I met Alana in about the strangest way one can meet a woman, during a rape—hers. Two men were standing over a prostrate form in an alley behind the Mulberry Bar and Grill. Oh, my name is Blake Ritter. I was coming out the back taking the short cut to my car. I didn't want to have to walk all the way around the block if I didn't have to. One of the two men had a knife; I found that interesting.
That night, I was still an airborne ranger on weekend leave and in uniform. I had left a couple of my buddies inside; they wanted to close the place, but I was exhausted from the long drive up from Fort Benning, GA. where we'd just completed our indoctrination training. We, all of us, were now true believers in our own invincibility.
"Gentlemen, I believe the lady is tired and would prefer to be left alone," I said, addressing the nasties with more confidence than anyone had a right to feel being outnumbered and facing an armed enemy while not being so armed himself.
"Fuck off, soldier boy, or we're gonna be real inhospitable," said the one with the knife. He actually still had his dick hanging out. His contempt for me and my uniform pissed me off.
I moved toward the one who was unarmed. I wanted him on my left and slightly behind me. I had a plan. If it worked, the girl and I would both get out of this alive. If not we'd have something to laugh about in the next life.
The big one with the knife came at me. God was I glad that I'd excelled in bayonet training! I caused him to misdirect his thrust into the belly of his confederate. Who sank like the stock market. The bladist, momentarily shocked by his miscalculation, pulled his weapon free and slashed high, That's where I made my mistake. I tried to duck under it and he laid my right eye open wide.
"Shit! Shit it hurt!
He pulled back and came at me again. I tried to dodge his thrust, but it was hard because of the searing pain to my eye and because the blood, which was everywhere, all but blinded me. I was able to partially avoid his thrust, but it still pierced my chest maybe two inches deep just to the right of my heart. He snarled, no doubt unconcerned that I did not appear concerned which of course was in error because I was concerned as hell!
He reached out and tried to grab me by my tunic, but I caught his arm, and acting on pure adrenalin rush, broke it at the elbow. His scream energized me for the briefest of moments. I disarmed him and jammed his own blade under his rib cage and twisted it; I knew he was dead. Now if only I could survive.
I saw the girl move slightly just as I sagged to the asphalt. Well, at least I'd won my last battle. Funny, I didn't feel anything. I would learn later that shock was to thank for that little reality.
I think I heard the sirens; then, all was dark. I liked the dark. I needed the dark. I just needed to be left the fuck alone, and I was.
The room was quiet and empty except for the monitors. They were the first evidence that I had survived. I didn't really move very much, but my eye, my remaining good eye, took in the room. I'd seen rooms like this before; it was an ICU. One of the monitors must have alerted somebody; I had company almost immediately, a nurse. She hit a button, and somebody with a mobile tray came in. He was soon followed by a doctor. For the next twenty minutes I was examined and reexamined. The pronounced me alive; how fucking observant of them.
I was awakened by the morning shift coming into check my vitals. They were followed by the breakfast people. Them, by the porta-potty person who cleaned me up; that was kinda fun—she was female. Finally, the cops showed up.
"You Blake Carson?" said the short stubby one.
"That's the rumor," I replied. "But, I don't have any evidence of it to show you at the moment."
"You're a hero, Mr. Carson," said the short guy.
"Yeah? Well, that's good, right," I said.
"That's good," said tall policeman.
"Did the girl survive?" I asked.
"Yes, as a matter of fact she's here too, but in a different ward. She was pretty badly beat up: some broken stuff. She asked about you. Said you took down those two pretty good. She asked to see you at some point. Wants to thank you, I guess," said stubby policeman.
"Yeah, well, tell her it's not necessary. I'm not much for sentimental stuff," I said.
"Okay, but she owes you more than you know. Those two guys you took down were both convicted rapists and one of them was a murderer. They'd have killed her for sure. They're, were, suspects in twelve killings of prostitutes during the last twenty-four months. The D.A. owes you a vote of thanks too for saving him the time and money of not having to prosecute the assholes."
"They're dead then?" I said.
"Yeah," said the tall policeman, "both of them are very deceased."
"Good. Couldn't have happened to a couple of more deserving assholes," I said.
The doctors were concerned about the wound to my chest. I'd lost my eye of course. Initially, there'd been some hope that they could save it, but that came to nothing. It was the one time in my life that I could have wished to have been known as Jack. One-eye'd Jack would have been neat; maybe I could change my name.
It was about the fifth day when I had a visitor. It was a woman, twentyish, tall, slender, nice ass; she wore a smock. "Hi," she said.
"Hi, can I get some more water?" I said. "I'm kinda dry?"
"Oh, sure," she said. "But, I'm not a nurse. I'm Alana Nelson," she said.
"Oh, sorry, I thought you were a nurse. The smock," I said. She had taken my plastic cup and was refilling it from the tap. She brought it to me.
"I'm the woman whose life you saved," she said. "I had to see you to thank you. The doctor said I could have a few minutes. I'm leaving today; I've been upstairs till now."
I looked at her. I didn't remember her. But then she'd been naked and messed up, and I'd been busy the last time we were in proximity to each other. "Oh, okay. Well, you're welcome. It's nothing that any white knight in hero's armour wouldn't have done," I said, making light of the situation.
"You saved my life, mister. I won't forget it." I was thinking that a date with her would have been reward enough, but I squelched the thought. She was a rape victim.
"Really, think nothing of it. I was there and I was lucky," I said.
"I was the one that was lucky," she said. "I owe you a dinner at the very least," she said. "Please, when they let you go home, I'd like to drop by and speak with you. You know maybe take you to lunch or dinner or whatever.'
"Sure," I said. "I'd like that." Looked like I was gonna get my date after all.
Several of my brothers in arms visited with me over the time I was laid up. They'd made a big deal out of us being rangers and invincible and helping damsels in distress. I even got a visit from Colonel Johnson. Except for the eye thing, initially, I felt pretty good. The bad news was that my injuries got me my pink slip from the military; I was down about that. I'd loved being a ranger. Plus, all of that training down the shitter! Damn.
I was released two weeks later. Alana must have had someone on the inside cluing her because she was in the lobby waiting for me when I came down.
"Hi there, soldier," she said.
"Hi to you too," I said. "Nice to see you."
"I was thinking. I mean if you don't have any big plans for the day, that maybe you'd like to join me; I mean for the whole day. You know: Lunch, dinner, talk, wine, whatever or all of it," she said.
This was working out better than I'd hoped. "No, I have no plans at all. They were gonna call me a cab..."
"Then it's settled. I'm the driver, and you're my poor, poor man," she said, taking the helm of the wheelchair and steering me outside where she had already parked the car.
I was able to walk, I informed her, "It's just that the hospital staff insisted that I ride until I was outside and officially out of their hands." She nodded and kept on steering and pushing. I was thrilled to be her "poor, poor man."
Finally out of the wheelchair, we walked, albeit me a trifle weakly, to her car. It felt good to feel the sun on my face, and feeling it with a pretty woman to share it made it special.
"Where are we headed now?" I asked.
"My house. It's not far. I need to..." She smiled. She didn't finish what she started to say, and I didn't push it.
Parking in front of a one story ranch style, she motioned for me to get down. She came around to my side, took my hand and led me inside.
The house was sparsely but tastefully furnished. Oddly, there was no couch or real chairs in the front room, only three wooden benches. I made the guess that the wood was rattan, famous in the Philippines. There were some small tables spaced around with flowers—real ones—in vases placed on them. It was the strangest room I had ever seen in a private home. This was one interesting lady.
She evidently noticed my interest. "I don't do things like other people," she said. "I'm my own person. Something of a wannabe artist, actually," and she giggled.
"No, no," I said. "It looks—nice. Unusual, like you say, but nice. It's almost like—an indoor garden."
"You're very perceptive," she said. "That is exactly what it is supposed to portray. You made points with that one, young man," she said, having fun mocking me.
"Can I ask you something?" she said.
"Sure, no problem," I said.
"Does the eye patch bother you?" I must've looked like a pirate with the black eye patch.
.... There is more of this story ...