The day after Todd came out of the coma visiting was opened up to all visitors. Sam was relieved, Todd was going to make it. He’d had twisted thoughts like, what would he say about Todd if he had died? It really made him think. He loved his humanity and courage. There’d be less strife if the world was more open and free like Todd.
Sam also appreciated his encouragement on being more ambitious. He’d vowed to himself if they made it out, he’d submit his resume for the VP apprenticeship.
He waited in the hall outside the hospital room, while Todd’s mother finished up. A passing nurse stopped by to reassure him Todd was on the road to recovery.
So much had happened since that night Sam was eager, to find out what Todd remembered. Replaying the story Sam was still puzzled. This wasn’t the run of the mill muggings that happened in any city.
Signs pointed to something pre-planned or routine. Sam found it odd, that one of the assailants said, ‘this isn’t about you’ to him. Why did they go after Todd instead of him? Was it Todd’s comfort and openness about being gay? Who do you think you are, mister confident faggot?
Mrs. Sheppard came out of the room, “You are Sam right? I’ve heard so much about you from my son,” she hugged him.
“Nice to meet you Mrs. Sheppard. How is he?” Sam asked, somewhat intimidated by her wealth.
“Call me Louise. Thanks to Jesus our Lord and Savior, he is going to pull through. Sam, formal invites will be sent out later today through my assistant but I wanted to invite you to a gathering for Todd, at the Golf Club next week. I hope you can attend,” she handed him an enveloped invitation.
“Thank you Louise,” he said, already dreading the crowd.
Inside the hospital room, Todd was propped up in an automatic bed smiling at him expectantly.
Sam was overcome with gratitude.
“Oh my gosh Sammy, look at your eye,” Todd said, in a whisper.
“It’s nothing man. How are you doing?” Sam asked, noticing he looked thinner.
“To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel yet. Not in my own skin, that’s for sure. Tell me what happened,” Todd said.
“They found you tied to a fence. The man walking his dog thought you were a scarecrow hanging on the fence. Lucky the dog, sniffed you out,” Sam said, feeling more emotional than he expected.
“It’s okay Sam. It’s not your fault. They had hunting rifles for God sakes,” Todd said.
“I told the cops where I thought you were but they said you were found somewhere else. What do you remember?” Sam asked.
“They marched me to a clearing. They argued about where they were going, then one of them put a sheet over my head. I didn’t even know we were back at the same truck,” tears welled up in Todd’s eyes, “I thought you were dead because the four men were with me but you weren’t. They had me laying in the flatbed of the truck. They drove some but not too far. Two of them were real assholes. At one point I thought they want me to do sex stuff but the other one stopped them. Thank fuck! He told them I probably had AIDs, which made them sort of panic. It was all very charming Sam,” Todd’s tone relaxed as he spoke.
“I’m sorry Todd. That should have been me. You are a tough man,” Sam said. He could relate to his own experience, taking bully punches as a kid.
“What’s a little degradation. They robbed me and pistol-whipped me which cut my eyebrow. I was blinded by my own blood. I don’t remember being tied to a fence,”
“I won’t repeat the curse words Sam but I listed them for the cops. No offense but the black one was the angriest,” Todd said.
“Wait a minute. There was a black one?” Sam was stunned and confused.
“Yes. I saw his arm. I guess I didn’t see the magnitude until right now seeing the look on your face. What does it mean Sam? Is this my white privilege right!” Todd tried to joke, triggering a coughing fit. he sipped from a juice box straw.
Should he feel betrayed by his own race?
“Well maybe you get a pass, for being in a coma for six days! Did your statement to the cops clearly explain there was a black man?” he asked.
“I must have mentioned it. I’m not sure. Funny if I did they didn’t ask for details. They’re coming back this afternoon. I’ll make sure to restate it,” Todd said.
“There can’t be too many of us in the klan,” Sam said, wondering what kind of black guy in his right mind, would associate with klansmen?