Mercy’s First Semester
September 22, 2016
“Mercy’s First Semester” is about the ramifications of war and the perplexing impulses which lead to obsession and peril in the lives of all. Set in Brooklyn, “Mercy’s First Semester” brings together four improbable individuals: Mercy, an Iraq war combat veteran suffering from PTSD; Mr. Mina, a compassion fatigued social worker who refuses to give up on his patients even when his livelihood threatens his marriage; Dr. G, an atheist professor, who is fond of Mercy in ways he cannot comprehend; and Eva, Mercy’s childhood crush who reconnects with him on Veteran’s Day. Mercy saved his men. Can he save himself?”
The Golden Hour
SPRING BREAK 2013
Joshua Toussaint Mercier (aka Mercy) remembered the golden hour. The critical life saving hour following a traumatic injury. With proper medical treatment, there is a great possibility of survival. Without proper medical treatment, Taps. He remembered the roar of the medevac chopper’s blades rotating overhead, kicking up desert dust. His bullet riddled body lay on a gurney. It was shuffled onto the chopper by four armed soldiers. He never thought he would be the patient. He thought he would die by bullet or bomb, not feeling a thing. He would awaken when Jesus resurrected him.
His vision hazy, he recognized the outlines of a white cross and the colors of an American flag. As his mirage continued, the ambulance drove him to the ER. He never heard the siren blaring. Juan Pablo, by his side, rode with him in the ambulance. He told the EMTs Mercy was his best friend. Mercy faded in and out of consciousness as the EMTs treated the gunshot wounds in his chest. According to the EMTs, Mercy was in critical condition.
In the OR, on the operating table, the intensity of the overhead surgical lights blinded Mercy. It was no different than the triple digit noon sun in Iraq, except this time his body shivered. The gloved surgeons with surgical gowns seemed like adults leaning over an infant. Nausea set in. His airway was safe but there were internal chest injuries. His breath was shortened and it hurt to inhale. He breathed easier with the oxygen mask.
The fentanyl IV drip made the pain dissipate. Fentanyl was twice as strong as morphine he remembered from his medic training. He stared up at the ceiling. The metallic scent of iodine assaulted his nasal passages. All sounds disappeared around him except his own heartbeat. He reached for his chest but his hand fell to the bedside. The luminous room darkened like an eclipse.
WM Bunche is a cold war veteran and Commendation Medal recipient. He attended public schools in Brooklyn. He is a fourth generation veteran whose military roots trace back to the Civil War. WM has completed the Marine Corps Marathon. He lives in the New York City Area.
Contact W. M.