. . . I was watching an episode of Mad Men in which Monique was married to Don Draper. Don was helping my father do some yard work. He picked up a pick-ax, a double-headed pick-ax, and swung it with all his might. (I shielded my eyes with the parted fingers of my right hand when I saw the accident coming.) The head of the pick-ax slid off of the handle, entered Don just above his anus, exited his abdomen through his navel and went flying, bloody, forward with considerable momentum.
But it wasn't a television program anymore. It was really happening. My father was beside himself with guilt, sobbing loudly on a stool in the backyard of my childhood home. He had fastened the head of the pick-ax to the handle with industrial glue, but Don picked it up before the glue had fully cured, and when he swung it . . .
I tried to comfort my father, telling him over and over that it wasn't his fault, but he was inconsolable. Don – Don's body? – had been moved to the passenger seat of my father's pickup truck. I assumed an ambulance had been called. Yet the scene was oddly quiet.
I asked my father if Don was dead. He said, "I don't think so, but he's pretty messed up down there." Then visitors arrived, and my dad seemed to shake off the afternoon's tragic turn of events, greeting them with a plastered-on smile.