FEDE HISTORIA

by Rodrigo F. Flores


When the phone rang that night I was sure it was going to be my old man with some lame excuse as to why he wasn't getting home that night. I lit a cigarette and used it as a flashlight to guide me through the darkness of my home. The burning cigarette, the only light in the room, was what kept me going and prevented me from tripping on something.

"What is it this time, huh?" I said as I picked up the phone. To my surprise, I didn't hear my father's panting. In fact, there were no human sounds on the other side of the phone. I could make out the sound of cars honking and of cars traveling at a dangerous speed. There was some static, the sort that is common to cell phone calls, but it was quickly interrupted by someone shouting at a distance. My brother's voice.

There was rage in his speech, clearly meant for someone standing in front of him. He didn't want me to know about it though, yet he wasn't aware that I could hear him from the other end of the line. As soon as Fred realized that I had already answered the call he rapidly changed his tone of voice and gently spoke back to me.

"Hey bro, look... there's been somewhat of an accident. This guy crashed into me, and well, it seems like if it's gonna be a bit of problem getting these guys to pay for the damage. Don't worry though, call Mom and tell her that..."

Silence.

"Tell her what?!"

"Oh shit!" The phone goes dead.

Silence. No address, no explanations. Just silence.

 

Fred grew up back when nobody believed in ADD. Kids that showed hyperactivity and lack of attention were not considered to be sick; they were just given more toys and time to play with'em. You know, to exhaust that extra energy.

In his teenage years, Fred still had these momentary lapses of perplexity and bewilderment. However, it wasn't due to ADD anymore. It was due to the shitload of coke that he took each day.

Having so much energy to waste, Fred decided to join a gym. He went there everyday; he worked out, check out the babes, worked out some more and took in some coke between these activities. This newly acquired sense of dedication contributed to other aspects of Fred's life. His career in the money forging business started flourishing. What began as a momentary method for survival had now become a big business for Fred. He loved the faces of the presidents on the bills that he forged, and he loved even more the faces of the waiters when they thought they were getting a great tip.

Fred grew to become a strong young man. I know he cared for me and Mom, but he tried to hide it most of the time. No weakness and his muscles and no feelings in his heart. "Strong as Blue Demon!" he used to say, while pounding his fists on his chest.

 

The night of the accident he was real hammered. He was used to driving while being drunk by this point in his life, and in fact he really enjoyed it. It made the trip a whole deal more fun for him; it reminded him of those videogames that are found in arcades. He thought of it as a game, only this time it felt more real. He was there, trying to drive and get home safely - all while having a friend and a couple of chicks in the car.

When the impact occurred, his car violently swirled around the streets a couple of times. He was laughing when it happened, and he continued to laugh throughout its entirety. The adrenaline in his veins spawned as his car was spinning, as he saw his chick's face distort with horror. Just like in those video racing games, he thought.

Fred got out of the car once it had been brought to a halt by a telephone booth. He didn't even bother to look at his friends in the car. He was too amused as the moment. He didn't want worry about the possible consequences of the crash. He didn't even feel like caring for his friend and the chicks.

He dusted off his suit and brushed his fingers through his hair. You know, just in case his hair had moved out of place.

Fred then stared at the street, gazing at the tinkering lights from the light posts. They were blinking on and off, and they were complemented with the effacing colors emanating from the streetlights.

There was a pink car in the middle of the street, shattered in pieces and torn apart from the front. It was the car that had hit him. Fred had not noticed it before, but now he realized they were actually real people inside. There were people in there that could be hurt badly, or even possibly dead. People with families, girlfriends and dogs to take care of.

But Fred had other things to care about at the moment.

Those motherfuckers had ruined his car.

 

Ruben was having a drink with his buddies. Playing Cards. Smoking Cigs. Drinking beer. One more beer.

Ruben opened the fridge and searched for some more. His hand had to swerve past the penicillin, the morphine and the bags of human blood. Ah! Some Coronas at the back of the fridge.

He sat back down on the stretcher and opened his bottle. It was getting stuffy there in the back. I might have to open the doors, he thought.

The radio rang when he was about to do so. It was that annoying noise that sounded like static when there was silence in between words.

"Yes, ambulance number 655321, please come in."

Ruben sloppily jumped to the front seat and picked up the radio.

"There's been a 9-15"

"Huh? Please come again", when drunk, it was real hard for him to remember much of the codes.

"That means that there's been an accident, dumbass!"

 

When the police got there they found a big strong man standing on the hood of a pink car. His fists were bloody and they were steadily pounding on the window shield. The man roared like an animal, and pounded his fists on his chest every once in a while. When he saw the police car he pointed to the other vehicle right next to him. "Look at what he did to my car!" he said.

There was a man inside the pink vehicle. His face was covered with blood, but his eyes were wide open. The whiteness of his eyes burst out in the midst of the river of red. When the cop got close to the car, he tried to let him out, but the man gripped on to his seatbelt and said, "No, he'll kill me!"

Fred then jumped back down from the hood and walked close to the window. He said, "Of course I'll kill you motherfucker. You have no hands."

Huh? No hands? No way of defense? Was that what he meant?

The man smeared in blood placed his hands on the dashboard. Or rather, placed his arms. His handless arms.

"You see?" Fred remarked at the cop.

"I'm sorry sir, but what the fuck are you doing?! You can't be driving a car if you have no hands. How could you possibly have gotten a license?"

The man tried to speak but he had to spit out blood first. His voice sounded nasal for Fred had broken his nose.

"Ain don't have one"

"Nor any insurance, right motherfucker?" Fred snapped back.

There was no response.

"This son of a bitch crashes into me and when I tell him to call his insurance he says he has none. Then I realize motherfucker is drunk and starts getting nervous. He tried to get out of the car, and that was when I had to beat the shit out of him. I wasn't gonna let him get away without paying.

The cop turned back to the man in the pink car and said, "Is this true?"

A slight nod was his response.

"Alright man, are you the owner of this car?"

The man pointed backwards to another fellow just as drunk as him, passed out on the backseat. "His car", he said.

 

What a mess! the cop thought. One was worse than the other! He could clearly understand why Fred was so pissed; and yes it was going to be a lot of trouble getting these guys to pay because they had no insurance and were completely shit-faced. But then again, he couldn't let Fred go. He had seen him destroy the hood of a man's car and face. He would have to seriously fine him for his behavior, and he might even have to throw him in jail as well.

He instantly afterwards pulled out his radio. " HQ, I'm in a problem. I got a 2-1-2, an 0-5-7, and a 3-6-8. In need of assistance."

A man with alcohol poisoning, a driver with no hands bruised and beat up, and a europhic driver with violent impulses on coke. HQ called for an ambulance.

 

Fred was standing in the middle of the street. In the darkness of the night. The only light was coming from the cars, forged together by the impact. They were one massive compound of metals and motorized technology, completely wrecked and banged up.

Fred pulled out his cell phone. He figured he needed to call somebody, to let them know that it will take a while. Perhaps Fred did not know the how long the legal proceedings would take, or how much he would have to wait for the ambulance. However, Fred was not going to stand there much longer.

He flipped on his cell phone and concentrated hard on dialing. The booze was slowly fading away from his senses, but he still needed a lot of attention to operate the cell phone.

Who should I call? he wondered. His father wasn't likely to be home, he never was. And Mom? Mom must be working.

The logical choice was his loving little brother.

"Hey bro, look... there's been somewhat of an accident. This guy crashed into me, and well, it seems like if it's gonna be a bit of problem getting these guys to pay for the damage. Don't worry though, call Mom and tell her that..."

A siren, an ambulance approaching with a honking sound.

Then.

The ground.

The asphalt as cold as steel, on his face. Yet, it burned. The impact of his face on the ground made his whole body ache.

Fred tried to get back up but was unable to do so. He laid there, on the ground, parallel to the ground. His face was turning to his side, where he saw the cop's face only a few inches away from his own.

The policeman rolled over and cynically giggled. Then his laughter burst out as he stared at Fred's eyes. Incontrollable laughter, completely out of proportion.

"I tackled your ass, man. I just fucking saved your life, homie!" he said with a smile.

 

I was the one to get there the first. I had called my entire family to let them know about the accident, and to have them help me search for my brother. I had cousins driving all over town searching for him.

I have to tell you that it was a pretty interesting sight. Two differently colored pieces of junk resembling cars were smashed together against an ambulance. Sitting on the sidewalk were some awfully intriguing people. There was a cop, laughing his ass off; a man with no hands; two chicks that looked like hookers; and then a big white body, indistinguishable by the blood on his face.

I walked past them and tried to evade the "Oh hi, Fred's little brother!" coming from the hooker-looking girls. My stomach felt empty, as I approached that last person. I was nervous; I couldn't tell if it was my brother.

He swiped the blood off his face and spat out some more of it.

"We're doing alright", Fred said, "motherfucker almost killed me", and he pointed at the ambulance.

I made my way slowly to the ambulance window. Blood was dripping out from the window and blending with the red cross painted on the side of the door. I looked back, hoping to see my brother comforting me with a smile. But, I was too far away from him, and now I alone stood in the darkness. The light from inside the ambulance was blinking, at the same time that the blood was dripping. Like the ticking of a clock, it determined the tone of the conversation that I was listening to.

Fred had his arm around the man with his face covered with blood and a distorted nose. "You know, I don't really have insurance either. Anybody else would have done the same thing to me if I crashed into their car."

The man smiled.

"Or not. I do have both of my hands to protect myself."

The cop's laughter rose after this comment. It took him a while to control it, but as soon as it stopped he pulled out a cigarette pack and offered a smoke to both of them. Fred rejected it; he was chewing on the shattered antenna of his broken cell phone.

"Don't worry about it anymore, boys. Not one of you will have to pay a nickel for the damage. No one would believe me back at the station if I told them what happened. They would probably think I was drinking on duty once again."

Both, Fred and the other man looked back at the cop. Puzzled.

"We'll have to blame the ambulance guy. We'll say that you that parked your cars next to one another and got into some sort of a brawl. You broke his nose, and I called for an ambulance when I got there. Everybody else was drunk and passed-out so they don't have to testify. We'll them about the ambulance and how it wrecked both your cars; ambulance driver is pretty dead anyway. This way the Red Cross will have to pay for both your damages, and nobody will have any trouble after this."

The cop smiled and winked at them. He gave one last puff to his cigarette and threw it into the puddle of blood next to him. He slowly walked towards me and said, "This really is a fucked-up place to live in".

I peered inside the ambulance and caught a glimpse at the driver's name tag.

RUBEN, it said.


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Fede Historia, 3 August 2005