Black Marie, cont’d

“Take that asshole. How does that feel you smart ass fucker? You’re gonna fucking die along with that fucking bitch,” I heard a familiar voice scream.

Then I heard someone shout, “Hey, what’s going on there? “ And one final blow to my head was the last thing I remembered.

I awoke in a strange bed in a strange room with a strange smell of antiseptic. I called out, “Where am I? What happened?” I hurt everywhere and could only open one eye and when I tried to move, I couldn’t. Every part of my body hurt like hell.

“Good, you’re awake,” said a voice, getting out of a chair. “I am Doctor Crandall and you are in my clinic. Billy Carpenter (the local cop) brought you in. You were completely unconscious and have been out now for about three hours. Nasty blow to your head. You’re lucky Billy came by when he did and scared off those guys that were beating on you. They scattered and got away. You are really lucky. They might have killed you according to how Billy said they were going at you. One apparently had a baseball bat. There were three of them and they managed to do some nasty damage to your body, lots of bruises, but nothing broken that I can find, anyway.”

He asked how I felt and where I hurt the worst. I replied that I really hurt everywhere, but it really hurts when I breath. And I have a terrible headache.

“I am guessing you might have a cracked rib or two. You have some severe bruising on your left side . . . is that where it hurts?” responded Doctor Crandall.

“Uh huh,” I grunted.

He then looked into my eyes with a light, having to open my swollen shut left one with his fingers. Then he asked me to focus on his finger as he moved it side to side. “Good,” he said, “Your vision seems to be okay, probably no concussion, and that swelling over your left eye will go down quickly. We’ll keep ice on it”

He gave me an ice pack for my eye and one for where my side hurt. Also gave me two painkillers.

“I want to take some x-rays, especially your head to make sure there isn’t a concussion and I will do your chest then as well. I would like to keep you until tomorrow to observe your progress. I doubt you will have to go to a hospital, but I will know more after I can get those x-rays. It would be good to have someone look after you for a few days until you are up and going. Can you call your someone to come and get you?” added the good doctor.

“I can call my folks and have them come and get me tomorrow. They live only 35 miles from here,” I said. “Can I use your phone in the morning?”

“Of course. You should be able to get out of here tomorrow afternoon,” he said. And then he added, “Never much excitement around here, but it has been quite a night, first you getting beat up, and then Marie’s tavern went up in flames and burned to the ground. Beer bottles were exploding like a fireworks show. Everybody in town was there. It was an old building and burned up pretty fast. The fire department is just now finishing up. Billy Carpenter was here checking on you and told me that apparently the woman’s dog woke her up. She was able to grab a few things and get out okay. I heard she is down at the police station being interviewed now.”

I sat bolt upright at that, regretting it immediately as pain shot through every inch of my body, ice packs falling to the floor. I felt an immediate fear for Marie. I needed to see her.

“Can I leave now, Doctor?” I asked. “I need to get down to the police station.”

“I really advise against it until you have a chance to rest and I can get those r-rays. You can make a statement later. Billy said he would be by to talk to you in the morning. I really want you to get some rest and keep you here under observation for now.”

As much as I wanted to see her and see if she was all right, I hurt so bad, I knew that the doctor was right, I couldn’t even sit up, let alone make it the four blocks down to the station. I gently laid myself back down, feeling dread and a huge lump in my throat and fell into fitful sleep with dreams of fire, Marie, Hindu gods, and evil spirits

I woke up around 9:00 that morning. Doc’s nurse brought me some breakfast which I ravaged. My appetite had returned. I was starved. Coffee also helped. But I still hurt like hell.

At 10:00, Doc Crandall took x-rays which showed two cracked ribs on my left side, but no concussion or anything else broken.

“Can I use your phone to call the police station?” I asked with a shaking voice.

The nurse got the phone for me, dialed the number and handed it to me. Billy answered sleepily. I asked if I could speak with Marie. Billy responded that she had already left and was headed out of town. He added that she would be in touch and cut off with no more details. I felt a huge vacuum form in my chest where my heart usually was.

I proceeded to call my Dad, told him what happened and that I would be okay. He said that he and my brother would come down to get me and my car in the afternoon. I handed to phone back to the nurse. I turned away and told her that I would like to rest until I was allowed to leave. I heard the door close and I broke into sobs, the first time since I was 10 years old.

Around 12:30, the doctor gave me a prescription for some pain meds….. said I was good to go. I got dressed and limped to the police station, hurting and gasping all the way.

Billy Carpenter was in and I immediately asked about Marie. He said that she told him about what happened last night, had given what other little information she had and left town.

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