From "South of Hope" written by T. Gregory ArgallJohnny explains how he ended up in a wheelchair.
JOHNNY: I was a hockey player. Pretty good one, too. I was having my best season, setting minor league records, generally kicking ass. They were talking about moving me up to the majors. All my life, I‘d dreamed of playing in the N.H.L. It was this close. (pauses, thinking) I shouldn‘t have played that night. It was a Tuesday. Black Tuesday, I call it. I took a couple of bad hits in Sunday‘s game and my back was bugging me. The team doctor didn‘t think I should play, but I told him to get stuffed. A scout from the N.H.L. was there to see the game that night. To see me play. I couldn‘t spend the whole game on the bench, just because my back hurt, right? (stops, stares down at his legs, whispers) Christ, I was stupid. (continues staring at his legs, absently grinding his hands together; starts to turn away, then stops) No. No, if I stop now, it‘ll just be harder to tell next time. (looks up, takes a deep breath) It was, ah, it was early in the third period. The other team was losing badly. We were in top form that night. The other guys' coach told his people, "Take out the goon." That was me. My main job was enforcer. I guess it‘s a natural progression for a school yard bully. (pauses) I never thought about it before, but I spent most of my life just pushing people around. What happened seems like retribution, you know, pay back. (stops) Anyway. I got caught from behind with a crosscheck and slammed into the boards. Now, I‘d hit the boards before, lots of times, no problem. But this time, something went pop. The doctors say it was my seventh vertebrae or something like that. They say you can‘t hear it when it breaks, especially in an arena full of screaming hockey fans, but... I heard it. Clear as day. Sort of a snappop sound. It was the only sound in the whole arena. It seemed to echo forever. The whole world stopped. The second it happened, I knew exactly what it was. I knew it was all over. (pauses) And... and I screamed. Not because it hurt, but because... because it didn‘t hurt. I didn‘t feel a thing. And every morning, I still don‘t feel a thing. (punches his leg) Not a damned thing.
From "Self-Help by Dummiez" written by T. Gregory Argall & Todd McGinnis
Matt tells his story about a school dance.
MATT: Actually, I do know what that feels like. I laid it all on the line for a woman once. Well, okay she wasn't exactly a woman. I was thirteen and there was this girl in my class... Michelle. God, she was beautiful. I had the biggest crush on her. Of course, so did almost every other guy. I knew I'd never have a chance with her but I went to the grade eight dance anyway with only one purpose in mind. Get Michelle to slow-dance with me. I figured if I could just dance with her once, even if it was just that one time, well... Anyway, I went, figuring I'd have to fight my way through a line of guys just to get close to her. But when I got there... I couldn't believe it. Nobody was asking anybody to dance. The guys were all on one side of the gym, combing their hair and checking their watches and trying not to look like they were watching the girls. The girls were all on the other side of the gym, huddled in little groups, whispering to each other and pretending not to care if the guys were watching them or not. And there was Michelle. She was sitting there listening to some friends of hers. She looked nervous and vulnerable, kind of lonely and just... irresistibly beautiful. And that was when I realised, this was my chance. All the other guys who were looking at her the same way I was, were all too nervous to go near her. So I took a deep breath, walked right over to her and asked her to dance. And she said, "No." Nothing else. Just no. I've never felt so many different things at one time. It was like a kick to the stomach, but also like a cold fist crushing my heart. I felt like I had a fever, like my skin was on fire, but at the same time I felt frozen inside. My heart was broken. My pride was shattered. And that was when I realised I was going to throw up... and that somehow I had to make it back across the gym before that happened. So I turned and started walking away. God, I felt awful. I knew it would be impossible to ever feel worse than I did at that moment. And then I heard Michelle... laughing at me. So you see, I kind of do know how you feel.
From "The Accidental Hit-Man Blues" written by T. Gregory Argall
Sammy contemplates why someone has been hired to kill him.
SAMMY: Dude just hates me. I mean seriously hates me. He’s ruined my life. ’Cause he thought I-- Okay, I was working, right? At work? I had a job at a movie-plex place. I was the guy that rips your ticket in half, you know? It was a good job, too. I loved that job. I was good at it. So one night, it’s kinda slow, like, not much going on, E-Rock walks in with his girlfriend. Only I don’t know him yet, right? He’s just some guy with some girl. He’s not even there yet, anyway. It’s just her, his girlfriend. She got her ticket and, I don’t know, like, put it in her purse or something while she was waiting for him to show up, right? So he shows up and gets his ticket and they’re, like, walking towards me to get in, right? But she’s a little bit ahead of him, you know? Like she’s all pissed at him or something. I don’t even know they’re together. So she gets up to me and I’m like, "Ticket, please," and she’s like, "Oh, snap, it’s in my purse," and she starts digging around in her purse looking for it, right? She says, "Give me a sec," and that’s when it all turned bad, man. Seriously bad. I should have just been like, "Take your time," or "No rush," or whatever but in my head I’m, like, thinking one sec ain’t gonna be enough, you know? That’s just, like one second, and it’s already been like five. So when she said, "Give me a sec," I said, "Sure, I’ll give you all the secs you need." And suddenly, BAM! E-Rock, this Eric dude, he’s all in my face like, "What did you say?" And I’m like, "Chill, dude. Just let her find her ticket," right? But then he starts, like, shoving me and calling me a pervert and stuff. Real hurtful, you know? He’s yelling and making a major scene, so my manager runs over and he’s all, like, "What seems to be the problem, sir?" and Eric says, he totally says I tried to molest his girlfriend or some shit, right? Which I didn’t. It was... it was totally... you know... bogus. Totally bogus, man. And then my manager fired me, man. I mean, what the hell? Isn’t a manager supposed to stick up for you when customers are, like, being all douchey? I loved that job, man. I was good at it. I was the best ticket ripper they had. I could tear a ticket dead center every time, without even looking. Dude, I was the bomb. And he just fires me ’cause some dude is yelling lies about me. And then, oh, that’s not the worst part. Then, after I’m gone and stuff, my manager, well, I guess he’s not my manager anymore at this point, right? But, like, I can’t remember his name, you know? It was, like, Brad or Chad or Ryan or something like that. No, wait. Yeah, that’s it. Chad. Cha-aa-ad. But he didn’t like us calling him Chad. He made everyone call him "Sir." And we’d be all like, "Yes, sir, Chad, sir," and, "Whatever you say, sir." And he’d be like-- (pause ) Yeah, so anyway, where was I? (pause) Oh! Oh, right. So, then, then, my ex-manager, Cha-aa-ad, E-Rock asks him where I live and Chad, he, like, totally tells him. Just gives him my address. I mean, dude! Total dick move. So Eric, E-Rock, goes to my landlord the next day, he goes to him and he’s all like, "Sammy’s a sex offender, you know that, right?" And I’m like, "I’m totally not a sex offender, dude," but he won’t listen to me ’cause, like, douchebag Eric is like, "Do you want a sex offender living in your basement, dude?" And he totally meant me, ’cause it was the basement apartment I lived in he was talking about. Man, it was a sweet place, too. It was awesome. It had, like, my bed. And my TV with all my games and shit. And it was, like, it was mine, man. He had no business going there and messing it up for me. But he did. And he got me kicked out. There was no reason for him to that, man, but he did. Then he kept harassing me. Dude followed me around, yelling at my friends that I’m, like, a sex offender, so they’re all like, "Dude, that ain’t right, man," and I’m like, "It’s bullshit, dude," but they’re scared now, right? So, I go to the cops and tell them this dude’s harassing me and being all, whatever, libelly and stuff, and they’re all like, "We’ll talk to him, son, but this is more of a civil matter and shit," and they tell me to talk to a lawyer. Like I can afford a lawyer. And now the dude’s paying you dudes to kill me. Man, that’s just whack.