Out of Nothing, Nothing

I sliced my thigh open falling into the river — there was a rock just under the surface that I hadn’t noticed and that cut me open pretty good. The water was cold and moving pretty fast and washed the blood downstream as fast as it came out. When I climbed out I’d mostly stopped bleeding, just a little trickle of blood painting itself over my pants, but so cold I could barely drag myself the mile and a half back home with my hands clamped around my thigh.

They made a big deal out of it, of course, since they liked to fuss over the small cuts and bruises anyone might get, and this was a pretty bad cut as such things go, but it seemed kind of ridiculous to me. Oh, I was weak as a baby and a little halting in my steps for a while, but there was never the idea I wouldn’t heal. Anyway, I put up with their fussing and carrying on for the most part because I loved them and it hurt them to think that there wasn’t anything to do even if there wasn’t anything to do but wait. Somedays it all got to be too much and then I’d snap at them and send them away crying. I’m not too proud of that, but that’s the way it was.

After I’d been laid up for three weeks or so and was starting to feel that I’d never be 100% again, the damn thing got septic or infected or something and puffed up like a strawberry marshmallow so we had to send for the doctor to drain the thing. I was all for doing itself but I guess I was pretty feverish at that point, so maybe it was a good thing they didn’t let me.

The doctor showed up and sterilized his knives in that little oven that they use and sliced into me. He’d shot me full of something, so I was flying pretty high by then and didn’t even feel it. “Do it,” I kept telling him, “I’m ready. Just do it.”

He made a funny kind of noise, like maybe I’d kicked him in the stomach by accident. I propped myself up to look at him and saw them rushing out of my thigh, no more than two apples tall, blue as a May sky but perfectly formed little men other than that, turning cartwheels and singing. I couldn’t tell if it was the drugs or what, but they broke one of the plates when they left, so I guess they were probably real.