I heard someone say once that if you take a bad fall it’s best if you land on your head since the skull is the hardest part of the body. I call bullshit on that. On account of the neck. Luckily I fell on my entire left side so only the side of my head hit the ground. For a few precious seconds that blow to the head left me too “fuzzy” to feel the pain in the rest of my body. Those were good seconds. I look back on those seconds fondly. When those seconds were over, the pain introduced itself. And there was a lot. My left shoulder and hip hurt so badly that I couldn’t even pay attention to the pain on my elbow, wrist, and ankle. For a couple minutes I couldn’t see out of my left eye. That was scary.
I wanted to curl up into a ball but curling made the pain eighty trillion times worse. When I tried to straighten out the same thing happened. I lay on the ground in a C-shape for lack of any other options. I thought about the words of my long dead yoga instructor “don’t worry about how the position looks, worry about how it feels.” Bad. It feels bad.
After another minute I realized something was dripping on my face. After several attempts I was able to to roll over onto my back, keeping my left side crunched up like I was doing a half-cannonball into a pool. Executing that roll so hurt so badly that I couldn’t scream or grunt or make a sound because my breath caught in my throat. I thought for a minute I was going to suffocate on nothing.
I saw Martialla floating above me like an insane drunken angel. Big gobs of bloody (and brown for some reason) saliva were plopping off her face onto me. It took me a while for my brain to decide what I was seeing. Our warbuggy was upside-down, wedged nose down in a crevasse, caught by three wheels. Martialla was dangling down tits first from the buggy, bent backwards with one leg and one hand caught in the netting on the back. Her eyes were open but they were blank and vacant Troy Aikman on the sidelines against the Niners in the NFC championship game. Or Troy Aikman any other time.
“I guess you were right, there are underground tunnels.”
That’s what I tried to say. I think what I really said was “errrrrlp” and then rolled over onto my right side in a pain-spasm. Once my left eye started seeing again I noticed that the little shafts of light coming down around the machine were flickering. Watching as best I could without moving, I realized the light was dancing because there were people moving around up there casting shadows across the light holes. I watched one of them jam a stupid gun that looked like an old Civil War musket into a gap. Not sure if he was trying to shoot me or Martialla but he didn’t have an angle either way.
In my mind I thought I would pull out my knife and hurl it at the rifleman like Britt, deadeyeing that mofo through the gap and causing his rifle to fall down to me where I would catch it with one hand and smoothly use it to take out his buddies. Instead my right hand was shaking so badly that I could barely get my knife out of its sheath (sheaf?) and when I did, I immediately dropped it and lost it in the dark because for some reason it weighed nine million pounds.
I understand why pain exists, knowing what hurts you helps you survive, but why does debilitating pain exist? That makes no sense. If you break your leg, why doesn’t your brain go “okay, we know what happened, now time to shut down the agony so we can figure a way out of this”? Being in so much pain that you can’t run away on your broken leg doesn’t help anything. From an evolutionary standpoint it makes no sense. I was able to kind of roll and get my right knee underneath me, in my mind I would get my arm under there too and lever myself up, but I ended up slumped there in the world’s shittiest Child’s Pose.
“Spirit of crocodile, I summon you.”
I tried to say just in case magic was suddenly real, figuring that crocodiles don’t really feel much pain, but instead I think what I said was ‘huuuuuuurlk” and then started gasping like I had been freshly kicked in the sternum. I was at lunch with William Baldwin once and he was saying that the CIA should recruit masochists because they couldn’t be tortured for information because they like pain. I don’t think that’s how pain works, moron.
Next I heard a thunderclap and then I felt something smash directly into my tailbone. Martialla had come un-groggied enough to draw her sidearm, and then have it fly out of her hand when she fired it at the people above us where it then slammed into me below her. I know this sounds stupid since I just survived a crash (two actually) followed by a twelve foot fall but that gun-ass ram hurt worse than anything. I’m not ashamed to say that I started sobbing then. Actually I am ashamed to say it but I will anyway.
More liquid started splattering on me and eventually I was able to look up and see the outline of a body across one of the light-holes, still kind of moving but mostly raining down blood (and other stuff) onto the car, onto Martialla, and onto me. The extra weight was making the buggy groan and shift. I doubt it would have fallen, thinking about it after the fact, given how firmly it was wedged in there, but at the time it seemed like it was going to come down any second and crush us both.
Gathering myself like I was about to swim across the English Channel, I was able to force myself to sit up and gasp instead of laying like a lump and gasping. Suddenly Martialla seemed like she was right in front of my face. My eyes were not working together. It was like I had glasses on with only one side of the frames having a lens in it. I had to shut my left eye to not get dizzy.
Martialla wasn’t as close as one eye made it seem but she was still a lot closer than I thought. When I levered myself to my feet, even though I was going like negative seven miles an hour, our heads conked together like a fucking three stooges routine. I grabbed onto her so I wouldn’t fall over while I was seeing stars. She started struggling weakly and then bit me on the forearm strongly. I grabbed her by the belt and gave her a not very emphatic shake.
“Ow, it’s me you fucking idiot!”
“Me who?” she asked and then started giggling like a child and coughing like a syphilitic old French whore.
“Jesus, sort yourself out” I slurred at her. I couldn’t really pull at her so I wrapped my right arm around her leg and just let my weight go to try and pull her down with physics. She screamed that I was ripping her foot off and I let go, doing that one foot hop you do when you try to land with a bad wheel. I gave her a shove, sending her swinging.
“Shut up, there’s people up there!”
On cue, a shot rang out from above. I staggered around looking for Martialla’s pistol while she tried and failed to get one of her fifteen knives. I guess she should keep one strapped to her forearm too huh? Eventually I found her gun and was able to drag it up into a firing position even though for some reason it weighed eight thousand pounds. I put my arm in Martialla’s crotch as a firing platform and tried to aim up at one of the light holes that was currently not shedding any light. My arm decided it wanted to slowly wave back and forth without me telling it to do that.
“A little higher” Martialla said dully, and then “A little higher!” in a frantic tone.