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Swimming was a Better Choice (ShoStoBloMo #5)

November 5, 2009

I never wanted to get on the helicopter. I wanted to stay at the hotel and go swimming, but dad said, “You can swim any time. When can you ride in a helicopter?” So I thought about it, and went along for the ride.

Big mistake.

Now I’m laying here, with a big chunk of twisted metal crushing my leg. On one of those jagged cliff things down the side of the Grand Canyon. Dad, the pilot, the other people on the copter… they appear to be with the rest of the debris somewhere on the bottom of the canyon. I’m the only one up here. Being crushed to death. By half of the helicopter I didn’t want to go on in the first place.

This whole vacation was a stupid idea, really. Some “father son time” to help us bond or something. I don’t know. I think really we were both just driving my mom and sister crazy so everyone agreed we should split up for part of the summer. Mom and Sara went to the beach. Dad and I got the Grand Canyon.


I don’t even know why dad thinks we need to bond. I feel bonded to him just fine. I ask for money, he yells at me to cut the grass. I ask for money, he yells at me to take out the trash. I ask for money, he ignores me while he types on those tiny, tiny buttons on his phone. See? Bonded. I have no problem with our relationship. It’s like all the relationships of all the guys I know and their dads. No big deal. But some guy dad works with has a kid around my age and the dad got sick or something. They think he might die. I guess everyone is freaking out about it, and, you know, they should be. Sure. But dad taking me to the Grand Canyon to get crushed by crashed helicopter doesn’t seem like the best way to conquer his fear of mortality.

The sun is really hot, by the way. Like, my eyeballs are cooking in my head hot. Also, I can’t feel my leg anymore. On the one hand, this is good, because I can’t feel my leg anymore. On the other hand, I’ve watched plenty of movies and TV shows and news programs and whatever, and when the guy can’t feel his leg anymore, everyone gets concerned and starts saying things like, “I don’t care HOW dangerous it is to lift that piece of collapsed building off of him, do it. Do it NOW!”

So there’s that.

Also, there’s a lot of smoke coming up from the bottom of the canyon and I don’t think that’s a very good sign. I mean, obviously it wasn’t good for the copter to crash down there. And it wasn’t good that my dad was on the copter when it crashed down there. But for some reason, the sight of the smoke is really starting to freak me out. I mean, what if they’re unconscious and still strapped in their seats? Not a lot of breathing is going to be happening in big black smoke like this.

Besides the smoke, there’s not a lot to see from where I’m at. I’m totally flat on my back, staring directly into the sun. I can turn my head to the side and see the edge of the overhang I’m on, and the smoke. I can turn my head to the other side and see the rocky wall. That’s about it. Oh, and the GIGANTIC SCORCHED METAL CHUNK OF A HELICOPTER that is crushing the life out of my leg. I can see that when I look straight ahead.

I have to imagine people will be coming to help us at some point. The smoke has to be visible for miles, and it’s the middle of a perfectly sunny, blue sky kind of day. Plus, whenever you see a helicopter in the sky, don’t you always watch it, waiting for it to crash? Please tell me that’s not something only I do. Helicopters just look kind of crashy. They do. And now I know why. BECAUSE THEY CRASH. Someone had to have seen this happen.

My elbow is starting to hurt now, and I’m not sure if that’s because it’s actually hurt, or because of the angle I’m bending it. I’m trying to prop myself up to see better over the ledge, but I don’t think my elbow’s gonna hold up. Now that my adrenalin is wearing off, I’m started to feel kind of achy everywhere and tired. That seems like a bad sign. It’s another thing you hear on TV, right? “Hey kid! Don’t fall asleep! Stay with us! We’re going to get you out of here!” Only no one is saying that to me right now, and my eyes are closing. A little nap would be a just reward, I think, for having a crushed leg.

I hear something buzz. Like a phone on vibrate.

It is not my phone, though.

“Oh, come on, son, you don’t need your phone. Look, I’ll leave mine here, too.” Figures that the only time in the past forever that Dad and I leave our phones anywhere would be the day we’d end up scattered across the Grand Canyon like McDonald’s wrappers.

So what’s the buzzing? I try again to prop myself up, but my elbow is not going to cooperate. Whatever the buzzing is, it’s getting louder. I imagine a rattlesnake biting the crap out of my numb leg. I would never know. I imagine a rattlesnake and a scorpion. And a bunch of bees. All going to town on my leg. Probably, I should stop thinking about things like that.

But the buzzing is getting louder. It’s like there’s a fly in both my ears. Maybe the jolt of the crash has electrified my braces. Maybe it’s activated a microchip in my brain that has been hidden until now. Maybe it’s a sign of blood loss or dehydration. Maybe I am going crazy.

Then I see a blinking light on the twisted metal. The light is what’s buzzing. It has to be. But what is it? I crane my neck and squint my rapidly blurring eyes. Is it the radio? Is it the console of the copter on my leg? I think I can make out some numbers next to the blinking light. A clock? A countdown? Digital radio dial?

My eyes are really blurry now. I just want to take a nap. Surely someone will come figure out why this blinking light is buzzing. Surely. They have to be coming soon. Rescuers. Searchers. Campers. Someone. I rock my head back and forth to try to stay awake and suddenly the buzzing stops.

It wasn’t the blinking light. It was my mp3 player. Somehow, through all of this, my ear buds stayed in my ears. (That is why I spent the big bucks on those suckers.) I guess when you smash an mp3 player into a canyon cliff using your ass and some help from half a helicopter, it makes a buzzing noise. Noted.

Now, though, I wonder what that blinking light is. If it’s not buzzing, I’m less inclined to think it’s a radio. I’m more inclined to go back to my movies/TV/news worldview and wonder if it’s some kind of charge. How lame would that be? To be blown up again, after already having been blown up?


But this has been one of those kind of days. A getting blown up twice kind of day. It sucks. And now I can’t even listen to my music.

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