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North of Purgatory: A Coma Diary

Part III
Tommy Udo , June 4th, 2008 00:00

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After his trip back in time to the Second World War, Tommy Udo finally awakes from his coma to be told by the doctor that no, he wasn't in America, about to have a nasty encounter with a bunch of terrorists.

After I regained consciousness after about three weeks, the doctor explained that I had suffered massive multiple traumas including a blow to the head. I had landed on my chest breaking most of my ribs, both arms and legs and had then bashed my face on the ground breaking my nose, many teeth and leaving me with an odd scar on my head that looks a bit like the astrological symbol for Taurus the bull. I had been concussed but fortunately there was no fracture to the skull or evidence of bleeding. There was no brain damage. I had been kept in an induced coma to stop me from moving as I had broken all my ribs and would have been in severe pain and may have damaged my lungs by writhing about.

“Right,” I said, a little confused. “So did all this happen in America?” “America?” the doctor asked, shaking his head.

See, what I remember is that I was in America, in Florida to be precise, an airport in Dade County. Practically just an airstrip, really, like one of those out of the way places that Ryanair flights land at. They tell you it’s Oslo airport but it’s practically on the other side of the country. There were no shops and I was desperately thirsty. It was really hot and sickeningly humid. If you’ve ever been to Florida you’ll know that some days it’s like breathing in soup.

In real time the ambient temperature in the hospital was always equatorial " the heating went on in September and couldn’t be turned off until May - and I was nil by mouth, hence hadn’t had a drink for a while. Hours? Days? Weeks? Who knows?

There was a vending machine in the airport that was out of order. I could see rows and rows of cans of Coke chilling in the cabinet. I was waiting on a connecting flight to go home. I had been over there on a job for Metal Hammer.

Two Chinese guys and a girl came into the departure lounge and sat down. One of the guys went over to the vending machine and put some money in, then started kicking it when he never got anything back. An elderly security guard went over to remonstrate with him. The other Chinese guy pulled out a gun and shot him dead. He stood up and grabbed the girl by the air, then both of them held up grenades. They were like large beer cans with a stud at the top. I’ve actually seen them in real life but don’t know make or model. I instinctively understood, though, that they would make one fuck of a mess. He tied one around the girl’s neck then came over to me and held the other one against my head. He smiled, displaying two rows of chromium teeth, then went: “Boom boom!”

The panic I felt was real: I was going to die. Possibly. Of course, I really was going to die back in the real world. I closed my eyes. There didn’t seem to be enough time to crawl like a pig and beg for my life. And anyway, I thought, it wasn’t really a life worth begging for.

Then they started laughing and turned away from me.

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Patrick Puckett
Jun 5, 2008 5:52pm

I'm really enjoying this feature by the way. Can't wait to find out all the details!

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Hugh
Jun 6, 2008 1:46pm

This series of features has been great. SOLID GOLD FACT.

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Dr Scaramanga
Jun 6, 2008 11:33am

Agreed! Though no doubt it would have been preferable to have had neither the experience nor the feature, these articles are a cracking read.

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Taylor Parkes
Jun 9, 2008 9:51pm

My favourite things on The Quietus, these bits.

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North Of Purgatory: A Coma Diary. Part IV
Jun 11, 2008 4:33pm

[...] After a trip to the airport in Dade County, Florida, is rudely interrupted by terrorists, Tommy Udo realises he may be able to make some money by reporting on the story. [...]

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