"Combative and Spitting."
Uuugggghhhhhh…….Bright….Light. Very…..very, bright…..Light. Like…Right above my head…So bright….like there’s a heat coming off it, it’s that intense. My deep lack of consciousness seems to be ebbing away very, very slowly….And that fucking LIGHT, that sterilizing sun just a few feet away…..Even with my eyes clenched into tearful little fists, that light bleeds through the corners….Fuck me, where am I? Did I die, and Hell is……a dentist’s office?
OK….slow down, Wrecked-Um…We’ve done this before. “We” being me, and my heavy, hollow noggin, talking ourselves through another hangover-awakening. I give my head a little shimmy….And there’s the pain…Yup, that’s a hangover. That pain that is soooo huge and detached, that it feels like the pain fills an entire empty, echoey room, but then someone took that room and shoehorned it into your fucking skull, and not nicely, either, they did it in a mean way, like you owed them money for a long time or something….Yup, I even have the rambles. I get the rambles when I’m hung over. I’m still only in my own head, but the rambles are there.
“Hello?” There is this detached voice to my left. Close enough to hear clearly, but I can tell it isn’t directed to me. Female, pleasant, almost maternal sounding, kind of too pleasant though. Like the best Telemarketer ever, or the worst phone sex operator….”Hello sir, how do you feel about your long distance? Well, how about a Cleveland Steamer, then? Or I can make you a sandwich…”
So, she never said those things, they were just in my head again.
“…Hi there! Sir, do you know a Mr. Wrecked-Um?” Hey, that’s me. “Yes, well…Are you missing him?”
A pointless joke from Office Space pops into my head…”Well, I wouldn’t say I’m MISSING Wrecked-um, if you know what I mean…” Aww, fuck you, it was funny to me.
“….Yes? Well, this is St. Mary’s Hospital…”
I should throw a note in here, I can not, for the life of me, remember the exact name of this place, it could have been St. Abfuscus of the Prolapsed Anus for all I know, but it was a “St”. something. I never paid the co-pay, so it is on my credit report if you really need to know.
“…..St. Mary’s Hospital in downtown Indianapolis…..”
THAT’S RIGHT!!!!! I’m in Indy….Some memories are coming back now….I remember a stripper….dressed like Princess Leia. But she had it a little backwards, she was wearing the Jabba’s Dancer outfit from Jedi, but with the cinnamon bun hair style from the first movie, TOTALLY a continuity flub there…Aside from the fact that she was a little chunky to be dressed like Leia at all…And, Stormtroopers. Yes, there were Stormtroopers…In the strip club. I think I tried to fight a couple of them. I remember screaming “Fuck the 501st!!” And punching a Stormtrooper in the face…Err, mask. Helmet? Or, maybe I just wanted to do that. That may not have happened. But there were Stormtroopers, and we were in a strip club. For….This Star Wars nerd’s bachelor party. A friend of a friend. In Indianapolis…..Celebration! That’s right, I was at a Star Wars Convention…I AM at a Star Wars convention, if I’m still in Indy…Don’t giggle, I was helping a buddy that is a toy dealer, he was set up at this thing, selling toys, and his friend was getting married, soooooo we all went to a strip club, and there were Stormtroopers there, and an incredibly opportunistic stripper that had the presence of mind to dress like Slave Leia for the Star Wars nerds in town. Smart stripper, I say. Even if she was a little chunky to be Leia.
OH SHIT!!! I’m out of town and in a Hospital, what the fuck happened….? We left the strip club…This guy De was drunk and high, he went running up to this sleeping homeless guy under a bridge and punched him in the ass, and screamed “BUM PUNCHING!! YEAH!!!” and we went back to the hotel…I was definitely back at the Hotel….It was this super nice place, I think it was called Omni, or The Omni…How did I get here from there?
“….and we have a Mr. Wrecked-Um here, he was brought in a little while ago. No, he is alright, I think he just had a little too much to drink, and the hotel staff found him passed out in the hallway…”
“Can someone pick him up? Oh, OK. Well, we can arrange something for him when he comes around, he is sleeping now.”
Or he is semi-conscious and drifting through his own muddy memories of Chunky Princess Leia.
It was around this time that I tried moving a little bit…I wasn’t sure I was even in my own body, even lying prone on the ER bed I felt like I was weakly floating a few inches off our own plane of reality. My ass was numb from the position I was in, so I tried shuffling from cheek to cheek, and I noticed an….Uncomfortable dampness…In my pants. I think someone spilled something on me. Maybe Chunky Leia? MMmmmmmmm Chunky Leia…..Sounds like a cookie. With chocolate chips….
I tried opening my eyes just a crack and JESUS CRACKER BARREL CHRIST WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SHOOT THAT FUCKING LIGHT IN THE FACE SO I CAN OPEN MY EYES….That thought slowly synapsed it’s way into my brain and my arm lazily drifted up to shield my eyes…I craned my neck outward to see past my belly…And there was this HUGE wet spot on my pants, stretching from pocket to pocket, into a triangle between my legs, and it must have penetrated through to the other side because my ass cheeks were all soggy and damp and….OH…..shit…..Ummmm….Someone pissed my pants. Wow. That’s embarrassing.
My Time Life operator notices me moving. “Oh, I think someone is awake……Hello there, Mr. Wrecked-Um, how are you feeling?”
“I’m…..uhhh…” My voice was a gruff, deafening whisper bouncing around in my skull. It was around now that I noticed my mouth had a pretty strong flavor of vomit in it. And not fresh vomit,either, it was the well aged variety that the French pay a lot of cash for to put on bread or tobacco or berets or something…..Oops, rambles again.
“I uhh…I, think…I feel awful…” was what I said, but it was waayyyy more slurred and unintelligible, way too damaged to type.
“It sounds like you had quite a night, didn’t you?” She was really, really pleasant, but she was talking to me like I was a naughty puppy.
“…Quite a…night…” I was still at that embryonic stage of hungover, where repeating that last few words I hear makes far more sense than any murdered English I could muster. “…How…Did I get here?”
“Well, you’re at St. Mary’s Hospital…”
“Yeah, I heard you on the phone with…My friend?”
“Yes, that was him, you gave us his name earlier when we asked who you were staying with. Do you remember that?”
“…No….” I started making a feeble attempt to sit up on the bed, and the nurse came over to steady me.
“Be careful, you’re attached there.”
The nurse points to an IV in my hand. “You’re attached, there, to a saline bag. That’s your second one.”
“I…I didn’t even notice that.”
She guides me upward and turned me so that I came to rest seated upright, on the side of the bed. I couldn’t bring myself to look her in the eye…Not out of any sort of shame, mind you…But my neck muscles were sore as hell, and I just couldn’t lift my head that high in my current state. My gaze came to rest right on her chest, right around where her cleavage…should have been. She had some surprisingly low cut scrubs going on there. I could see a lot more boob than I was used to seeing on a middle aged ER nurse, but the cleavage was a good bit lower than I expected it to be…And they were pasty, and veiny. Pasty, veiny, elongated booby cleavage. The veins were pretty dark, too like her skin was translucent or something. It looked like a road map. A road map of veiny, pasty boobs. My head was drifting around a bit, and I was following the roads as they curved…I was halfway to Areoladelphia on V-95 when she interrupted my drive.
“Mr. Wrecked-Um, did you want something? Were you trying to get up for a reason?”
“…Uh…yes. I….” It took all I had to bob my head up to look her in the eye….”I need to go to the bathroom….” my head dropped back down like a spineless Muppet and I got a full on view of my well-pissed pants…”Again. I need to go to the bathroom again.”
“Oh, yes, the EMTs brought you in that way. Don’t worry, we see things like that all the time.”
“Yes, the EMTs. You were brought in by ambulance.”
“Wait there, I can get the report. I have to take out your IV anyway, that bag is finished.”
She walks over to a desk off to the left, where she had made the call I heard earlier. “Here it is. You were brought in a couple hours ago, around 5 am, ‘Combative and spitting’.”
My head cleared just long enough to be alarmed, “‘Combative and spitting?!?”
“Yes, that is what it says. You were apparently giving the EMTs a lot of problems on your trip here. But you’ve been fine since you got here.”
“I was giving them problems?” I repeated. I remembered NONE of this.
“They picked you up at the Omni hotel, you were non-responsive when they found you, but at some point you woke up and were fighting them, and spitting at them.”
“Oh god….I was spitting at them? Why?”
“I don’t know, but I can say they were pretty happy to get rid of you.”
“So, what was I treated for? Alcohol poisoning?” This sudden realization I had become a “that guy” of legendary proportions had shaken away enough of the clouds that I was kind of scared and a little concerned. “Was my stomach pumped?”
“No, you took care of that before you got here. You were covered with vomit when they brought you in. We cleaned you up as best as we could, but you’re going to want to take a shower and get some fresh clothes.”
“So, I was brought in for…?”
“Vomiting. That is what is on your discharge papers. Even though you got rid of most of it, there was still enough alcohol in your system that you took 2 bags of fluids to rehydrate you.”
She took out my IV and I stumbled into the bathroom, reeling a bit from what she’d told me. The bathroom door shut with a deafening thud, each click of the lock tumbler going off like a gunshot in my head. I looked in the mirror and saw that I still had some vomit crusted to my cheek. “Combative and spitting.” I repeated to myself. A flash of brilliant common sense hit me and I started rifling through my pockets to see if all my semi-valuables were there….Wallet, check…but my cash was gone. It was only about $40, but I didn’t have a lot of money to begin the trip with. All my cards were there, but the hotel check in slip for my truck was missing. Shit, I started to panic a little. With that, someone could go to the valet, and steal my truck. My phone was missing too. I can’t even call anyone. Between the “combative and spitting” shit and now this, things are starting to look bad. Then a new horror occurred to me, and without thinking I jammed my hand down the back of my pants to make sure my asshole was still intact….And it was. But, now, my hand smelled like pee.
I did my best to get cleaned up, vomit and piss stains notwithstanding, and went back out to the nurse. I told her my money was gone, her reply was “It was probably stolen before you were found passed out. That happens all the time.” A lot of things happen all the time at this Hospital. I asked her how I get back to the hotel, and she tells me that there was a Sheriff’s deputy waiting outside for me. NOW I’m about to freak…
“Am I in trouble?” I ask.
“No, no, but you’re friend wasn’t able to come get you, so I called a local deputy to come drive you back to the hotel. It’s OK, really, this part of town has people in and out all the time for conventions and trade shows, and things like this happen. We don’t try to railroad the tourists here. You didn’t do anything illegal, so you have nothing to worry about. He’ll just take you back to the hotel, as a public service.”
I thank her and humbly shuffle out the ER doors to see a bright, shiny white Police cruiser waiting for me. I lean down and look in the passenger side window. The deputy leans over and opens the door for me. “Mr. Wrecked-Um? You need a ride to the Omni, right?” He looked a couple years older than me, but was well groomed and professional looking, much like you would expect a cop to be, up close. Definitely a stark contrast to my own “blue collar thug” lack-of-style, especially with all the bodily fluids decorating me.
“Yeah….Thanks.” I slowly folded myself into the cruiser, trying hard to conceal the giant piss stain on my pants. It was really surreal to be in the front seat of a Police car, with all the radios and scanners and the shotgun standing at attention against the dashboard. I mumbled a low “wow” under my breath as I looked around the front, and then the back, of the cruiser.
“You’re more used to bein’ in the back of one of these, ain’t ‘cha Mr. Wrecked-Um?” he joked.
“No….No, it isn’t that, I’ve never been in one at all. Just crazy, seeing the shotgun there, I’m not a gun guy at all. It’s…big.”
“Yup, sure is. It’s a big one.”
As that awkwardness drifted in the air, He toggled between small talk and probing “What the hell happened to you?” questions while we drove. I told him I was a bit ashamed at what the ER nurse had revealed, and I was hoping to get the full story from somewhere. He did tell me that no charges were filed against me that he was aware of, so I shouldn’t have to worry. He’d have been happy to arrest me if there were, he assured me.
We pulled up at the hotel, and I hopped out quickly to avoid being seen, but a cop car really brings an attention all it’s own. Hands firmly in pockets and head hung low like a beaten dog, I tried to hurry through the lobby as inconspicuously as possible, hoping not to be recognized as a piss smelling homeless vomit covered vagrant, or worse, the aforementioned “that guy”.
I got back to the hotel room, and both my friends were at the Star Wars show, so I was alone with my shame for a little while longer. A 45 minute shower, shave, and change of clothes later, and I jumped on line (my friend had brought his laptop) to check some things. I still had my debit card, and with my cash stolen, I needed to tap an ATM but I couldn’t remember how much money was in my account. Panic sets in again when I see the account is just about empty, less than $20 in it.
Every nightmare scenario repeats in a flash (though I didn’t stick my fingers in my ass this time). Missing cash was easy and obvious, but no one could have gotten into my account without my PIN.
I frantically called my bank and got a customer service rep.
“Hello, Mr. Wrecked-Um, how can I provide you with excellent servi-“
No time for all that, “Hi, I think I am missing money from my account.”
“OK, well, let me check on that on that for you, Mr. Wrecked-Um.”
“Thank you.” clickety clack, clickety clack, click click click….
“Hmmmmmm….” she says.
“Hmmmmm? Hmmmmwhat? HmmmmmI got robbed Hmmmmmm?!!? What is it?!”
“Did you…Spend some time at an….Establishment…Called ‘The Red Garter’?”
Ohhhhhh yeah, Chunky Leia…”Yes….I was there for a….Function. A Social Function.”
“Mmmm-Hmmmmm. Well, did you use your card to buy a drink or run a tab?”
OH, it’s coming back to me now…”Yes…I did. I paid for 2 beers…It was only $27 or so, though.”
“Well, most places like bars, restaurants, or…adult establishments, will put a hold on any card used for a bill or a tab, to be sure there are funds available. It looks as if this “Red Garter” function you attended did just that, they swiped your card and put a $120 hold on it. In a few days the funds will be released and the actual bill will be charged.”
Crap in a hat. “Can you push that through any quicker?”
“I can’t, no, but sometimes if you call the place that put the hold on the card, they can release it and put the actual charge through.”
At this point, I think I have enough indignities in my life without begging for money at strip clubs.
That solves the missing money. I checked with the hotel valet, and my truck was still in the lot, so the missing valet ticket wasn’t an issue any more. Someone had found my phone, made a few calls, determined who it belonged to, and returned it to one of my friends. Other than the missing cash from my wallet, which is just gone, I won’t see that again, some of the mystery has been solved, except for the biggest part…How did I end up in the hospital?
I asked around, but none of the guys that were at the strip club or the hotel room after wards had much to offer. Apparently, all the nerds, myself included, were booted out of the bachelor’s hotel room at about 4:30 am. I knew I was brought in to the hospital around 5am, and our room was right down the hall from his. So, whatever occurred did so within that time frame and between those two points. None of the guys had any ideas. They said I was lucid when I left, no one had flagged me as “too drunk to walk”. only one place left to ask…
I was a little nervous to even approach the front desk of the hotel. I didn’t know if there would be photos of me with the words “CALL THE POLICE” posted somewhere. I scanned through the desperately smiling faces of the staff members behind the desk for any glimmer of recognition, and got none…None, that is, until a young woman wearing a “supervisor” name tag made eye contact. She did a double-take and stare, like she was looking at a ghost, then looked away. She knows something.
I walked right to her and she smiled somewhat fakely.
“Hello, sir, how can I help you?”
“Hi! I….Uhhh…Well, I kind of woke up in the hospital this morning, and they told me I was found here and brought there…Can you tell me…What happened? I really don’t remember much…”
Well, sir, you were…” She was stammering a little. “You were found passed out….You were found unconscious and unresponsive by a member of out staff..” This was starting to sound rehearsed. “An ambulance was called to take you to the hospital, that is hotel policy in these situations.” OK, makes sense so far. “We refrained from calling the police after your violent outburst…”
“Wait, what? Violent outburst? That… doesn’t sound like me.”
“Well, if you have a minute, I can pull up the incident report.”
Incident report? Fuck me. I’m an incident now. A combative, spitting incident.
She clicks away at a computer terminal for a little bit. “You were found in the hallway on the eighth floor around 4:35 am…”
“Does it say where in the hall?” I asked.
“…Yes, outside room 803, by the elevator bank. Someone getting off the elevator found you.”
803 was the room we were staying in. I had almost made it there. Then I could have vomited in my toilet and peed myself in the hotel bed with all this ER nonsense.
“An Ambulance was called. The EMTs couldn’t wake you, so you were being taken to the emergency room. on the way down the service elevator, you suddenly woke up and had a violent episode.”
“Wait, what do you mean by a violent episode?” Some things were coming back to me as she spoke, “Wait, was I held down?”
“Well, you were lying face down on the gurney, and the EMTs had to strap you to it.”
“And I got sick, right? Started vomiting?” I remembered some of it now. I was strapped down, flat on my chest, and when I threw up, my stomach was convulsing, and being strapped down made it difficult, and painful.
“No, not at that point. You woke up scared and confused, started screaming obscenities and became violent-“
“Oh, Jesus…” I put my elbow on the desk and rested my forehead in my right palm. Between her account of last night and my own recollections flooding back, I was starting to feel a little sick.
“-the EMTs tried to calm you down, but you kept screaming that you were being kidnapped and kept fighting with them and tried to break out of the gurneys restraints. Our security guard had to handcuff you-“
“What??! No way! Cuffs! I’d remember cuffs, I’d have marks…on…my…” Just as the words left my mouth, I look down at my wrist, and there it is, clear as day, a bright red ring around my wrist where a handcuff once dug. I checked my other arm and there was it’s mate, hidden behind last night’s hospital bracelet that I hadn’t removed yet. “…Oh, wait, yeah, I see them now. I was cuffed. Behind my back, huh?”
She continued, “-and they took you to the ER. You did get sick when you were being loaded onto the ambulance. That isn’t in the report, but I remember it.”
“Which is probably why I was spitting…To get the vomit out of my mouth.” I said aloud, mostly to myself.
Over the next 48 hours or so, more flashes of memory crept back in. My “Violent episode” became clearer as the fog lifted, as well as images of the ambulance interior, and the EMTs yelling at me to stop spitting at them, even though I am sure I was only spitting because I had vomit in my mouth and nowhere to get rid of it. Some random bruises showed up on back, shoulders, and wrists. My whole body was sore for several days. It has been 5 years, and I haven’t had a similar incident since. But then, I haven’t been to any more Star Wars conventions. Seriously, fuck partying like a Rock Star. Party like a Star Wars nerd. Those motherfuckers can light some shit up.