DMH Fiction: Fozzy’s Accident


DMH, for those of you who haven’t met the other band around this joint, stands for Deadly Metal Hatchet. They’ve had lots of adventures, but this… this is essentially (although no one knows it yet) the origins of the Deadly Metal Hatchet.

Sheila paced circles in the vast waiting room. Really, a person could get lost in here. A smart person wanted to get lost in here. There were nooks, there were crannies, there were areas with TVs and areas without. Through it all, Sheila clasped her hands together and tried not to think. Only to keep moving, as if keeping moving would affect the outcome.

In her wake, a trail of tissue crumbs landed, barely visible even against the dark carpet. The tissue was in her knotted-together hands; she’d forgotten it was there.

The accident was the day’s worst so far. The boy was lucky to have his leg still attached and maybe he’d have been luckier if it had just ripped free.

That thought alone made Sheila gag. But there was more.

Broken ribs, collarbone. A dislocated shoulder. Road rash galore. Definitely a concussion, hopefully no brain bleeding, hopefully no internal bleeding or organ damage.

Scans, surgery – and no real way to pay for it.

When she next passed the volunteer desk on her endless rounds, the brunette waved her over. “This is Mr. Bergen, from billing. He needs to speak to you.”

The brunette volunteer showed them to another cranny, one Sheila hadn’t noticed yet. It was actually a room, but it was dark. Or it felt dark. It didn’t matter. Sheila knew what was coming. Knew she didn’t have insurance. Knew that asshole deadbeat who’d done this to her didn’t have any business being on a motorcycle in the first place, let alone would take even the slightest little bit of responsibility or involvement after this.

Sheila wanted to grab those paramedics, the ones who’d saved her oldest boy’s life, and shake them until they explained why the hell they hadn’t let that asshole bleed to death right there, on the spot where he’d tried to kill his kid.

She was afraid the answer would be that the asshole had gotten up and walked away. Just that easy. Just like that wasn’t his flesh and blood there on the pavement, his son’s blood spurting everywhere, his son’s leg… oh, Fozzy’s leg…

As the billing man droned on, Sheila hugged herself around the middle and bent in half, fighting that sudden wooziness that smacked her in the face the way the road had smacked her son. The way it had reached for Fozzy’s leg, trying to claim it like an unpaid bill.

The hospital’s finance man — what had the brunette said his name was? Mr. Bill or something? — touched her back. He looked concerned, but Sheila straightened her shoulders and unballed the tissue from her hand.

There was nothing left. Nothing to wipe her watering eyes with, nothing to dab at the wet corner of her mouth with.

“Mr…” she started.

“Bergen,” he said. “And if you can’t pay it all at once, I understand. Healing your boy takes precedence over payment. We can work something out.”

Sheila put her hand on his arm. “I’ll find a way. I’ll come work here and empty trash cans if I have to, but if you people save my son, I’ll pay every last penny back.”

Mr. Bergen cleared his throat.

Sheila removed her hand. Little white crumbs clung to his arm hair, remnants of Sheila’s tissue.

He pretended to ignore the crumbs, rolled his shirtsleeve down. As he fumbled with the buttons at the wrists, Sheila licked her lips and knotted her hands together again. She tried to remain sitting, but couldn’t.

“We’ll be in touch,” Mr. Bergen said.

Sheila licked her lips again and nodded. “I’ll make good on this. I will,” she said. Add the hospital and the cost of it to the list of things she’d have to face. She’d have to call her lawyer and see if he could help. Last time she’d had money problems, he’d told her to call. Maybe he knew of a way to lean on the asshole, too. Maybe he’d be able to shut off these stupid visits. Maybe he’d be able to squeeze blood from a stone and pay off the hospital fast. No matter how reasonable they said they’d be, they never were. They didn’t care if a family ate or not. They just wanted their money.

Sheila was already working two jobs. She didn’t know where more money could possibly come from. Fozzy couldn’t work, not for awhile. Not after this. And Curt wasn’t old enough yet.

All that had to wait. First, she needed to know Fozzy was okay.

Sheila left the little cranny of a room and resumed pacing the vast waiting room. When she passed the front desk, the brunette offered her a new tissue.

This was inspired, if that’s the right word, by this week’s Sunday Scribblings prompt, Healing.



  1. Julia Smith

    May 11, 2009 11:48 am

    Really gripping, Susan.

    ‘The way it had reached for Fozzy’s leg, trying to claim it like an unpaid bill.’ – great image.

    Julia Smith’s last blog post..Vote Now! * and * Poetry Train Monday – 100! – Don’t Give Him What He’s Fishing For

  2. Michelle Johnson

    May 12, 2009 7:53 am

    Excellent story. It pulls you in to the last word. I think we can all relate to an injured person in the hospital and not knowing how we’re going to pay those bills. It can be scary. Well done. Have a nice day.

    Michelle Johnson’s last blog post..Manic Monday

  3. Alice Audrey

    May 12, 2009 5:47 pm

    You’re making me cry. Did you know my son’s appendix came out last week? I’m so grateful for insurance, even if there is a high deductible.

    Alice Audrey’s last blog post..Mercury Retrograde

  4. gautami tripathy

    May 15, 2009 10:48 pm

    And I gonna tempt you to send me books. One way or the other!


    gautami tripathy’s last blog post..fingers dance merrily in the air

  5. Dee

    May 16, 2009 12:21 pm

    Wow this grabbed me by the gut and didn’t let go. The kleenex really got me – a small detail I kept seeing and feeling it..

    Dee’s last blog post..Sunday Scribbling 162 Healing (Stealing Time pt 2)

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