I was awake now, but couldn’t open my eyes. The lids were welded together by some biological glue, and with the dull burning in the back of my head I could tell I had been sleeping for quite some time. I reached toward my face to open my eyes and pawed at my face with a massive bandage that covered my hands. Someone said something in spanish and I immediately felt euphoric and dumb, and sank back into blackness.
There was light this time. My eyes had been freed from their sleepy cage and I could make out some shapes in the brightness. “Mister, you have been in a horrible accident. Don’t try to get up, you will feel better in a few minutes.” somebody said to me in a thick mexican accent. I tried to answer, but all that came out was a wheezing and coughing that seemed to come from my throat. A hand reached across me from behind and adjusted a tube coming from below my chin, a strange sensation. A pulling feeling that started at my core. I could sense some spittle pouring from the corner of my mouth, but when I tried to lick it away I realized there was no tongue. Or teeth. But I didn’t care. Good drugs, whatever they were.
An hour or so later I came to realize the pile of shit I was in. They tried to be easy on me, breaking the news that I barely survived a car crash and subsequent suicide attempt, but I had no tears to give anymore. I lost everything back in the desert when I left Vanessa to rot on the bed of a honeymoon suite. My hands were both badly broken, with one finger amputated on my left. Most of my teeth and tongue had been blown through a hole in the back of my head, a hole that was now packed with gauze. They said the tube in my throat was needed for me to breathe normally, that the pressure in my mouth could disrupt the dressings and lead to a possibly fatal infection. Fuck them for saving me, I kept thinking. If only I had aimed higher, maybe under the chin, this nightmare would be over.
I was certain that they had amputated my legs, too, but I could see a lumpy form under the blankets. For the first few hours I was sure that I already was fitted for prosthetic legs until they told me I was paralyzed. I am so fucking stupid. Through the glass at the end of the bed I could see two uniformed policemen guarding the door. Mexican policemen. And without legs, hands, or any way to communicate, I was at their mercy. I couldn’t write for them with my crippled hands, and trying to lip-synch words to someone that barely speaks english is tough enough, but trying to do it with swollen, burned lips and no tongue is impossible. They could tell I was frustrated, and one doctor went into another room to get a keyboard. He pointed at the keys until I nodded, patiently writing down the letters.
O-D M-E. D-I-E N-O-W.
It took a while for them to figure it out. They smiled and shared a laugh and then emptied the room. I wonder where they send mute paraplegic murderers in this country?