Posts Tagged ‘Solomon Grundy’

Died On a Saturday

April 4, 2018

(Edit 5/11/18: Yesterday, a man was hit by a light rail train during my morning commute.  I use those trains almost every day and that is where this story came from.  It is morbid and I kind of regret it now knowing that it can easily happen in real life.  I will not be removing it but I did not intend any offense to loved ones of those who have been hit by these trains.)

I remember the bus. No wait, it was a train. A train is way more impressive anyway. The local Light Rail train’s lights were flashing and the horn was blaring and the driver’s eyes were wide. They were really wide. As wide as I have ever seen eyes. I suppose I may have changed his life. I remember all of that. I do not remember the impact although I imagine there must have been one. Perhaps several impacts followed by a prolonged dragging. It is hard to tell, the report is kind of redacted on the specifics. I am not sure if that is for liability purposes or to spare me some kind of emotional or mental trauma. Either way, it is both a relief and an annoyance.

Let me take it back a little if I can engage in a little bit of a Hollywood cliche. I was heading to the Charles Theater in Station North. They were showing The Sting and Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? both of which I had already seen several times over. I kind of decided informally a while ago that I was not going to rewatch things since there is too much on my plate to watch but this was too good to pass up. I had never seen The Sting on the big screen and it is one of my favorite movies. Anyway, I plugged my headphones into my phone and walked to wait for the train.

The train took forever to come but soon I was hopping aboard and I even quickly found a seat which often doesn’t happen on workdays. As heavy metal songs gave way to musicals, I rolled my way through two stops, finally hopping out right near the Lyric, the sight of my college internship. To think, I outlasted an institution like Baltimore Opera Company. I shook my head and started to cross the tracks, thinking the train would have to stop for traffic like it does when I get off at Lexington. I was wrong. A horn, a flashing light, a scarred driver and then darkness. Pure darkness. Painless darkness.

But not forever. The darkness I woke up to was a different sort. There was still an absence of light but not an absence of consciousness. There was also the presence of a crick in my neck and a throbbing in my temples. I reached out blindly and felt what I imagined was steel. I traced my hands along the metal, and when I found that I was in a box, I started banging on it wildly. Eventually, somebody in blue scrubs opened the drawer I was in and I climbed out, nearly knocking the man over. He started screaming and it was probably not because I was naked. I felt a little dizzy so I sat down and held my head in my hands as the screaming continued.

And that more or less brings me to now. The above statement is everything that I can remember happening. Well, a whole crowd of doctors and security flooded the room after that. After they realized that I was not a zombie (at least not in the traditional sense, the security guys backed off and let the doctors go to work. They examined me top to bottom and I got a plate full of cafeteria food after I put on some clothes. There were all sorts of apologies but I figured that I was alive and in good health. No harm, no foul. Still, they wanted me for observation and doctors started to interview me.

Finally, I decided to question one of them. “Why are you asking me all of these questions?” I asked. “You guys messed up. You made a mistake. You thought I was dead and you were wrong.”

The young man was a medical student and he seemed astonished by my question. “You mean, nobody’s told you?”

“Told me what?” I asked. “They keep asking questions. They don’t actually tell me things.”

“You definitely died,” he said. “Look at this.” He handed me a packet of papers and I started to look through it. As I did, my stomach started to do somersaults and I was at risk for throwing up some more of that cafeteria food. The first thing in the packet was my death certificate. I shrugged that first blow off as a mistake. Then I got to the actual technical mumbo jumbo. It was a lot harder to shrug off. “Look at the time they signed of on your death. Last Saturday at 1 PM.”

“Died on a Saturday,” I half-mumbled. “Good thing I wasn’t buried the next day.”

“What?” He asked, a funny look on his face.

“Oh, just a poem that I remembered,” I said. “Google Solomon Grundy.”

“Died on a Saturday. Reborn on a Wednesday?” He asked.

“I guess that’s how my poem goes,” I conceded. “But I still argue that I could have been in a coma that whole time.

“Look at the last page,” He said. “When they brought you in you were in two pieces. You look fine to me.”

I could feel the blood drain from my face. “I’m feeling less fine all the time.”

The student looked at me kindly. “Just relax. You’re back in one piece. You’re walking and talking. You’ve got clothes on again. All the tests came back with healthy results.”

“No wonder you all are studying me before I can go,” I said. “Well, study on then. I want to know the answer.”

* * *

“So that’s the story,” I said. “My death and resurrection.”

The investigator from the MTA was completely shaken on the other side of the table. She had been jotting down notes at first but at some point in the story, she had just stopped. “So, what does it all mean?”

“Well,” I said. “I guess it means the Maryland Transit Administration is definitely not liable for running me over. I’ve studied enough to realize there are no real damages to sue for.”

“No, I mean, well, yes thank you,” she said. “I mean what does it mean in general? Why did you come back like you did?”

“I have no idea,” I said with a shrug. I leaned back in my chair.


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