Saturday, May 22, 2004

Fernando and Jesus 4: El Diablo Azul

If Jim hadn't been on top of things, Darlene would have been beaten senseless, I have no doubt. As it was, she just had her nose bloodied.

Jim grabbed Fernando's top half and pinned back his arms, so Fernando began kicking at her. I managed to get control of his bare legs, and in short order we found ourselves on the floor in a position that we would maintain, with minor variations, for the next several hours: Fernando on the floor, with me holding his legs, and Jim restraining his arms and upper body.

Then the screaming began. Once Fernando realized that he was completely trapped, he focused on me intensely and began screaming. He screamed almost as often as he could draw a breath for the next several hours. He fought us like a crazy person, with more energy and strength than I would have thought he'd possess. He could either lift me completely off the ground with his legs, or get nearly free from Jim, but not both. Which was extremely fortunate for us and his wife, who did a lot of screaming at him herself.

Fernando screamed and screamed, and in short order I began to wonder when the cops were going to show up. It sounded like we were feeding him slowly into a meat grinder, and I found out later it could be heard clearly from two houses away. It was probably 1:30 in the morning by that time, and I knew it was just a matter of time before we attracted some unwanted attention. Darlene was absolutely no help. She actually made matters worse, because we found that Fernando would calm down slightly when she wasn't visible or screaming at him--but we never could convince her to shut up and stay away. After an hour or so of steady screaming, she actually entered the room with a beer bottle and threatened to hit him over the head with it. So we were all yelling for a time, her screaming at him to shut up, Jim and I hollering over the din trying to convince her that bashing him with a bottle was not a good idea, and Fernando just raising hell. As rationally as I could (because remember, Jim and I were both still rolling on the ecstasy, although you couldn't tell), I explained to her that a) you rarely actually knock anyone out with a blow to the head, b) she might actually hurt him if she did so, and c) if she broke the beer bottle and didn't knock him out, the three of us would be rolling around in a pile of broken glass. With great reluctance, she dropped the beer bottle. I'm more than a little convinced she just wanted to get him back for busting her in the nose. That's the kind of woman we were dealing with.

At 4:30 or so, Fernando began to calm down a little, and Jim was able to relax his hold. The Fernando we knew was still AWOL, but I think we managed to tire him out some. Then Darlene came back in the room, and he was off again--screaming and literally convulsing, with his eyes bugging from his head like he was being electrocuted. He managed to get one hand free, and grabbed my hair. Darlene retreated, but there was no settling him down for some time.

He would have torn my scalp off if I hadn't been able to get my hand between his hand and my head, but he refused to let go, and I was forced to lie on his legs in an awkward position, to keep him restrained. He had my ponytail in a deathgrip for the better part of an hour, screaming in spanish at the top of his lungs.

This made the whole situation even crazier for me, because I understood what he was saying. To the other two, it was just meaningless babble, but I felt the floor drop out from under me again when I realized what he was doing.

He was praying.

He was praying for help from Jesus, and praying for protection from the Devil. He called out for help to his dead brother, his dead father, and any angels that happened to be listening. He screamed, he fought, and he pulled my hair. He seemed to be growing stronger, somehow, and it was all we could do to hold him down. This went on literally for hours--we were all soaked in sweat, with our hearts pounding and our heads aching, under the blue glare of a television stuck between channels and hissing like a den of cobras.

We'd both been operating under the belief that this was just the mother of all bad trips, and as with any bad trip, you can be comforted by the fact that it will eventually END. But I'd never seen anything like this, and it struck me that maybe this wouldn't end--maybe Fernando had been pushed over the edge into actual insanity, and we could hold him down til Judgement Day, but he wouldn't get any better. I looked at Jim, and could tell he was thinking the same thing. We were fucked.

That's when Darlene brought in the baby.


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