This Guy Daryl by Glenn Gray

The intern called and said that it was a true emergency. That for sure the guy in the ER had ruptured his appendix and was septic. I staggered out of bed, got in my battered Camry and was blocks away from the hospital at a stoplight in the rain on the exit off the Bronx River Parkway when some asshole got the bright idea that he shouldn’t have to wait in the turning lane. Figured he was going to blow past everybody and just cut in at the last minute.

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.

Crap.

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?”

“Daryl.”

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.

“Drop it!”

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.

“Freeze!”

I yell to them, “It’s not mine!” and some headlights flash my eyes, blinding, and the rain is heavier, drops pelting my face.

“Get down!”

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.

Thanks, bro.


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.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent story Glenn. Don't they teach doctors not to help anybody on the street. That's what you get for being a nice guy. Loved the story.
C.G.

Anonymous said...

Moral of the story -- Never help ANYBODY!!

Anonymous said...

take some pistol lessons
T

Paul D. Brazill said...

Doctor, doctor! Very clever. Very funny. Very, very good.

Bill Baber said...

loved it...

Bruce Harris said...

Great dialogue. Great story!

Rey A. Gonzalez said...

It's so great, you all should send me booze and smokes for posting it! Am I right? Am I right?

Laura Roberts said...

What kinda doctor has time to pen short stories, anyway? No offense, doc, just curious. They say Chekhov did, but that's hardly the same, is it?

Good one, though. Thanks, bro.

Bradito said...

Great way to illustrate how no good deed goes unpunished, so don't be a sucker...

Rey, one of these days I will finally see you in person and we'll sip some Johnny Walker.

Anonymous said...

Nothing ever good follows the statement "I am on probation. . ."

The story exposes the reality that everything can turn on one split second decision.

Its like Tiger Woods, he spent a life time building a reputation that has sullied because of one(OK several) split second (OK, I may be projecting there---his may have been longer than that)decisions that were made for altruistic (it didn't just make him happy, right?) reasons. On second thought, disregard the Tiger Woods reference.

Hey Glenn, how about a story on redemption----no sense kicking poor Tiger while he is down.

Anonymous said...

Yup, a classic example of no good deed goes un-punished. Kinda reminds me of the cop I saw picking up crack viles off the floor of the ER while I was a volunteer. He told me: " you didn't see this..." Yup, see what?

Nice work Glenn, Mary Kay would be proud!

Anonymous said...

Great story....should have shot Darly and could have made the ER...

Glenn Gray said...

Thanks all. Much appreciated.

Christopher Pimental said...

Best one in a while. Terrific read. Quick, realistic and not a wasted word.

LT said...

SHOULDA SHOT DARYLS STUPID ASS!

randallmarx said...

It was very real and sad. A doctor struggilng with morality. It reminds me of a question someone asked me and it was if I came across someone who was in need of serious medical attention and it turns out he had murdered my family, what do I do leave him there or call for help? My answer was I would call for help. The doctor just wanted to do the right thing and this has a double meaning somewhat, in that his duty as a doctor is to help people and he was helping this man in two ways, first by helping his physical condition but also his social situation and he ended being unable to do both. It gets you thinking and the best stories are the ones that do that. Great job.

Rey A. Gonzalez said...

Randall, I think you hit the nail on the head.

I love the stories we post here, I really do. But I have to admit that there are some deeper than others. The deeper ones, I've noticed, tend to garner a higher response and I believe it's usually because they make you think about the situation itself and how you'd react in that situation.

In Glenny Glenn's story here, I think I might be tempted to help out ol' Daryl. But the logical thing would be to keep your distance. Ol' boy in a crash with a gun can do some stupid shit.

Anonymous said...

Da-ryl, Da-ryl, Da-ryl!!! Great story GGG!

MQ

P.S. There's a good White Castle off the BRP - was Daryl headed there?

Anonymous said...

Very dark. Not good deed goes unpunished. Especially in New York. Congratulations on all the great comments. You continue to satisfy your readership, of which I'm one.
Anonymous-9

Anonymous said...

Great story Glenny Glenn!

I hate people who don't get in line to wait thier turn at the light and I'm glad he crashed.

Sandra Q.