When a guy opens his eyes, he generally expects to see something. Maybe not blinding sunlight or Myrna Loy or anything, maybe just a dim glow, but something. I didn’t think he’d hit me that hard.
It was a bit of a shock to realize I was blind.
It was somewhat less of a shock to realize instead that I was laying face down in the gutter under the ’72 Impala I’d rented downtown. It’s not much better from the vision standpoint, but I felt it an improvement nevertheless.
As I crawled out of the gutter I didn’t notice much advancement in the luminance department. My watch explained that this lack of the necessities for sight was normal for 4:17 a.m. Thank God for Indiglo.
After I’d sat on the curb for ten minutes holding the pieces of my head together it occurred to me that someone who has just been beaten with a bludgeon as large as what I had should be taking more of an interest in his surroundings.
Once again, there was little improvement. There were some dark houses on a dark street on a dark hill. Yeah, yeah, on a dark night in a dark life. Headaches make me cynical.
In one last round of bad news/good news, it came to me that I still had wheels. At least I wasn’t facing a 12-mile walk to La Jolla tonight. The pieces of my head seemed pleased.
The car door was open, just like I’d left it when I got out and lay down for a three-hour nap. Whoever sapped me down hadn’t even taken the keys from the pocket of my cheap overcoat. They didn’t have to; this was one ’72 Impala that wasn’t going anywhere tonight. Someone was either very angry or frighteningly strong to rip out that much wiring that way. I hoped the rental agency would be able to find the car again. I didn’t think it likely they were going to find me.
A careful check of my assets revealed a wallet with no cash, no pictures, and no character, a pack of Beeman’s gum, a religious tract, and half a bottle of drinkable water. Where else but California? No, I don’t carry a gun. The noise scares me, and besides, they don’t seem to be very effective against guys who hit you from behind with John Deere tractors.
Gathering my enormous wealth about me, I sat down again to devise a plan. The side of the Chevy was cool against the throbbing heat of my brain pan. After another ten minutes my giant intellect came to the conclusion that people with no money, no credit cards, and no friends shouldn’t let their car get assaulted by thugs. At least not if they have anywhere to go.
I dragged myself up by the door handle, and staggered down the dark hill.
Twelve miles. With a broken head and an empty stomach.
Piece o’ cake.