Everywhere I’ve ever been has tried to eat me alive. How is this place any different? A warm home, working the rails, and now prison. These places are the same to me. They are trying to kill me, these places, these people.
I’m not paranoid. Not capable. It’s just a simple truth, and it’s because of the tamping rod that went through my head on the job.
I never gave that thing a nickname, but I did have my picture taken with it. A couple of times.
But I’m not inclined in anyway whatsoever to go over was is and what was not. What I can tell you is that the dent in the top of my head, where the tamping iron exited when I was setting the powder that day on the cut through.
I was a foreman. Foremen were required to do this. I was admired in this position. That much I remember. Then something went wrong.
To me it was nothing extraordinary, but the doctor who first examined me thought differently. He said the following in his initial report:
“I first noticed the wound upon the head before I alighted from my carriage, the pulsations of the brain being very distinct…Mr. G. got up and vomited; the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain, which fell upon the floor.”
This was Dr. Williams. They took the case over from him soon after that, and it may have been because he was too caught up in the idea of my brain shooting out of my head than he was in helping. Who knows? Who cares?
I killed a man working the sideshows with me. He stole and he smelled bad and just generally bothered most everybody. I thought my fellow workers would understand. But, when they didn’t, I was fine with their crying and calling the authorities.
If you’re wondering, I killed him with the tamping iron. I kept it, until prison, by my side at all times when I could.
It just so happened I had my tamping iron near by bedside on the night this fellow worker, a pinched face man named Claude, tried to rob me in my trailer. I hit him in the chest, and when I saw it wasn’t enough, held him to the floor with my bare foot and shoved the iron through his neck.
I’m Hades bound down, they say, and they can say it all they want. But not a single person in this hellish place is going to send me there. You don’t take a tamping iron through the eye socket and on up through the top of your head to be taken down in such a simple fashion. No matter how much everyone in here wants me dead, everyone everywhere.
Maybe I could sneeze hard or cough and get that pulsing going again and simply get out of this world, this anticipation.
Maybe I shouldn’t be scared of a spoon rubbed down to a point or a toothbrush. I’ve seen worse.