I could see it in my rearview mirror. The guy’s car went up on two wheels like a goddamn stunt driver before totally flipping over and landing on its roof, metal grinding and screeching to a halt just yards in front of me, obstructing my way.
I step out of my car and there’s the smell of burnt rubber and smoke wafting and when I look through the broken window there’s a guy with a mashed bloody face, hanging upside down, one eye squeezed shut and his nose crumpled to one side.
“You okay?” I say.
Groaning. He’s alive. One eye cracks open.
“Don’t move, okay?”
“Dang, bro,” he says, wriggling, trying to get an arm free. “Fuck happened?”
“Spun out,” I tell him. “I’m a doctor, okay? Just hold still. We’ll get you in an ambulance. Hospital’s right here.”
“I’m dizzy, bro.”
“Just hang in there.” I get on one knee, trying to assess the damage, shattered glass all around, some oil leaking, swirling with rainwater.
“Got a little daughter, man.”
“It’s okay. You’ll see her.”
“Think my leg is fucked.”
“What’s your name?”
I see the pistol on the ground, which is really the car’s roof.
“The heck is that, Daryl?”
“I’m hurt, bro. Help me out.”
“What’s with the gun?”
“Dude, do me a solid, hah? Probation, yo. Cops see that, I’s fucked.”
I hear a siren, not too far off. A few people gather on the opposite street corner, watching.
I hear some car doors slamming.
“The heck you want me to do?”
“Just take it. Stuff it in your belt, bro. I’ll take care a ya later.”
“Man. I’m trying get through my residency, huh? I don’t know anything about guns.”
“Please, bro. I’ll go back in, no doubt.”
I lean in, take a deep breath. “Hell, I don’t know.”
“Please, doc. Gotta be round for my girl.”
I shake my head.
“Telled her I would.”
I make a split-second decision.
I reach in, grab the gun, stand up.
“I owe ya, bro.”
I lift my shirt. “Whatever.”
I turn and see two uniformed cops strutting toward me, hundred feet maybe. They stop short when they see the pistol. They reach to their holsters and get in the cop-with-gun stance.
I am totally caught off guard, stunned actually, and I want to tell them, scream, that it’s not mine, that I was just helping the guy. This guy Daryl. I don’t know the first thing about guns. I’m a doctor for chrissakes. I gotta get to the ER. A guy’s septic. I lift my hands in a shrugging gesture.
I yell to them, “It’s not mine!” and some headlights flash my eyes, blinding, and the rain is heavier, drops pelting my face.
I guess I lifted my hands reflexively because I don’t know anything about guns, not used to handling them, and I guess that wasn’t a smart thing to do because I realize that the cracking sounds I hear are actually responsible for the weird sensation ripping through my abdomen.
And as I curl to the wet pavement I’m thinking again about that guy in the ER with the ruptured appy, with his own severe abdominal pain, and how long it will be before they realize that I was the guy they were waiting for and how I’m not coming after all and how long he’ll have to wait to be seen and if he’s gonna be okay because he needs to get to the OR pronto.
And then this guy Daryl.
Glenn Gray is a physician specializing in Radiology. He’s got stories
forthcoming in the 1st Beat to a Pulp Anthology, the 3rd Thuglit Anthology and
Zygote in my Coffee’s 8th print edition. He has stories in OOTG 3, 5 and 6 and
many places online. He lives in New York.