Alive And Bickering

Chapter 33, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


If only fate would pace itself. Give us one bad thing at a time. Maybe a bad thing followed by a good one, then a bad one, then maybe a couple of good things.

Doesn’t work like that, does it?

Two ball-busters minutes apart pushed me to the brink. Both our Olympic dreams – poof. The only thing that kept me from jumping into Lake Michigan was the need to know about Ralphie. Dropping the Olympic Committee’s letter, I searched Melinda’s contorted face for an excuse not to run out in front of the first semi.

“Is he …”

“No,” said Melinda. “He’s still alive.”

“What the hell happened?”

“Got drunk. Hit a tree. Broke both legs. His truck’s totaled. Bottom line, he’ll live. He’s over at Porter.”

Hustling over to Porter Hospital, I found a doped-up Ralphie trapped in a fresh body cast up to his waist. He was glassy-eyed and a tiny more delirious than usual.

“Well, looky here,” snorted Ralphie. “Da great track star hisself comes to pay me a visit. Dis is truly an unexpected honor.”

“You know, Ralphie, you really don’t have to go to all this trouble just to get my attention,” I said. “One broken leg would have been sufficient.”

“Go screw yarself, ya stupid bastard.”

“Shut up and tell me what happened.”

After we got the other customary insults out of the way, I told Ralphie about the USOC letter.

“Dey are jist ass wipes,” said Ralphie. “It’s illegal as hell. Take ’em ta court.”

“No, I’m done with it,” I said. “I can’t take any more. It’s become a freaking soap opera.”

Propping his meaty elbows for support, Ralphie struggled to sit halfway up.

“Lissen ta me, dogshit brain. Ya gonna ta fight dis, and ya gonna ta win it. Don’t ya start givin’ in ta dose buttheads.”

“Are you crazy?  It’s nothing but bureaucracy. It’ll take five months before I ever get a hearing.”

Ralphie grunted, lifted himself higher on the bed and looked me in the eye.

“Plow dis through dat dogshit, numbnuts. If I can’t go, ya big, goddamned dumb ass … “

Ralphie gathered his strength.

“YOU GOTTA GO!” he thundered.

The words smacked me in the face and ricocheted around the room. I stood dumbfounded for all of 30 seconds. Regaining what little sense I had left, I grinned.

“What are you going to do? Chase me on your crutches?”

Ralphie grunted again, sank down and started to snore.

I crawled back home.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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