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‘When the Wheels Fall Off’
Ambulatory and Ocular Notes: Baltimore, 6/22/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
MAR/27/24
Two years ago a friend chewed me out for being a hobo, told me that I was not “the Mister Jim you used to be” [meaning I was not looking so rugged] and that I ought to consider closing down “the minstrel road show,” and renting a room from him. He continued, “What happens when the wheels fall off?” I have not spoken with him since, and no regard him as a sending, for events have conspired to fulfill hi prophecy.
Heading east I had many plans for the 3 scheduled months:
-Visit a sick friend monthly
-Get the guts checked for hernias
-Do podcasts with Don Jefferies, The Myth of the 20th Century Crew, The White Monkey and Lynn Lockhart
-Fight at Man Weekend
-Complete 3 novels
I did fight at Man Weekend, the only two days in the East that I have not been afflicted with the return of the screaming eye seizures. For the entire winter and early spring the eye had been behaving. The eye abated for training day and fight day and as soon as the Appalachian highlands were behind us, the pain returned. Maybe it has to do with being between Tranhattan and Brainwashing City. As I lay abed in Jersey, making a piss poor house guest, hiding from the light, I even wandered if the goboment were beaming microwaves at me. On the precipice of Tin Foil Hat Pychosis I took the train to Baltimore to get my hernia checked. In so doing, an hour and a half standing at bus stops and then rocking on a city bus where there was standing room only for an hour, trashed my right side. Every time that bus stopped my weight and all of the weight of my every possession shifted to my right leg as I stood on the spinning disk at the center point of the over-long accordion bus.
It is June 22, cool and wet, as I right, exactly two weeks to the day since I could walk. I now hobble on crutches. Tomorrow I begin a crutch mobile odyssey by bus, multiple cars and train, to visit a sick friend. I have written perhaps 3 chapters since the onset of this, with the pain preventing me from sleeping or sitting or standing. Tying as a post anthropod shrimp squirming on the floor and crawling to various softer places is tougher than I thought.
Also, my once high pain tolerance has become crushingly bitch-like—quite the blow to the geriatric hobo ego. Hernia surgery is out until next year, ironically put off by a mishap had while making my way into health care range. Yesterday morning I was beginning to feel like a fish caught in a net and hauled ashore. Then three fellow fighters, my head coach Doctor Dread, Brett and Brickmouse, turned my condition aroudn just as I was thinking of quitting and renting a room in their terrible town.
One day I did spend 6 hours on crutches, using busses and accessing a distant Urgent Care. The staff were pretty much horrified by my condition. But, as Brickmouse told me yesterday, I am only that lonely hobo in spots, for most of my times getting by in this negation matrix, I am lucky in my friends:
“James, it is an honor and a pleasure to help you. You are stubborn and self sufficient. So, and I think I can speak for the rest, its nice to help someone who avoids help and then hits bump in the road.”
He said this after he bought me a lighter backpack and a plug in heating pad, performed traction on my spine and filled up bottles of water to place by the guest bed I inhabit.
This was a mere 3 hours after Doc Dread made room I his busy day to x-ray me and hit me with a needle that delivered me suddenly from shaking agony to just plain old hurts like hell pain. That was made possible by young Bret driving into town, taking me to Doc, and holding those many doors that you never really consider until you have to open them on crutches.
Brett then took me to the bank to cash the disability checks written for me by The Operator. Finding out that we couldn’t spar that man took me to a diner, said it was a consultation, and paid me for drinking on his dime as he had his pancakes and spoke of violent things. Bret then dropped off my scripts and took me to lunch. He wanted to talk about, history, power and the Bible and we did, making me feel like old Nestor advising Achilles.
I said, “In the Army, what is your nickname?”
“Shoulders, they took one look at me and said you’re the SAW gunner!”
I then discovered the irony of pharmacy placement in supermarkets as Brett patiently shadowed me while I hobbled back to pick up the subscriptions. He even directed traffic by the window, making sure the old ladies got in front of us.
That was yesterday. The people that have helped me move about and acquire the things a gimp needs over this past two weeks are:
-Brickmouse
-Brickmouse Bride
-Uber Joe
-My Sister & Mother, two church ladies who put up with the Devil on their couch for three days.
-Incognegro, who drove 50 miles with a pair of crutches
-Doctor Dread [three times]
-Lynn, who mailed me knee braces and scheduled my Kaiser appointments
-Nero the Pict
-Georgia and Megan who provided a bed on he same level as the bathroom and cooked for me
-Tami and Heather who called me an Uber
-Dereka, the hot Uberess who was kind enough to take me to the liquor store on the way to Georgia and Megan’s place in the Barrior
-Manuel, the Barrio Boss, who offered his assistance.
-Brett
And the people who have offered to drive me by stages to and from the train.
-The Man in the Hat
-Erique
-Mescaline Franklin
-Jennie
Brett spoke in kind tones, in his deep voice: “James, we will meet up again and train. I’m so glad that this didn’t happen to you in a fight. Because if anybody is going to medically retire you I want it to be me. I’m hoping one day, that between Sean and me, we’ll talk you into Christianity—or beat it into you.”
And he grinned, holding the door.
Despite the various misfortunes I have brought down on my own busted head, I look around and find that I am blessed.
Thank you.
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