I remember walking out of the club and seeing blood everywhere. The whole sidewalk was covered in it, like the set of some cheesy horror flick. I’d already stepped in it before I’d even noticed, the waffle pattern of my shoe leaving its mark in the dark pool on the cement.
Then I saw the kid standing there. He couldn’t have been a day over 14. His nose was about three times as wide as it should have been and was split right down the middle, the blood still gushing out.
He held his shirt in his hand. It had been white once, but you could hardly tell, so stained was it with blood and dirt.
He was emotionless, just standing there, staring out at nothing. His friend stood at his side, barraging him with question after question, only further excited by the disregard by which his questions were being received.
The kid glanced at us listlessly as we walked up before returning to the nothingness. It was his first time at a show his friend explained. He’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and gotten his face all busted up. He had to go to the hospital, the friend said, there was no doubt about it.
The kid pulled out a cigarette, lighting the end and sticking it in his mouth. He couldn’t go to the hospital he said. His mom would freak if she knew where he’d been. Plus he was drunk, he just couldn’t go.
The bartender came out just then. A tall, confident woman in a low-cut shirt. She wore a bandana around her head and had covered the skin of her left arm with bad tattoos. She was in training to be an EMT she told us. There was no doubt that the kid needed medical attention, but she couldn’t make him go if he didn’t want to.
The other option was to set the kids nose right there, she said, pulling a spoon out of her pocket. But it would be extremely painful, and she couldn’t promise that it’d be exactly straight.
The kid looked at her and nodded, that’s what he wanted to do. He wasn’t all there just then, being more than a little intoxicated, and I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about not stepping in and forcing the kid to the hospital. But then, I couldn’t fault the kid for wanting to stay out of trouble. I remembered being 14 and knew I’d have probably done the same thing.
She set the spoon up against the left side of his nose and pushed, the friend holding a wad of paper towels up to the nostrils to stem the flow of blood. I clenched my teeth and looked away, I’d never had the stomach for that sort of thing. After a few seconds, I heard a pop as the nose snapped back into place, looking back just as the kid began to vomit onto the bloodstained cement.
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