An Anticipated Accident

“Who knew st-st-straight hair cou-could eee su-su-such a f-ain, huh f-arnie?”

“Try to keep her from moving here face around like that, OK Marnie? I think she’s trying to talk or something and I dunno what kind of damage it will do on top of everything else here.”

“Oh man! Oh man! Oh man! How? Am I supposed to LOOK at her? I’m not sure I can handle this Karen, I mean… you see her…”

“Shut up Marnie. Just go back over there, keep talking to her, and don’t say anything else about her face or the curlers or her hair or… Look, just go over there and talk about last week’s swim meet until somebody gets here. You’re always talking about nothing anyway, use it for something now. Just try to look at the floor or something. And, hey, stay away from the other half of that thing ’cause it’s still in the wall. “

“Yes. Yes, she is still conscious. No, they haven’t arrived yet ma’am.” Karen returned her attention to the phone.

“Sasha, uh…?”

“Y-Y-Yes f-arnie?”

“Oh man! Oh man! … Well, Karen’s called some people to come here and help us so I’m going to sit over here on the benches away from the… just over here, OK? Umm… Phil and Bruce asked about you at the meet last week! I think Phil and Regina broke up again, so he may be bait for the turn-around dance next month….”

“Thank goodness! Over here… no, we didn’t try to move her. OK.”

“Damn. OK. Move it guys.”

Sasha clamped her eyelids shut as bright emergency lights flooded the room. There was a click, then the absence of a humming sound, present for so long before, as the gym’s main power switch was turned off. Sasha’s ears picked up the clattering of plastic onto concrete as the other half of the offending flat iron was unplugged from the wall and kicked across the floor, landing near the toilets if the sound was any indication. The smell of singed meat burned her nose.

“Sasha, Sasha McFadden. My name is Roger. I am your EMT. You have had an accident. I will be taking you to St. Peter’s Emergency Medical Center. Your mother and coach have been contacted and are on the way. Do not try to talk or move on your own.” “OK guys, on three. One… two… three… go!”

Every nerve in Sasha’s petite frame was suddenly aflame with the immeasurable pain of a million miniscule paper cuts sprayed with antiseptic. Shocked into action from this pain, her spine arched upwards away from the cot; causing waves of whip-like spasms to flow through her chest and arms. Swiftly flowing tears ran in turrets across Sasha’s pain-stricken face, some streaming into the mutilation that was once her mouth. With all that had come before, the sting of the salty tears against the seared flesh beneath her nose was more than even this strong young girl could bear in silence. She screamed now. Sasha issued a soulful growl of bellowing pain that carried so much grief and agony, there was nothing for bystanders to do but drop their mouths and stare wide-eyed until she dropped back onto the cot, spent from the effort.

“Rookie idiot, that I.V. bag should be hung by now! No cause for that, none at all. She should’da been bagged by now kid. Push the morphine and get outta the way!” Springing back into action, Roger supervised more carefully now, making sure the poor girl’s bag was hung and the injection delivered. He glanced at the little puddle of water in front of the mirrors, then back at the girl’s blistered left foot, then up to her hands; the left… no, right hand.

“Was she doing something to her hair?”

“Uh… maybe. I was still by the pool.” Karen glanced away, a little too quickly, wondering if anyone would ever know whose hair she had been talking about beside the pool. Karen knew.

“Oh.” Roger shrugged. “I’ll need one of you to ride with her to the hospital to wait for her mother. The other will need to stay in case they accidently show up here. Who’s going?”

“Do I have to ride in the back?”


“I’ll go with you then.”

“Let’s go. Bring the girl’s phone if it’s handy.”

Mandie eased herself from the cramped shower stall, where she had been driven by Sasha’s anguished screams, back in front of the vanity. Side-stepping the puddle, she picked up the damp green towel that lay in a heap in front of the sink. Careful not to touch the plastic or buttons directly, she reached her towel-wrapped hand under the sink and grabbed the first half of the pink iron. The sight on the flat metal plate made her lurch forward, almost violently ill. Quickly, she twisted a bit of the towel around the offending sight. Holding her arm away from her body, she moved quietly over to the stalls, bending to scoop up the other half with the towel.

Binding both pieces tightly in the towel, Mandie marched through the locker room, past the pool, out the emergency door, and stopped directly in front of the brown dumpster. Holding her breath, she hefted the metal lid with one hand, throwing the towel burden in with the other. Glancing down inside the dumpster, Mandie noticed the pink iron arm peeking out of the towel. MG was all that could be seen. Looking around, she grabbed a neat little bag that had been sitting beside the dumpster, ripped it open, and tossed the contents on top of the monogram. After washing her hands, Mandie Garner jumped in her car, turned up the radio, and sped off to do some shopping; rolling down the window to dry her naturally straight, strawberry blond hair. She did make one stop, though. Just to a trash can, miles away from the school; where a flatiron spring-pin wouldn’t matter so much in the garbage can. A sly smile crossed her lips as she thought about who “might” be bumped up to team captain for the next meet.

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