This post is continued from Part 2. (Obviously).
To this day, I don't remember the fangs digging into my flesh. The next thing I knew, I lay in a hospital bed, my right arm enveloped in dressings. It seemed as though I could barely string two coherent thoughts together. Physical movement proved nigh impossible. Pain shot through my head like a high-speed drill when I attempted to lift my right arm. Even my left arm seemed reluctant to obey my commands. I managed to lift it an inch or two, but the effort left me breathless, the room swimming. After awhile, a nurse entered the room. I could only listen as she told me that hikers had happened upon our still bodies several hours ago. The good Samaritans had called for emergency services, and in due course we had been airlifted to this hospital.
As incredible as it seemed, both of us had received antivenom within the critical six-hour time window. I might experience a rash, but that was a small price to pay in comparison to losing my arm or death. After assuring me that Turk was also doing fine, I promised her I would rest. I stared at the white walls, and thought of watching TV, as that usually relaxs me. But I couldn’t reach for a remote control, and then I realized that I didn’t have a television. Not even pictures adorned the white walls. My thoughts felt like minnows swimming through sludge, so I closed my eyes, and after awhile drifted off to sleep.
Imagine my surprise when I awoke to stare up at the interior of our tent. Outside, Turk was yelling at me to wake up. Amid his cursing, I heard the sounds of equipment being hurriedly packed away, the impact of containers hitting his tailgate, and their screeching as he dragged them across the rusty and pitted bed of his truck. I crawled out of my sleeping bag, and found my right arm unbound and unblemished. It seemed...incredible.
My head ached as I moved, and once or twice I found myself staring at the tent, or the floor, but Turk's curses, and the occasional shout of my name, helped me pull all my clothes on, in the proper order. Eventually.
I unzipped my tent and stepped out to find that Turk had collapsed his tent, and was hurriedly rolling it up. The synthetic fabric resisted his efforts, bunching up, and trapping unwanted air inside it. The containers holding our observation equipment were already strapped down in the back of the pickup. “What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“What’s wrong?” Turk paused in his rolling to straighten and press down the dense, folded-over layers of fabric. “You know what day it is?”
I blinked, glanced down at my watch. It took a moment for my brain to make the connection. Tuesday. Tuesday? We had arrived on Friday afternoon. We should have left Sunday afternoon. We always left Sunday afternoon, after a long morning of observation and a late lunch. Where had the weekend gone?
I stared again at my right arm. No puncture marks from fangs, needles or IVs. Yet we had set up our observation post on Friday afternoon. We had spotted those two male Condors competing for the female’s attention, and the other one that had looked on. And the puma. And the snake. But then, what of the hospital we had woken up in? If it had all been a dream, it should only be Saturday morning. Where had those three extra days gone?
This entry will continue in Men in Black: The Condor Incident Part 4.