Comebacks: Dead Man Talking

Local journalist Brian Hickey was lost to the world for a month after being left for dead on a South Jersey street by a hit-and-run driver. He reports his own story of what happened and his miraculous recovery

THAT I CAN report and write the story that almost killed me, without going through the emotional scrapple-maker, says that Brian Hickey, both the man and the reporter, emerged unscathed. He doesn’t care that he can’t access some of the memories; he just considers them sources that won’t talk.

Today, May 1st, five months and three days after it all began, I got the stitches taken out of my head wound, not even two weeks after they replaced the two pieces of skull that had been taken out in the initial surgery and kept frozen. Chances are, that was the last medical procedure I’ll endure for this. But there’s one emotional loose end to tie up, the question that everybody seems scared to ask, but some do anyway: What’ll you do if they catch the driver?

I’d like to be all Buddhist about it and let the lesson center on how precious life truly is. How being a kindhearted person pays unimaginable dividends when push comes to near-death shove. And how karma will do the dirty work for me.

That’s all true, but edited down for public consumption. I’m sure you can handle the raw answer to that question: The driver had better fucking hope the police catch him first, because if I do — and believe me I will —  I’ll string him up by his balls. Then, after kicking every last one of his teeth into the street, I’ll ask him how he’ll run away from assault charges now. I’ll close with spitting in his fucking face as he cries, “Why did you do this to me?” The Jersey Curb Sandwich seems too harsh? Fine. Being the spiritual badass I am, I’ll be content to just publicly humiliate him, day after day, for the cowardice of refusing to take accountability for his actions.

But even if my hit-and-run goes unsolved, and there’s a good chance it will, I’ll always stand taller than that worthless excuse for a human. That I got a byline on the compelling “Guy Who Lived When He Should Have Gotten Killed” exclusive is just the journalistic cherry on top.                 

Brian Hickey has worked for the Press of Atlantic City, Philadelphia Weekly and the City Paper. He currently freelances for Philly.com and the Inquirer.

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