Tag Archives: Rescue

Courage at Twilight: The Gaping Jaws of Hell (or That Damned Window Well): Act 3

I had served Mom and Dad their plates of chicken strips sauteed with red bell pepper and onion, and their bowls of refried and black beans, cumin-taco seasoned, with cucumber slices and crenshaw cubes on the side, and was preparing my own dinner plate, when Mom shrieked, “Roger!  Terry just fell into the window well!  One moment he was standing there, and the next he was gone!”  Spurred by the memory of Window Well Horrors Act 1 and Act 2, I spurred out the back door in my red socks, wrapped in my baking apron, to where Terry’s head poked up from the window well, blood streaming into his eye and down his face from a head gash.  Hooking an arm under his, I heaved while he stepped up the ladder (thank goodness there was a ladder), his legs trembling, his face ash gray, and sat him in a chair, triaging: How do you feel? (fine) Where do you hurt? (my chest) Are you dizzy? (no) Can you walk? (I think so).  With him stable, I barged into his house to blurt the situation to his wife, grab wet towels, and shove ice cubes into a grocery bag.  First on his head went the wet towel, second the bag of ice.  Then I begged his patience as I wiped blood from his eye, nose, mouth, cheeks, chin, and neck, and removed his blood smeared glasses.  “How are you feeling now?” I asked for the second of a dozen times.  “Stupid!” he spat.  Like with Gabe and Dad, a perfectly placed step on the window well cover had cause Terry’s to flip from its seat and drop him into the deep hole, gashing his scalp as he fell.  And the blood had flowed.  Off Pat rushed him to the hospital, emerging four hours later with stitches and a bandage and Percocet for the pain of his upper body being suddenly spread and stretched by his arms hitting the well on the way down.  But no broken bones or torn muscles or ligaments.  “How are you feeling now?” I asked at midnight.  “Sore,” he signed.  “And stupid!”  A loaf of chocolate chip banana bread the day after, and fresh corn on the cob from Dad the next, and we had become “the best neighbors ever.”  Neighborliness aside, had Mom not glanced out her window at precisely the moment Terry fell into the well, no one would have known, perhaps for a long time, and the list of possible horribles is too long.  But Mom did look out her window at that precise moment, and Mom did see him fall, and Mom did send me bolting with a scream, and I was there when I was needed.  And Terry (82) is alright, asleep, Percocet prone in his recliner.  He is safe.  In one short year, window wells at our two houses have gobbled up three people.  If we were a statistical cohort, the country would be in a serious window well epidemic.  At some point in the late night, I realized I had been privileged to enact the rescue in all three scenes, and with my presence being the common denominator, I hereby decree that, from henceforth, stepping by any person on a window well cover of any type, shape, or material, for any reason, is hereinafter strictly prohibited.