November 5th: 10 PM
Something is wrong out here. Something’s happened to these men. To us. I don’t know what it is, but I know something’s happening and it’s getting worse.
After my useless damn day off, I went downstairs to have dinner with the guys. I was hoping I could shoot the shit a little and forget about all the blood I’d seen. Forget about Stanley’s awful screaming. When I got there it looked like what I imagine a group of inmates on death row would resemble if they all had dinner together. Everyone was pissed or depressed, and no one was talking to each other. I got my lunch and sat down next to Bill. Even he wasn’t talking. I looked around and half the crew were out on their feet. Doug had his face flat on the table next to his tray, his arms over his head. I wasn’t sure if he was sulking or asleep. One probably led to the other. Bill finally broke the silence.
Bill: “You see Stan again? How’s he doing?”
Me: “Stable. Fuck if I know. The Doc said a lot of shit, but it all amounted to he lost a lot of blood and his fucking arm. He’s not dying anytime soon, but he’s not in good shape either.”
Bill: “Yeah. Sorry.”
Me: “Not your fault, man. I don’t know what Stanley was doing sleeping on the job. He fucking knows better.”
Bill and I were interrupted by the sound of a tray being knocked over. Doug was standing up in front of his table, his food on the floor. His eyes were closed and he was giggling a little to himself. He started making little happy moaning sounds and he started to sway like a delighted little kid. A few of the boys started to laugh, but it was freaking me out. It didn’t help when he walked around the table and out of the cafeteria. Bill and I followed him and a lot of the crew joined right after us. He marched down the hallway with a rhythm in his step almost like he was dancing.
Me: “Doug, this isn’t funny, man. What the fuck are you doing?”
I tapped him on the shoulder. He didn’t flinch. And he still didn’t open his eyes.
Bill: “Come on big guy, it’s time to cut the crap.”
Bill grabbed Doug’s wrist and pulled him back. Doug’s funny little smile instantly disappeared and he screamed bloody fucking murder. His eyes shot open, but they were white, rolled up in his head. He slammed Bill against the hard metal wall and I could tell it knocked the wind out of him. Doug continued screaming with his eyes wide open and blank while he took a couple wild swings at me. I caught one of them and locked his arm behind him. I pushed him with all my strength up against the wall. He kept thrashing and screaming and it wasn’t long before he overpowered me and caught me with an elbow. Before I could do anything, he had me by the neck and all I could see was his giant white eyes as he started to choke me. Bill and a Mudman named Kevin jumped on Doug’s back and he let me go.
I hit the floor and realized the fucker had me off the ground. I coughed and could barely breathe, but I didn’t give a shit. I went for his legs and the three of us took him to his knees. I saw the Doc coming around the corner with a couple of the guys from the cafeteria. I had figured he’d run up and pump something from a syringe into Doug’s neck and he’d pass out. Instead, the fucking Doc came full speed in and put a right cross square in Doug’s jaw. The big man collapsed on the spot and we all buckled around him.
We dragged him along to the infirmary to spend some time with Stanley. We strapped Doug down with a couple extra restraints. Bill and I talked to Doc Tyler when Ed came in with the company man. He introduced himself to me again like he had on the first day, and I remembered his name was Pete.
Pete: “What the fuck happened?”
Bill: “Doug started acting weird. All of a sudden he started kicking our ass and screaming like he was on fire.”
Ed: “Tyler, what the hell is going on?”
The Doc was over checking Doug’s temperature when he looked up.
Doc: “Dementia…or a break in his mental state from all the stress and depression. I don’t know. He seems physically fine. But if what I’m hearing is right, this doesn’t fit any stress disorders I know of. Look, I can’t do anything about that except sedate him, and I sure as hell can’t do anything for Stanley over there. We need to get him off this rig.”
Ed: “I’ve talked to Steve, and he says we can barely keep the bird anchored to the platform in these winds. He goes up with Stan or Doug, and they’re all going back down quick.”
Me: “And the coast guard?”
Pete: “We’re experiencing some problems with communications, most likely due to the storm. We’ve been working to get them back all day.”
Bill: “All fucking day? When were you planning on telling us?”
Pete: “It’s above your pay.”
Bill took a couple steps towards Pete. I put a hand on Bill’s shoulder and he stopped. We both left and headed back to our room. It took a while, but Bill started talking.
Bill: “Did you see Doug’s eyes? Scared the shit out of me.”
Me: “Yeah. Me too.”
Bill: “He looked like he was sleepwalking. And you said Stanley was passing out when he…”
Bill was quiet for a second again.
Bill: “You have any nice dreams lately?”
Me: “… Yeah, I have.”
Bill: “You mind if we sleep in shifts tonight?”
Me: “Sure. Sounds good.”
I let Bill have the first few hours. I slapped in a rock mix tape on my walkman and turned it up. Now I’m writing this and trying to stay awake. I just got to some Zeppelin. This’ll definitely help me stay up. What the fuck is wrong with my life that I have to… [The pencil mark trails off here, and that’s the last entry for Nov 5th.]