Mitch and I walk into the house
after a trip to In ‘n Out Burger –
the message light is on.

An emergency! It’s Jerry –
he & Chuck had left my house
a couple of hours before
& were involved in a car accident –
this idiot had run into them
while making an illegal left turn
across double-solid yellow lines.

Chuck is at St. Joseph’s Hospital’s
emergency ward, badly hurt,
Jerry has minor bruises –
Mitch & I rush there, expecting the worst –

Chuck is 20, has had tough luck…
as year ago, working at a hospital,
he was knocked out cold
by one of the patients,
has had appendicitis & other misfortunes.

“Just last night I said a prayer
for my friends,” exclaims Mitch,
his faith swerving with the car.

At the emergency ward
we meet Chuck’s mother & grandmother,
who update us on his condition –
he has numerous bruises,
pain in his chest & stomach,
a cut mouth that bled profusely,
but no broken bones –
an incision was made in his stomach
to check for internal bleeding,
which proved negative.
He will survive.

We visit with Chuck for a few minutes –
he’s lying on a table with wheels,
his trousers cut the full length,
a tube attached to his arm.
“I have to pee, mom,” he says
& does so with some discomfort
into a bed pan, covered by a sheet.

“Don’t worry about your jeans,”
I tell him, trying to cheer him up,
“I’ll get you a new pair
when you get out.”

The nurse tells us we must leave –
it’s Saturday night, lots of traffic.
“I know I don’t have to tell you…
drive carefully,” advices Mitch.

I get on the Ventura Freeway –
Ventura means venture.


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