Harry Seaburn’s comic crime caper novel series had just been born – with publication of The Feathered Virgin on Amazon – and the author (me) almost got unborn. Life, as the old Greek said, is a wild and scary thing.
Or maybe just very Dortmunder. (You Donald E. Westlake fans will know what that means.)
I’d just pushed the “publish” button for Amazon and begun preps to follow up immediately with publishing the rest of the series – The Dimpled Python, The Laughing Camel and all the way through to the seventh book, The Cracker Kingdom, with a blue-haired sniper girl and a dozen circus elephants for the grande finale – when I had this sudden urge to climb a ladder to grab a fresh tube of toothpaste on a high shelf.
Yeah, well, it would’ve happened to John Dortmunder, too. I sort of fell off the ladder and sort of landed in the shower and sort of banged my head against the tile wall and sort of began to bleed.
Splash blood, I mean.
My wife, expert at solving problems I create, wrapped my head in beach towels (we live by the beach so we have lots of them to spare for occasions like this) and called an ambulance.
The ER jabbed me and wrapped me in wires and made me do bizarre arm exercises. Shoved me into a CAT scan machine (not as scary as an MRI, which feels to me like being shoved into my own coffin without the benefit of being dead). And decided I would survive. Or maybe that I wasn't worth much more of their trouble.
So they stapled six quite pretty metal staples into my head to close up the tear and sent me home. My wife took a photo of my head to show me the staples – they look like some office loony went berserk on my scalp with a desk stapler.
Have to admit, though, I felt instantly better with the staples in. Like having that “closure” you hear so much about (I know it's an awful pun but I couldn't resist). If they were stapling me and not admitting me, then I figured I was going to be all right.
Further, the ambulance man said he would check Amazon to buy a copy of The Feathered Virgin, so my misadventure was not entirely a waste.
After five hours in the ER and early to bed, I expected to be re-energized today and ready to get back to publishing the other six books. Trouble is, the ER gave me this long list of “Symptoms Indicating Your Concussed Head is About to Explode and You Will Die” and I discovered I have all of them. Except the one that says you have come to realize you are as handsome as George Clooney. That requires an extra special concussion.
To fight off those symptoms, I spent the afternoon puttering around in the yard in the fresh air and sunshine. But the sun heated up the staples in my scalp so powerfully that I had to flee indoors.
Then I recalled from the BBC’s "Doc Martin" series that the Doc revived a man dying from concussion by using a common or garden variety household drill to bore a hole in the skull to relieve the building pressure. I asked my wife to keep our drill handy in case I want any more holes drilled in my head.
She scoffed and went out back to inflame our oak-fired barbecue to cook up fresh fish for dinner with friends. I’m sure their good company will cure all my symptoms. If not, I’m ready with the drill.
© 2015-18 Steven Hardesty