One time me and a bunch of kids were hanging out. We were in this garage and there was a loft. We were jumping off the loft and onto this pile of three or four mattresses.
When it was my turn, I leapt out off the loft and into space. My face smacked hard into a joist and my feet swung up and I fell hard down and landed in a bathtub.
I was some busted up.
One time I was a little kid and I watched my dad climb this aluminum ladder up two stories to the top of the garage at the farm. It had a concrete floor and it was very big, stuffed full of tractors and old farm equipment. I remember he was at the top of the ladder and the ladder just tipped over backwards and he held on to it all the way down to the concrete floor. He landed on his back and his head smacked on the concrete like a melon, conking open.
One time I was standing in a field. There was a dead girl spread eagled in the grass below me. Her car was up in a tree. There was Billy Idol cassette tapes in the grass. I picked up a lip gloss and put it in my pocket.
A hundred yards away I found the driver’s side door.
One time I held onto this girl’s head. She was shaking, there was blood pouring out of her broken knees. Her baby brother was jammed up under the seat. Her father was through the windshield.
I was trying to get her to look at me.
Watch me, I kept saying.
Just look at me.
One time I was standing in the bedroom of someone’s house I used to visit. Now someone else lived there. The teenaged son had shot himself in the mouth and he was choking on his blood and dying on the carpet. Beige carpet. He ruined it.
He had black hair. He was wearing a Motley Crue tee shirt.
It took him an hour to die and I got there late.
One time a man got out of a car I stopped. He tried to hit me. He dragged me down and I smashed his head into the side of the car. His wife was screaming. I beat him and beat him.
She never did shut up.
I remember pacing in the hallways of hospitals. Waiting for someone to die or waiting for someone to wake up or waiting to find out which one they would do.
One time I stopped this truck in the middle of the night. There was a stolen stove in the back of the truck. I pulled the man out and searched the truck. I found a duffle bag with duct tape and didos and night vision goggles and handcuffs and four sharp bowie knives and rope and chains and infrared cylume sticks and rubber gloves and a dozen scalpels still in the packaging and a billy club and a jar of pills.
He was on parole for murder. He was driving to the town where I live.
I have heard a million stories worse than anything I can even imagine.
All of them, every one, true.
Do you remember what Tommie Lee Jones said about that crazy murderer in “No Country For Old Men?”
“He’s got some hard bark on him.”