"The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club."
A guy was brought to our ER last night, by the medics. He had been seen fist-fighting with another guy. When the medics arrived, they found him down, in a pool of blood. He had walked some distance, leaving a trail of blood, and then collapsed. He had been there a while. The blood was partly dried. The guy wasn't talking much.
"The second rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club."
He also wasn't breathing much.
He stopped breathing completely and his EKG went flatline by the the time they got him into the rescue vehicle. He remained dead by the time he arrived at our ER, and although we worked on him for a while, being dead has a poor prognosis.
There was a cut on his cheek, and a bruise, like the ones the guys got in Fight Club. His jaw was broken, and the pieces sort of crunched around inside the skin and muscle of his face and neck. With the jaw broken, the soft tissues of the tongue and floor of the mouth lack support, and fall backward into the throat. This makes breathing difficult, and if you've got liquor or drugs in you, you may just find it not worth the bother. That's probably why our guy died. The guys in Fight Club never seemed to get broken jaws, for some reason. Or broken hands, which happens a lot to amateur fighters, too.
"The third rule of Fight Club is, when someone says 'Stop', or goes limp, the fight is over."
The third rule gets broken a lot. And the fourth ("Only two guys in a fight") and the fifth ("One fight at a time"). Our guy had the sixth rule partly covered, he wasn't wearing a shirt, but he was wearing shoes, which isn't allowed in Fight Club. I don't know what his opponent was wearing.
"The seventh rule of Fight Club is, fights will go on for as long as they have to. The eighth and final rule of Fight Club is, if it's your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight."
I don't think it was his first night at Fight Club.
Fight Club is a lie. The world is full of lies, but Fight Club is an unusually extravagant and compelling one. That's because it is a big-budget lie, beautifully filmed, well-directed, skillfully edited, finely acted, with a killer soundtrack, big studio backing, and great marketing. It's still a lie. Many lies, actually, but I'm thinking of one in particular, that violence is liberating.
It isn't. It really isn't. Ask Thomas. Or Robert. We're still not sure what his name was, he didn't come with an i.d., and we were getting different stories. The Medical Examiner will have to figure it out.
The ME still hadn't shown up in the body wagon to collect Thomas (or Robert) when I left at the end of my shift this morning. The ME sounded tired when I talked to him. He was having a busy night, just like me. The holiday, you know.
Besides the wounds and his crunched jaw, Thomas (or Robert) had a couple of hickeys on his neck. They looked to be a few days old.
Someone had loved him.
Someone had hated him.