So the last thing I remember is hitting the windshield. I shit you not. Right into the windshield, face first, and didn’t that just hurt like an S.O.B. Why does crap like this always happen to me? So I wasn’t wearing my seat belt – that’s what air bags are for! This is just my crummy luck. And this is a good shirt, dammit. This is Sea Island cotton. You don’t get this shirt off the rack. I had this made for me by an Italian tailor, mother of pearl buttons, bespoke stitching, the whole nine yards.
That blood is never gonna come out.
I walked for hours after it happened but whenever I looked back it seemed like I could still see my car, lying in the middle of Route 50, out there smack in the middle of the desert. Smoke billowing out of what’s left of the wreck, thick black clouds rising into the air and some part of me knows I’m lucky to be alive. I survived. That’s got to count for something.
But something’s really off about this place. It’s not like any hospital I’ve ever been in. It’s so quiet, for one thing. Nobody shouting over the intercom. No beeps or alarms. It’s so peaceful. I don’t know how long I’ve been lying here – there don’t seem to be any clocks in this place – and it occurs to me, you’re damn right it’s occurred to me, that maybe this isn’t a hospital at all. Maybe I’m in the morgue. Yeah, maybe I’m dead before I even hit the big time. Story of my life.
And there’s this guy, this old guy, bald as an egg, ancient-looking, like he’s a hundred years old if he’s a day. Wearing corduroys and a white t-shirt and one of those Members Only jackets. Burgundy, if you can believe it. He asked me how I was. “How you doing, Ash?” I don’t know how he knew that’s what everybody calls me. “Anything I can getcha?” Old geezer talks like he spent his life hanging around some of the tougher parts of Philly, getting into bar fights and drinking himself silly. Am I supposed to know who he is? Your Honor, may I approach the bench?
How am I doing? How the hell do you think, Gandalf? For this I spent ten years in college? Am I schmuck, or what?