Talk about your freak accidents, this was definitely the freakiest accident of all time, definitely top ten, at least. Greg had just been fired at work, although if you ask him, he’ll tell you that he was just let go, which you might think, there’s not really much of a difference. But there is a difference. Getting let go is like, Greg, sit down, I’m really sorry, the economy, you know these numbers, we’re going to have to let you go, best of luck to you. Whereas this was more of a, I told you to stop coming in late, and do you know what time it is? It’s late. It’s too late. Greg, you’re fired.
“Don’t worry Ronda,” Greg tried to console his wife, “We’ve been through worse.” Which, was he ready to back that up with some facts? Had they really been through worse than this? Because this was pretty bad. Ronda had been out of work for a while now, well past the point where the unemployment wasn’t an option anymore. And what marketable skills did Greg have to offer to a new company? And how would he get past that why-did-you-leave-your-old-job question on any future interviews?
And even though Ronda tried not to cry, it was obvious that she was letting the despair of their present situation get to her emotionally, the idea of things getting any worse, well, she tried not to get too hung up on Greg’s words, the having had it worse before, she couldn’t untangle the idea of past or future worse, it was all pretty worse, right now.
But it was about to get much worse. Moving day, they barely had enough money to afford the one-bedroom studio they were about to downsize into, so paying for movers was out of the question. And then, yeah, they hoped at least one or two of their friends might have been available to help with some of the heavier lifting, but you know how Saturdays are.
And the whole making a Facebook event out of the move, “Come and help Greg and Ronda move this Saturday!” even though Greg told Ronda that it was a bad idea, “Ronda, seriously, nobody’s going to want to help us move. And if you invite all of your friends, one, it’s going to look totally pathetic, and two, everybody else is going to see everyone else not coming, and so nobody’s going to even feel bad enough to give us some pity help.”
Which wound up being absolutely the case, the whole event attracted three “maybes” and fifty-seven non-responses. So there they were, each of them carrying way more than they’d each carried in the recent past, the dresser that they’d bought at IKEA, Ronda had suggested that they disassemble the piece, transfer everything to the one-bedroom and then put the whole thing back together again. But on this point too, Greg insisted that they didn’t have the time, even though that’s all they had, free time, you know, seeing as how they were both unemployed and everything.
“This thing’ll definitely fit through the stairway, watch,” and it did, so Greg was technically correct. But there wasn’t much time for a victory dance, because just as they shimmied the last corner past that last awkward front-door angle, and again, I know that this is almost unbelievably unlikely, but it was right at the same time that a truck, a moving truck of all things, the driver had lost control of the vehicle like two blocks away.
It must have been the brakes, because the two guys sitting in the front bench kept screaming, “The brakes! Hit the brakes!” the driver wanted to scream back, “I’m trying, I’m trying!” but he didn’t have time to, because he was hitting the brakes, they weren’t responding, and it was all he could do to maneuver the out of control truck from hitting any other cars, or pedestrians, or parking meters or fire hydrants.
And yeah, he was mostly successful, for two blocks anyway, which, considering the sheer amount of obstacles, the lack of any clear path to safety, two blocks was indeed an accomplishment. But unfortunately for Greg and Ronda, the driver lost total control right in front of their old apartment building. The truck spun around, slammed back-first into a utility pole, and as it crashed to a stop, an almost identical looking dresser flew out of the back, landing right on top of the furniture they were just barely holding up off the ground.
It slammed down hard, right on their hands, all four of them. The damage was so severe that the doctors had no choice but to amputate, right at the wrists. They were in the hospital for a week, and being uninsured, judging by all of the hospital workers, not nurses mind you, but guys in suits, people asking about, “Do you have insurance?” and, “Is there any way that you’re going to be able to pay for any of these hospital bills?” it was obvious that they were getting rushed through the system, like lets get these beds available for some paying customers here.
Meanwhile, the owner of the old building had new tenants moving in. He took it as a personal loss, paying some new movers to haul everything out. And where? It didn’t matter, just get it out, I need this space clear by Monday. When Greg and Ronda were discharged from the hospital, they didn’t have anything besides a bunch of rudimentary prosthetics that, even if their cell phones weren’t dead from a week’s worth of not having been charged, they wouldn’t have known how to use them, or who to call to figure out where all of their stuff was, or where they should go.
And Ronda just lost it, she just started bawling, and Greg just kind of nuzzled his chest up to her face, a really sincere but nonetheless pathetic attempt to sop of some of the tears, the snot streaming out of her nose, “Don’t worry Ronda, we’ll be OK, we’ve been through worse than this.”
“What are you talking about? Why do you keep saying that?” Ronda managed to choke out through her long drawn out sobs. “What have we ever been through that’s worse than this moment? Because I can’t think of anything. I don’t know what kind of suffering you’ve been through before, but this is definitely the worst that it’s even been for me.”
And Greg just kind of looked down, his shirt was covered in snot, and he felt it starting to well up inside him too, the sadness, more snot. Yeah, this was pretty worst.