be enough. I figured it was about time for a vacation.” He was still laughing as he pulled into the doctors driveway.

To be continued…

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