I don’t remember how I ended up in this hospital. I’m sure I was riding my bike, either going down a straight, steep road or standing up on the main horizontal frame of my bike, or maybe, I was doing my most daring trick: going fast and straight, ignoring a stop sign to cross the widest boulevard in my small town. I only perform this trick at night, when there’s not a lot of traffic. I have fun taking risks, but I’m not stupid.
At the present time, my entire body hurts, according to my pain level; I can guess I was run over by an eighteen wheeler. I can’t move, my body feels numb, I think my body’s still scared of what happened in the accident but I’m only guessing. I still don’t know why I’m here. My thoughts are not clear at all. I can’t even remember my name, but that doesn’t worry me a great deal. I’m alive and complete, I think.
The room is cold and clean. Like a room that was made to last a hundred years, and everything in it too. I wonder how many people have died on this bed. I hope I’m not one of them. I don’t have any experience on this, but I think I won’t die this time, or any time soon. I can barely move, but I have enough energy to bend my head to check if I still have my four extremities, thank God, I do. I just found out another thing, I believe in God, or at least I’m a little religious. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad. I guess that’s good. I guess I’ll be doing a lot of guessing in the next few days, which is good, because that means I’ll be alive for at least a few more days, I guess.
I must have hit my head and lost a million brain cells or more, I hope I still have some left. I’m so confused, I don’t even know my age, or even worse, I don’t even know whether I’m a man or a woman. Now, that’s a scary thought. Instinctively, and with great effort I decide to investigate, and with my right hand I check for my sex. Since I can barely move, it gives me time to analyze what I wish to be, and what I wish to find. It feels like a great privilege, like being born again, but this time they give me a choice of the sex I want to be, or the sex I want to have. When I reached my object, or my subject, I feel satisfied to find a dick. I immediately decide that I’m not a vulgar person and instead I call “it” a penis. I wonder what I would have done if I had found a vagina in there. I would probably have masturbated it, like if it wasn’t mine. Even for a dream, this is confusing. But I’m a man and that makes me happy, but I’m not going to play with myself, not yet, because I’m too weak now. I’m glad I’m not a woman, because they get things introduced in their different orifices, and I find that very disturbing and discomforting. Thank you God for making me a man.
The nurse still doesn’t know that I’m back, awake, or that I just regained my consciousness. My guess is that she is Hispanic or Latina or Mexican. She is young and cute. She’s checking on some plastic bags with liquids in them, hanging from a metal stand next to the bed. I was going to say “next to my bed”, but it isn’t mine. Then a person wearing a white robe opens the door, I guess he’s the doctor. He begins to talk to the nurse, but they ignore the most important person in the room, which is me, the patient. And I decide to leave the room, and fall asleep.
My confusion keeps increasing. I’m in another world, and I guess this is the real world, but I don’t like it either. Somebody is chasing me. I’m probably inside a book, or in somebody’s dream. It could be my own dream.
Right after I fell from my bike, the asphalt road turned into a jungle. And someone who seems to be a Spanish conqueror is after me, chasing me, and he doesn’t seem to have good intentions. It appears that for some reason he's trying to kill me, and if he’s a Spanish conqueror, I might be an Aztec warrior. I decide to call him Cortez. And if he’s Cortez, I might be Moctezuma. And I like the idea. As soon as I decided to be Moctezuma my fears disappear. Cortez, despite his name, is not polite, and also despite his cannons, his soldiers, and his gun, he will not conquer me, because this is my jungle, my Empire, and my dream.
The doctor, who by the way, has a nice red beard, asks me to tell him from one to ten, what level of pain I’m feeling. I say four, but I lie, because I prefer a little pain on this bed, than to be wrong about Cortez and his cannons, even if I awake with a vagina instead of a dick, I mean a penis. Then the doctor reduces the IV drip rate that controls the morphine, or pain killer medication, or anesthesia, or whatever it is that knocks me unconscious and sends me to dream land. The liquid runs straight from the plastic bag to my weak and vulnerable mind/brain and gives me unpleasant and hallucinating images/thoughts/dreams.
After a while the pain returns and I decide to doctor myself and control my increasing pain by accelerating the pain killing drops of the miracle drug. Even just mentioning too many times the word “pain” in my brain increases my pain. The pain is not concentrated in a specific point in my body, and if it is, it must be in my brain, but my whole body aches. Then, it seemed that somebody pressed the pause button, and I immediately got transferred to la-la land and found Cortez behind my tail.
If I remember the story right, according to the Spanish conquerors, Moctezuma was killed, stoned by his own people on a balcony in his palace. On the other hand, the indigenous accounts claim that he was killed by the Spanish. Either way, Cortez will not succeed on his attempt to kill me this time. Just in case, while I run almost unconcerned, (now that I remember the outcome of the story) I pick some coca leaves, and place them in my mouth, to put more distance between Cortez and me. If I’m carrying the effects of the morphine or hallucinatory drugs from the hospital bed to my dream, I might be also able to carry the effects of the coca leaves from the jungle to my hospital room. Does it make sense? Yes it does. This is the best movie I’ve seen all year. I wish I could remember the whole thing and be able to write it all down when this is over.
I only hear the usual noises from the animals in the jungle, I think I lost Cortez. The chase was on my favor from the beginning. Cortez didn’t have any advantage riding his mighty horse in this thick vegetation. I don’t know why Cortez is so persistent to kill me; we already gave him most of our gold, which is useless to us, in exchange they gave us some cheap trinkets and mirrors, which are also useless to us. But I wish I could keep this beautiful medallion hanging from my neck. I’m used to it now. It feels good bouncing on my chest; it seems that my heart and the medallion are having a conversation, while running to escape from the villain in my dream.
For a moment I wonder if my temporary demented mind is confounding the reality with the dream. Could it be that the jungle is real, and the hospital bed is my dream? But it can’t be, because if I’m Moctezuma, I can’t have any knowledge about hospitals and hallucinatory drugs. But actually, the Aztecs did have these two things too. Can you hallucinate about things that don’t exist? I guess you can. But can you imagine an Aztec warrior riding a bike? I need to discard these absurd thoughts; they’re too bizarre, even for a nightmare.
Digging in the archives of my mind, while trying to refresh my knowledge about Cortez and Moctezuma, another character shows up, “La Malinche”. I think that by thinking about my dreams when I’m not dreaming I’m feeding more material to my brain to continue dreaming. If I’m not wrong, La Malinche was an indigenous native who acted as an interpreter, advisor and lover to Cortez, she was also known as Doña Marina.
The chase finished abruptly, when I reached the end of the Jungle and the shore of the lake. I wasn’t afraid, because I knew that wasn’t the place where I would die. But I wished that nobody would change the history. Cortez had many men with him, and I was alone. I knew that if the fight could be one on one, I would destroy him. But conquerors and villains are never alone.
He brought me back to Tenochtitlan, to my palace and my people. Along the way, I kept hearing voices from the hospital, mixing the dream with the reality, unable to concentrate on neither of them. I could hear the doctor and the nurse, while at the same time I was listening to Cortez leading me to my palace. Cortez was trying to persuade me to talk to my people and convince them to give up our arms, to avoid more bloodshed. While on the other scene the doctor was chasing the nurse around my bed trying to convince her to give him a kiss. It was obvious that the amorous relationship had started recently.
It was hard to concentrate. If I can be a little dramatic, I thought I was fighting for my life on two fronts at the same time. Without knowing which one was my real life. It might be very clear to you, but it was very unclear to me. If I had a choice, I would prefer to be left alone.
But I enjoyed the fact that I was (semi) unconscious most of the time. And that I had the ability to jump from one place to the other, if I was in pain, I could medicate myself and go back to the jungle. If the drug wore off, I could return for more. I didn’t have any idea how long I had been there. I had no notion of time or space.
I returned chained and ashamed to my palace and my people. I felt ashamed because I was captured without a fight. La Malinche bows to Cortez and ignores me, and I feel abandoned by my people too. When Cortez pushes me to the main balcony of my palace, I know the end is getting near. And I disappear from there, hoping to never comeback. The pain is too painful.
I came to the resolution to take the pain the natural way. I asked the doctor if he could remove the painkillers, and he agreed.
Then he called the nurse.
Then he called the nurse.
“Marina, please remove the IV unit away from him.”
“Yes, Dr. Cortez.” she answered.
Then, it all made sense to me.
Lancaster, Ca. 01-14-2015