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Day OneTo Gabriel Ricard's next piece

Ride Forward!

Don't take this personally Nancy, but I've always had a hard time trusting nurses. I think it was because of my mom. She spent the last two months of her life in this very hospital. I was only seven at the time and didn't really understand things like cancer. The only thing my Dad would tell me about it is "She's sick Molly, what else can I say?" So for some reason, I blamed the nurses. God knows what got in my head and convinced me they were killing my mom when I wasn't around. I know that doesn't sound very fair to everyone in the field but it was just some little resentment that stayed with me all my life. You understand don't you?

Of course you do. We've only known each other for a couple of days. I knew you were the kind of person who made a living out of listening the moment you came in to check on me. It didn't take me long to realize how well you understood me. I'll admit that's never been an easy thing task. You remind me of this older sister I used to make up in my head when I was little. At least the listening part feels the same.

Don't think I'm so doped up I can't see you glancing at you're watch. I know, I know, you've got rounds to make. Though what sites await you at 1 a.m. I would not begin to guess. Just give me a few more minutes, please? This is something I need to get off my mind.

Thanks. You know, you're going to be the first person I tell.

My husband, his name is Ted and I don't think you've met him, has this dream of making it big as a filmmaker. We've only been married for seven years but I know it's been what he wanted to do since he was a kid. If you ever met him, you would just sense it from the way he talks about his ideas and what he wants to do. It's all that ever interests him. I used to worry that he loved movies more than he loved me, but when I realized that was true I stopped caring. I know he cares about me a lot and that's all that matters in the end right?

He's tried to submit scripts to major studios, horror movies and romantic comedies, but no one has called back. Personally, I think they're really good. I didn't watch movies much until I married Ted but in the last few years, I've probably seen hundreds. There's no comparison between those and the ideas Ted comes up with. I'll show one to you sometime. He was getting really discouraged until a few months ago, when he told me he had a new idea.

You don't need to go out for a cigarette. Just smoke in here. I've seen nurses on the nightshift smoke in the hallways.

Anyway, he said that he was going to do an independent picture. I was surprised, he had always said that he would never do a low budget movie because he felt that was too far at the bottom for ideas like his. I guess he realized that even the most talented people have to start somewhere.

I asked him to tell me more. All he would say is that I would find out later.

That night, in our tiny little room, barely enough room for the bed, we were fooling around. Ted was kissing down my chest when he stopped right in the middle of my stomach. He leaned over to the side of the bed and pulled out a pair of handcuffs. He'd never wanted to do anything like that before, but I didn't have a problem with it. I was taught to obey the man I married so I let him cuff me to the headboard. He got off the bed completely and stood over me, smiling. I smiled back and why wouldn’t I? Ted and I were going to do something we had never done before. I asked him what was next and he didn't say anything. He turned and walked out of the bedroom. I was alone for ten or so minutes and to be honest Nancy, I was starting to get a little worried. I trusted Ted and still do, but I didn't know why he left without a word. After those few minutes, he came back in. I didn't scream when I saw his brother Chris following him. I just asked Ted what this was all about. He finally answered me, explaining that we were going to shoot a scene for his new movie. I had no idea that I was even going to be in it. Though Ted had often told me that when he made succeeded as a filmmaker, he would always cast me as the star or a strong supporting character.

You know how much I want Ted to be happy Nancy, so obviously I didn't say anything else. Even when I noticed Chris holding a video camera and a gunny sack that was moving constantly. When I mentioned it, Ted replied in his usual thousand-miles-away voice to "hold my horses." Mumbling this then asking Chris to point the camera at me and make sure he got the whole bed too. Ted took the sack from Chris and brought it to the foot of the bed.

He looked me right in the eye and said, "Now don't freak out on me Molly. Just remember this is a very controlled setting."

He turned around and told Chris to start shooting as soon as he was out of the way. He pulled the string apart and flipped the bag over, dumping its contents onto the bed. Ted always knew how scared I was of rats, so I guess that's why he dropped a dozen of them all around me. It makes sense to film fear like that. It's real isn't it? I honestly couldn't help but scream at that point, and I completely forgot that anyone was recording all of this.

You're not gonna believe this Nancy, but none of them bit me. Oh my body looked like it had been run through a dull cheese grater for sure, but there wasn't a single bite mark to be found. The worst rat by far, was the one that ran over my face. Just under my eyes and across the bridge of my nose. It's tail whipped against my tongue while my mouth hung open from shouting. That same rat moved up to my eyes and actually started sniffing them! I was so afraid it would smell something it liked. Of course, something like this felt as though it was going on for hours. Though I've since watched the stuff that Chris filmed and realized that it was only fifteen minutes. When Chris turned off the camera, Ted gathered up all the rats and put them back in the bag. After that, with one or two of them still running around on the floor, Ted untied me and took me into his arms. I literally shot up from the bed and into his grasp. I was sobbing and holding him, watching Chris put the camera down on the floor and walked out of our room.

I wasn't angry with Ted, but I was so glad it was over. In case you're wondering, it looks incredible on tape. I'm so proud of him.

I know you can't see very many cuts on me. This was a month ago and most of them have healed pretty well since then. And obviously, that's not why I'm in the hospital. You don't wind up in the emergency room because of a few scratches. You know exactly why I'm in here. Well, you know I have a broken leg and "head trauma" as some doctor called it. I'm also sure you heard or read something about what caused those. The car door flew open while we were driving and I fell out because I was leaning against the window and I wasn't wearing my seat belt. Well, that was Ted's story. He figured no one would understand what he's trying to do. So he had a story all set up before anything even happened.

Four days ago tomorrow, Ted asked me if I wanted to see a movie with him. We had already gone out earlier in the day and I was kind of tired, but I said yes anyway. We drove for a little while, past our usual theatres. I didn't find anything suspicious with that, thinking that maybe he had found a new place to check out. Eventually we did stop but it wasn't at a movie theatre, it was a restaurant parking lot. A horrible looking place called Family Dine-In. Half the letters on the sign above the restaurant were gone, it was that sort of thing. Ted turned to me and asked that I wait in the car. He got out and walked inside. He came back out less than a minute later with Chris and I swear Nancy, my heart skipped a beat. Seeing him carrying Ted's camera, I knew something was going to happen. I got really scared and almost got out. I decided to stay put as Chris got into the backseat and my husband started the car. Neither Ted or Chris talked while we moved through the city. I looked around and tried to focus my attention on the sidewalks pushing people this way and that. Or the various assortments of buildings but I couldn't. Everything seemed like an unpleasant blur. This world outside our car that had nothing to do with the life I was living at that moment. My fists balled up against my sides and I started looking back and forth really quickly which I do all the time when I'm worried.

We made a turn at some point and I found myself staring at a dead end. Nothing but worn-down bricks forming a building that blocked any sort of view past it. Ted stopped the car and I faced this wall that stretched out a pretty good distance before me. Turning to Chris, Ted asked him if the camera was ready. When Chris replied that it was, Ted looked at me. He asked if I was ready. Since he had never asked me that the first time, I didn't know how to reply so I just nodded my head. Despite the fact there was a small part of me that didn't want to participate in whatever he had in mind. Ted put his foot to the pedal and the car began to move slowly. He picked it up to thirty and leveled off the pressure he was applying to the accelerator. I moved my head just slightly because I was going to look at Chris when Ted snapped at me to keep on facing forward. When I did, one of his hands brushed past me while he was still driving and opened the door. Since I never wear a seatbelt, it was easy for him to push me out.

Don't look so surprised Nancy, where did you think this was all going?

That ride above the ground lasted for a brief second before I made contact with the asphalt. I sort of landed on my feet, which accounts for the broken leg. By sort of, I mean that the moment I touched the ground, my legs exploded away from me. At that point, I crashed into something. I'm not sure what because the whole thing is still kind of scattershot in my head. All of it was recorded perfectly. Ted came in the other day for the first time since he dropped me off at the hospital. He told me the scene was a huge success and promised I'd see it when I got home.

Sounds like a fantastic movie doesn't it? I can't tell you what the plot is yet but with the small part I've taken in it, it's going to be special I promise. There's still some fear in me, but I've managed to work around that by using all this alone time in the hospital to think. The way I see it, this is my first experience with acting and I'm just nervous. Ted's counting on me to help him make his dreams come true and I'll do whatever it takes for the world to see his vision.

Okay, okay, you can stop glancing at your watch. You're not very good at being subtle Nancy. Go ahead and make the rounds or whatever you do at this ungodly hour. I should be getting to sleep anyway. I'll be getting out of here pretty soon right?

Remember that I trust you. Please don't tell anyone. It would just kill Ted if anything got in his way. He'd blame me for sure. I'm positive he would. I won't allow myself to ruin his life.

So please just keep this under your hat. That thing on your head is considered a hat right?

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