How I Entered The Land Of The Disabled
by Ryan Jernigan
(Grand Ronde, OR, USA)
Dealing With Disabilities
Let me describe how I entered the land of the disabled. I remember the sound of his voice as I walked by the pair of them. It was just after sunset and I was taking a short cut through the elementary school. It was surely still light out to see, if not clearly.
"Do you want to buy some pot?" I heard from one of the two silhouettes as I passed over the cement ravine, both of them sitting on the handrail. I was sure I'd pass without incident, considering that rejecting drug dealers was a way of life, in my old neighborhood.
This time however, I was grossly mistaken. As I approached the end of the bridge, I was surprised to find that the two figures that were mid-way, were now springing out from either side of me, to stop my progress, keeping me on the bridge.
The streetlights make no difference in their mission as I'm gestured with eyes to look downward. There were no more words, nothing I could understand, considering that once I saw the gun, I rushed into a deaf rage, where the only thing I could hear was the sound of my own blood pulsing through my own body. Ringing silence is the only way I can describe it.
He could tell by my eyes that I was scared and angry. I could tell by his that he only expected submission, but I knew in my heart that there wasn't room for his demands. I don't know what he said, after I saw the gun, for I saw his lips moving, but when I waited for my ears to register his words just constant ringing silence.
In my angry stupor, I grabbed for his gun, just as he was starting to take aim at me. Almost instantly, I felt a flame tear through my left arm, just above the elbow. I didn't hear a shot.
In shock, I grabbed my left arm, and started running from the two muggers. For some unknown reason, I felt the urge to stop running and turn to face them, just in time to see him taking aim at my head.
In my state of shock, I thought I'd be able to dodge the bullet, but kept on veering away from ideas that included me turning back around, because I knew for sure that I didn't want to get shot in the back, too.
I stared waiting to see the light flash from his gun, so I knew when to duck. Needless to say, I wasn't fast enough. I was shot in my head, just above the right side of my forehead.
I didn't lose consciousness, just complete control over the left side of my body. Which meant that my left leg was unable to hold up the left side of my body, so I found myself falling quickly to the ground, and landing on top of my burning arm.
I looked up in fear that they were running to me, maybe to rifle through my pockets, or even worse, to finish the job. I took solace in the fact that they were running in the opposite direction.
I painstakingly waited in my warm pool of blood long enough for it to cool, maybe five minutes, until I saw the light of a flashlight floating around. I then heard the sound of his radio and keys all at once.
I felt such great relief when I heard him radio that he needed the paramedics. I knew I was going to survive, so when I was on the gurney on my way to the ambulance, I told the police officer my mom's address and told him to go tell her that I was shot but I was going to be okay.
I woke up three days later, hemiplegic, and I was forced to swallow the fact that this nightmare was no dream. I had unwillingly entered the land of the disabled.