By Jack Nichols
Sligo, Ireland---Feb 23--Author Robert Drake, still unconscious, has rallied only minimally. The patient's condition remains grave, Paula Langguth Ryan, editor of the Baltimore Alternative, told GayToday while listing a few hopeful signs.
Drake, the January 30 victim of a vicious homophobic beating by two alleged thieves, holds on to life by fragile, uncertain chords. Scott Pretorius, his longtime friend and lover, according to news reports, a chief resident in Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, provided Ms. Ryan a bedside update on his injured partner's state of being.
A 1.3 leter build up of fluids in his lungs has been eliminated. The swelling of his brain has subsided. Bleeding in Drake's brain seems to have been reabsorbed. Drake's pneumonia has cleared up. His temperature has dropped to 99 degrees. But he remains in a month-long coma.
The stricken author lay in a pool of blood for over twelve hours on a Sunday before he was discovered. His attackers, who had first met him by asking for a cigarette, accused him, a legal excuse often employed by the violence-prone, of making a pass at one of them. According to local reports, however, this apparently did not stop the confessors from taking what one report said was "an unspecified amount of money" from Drake's wallet and then tossing that wallet into a fireplace.
Sligo's citizenry is now wrestling with its rumors which are able to jump to life with uncanny energies in a small town. But a natural sense of rightness seems to these Irish inhabitants to prohibit any such vicious response to a mere "pass" and some have indicated as much to inquirers, saying they hope that Drake's attackers get what they deserve.
The author, it appears, although he'd spent only a short period in Sligo, had already made himself well-liked. His manner of dress, his friendliness, and his inquiries into the well-being of others were enough to endear him to several thoughtful locals.
Although the two attackers, after discovering Drake was still alive, came forward, they have not yet been charged or put under arrest. Police, however, have created a file on the case and have forwarded it to London to the Director of Public Prosecutions, indicating charges brought against the attackers will be serious.
Donations to offset the cost of Robert's return to the United States are being accepted. A private airplane is needed to transport him, due to his condition. Please make checks payable to: The Robert Drake Fund, c/o The Baltimore Alternative, P.O. Box 2351, Baltimore, MD 21203.