Saturday, April 26, 2014
This is the anniversary date of “the car crash,” which broke my nose, not for the first time nor the last, but the most memorable. And the day when Hank broke his neck – a historic occasion in itself since it kept him from getting fired from one more lousy job, at least for a few months.
Greenwood Lake was the hot spot for music and booze, partly because New Jersey wouldn’t change its drinking age to 18, and so the lake – which is half in Jersey and half in New York became an easy venue for drinking and debauchery, and naturally, attracted me and Hank, who were into both, as well as the music.
I remember our driving north and Hank pulling over to the side to pick up two hitch hikers, very pretty girls who clearly didn’t even meet the 18 year old age requirement, but said they had idea, and since both Frank and I were 20 or better, I got a little nervous since not only did we stop for beer on the way, but clearly the event was designed to be more than just a ride in the car.
Hank had no qualms. Age was no restriction. So he was very happy until we came around a curve on the lake side road just shy of the
New York border, and we
hit a car that was making a k-turn. Hank hit the windshield. I hit the dash
board. We heard the girls moaning in the back seat, and the driver of the other
car screaming about how fast we were going – a moot point since he was making
the turn on a blind curve and nearly everybody in his overcrowded car was
injured in some way. The car was totaled. So was the 1966 Dodge Dart we were
Hank moaned. He did not yet know he had a fracture. Blood pored from my face like a water fountain with red water.
Somewhere in the back of my head I thought to get rid of the beer cans in the car and I found the empties and the remainders of the six pack and rushed over to the nearby woods to toss them in, a chore the driver of the other car was also accomplishing from his stash.
After that it was all cops and ambulances, and I remember driving in the back one of the emts asking us questions: name, marital status, and when I said I was married (just at the end by that time) one of the girls yelled at me, saying “You never told me that.”
At this point, Hank passed out.
We wound up side by side in the ER. Hank woke and found the nurse trying to take his blood and he refused. They said he could not refuse until he also refused treatment. At this point, we heard the father of one of the girls grumbling outside saying “Where the fuck are they?”
And we knew he meant us.
Both of us signed out, and made a hurried call to Pauly, who with Jane driving the car, picked us up in a blue Volkswagen beetle. We sat in the back seat. The bumps along threatened to kill Hank who was not yet aware of his broken neck.
Pauly looked over the seat at me and said, “Did you know your nose is bleeding?”