How the First Interview was Thwarted

Contributor: David Macpherson

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Disaster Doll the First was late for our interview where she was to discuss the history of roller derby. I was informed that she removed her feeding tubes, left her room and was up on the roof of the nursing home pitching donuts in a wheelchair she stole from the basement storage closet. How she got herself down the four floors to the basement and up to the roof froze the Duty Nurse with dread. “She should not be able to do this. She’s 97 years old.”

She was going to say more but was interrupted by an orderly who said, “Not 97. She told me she’s 108 this April.”

The Duty Nurse glared, “WHy are you correcting me with numbers and not trying to get her back to her bed. 108. She’s not 108. No one at the age of 108 is going to be drag racing a manual wheelchair on the roof.”

“And that’s an acceptable practice in someone 97? Also, ain’t she supposed to be vegetative after that last stroke of hers?” The orderly asked.

The Duty Nurse unstuck enough to point her arm up to the heavens. “You are talking and not going up and stopping her. For the love of God, stop her before she goes back to taking hostages again.”

The orderly ran to the stairwell, say me and my pencil scratching at my notepad and stopped. He said to me, “You need to write that last part down. About the hostages. She always returns them. Mostly. And the folks she takes, they swear its the most fun they’ve had in ages.”

“Go!” the Duty Nurse shouted and he headed out. She finally looked at me and said, “Now why are you here?”

I told her that I was to write about Disaster Doll the First and her century of experience in the roller derby. “It’s a think piece,” I explained.

She shook her head with weary resignation. “She never mentioned anything about roller derby. I don’t know anything about her and that. That’s a crazy sport. Only crazy people would do that and we have genteel ladies and gentleman in this establishment. You must be mistaken.”

It was a great joy then when we both spied out the window at the end of the hallway to see knotted together bedsheets fall down to the ground. Soon after a small emaciated elderly woman with full sleeves of tattoos and wearing a pink dressing gown slid down past the window and was soon gone from sight. Seconds later I heard an engine start and tires squeal. “She stole the ambulance. She always steals the ambulance,” the Duty Nurse said as she slowly reached for the phone and called the police. She gave me one final look to tell me the interview was postponed.

Before I left I went into Disaster Doll the First’s room. I wanted to see how such a legend lived. Her side of the room was neat and generic. The bed was unmade and the tubes on the floor, which was understandable due to her speedy exit. Taped on the wall was only one poster. In block letters, it spoke of the dramatic return of the only true Disaster Doll to the ring. It was ripped and yellowed. “Are you my son?” I heard a voice say.

I turned to see the other resident of the room, a small shriveled woman residing in a hospital bed. He hair was thin and she had no teeth. “Are you Richard? You my son come back to see me?”

I told her that I was a reporter wanting to know about her roommate. “Why you asking about her Richard? She’s a mad one. She never settled down. She never had herself a family. Not like our family. She wasted her time trying to have too much fun. That’s mad. So come and talk to your mother and don’t make me wait one more minute.”

I probably should have sat down and gave her my time. But I only considered deadlines and roller rinks. I had leads I could track down. I told her goodbye and that I still was not Richard.

When I got to the parking lot, I discovered that Disaster Doll the First had not taken off in the ambulance. She had hot wired my car. I sat on the curb, waiting for the police, staring at my notes in the belief that that would return us all to order.

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