“Be my friend,” was the last thing he said before the fist made contact with his cheek. At first contact he felt nothing, but as his mind emptied came pain and watering eyes. The next blow was similar but with the third strike pain was constant and building. How many fists? He felt gravel on his face; he had fallen to the ground. Had he fallen? Suddenly a new sickening pain like boiling vomit in his throat was tearing him free from his spine. It was a sneakered foot kicking into his stomach displacing his innards, making them jelly. All he wanted was a friend and that would be his last thought for a month as consciousness was stomped from his mind.

There was a hole in his head; they said it was to relieve pressure. There were tubes in his chest and in his nose and one in his penis to carry away urine. The machines that beeped had been switched off one by one and now they were taking out the tubes, all the while telling him to relax. The next morning a man came in after breakfast, “Its time to get you on your feet. Take it easy and just walk beside me. I’m going to be your new best friend.”