That One Day
(from Tortoise)
James Lewelling

I broke my head. It was the result of stupidity pure and simple. My friend's mother had bought something. It came in a long narrow box. I can't remember what she bought. I broke my head after all. So the game was someone walked around in the long narrow box and everyone else wailed on it with sticks. When it was my turn, I tripped over something on the sidewalk and hit the pavement like a tree falling. The side of my head slapped against the sidewalk and cracked up all around the ear. My friends couldn't figure out why I didn't get out of the box and tried tickling. Eventually, they got my mother who hauled me off to the hospital. I was unconscious for a couple of days. I don't remember any of that. I only remember rolling around the hospital in a wheel chair at a hundred miles an hour. My friend was pushing. He hadn't even been at the accident but he came to visit me at the hospital every day. He visited and pushed me down the long hallways at a hundred miles an hour every afternoon. As it turned out, this particular hospital was a lot of fun. There didn't seem to be anyone else there. This friend of mine disappeared later. Most people disappear sooner or later, but this friend of mine really disappeared. That is, people looked for him. I looked for him but couldn't find him and other people looked for him but couldn't find him. We found his name and sent letters to that name but no-one ever wrote back. Both his parents were alive last I heard, but they broke up shortly before my friend disappeared. They broke up because they were both highly intelligent and tortured each other. His father had been in a war. In the war, he flew in airplanes. Afterwards, he became a psychiatrist. But he still had this parachute. It was for trunks and boxes. He took us out with it once. We went to the park on a windy day and let the parachute drag us around the turf. That was a lot of fun and as far as I can remember we didn't ruin the parachute, but his dad never took it out again. It was only for that one day.