Listen to this article

Let’s all take a moment to be thankful for modern medicine, especially those of us who are above average in the accident-prone department, primarily due to our curiosity about life.

And for those of us who are also a bit competitive, we take pride in the number of injuries we’ve had. I’m not kidding; it’s just like in the movies. And, of course, we try to one-up each other.

There aren’t a lot of gatherings where the number of stitches and hospital visits you’ve had are the main topics of conversation, so I started a club, or as they’re called these days, a “meetup.”

“I just wanted to remind you that it’s the third Thursday of the month, and the gang’s coming over for the meetup.” I told Thomas.

“Great,” he said, unenthusiastically. “What’s on the agenda?”

“Some appetizers, a bit of chatting and sharing about scars, and then we’re going to watch Kill Bill: Volume 1.”

“Sounds fun.”

“Really? You wanna join us?” I asked.

“Not in the least.”

“Yeah, if the only scar I had was from falling off my bike and getting stitches underneath my chin, I’d be pretty embarrassed to be in the same room as us superstars.”

“Exactly.”

“Oh, hey,” I said, handing him a bag of chips. “If you happen to run into Jake’s wife, don’t mention he was here. She’s not exactly keen on our group. I guess he gets a bit more dare-devilish after the meetings.”

“You got it.”

“Thomas?”

“Yeah?”

“Remember, snitches get stitches,” I swiped my finger across my nose.

“You’re so weird.”

Although, Thomas wasn’t interested in attending the meeting, he happened to be in the kitchen grabbing some snacks when the sharing started.

“See this,” I lifted the back of my shirt. “This is where my cousin ran me over with a four-wheeler. Do you have any idea how long it takes a 4-inch chunk of gouged-out flesh to heal? Not only that, but I landed on the electric fence, with my mouth biting into the live wire, and I was especially ’lectrocuted because, you know, spit, and I had braces, which are both conductors of electricity.”

“Tell them how it really happened.” Thomas said, walking into the family room.

“Nah, they don’t want to hear that.”

“Sure, they do,” he put his arm around me.

“What are you doing?” I whispered.

“Go ahead, tell them,” he smirked.

“Fine,” I glared my best glare at him. “So, y’all know how when I was younger, my parents were undercover agents for the CIA,” their eyes widened.

“Well, now you do,” I waved them closer. “When I was 11, we were put into the witness protection program and relocated to an undisclosed location. Well, the particular branch of the CIA my parents were involved in required complete secrecy. They recruited from within, which meant the children of the agents became agents and training started early. Like birth, early. So, you know how I said my cousin ran me over? Well, it wasn’t really my cousin. It was another one of the youths in the program. We just referred to each other as cousins.”

“Aaah,” they said in unison.

“And?” Thomas urged.

“And,” I hesitated, “… and one of our trainings involved a maneuver that required us to dive in front of a moving car. Since we were young, we began on slower-moving vehicles. Well, my cousin,” I made air quotes, “wasn’t paying attention and when I dove, he swerved, and ran me over. Needless to say, he was never seen again.”

“Aaah,” they said again in unison.

“So, let’s watch the movie,” I said, flipping Jake the remote. “Why don’t you get it set up while I chat with Thomas in the kitchen.”

“Why are you trying to sabotage me?” I asked when we were out of earshot.

“Because you’re ridiculous,” he laughed.“You just don’t understand,” I flicked him underneath the chin, “and if those are the only stitches you ever get, you’ll never understand. Hasta la vista, baby.” I blew him a kiss and joined my gang.

The mornings before each meetup, I give myself a once-over, looking for interesting scars, and the morning of the following meetup, I saw something … something potentially exciting.

My memory isn’t so great, so I asked Thomas for some help. “Hey, Thomas!”

“Hey, Krista!”

“Do you know how I got this scar on my neck?”

“Yes,” he said. “It’s from when the doctors thread a tube through your jugular vein into your aorta.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“That’s fantastic!” I hugged him. “I’m going to win again!”

“I didn’t realize it was a competition.”

“Of course, it is.”

Later that evening, as the Meetup group gathered in the family room, I asked, “Does anyone have a scar to share before I tell you about this little gem right here,” I pointed to my neck, “which I received when my cousin,” air quotes, “stabbed me with an envelope opener?”

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.