Chapter 1: Accidents Will Happen
Copyright© 2010 by Coaster2
Sex Story: Chapter 1: Accidents Will Happen - Lee North suffers a fifty year setback after an accident. Fifty years into his past, he's having to start his life over again. It wasn't going to turn out the way it did the first time.
I maintain that the eye and the brain can absorb an enormous amount of information in a millisecond. I believe this from my own experience. For instance, the front of a dark green 50's era Ford flatbed with stake body sides as it hurtles toward my passenger side door is one of those indelible memories. The yellow grille bars were nicely painted I recall. Unfortunately, it was the last thing I would recall for some time.
I thought it was odd that an almost sixty-year-old truck would pick that particular moment to run through that particular stop sign and slam into me. It seemed so incongruous. Why would anyone put that much effort into restoring a relic and then drive like an idiot? It didn't compute.
When I woke up, I knew immediately I was in a hospital. Not a very modern one by the look of the walls and ceiling. The bed looked like an old-fashioned type as well. I didn't have a clue which of the five or six regional hospitals I might be in, but one thing was certain, this wasn't one of the newest. That, plus the fact that it smelled of disinfectant.
I had a couple of very uncomfortable tubes in my arm. One was an IV drip I guessed, but the other was out of my line of sight. I relaxed as best I could and tried to take stock of my injuries. Ribs, for sure. I remember the cracked ribs I had from playing football, and I was sure that was probably mild compared to what had happened to me this time. Head? Yeah, mostly neck though, maybe whiplash? I had a cut on my forehead by the feel of the bandage on it. The rest of me was just sore. Sore as hell.
I was pretty groggy, wondering if anyone had called my wife, or the kids. Kids? They were in their forties. I searched for a call button, but there was none to be found. The hell with it. I just closed my eyes and drifted off into dreamland. Weird dreams they were, too. How did my parents get into them? My brother was there as well. I hadn't seen him in years. The hell with it.
The next time I came to, there was a nurse in my room. She was fussing with something, but I was too out of it to figure anything out. Whatever they were giving me for pain was working like a charm. Of course, trying to remember what happened took a monumental effort. I decided to start with the basics.
Name? Lee North. Age? Sixty-eight. Home? West Vancouver, B.C. Occupation? Retired factory manager. Married? Yes, to Belle. Her age? Sixty-six. Children? Mark, age forty-six. Occupation? Civil Engineer. Second son Philip, age forty-three, CAD designer for an engineering firm. Grandchildren? Four: James, Randal, Joshua, and Matt. First three are my oldest son's. Matt is Phil's only son. Daughters-in-law? Two, Ginny with Mark, and Carol with Phil. Not bad. I got them all.
Okay, so the brain is still working ... not very fast, but ... still operating.
"Nurse, where am I," I croaked in a voice I didn't recognize.
"You're in the east wing of the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. How are you feeling?"
"Punchy. I don't know what I'm on, but whatever it is I'm feeling no pain ... literally or figuratively."
"I'm sure the doctor will be along in few minutes to check in on you. Is there anything I can get you?"
"I need to pee."
She turned to and simply said, "Go ahead." She grinned then, explaining, "There's a catheter installed. It'll hurt a bit, but just relax and let it happen."
"Thanks ... I think."
I relaxed and closed my eyes as I willed myself to do something I had spent the better part of sixty-eight years trying to avoid. I just let go. She was right. It wasn't pleasant, but like the saying goes, it feels so good when you quit. Plus, my bladder was saying thank you.
I began to notice some things I hadn't at first. My hands, for example. They were smooth, and the lump of cartilage covering a bone spur on the back of my left wrist was missing. So were the liver spots that had come with advancing age. Surely the accident hadn't caused them to disappear? My nails were bitten almost down to the quick. I hadn't done that since I was a kid ... a teenager. What the hell was going on?
I carefully felt my head to determine what other injuries I might have. Aside from the cut on my forehead, I couldn't detect anything, but one side, at the temple, felt like it was badly bruised. I didn't want to touch it any more than necessary. As I ran my hand over my head, I realized I had hair on top. I hadn't had any hair there since before I was fifty. Now I was really confused. I wondered if I was hallucinating. My father had suffered from that when he had his heart surgery. The Meperidine made him imagine all kinds of things that weren't real.
I slumped back and tried to relax again. I was sure the doctor would have some answers for me. As I lay there, I noticed an angry scar on the inside of my right wrist. When I looked at it, I knew what it was. I had fallen skiing at high speed, and my ski pole had snapped off and gone airborne, landing in my wrist like a well-thrown spear. I was seventeen years old when that happened. Suddenly, the scar from the surgery to repair the tendon looked fresh. What the fuck was going on?
I tried to calm myself. Was this some hallucination caused by the pain killers, or was something else happening? I'd been hit on the head, at least once. Had that rattled my brain pan? This hospital had me confused. The more I looked at my surroundings, what I could see of them at least, the more I wondered just how modern this place was. Something was horribly wrong, but ... what?
I tried to relax and not think about the weird situation that I was in. My thinking was muddled and confused, obviously. This wasn't a rational set of circumstances confronting me. I tried to concentrate, but it was futile. I closed my eyes and drifted off once again.
I'm not sure when the doctor finally got around to visiting me. There was daylight outside, so I assumed I hadn't been out very long.
"Master North," he said in a deep, resonating voice, "I'm Doctor Wooley. How are you feeling?"
"Goofy. Whatever you're giving me for pain is really messing with my mind."
"Morphine will do that sometimes. I'll cut the dosage back a bit. Let the nurse know if the pain is too much."
"You were in a traffic accident, I understand. You were very lucky. The other driver didn't survive. You've been here since yesterday afternoon. I suppose you were driving home from school," he said, looking at his notes.
"School? What school?"
"I'm assuming you are a student at Sentinel Canyon High School. Yesterday was the last day of the year. Not a good way to start your summer vacation."
"Are you out of your mind? I'm a retired salesman. I haven't been in high school since 1959. If this is your idea of a joke, it isn't very funny."
He pulled out a penlight and examined my eyes, shining a beam into them. Great! Now I had spots before my eyes to go with my other problems.
"I'm guessing your head has taken quite a hit. A concussion probably. That might cause you to be disoriented. Why don't you try to rest? I'm sure your parents will be along later today. Maybe that will help you remember."
"My parents? My parents died ten years ago. Has everyone gone crazy in this place, or is it just me?"
"I think it's safe to assume that it's just you," he smiled. "Take it easy, son, you'll recover soon enough. Don't let these little things bother you."
Jesus, just what I needed ... a condescending doctor trying to humour me. There were way too many questions that needed answering, and right now I wasn't getting any help with that.
I slipped in and out of sleep over the next few hours. The nurse came and went. A different one this time. Much prettier, but dressed in an old-fashioned uniform.
They finally brought me something to eat. I had no idea what time it was, but I was hungry. Hungrier than I expected to be. I looked under the metal lid and nearly lost my appetite. Whatever it was didn't look like human food. It might have been meatloaf, some kind of sloppy mashed potatoes and carrots. It smelled something like food, but only just. There was no gravy and no salt. I tried the meatloaf, and knew I wasn't going to be very happy with this meal. There was a cup of milk, and some kind of custard for dessert. It looked like a rabbit had shit in it recently. I had visions of starving to death in the next few days.
I forced myself to eat as much as I could. The carrots were overcooked, the potatoes were tasteless, and enough said about the meatloaf. The milk was homogenized with plenty of milk fat, and tasted like cream to me. I'd been weaned off that a long time ago, drinking skim milk for years. I couldn't bring myself to try the dessert. I seldom ate more than four or five desserts a year. It was my good fortune not to have a sweet tooth.
They took the tray away and left me to my thoughts for a while. I assumed I would have visitors, but no one had shown up yet. I wondered why. Perhaps doctor's orders.
I wasn't prepared for what happened next. A woman, about forty or so, and a slightly-built man entered the room. It took me a moment, but all the pieces fell into place. It was my parents. My long-dead parents. They were younger, but it was them all right. I didn't know how to react. This had to be a hallucination. It couldn't be anything else.
The woman, my mother, had tears in her eyes and she was afraid to get too close to me it seemed. My father ... that's who he was for sure ... stood back and nodded, just as I remember him doing so often all those years ago. The proof that it was him was the nicotine stains on the fingers of his right hand. He was a chain smoker. Eventually, it would catch up to him. I remembered how often he tried to quit and just couldn't make it stick. I could feel the tears forming in my eyes.
"Oh Lee, we were so worried," my mother cried. "I thought you had been killed. I didn't think anyone could survive that crash." She leaned over carefully and kissed me. It felt good. For the first time, I quit worrying about what was going on and let things happen to me.
"I guess the car is pretty messed up, eh? Sorry, Mom."
"I don't care about the car. The only thing I care about is you getting better. The doctor says you will be in here for another week, but you'll be able to come home after that."
"Mom ... you were ... I mean ... you are a great cook. When I come home, I'm counting on you to make up for the awful food in this place." I gave her a smile in an attempt to cheer her up. It worked.
"You can have anything you want, as long as you get better."
"Dad ... has anyone said what happened? All I remember is seeing the front end of a truck coming at me. I don't remember anything else."
"It was old Ray Hodgson, Lee. Apparently, he had a heart attack and lost control of the truck. He probably died before he hit you. It was a brand new truck, too. They'd just finished painting the company name on the door that morning. A real shame. We'll miss him. He was a fixture in this community ... just like Hodgson's Lumber Yard."
"I'm just glad he didn't take me with him," I said. I could only barely recall Ray Hodgson. "I guess the car is a write-off."
"They looked at it and decided they couldn't repair it for what it was worth. We'll get a settlement from the insurance company in a month or so."
I relaxed, now knowing I was an actor playing a role. I needed some more information, though.
"What day is it? I mean, the date?" I asked without looking at them.
"It's June 20th. Yesterday was your last day of school. You're finished high school and you'll be going to UBC in the fall," my mother stated proudly.
That was a key piece of information. It meant it was 1959 in this strange world where I was captive. I decided to play the role to the hilt. I needed additional information.
"I seem to have lost parts of my memory, so you'll have to excuse me if I ask some dumb questions. Do I have a summer job?"
"Yes," my father said. "I talked to Tommy French, and he's given you a job at the brewery on the packaging line."
I remembered that job. It was great. Eight to four, under-filled beer at morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks. The drinking age was twenty-one, but everyone looked the other way as long as you didn't do something stupid. It was going to be a good summer ... assuming this was real.
Ah ... that was the question. Was any of this real? I remembered my mother's kiss and I touched her arm as she stood by me. That was real enough. The smell of cigarette smoke in my father's tweed jacket was real too. Fifty years of my life had just vanished. But ... and it was a big but ... I knew what my future would be. If this was my new reality, I knew what would happen in the future because it was really my past.
There was only one problem with that logic. I had never had an automobile accident ... ever. And, I certainly didn't spend any time in hospital either. This was a whole new ballgame and I couldn't be sure anything would turn out the way it had before. Before? Before what? Before this new life, maybe.
By day three, I had quit trying to figure out what had happened to me. The new world I was living in was authentic enough. The hospital food was proof of that. My mother, bless her heart, smuggled in some goodies for me, and that was a big help. My brother John came to visit, giving me a hard time. He was just as I remembered him. Carefree, not a worry in the world, with endless numbers of friends, unlike me.
"Jeez, you'll do anything to get out of cutting the lawn," he said with a grin.
"Too bad, bro. It's your job for a while. Help keep you in shape for football season."
"Man, I hate that job. I wonder if I can con someone else into doing it?"
"Your problem, John. Good luck with that," I grinned through the pain in my chest.
By day six, they had removed the catheter and I was able to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. The doctor told me the blood in my urine was gone, another good sign. What a relief. My ribs were on fire, but I toughed it out. I didn't want too much more morphine, fearful of an addiction. It was probably an irrational fear, but it had stuck in my mind for over fifty years and I couldn't shake it.
The larger shock was seeing myself in the mirror. I was indeed the callow youth with the blonde brush-cut. Six foot one, one hundred and seventy-five pounds, I remembered. Some acne, but luckily not serious. I hated it, but I knew I would grow out of it.
A couple of my buddies from school came to visit as well. That was strange. At least I remembered their names. Ted, Jack, and Bob. We talked about being finished with school. Bob was going to art school in the fall. Jack had a job as an apprentice cameraman at the local independent television station, while Ted was going to college with me. I remembered we had agreed to car-pool and we were looking for a couple of other riders to share the load. None of us but Jack owned a car, so we would be borrowing our parents' cars to commute to the campus.
My best friend, Mike Douglas dropped in. He was going off to Western Washington University in Bellingham. His parents had divorced and his father was living in Lynden. He was also footing the bill for Mike's education. I wouldn't see much of him this summer, since he had an out-of-town job with B.C. Hydro.
"Hey, man. How you doin'?"
"Just great, asshole. How do you think I'm doing?" I cracked, trying to grin.
"Three ... maybe four weeks."
"Like a ripe turd," I agreed. We were speaking in our own code. It was coming back to me quickly for some reason. Why could I remember this and not so many other things from my past?
"When you headin' south?"
"August twentieth. Registration. Got a car lined up. Livin' with the old man for now."
"Won't be all bad, then."
"Nope. I can handle it."
Mike hung around for almost an hour as we talked about inconsequential things. I knew he would go on to be someone important in an international company's I.T. department and move to Cleveland. I didn't envy him that, but later on, he made his way back to Seattle and we saw each other at least once a year. He was one of the very few people from my high school days that I kept in touch with.
It was strange how some memories came back clearly, and others remained in the mists. I wondered why. I was trying to think of the girlfriends I had at the time, but no names except Belle's came to mind. I had met Belle at the May Day dance. We'd been out once since then. I had been too busy cramming for exams to see her until school was out.
I knew for certain that I was a virgin still. I was eighteen, but in the late fifties that wasn't unusual. I was led to believe that all that would change when I went to college, but I recalled that it wasn't necessarily the case. At least, not for me. It didn't stop me from thinking about bustin' my cherry, but thinkin' and doin' were two different things.
That idea reminded me that nothing was going to be the same anymore. I was sixty-eight going on nineteen. I couldn't count on things working out the way they had in my previous life. If that was so, what kind of life was I going to have? If it wasn't my original "past," then how much could I control about my new "future?"
With time on my hands as I lay in the hospital bed, I began to mentally sketch out what I might do in that new future. If I was trapped in this time, I had valuable knowledge that I could use for my own benefit. At least I thought I did. However ... there was no guarantee that the world was going to evolve the same way. But if it did, with a little foresight and some patience, I could make a great deal of money in the next few years. That assumed, of course, that I was going to be staying in this altered state. Well, if not, it would be interesting as long as it lasted.
To begin with, I would set aside enough money for my tuition and books. If I remembered correctly, tuition was $365 per year, and books would be another $100. It was another of the little factoids I could recall. Ridiculously inexpensive compared to today; assuming there was a "today." The rest of my money could be invested in a car and the stock market. Both my parents put some money in the market, with very spotty results. I, however, had an advantage. I knew some things about young companies that they could not.
I was finally released just before July 1st. Getting around was still a slow and painful process, but my now-young body was recovering much faster than my old one would have. I had to take it easy for a couple more weeks, but I was cleared to start my summer job in mid-July, so I would have almost seven weeks of work to earn some money.
During my rehab, I walked quite a lot, hoping to regain my fitness. I had some thinking to do as well. I made some resolutions about my future life-style. I wasn't going to smoke. I had from the time I was twenty until I was almost forty. I was going to exercise. I hadn't really done anything from the time left college until I quit smoking. A twenty year lapse. As a result, I had ballooned up to 225 pounds. That had to be corrected as well. I was going to eat healthier food. Our family history was riddled with heart disease, and I was no exception. Exercise and a better diet would help that immensely.
There were some other questions floating around in my head as well. I had married Belle Caulfield a year after I quit college. I had only gone two years and didn't take it very seriously. We had got engaged when I took a job, and married the next spring. Our first son was born a year after, and the second two years later. If I changed things, it was going to affect that ... possibly erase it entirely.
Why change it? I always kicked myself for not completing my education. I short-changed myself in the process and missed out on a lot of my youth. Married at twenty-two, two children at twenty five, mortgages, debts, all the things that conspired to take away the opportunity to go back and fix a mistake. I could correct that now. I knew what to expect, and I would be ready for it.
Did that mean I wouldn't marry Belle? If I didn't, I would never know the two fine sons that we sired together; both bright and talented, with good marriages, and solid families. Another unknown thrown onto the pile. The unanswered questions were beginning to stack up.
And what about my marriage? I had to examine that as well. It had been pretty good up until the last few years. Certainly long-lasting, but lately it seemed we were going in different directions. She was often moody and even surly. I had taken to calling her "Snarly" under my breath. In fact, I had even considered separating a couple of times. We were living separate lives together. We shared the same bed, but little more. It seemed that she was critical of anything and everything, often without reason.
I can remember the exact day when it nearly came apart. It was a Sunday morning, and I had been brooding for most of Saturday about her miserable attitude and what I should do. I finally decided in the middle of another sleepless night that I would get it all out in the open.
"Belle, we need to talk."
I'm sure those four words are as foreboding to women as they are to men. She looked at me, wondering what this was all about. I took my coffee into the living room and sat on the sofa. She followed me, eventually sitting in a chair, watching me carefully.
"I have to tell you, Belle, that I'm just about at my wits end when it comes to your attitude. I don't know what's wrong with me, but you don't seem to be happy with anything I do or say. You snap at me for no good reason. You never say please or thank you any more. At best, I get a grunt of acknowledgement when I do something you approve of.
"Whether this is post-menopausal problems, or something else, I'm getting to the point where I don't care. You've done nothing to deal with your unhappiness and I'm past the point of trying to get you to face up to what you've become. We don't have that many years left, and I'm sure as hell not going to spend them with someone who is perpetually miserable.
"I've thought about it and thought about it, and the only thing I can come up with is that I'm the source of your problems. So the solution is simple. I'll leave. I take myself out of your life and maybe then you'll be happier."
"You'll leave?" Her look of disbelief was unmistakeable. "But ... where would you go?"
"What difference does it make? I'd be gone."
"But ... where?"
"Belle ... you don't seem to understand. We would separate. You would be on your own and so would I. We wouldn't be living together." I was getting frustrated with the one-sided conversation, but I hadn't raised my voice.
He face had changed from disbelief to misery. This was something she had never expected.
"Is it that bad?" she asked, still struggling with my announcement.
"Yes. For me ... it's that bad."
She was silent for a while, and I didn't interrupt. Her eyes couldn't stay on mine for long. There was a lost look about her that I had seldom seen. Perhaps when her mother had suddenly died it was there.
"I don't want you to leave," she said at last. "I'll try and be ... better."
"I don't want to leave either, Belle. I love you. We've got fifty years invested in ourselves. Forty seven years married. Two sons, four grandchildren. That's a big investment. I don't want to leave, but I can't go on the way things are. You have to change. I'll give you another chance, but... you have to change."
I remembered that conversation as vividly as anything in my life. It was two years ago; at least two years ago in my previous life. Now I was faced with another decision. Belle had tried to be more positive, but lately, she had begun to slip back to her old ways. I was fearful that before long, she would be the same unhappy woman she was before our talk. Should I abandon Belle in this new life? There was nothing at stake yet. One dance and one date. I had no obligations yet.
I realized I wouldn't be going to bed and waking up with a warm, female body beside me. If there was one thing that I would miss more than anything, it was the scent and warmth of Belle in our bed. It began to dawn on me just how much I had lost. But, did I want to go back to the way things were? Could I do better? Could I change that future?