I had no memory for the last forty-eight hours plus, of my life. My mind was an absolute blank. An event that was never consciously recorded in the eye
of my mind.
When I was sixteen years old, I was given a motorcycle for Christmas. It was a shiny, black, Honda 150 Dream. I had wanted this motorcycle
for almost two years I was thrilled to receive it.
During the break-in period, I was especially careful to always observe the warnings and cautions that came with the owner's manual.
I wanted to be sure that this cycle was broken in right.
It was my baby. I was always aware of the speed I was traveling, making sure that I never exceeded the break-in speed of forty-five miles-per-hour.
One beautiful crispy blue bright sunny day in February, I was riding around the Las Vegas area putting on some slow miles. It was not
quite spring in Las Vegas. In fact, it was really a very cold February day.
I was dressed for the weather. I was wearing two pairs of white Levis, and two long-sleeved white sweatshirts. No matter, the cold still
penetrated to the bone, even at slow speeds. The wind was like a jagged frigid razor, cutting my face and neck. My eyes teared continually.
At this time in my life, I was working at a gas station/bait store, in an area known as Pittman, between Las Vegas and Henderson. My normal
working hours were after school, and on Saturdays. I usually started work around 4:00 P.M. This was a Saturday, and I was wishing it was Sunday.
As I continued cruising in no particular direction, I seemed to notice the cold and wind less. Perhaps I was just numb.
As the day warmed about four degrees, and then began to cool again, I noticed that it was time for me to start towards my work location. I headed
to what I thought would be the shortest route to my job, traveling on a road called Sunset. My intention was to take Sunset Road to Boulder Highway,
and from there, on a short distance to my job.
As I started down the steep hill on Sunset Road (locally called, "Vo-Tech Hill") I noticed that the road was undergoing some installation
of water pipes on my right-hand side. The pipes were strung out all along the road beside a newly opened ditch awaiting their burial. Excavated dirt
and rocks were piled along side the pavement.
Starting down the hill, natural acceleration began, and the persistent razor of the wind cut even deeper into my face and neck, now slicing
downwards along my thighs and calves. As I applied gentle braking pressure to slow my speed, I remember thinking, (what would later be my last
conscious thought) "I'm freezing my *!@# off!"
As I lay in bed, tossing and turning, I could not get comfortable. Somewhere, in my dream state of awareness, I was struggling with sheets,
and reconciling to myself why they felt so stiff.
I knew when I woke up; I was going to ask my mother why she had used starch on the sheets. I felt like I was sleeping on emery cloth. Fitful,
and unable to remain asleep any longer, I approached the brink of opening my eyes. I was experiencing difficulty even with that task. My eyelids felt
as though they had a large dose of stickum applied. It became a real effort to wake up, and to open my eyes.
Finally I managed both chores. Rising from a deeper sleep than I had experienced in a long time, I opened my eyes and was startled by the
presence of my mother and father standing beside my bed. Both were wearing expressions of weary bereavement. I was sure someone had died.
My immediate response was, "What are you guys doing standing here?" It was only after having voiced that question that I looked around, realizing
that I was not tucked in my own bed on Sunday morning; I was one of several people laying in a dorm of a hospital. Pale green walls, the smell of
antiseptics, and stale linen with perhaps a tinge of urine, were my surroundings.
"What am I doing here?" were the next words to fall from my profusely open mouth. My parents' concerned reply was a question, "Don't you know
what happened?" "Well, Duh!" would have been a succinct answer, had that expression been in use at the time. However, it wasn't around then,
and the choices of words in my mind were a little more expressive. I refrained, and replied, "The last thing I remember was driving down
Vo-'Tech Hill on my way to work."
As I was still attempting to comprehend the situation, while steadily looking agape at my surroundings, I became acutely aware of my body,
and every inch of skin covering me. I was suddenly feeling pains I had never even heard of before. I apprehensively pulled the sheet up and back,
looking downward at a body that surely must have belonged to someone else. All I could see, from my chin to my feet were scrapes, cuts, slices,
and a continuous bloody, pulpy bruise extending the length of my left side. Something bad had gotten hold of me, chewed me up thoroughly,
and spit me out indiscriminately.
What I couldn't see, I suddenly started feeling, like a slow boiling pot rising to full roiling boil, with great speed and intensity. My body
felt like I had been skinned alive. Was I the victim of a fire, a gang beating? My mind started reeling, I was overwhelmed and confused. I had no
bearing on my current time and circumstance. Feebly I asked, "Where am I?"
"What happened to me?", "How long have I been here?", and "What day is this?" I managed to ask.
My mother started crying, grabbed my hand, and proceeded to try to explain the events leading up to these dire straights.
It seems that I had been found, or my cycle had been found, by the only patrolman Henderson City Police had on their payroll. He went by
the name of "Smokey". He had been patrolling Sunset Road, making his normal rounds, when he happened upon what looked like litter and trash on the
roadway. The litter and trash turned out to be the remains of a motorcycle, and various spare parts littered down a stretch of highway over a
distance of 175 feet.
He stopped, parked and dismounted his Harley, and began picking up the detritus from the road. As he was bending over picking up a front
wheel, he heard animal sounds coming from among the pile of dirt and rocks, and the excavated ditch along the road. He walked over to investigate
the sounds, (in his words, "It sounded like a pile of rocks was moaning.") and found me. He said, even then, it was hard to recognize me as a human
form. I was covered with dirt, mud, and a heavy dose of blood, lying in a twisted pile among the boulders.
My white Levis and sweatshirt were blending in perfectly with the dust and dirt.
An ambulance was called; my parents were notified from identity papers found on my person, and I was taken to Rose DeLima Hospital Emergency
Room Admissions. I was shuttled from one location to the next, as the normal routine within the emergency room played out. X-Rays, cleaning,
scrubbing, removal of pavement from abrasions (some still left embedded), visual inspections, vital signs checked, and more cleaning and swabbing.
The entire time, I was unconscious. It was determined that I had no broken bones. Neuralgic tests seemed positive. I was finally admitted and
wheeled further into the bowels of the hospital to my pale green room, to await my awakening.
I was told that during the admission and treatment process, I was screaming every profanity I could muster, to anyone who touched me,
and everyone I could imagine. I was told that my screams and yells and colorful language could be heard throughout the normally quiet corridors of
the hospital, as the nuns of Rose DeLima went patiently and efficiently about the business of cleaning, doctoring, and nursing me. I was
unconscious for just over forty-eight hours.
As I lay there in the bed of the dorm I continued to regain some semblance of mental dexterity, I struggled valiantly to remember what
Smokey, the patrolman, visited me. He told of finding me, and asked me a few questions. His recount, and questions, didn't help my memory,
and my memory didn't help his reports. It had been determined by Smokey, that no other vehicles had been involved in the accident; there was no
sign of a hit-and-run. No blow-out was evident on my separated front wheel, just a severely 90 degree, bent rim. My cycle had been torn apart.
The seat had been ripped off the frame; the gas tank and the engine block were the only parts not extremely damaged. While Smokey and I
discussed several possibilities (including freezing to sleep at the wheel) I didn't have a clue what had happened. Smokey commented, that from
his own investigation that I probably flew over the handlebars and skipped like a rock over water, down the pavement for almost 200 feet on my
face and left side. It turned out that the scene of the accident was almost three miles from the last thought I consciously remember, "I'm
freezing my *!@# off!"
Eventually, I was released from the hospital, and returned home to nurse my wounds, and my equally bruised ego.
In the ensuing weeks, my cycle was rebuilt from the ground up, by my father. I was re-presented with
what appeared to be a brand new Honda 150 Dream, close to my birthday in April.
About two weeks after receiving my cycle, I had an argument with my parents. I slammed out of the house, mounted my cycle, and tore off down
the street without so much as a backward glance. I was going about 55-60 miles per hour as I entered a four-way gravel intersection that did not
have any stop or yield signs. I was mad. I didn't even flinch on the accelerator as I stormed the intersection. My left-hand view was blind;
the other corners were visible and empty. As I flew into the intersection past the point of no return, I caught sight of a 1959 Cadillac coupe
entering the intersection from my blind left side.
The vehicle seemed to be traveling at about the same rate of speed as I was traveling. The frail old lady might well have been in the same
mood, from the determined look of her face. Whatever the case may have been, she never slowed down or cautioned, as she entered MY INTERSECTION!
The next few seconds played out in Steven Spielberg/Sam Peckinpaw slow-motion. As my front wheel approached her right from wheel, I watched
horrified as they both made contact. I remember taking leave of my seat, as I slowly and gracefully flew over my handlebars. I remember looking
back as my cycle seemed to gently bounce off the tire of the car and fall sideways onto the shoulder of the street; I was wondering how bad the
cycle would be damaged, and if my dad would be able to fix it again. I remember the dust flying from the vehicle tires as the brakes were applied,
and the sound of gravel crunching under the tires. I remember turning my attention back to the vehicle as I continued my slow free flight towards
the vehicle. As I saw the hood fast approaching what could only have been my face, I remember thinking that this was going to really hurt. I was
going to get hurt badly. I never thought about dying. I remember turning off my mind, like a switch, somewhere along the flight path, just before
the point of impact.
My next memory, I was being loaded onto a stretcher, again looking up into the face of a grieved mother, and saying just before I again went
into the abyss of unconsciousness, "Oh God! No, not again!"
I regained consciousness in the hospital, and unlike the first accident, I remember all of the events leading up to and including, the accident.
I just checked out for impact, no memory of the contact. Two days later I was released from the hospital and allowed to go home again to heal.
I found out later that I had done over $700 (1961 economy) damage to the Cadillac with my body. I had destroyed the hood as I smashed
diagonally across it, slamming into and shattering the windshield, with the right side of my head. As I continued my traverse of the car body,
I creased and ruined the roof, traveling towards the trunk, where I unceremoniously bounced from it to the gravel. I came to full stop underneath
the tailpipe. I never received a broken bone.
Eventually, again, my cycle was restored. After I received it, I decided that I no longer wanted a motorcycle, not wanted to take a chance
on a third accident. I felt I had all the charm I needed. I sold my motorcycle.
I am sure everyone has heard the expression, "Get a horse!" With the proceeds from that sale, I bought a horse. The story of Wendy, is a horse,
of another story.
Sworn and attested to,