I had it all planned out. The plan was…not to have a
plan. I was going to just stroll around Times Square, taking in the sights,
maybe pop in a store or two. Then grab dinner at the famous Joseph’s and
afterward, walk across the street to the hotel. Hunker down and get blog posts
written for my soon-to-be released, What the Monkey Saw.
Alas. Sometimes even the best laid plans just don’t work
I’m the president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery
Writers of America. The weekend of January 13 through January 15, the Mystery
Writers of America (MWA) held its annual board meeting and board orientation
for new members. Since MWA’s executive offices are located in NYC, the board
meeting is held in the heart of the Big Apple. Like at a fancy hotel square in
the middle of Times Square.
It’s a grand event. And I’ll go every year I’m president of the southeast chapter. As long as it’s not on Friday the 13th ever again.
It started with a horrific flight from North Carolina to
NYC. Total airtime was 49 minutes. Not too bad, right? Except when those 49
minutes are spent in wave after wave of turbulence so bad the flight attendants
remained buckled up the entire flight. The landing had more ups and down than a
toddler in a bouncy house.
I had my trusty motion-sickness pills with me so that
wasn’t the problem. The problem was chronic dehydration. So during the time I
planned to stroll around Times Square, I was going by ambulance from the
airport, through Queens to the New York Presbyterian Emergency Room.
And that’s where the story gets fun. Remember the great
NBC drama, E.R.? Yeah, multiple that by about a thousand and you might have a
few minutes of what it was like in the emergency room of a major hospital in
Queens on a Friday the 13th.
And I was right in the heart of it. I mean like in the
heart of it. Like my “bed” was shoved against the wall of the hallway from the
ambulance bay to the trauma room. The foot of my bed kept getting bumped
whenever a doctor, nurse, cop, tech…anyone would shove through the swinging
I was all squished down under about a dozen blankets
because my bed was right at the trauma door and directly across from the trauma
door was the ambulance bay doors which were continually swinging open and it
was like minus 80 degrees outside with a windchill of 480 degrees below zero.
Maybe I exaggerated those numbers but that’s what it felt like.
Anyway, back to the trauma doors. In comes this
stretcher complete with an EMT on top of and trying to hold down the guy being
transported. After the EMT hopped off, about five or six, or maybe upwards of
100, NYPD took over.
The guy was not being very cooperative. In fact, he was
rather combative. It might have been because he was cold. He was wearing only a
pair of plaid, pajama pants. Or it might have been the gunshot wound to his
left arm, or the stab wound to his right side, or maybe all the abrasions to
his face. One of the NYPD officers was reciting the list of injuries to the
trauma doctor and the injured guy kept interrupting. And trying to get off the
stretcher, saying he didn’t want to go to the hospital. Keep in mind the foot
of the stretcher was barely inside the doors from the ambulance bay––in fact,
some of the NYPD gathered at the stretcher were outside the hallway, in the bay,
keeping the swinging doors open––while the head of the stretcher was right at
my feet just inches away from pushing through the trauma area’s swinging doors.
And all this was happening in the hallway. I hadn’t even
made it to a “curtain” yet. I’ll save that and the real fun stuff for a later
post. It does involve an injured Corrections Officer and a swarm of peers from
Rikers, a lady reciting poetry with a very loud, nasally voice, doctors and
nurses having to climb over stretchers to get to the second or third row of
stretchers, and a fire alarm.
I think it was somewhere around 10:00PM when I got to the hotel. I put my jammies on, ordered room service, and called it a day. An eventful day.