An insurer of Hiram Wible & Sons Trucking Company ordered a full investigation into details of the tractor-trailer accident that nearly took the life of Dave Doolittle. A faulty pressure valve over one of several air-breaks was deemed the cause of the accident, but paperwork pointed to carelessness of the driver. Susie Bear, the little girl running in a snow covered cornfield along the Pennsylvania Turnpike was not mentioned in police reports, even though it was her hand gestures that triggered the spill of the precious Christmas cargo being hauled out of Hershey.
A pink slip was mailed to the post office box in Three Springs where Dave considered his official residence to be. He picked up his mail upon release from the emergency room of a nearby hospital, and read the terrible news while still suffering pain from torn tendons, black and blue marks and several deep cuts that required stitches.
Using the sharp edge of a curled lid from a can of soda, Dave removed the stitches on his forearm. He achingly scraped away mounds of healing, yellow and white flesh overriding the sutures, and made his way deep into healthier, red meat, until finally, blood ran. From elbow to fingertip and with the efficiency of a seamstress, he tore away the seam upon his arm, releasing a hem of blocked nerve energy, resulting in a bloody mark on his arm resembling the shape of Japan or California, depending from which angle the self-infliction was examined.
The county sheriff, on his way into the post office was the first to notice the deranged, homeless man. He called for emergency assistance and moments later, the siren atop the volunteer fire and ambulance house in Three Springs signaled three rings, not eight—a warning to volunteer ambulance drivers who lived in town to assemble immediately, for their help was needed.
Dave, at a loss for words to describe his current situation, remained silent and motionless as a crew of three women—Pam Hoffman, Deb Shope and Barbie Walker slowly approached him outside the post office. Pam Hoffman kicked over a half-empty can of soda on the ground and the contents mixed with Dave’s blood and the puddle of type A positive fizzled in a shade of pink. Dave looked upon it in wonder—a sign perhaps of what was to come. Inside the ambulance his legs ached terribly. It seemed they had been amputated.
For ten years the image of sweet blood caked Dave Doolittle’s sad, crusty eyes. Never truly awake, nor able to sleep, he sat motionless for a decade with anger boiling deep within. His very being was being ripped to shreds. It felt as if drops of acid were being released inside his soul—he waited for death—it never came—just the thought of boiling blood inside of him as he remained trapped, under careful observation, in a state psychiatric institution.
“Water,” was the only word he mumbled to his doctors over the decade as they attempted to evaluate him further to assess the effectiveness and dosages of his medications. Always he was given a cup of water to wash down his pills, and always Dave spoke the word “Water,” as if asking for more, but when offered another cup, he simply looked away. Staff didn’t realize that all Dave Doolittle needed to overcome ten years of shock and trauma was a good hot bath.
The showers inside the facility were like the showers at Dachau to Dave, as he remembered visiting the World War II facility during his time in the Army while stationed in Bavaria. Although the showers inside that particular concentration camp had never been used, Dave remembered smelling gas during the tour, and mentioning the scent to his Army buddies. When the soldiers asked the tour guide why there was the smell of gas in the air, the German tour guide replied, “Sie sind es imagining.”