Hard things ricochet around like pinballs, severing veins and slicing open organs, shredding through my intestines and destroying my digestive tract, rattling nerves, making everything bleed all at once. But all the damage is internal. Except for one almost imperceptibly small hole in my baseball pants, it’s invisible from the outside. I’m trying to move on pulverized leg bones. I feel like someone else is controlling my legs. My legs stop working. It’s not pain exactly, and I don’t know that the reason I’m falling is because my whole foundation has imploded. I feel instead like the wiring that connects my brain to my legs has been unplugged. I fall.
Now I’m on my hands in the dirt, facing the outfield. I don’t know why I’m facing the outfield, when I was just facing the other way. I don’t know that the force with which the bullet hit me has spun me almost all the way around. Things I don’t know are replaced by things I do know. The shooting hasn’t stopped; I know that. I can hear more and more gunfire. I know that to survive I have to run away from it. I know I can’t run away from it because I can’t move my legs. I have to crawl. Somehow I know that the gunman is behind me. Something tells me that. Some invisible system in my body has run a kind of algebra, an algorithm that’s taken information in, run the numbers, and calculated, without me even being conscious of it that because my body spun to where it is, and because the bullet entered where it did, the bullet must have come from the infield. So now I’m moving away from the infield as fast as I can. Which is not very fast at all. One arm after the other, barely making progress. Bullets cracking overhead. An army crawl, but without legs. I’m trying to swim on dry land. I dig my palms into the dirt so hard that pebbles implant in my palms, almost totally buried in the skin. I pull, and pull, and pull. I claw at that dense, red clay. I move inches at a time.