“Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.”

    - Al Hirschfeld -

HECTOR’S Story Part 4

The next time his depression took hold of him he found an old abandoned building that was a home for thousands of spiders. After drinking himself into a stupor he passed out in the building and was bit countless times by the spiders.  His body was swollen up terribly when he woke once again in the hospital.  He was nicknamed “Spiderman” by the staff.  And he started another recovery. 

By this time he was seeing Psychiatrists for counselling. But he still couldn’t stop thinking about the family he lost.

A couple of years passed and nothing got better for Hector so he tried to kill himself again.  He was sure this would work.  He hid in a Phoenix City dumpster behind Sam’s Club Store.  He knew the huge garbage truck was scheduled to do a pickup soon. He climbed into the metal crusher and waited for the truck.  When the big truck arrived on time, Hector was dumped into the back of the truck unnoticed by the driver.  He says that the truck was designed with a sliding compacter that compressed everything; metal, wood, plastic, pipes and all other garbage repeatedly while it moved to the next pick-up.  Hector said he was looking at himself in a giant mirror as it was coming for him. He was pushed with the trash up against the sides of the container.  He counted 9 times he was crushed by the machine and still was conscious.  On the 7th or 8th time the driver stopped to pick up some construction trash.  Hector tried to get a 2 X 4 board to protect himself.  One large piece almost stabbed him. He finally got hold of a hold of it and used it to try to stop the compacter but it broke it in half.  Hector grabbed the small piece and slowly climbed up the pile of garbage to try to signal the driver.  He started to pound out a rhythm on the side of the truck to alert the driver that someone was in the back.   His shattered foot was up near his head and he was covered with garbage but kept pounding until the driver heard him.

There had been a news helicopter alerted and many police and rescue teams to help.  They extracted him half-naked and covered with blood and transported him to the hospital.

When he woke he was back in the hospital with 42  broken bones.  And he stilled lived. He still remembers with horror that metal compactor bearing down on him inside the truck. He continues to have nightmares about it to this day.

One would think that would be the end of suicide attempts, but he wasn’t finished yet   He was now under treatment by several Psychiatrists but his depression wasn’t improving.  His next attempt involved stealing drugs out of a neighbour’s house and tried to over-dose himself.  He failed again.  This time the papers made a big story about, what they called a “Miracle, the man who couldn’t die”

*When I would visit Hector we would talk about all manner of things.  Politics, religion, the government, and whatever took our fancy.  Sometimes I would be there for hours before Dale came to find me.  Dale would join us and off we’d go again.  The funny thing about Hector’s self-imposed homelessness and shy nature was that everyone in our RV campground knew him and often stopped to talk.  He was the fishing gauge for all the locals,  “How’s fishing Hector?”, they would ask.  If he said it was so-so they wouldn’t bother putting in a line. 

more to come…

Here’s another drawing done by Hector of Dale.

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