Glen the carpenter’s getting older. The bones get weaker, the hair gets grayer. He caught his right foot in the compressor cord, and his next step caught his left foot up and down he went, ribs into the arm of a couch.
Cracked a rib. Couldn’t even laugh at himself like he usually does, it hurt to simply breath.
The natural motion of walking requires swinging of the arms and a slight torsion of the rib cage. That hurt him as well.
Reduced to hobbling but determined to take a weekend off and visit Visalia with a friend, they headed for Amtrack.
Have you heard of Visalia? Probably not. It’s in the valley. Known for its onions, which means its not really well known at all. Very few of us care what town they come from. Just fry ‘em up.
Glenn’s friend Brando was born and raised among the onions and took Glenn to the bars.
I wasn’t given a description of the particular joint where they met up with Brando’s high school friend, no, Glenn was imitating the barely verbal Wookie-like moan/howl of the new companion. He had Muscular Dystrophy. It can come on later in life and slowly deteriorates one’s body.
Let’s call him Thomas. Thomas had to lean forward in his wheelchair with his head cocked sideways to get the straw in his mouth and sip his beer.
Thomas and Brando had grown up skateboarding and playing music together but Glenn was meeting a drunk in a wheelchair demanding a trip to his coke dealer. They finished their beers and went outside.
Thomas was describing large circles in the parking lot, sheparding Glenn as he gingerly set each foot down lightly so as not to disturb his rib cage with a severe jolt.
There was, according to Glenn, more incomprehensible howling that seemed like simple mockery at his hobbling gate.
To be honest, the story got sidetracked while we installed the replacement refrigerant on the ice machine at the bar we were working at. I never did find out if someone had to help Thomas get the drugs up his nose. Someone misplaced the elbow and I went looking under the stools and that’s how it is in life. Stories get interrupted.
Later my Dad called to tell me the Chief of Police had been shot and killed in my sleepy hometown during a drug raid on a steroid dealer.
I don’t know if there is a connection there or not. People do like drugs though.