August 28, 2006


Gaunt and long-haired, Midnight looks like Chris Robinson from the The Black Crowes.

“In ’93,” Midnight began, “a semi hit my Old Cutlass 442 and broke my back. I was paralysed from the waist down so they did a laminectomy. They took out part of a disc and moved the sciatic nerve a little bit, so it was not being pinched by the L4 and L5 vertebrae. In ’95 I had a fusion: they put in two stainless steel screws and removed the disc. In ’97 they removed the two screws and put a plate in there and drilled four screws into it. In 2003, at Joe Arpaio’s Durango, I was smashed for standing up for an old timer and my L4 and L5 vertebrae were cracked.”
“I heard Durango was a gladiator school?”
“I thought I was gonna be killed. They broke my eye socket and cheekbone and fractured my skull. Four ribs were cracked. They had to screw a plate and pins in to hold my eyeball in its socket. Here, feel here.”
I felt the metal at the top of Midnight’s left cheek and said, “Anything else wrong with you?”
“I’ve got no gall bladder, appendix or tonsils,” Midnight said in a proud way.
“Anything else?”
“Just emphysema.”
“Do you mind if I ask what you’re in prison for?”
“Theft of means. I stole a truck to finance my $250-a-day crack addiction and $100-a-day meth habit.”
“Did you do drugs for most of your life?”
“No, before the accident with the semi, I was straight. I was a heavy-machine operator drivin’ backholes, graders and bobcats, makin’ $23 an hour. Me, my old lady and son had money in the bank. We didn’t want for nothin’. Then I couldn’t work. I didn’t feel like a man no more. I took an overdose of Demerol and Valium on my first suicide attempt. I became addicted to painkillers: Valiums, Somas, Vicodin 750s, Demerols and morphine. When the doctor cut me off because he didn’t want me to kill myself on his drugs, I started self-medicatin’ with street drugs and I lost everything - my family, home, vehicle, my freedom, every damn thing. I’ve been in and out of prison five times as I have no one to help me. Last time, I got outta prison with the $50 gate money, I was picked up by Mesa Police who reinstated a fine for a shoplifting case and released me with no money, wearing blue dungarees and sandals. I had to shoplift some shoes from Wal-Mart. I ended up sleeping next to railway tracks, eattin’ outta a dumpster by Papa John’s Pizzas.”
“You got robbed by Mesa Police! How long were you out for?”
“A coupla months.”
“It’s tragic that a car crash changed your fate so dramatically.”

Later on, Midnight talked about witnessing his father’s suicide. I read his Office of the Public Defender Presentence Report. Here are some excerpts.

E’s father committed suicide just four days before E’s 18th birthday. E’s father put a 12 gauge shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger…it blew most of his face and top of his head off. E was reaching for his father’s arm to stop him when he witnessed this horrible tragedy. He was never the same after that.

In 2004, after consuming a large amount of crack cocaine, E tried to commit suicide. He wanted to die like his father did. He took a 9mm gun and pulled the trigger but the gun jammed. He was prescribed several medications but did not have the money to get his prescription filled therefore he didn’t get the necessary medication to help stabilize his condition.

E’s mother passed away in 2001. She was involved in a serious automobile accident and haemorrhaged to death.

Is Midnight a throwaway person?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood


Mrs. Long Island said...

In most cases I would say suck it up and deal. Not this time. Dammit that is awful what he went through. There is absolutly nothing I nor anyone else can say to make a damn bit of difference in what happened. He is not doomed though. He needs to make the decision in his life to move on and get a plan together on how to do it. He can come out of this and make the best of his life. I wish him the best of luck.

Mrs. Long Island

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Midnight should be doomed to the scrap-heap. The guy needs
serious support! I know that's probably what you meant, seeing as you seem to
be having counselling, whilst helping yourself.
I can never decide whether this blog is uplifting or depressing!
Best of luck,

Anonymous said...

Oke, Midnight has been dealt a huge plate of crap from life, yes. His drug addictions however were his own fault. When life shoves a plate of hot crap your way eat it, shit it out. When it's gone move on. Take responsibility for your life, no one else will. I reckon it's about time for him to decide to live life, change his ways and become a diligent human being.

Anonymous said...

"However mean your life is,
meet it and live it;
do not shun it
[nor] call it hard names," said Thoreau.

Anonymous said...

I feel awful - does midnight need a pen pal?

- emily

ShameinaShantae said...

No, Midnight is most certainly not a throw away. He's still breathing. He told his story. I lean on my faith when I come across lives like this. I know the trails that I have faced. I remember trying to take my own life. Now I know, I should have been stronger. Stronger because bad can always be worse. I remeber reading that the rain pours on the just and unjust. This is something I have not been able to fully grasp. I am at a loss for words of encouragement. There seems to be no right thing to say. What I do believe, is that God will not leave us or forsake us, even if it looks that way. Ask Midnight to keep, keeping on for me. One day we may understand this mystery that is life. Until then, I will remember him in my prayers.