Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Jesus Lizard, Part Eight A

I wanted to sit in the back of the bus when we left Dangriga -- I wanted to watch Dangriga get smaller and smaller and covered in road dust and exhaust. But I took my usual seat up front with Nigel. We had packed the bus in a hurry and as we bumped along the road, a suitcase got loose and nearly killed Miss Charlotte Blue. London stopped the bus when he heard the commotion. We looked toward the back of the bus to see Mizz Blue out of her seat, all akimbo in the aisle holding her head, “I’m alright! I’m alright!” But she wasn’t alright, she had a good sized scrape on her forehead and Mizz Rockbottom, who remained in her seat but decided to direct the rescue operation with her booming voice called out, “Miss Wolfie! Do something!” But I was already half way down the aisle with my enormous jungle medical kit, and thinking to myself, “Maybe, just maybe her injuries are bad enough that we’ll need to airlift her to Houston! Yes! Houston and then home!” But Mizz Blue was only grazed. I helped her back in her seat and tore open an alcohol swab and wiped the little trickle of blood from her tan brow. She was stunned, but not concussed. Nigel hoisted the wayward bag back up into the rafters of the bus and began apologizing to Miss Blue, but he was interrupted by Rockbottom, “Who put those bags up there in such a precarious way? Who? Miss Wolfie! I saw you packing the bus before we left and I blame you for this. Miss Blue is injured and its your fault Wolfie, all your fault! And here we are! Sweltering on the side of the road now with an injured traveller. You’re incompetent! Just incompetent!” I squeezed a quarter-sized glob of Neosporin onto my finger and carefully applied it to Miss Blue's tiny gash. Rockbottom’s words were flying all over the bus like a swarm of flies trying to find a place to land but no one was listening to her really—if anything they were drowning her out with their own quiet thoughts. I found the appropriate sized band-aid and tore open the little paper package that even sounded antiseptic . . . I imagined sterilizing my mind from Rockbottom’s angry words, and this shielded me somewhat. I patted the band-aid smooth on Miss Blue's face and looked her in the eye, for some sign that she was still with us and not going into a suit case induced coma, and she limply smiled back at me, “Its okay,” she said, “I’m alright. Thank you.” I collected the little bits of paper and wadded them up in my left hand and zipped up the kit with my right hand and went back to my seat. Nigel was still checking for loose baggage. I stared out the window and out toward the jungle, a toucanet sat in a banana palm only a few yards away. He cocked his head and rolled his comical eye at me. He held a berry in his ridiculously large horny beak -- he held it delicately and from this I took a lesson . . . don’t smash the berry, be gentle, and gingerly, hold the berry til you get to your destination.

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