Friday, January 23, 2009

I Watch Too Many Movies

I Watch Too Many Movies

I don't remember the sound of the explosion. The firefighters laughed when they heard that one. There were reports from Main and Elm that a gun had been fired. I remember a tremendous wumf. Like an enormous barbecue burner being turned out. I had to have heard the explosion they laughed, I was right beside it and the doctors said my hearing was damaged.

The old woman had been thrown up the stairs or I never would have found her. You're not supposed to move an injured body but the fire was spreading so I did.

I brought her outside and laid her on my jacket to keep her off the snow. It seemed like the right thing to do but I regretted it later. I wish I had grabbed the curtains because my jacket got all bloody and I had to throw it out. Plus it was freezing. I looked at those curtains for a long time but I thought it would be irresponsible to leave the old lady on the front lawn. Even if I got the curtains she probably had already got blood on my jacket so it's not like I could roll her onto the curtains and put my jacket on. Eventually, I saw the curtains catch fire so that was that. That's the thing in those situations. You can't overthink, you have to act.

A neighbour ran to phone 911. Later, he thanked me for taking control of the situation because he was in shock. He said I told him to call 911, report an explosion and an unconcious, breathing senior female. I don't remember doing that. I guess I was in shock too. That was the frustrating thing about being called a hero. I didn't remember the good parts. I felt like I was getting someone else's award. I remember this old lady. She looked like a bandit who had been caught by a posse and dragged by a horse. Her clothes were ripped up and dusty. I stared at her fragile body. I thought a Western that takes place in the snow would be a neat, new idea. I held her in my arms.

I watch a lot of movies and this felt like the scene where the person is dying in someone else's arms. I knew it would be a good scene if it were shot from above. Then I thought she was dead. I really started to get into my role. I tried to think about everything the old lady meant to me.

“Don't give up on me.” I said.

I don't know. Maybe I watch too many movies. The hero always has to keep the dying person awake. If they fall asleep it means that they're dead. “Fight it.” I yelled. “You can't fall asleep.” She didn't respond. “Not on my watch.” I shouted. I gave her a quick shake, a test shake, and it worried me. You ever shake a frail old lady? It's scary. It's like a bunch of toothpicks in a ziploc bag.

And that's when I did what I did. Like I said maybe I watch too many movies. Maybe she was better off sleeping. But my mind was fixated on waking her up. I wanted her to show signs of life. And maybe I was upset about being cold and using my jacket instead of the curtains. So I started yelling every obscenity I know. It sounds odd now but all I was thinking was, if she sleeps, she's gone, right? So I'm whispering to her that she's a dirty slut who fucked a pig for a dollar. And that's a light one. That's beginner's.

She wasn't responding so I tried everything I knew. And when you work in international shipping, you hear them all. Tu madre es una puta, darashinai onna, tu es un putain, du hast null hoden, pezze di merda, bouffe ma queue calisse de fag. It was hard to place her ethnicity so I called this old lady a whore in every language. I'm trying Polish, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, French, German, and all the Swahilii I know. Her eyes start to open. I'm really getting to her. Then I think, she's an old woman, maybe she's racist. So I start saying, oh look who's awake for a big white cock, big black cock, brown cock. It's a long process but I find out that she hates Catholics and the Swedish and she speaks Italian and some Polish. So I'm telling her that she wants a Swedish Catholic to take his greasy balls and put them-

Suddenly she's hitting me, she's awake, she's full of life. And then I'm being tackled to the ground. At first the copsy were arresting me but then they found out I was saving her life.

The old lady's family was cool and I got to hug them a lot at the hospital. We really didn't know if she was going to make it. I mentioned my jacket and they were really impressed with my sacrifice but they didn't get the hint. Eventually, the old lady came around and they brought me into the room to celebrate. I couldn't really understand what she said to me and I asked someone to translate. Finally, someone did.

"What is she saying?" I asked.
“I don't like this man.”

But there's no way that's everything because she talked for about three minutes until I was told I had to leave the room for her health.

(2009 snow walk to a movie store in Wasaga.)


lfar said...

Is this actually something that happened while on a snow walk in Wasaga? Or something you wrote on a snow walk in Wasaga? Walking while writing seems hard but this is such a spectacular tale! You pretty much are a hero.

I like this because it's not "Guess what this happened to me!" it's more like "Guess what this happened to me and this is what it felt like"

I think I'm going to aim to be more "this is what it felt like" in my writing.

Nemo Dally said...

That's when the story occurred to me.

I do most of my creative thinking while walking. I write a lot of stand up and sketch in my head and then I go home and write it down.

I think I had read some Raymond Carver the night before.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

This is fantastic. So good.

I do most of my writing while walking, too. Or while sitting on the bus. Wasn't that Dylan who said something about thinking and moving? Oh, who knows. Bob, I meant, not Thomas. I listen to the same song on repeat and walk around and write in my head until my brain's about to burst if I don't get it all out.

Sometimes I don't make it home fast enough and oooooof that's a mess.

Liz said...

Strange timing...I read this just after listening to an episode of the Moth podcast in which a firefighter used too much pressure when trying to resuscitate an old woman. Let me just say, it didn't end well.