Before I can tell you what happened today, I have to take a trip back to a few months ago.
Setting: Mid-April, 2010. My roommate and I find ourselves alone; our friends have gone to the CofC baseball game and left us behind (no hard feelings- this story never would have happened). We decide to go for a walk and end up sitting on the pier at Waterfront Park.
As Marca and I are talking, I notice next to us two guys with BMX bikes. They look about our age, with tattoos and helmets and a general air about them that suggests they hurt themselves a lot doing stupid things (most 13-year-olds are like this- also, Jackass). Eventually, one of them leaves to get some water or to flip his bike into a public fountain. Marca and I sit silent for a bit during a lull in our conversation. The remaining BMX guy takes this as his cue to lean over and ask "So, do you go to school around here?" which means one of two things when you live in Charleston:
- He's a tourist.
- He's in the Navy.
After a while his friend comes back, and after a few minutes of talking we learn that they aren't actually friends, per se. They just found each other in town and some exchange like this happened:
Guy 1: Hey, I see you have a BMX bike! So do I!
Guy 2: We should totally ride together!
Guy 1: I'm in the Navy!
Guy 2: F***in' no way, me too. That's f***in crazy! F*** yeah we should ride together. F***IN' A!
-Three minutes later, they sat next to us on the pier.
So they start talking to each other about Navy stuff, every so often talking at us to say something about bad food or curfews. It's around this time I start thinking How am I gonna get us out of this? I'm starving! But if I say that, they'll invite themselves to dinner. Marca must be uncomfortable (I'm just projecting). I check my phone, but I can tell by the color of the sky that it's getting into later eating hours. When I look up, I see something miraculous flying through the sky to save us.
A woman at the end of the pier has been fishing with her two sons, in the background of this story. She caught a stingray early into our conversation with the first guy and we watched her husband nudge it off the pier with his boot.
Just as I'm thinking How are we going to get out of this? she casts her line parallel to the water instead of out into it and her bait and tackle comes flying through the air towards the second guy's HEAD. The triangle weight lands on top of his head and the hook grabs his left temple a bit above the hair line. A second or two of silence elapses. I don't know this man. I have no idea if he has anger issues or a rare, extra-squirty-blood disease. Finally, he says (quite gifted, this guy) "There is a hook. In my head." That seemed about the only thing he could say, and he said it several times.
Meanwhile, the woman responsible came running over, terrified, to survey the damage (it's barely in there- only a flesh wound). However, the guy (henceforth known as Hookface) insists we not take it out and instead "clip it and take the whole thing to the hospital." The woman's husband comes over to him. This man has already had to kick a stingray off a dock today, and who knows what else. He says "let me take a look" and midway through his last word, he plucks the offending hook out of Hookface's face, and all that is left is a tiny cut about the length of a pencil eraser.
Hookface still insists on the hospital, mumbling something about "paperwork." I gave him directions to the ER and helped them find Hookface's car because they had no clue where they were. On the way to finding his vehicle, the two boys unrelentingly invite us to the hospital with them. Um, no thanks. Not even if you were cute. OK, maybe if you were cute. And smarter. And stopped cursing like an old lady that's just remembered she knows how.
I saw that the only way we could leave without accompanying them to the hospital would be to jump on the phone grenade. I said "Here's my number- so you can let us know that everything's OK." And I wish I hadn't. I knew they were OK. I knew the ER doctors would give him a band-aid and some Midol and tell him to man up and get back to the Navy.
I knew he would text me that night, and maybe the next day (when I planned to have "dropped my phone in soup" so I couldn't read texts, darn). Just know that the story doesn't end here.