An Accidental Encounter

Info silverhawk
26 Oct. '17

Cops almost never pull over cars without a very good reason.  Walking up to a stopped car is the most dangerous situation any cop ever faces because it’s completely unpredictable.  If we arrive at the scene of an ongoing robbery or a domestic violence case, we know the worst might happen so we’re prepared.  We’ll wear a vest, approach the scene with weapons drawn and we’ll be taking advantage of any cover we can get.

We never know if the person inside the car we just pulled over is an ordinary person who’s just nervous or upset, or if they’ve got a gun or a knife and are getting ready to ruin our day.  We can’t approach every car we stop with a drawn weapon and the only cover we have is the vehicle, so we have to be cautious and ready for anything.  

We’ll only pull you over if you’ve done something wrong or if your driving is erratic.  Erratic driving usually means you’ve had a couple too many or you’re  high on something.  We’ll see your vehicle wandering from side to side of the lane or slowing down and then speeding up repeatedly.

Then there are the drivers who were driving normally and then change as soon as they realize a patrol car is behind them.  Before, they may have been stretching the speed limit a little and accelerating quickly when the light turns green.  When they see the car, they accelerate slowly and usually slow down hoping it’ll pass them.  They’ll be continuously looking in the rear-view mirror to see if the patrol car is still there.

Some nervous drivers are only that – nervous because they think they might have done something wrong.  Others are nervous because they have something in the car they don’t really want found like open booze, drugs, or a weapon.

Most cops will run your plate before pulling you over in order to get some information about what you might be doing and what to expect.  If you have a record of drugs or weapons, they’ll call for backup before stopping you.

When they see the flashing blue and white lights on a patrol car, most people look for a place to pull over out of traffic and then stop.  They’re not happy about it, but they do it because they understand running never works.  You might have a really fast car and be able to get away from me because I’m not going to risk causing an accident, but no car is faster than a radio signal.

As soon as you put the accelerator to the floor, I’ll be on that radio telling the dispatcher which street or road we’re on, and which direction you’re driving.  The dispatcher will then send one or more patrol cars to intercept you.  You’ll get caught, and running will land you in more trouble than you’d have been in if you’d just stopped.

The asshole I was behind that miserable rainy May night wasn’t doing anything wrong, and I was just driving my regular round.  I’m not sure he even saw me for a while because he was talking on his cell phone.  That’s illegal, not to mention stupid, but he seemed to be in control of the vehicle and I wasn’t about to get out of my car in the pouring rain to give him a ticket for just that.  That all changed when he put the cell phone down.

The oncoming headlights lit up the inside of the older sedan enough I could see him glance in his rearview mirror, look back at the front, and then back to stare in the mirror again.  A second later, he slowed down and he kept looking at his rearview mirror every couple of seconds.  Both raised my suspicions so I ran his plate.

Thomas Woodward had been out of prison for about three months.  He’d gone to prison because he’d chosen the wrong occupation.  One of detectives had arrested a minor drug dealer and the D.A told the dealer he’d cut a deal if the guy  would name his supplier.  The dealer said his supplier was some guy named “Woody”.  He didn’t know his real name.

A cross-reference of aliases to real names on the state database turned up one Thomas Woodward.  When we raided his house one morning at three A.M., we found ten small plastic bags of grass, a couple of handguns and about a thousand in cash.  His stash wasn’t really enough to qualify him as a major supplier, but Woody was still toast.

His lawyer negotiated a plea bargain.  Thomas pled guilty to simple possession and the handgun charge was dropped since he hadn’t attempted to use one or to resist in any way.  He was sentenced to two years and had served one and a half.

There was really no reason to stop him for just driving slower, and the fact he’d been in prison didn’t mean he was doing anything wrong now.  The guy had only been acting a little odd.  I was ready to let him go on his way.  He just couldn’t play it the easy way.  

As soon as the light that had stopped him turned green, the guy floored the accelerator.  I flipped on the lights and siren and reached for the mike.  Before he got to the next intersection, the dispatcher had another patrol car enroute and about five minutes away.  I heard the radio call for a second and third.

The light at the next intersection turned red when the guy was half a block away, but he didn’t even slow down.  I was doing fifty at the time and he was leaving me behind fast. Based on how fast he was pulling away from me, I guessed his speed at about sixty five or seventy.  He probably didn’t see the little white hatchback that pulled into his path.

I shut off the siren, turned the patrol car to block both lanes of the street, then  called in the accident and requested the EMT’s.  After putting on my slicker, I pulled the flashlight from my belt and walked up to Thomas’s car.

Of all the things I’d seen in my career, car accidents were the hardest to stomach.  The people who were dead when I got there weren’t fun, but after fifteen years, I could handle them.  It was the people who were injured and trapped in the car that still got to me.

I knew Thomas was driving a fairly old sedan.  I didn’t know the driver’s side airbag had already been deployed at sometime in the past or that Thomas wasn’t wearing his seat belt.  I found that out when I saw his head and torso sticking half-way out of the windshield.  It looked like he’d bent the steering wheel and post on his way out and that was holding him in that position..

He didn’t seem to be breathing and when I felt his neck for a pulse, I couldn’t find one.  That wasn’t surprising.  Evidently he’d hit the inside of the car roof when he went out through the front.  The top of his head had a pretty deep dent in it and there was blood all over the hood under him.  I went to look inside the hatchback.

She was laying across the center console on her side.  I couldn’t really see through the cracked windshield well enough to know if she was moving or not. I went around to the other side of the hatchback and opened the door. The airbags, both the one in the steering wheel and the ones on the side had deployed so I had some hope.

She was unconscious, but her pulse seemed strong enough.  I figured the air bags had at least saved her life.  She wasn’t just unconscious.  It looked like her left leg was broken.  It was bent at a funny angle and it looked like the impact had pushed her hips under the steering wheel and trapped her between it and the seat.  I keyed my lapel mike and asked dispatch for an ETA on the EMT’s and backup for traffic control.

I’d just heard the EMT’s were about six minutes away when she woke up and cried out in pain.  I reached in and touched her hand.

“It’s OK, Miss.  You’ve been in a car accident and the EMT’s will be here shortly.  Try to lay still because I don’t know how bad you’re hurt.”

She tried to move her head to look at me, but cried out in pain again.  She winced when she grabbed my hand and gripped it so tightly it almost was painful.  Her voice was pleading.

“Don’t leave me, please.”

“I won’t leave you.  Just hold still, OK?”

Another patrol car pulled up then.  When Jim Chambers walked up to me he asked if anyone was still alive.  I said the woman was and asked him to direct traffic while I stayed with her, then turned back to the woman gripping my hand.

I looked her over better with the light from my flashlight.  When it passed over her twisted leg, I saw the blood stain on the ripped up leg of her jeans.  I gingerly peeled back the torn fabric.

The bones from her lower leg were sticking out of the skin a few inches below her knee and dark red blood was flowing from the opening they’d punched on the way out.  I knew the dark blood was from a vein and not as severe as red blood from an artery, but could still cause her to bleed out.  The first aid I’d been taught was to put something absorbent over the wound and then keep pressure on it.

I eased back and told the woman I had to leave for a minute.  She begged me not to go, but I had to get something to stop the bleeding.  After gently pulling her hand from mine, I ran back to the patrol car and got the first aid kit out of the trunk. After putting on a pair of latex gloves, I grabbed a handful of the biggest gauze pads in the box and ran back to the hatchback.  

I had to almost lay on top of the woman to reach her leg, but I got three of the gauze pads over and around the exposed bone.  She screamed in agony when I pushed the pads down on her leg.  

With my free hand, I found hers and held it again.

“I know this hurts, but you’re bleeding and I have to do it.  Do you understand?”

I felt a gentle squeeze to my hand and a low murmur.

“Don’t let me die…please don’t let me die.”

I squeezed her hand.

“You aren’t going to die.  Just hold on to my hand.  When the EMT’s get here, they’ll fix you right up.”

A couple minutes later the EMT’s arrived as did another two patrol cars.  Jack and Lisa listened to me while I told them about the compound fracture and that I was holding gauze pads on it to reduce the bleeding.  Jack climbed over me and into the back seat, and then leaned over the driver’s headrest with his flashlight.

“Just lift the pads for a second or two so I can see what’s going on.”

When I did, a trickle of blood flowed out around the bones and started dripping on the floor.

“OK, put the pads back and keep holding them there until we can get something better.  Lisa, how about handing me some scissors, six of those big pads and an elastic bandage?”

Jack used the scissors to cut away enough of the woman’s pant leg to expose the injury.  When I pulled the gauze pads away, Jack covered the exposed bone and the wound site with heavy pads that looked like small diapers to me, then wrapped the woman’s leg with the elastic bandage.  He crawled back out of the rear seat.

“You can come out now.  That’ll keep her from bleeding out until we can get her to the hospital.  I’ll start an IV to keep her blood pressure up once we get her on the spine board.”

As I backed out of the car, I saw the fire truck that’s always dispatched to the scene of a car accident.  They were there in case there was a car fire and to take care of any leaking fluids.  They also carry the tools to cut a car apart if that’s needed to get to the people inside.  I walked over to the men putting on their fire suits.

“I don’t think either tank is leaking, but it looks like you’re gonna have to cut the woman out of the hatchback.  She’s wedged under the steering wheel.”

One of the firemen went to look inside and then came back and pulled a glass saw from a compartment on the side of the fire truck.

“I think we can get her out the passenger side.  We’ll take the windshield out and cut the steering column from there.  It doesn’t look like she’s trapped anywhere else.”

He took off his coat and covered the woman’s face and chest as best he could and then backed out of the car.  I’d seen them do this before, but I still cringed when he swung the axe side of the saw at the center of the windshield.  The blade punched a hole in the windshield.  He pulled it back out, flipped it over and then started sawing at the glass.  

In seconds, he had sawn to the door pillar and then turned the saw and sawed down the pillar.  The second fireman was working with the same speed on the other side of the car.  Once they got the windshield free at the top and sides, they repeated the same motions to saw it away at the bottom.  When it came free, they picked it up and carried it away from the accident scene.

Two more firemen brought the hydraulic power pack and the shear.  One started the engine on the power pack.  The first two firemen had come back with a long steel bar they placed over the opening where the windshield had been.  The three then hooked the massive shear over the bar and placed the jaws around the steering column.  After carefully checking that the woman’s legs weren’t in the path of the jaws, the fireman holding the shear moved the valve to close them.  I heard the crackling sound of snapping plastic and then a loud ping as the jaws severed everything that held the steering wheel in the car.  One of the firemen pulled the steering wheel and the stump of the steering column out of the car.  The others pulled the shear and bar out.

The EMT’s did some more checking and then I saw them nod to the firemen.  The three firemen leaned over the dash and lifted the woman as gently as they could while the EMT’s slid the spine board under her.  In less than a minute, they had her out of the vehicle, strapped down, and inside the truck.  I helped Jim and the other officers stop all the traffic as the EMT’s flipped on their lights and siren and drove off.

Sometime while all this was going on, a second EMT truck had arrived.  The firemen were cutting the pillars that held on the roof of the sedan so the EMT’s could get to Thomas.  They weren’t being quite so careful with Thomas.  The EMT’s had confirmed he was past feeling anything.

Two hours after the accident happened, the intersection was clear again.  Jim got back in his patrol car and continued his shift.  I headed back to the station to write my report.

According to the license and VIN numbers, the car belonged to one Sandra Owens.  She was thirty six and had no priors other than one speeding ticket five years before.  I already knew who Thomas was, but I ran his name and printed his record to attach to my report.  It would help explain why he’d tried to run.  

The other explanation was what I’d found in the trunk of the sedan after I had the firemen punch the lock.  Thomas had moved up a step in the drug world.  He had almost five pounds of grass and sixty three baggies of coke rocks there along with a sawed-off pump shotgun and three handguns.  All that was in the evidence locker at the station.

I shook my head as I typed all that into the report.  If he’d not run, the worst he’d have been looking at was another ten to twenty years.  Instead, he’d killed himself and injured an innocent woman.

It was three weeks later I found the note in my in-box when I got back to the station, and went to ask Maxine, the desk sergeant, what it was all about.

“This woman called while you were out, said she was in a car accident three weeks ago and wanted the name of the officer who took care of her.  I told her I couldn’t give her that, so she asked if she could come down and meet you.  I said she couldn’t do that either.  She sounded like she was telling me the truth, so I said I’d give you her number and you could call her if you wanted to.  I ran the phone number.  It’s the same name as on your accident report – Sandra Owens.”

It was nearly midnight by the time I got home, so I waited until about one the next afternoon to call Sandra.  She answered the phone on the third ring.  I asked to speak to Sandra Owens.

“This is Sandra.”

“Hi, Sandra.  I’m the police officer who was at your car accident.  I understand you’re looking for me.  How can I help you?”

“I’m so glad you called.  The woman at the station who took my call kept giving me the runaround.  I just wanted to thank you for everything you did.”

“She was just following procedure, but she did believe you.  That’s why she gave me your phone number.  You’re welcome, but I didn’t do much.”

“Yes, you did.  The doctor told me if you hadn’t kept pressure on my leg, I might have bled to death.  You held my hand and told me I wasn’t going to die, too, and that made me feel like everything was going to be all right.”

“How are you getting along now?  OK, I hope.”

“They tell me I am.  They screwed some plates to my bones to hold everything together until they heal and I have a big cast, but it doesn’t hurt much anymore.”

“Well, I’m happy about that.  You take care now.”

“No, wait.  Please don’t hang up.  I want to do something for you…just saying thank you isn’t enough.”

The department had very strict rules about any officer accepting any type of reward for doing his or her job.  Too often, a so-called “reward” looks a lot like a payoff, and especially so if the person making the reward appears to have benefited.  I knew this wasn’t the case here, but I still couldn’t accept anything.  That’s what I told her.  She seemed frustrated.

“I can’t even buy you a cup of coffee?”

I couldn’t see how a cup of coffee could be construed as a payoff, so I said she could.

 “Oh good.  How about at that little coffee shop on Third?  Maybe tomorrow, about two?”

“OK, I’ll be there.  I’ll be in uniform, but uh…I didn’t really see your face before the EMT’s took you to the hospital.  How will I recognize you?”

She laughed.

“You can’t miss me.  I’ll be the one on crutches with a big cast on my leg.”

I got to the coffee shop right at two and went inside.  Like Sandra had told me, I didn’t have trouble finding her.  She was sitting at a table on one side with her left leg stuck out in the aisle.  A pair of aluminum crutches were leaned against the wall next to her chair.

The long dress she had on mostly covered the cast, but as straight as her leg was, it was obvious she couldn’t bend her knee.  I wondered how she managed to get to the coffee shop.
 
The night of the accident, I hadn’t had time to do anything but call for help and keep pressure on Sandra’s leg.  Once the EMT’s got her out of her car, they’d whisked her away, so I didn’t see her then either.  What I saw now was a woman that looked her age, and that look was fantastic.

When I was eighteen and out of high school, I thought young girls with their perky breasts and tight asses were hot.  When I was twenty five, those same girls were still hot.  About the time I turned thirty, something changed.  Maybe it was that I didn’t seem to have anything in common with them, or maybe I just looked at women differently, but I started losing interest in really young girls.  What did hold my interest was the wider, feminine hips and fuller breasts most women have by the time they’ve reached thirty or forty.  

There was also the look of their faces.  When I turned thirty, young girls didn’t look much different than when I was in high school, and I was too old for that.  A woman in her thirties looked more mature because she had character in her face.

Sandra was all that. Her face wasn’t a cover girl face, but she had nothing to be ashamed of.  It didn’t look to me like she had on much makeup, but she was still a very pretty woman.  I’d seen enough of her hair with my flashlight that night to know it was brown.  I didn’t know it was a rich auburn color, not red, really, but almost.

I couldn’t see much of the rest of her because of the long dress and the fact she was sitting down, but unless she was wearing a well padded bra that pushed her breasts up and out, she was nicely endowed.

I walked up to her and said, “Sandra?”

Her smile was infectious.

“Yes, I’m Sandra.  Are you the police officer who took care of me that night?”

“That would be me.  I’m Larry, Larry Hayes.”

“Please sit down, Larry.  Do you have time for coffee?”

“Yes, I don’t go on duty for another hour and a half and the station’s only fifteen minutes from here.”

Sandra flagged down a waitress and ordered two coffees - cream and sugar for her and just cream for me.  As the waitress went to fill our order, Sandra smiled at me again.

“I thought about doing this two weeks ago.   That’s when they let me come home from the hospital.  I couldn’t get around very well though, and decided I’d have to wait.”

“You really didn’t have to do anything.  I was just doing my job.”

“I know, but I was scared to death that night and you made me feel safe.  That’s why I had to do this.”

“I appreciate this more than you’d think.  I don’t get thanked very often.”

I chuckled.

“That’s probably because usually I’m writing somebody a ticket or taking them to jail.”

“That’s why you were chasing the guy who hit me, isn’t it?  I read in the paper he was running from the police.”

A warning bell went off in my head then.  Two years before in a similar accident, the man who’d been hit sued the city.  He claimed the officer who was trying to arrest the guy had caused the accident by chasing him, and he wanted payment for loss of wages and also for pain and suffering.  The city had won the case, but juries can sometimes be a lot more sympathetic in their thinking.  Maybe Sandra was trying to get me to admit I was chasing the guy and that’s why she got hit.  She didn’t seem like the type, though, so I tried to explain.

“I wasn’t really chasing him.  We don’t do that unless it’s on the interstate around the city where there’s plenty of room to negotiate traffic.  I was half a block behind him when he ran the light.  I did have my lights and siren on, but that’s standard procedure.  It’s as much to alert other drivers as anything.  I had other cars on the way, so we’d have just boxed him in and made him stop if he hadn’t run the light.”

“He must have had a reason.”

“Yeah, he did. He had a bunch of drugs and guns in the car.  It was stupid because we’d have caught him anyway, but I guess you don’t have to be very smart to be a drug dealer.”

Sandra looked at me and smiled.

“You’re frowning.  I didn’t mean to drag our conversation down like that. What do you do when you’re not saving women in car accidents or arresting bad guys?”

“Oh, the usual stuff, I guess.   I have a boat and I do some fishing in the summer.”

“My dad used to take me fishing but I haven’t been in ages.  I did like it though.  Does your wife go with you?”

“No, I don’t have a wife.”

“A girlfriend then, maybe?”

I shook my head.

“No, no girlfriend either.”

Sandra looked at me and grinned.

“You’re not gay, are you?”

I laughed.

“No.  I’m not gay.  I’m just not looking for a woman.”

“Why not?”

“Well, I kind of like my life like it is right now.  Besides, not many women could live with the fact their husband might not come home from work some day.  I’ve seen too many cops get divorced because of that.”

Sandra smiled.

“Maybe you’ll find one who can.  You never know.”

Sandra looked at her watch.

“It’s two thirty.  I should probably let you go.  It’ll take me a while to get a cab anyway and there’s no sense in you waiting with me.”

I’d started to like talking with Sandra and I wasn’t ready to stop.  After years of dealing with people, it’s become relatively easy to figure out what type of person I’m talking to.  Sandra seemed to be intelligent, and she was definitely not shy.  I liked both things.

“Where do you live? If you’re not too far away I have time to drop you off.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Well, I always know how things turn out when I give somebody a ticket or arrest them.  I don’t usually get to see the people I’ve just helped in some way.  It makes me happy to see that you’re recovering, and I thought I’d save you cab fare.”

Sandra smiled.

“I’d never turn down a chance to save money. I’m spending a fortune on cabs.”

Getting Sandra into my car was interesting.  I held open the passenger side front door for her but she shook her head.

“I’ll never get my cast in there.  In a cab, I usually just sit in the back with both legs stretched out.”

I closed the front door and opened the rear.  Sandra hobbled over until she was facing away from the car and then sat down.  She handed me her crutches and then scooted over the seat until she was inside.  Then, she lowered her cast to the floor and buckled the seat belt.

“There.  That’s what seems to work best.”

I put her crutches on the floor, closed the door, and then got in behind the wheel.  Sandra gave me the address of her house.

As it turned out, her house was only six blocks from the coffee shop, so I didn’t need to hurry.  A few minutes later, I pulled into her drive, got out, and opened the door for her.

Watching Sandra get out of my car was more fun than watching her get in.  She scooted across the seat again, but this time, her long dress stayed put.  As she worked her way over the seat, that dress rode up the slender calf of her bare leg, then the knee, and then the start of her thigh.  

Sandra saw me staring and pulled her dress back down.

“Sorry.  I keep flashing the cab drivers too.  All I can get on over this cast is a dress, and they ride up when I try to slide over the seat.”

“That’s OK. Give me your hand and I’ll help you out.”

Sandra stood on her good leg while I pulled her crutches out of my car.  Once she had them under her arms, she smiled at me.

“Larry, thank you so much for everything.”

“That’s what I get paid for.  There’s no need to thank me.”

“You don’t get paid for taking me home.  I can thank you for that, can’t I?”

“OK, I suppose you can thank me for that.”

“Can you hold my crutches again for a second?  I need to do something.”

I’d just taken her crutches when Sandra put her hands on my shoulders and kissed me on the cheek.

She grinned.

“There.  Thank you.  You can give me my crutches back now.”

That kiss on the cheek made me think about if my life was really like I wanted it to be.  I’d lived by myself for a lot of years and I’d gotten used to being alone, but I’d lied to Sandra about women.  There had been several over the years.  

When I was first out of the academy, some young girls seemed thrilled by the uniform.  I dated a few and a couple got to the stage of being serious.  Later on, there had been a couple more I’d gladly have lived my life with, but it seemed like something always happened to end the relationship before I got to the point of proposing.

When a cop is at the scene of an accident or a crime, he can’t look at his watch and realize it’s time to clock out and go home.  He stays until the job is done unless he’s relieved by another officer.  We also don’t always have time to call and explain why we’re going to be late.  

After I showed up two or three hours late for a date, the women decided waiting for a cop to come home and hoping this wasn’t the time he wouldn’t was something they’d rather not do.  We always parted friends, but we still parted.  At the age of thirty three, I decided that’s just how life was and stopped looking.  

Sandra had brought back the thoughts of having someone to talk with besides other officers.  Sandra seemed to like me and she was safe in that she liked me because of what I’d done for her.  It wasn’t likely we’d ever be closer than friends, but it would be nice to have a friend like her.  I pulled one of my business cards from my breast pocket, wrote my personal cell phone number on the back and handed it to her.

“Sandra, there’s no use in you calling a cab if you need to go somewhere.  If you need to do something, just call the number on the back.  I’m usually up by eight in the morning, and I don’t have to be to work until three or so.”

Sandra grinned.

“I might just take you up on that.”

She did call me three days later and asked if I could take her to the grocery store.  Half an hour later, she was sitting in my back seat.  At the grocery store, I pushed the shopping cart and pulled things from the shelves as she hobbled along and pointed them out.  When we got back to her house, I carried everything inside.  Sandra was all thanks.

“Larry, you made this so easy.  You wouldn’t believe how hard it was when I went by myself.  The cab driver would load everything in his trunk and carry it to the door for me, but I had to ride around in one of those scooter things at the store and the baskets don’t hold much.  I had to go back twice a week.  Can I make you a cup of coffee to thank you?”

The next three weeks were about the same.  I’d take Sandra to the grocery store and push the cart, then take her home and take everything inside for her.  She’d make a pot of coffee and I’d spend half an hour talking with her.  I found out she worked in sales for one of the medical supply houses in town.  I also found out she’d been married once.  She didn’t say why she wasn’t still married and I didn’t ask.  

By the sixth week I was looking forward to her trips to the grocery store.  After we’d talked a little about her neighbors and mine, she said something that made my heart sink.

“I never asked you to take me to the doctor because my appointments are always after three.  I went on Monday and he said he’d take my cast off next week.  I’ll still have to do some rehab because that leg isn’t as strong now, and I still have to get another car, but I won’t have to trouble you to take me shopping again for more than another couple weeks or so.”

“Taking you shopping isn’t any trouble.  I was sorta getting to like it.”

Sandra smiled.

“You’ve been so nice about it, but I must be taking you away from something you’d rather be doing.”

“No, really, it’s not.”

“Well, I’m happy you feel that way, but it’s time I started being independent again.  Having to rely on someone is something I’ve never had to do before and I don’t like it.  Can you understand that?”

I did understand.  I didn’t like it, but I did understand.  If the shoe had been on the other foot, I’d have been doing everything I could to get back control of my life.

I nodded.

“I do.  Just remember if you need me, all you have to do is call.”

Sandra did get her cast off the next week, and a week later I took her shopping for another car.  She found one she liked and could afford with the insurance money from the accident.  She drove herself home that day.  I drove back to my own house and moped around until the start of my shift.

Three days later, I was driving my normal patrol route and had just merged into the right lane of a four-lane parkway that runs through the city.  I saw a car about half a mile ahead sitting in the breakdown lane with the emergency lights flashing.  I flipped on my lights and pulled in behind the car.   When I got out of the patrol car to find out the problem, two cars whizzed past in the inside lane.  It was about five thirty.  The downtown office workers were heading out to the suburbs for the evening and they couldn’t get there fast enough.

One would think a patrol car sitting in the breakdown lane with all the blue and white lights flashing would tell drivers to slow down and change lanes.  Evidently the guy in the pickup truck was in a hurry and didn’t think he needed to.  As I walked up beside the car, the guy inside yelled, “Look out.”  A second later, the pickup clipped me and sent me rolling down the highway.

Things went black on me for a few seconds.  When I woke up, it hurt to breathe, and when I say it hurt, I mean breathing brought tears to my eyes.  The guy in the car ran up to me then.

“I called 911.   I think you should probably not move until they get here.”

It wasn’t like I could move anyway, so I did just as he said.  I saw the guy standing beside his car and waving at the oncoming traffic to get them to change lanes.  After that, I blacked out again.

I woke up that time in the EMT truck on the way to the hospital.  I recognized Jamie, a cute little blonde EMT I’d worked with before.  She was smiling at me.

“Hi Larry.  It’s good to have you awake again.  I hate it when my dates go to sleep on me…well, not on me, on me, but you know what I mean.”

It still hurt to breathe, and when I inhaled enough I could talk, I gasped.  Jamie patted my arm.

“Just take small breaths.  It won’t hurt as much that way.”

“How bad?”

Jamie’s face turned serious.

“Nothing that’ll probably kill you, but I think you have at least some broken ribs and a broken leg.  You’ll be fine, but you won’t be chasing anybody for a few months.  Now, just lay still.  We’re only a block away from St. Mary’s.”

I found out St. Mary’s has a great ER.  It was painful being bounced around on the gurney when they wheeled me from the EMT’s truck into an examining room, but once I was there, they were all business.

A male nurse cut off my uniform so the doctor could examine me.  In the background I heard another nurse calling out my vitals.

“Pulse – eighty five, BP – one hundred over seventy.”

Jamie had explained what she’d found when she examined me, so the doctor started feeling my chest.

“Breathe in as deep as you can.”

I tried, but the stabbing pain in my right side made me gasp.  The doctor carefully felt over my ribs.

“Again, please.”

I breathed in again.  It hurt just as bad that time.  The doctor stopped pressing on my ribs then.

“Eight and ten are broken.  I think six is just cracked.  Once we take a look at your leg, we’ll send you for an MRI to make sure that’s all that happened.  You don’t have any implants, a pacemaker, or anything metal in you, do you?”

I said only the fillings in my teeth.

“Good.  Now let’s look at that leg.”

I suppose it was because my chest hurt so bad I hadn’t thought much about my leg hurting.  As soon as the doctor touched it, the pain hit me.  He stopped touching my leg.

“I think the femur is broken, but we’ll do an X-ray to make sure.  I’ll give you something for the pain so you’ll be able to lie still.  It won’t kill it because I can’t inhibit your breathing, but it’ll make it a little more bearable.”

Six hours later, I came to in a recovery room.  It didn’t hurt quite as much to breathe for some reason.  My leg hurt like a bitch.  A few minutes later, a nurse walked into the room.

“You’re awake.  Good.  You just lie still, OK?  I’ll be right back with your meds.”

She came back with a paper cup of water in one hand and a little paper cup with three pills in the other.  She smiled when I swallowed the pills.

“These are as strong as the doctor could prescribe without giving you an opiate.  They’re stronger than what you’d buy at the drugstore, and they’ll do a better job with the pain.”

The water with the pills had fixed my dry throat a little, but my voice was still a croak.  After looking at the X-ray of my leg, the doctor had told me he was going to put a rod in the bone to hold it in position.  I wanted to know for sure.

“What did they do?”

She smiled.

“The surgeon will be in to explain that in a couple more hours, but he put a rod in your femur to keep everything aligned.”

“What about my ribs?”

“You have three broken ribs, but they’ll heal on their own.  You just have to keep breathing as deeply as you can.  The doctor will be in this afternoon to tell you about that.”

That first day seemed to go on forever.  I did sleep some, but the pain in my chest kept waking me up.  I got more pills to swallow and that helped.  I also talked with both the surgeon who worked on my leg and the doctor who’d seen me in the ER.

The ER doctor explained that he couldn’t do anything for my ribs except leave them alone.  If he’d wrapped them or restricted their movement, it would have relieved the pain a little, but there would be a risk of me developing pneumonia or some other lung problem.  He told me the pain would gradually go away.

The surgeon’s explanation was better in one way and worse in another.  The rod in my leg was screwed in place and I’d have it for the rest of my life.  The good part was I’d probably be able to use that leg sooner than if I’d just had a cast.  The bad part was it would probably take me six months to heal.  I’d have to start walking with a walker at first so I didn’t put much of my weight on that leg.  After some physical therapy and some time with the walker and then crutches, I’d still be using a cane for a couple of months.

A little after noon, they put me on a gurney and took me to a regular room.  The man in the other bed was about seventy and had undergone a hip replacement.  He didn’t seem to be in much pain and was happy as a lark.  I wasn’t happy and it hurt to breathe.  We didn’t talk much because I didn’t want to talk to anybody.  I told the nurse who brought my dinner that I didn’t want any visitors.  

I’m not sure how he talked his way in, but Bert Johnson, the Shift Captain, came in a little after I’d eaten what the hospital called dinner.  He brought me a card signed by all the officers who worked the three to eleven shift and the news they’d caught the guy who hit me.

“The guy you were trying to help got the last three numbers off the license plate.  Julie searched the database for all license plates with those numbers and found three pickups.  His was the second one we checked out.  He had his truck at a body shop getting the right fender straightened out and repainted.  

“He said he didn’t see the police car or you and thought he’d hit a dog or something.  When we pointed out your engine was running and all your lights were flashing when we got there, and that the guy you were trying to help got his license number, he finally owned up.

“Oh, by the way, there’s a woman downstairs that wants to see you.  Apparently the desk told her you weren’t receiving visitors.  When I walked in, she saw my uniform and asked if I was here to see you.  I said I was.  She said you’d recognize her name and might let her come up.  It’s Sandra Owens.  If you want to see her, I’ll tell the girl at the desk.”

I hadn’t really wanted to see anybody for a while because I don’t like people feeling sorry for me.  When I thought about Sandra, though, I knew she might understand that feeling.  

“Yes, tell them I’d like to see her.”

After telling me to do what the doctor told me to so I could get back to work, Bert left.  Sandra came up about ten minutes later.  She was smiling when she walked up to the side of the bed.

“I know this is a stupid question, but how are you feeling?”

“Well, it hurts to breathe and my leg hurts almost as much.  Other than that, I’m fine, pretty bored but fine.”

“I read about your accident in the paper.  It didn’t say how badly you were hurt, only that you were hit by a truck.  What did happen?”

I went through a brief explanation of that night and told Sandra I had three broken ribs and about the rod in my leg.  She frowned.

“No wonder it hurts to breathe.  I don’t know about broken ribs, but I do know about a broken leg, remember.  It’ll get better in a couple days or so.  Are they giving you any pain medication?”

“Yeah, basically some stuff that’s like you’d buy for a muscle ache only stronger, or so the nurse told me.”

“That’s what they gave me too.  It helps a lot.”

I had to ask the question that had been bugging me since Bert said she was downstairs.

“Sandra, how did you find me.”

She grinned.

“I told you I work in medical supply sales, didn’t I?  I know most of the desk people in the local hospitals and doctor’s offices because I make sales calls to them. I just started calling hospitals until I found you were in St. Mary’s.”

“Why would any hospital give you that information?  They’re not supposed to.”

Sandra grinned again.

“It’s easier getting in to see people in a hospital or doctor’s office if you’re friends with the person on the desk in front.  I always give them free samples of stuff when I call, nothing illegal, just aspirins and band-aids, stuff like that.  I do the same for the purchasing people too.  I can arrange for discounts as well, like if you need a wheelchair for your grandmother.  The markup on things like that is really high if you buy them at the drugstore.”

Sandra shrugged.

“They really aren’t supposed to tell me anything about patients, but since we’re pretty good friends, Joanie did this time.”

“OK, but why did you come to see me?”

Sandra’s face was serious.

“You wouldn’t let me thank you for taking care of me.  I just thought if you don’t have anybody, you might want somebody to do the same for you.  I hope I haven’t done something wrong.  Did I?”

I thought about that for a second.  What Sandra said was true.  I didn’t have anybody.  My health insurance would probably pay for a part-time nurse, but I didn’t really like the idea of a stranger in my house.  I didn’t know Sandra all that well, but at least she wasn’t a complete stranger.

“No, I’m happy to see you again.”

She smiled again.

“I was hoping you’d say that.  Now, about you being bored.  Anything I can get you – magazines, books, anything like that?”

I was in the hospital for a week before they’d let me come home.  Every day was torture by the physical therapist.  He gave me some exercises to do to keep at least some of the strength in my leg.  It hurt like hell at first, but after three days, it wasn’t quite as bad.  

On Thursday, the therapist brought a walker to my appointment and taught me how to use it.  I was surprised at how much of my weight I could put on my broken leg.  It didn’t seem to hurt much any more and it felt good to be in at least partial control again.  My chest wasn’t hurting quite as bad either.  

The thing they called an “incentive spirometer” was fun and painful at the same time.  I was supposed to inhale through a tube and get a little ball up to a line of a scale when I did.  According to the doctor, that would keep me breathing deeply enough I wouldn’t develop a lung problem.  I liked the challenge of getting the ball where it was supposed to be.  That hurt some, but it seemed to get better over time.

Sandra came to see me every evening after dinner, and always brought a new fishing magazine or one of the mystery books I like.  She always smiled, and after that first night, kissed me on the cheek before she left.  On Thursday, the doctor told me he was releasing me to go home.  When I told Sandra, she said she’d be at the hospital to take me.

Friday morning after breakfast, the old man in the bed next to me asked if I was going home.  I said I was.  He chuckled.

“You taking that pretty little lady with you?”

“No, I hadn’t planned on it.  She’s going to drive me home, but that’s all.”

He chuckled again.

“I think she’s hoping it’ll be more than just driving you home.  If I was you, I wouldn’t let her get away.”

“Nah, she’s just a friend.”

“You may think that, but I’ve seen how she looks at you.  You look at her the same way, or didn’t you realize that.”

I hadn’t realized that, but when I thought about it, Sandra had become pretty special.  I’d had visits from some of the officers I worked with, but they didn’t make me feel anything except pleased that they’d come and a little embarrassed that they saw me in a hospital gown.  Sandra made me feel…I couldn’t really put it into words then, but the feeling was different.

“I don’t know.  I do like her.”

“Well, you think about that and do something before she gives up on you.  That’s what I’d do.”

He went back to doing his crossword puzzle then.  I figured he was just seeing things in Sandra that weren’t there.  Yes, she’d kissed me on the cheek every night, but she just seemed like a woman who did that just because she liked to, not because she felt anything for me.

It was tough getting into Sandra’s car from the wheelchair the nurse used to get me from my room down to the street.  She’d bought a compact and that meant I had to sit down and then twist myself into the passenger seat.  By the time I was in and had the seat belt fastened, I was sweating from the exertion and the pain in my chest.

It was the same getting out of the car.  Sandra helped me stand up and then got my walker out of her trunk.  Getting to the steps of my house was slow going.  Getting up those steps was something I wouldn’t have been able to do without Sandra’s help.  

She had me lean on the step railing while she unlocked my door and put my walker inside.  Then she came back and put my right arm over her shoulder.  She held most of my weight while I put my left leg on the first step, and then helped me use that leg to push myself up.  It was the same for all three steps and the threshold.  Once inside, I grabbed the handles of the walker and Sandra let me go.

I hadn’t just been letting her help me up those steps.  I’d leaned on her to keep some weight off my right leg, and when I did that, the side of my chest pressed into Sandra’s left breast.  I also felt her hip pressing against mine.  It had been a long time since I’d been that close to a woman.  The pain in my chest had kept me from getting aroused, but it didn’t take the thought out of my mind.

Once I was standing with my walker, Sandra chuckled.

“It’s kind of like when you used to bring me home, isn’t it?”

“Yes, and I do appreciate it.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“Well, what I used to do before, I guess.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Can you sit down and then get back up by yourself?”

“I don’t know.  I never tried in the hospital.  They always helped me.”

She smiled impishly.

“Try it now.”

I maneuvered myself over to the recliner in front of the TV, turned around, and sort of fell into the seat.  Sandra giggled.

“Well, that was really graceful.  Now let me see you get back up.”

With both my arms pushing on the arms of the recliner, I got almost to a standing position.  I reached for the walker and promptly fell back into the recliner.  Sandra giggled again.

“That’s about what I did the first few times.  You’re going to need some help for a while Larry, just like I did.  My sister stayed with me until I figured it out.  Do you have anybody to stay with you?”

 “No, not really.”

Sandra’s face looked serious.

“Would it bother you if I helped you?”

To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure.  It was obvious I needed help to get out of a chair and would probably need help for other things as well.  I just didn’t think I could ask Sandra to be the one to do it.

“Sandra, I can’t ask you to do something like that.  You have your job and other things you like to do.”

“So did you, but you still helped me.  I’ll just take a week off work like I did today.  That ought to be enough time to get you sitting down and standing up on your own.  You can’t stand up to cook yet, so you’ll need someone to do that for you too.”

She left me sitting in my recliner with the TV remote, a glass of water, and my spirometer on the table beside it while she went to get something for my dinner.  While she was gone, I tried getting up by myself a few times, and almost made it once.  I figured it would only take me a day or so before I could do it. Sandra could go back to work then.

She’d already said she’d take me to my appointments with the doctor and physical therapist, so she wouldn’t really be leaving me.  She’d just not be staying at my house all day.  At the time, I thought that would be best for us both.  She could get on with her life for the most part and I could recuperate like I always did with the flu or a cold – alone.

Sandra came back an hour later with pizza and two pre-packaged salads.

“I hope you like pizza with everything.  Do you have anything to drink?”

I ate sitting in my recliner. Sandra ate on the couch and handed me a second slice of pizza when I asked.  When we finished, Sandra put the leftover pizza in the refrigerator and then came back.  We finished watching a movie about ten, and during the credits, Sandra stood up.

“Larry, I need to use your bathroom.  Where is it?”

“It’s just down the hall on the left.”

She was gone for a few minutes.  I was thinking how nice it was to have her sitting there when she came back.

“Larry, while I was in there, I realized if you can’t get out of your chair by yourself, you won’t be able to use your bathroom either.  There’s nothing in there to pull yourself up on.”

I hadn’t even thought about that.  In the hospital, a male nurse helped me to the john and then back into bed until I got my walker.  After that, I could do it by myself, but the seat on the hospital john was a lot higher than normal.

“Uh…well…I’ll just have to figure that out when the time comes.”

“Oh no.  I’m not going to come back tomorrow morning and find you laying on the floor.  I think I’d better stay the night, just in case you need help.”

“Sandra, I’ll be OK, really, and I don’t have a place for you to sleep.  I have a couple spare rooms, but I never got around to putting beds in them.”

“Where are you going to sleep?”

“The doctor said I should sleep on my back for a while.  He said a recliner would make sure I stay on my back, so I thought I’d just sleep here.”

“Then I’ll just sleep here on the couch so I’ll be close if you need anything during the night.  I put a few things in my car for if I needed to stay.  I’ll go get them and then we’ll get you ready for bed.”

If there’s one thing I hate more than being sick, it’s the feeling of being helpless and Sandra wasn’t making that feeling go away.  I needed to be figuring out how to do things on my own again, but if she was there helping me, I couldn’t.  That was starting to irritate me a little.  I decided to spend the day tomorrow practicing standing up and sitting down so I could tell Sandra to leave.

Sandra came back inside carrying a blanket, a pillow, and a small bag.  She tossed the blanket and pillow on the couch, and then said she’d be right back.

She came out of my bathroom about ten minutes later.  Even though my chest and my leg were hurting a little, the pain didn’t distract me from how Sandra looked.

She wore pajamas - long pants and a short sleeved top made of some type of slippery fabric that were loose fitting -  but as she moved, they seemed to cling to her body.  I could tell she wasn’t wearing any type of bra because her breasts moved gently from side to side as she walked.  Her hips were another story altogether.  The pajama pants were anything but erotic.  What she did to them was.

“Your turn”, was what she said when she walked up to my chair.

I usually sleep naked, but I wasn’t about to do that with Sandra there.

“I think I’ll just sleep like this.”

She chuckled.

“Afraid of what I might see?  I was married once, remember?”

“Yes, I remember, but I don’t have any pajamas.”

“Oh…OK.  I’m not sleepy yet.  Let’s watch another movie.”

Half-way through that movie, I needed to take a whiz, and pulled my walker up in front of me.  I tried to pull myself upright like I’d done on the john in the hospital, but I was sitting so low in the recliner that when I pulled, the walker just rocked back on the feet in back.

Sandra watched me through four attempts and then giggled.

“Larry, what are you doing?”

“I’m trying to stand up, but this damned walker keeps tipping on me.”

“You need to use the bathroom?”

“Yeah.”

She stood up and held out her hands.

“Pull on me, Larry, and I’ll help you.”

By leaning back, Sandra could almost balance my weight, and after two tries, I got myself upright and holding onto the walker.  Getting to the bathroom was slow going, but I made it.  I was in front of the john before I realized my bathroom was different than the hospital one in more ways than just the height of the seat.  The john in the hospital had lots of room all around it so people in walkers or wheelchairs had some room to maneuver.

I could use the walker to get up to the john, but then the walker was in front of me.  Trying to turn the walker was useless, because between the vanity and the bathtub, there wasn’t enough room.  I tried pushing the walker so both legs straddled the john.  That worked except for the fact the john was pretty close to the bathroom closet wall.  The walker was offset enough I was going to have to stand at an angle in order to hit the bowl.

Getting my cock out through both the fly in my underwear and my pants was impossible with one hand, and I wasn’t steady enough yet to balance on one leg.  I also had another problem – Sandra had put the lid and seat down..

I was trying to figure out how to do both when I heard Sandra’s voice.

“Larry, do you need help?”

I suppose it’s a mental thing that when you have to pee and you get to a bathroom, the urge gets stronger.  By the time I’d gotten in there and managed to get myself in at least a possible position, my bladder was screaming at me.  Reluctantly, I gave in.

“Yes, I think I do.”

She walked into the bathroom grinning.

“See, I told you.  At least you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do with a cast like I had to.  What do you need help with?”

“Well, the seat and the lid are down for one thing.”

Sandra lifted the lid and seat and they hit the walker on the way up.

“Uh…Larry, I think you need to back up a little.”

I shuffled back far enough Sandra got the seat up, and then shuffled forward and turned so I was back in position.  I still had the problem of getting my cock out and I didn’t know how to ask Sandra to do that.  As it was, I didn’t have to.  She understood.

“I think I know what else you need help with.  I couldn’t get my panties down either at first.”

“Well, I usually just…well, I can’t do it with one hand.”

Sandra laughed.

“I’m not going to fish it out and hold it for you, but there is another way.  Just hold still.”

Sandra put her arms around me then, and I felt her unbuckling my belt.  I also felt her soft breasts pressing into my back a couple of times.  She slipped the belt from the buckle, then unsnapped and unzipped my pants.  

“Spread your legs a little Larry”, she said.

After I did, Sandra pulled my pants down to my ankles.  I felt her hook her thumbs in the waistband of my underwear, pull out and then pull down.  A second later, I was standing there with my ass hanging out in back and my cock hanging out in front.

“There you go”, Sandra said.  “I’ll just step outside unless you need more help.”

“No, I’m fine now.”

“OK, just let me know when you want your pants back on.”

She left and closed the bathroom door.  As I pointed my cock at the bowl and let fly, I remembered something I once read.  It was a statement to the effect that emptying his bladder was the second best feeling a man can have.  I felt the same way at that moment.

I finished and called to Sandra.  She opened the door and stepped in.

“All done?”

“Yes, for now.”

Sandra pulled my underwear back up.  My pants came next and I felt her breasts on my back again as she sipped them up and buckled my belt.  She stepped away then and opened the door all the way.

“OK, you’re all back together now.”

I thanked her and hobbled back to my chair, then turned the walker and myself around and fell back into the seat.  

I fell asleep sometime during the movie and woke up to the smell of coffee.  Sandra walked into the living room as I was stretching as much as my broken ribs would let me.  

“You had some eggs and a package of bacon.  How do you like your eggs?”

After we ate, Sandra said she had to leave for a while to run a couple of errands.  On her way out the door she reminded me to use my spirometer while she was gone.

My stomach was telling me it was getting to be time for lunch when Sandra came back.  She brought a few sacks of groceries, sat them on the floor, and then went back out to her car.  The box she dragged into the living room looked heavy.

“I’m sorry I’m so late, but I had to get something you’re going to need.  I know, because I needed one too.  It took longer than I expected to take mine apart and put it back in the box.”

She opened the box and started pulling out chrome plated tubes.

“This is a handrail for your potty.  At some point, you’re gonna have to sit down, and I don’t think you want me helping you with that.  This will help you sit down and then stand back up.  Now, as soon as I put it together, I’ll make us lunch.  I bought some cold cuts and chips, and some lettuce and dressing for salads.”

Sandra installed the handrail and showed me how to use it.  I had to back into my bathroom to do so and it required all my upper body strength to ease my ass down on the seat and then get back up, but at least I wouldn’t have to ask Sandra to help me.

Lunch tasted good.  The conversation was better, though I was still figuring out if I liked having Sandra there or not.  She was a take-charge kind of woman and I wasn’t sure I liked having her tell me what to do all the time. After we finished lunch she insisted I should take a nap, and when I woke up, asked if I’d used my spirometer while she was gone.  She was as bad as the nurses at the hospital.  She was just prettier and she always smiled.

Dinner was almost like eating in a restaurant.  Sandra broiled some chicken breasts and served them with mashed potatoes and green beans.  I was stuffed when I made my way back to my recliner.

After we’d watched another movie, Sandra brought out a sack from the kitchen.

“You can’t keep sleeping in your clothes, so I bought you these.”

She handed me a package.  It was a pair of blue-plaid pajamas.  I looked at her and smiled.

“How am I supposed to get these on?”

She smiled back at me.

“Well, the usual method is to take off all your clothes and then put the pajamas on.”

“I can’t do that with you watching.”

She shrugged.

“OK, go in your bedroom and do it.  I had to lay down on my bed to get my clothes off and my jammies on when I had my cast.  Try that.  When you’re ready to get back up, call me and I’ll come help you.”

I did manage it that night and every night afterward, though Sandra still had to help me get back on my feet.  She still had to help me up from the recliner too, but it was getting easier.  Either I was healing or the pain meds were working better, but pulling myself up didn’t seem to hurt quite as bad.  My leg didn’t hurt much either unless I tried putting all my weight on it.

Sandra stayed the week and slept on my couch.  She also made breakfast, lunch and dinner for us both.  When I was alone, dinner was usually something in a can or frozen.  I was a little worried that with all the food I was eating and how little I was exercising, I’d start gaining weight.

On Friday night, I figured out I could roll over and use the foot board on the bed to push myself almost upright, upright enough I could grab the handles of the walker and then stand up the rest of the way.  Sandra grinned when I shuffled back into the living room.

“You got back up by yourself.  That’s great.  I guess you won’t need me as much anymore now.”

“Well, you said you’d take a week off from work, and today’s the last day of that week.  I need to be getting more self-sufficient anyway.”

“I know the feeling.  I felt the same way after my accident.  I think I’ll stay Saturday and Sunday night though.  You still need help doing some things.”

Sandra did stay Saturday and Sunday night, and waved goodbye as she walked out my front door on Monday morning.  She said she’d be back to check on me after work and that she’d bring something for dinner.  I gave her my spare key so she could let herself in.  If she hadn’t had the key, she’d have to stand there on my front steps for the five minutes it took me to get up and get to the door.

That’s how it went the second and third week.  Sandra came back every evening about six with a pizza or some sort of take out.  She’d go home about ten.  On Wednesday’s, she’d come by about nine and take me to my appointment with the physical therapist and doctors and then take me home a couple hours later.  We’d also stop of at a grocery store on the way home so I could get enough food to last me through a week of breakfasts and lunches.  I didn’t ask how she got the time off for that.

It felt great to be mostly independent again.  I was getting around with the walker just fine, if a little slow, and I could put enough weight on my broken leg to balance well enough to do about anything.  I didn’t feel so great being alone.

When you live alone for a long time, you develop a routine to keep you busy.  During the week, I spent my free time watching TV or reading.  On the weekends, I did my shopping in the morning and then went fishing or to a flea market depending upon the weather.

During the week that Sandra spent with me, I didn’t do any of those things.  Instead, we’d talk about anything and everything under the sun.  I missed those conversations.  Sandra was an intelligent woman and very down to earth in what she thought.  Once she went back to work, I still couldn’t do any of the things I used to do.  I missed having her there if only to pass the time.  

By the fifth week, the physical therapist graduated me to a pair of crutches.  I was more mobile now.  I still couldn’t drive, but I could get in and out of a chair by myself.  I’d quit using the spirometer because it wasn’t a challenge anymore and the doctor said my ribs were doing fine.  I was down to taking regular over the counter pain relievers when I needed them.  I was also bored out of my skull.

Driving a patrol car has its boring moments, but at least there are things to look at, question if necessary, and then a course of action to decide.  What I had at home was the same walls and furniture, and the two biggest decisions I had to make was which TV channel to watch and when to use the bathroom.  Most of TV was either old movies I’d seen before or shopping channels geared toward women.  I didn’t really need the latest bra design or a zirconium ring or a new sweeper.

I tried taking naps.  That made the time pass during the day, but then I couldn’t sleep at night.  TV at night was worse than during the day.  It took a month to read every fishing magazine and book I had and I didn’t feel like reading them again for a while.  

The only bright hours in my day were between the time when Sandra came in and when she left.  We’d eat together and then talk about her day and mine.  Since mine didn’t change, we mostly talked about hers.  I envied her.  She’d had a broken leg but was only trapped at home for about two months, and that wasn’t really trapped.  She could still go places.  She just had to have someone drive her.  The doctors had told me it wouldn’t be advisable for me to do much except my exercises for another two months.  They’d evaluate my progress then and tell me what I could and couldn’t do.

A week into the second month, Sandra told me she’d be out of town for a week and wouldn’t be able to help me.

“I tried really hard to find someone else, but it’s a conference of hospital purchasing agents from all over the state and I have to go because I’ve worked with most of them before.  I’ll make sure you have enough food and some new magazines.  I checked your appointments and you only have one.  You’ll have to call a cab for that one, but you’ll get along just fine with your crutches.  I’m really sorry Larry, but there’s not much I can do about it.”

I told her I’d be fine and to have fun.  She kissed me on the cheek when she left.  I went to bed half an hour later.

That week was both great and miserable.  I had to do everything by myself and by Friday was feeling pretty good that I could manage on my own.  I could get out of my chair, fix my meals, and take a shower without help.  I got to my appointment without any problems at all, and the therapist said he was impressed by how quickly I was recovering.  The doctor said I could sleep any way I wanted, so that night, I slept in my bed.

The rest of the days and the nights were awful.  I felt like I’d lost part of me somewhere.  TV sucked for the most part.  I left it on so there would be something in the house besides silence, but I didn’t really watch it.  

I read and read and then read some more.  I scoured the internet for articles about fish and fishing.  By the end of the week, I knew how to fish for about every type of fish in the world, and I’d read six mystery novels.  I found myself watching the clock for six, and when it came, realizing Sandra wasn’t going to walk through my front door.  

She didn’t come back on Friday night either, but I knew she wouldn’t.  Her flight didn’t get in until late.  I waited up just in case, but at midnight, she still hadn’t come in.  I went into the bedroom, stripped naked, and went to sleep.

It was seven when I woke up, but I thought I was probably dreaming.  I smelled bacon frying.  I’d just started to get up when Sandra walked into the bedroom.  

“Sleeping in your bed, I see.”

“Yeah, the doctor said my ribs were about healed so I could sleep any way I wanted to.”

“Well, let’s get you up and into the kitchen so I can fry your eggs.”

Sandra reached for my hands and then frowned when I didn’t hold them out.

“Don’t need my help anymore do you?”

“Uh…it’s not that.  I just don’t have any clothes on.”

She grinned.

“That might be interesting.”

“Well, it might be interesting to you, but it would be embarrassing to me.  Go start the eggs.  I’ll be out as soon as I can get dressed.”

While we ate, Sandra told me she’d spend the day with me if that was OK.  I didn’t know what she had in mind, but nothing could have made me happier.  After being alone for a week, having her there again would be great.

“I’d love having you stay.  I’ve been going crazy here all by myself.”

Sandra laughed.

“I thought you wanted to be independent.  That’s what you said.”

“Well, I do like being independent, but I still can’t do what I used to do to pass the time.”

“And what would that be?”

“If it was a week day, I’d have been working.  If it was Saturday, I’d probably be fishing.  Sunday’s were usually one of the flea markets.  I like antique fishing tackle and sometimes I find lures and stuff there that they don’t make anymore.”

She smiled.

“I don’t think you have any business on a boat yet, but we could go to a flea market.  I sort of like them too.  I got some carnival glass from my mother and started adding to it.  It’s getting hard to find, but it does show up at flea markets once in a while.”

The flea market was great, but not because I found any fishing lures.  It was great because Sandra was there with me.  I realized that after the first half-hour, and kept thinking about it the rest of the day.  It did take all day because I still couldn’t move very fast and it was a big flea market.  We had a lunch of chicken and potato salad at a stand run by one of the local churches and then went back to walking the aisles of tables.  By four, I was tired, but I was really happy.  We stopped by a fast food burger place for dinner.

Sandra drove us back to my place and held my crutches while I got out of her front seat.  She smiled when I turned around.

“You’re doing great, Larry.  Pretty soon you won’t need me at all, will you?”

I didn’t know how to answer that question.  In truth, I didn’t need her to help me with anything at all now.  I’d managed just fine through the week even though I’d been bored.   I could probably find a way to occupy my time if I had to.

The problem was I didn’t want to find any way other than having her there.  I couldn’t very well tell her that.  She had better things to do than sit and talk to a cop who couldn’t walk without crutches.

“I suppose not.  I did OK this week.  It would have been better if I could drive, but I did OK.  You’re probably getting tired of looking after me anyway.”

“No, I’m not.  I know how hard it is to do things when you only have one strong leg, and I like watching how hard you try.  It’s more likely you’re tired of having me around so much.”

I couldn’t tell from her statement if she was looking for a reason to stop coming by every day or if she was looking for a reason she should.

“Well, as much as I want to do things myself, you are a lot of help.  There are some things I can’t do very well yet.”

Sandra smiled.

“Like what?”

“The worst is that I can’t drive myself anywhere, but there are other things too.  I can’t really bend over while I’m using my crutches and…well other things.  I can’t think of them right now, but there are other things.”

“I see.  OK, I’ll keep coming over at night to see if you’re OK.  I need to be going now, but you have another doctor’s appointment on Monday, right?”

“Yes, at three.”

“I’ll take the afternoon off so I can take you.”

Sandra kissed me on the cheek and left then.  She’d smiled when she said she’d keep coming by every night, but I wasn’t sure she really meant it.  The smile looked kind of funny.

Sunday was another flea market.  I liked walking the aisles of tables with Sandra.  It was good exercise for me, but mostly I just liked her being there.  We had a pizza for dinner and then she left about ten after promising to pick me up on Monday at two.

I had another X-ray at the doctor’s office, and after he’d looked at it for almost five minutes, sat down to explain my condition.

“Larry, your femur is nearly knitted back together and your leg looks like the physical therapy has kept up the muscle tone.  You can start walking with a cane if you’d like.  Just don’t get ahead of yourself and start weighting that leg all at once.  Take it gradually to give the new bone time to get stronger.  You can also start driving again.  Just try to avoid anything that might shock that leg.”

I asked when he thought I could go back to work.  He frowned.

“Larry, your Captain called me a week ago and asked the same question.  When I asked, he emailed me the physical requirements you’d have to meet.  I’m sorry, but it’s doubtful I’d ever be able to release you back to active duty as a police officer. I could release you to a desk job in a couple of months, but that’s about it.  I’ll know better in a month of so, but I don’t want you to get your hopes up.”

When I walked back into the lobby, Sandra smiled at me.  After seeing my face, she frowned.

“Something wrong, Larry?”

“You might say that.  He just told me I wouldn’t be able to go back to work.”

“You mean for a while longer, right?”

“No, I mean not ever unless it was on a desk.  I can’t do that.  I’d be bored out of my mind sitting at a desk all day long.”

Sandra stroked my arm.

“Well, doctors aren’t always right and maybe he’s just preparing you so you won’t be disappointed if you really can’t go back to work.  Ever think of that?”

“I don’t know.  He seemed pretty confident about what he was telling me.”

“Is that all he said?”

I shrugged.

“He said I could start using a cane and driving again, for all the good that’ll do.”

She patted my arm.

“That’s a start, isn’t it?  You’ll be able to go places by yourself again.  I was thrilled when I could do that.”

“I’m going to like doing that, but what am I going to do if I can’t be a cop again.  It’s all I know how to do.”

Sandra smiled.

“Let not talk about that here.  Let’s get a pizza and go back to your place.  We’ll talk some more there.”

The pizza was good, I guess, but I didn’t feel like eating.  It was like somebody had pulled the rug out from under me and I’d fallen flat on my face.  I’d dreamed for months about putting my uniform back on and going out on patrol again.  Now, that seemed like it would never happen.

We talked about my situation until almost ten.  Sandra tried to be sympathetic and again pointed out that the doctor might be wrong.  It did help some, but not enough.  Looking back now, I realize I was doing to myself what I hated other people doing to me.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  I think that made me feel as bad as anything.  Sandra understood.

“Larry, if you can’t go back to being a cop, I’m sure there are other things you can do.  Stop being so down on yourself and think about that.”

I sighed.

“I can’t think anymore tonight.”

“That’s OK.  We can talk some more tomorrow.  I uh…I thought I might spend the night here, if that’s OK.”

“Why?  I probably won’t need you for anything.”

“I don’t want you to wake up tomorrow morning all depressed again.  If I’m here, I can try to cheer you up.”

I smiled.

“I suppose you have what you need in the car, like the first time you stayed over?”

Sandra looked at the floor.

“Well, I did call the receptionist at your doctor’s office and ask her how you were doing.  She transcribes the doctor’s notes, so she knew what he was probably going to tell you.  She told me and I figured you might need some company tonight.  I brought everything I thought I might need.”

“So you already knew?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?  I’d have at least been prepared.”

“I promised Maxine I wouldn’t.  She’d have gotten fired if the doctor knew she’d told me.”

“Then all the talk about the doctor being wrong and maybe I could go back to work was just to make me feel better?”

“Well, yes.  I’m sorry, Larry.  I just thought you’d be down when you heard it and I wanted to help you feel better, like you did when you held my hand in the car that night.”

I was mad at Sandra and I was happy with her at the same time.  I wasn’t sure what I should say, so I didn’t say anything.  I just looked at her.

She looked up and tried to smile.

“Did it work, even a little?”

The look in her eyes told me she was looking for me to say it had.  Since she had made me feel a little better, I said yes.  She smiled for real then.

“I really hoped it would.”

“It didn’t help much, but it helped a little.”

“I’m so happy it did.  Now, it’s late.  Let’s get ready for bed.  You first, because I need to use your bathroom when you’re done.”

I was in bed when I saw the light in the bathroom turn off.  I was still pissed, but knowing Sandra was there on my couch again made it a little better.  Maybe I would be able to think straighter in the morning, and if she was there, she could help me talk through everything again and find an answer.  

I heard the soft pad of bare feet on my bedroom floor as I was trying to think of what else I could do to earn a living.  I looked at the door but couldn’t see anything in the dark.

“Sandra?”

The mattress moved when she sat down.

“I forgot my pillow.  I thought maybe I could borrow one of yours tonight.”

“Well, sure you can.”

“I reached for the other pillow.  Sandra touched my arm and stopped me.

“I thought I could maybe borrow a blanket too?”

“Sure. My extra blankets are in the closet.”

“I thought I could maybe use the same blanket you’re using.  I’d really like it if I could.”

“Like in bed with me?”

“Yes, like that.”

“Is this just another plan to cheer me up?”

“No.   It’s a plan to cheer me up.  I missed you last week, and I realized it wasn’t just because I wasn’t here to help you.  I know I’m assuming a lot, but I thought…I hoped maybe you felt something too.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that?”

“I didn’t know how.  I mean you’ve never said anything about liking me so I didn’t know.  I just thought…I guess I didn’t think enough.  I’ll just go sleep on the couch.”

“No.  Don’t go.  Not after telling me all that.  Come here.”

I sat up and reached in the direction of her voice.  I felt the bare skin of her hip.

“Sandra, are you naked?”

“Yes.  I sort of forgot my pajamas too.”

“Get in bed.  I need to tell you something.”

I pulled back the blanket and sheet.  Sandra sat down beside me.

“What did you want to tell me?”

“That week you were gone was hell.  I didn’t need your help, like you said, but I did need you.  I still do.  I don’t want to go through another week like that…without you I mean.”

Sandra stretched out on her back beside me, felt for my hand, and pulled it to her bare breast.

“Show me how much you need me.”

After I laid down beside her, she slipped her arm over my chest and pulled herself tight against me. I felt her smooth thigh sliding over mine and then the brush of soft hair as she pressed her mound into my leg.  I kissed her then.

I’d forgotten how erotic a woman can be.  The few women I’d been with before had been arousing, but that’s not the same thing as erotic.  Sandra wasn’t just lying there and letting me excite her like most women I’d been with.  She was exciting us both.

She kissed with her mouth open and her little tongue searching for mine.  Her hand stroked my back and then my hips as she rubbed her mound against my thigh.  She gasped when I gently fondled her breast, and then gasped again when I lightly stroked her nipples.

“Oh God, Larry.  I’ve wanted you to do that for so long.”

I got lost in Sandra that night.  Every touch to her body caused another stroke to my back or a little moan, and every stroke and moan only increased my need for her.  It wasn’t a need for sex, though that need was definitely there.  It was a feeling of…being one together is the only way I can describe it.  I didn’t need to have her tell me what she wanted.  Somehow, I just knew.  

I didn’t tell her what I wanted either, because she was doing it by the time I thought of it.  When I needed to kiss her, Sandra’s mouth would already be on mine, making love to my lips with hers.  When I thought about how great her hands would feel on my cock, I felt them there, slowly stroking my shaft.

Sandra was ready for me before I thought she would be.  I’d just slipped my hand over her hip and between her thighs when she murmured, “I need you so much.”

Her soft lips were wet on the outside when I touched them, and when I slipped a fingertip between them, she was warm, wet, and slippery.  I slipped a finger into her passage then, and she moaned.

“Larry, I can’t wait.  Lay still.”

Sandra rolled on top of me and eased her body down.  I felt my cock head brushing soft hair and then the wet warmth of her lips as she moved her body to position it.  She sighed as my cock slipped into her passage and eased her body down on my chest.

With short strokes, Sandra impaled herself on my rigid cock, short strokes that inched my length inside her a little at a time.  My body was telling me to ram it inside her, but I resisted.  What she was doing had filled my mind with sensations I’d never felt before and I didn’t want them to end.

When her lips pressed softly on the base of my cock, Sandra sat back up and began rocking her body over my length.  That feeling came back again.  We weren’t having sex.  It was much more than just sex.  It was Sandra pleasuring us both with her snug, slippery passage and rocking hips.  It was me pleasuring us both with my fingertips stroking her nipples and cupping her hips.  It was Sandra matching my need with hers and her need with mine.

I felt the little contractions around my cock just as Sandra began to breathe faster.  Her hips began rocking faster then and I couldn’t stop myself from lurching up as she came down.  The first time, Sandra gasped.  The second, she started to pant.

She didn’t tell me she was almost there.  I knew because I felt the first wave make her shudder.  She pushed herself down over my cock then, and I felt a stronger contraction.  I couldn’t have held back then if my life had depended on it.  I felt the first spurt shoot out of my cock.  Sandra threw her head back and cried out a second later.  I got lost in the sensations of the contractions that gripped my stroking cock and the sensations of my own orgasm.

Sandra rocked her hips up and down over my cock as she cried out again, and then eased down on my chest.  I felt her breasts flatten against me as she nestled her cheek against mine.

“Larry, I’ve wanted this since you started helping me.  Now that it has, I don’t think I can give you up.”

I stroked the round curve of her hip and then squeezed it gently.

“I don’t think you’ll ever have to.”

Sandra was smiling at me when I opened my eyes the next morning.

“Feeling any better?  I am.”

“I’m feeling great about you.  I’m not so great about my job.”

She smiled.

“I’ll make us some french toast for breakfast.  Then, we’ll talk some more.

We did talk some more that morning, and every morning and evening after that, because Sandra moved in with me the next day.  She was still gone during the day, but it was fantastic knowing she’d walk through the door about six and we’d spend the evening together. We didn’t have sex every night, but just feeling and hearing her in the bed beside me was about as good as I figured any man deserved.

I hadn’t forgotten about what the doctor told me about being released for work.  During the day, I racked my brain for what I was going to do once he pronounced me well again.  When that day came, the doctor’s release plainly stated I could do anything that didn’t involve running or jumping.  Since both were a requirement of the physical test I’d have to pass to remain an officer, my police career was over.

We had dinner that night, and afterward, sat down on the couch with a cup of coffee.  I suppose I was whining like some snot-nosed kid.  Sandra stopped me after I’d done that for a few minutes.

 “Larry, you wouldn’t have listened to me two months ago, so I didn’t say anything, but sometimes, things that seem really bad turn out to be for the best.  That’s what happened to me.”

“Did you lose your job too?”

“No.  I lost my husband.  It was a car accident, and that’s why I was so scared that night.  I was sure I was going to die like he did.”

“I’m sorry.  I knew you’d been married, but not why you aren’t now.”

“It’s OK.  I still think about him sometimes, but he’s gone now.”

“How did that turn out for the best?”

“Harold owned his own company – a small company that sold medical supplies – and I used to help him so I learned the business. I found out I liked selling things, so I started making sales calls for him.  When he died, I inherited the company and decided to keep it.  I run it now, but I’m still the salesperson.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and the money’s pretty good.

“You should look at working in sales.  It’s not physically hard and once customers get to know you, you’d do pretty well I think.”

Sandra grinned.

“You’re a pretty likeable guy when you’re not complaining.”

“What would I sell.”

“Well, who would know how to sell stuff to cops better than another cop?  I wouldn’t know where to start, but you know everything they need and how to use it.”

Most of my experience with actual sales people was when I shopped for a car.  Their standard “How can I help you” always really meant “How can I help you spend more money than you’d planned so my commission will be bigger”, and I hated dealing with them.  I couldn’t see myself doing that to people.  Sandra had an answer.

“Sales doesn’t have to be like that, and that’s not how I sell things.  I make sales by understanding what my customers need and showing them how what I’m recommending fits that need.”

“I don’t know.  The department specifies everything by acceptable brand and model number, and they’re pretty much locked into a few suppliers.  It would be about impossible to get them to change that.”

She smiled.

“Well, there’s another thing you know a lot about.  You could sell fishing stuff.”

The next day while Sandra was gone, I thought about her suggestions.  The cop thing was probably a no-go.  I might be able to find a sales job with one of the big suppliers of police gear, but there weren’t any in the city.  I’d have to relocate and that would mean leaving Sandra.  Starting my own was pretty much out of the question.  I would be getting partial disability from the city because of my injuries, but I didn’t have enough money to stock much inventory.  If I convinced a police department to change, they’d want the merchandise before they paid for it.  They wouldn’t pay up-front so I could order from the manufacturers and then ship it to them.

The fishing thing was a little more possible, but when I thought about it, wasn’t such a good idea either.  The big box stores have prices that are hard to beat unless you order on-line.  Then there was the inventory problem again.  

I was staring at the wall of the spare bedroom I use for my den and trying to think of another way to make a living.  I had several of my antique fishing lures hanging on a plaque on that wall and they made me think

Most I’d picked up at flea markets for next to nothing, but they were getting harder to find and more expensive when I did find them.  The reason, from what I’d read in my fishing magazines, was that collecting old fishing tackle was a hobby more and more people were enjoying.  They were driving the price up and taking the equipment off the market.

Maybe there was something there.  I wouldn’t want to sell my own collection, of course, but if I could find enough old tackle, I could sell it on one of the on-line auction sites.  Finding it would be the problem.

That afternoon, I hit two flea markets and came home with four wood fishing lures in pretty good shape, a couple that weren’t, and an ancient bamboo fishing rod the shop owner thought was junk.  I took pictures of everything and put them on one of the on-line auction sites.

That night, after Sandra gasped out an orgasm that matched the one I’d felt, she snuggled up beside me.

“Mmm…when it happens like that, I’m almost happy I had that car accident.  If that hadn’t happened, I’d never have met you.”

I stroked the soft breast that was pressing into my chest.

“I know what you mean.  You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Sandra nibbled my ear lobe.

“Feeling better about yourself?”

“Yes, I think so.  I did something today to find out.”

I told Sandra about what I’d done.  She was happy.

“I’m glad you tried something.  I was starting to worry about you.”

“We’ll see if there’s any money in it or not.  I hope there is.”

“The Old Angler” was formed a month later and is doing pretty well.  After finding the prices at flea markets just kept going up, I decided to eliminate them. Sometimes that means garage sales, but I also advertise on-line.

Because I still had a lot of time on my hands, I tried building a web site.  It isn’t great yet, but it works and it’s getting better.  On my web site and on a couple of others, I advertise that I buy old fishing tackle. In a city of this size, there are a lot of kids with their hands full of Dad’s or Grandpa’s fishing stuff they don’t want.  My on-line ads bring in stuff from other cities and states too.  Some of it is junk, but I find enough that with my partial disability, I make about the same income I made as a police officer.

Sandra and I are doing even better.  She’s sort of turned my life upside-down, but in a good way.  When she was helping me do what I couldn’t, it was OK.  I didn’t like being dependent on her, but I couldn’t do much about that.  When she left me alone for a week, I realized I liked having here there just to have her there.  Now, I can’t imagine not feeling her snuggle up to my side at night, or watching her make our breakfast wearing nothing but one of my shirts.

On most Saturdays when the weather is good, we take my boat out and do some fishing.  Sandra wears a little bikini then, so I miss a lot of fish but I don’t mind.  Even though I know what’s under that bikini, seeing her in that little top and bottom makes me want her.  If my boat had a cabin, we probably wouldn’t get any fishing done.

We’ve talked about marriage, but I need to be on better footing financially before I do something like that.  Sandra says she makes enough to support us, but I could never let her do that.  She wants children and so do I.  Once that happens, she’ll have to stop making sales calls.  I need to be able to pay the bills when she does.

It’s strange how life works sometimes.  If the guy had just played it cool that rainy night, I’d have never met Sandra.  If the guy in that pickup hadn’t been in such a hurry, she’d never have stayed with me long enough for me to realize she was more than just someone helping me.  I guess what Sandra says is true.  Sometimes bad things that happen do turn out for the best.

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