Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Corpsman Chronicles XXIX: And it exploded!

Short one today, perhaps. I'm trying to smash this one out before I begin the day. Maybe it'll work.

Update: It didn't. It was 0715 when I got called away from this, and it's now 1745 as I prepare to post it up. This post stems from a comment I made over at Sarge's place yesterday (I think it was yesterday) following his "Down With Like, Icky Driving and, Um, Mean Men!" post. The breathtaking brevity of my comment made me think I should expand on it here. But if you want the cliff's notes including punch line, just read my comment over there.

The post title? Based on an event/experience that for some reason -- sick corpsman humor and a twisted mind -- made me think of this scene from Galaxy Quest, a fine movie which premiered about a decade after the events of this story.

The longer version adds fun and interesting context. Man, I feel like taking a couple of snow hours and watching the movie again! Butt I digress. Here's the longer clip.

It was a bright and sunny early autumn day in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was home(ish) on leave just before deploying away from CONUS on a set of very interesting orders. It was looking like I was going to have max fun. The orders I'd wrestled the detailer into giving me were written in such a way that, along with the guarded verbal info I'd received about them, made me believe that it wouldn't be a bad idea to "put my affairs in order." It's a bit hard to explain what I was thinking and feeling at the time, and in 1989 no one had really had to do the old affairs in order thing for more than 15 years. Not really. So there wasn't any guidance. I didn't do anything differently than I'd ever done before a carrier deployment, except make an effort to touch bases face to face with everyone in my immediate family. I wasn't even a tiny bit worried, but in the calculus of military service it's a truism that stuff can always happen, and I was going to do something kind of new and different, so it seemed a prudent course. Therefore I was in Lincoln to visit a brother who was presently in his fifteenth or sixteenth year of the undergrad kollidge experience.

It was an astonishingly beautiful day, very warm for early autumn and with the sun nicely south the light it was casting felt more rich and colorful -- more Mediterranean -- than is usually the case in Nebraska.

Is I drove along in my shiny year-old Ford Probe I enjoyed the warmth and the light and the sights and sounds and smells of Lincoln. I've got a love-hate relationship with the place. It's small enough to be easily navigable and the traffic is Mayberryesque compared to an actual city. It features the state's only big college and the Mighty Cornhuskers have always been my team. In early autumn there are college kids everywhere and there's pleasure to be had watching them as they go about their busy and important student duties. Few of which seemed, even in 1989, to involve attending class. Which was fine with me, particularly on a warm and pleasant day when attractive young coeds were practicing dressing themselves for the first time without Mom making final "out in public" decisions. Lincoln is also the city of my birth, my parents having been students at UNL when I was borned.
My first home at 4545 Starr Street.

Lincoln is also the seat of Nebraska's state government, so I detest the place just as much as I love it.
This is where the bastards hang out, in the state capitol, or Penis of the Plains.

Anyway, finally, I was driving south on 33rd street and had stopped at a red light on Holdrege. I glanced in my mirror and saw the chilling sight of a shiny silver car about to rear end me. With far less than a second to go before impact, my brain and body went into hyperdrive. I'm certain that I didn't have the time to think about what to do, but I instinctively knew I was about to experience something very similar to a cat shot. So I pressed back into the seat and snugged my head firmly against the headrest, snapped the stick shift out of gear and took my feet off the pedals. My peripheral vision revealed a break in the slowing cross traffic, perhaps due to a yellow light.

The collision was rather intense but the forces were not terribly different than those of a cat shot. The initial acceleration impulse was quicker, but the overall force was far smaller. In the blink of an eye I was propelled completely through the intersection in a shower of exploding glass. My air bag did not deploy, and I suspect it wasn't supposed to in this kind of mishap environment. All of my windows shattered, and the windshield crazed. I could feel the frame warping as it happened. I also felt my seat break loose from its moorings, but it didn't let go until after the worst delta v had occurred so it wasn't a problem for me. When all motion had ceased I switched off the engine, pulled the parking brake, undid my seatbelt, tried the door which was impossibly jammed, and squirmed quickly out through the driver's side window opening. My immediate concern was for the occupants of the car that had hit me, and my intent and actions were driven by more than a decade's worth of training and repetition.
I ended up about where the white vehicle is, while the car that hit me stopped cleanly under the stoplight.

That time slowing down thing was in full operation. I had a unit one (navy corpsman's first aid kit) in the back, and I was able to quickly snatch it through the opening left by the now departed hatchback glass. I noted in passing that the 4'x4' area under the hatchback was now one foot deep and six feet wide. Energy dissipation via crumpling. Cool! And of course I was also burning with rage at the attempted manslaughter I'd just experienced. But that was "over there" in a "deal with later" compartment. My immediate task was to render whatever lifesaving treatment I could.

I sprinted across the street to the smoking wreck of the car that had hit me. All traffic had stopped and there were a lot of "eyes big as onions" watching. All the onlookers were still frozen in place, as is usually the case in such circumstances. I arrived at the driver's side door and a quick glance told me there was but a single occupant, a young and formerly pretty blond girl. Her face appeared to be a mangled wreck and was covered in blood. She was crying hysterically and trying to wipe blood from her eyes. That was a very good sign, probably proving that she'd suffered no neck injury. There was something very odd about the damage to her face though. There was a deep gash above her left eyebrow and it was pouring with blood, but a closer look revealed an unusual reddish and somewhat chunky pattern of pigment which seemed to be laid on over the skin. It was a puzzle, but the girl was bleeding like a stuck pig. First things first. Her crying revealed a clear airway and good breathing, so A and B were covered. I yanked a medium battle dressing out of my Unit One and applied direct pressure to the bleeding wound. I couldn't yet tell for sure, but it didn't look like there was any other bleeding going on. That's the C, baby! I eased her head back against the headrest of her seat and tried to make calming and soothing noises. She began to calm down. From just up the street came the wail of sirens. At first I was surprised at the rapidity of the response, but when I looked I saw that Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto were rolling out of a Lincoln Fire and Rescue station less than a block away. Which I had known was there but hadn't gotten around to realizing yet. So cool!
Lincoln Fire and Rescue Station 2

Johnny and Roy rolled up, jumped out, and began doing their EMS stuff. I shared a brief report on what I'd done and what I'd observed. Then I walked over to the corner bus stop to take a seat and wait for the oinkers to arrive.

When the oinkers arrived it was just one guy. About 22, he was a banty-rooster weight-lifter with the fingerless sap gloves on, and an, um, improper attitude. He was running around shouting orders like a dumbfuck and rabbiting on about getting the coroner out for the fatality in the other car and needing to get a dying declaration from the injured girl before EMS transported her.

I'd had all the dumbfuckery I was prepared to endure, so I said, "Hey Kojak, I'm gonna walk over to Valentino's for a beer if you need anything." The guy's name wasn't Kojak of course, but it started with K and had a lot of consonants and very few vowels.

"Yeah, whatever," he said.

So I grabbed the small duffel out of my wrecked car, grabbed the registration and insurance card, and walked the two blocks over to Valentino's, which is a Lincoln landmark.

I had two beers and half the pizza on the buffet down my neck when Kojak blew in yelling about running me in for leaving the scene of an accident. I told him I was on deployment orders and if he wanted to get squashed like a bug by the U.S. Navy then to go right ahead, otherwise he should call a supervisor because I was only going to talk to an adult police officer. He backed off, proving that he wasn't completely retarded, but he took a seat across the restaurant where he could glower menacingly at me until his dad arrived.

His dad turned out to be his Mom, a female police sergeant. She was extremely cool. I really loved the part where she walked in, glared at Kojak and shook her head toward the door, and glared him all the way out. She was a damme fox for a police sergeant, but also wore a big sparkly, so the discussion devolved directly to business only. She apologized for Kojak, I wrote out a brief statement and signed it, she filled out a couple of forms, the State Farm guy showed up and got a rental coming my way, and that was pretty much it.

When I departed in the rental (Chevy Caprice, gag) I drove over to the LF&R station and chatted with Johnny and Roy for a moment. They told me the red pigment all over the girl's face was from her lipstick. She'd been doing her makeup and never seen the accident at all. Just a sudden BOOM! and she was bleeding and scared and some really nice older gentleman appeared by magic and fixed her boo-boo and made her feel safe. Anyway, the airbag literally exploded the lipstick out of her hand and applied it liberally if unevenly all over her face. Near as Johnny and Roy could tell, the lipstick tube was the object that caused the laceration above her eye. So she'd had a pretty lucky day. Except for the fact that she was a "frequent flyer." It was the third or fourth new car she'd totaled in Lincoln in about a year. And she was pretty anxious about what her daddy was gonna say this time.


Meanwhile back at the ranch, the savaged hen is still alive and looking like she's gonna pull through. In fact she's pretty much indistinguishable from an uninjured chicken today. I plan to keep her in isolation for another day or two to hopefully prevent the others from sensing weakness/injury and killing her. It's a plan, don't know if it'll work or if it even makes sense. We'll see.


Combined hydraulic failure.

Plus a fuel transfer problem.

Firetruck me.

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty!


  1. A great tale; I hope her insurance ( she did have insurance, didn't she? ) paid for a new car for you. Be sure to let us know how well the chicken reintroduction to the flock goes. How is Red doing? Is she over being keel-hauled for the chicken attack?

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks Paul. Her Dad apparently had it covered and I got a new Mustang out of the deal, so I was happy. The Probe had been an impulse buy mistake anyway. I'll keep you abreast of the chicken chronicles. And Red is feeling better but kind of ducks her head and closes her eyes when anyone says the word "chicken."

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Get the chicken a switchblade, so she can defend herself!
    Ya done good by the girl. What a dingbat. I am surprised she still had her license, after three HAs in one year.

    1. Now there's an idea with merit!

      I never even thought about her license status, but she had to be on borrowed points. Hope she straightened up and learned to fly right. She'd be about (cringe!) 50 now. Shit, I shouldn't have done the math.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Scott!

  3. Replies
    1. Google. You clearly violated a major google law. You were probably judged to be anti-trans, because you typed "T" as part of TA. Of course "H" could stand for...

  4. Great stuff, except for the dead Bobcat. But, ya still got that big dumpster and they are paying for scrap....
    Looks like you got some winter stuff headed your way, but the seasons keep changing, ready or not.
    John Blackshoe

    1. Oh yeah, it's all good. I've been wanting to learn how to fix one of those split hydraulic drive thingies anyway. It's snowing hard right now, 32 degrees and a wind chill of 20. Be good snow scooping weather in the morning.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  5. I will have to finish it later... because laughing so hard at "Penis of the Plains". So want to post that on FB just to see what happens...

    1. That puts a smile on my face! If you share it on FB just blame me by name; I'm banned for life. Twitter too. Drive into Lincoln sometime and from 20 miles away you'll see where the name came from...

      Thanks for stopping by, commenting, and giving me a nice chuckle Brig!

  6. Love the reference to the "kind older gentleman," that must have made you feel just great.

    I'm at the age where the young ladies at work remark on how much I remind them of their grandfathers.


    1. Yeah, it was a real "day the music died" moment. But I never gave up, and I haven't surrendered! And we all know where that quote comes from, so it all comes full circle in a single blog post. Would have never worked if I tried to do it.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sarge!

  7. Ah yes, lipstick and the rear view mirror... sigh... And that Bobcat looks like a pay the man fix...

    1. Yep, that's the one.

      I'm thinkin' I can always take it to the man in a box if it gets too hard... ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  8. RE the Bobcat. You are probably as good a mechanic as anyone you can take it to. Their edge will be in seeing the problem before.

  9. Start a blog post is easy.
    Get 'er done another story.

    Don't think I ever missed an episode of Emergency.
    I was in love with Julie London.