Friday, August 10, 2007

The Man with the Bloody Face

Just north of Fischer Road there’s a section of the Hammond Trail that’s lush, green and adorned with poppies, nasturtiums and other floral delights. This afternoon I was pedalling through the garden oasis when I saw a man on a bicycle off in the distance coming in my direction. There was nothing unusual about the situation, except that he was swerving from side to side.

As we grew closer, I noticed he was on a mountain bike towing a trailer. He was scruffy looking. There was something wrong with his face, but I couldn’t make it out. He was too far away.

He came closer. He saw me, swerved to his side of the trail and started to pass. That’s when I got a good look at his face. It was covered in blood. Lots of blood. It was fresh, bright-red blood.

It seemed to be dripping from his mouth, eyes and nose. There were dark streaks that looked like cuts and gashes all over. It looked like someone had pummeled his face with a 2x4 multiple times. Or maybe his face was pounded against a rock.

I reminded me of the guy in the movie “Casino” who got his head squashed in a shop vice. The trauma was unbelievable. Most of the corpses on “Law & Order” look better than the cyclist did.

He had a pained, yet determined, look in his eyes as be silently passed me and continued his way southbound.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. Perhaps I should have asked him if he needed help, but if he needed help wouldn’t he have asked? Besides, it all happened so fast I didn’t have time to do anything but gawk. Also, he looked like trouble. It was a situation best left to the professionals.

I tried to flag down a Sheriff’s Citizens on Patrol vehicle on nearby Hiller Road. I pedalled as fast as I could, tried to catch up to it, and waved and waved, then the patrol car turned left on Thiel Avenue and disappeared in the distance. Damn. Next stop was the McKinleyville Sheriff’s Office, where I reported what I had seen.

“Can you describe the man?” Margaret asked.

“He looks like a transient and his face is covered in blood,” I answered, adding that he was on a mountain bike and towing a trailer.

She asked if I had any further descriptions of the man.

“His face is covered in blood. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating,” I responded.

It never occurred to me that she might want to know about his height, weight or skin color. (He was a chubby white guy, height undetermined.) His most distinguishing characteristic was his face, which looked like a puddle of blood.

Margaret was professional and polite. She took down the information and smiled, seemingly disinterested. Keep in mind that I’m just one of a thousand exuberant dickheads that wander in everyday and report such nonsense. Imagine how many times people in Humboldt County report finding human corpses that turn out to be venison guts. I don't know if bloody guys are common, but they might be.

Margaret can't afford to get excited about every report. It's best to take notes and pass them on.

I volunteered my full name and phone number. I went about my business and retraced my route home, thinking that I might come across a deputy talking to a man with a bloody face. But there was nothing.

I asked CP if she had heard anything on the scanner. No. Were there any sirens? No.

Who was the man with the bloody face? What happened to him?

Did I imagine it? Right now it’s a mystery. Next week I’ll make a call and see if the deputies found anything.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering whether an incident this morning is somehow related.

About 2 1/2 hours earlier I apparently startled two young fellows in the same area. As I blasted by on my mountain bike, a fellow emerged from behind a stump and yelled at me “Whazup, dawg?”

That’s right – he called me “dawg.”

I remember this vividly because all I could think was “What kind of stupid douche bag would call me dawg?” That’s lame.

He had something white in his hand – maybe a big plastic cup – and about 10 to 20 feet away was another “dude.” (Dudes call people dawgs, right bro?)

I figured they were smoking a joint. That didn’t bother me, because if you’re going to smoke a joint, the magical garden is probably a good place to do so. All I ask is that they don’t litter or loiter – or engage in violent behavior.

In retrospect, I must wonder whether the “dudes” had a run-in with the man with the bloody face. Maybe they beat the crap out of him and stole his stash. Or maybe not.


Blogger Rose said...

That's the kind of thing that needs to be reported, Jack. People need to know. Kids ride that trail.

I've seen a homeless looking guy with a bike and a trailer. Seems like I saw them yesterday or today - he and two other guys, just above the overpass on Hiller, walking towards McK. Avenue.

I'll keep my eyes open.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Tim said...


I saw a scruffy guy yesterday hauling a trailer on Bates with another scruffball behind him. I thought it was Jerry at first, he's the only one I've seen towing a trailer around on a bicycle before. Definitely looked out of it.

I think bloody people wandering around are more common than we like to know. A couple of years ago a guy walked into our office bleeding out of his arm. He had a massive gash and no shirt, shaved head. He was mumbling a phone # and something about nobody or somebody loving him.

While three of us just stared, our mechanic started in with the first aid lingo, "Are you OK?" "Were you in an accident" "Is there anybody else hurt" - I guess it's in a mechanics nature to assess and fix things. Next, he passed out on the floor, bleeding a bunch.

I called 911 to get an ambulance coming, the mechanic-turned-EMT starting checking for breathing and went to the first aid cabinet to try and stop the bleeding, two others went outside to move two pickups so we could get an ambulance right to the front door.

Then the guy jumped up and ran outside, beating on the hood and windshield of one of the pickups we were moving. Next, he went around and starting banging on different vehicles and wandered out into Central. We locked the front door and decided the ambulance may appreciate a little help from the Sheriff, so my brother called 911 and told them to send law enforcement. By now the man was stopping traffic and trying to climb into different vehicles with people, and we were out front telling them not to stop. I heard my brother yell on the phone, "I don't know what's wrong with him, he's gone goofy! He's all fucked up! He's out in the middle of the road!" I wish I could get that 911 tape.

Soon, the sheriff and ambulance arrived, cuffed him out on Central and routed traffic through our driveway. They were just about to leave when the ambulance door busts open and he comes flying out, head first, handcuffed (behind the back) onto the pavement. SMACK! Face on pavement. He had gone ballistic and kicked the door open and jumped out. They loaded him up again and away they went, this time with a deputy. I heard later from an EMT that he went crazy again at mad rive and they had to call Arcata pd to subdue him. The EMT's figure he was on PCP.

It took us an hour to get the blood cleaned up. It's incredible how much blood can come out of one person.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

We should find out who that guy was and sign him up to be an MCSD candidate!

Today I came across two drugged out winos on the Hammond Trail. They're part of about a half dozen people in town who I like to think of as The Usual Suspects.

I figured they might know something about "The Man with the Bloody Face," so I stopped for a chat.

One of the guys staggered up to me, pointed in the sky, and said "A jet just went by going 750 mph."

His buddy, who was chugging a 40 ouncer, looked up and said "I don't see no jet."

I grilled them, but to no avail. They were pretty out of it.

The mystery continues...

5:21 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I'll hit the trails on my bike with my PDA (Portable Doberman Assistant)

9:07 AM  

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