I could see the sun nearing the horizon in my rear view mirror as we sped up Highway 395 toward Ridgecrest. I turned to my friend Jon in the passenger seat. He had a crumpled-up paper towel held to his face, which now had visible bloodstains on it. His jersey also showed drops of blood from the open gash in his chin.
“Do you want another paper towel?” I asked him.
“No, that’s okay,” Jon casually responded. “I want them to see the blood. That way they’ll get me in faster.”
“They,” of course, was Ridgecrest Emergency. It was kind of twisted logic, but I saw his point. After all, it was a minor injury, and we had already discussed the possibility of waiting for hours on end in the emergency room (we’ve all had that happen before).
After the accident, my brother Mark and I did a rock-paper-scissors match to see who would take Jon to the emergency room. Needless to say, he won. The second I lost, actually, Mark didn’t hesitate to add insult to injury.
“There’s an Arby’s right by the hospital on that main road in Ridgecrest,” he began explaining before I even realized I lost the ro-sham-bo. “Bring me back four... no, five roast beef sandwiches and get lots of extra packets of barbecue sauce. Yeah! And a large Dr. Pepper.”
With very little regard for Jon’s welfare, the rest of our riding buddies promptly chimed in with their Arby’s order. And this, of course, would fall entirely on my shoulders since Jon would be heavily sedated at this point.
We were pleasantly surprised by the empty waiting room as we walked into Ridgecrest Emergency. In fact, nearly the entire facility was empty, so Jon was taken straight in. To further speed the process along, I accompanied him and filled out his paperwork while the nurses began cleaning him up.
I worked my way through the pages of paperwork, stopping occasionally to “eeeeooow!” as the doctor pulled sticks and gravel from Jon’s open wounds. The last paper to fill out was an insurance claim, and a quarter-page-sized box at the bottom read: Please describe IN DETAIL how the incident occurred. Capitalized and bolded, just like that.