Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lessons from Olvar Wood.

Lesson one asks me to "Make some notes about something you have seen, heard, tasted, smelt, touched or felt this week".

Ok here goes...Darkened street, empty, no cars but us and a taxi. A stumbling young man, cradling head. Blood. Leaning shadows from traffic lights. Large intersection, four lanes each way. Noisy pub on the corner. Scattered drunks and burly security guards. Spitting rain. Someone yelling in the distance "HEY YOU!!" Us tired from the concert. Late. 1:30am.

Now to turn it into a short story...

The familiar smells inside my helmet were a warm reminder of the preceeding events. Old perfume and foundation mixed with the faint scent of partially rubbed off lipstick. I was tired, starting to allow my eyelids to droop, and I didn't care that I could smell the acidic tang of sweat. Breathing in sharply through my nostrils, I felt the cool, crisp one am air rejuvenate me like a shot of coffee. I had to stay awake just long enough to get home, then I could lay my tired body down and relax my aching muscles.

The concert had been incredible, the band a powerhouse of crunching guitars and empowering vocals. As my ears rang from the noise, I shook my head, disappointed that I had yet again, forgotten my earplugs. Coming up to the traffic lights, I smiled at the fact that it was red. On a four lane each way intersection there was just us and a taxi, and the taxi was right beside us.

"Oi, you!"

The yell drew my attention from the glow of the sreetlights on the ashphalt and I turned my head instinctively towards the noise. A kid was holding his head and stumbling like he had been drinking since midday, and I shook my head at his stupidity. He wobbled across the road and I thought about how lucky he was that there was no oncoming traffic, and that we were stopped on the red.

He stumbled right past the motorbike as the lights turned green and we began to take off. Thats when i saw the blood. I leaned forward and yelled.

"Jay, he doesn't look alright."

Instead of accelerating, he eased off and looked at the boy. Something was wrong. His stumbles turned to great arcing staggers, and his head fell further forward in his hands.

"He's not ok. We should stop and see if he needs help."

Hearing the panic in my voice, Jay steered the bike up on the pavement as the taxi veered past us, and i jumped off the back and began to tear off my gloves and helmet, as I ran up to the kid.

"Hey mate!"

He didn't stop.

"Hey mate! Are you ok?"

I placed my hand on his shoulder, and he turned to face me. My eyes widened and my stomach sank as I saw his face. His eyes lolled and he tried to focus on me, to register who I was that stopped him. There was a large streak of blood across his forehead that caked in large globules on his eyebrow. His ear was covered, and his hair was matted with the sticky crimson and he had smears and splats on his chest and hands. Another gruff yell from the sidestreet beside the pub, gave me a sinking feeling that the perpetrators were still on his tail.

"What happened to you?"

He sighed and shrugged his shoulders but did not speak. I looked closely at his wounds and tried to gauge how badly he was hurt. When he did speak, it was the voice of a nonchalant teen, unable to conceive the severity of his situation.

"Oh, I've just been hit in the head with a baseball bat."

I stayed with him for a while, trying to make him look me in the eye as he answered my questions. He refused all help, and in the end I had to let him stumble away. He had angered the boyfriend of a pretty girl, and this was his punishment for disturbing the sacred bonds of young lust.

"Silly boy."

I thought aloud to myself as we continued our journey home, though there was a niggling that stayed with me for days. Concussion and shock can manifest themselves in a victim with symptoms akin to drunkenness, and if left untreated, can kill...

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