Thursday, November 7, 2013

When Worlds Collide

"Let's be careful out there."
Sgt. Esterhaus
Hill Street Blues

Author's note: Yeah, that's me up there~~back when the earth was still cooling. I'd just walked in the back door of the police department. Jerry Clark, one of our ID techs, caught me in the hall in order to snap a photo for my new sergeant's identification. This was the picture.
Flash forward several years and halfway across the country.

I hope you enjoy the story...

He was lying on his side, half under his big old Harley. From behind the wheel of my truck, I could see he had suffered an open fracture of his right leg, just below the knee and just above his boots—a common injury for motorcyclists hit from the side. The sharp, bloody end of his tibia protruded from his grimy denim pants.

It was bitterly cold. I pulled to the curb and stopped. That old rush of adrenaline slugged me, my heart rate tripping up. “Stay in the truck,” I told my little girl. “Do not get out.” She nodded, goggle-eyed. I turned off the ignition, took the keys and locked the car, trotting over to the injured man. He was trying to kick his way out from under the bike, lost in a maelstrom of excruciating pain. His foot-long, scraggly hair blew in the wind. I dropped down next to him on the asphalt and put my hand on his shoulder. “I’m here to help you, buddy” I said. “Lie still.”

Angry, confused, terrified, he looked up into my face and realized he wasn’t out there on the pavement alone anymore, and stopped fighting the bike. “Are you burning?” I wanted to know, wondering if his uninjured leg, trapped under the motorcycle, was making contact with hot bike parts, quickly assessing whether it could be moved if that was the case. “Are you hurt anywhere else?” I ran my hands down both his arms.

He shook his head. “Just can’t get out.” He ground his teeth, growling with the pain.

A couple of other passersby stepped into the street to divert traffic. A slow parade of vehicles drove past in both directions. A few looky-loos congregated on the sidewalk nearby.

Sirens blared in the distance. “The ambulance is coming. We’ll get you moved as soon as they get here.” I asked him where his ID was and he scrabbled helplessly for a wallet on a chain protruding from his back pocket. With his permission, I removed his license and proof of insurance. I bent over him, sheltering him from the biting wind. He was growing shocky, trembling.

“Jesus Christ, it hurts,” he said, clutching my arm, his eyes filled with tears.

“I know,” I said. “I know. I’m so sorry.”

The ambulance and a couple of squad cars slid up. “They’ll take it from here,” I said, trying to stand, but he hung on. “You have to let me go so these people can do their work.” I handed his papers to a police officer and tried to get up again. The man pulled me down, our faces inches apart.

“Thanks, lady. Thank you so much,” he said, his voice and face fierce with agony. His head rolled against the pavement. I patted him and he let me go. I stood and told the police officer I had not seen the accident occur, and trotted back to my vehicle, where my daughter sat, mouth agape, her hands and face pressed against the driver’s side window.

She was silent as she buckled herself back into her seat belt and we continued on our way, passing the man in the street, now being ministered to by a couple of EMTs. Police officers had quickly set up a pattern and were diverting traffic. I turned the heater up to full. Finally, my daughter spoke. “Is that what you used to do, Mommy?”

I smiled. “Yeah. That’s what I used to do.”

We went home.

1 comment:

LGVernon said...

I'm told that posting comments is difficult. I'm so sorry about that. The constraints placed on comments are those created by Blogger, the host site.~~LG