Nervous cigarettes outside hospital doors.

October 30, 2010 § Leave a comment


We may die from medication but we sure killed all the pain.”

Lua – Bright Eyes

Foreign hospitals are a disturbing place to be. People run around poking and prodding you in a strange language, you might as well be on a space ship being probed. We still don’t know who called the ambulance, but we knew it was for Maxi, his pulse was faint when they got him into the ambulance, rushing over him in a language that we didn’t understand. Mossy just cried and cried, I just sat there, it didn’t feel real but we knew that it was. When the ambulance pulled into the bay in Memorial hospital Rome at 5am that morning Maxi disappeared on the stretcher, rushed out of sight. Just me and Mossy in the ambulance bay in a strange city, I was still bleeding but I didn’t care, Mossy cried and shook as he put a cigarette to his lips. We had pushed our luck too far this time, if Maxi Dos Santos died on this day, then it would mean that yesterday was the last day that we were invincible, and forever more we would wear the burden of impending death like a heavy crown.

They found a doctor who could speak pigeon English, he knew to come to us with news of Maxi, we gathered that he had gone straight into the operating theatre with seriously damage to his organs in his chest. I remember asking “What are his chances” the man just squinted, held out his right hand, pushed out his thumb and little finger and shook it from side to side in a way that meant to me 50/50. Doctors should always overexagerate the odds.

The Police came over to talk to us about two after we arrived in at the hospital to interview us about who was driving. We had learnt to think on our feet since we were young. Mossy told them Maxi had been driving, we would both fail breath test, but the nurse had informed us that Maxi had lost too much blood to take a sample, so by the time he could the booze would be out his system and we would get off scott free. To anyone outside our group that may seem strange, selfish even. But it is what Maxi would have wanted. He loved getting away with it and we were brothers.

On a journey were everyone is tired and travel sick, the road to heaven is a long hill climb with a winding decent, the road to hell on the over hand is short, smooth, clear, clean and flat. The sun came up with Maxi’s heart still beating, he left the operating theatre alive, they had done all they could, now it was just a waiting game. We sat in that sad waiting room for hours, staring at the Italian posters carrying warnings of how we should not be living our lives, we didn’t understand them, and if we did we would ignore them just as if they were written in English, they had just cut out the middleman. It took about 6 hours until a nurse took us away into a small room to remove the many tiny bits of glass that were stuck in our faces. We didn’t really realise how much we had been bleeding, we were just numb. 

My thoughts turned to Maxi’s mother all alone in that big house out in the country, a far cry from her routes, all her kids had moved out, Maxi’s father had died when we were 16 in an unfortunate incident that we don’t talk about. Maxi’s mother had always seen him as baby, the youngest of four. She would be asleep in that house now. We all loved her. She was so cheerful, the Mexican twinge in the accent, whenever we had no place to go at night she put us up, whenever we went to a party and it got too laree for us she would pick us up, when we got in fights and got caught by the law she bailed us out. I remember one morning we had come back early, put a window through, smashed some bottles, she smiled laughed, made sure we took care of the mess and was happy. She was a second mother to me and mossy, and we had let her down. Coffee always taste different in different countries and different circumstances, in a world where both are odd, then it taste like nothing in this world.

In your life be mad, wild, insane, hurtful, harmless, aimless, direct, hard, drunk, high, violent, passive, philosophical, spontaneous, wreck less, feckless, fight, fuck, pass out, repeat mistakes, spin around be a fucking idiot if you have to…..just don’t ever be boring.

When people recall a memory or tell a story it usually from that experience they had, book they read or that film they saw. I remember the dream I had in that waiting room when the booze and fatigue override the worry for a brief period. For reasons that escape my mind, the world was ending, how it would end I don’t remember, but that is because it is not important. It was just me and my friend, walking to a bar, on the last day of Earth. It wasn’t like the movies, the roads were quite, there were no jams with ditched cars, there were no people running through the streets, no preachers screaming for others redemption, people were together, not even running, walking through the street. Everyone said hello to strangers, there was no looting, there would be no point to that. It was cloudy but bright as the evening started to draw in at the beginning of March. There was no panic. Just overwhelming acceptance. All over the world people were with their families or pulling their glad rags on just one last time, the morning would bring no hangovers, no job, no career, no good health, no low cholesterol, no fixed mortgage repayments, no trainspotting just billions of people partying in the street, ironically, the moment the people realised they had all the money they had to spend, the shops just opened the doors, take what you can carry, they had no use for it. Parties in the street. Everyone put their guns down, there was no time to be wasted shooting at each other. Good will for all men. It might as well have been Christmas day, no, better than Christmas. And the second before that big old rock came screaming out of the sky and laid waste to billions of years of evolution and achievements, there truly was peace on earth, I hoped to god this wasn’t what was going on in Maxi’s head.


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