(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The narrator is in the hospital following an accident in which he was the only victim, having flipped his car twice while going sixty miles an hour on a straight, flat road and landed in a ditch. He takes some offense at a typo on the hospital menu, “the pot roast will be severed with buttered noodles” because some part of himself could have been severed during the accident; instead, he only has twenty stitches on his chin and a two-day memory loss.

He reports several dual experiences: experiencing things as far away and close at the same time, while he was still in the same place; in the ditch, feeling that the air was unbelievably hot while his skin was unbelievably cold; thinking the accident happened fast and slowly at the same time; and having a memory loss that encompasses two days. “Maybe those days will come back and maybe they will not. In the meantime, how’s this: I can’t even remember all I’ve forgotten,” he says. He also comments on the dual presence, of someone’s being someplace physically at first, with only the idea of their remaining after they are gone.

Because the narrator hit his head during the accident, the doctor has kept him in the hospital for several days of observation. It does not matter to him that he will miss a few days of school because the accident was a learning experience—at least, that is what everyone thinks it should be. He recalls that one of his teachers had related to the class that...

(The entire section is 484 words.)