Irish-Tinged Memories

Because its Saturday, I’ve turned off the alarm clock. I will wake up when I feel the sunlight streaming through my window. I will probably spend another half hour in half-conscious semi-dreams. One of my favourite things in life is to wake up when you wake up, not when you plan on waking up, not when your woken up and certainly not when you have to wake up. It’s St. Patty’s Day and its beautifully sunny and warm outside. Its ten in the morning and I’m still asleep.

I’m woken up by a loud “FUCK” outside my window. Its followed by a second FUCK, a third, a fourth, a fifth in rapid succession. The last embers of my semi-dream have gone cold and I have no memory of it. All I see is the ceiling. I say a silent FUCK and look out the window from my bed. Its some twenty-something junkie tripping balls, and loudly at that. How did he get into my condo’s private garden? A sixth, a seventh, he walks into the fence, an eighth, he stumbles backwards, a ninth, he hits his head on the wall, a tenth, he tries to scale the fence, an eleventh, he stumbles, a twelfth, he falls, a thirteenth, he’s silent.

I try to fall back asleep and its not happening. I look over again at the junkie laying in the dirt below with his eyes wide shut. How I envy him. He looks so peaceful, laying there as if no power on earth could make him get up again. Wait a minute. Is he going to get up again? I put on my glasses and I don’t see his chest moving.

Then begins a two minute crisis of the soul. Should I call 911? Nah… he’s fine. What if he isn’t? He is. How do you know? Its just some junkie. So? Go back to bed. How can I?

I think back to India. I call the ambulance. They tell me to go down and check on him. I put on some clothes and go down. They are unable to revive him on the ground but he seems to be alive at least.

***

Me and Zolltan were staying in Agra. Zolltan’s hindi is terrible but mine isn’t at all. I’m perfectly fluent and so conversing with the driver in an unaccustomed tongue was my duty. He told me what happened the night before for money.

All the drivers sleep in their cars outside the hotel, while their patrons sleep inside. They drink, play cards, smoke, invite ladies of the night into their cars, pass the time. They’re sitting around a bench downing the local hard liquor when one of the drivers needed a breather and decides to go for a walk. They see him walking a half a block away. He crosses the road and is struck by a jeep. He flies twenty feet in the air and lands on his head with a sickening thud.

A pool of blood collects. He’s still breathing. He lies there eyes closed and does not get up. He’s not the only one. No one gets up.

Eventually, someone is compelled to make the phone call. The cops arrive twenty minutes later.  The pool of blood grows larger. His breathing is weaker. They begin questioning the drivers. What did you see? Who hit him? What hit him? Did you get the plates? The pool of blood stops growing larger. He stops breathing. The ambulance arrives and collects the body.

The driver tells me that before the ambulance arrived, his friend had time to finish a beer, he had time to lose his weekly stipend in 4 games of cards and his other friend had time to go away with and come back from a particularly ugly old lady of the night.

He tells me this story because he wants next week’s stipend from us in advance so that he can eat.

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