My leg has been giving me problems my whole life. It is my right leg. If you were facing me, it would be the left one you see, if we were facing each other. I have had stitches, and I have had a 3rd degree burn, (proudly not going to the doctors, healing it with homemade concoctions) and I have severely stabbed myself. All superficial. The ankle break. That’s one of the reasons why I can’t walk now. And it happened like this.
Blackout Books. The anarchist infoshop in 1999 was located on Avenue B, right next to the Krishnas. It was a late night, and we were all just occupying the space, as we frequently did, as the bookstore/ info shop was more of a meeting place than a business.. A very classy man had pulled out some very fancy vodka. Vodka which did not cause fire in the mouth and throat. Nope, this was fine medicine, and went down smoothly. I was pretty tolerant to the vodka drinking, actually vodka was my favorite. Okra and I made it a point to get a bit whenever we could, and here was some higher class vodka, a couple steps up from anything I can remember experiencing. And I kept going to the bottle that night for little nips. A lot of little nips.
It was late. Being that at Blackout the sense of ‘shifts’ after hours was lax, and the shop was kept open for hours after the suggested closing time, where whoever had the key was in charge of calling it a night, we were all sitting around on the very few chairs, and goofing off, reading a cool anarchist periodical, or using the computer, which what Okra was probably doing.
The topic came up on self defense. I felt like a know-it-all, and showed my fellow co-compadre, Rob J, how I could flip him over my back, if he were to try to choke me. Flipped over on the floor, he landed on my foot somehow -it wound up being underneath him, and giggly and vodka stupid he threw me across sideways on the floor. My foot was tight under him, and my ankle gave with only what can be described as an internal sound, and the sudden knowledge of ‘ OH NO!!!”..and while staving him off cause he still was trying to wrestle me, I immediately tried to get my boot off. Rob calmed down, and then there was the horror of looking at my ankle swelling up real fast. And even through a vodka haze, the pain was huge.
We were housesitting at Famous, Felix and Arrow’s house at 7th street, and it wasn’t far to get to. But I remember the classy gentleman closing Blackout for the night, cause after my ankle was fucked, the party was over, and he locked the rollgate, and handed me what was left of the bottle, in a ‘youre gonna need it’ kinda way. Rob had taken off real fast, on his fancy old blue bike, beating a hasty retreat.
I am sure the walk back was both ridiculous, cause of freely pouring vodka, and painful, but probably it was real damaging to the ankle, walking and limping on it, cause the next day it was worse than I remembered it. Black and blue and ballooned and not working..
Okra suggested strongly that I go see Dr. David Ores, the closest doctor, and well, the awesomest. His office was on a corner storefront on Clinton street, it was painted all camo with a big red cross above the door. If there was ever a doc I should see, this would be that guy.
I remember him being brusque and very to the point. He did not want me to fuck around, and I needed to get an xray. He warned me that it could be a spiral fracture, and that would, if I didn’t set it right, result in gangrene and amputation. So he scared me with his words, and it was Sunday so the place to go was Brighton Beach to a Jew xray. And this was a far trek.
Dr. Ores put a (very) heavy cast on my ankle. I think we got some crutches on loan. And because we needed to take two subways there and two back, and even getting to the subway on Delancey was many many blocks, and I now begged Okra to hijack some homeless persons cart, or at least one that wasn’t guarded. After walking slowly down some blocks, and Okra running around the area looking, the shopping cart was found, behind a building and in an abandoned lot, and I happily climbed in like a big baby, or a princess, your choice. And then of course the bumping around in there was almost worse than walking on the ankle.
I made it to get the X-ray, and brought it back to Dr. Ores, who said it WASN’T a spiral fracture, but I was lucky, on account of how it happened. The whole experience was a lot of work, lesson learned in combining hard alcohol and fake self defense training.
After walking back, hobbling on those crutches and then back up to Arrow’s I remembered them coming home that night. I heard them pull up, and with dread, made myself presentable, cause I had been napping, and gave them back their keys. Then I hobbled down to ave B, made a left and walked a few blocks to Blackout. Okra had secured a rooftop for us in Aresh’s building, and there we went. A 5 story walk up, or in my case, crawl up, I did my best, and felt way better when I was reclining with my ankle up, and a rolly in my fingers and the city lights allowing me to see the face of the guy who I was laughing with. Relief. Til tomorrow, or when I had to pee.
The unfortunate part was that the crawl up to the roof jammed the heavy cast in a shock like way with every step i crawled over, and I realized that I could not bear it anymore. Feeling particularly ambitious with my leatherman in hand, I sawed the cast off, right there in the tent that we had set up on the rooftop, and replaced it with an ace bandage and my boots. Tied up tight, it seemed to do the job, although my ankle was now a cankle and i’ll be damned if I was going to wallow in misery and boredom on that roof in a tent while the whole city was going on. I didn’t want to be helpless. I was very proactive in my own right. I still am, and hope to always be.