Ricky has been married 44 years with ten grandchildren. Ricky has written five novels, four short stories and one children's book.
The Boy With The Steel Hand
Gary and Sandra Stone sat in the waiting room with uncertain trepidation. Their son had been brought in the hospital a few hours earlier from a serious automobile accident. To their understanding after the car had rolled several times their son had been ejected. The driver did not encounter the same fate for his seatbelt kept him firmly in the seat but his injuries where to serious for him to survive. Will’s life was now in the hands of the doctor’s has his parents waited and prayed.
Sandra and Gary’s hands where clinched together when the waiting room door opened.
“Mr. and Mrs. Stone,” Dr. Williams spoke out. Both parents stood to their feet giving the doctor an hope full look. “Your son is going to be fine.” In unison they both gave out a sigh of relief. “But there where complications, Will’s right hand had to be amputated because of the severe damage from the crash. It must have somehow got caught under the car when it rolled over, other than that the rest of him is unscathed.”
“Thank you doctor, how soon can we see him?” asked Sandra.
“He’s been taken to recovery so it could take an hour or so for him to come around, just stay here and we will let you know.”
The Stone’s hands remained clenched even after the doctor left the room, then came the tears from Sandra.
“Oh Gary, he lost his hand. How will he cope?
Always being the positive kind Gary gave a positive response. “With today’s technology they will fit him with a hand and he will be good as new” Gary paused, “almost”.
Two days later Will sat on the side of his bed gazing at his newly fitted hand. The nurse had just placed five small electrodes to the end of his arm which connected to his new mechanical hand. Will raised his arm as his parents looked on not sure of what to do next.
“How does it feel?” The nurse asked.
“Kind of heavy, how does this crazy thing operate?”
“You’ll get use to it and it will feel normal.”
Normal he thought, he would never be normal again.
“The electrodes connected to your arm will give your hand flexibility. You can move your fingers and make a fist. With time and practice you will be able to pretty much do anything you want to. This hand is very sophisticated and is almost human like. Try and see what you can do with it.”
At first nothing happen but then he got the fingers to move and even made a fist. “How is this possible?”
“The electrodes are connected to the nerve endings in your arm.”
Will’s ten year old brother Nathan looked flabbergasted. “Hey Will, you’re like the Terminator.” He said with a big smile.
“Great, a freshman with a steel hand; just what I needed.”
“It’s not so bad honey.” Sandra spoke up trying to give her son some confidence.
“That’s right sport, you’re great grandfather lost a leg in WW2 and he made out all right.”
But Will wasn’t so sure, how would everyone at school react to his very noticeable hand, he would soon find out.
He had been out of school for over a week so Will had some catching up to do. All of his friends had heard about the accident and most were sensitive to his dilemma. Some even offered their help when they saw how difficult it was for him trying to write. He tried his left hand but it looked just as bad, chicken scratch his grandmother use to say. He had to try for he had no other choice. Even his teachers said he could type out everything on his computer if it would help. He had to live with this for the rest of his life so he had to make it work. The bell rang out to end his first class which meant PE class came next not a favorite of his anymore. Having to wear shorts and a tee shirt his hand were constantly exposed not just for viewing but for ridicule. Before he had been a fair basketball player but now he had a hard time controlling the ball. His new hand couldn’t grip the ball which made shooting impossible. He mostly just felt in the way why everyone else played the game.
A sharp bounce pass came in his direction which bounced off his hand going out of bounds.
With a sad look his countenance dropped and a low response “Sorry guys.”
“Hey crip, if you can’t handle the ball get off the floor,” sounded Brad with a loud voice.
Will started to do just that when his best friend Todd caught him by the arm. “Forget it.”
Things smoothed out for a couple of minutes until he caught the ball with his left and tried to do a crossover dribble without thinking. Another mistake, the ball bounced off his leg and went out of bounds once more.
“Old crip did again.” Laughed Brad giving Will a huge shove causing him to fall to the floor, Brad went and retrieved the ball then returned hovering over Will’s fallen body.
Will slowly got to his feet giving Brad a hard stare.
Another laugh came out of Brad’s mouth. “Hey fellow’s old crip just don’t have it more.”
The whole class looked in their direction as Will’s hard stare continued in Brad’s direction.
“So you want the ball crip, you think you can take it away from me?” Brad twirled the ball in his hand turning his head to the other classmates with a snicker.
When he turned back toward Will from out of left field Will threw a right cross with all the force he had landing square onto Brad jaw. Brad stood frozen for a couple of seconds, his eyes glazed over and his body dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
“What a shot!” exclaimed Todd.
You could hear a pin drop for no one could believe what they just witnessed. About that time the PE teacher came out of the locker room.
“What’s going here? What happened to Brad? Mr. Snider bent down beside Brad as he started to come around.
“I think he tripped and fell, sir,” answered Todd.
Mr. Snider could see no one else would disagree with Todd. “Alright, break it up and get to your next class.” Mr. Snider helped Brad to his feet.
Todd threw an arm around Will’s shoulder. “You, the man Will.”
One thing for sure the PE incident spread through the entire student body, It became the best worse kept secret. Especially after Brad came to school sporting a huge black eye. Will didn’t hear anything more from Brad or his parents, he didn’t know what he told them. Not one person in the entire school brought it up for discussion. But out of the situation came a reputation for Will, not one he was proud of. Don’t mess with Will or he will knock your lights out. Brad had become the first person he had ever hit and Will wasn’t planning on there being a second. In some ways he regretted throwing the punch although he didn’t want to be made fun of. He may never live down what happened even among his friends. His life would now be marked because of his steel hand.
Friday had arrived at school which meant football night. It also fueled everyone’s eagerness to leave school in a hurry so they could return for the big game that night. The parking lot full of cars always made departure slow for all the drivers. But Will didn’t have to content with the traffic because he still road the bus, a good thing on a Friday at 3 o’clock.
A few hundred away sat the bus with motor running when a student raced into the street trying to beat an oncoming car. But the car stalled and the engine went dead. The oncoming driver’s speed wouldn’t allow him to stop in time even after he hit the brakes. A hard impact into the students rear fender spun him around in the road then slammed him into another car on his passenger side.
With a loud crash of medal caught everyone’s attention and some of the other students headed toward the crash. In seconds a fuel line had erupted and soaked the under part of the car. Now flames were streaming a path up the driver’s side door before the students could get there. By the time they got there the door appeared blistered with red heat. The driver hadn’t moved and must have been knocked unconscious from the crash.
“We’ve got to do something!”Yelled one student as the flames got worse.
Will took off in a sprint and parted a sea of people to get to the car. “Look out,” he shouted.”
“ Will what are you doing? Are you crazy?” Shouted Shirley, at the top of her voice.
Will rolled up the sleeve of his shirt to the elbow then reached his steel hand to the hot door handle. With no panic he squeezed the handle giving it a hard yank releasing the door.
He reached across the driver unbuckling his seatbelt then dragged him to safety away from the car. Everyone cheered clapping their hands for Will. In the meantime Will sat down cupping his face with his other hand. Steam emanated from his steel hand because of the intense heat from the door.
Within minutes EMS, fire department and the police engulfed the scene taking control of all parties involved.
“That’s the bravest thing I’ve ever saw.” Spoke a voice above Will’s shoulder.
Will turned and looked upward as a hand reached down to shake his. Brad gave Will’s steel hand a solid shake.
“You are the man, Will Stone.” With a kind smile he walked away.