Buffalo John works in the cubicle next to mine. He’s built like a Navy SEAL and is frequently leered at by the cougar down the hall. I adopted him as my younger brother on the same day we met Gov. Bill Haslam. I had only been in Wonderville a couple of months when we were ordered by the higher-ups to give a dog and pony show to His Governorness. In an effort to certify my competency, my boss, his boss, and his bosses’ boss briefed me about our presentation. They wanted to know everything from the number of words in our PowerPoint to what we were wearing. I responded with one word: Spanx. John found this amusing. Nobody one else did.
The big day came and our encounter with the pinnacle of Tennessee government was a success. While the governor trotted off to his next public relations blitz, Team Buffalo decided we were both too tired to grab a celebratory beer. So I walked into my apartment downtown wondering how to celebrate: A stroll to the Bistro? A shopping spree at Mast? Nah… I wanted a hot shower and a righteous bologna sandwich. In my book, English muffin bread from VG’s Bakery with a little mystery meat is the well-earned taste of victory. Michael Haynes (yes, dear readers, I mean Metro Pulse-Michael) turned me on to this bread. In his words, “It freezes beautifully.”
In the name of multitasking, I stood buck-ass naked in my kitchen with the shower heating up. I grabbed a paring knife with the intention of prying a frozen piece of VG’s bread from its brothers. Instead, I stabbed the inside of my left hand. Blood spurted up in a perfect arc. I applied pressure on the wound with my other hand and a kitchen towel. The towel wicked blood like a tea bag. Perhaps this was a sign to get to a hospital. Wait a minute. How do I get to one? Where is a hospital? Being new to Wonderville sucked. Even worse, I didn’t have any kin to call in Wonderville.
Except for Buffalo John. So I grabbed the iPhone with my teeth, and cursed for not upgrading to a model with Siri. John heard me yelling, “I’m naked and cut. You need to get me to a hospital.” There might have been a few F bombs in there too.
He rogered my SOS with “Lexy and I are on the way.” But of course his sports car has a name. That’s how they role in Buffalo. Then reality gets awful. It occurred to me that I am a middle-aged, doughy, and naked woman who needs to get some clothes on pronto. Oh hell. Blood rained all over the floor while I freed up a hand to shimmy on pants and a shirt. Since blood clashes with a Corinthian leather interior, I did my best to sit still while he drove fast.
The nurses rushed me behind swinging doors. The doctor said, “On the count of three we are going to take the towel off. One, two, three.” I winced in anticipation of the scarlet geyser. The doctor leaned in closer. I leaned in closer. My left hand doesn’t even look nicked. What happened? Am I some sort of genetic self-regenerating freak? Is this a stigmata moment in the making? Sort of. The doc smiled, and told me I didn’t need stitches. Apparently our palms are full of capillaries. If a laceration is not too deep, they bleed deceptively like a horror flick and then stop when subjected to immediate pressure. In sum, my pairing knife hit a gusher and by the time Buffalo John got me to the hospital, the towel and lock-tight grip did its job.
Later, I found myself texting photos of a bloody floor to John’s phone in the hope he would believe me that this was not a ruse to stalk him. I also encouraged him to send these pictures to his fiancé, the nurse. The scary part wasn’t the blood or the pain. The scary part was feeling helpless and vulnerable. Sometimes friendship and family is born from indignity and emergency. Of course, VG’s bread still freezes beautifully. However, these days I’m a vegetarian.