Chapter 1 – A Tad Premature
Ideally, I wouldn’t have chosen a place like Club Luge to spend my first anniversary with Jenny, but it was just one of many to come. We were still in our twenties, so why not live a little? Jen was always fond of the “boom” in these kinds of places.
“My body is on fire, Pete!”Her wide hips would swing vigorously with the beat, and I couldn’t help but be titillated by her eroticism …
But the music was always so awful! It never invoked the desire in me to wriggle my pasty body next to or on top of Jenny like the dozens of hopeless couples wringing together on the dance floor. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t as if I never wanted to get out of those ergonomically awkward-looking chairs and show her a good time.
I just feel so out-of-place in most social situations that whatever intention I have in letting loose my inhibitions quickly turns to blushing embarrassment. This isn’t me at all. I’m an animal in the bedroom, and I definitely enjoy it rough. I’m a fucking goofball around my friends and family members, but when I’m amongst the press of the crowd, I crystallize into the good doctor: stoic, shaped in silky marble. The good doctor doesn’t dare to dance. He would say, “This music is made to induce vomiting.” To be fair, the scene about us that particular night was quite nauseating. It was like an experimental French laboratory in World War II, where hairless lab rats were dressed in shimmering, synthetic straightjackets and subjected to violent strains and booms, causing them to seize with glowsticks stitched to their paws. It was disgustingly criminal, to be sure.
Jenny was once a lab rat. I found her drunk, down and out in an alleyway five years ago. It was actually from the same bar that I picked her up and took her to the hospital to get her stomach pumped. We hardly talk about that incident. I always suspected that she was a victim of some sloppy 9-to-5’s frustrated ambitions. Her black eyes and distressed hair, her swollen and bloodied lips, and the icy tremors that still drip down her arms and legs all told me that I had a fragile woman on my hands. That night she called me her Good Samaritan, but it sounded far more like “gold chameleon.” Poor Jenny.
Despite the mucky shit she’s had to tread through toward meeting me, I can tell she still loves the night life. We don’t bore each other, but I sometimes wonder if she would prefer to return to her old lifestyle. Is she happy with what life gave her? Is she happy being Mrs. Peter Gosling? I doubt anything could be worse than this music! She wouldn’t want to come back to this. We have fun with ourselves, and not by sitting in front of a fireplace with flannel blankets draped over our laps. We use toys. We use so many toys that we are considering buying stock in body lubricants. While she enjoys the varying sizes I provide for her, she loves strap-ons the most. Despite my initial uneasiness, we’ve found an interesting balance between our two seminal interests: Thursday nights are “cram nights.” I wasn’t too fond of “cram night,” but it grows in you, any puns aside.
As the hail of rhythm and beat raped my eardrums, I gazed deeply into Jenny’s eyes. A glimmer! What does she want? C’mon Peter, think of something witty and cute to say. Say the words of wisdom she longs to hear. Ready? One, two…
“Hello? Is it me your looking for? I can see it in your eyes…”
Laughter! You’ve got her, Peter.
“I can see it in your smile. And I want to tell you so much…”
Oh Jenny: the slight head tilt, the leering gaze, the pursed lips—
—“I love you.”
And she beats me to the punch! A thick, decadent kiss. For a moment, a slight of hand across my pant leg. Jenny, you are in spirit tonight. She then said with her ginger tongue, “Two mojitos, Peter. Then we’ll get on the dancefloor.” I would have been crushed if not for the cunning smile which cut its way across my cheeks, a fake smirk that I’d come to rely upon for many years. It’s a ‘bro’ thing between my self and myself. Excuse me for being factitious, but the only thing men masturbate to is their own facade, their fabricated perception of themselves. They let the facade take over and possess every whim, every single shred of desire the real person wants fulfilled without incurring the guilt. I rose from the sequin-laden table. Jenny looked so devilishly delighted, so eager to be pleased. She was a dam on the brink of eruption, her weakened walls filled with cracks. And I wondered if it wouldn’t be too late to go home and see if anything riveting or vibrating came in the mail.
If I knew what I know now, I would’ve taken Jenny out kicking and screaming, threw her in the back of my car, and driven off into the proverbial sunset; anything to escape my impending doom. There, in the middle of the bar, sat the fattest, slimiest, plastered, most putrescent excuse for a man. In blessed ignorance, I walked towards the bar. His first offense was an unadulterated belch, the stench of which sat in my nose the rest of the night. The cheap and half-finished vodka-and-tonics strewn about the bar in front of him suggested that he had little taste and no integrity. And nothing offends me more than a man without integrity.
The second offense was his company, an obvious whore around the age of thirty, or so her clothes suggested to me. The pockmarks and deep wrinkles adorning her forehead and cheeks were a long and winding map which must’ve gone on for a few more decades past thirty. In a way, I envied her. She was spending her last moments of beauty on pleasure and with the one fellow in Club Luge who would indulge her. She tossed her bleached-blonde, full-bodied hair over her skeletal shoulders to reveal a ludicrous tattoo hanging off the side of her left breast.
Her empty cackles would make a deaf man’s ears bleed not from the volume but the sheer frequency of her tone. I assume the amorphous gentleman to her left was not aware of the terror that stalked beside him but merely influenced by a desire not slicked in many days.
The greatest kindness anyone can give a man on a mission is to simply step aside, to let the ground shake ever so slightly and move on with one’s life. The combination of cheap vodka, cheap women, and cheap wit would not let me pass. If I were to escape with any sense of pride, there would have to be trouble.
The bartender’s gentle eyes perused my body before I even motioned towards the bar. When I met him face-to-face, he had examined, critiqued, and published me in a trashy novel that sold millions of copies. I asked him,
“Two mojitos, please.”
“Mojitos… not for you. I’m thinking more like a martini?”
“You’re definitely a martini man. Your breath says you hate mint.”
He was right.
“Two mojitos will be fine… Billi?”
“Name-tags are a nuisance. Takes out all of the guesswork.”
And I couldn’t agree more. He was a lean figure, 5’11” of flamboyance and sparkle. It wasn’t as grotesque as many others. In fact, it was a warranted and appreciated aesthetic. He ground each mint leaf with pleasure, each stroke and churn a familiar agent. He shook the mixture with both hands firmly gripping the metallic skin. And with every exercise, he gave a slight smirk, as if he recognized every effort of his labor. Such wit, such humor! After pouring the drink into a glass, his sky blue eyes met mine, and, with a silver tongue, said:
“That’s one mojito for… the Mrs.”
“Make the second mojito a martini, dry.”
“That’s my boy.”
As I said, the man was right on his game.
I suppose conversation, or what can be interpreted as conversation from the obese grunting of a lummox which thoroughly molested both of my ears, was inevitable. He turned his flat nose my way, gave a sharp snarl, and uttered with mossy teeth what can be interpreted as English.
“Heeeeeey guy! Aren’t you lookin’ fancy n’ shit tonight?”
“C’mere sweetheart. Come a little closer, baby.”
“Wasn’t talkin’ to you, so mind your damn business!”
He was talking to that tragic slut of the evening. I pitied her. His affection amounted to a slobbery, vodka-ridden smooch that even I could taste sitting three feet away. She immediately darted from the bar to the bathroom with her hand covering her mouth, a volatile mixture of her cosmopolitan and dog dribble must’ve kick on her gag reflex. I’m sure she’s thankful for that, at least.
Without his arm candy to occupy his meaningless time, he turned yet again in my direction. The fumes emanating from his rotten cavity almost made me follow in suit, but I was determined not to let this… What did I call him? A shit-sandwich. I wasn’t going to let this “shit-sandwich” ruin the little bit of pleasure to be found in this hellhole.
“So what’s your name, Mr. Fancy?”
No response. Maybe if I stand perfectly annoyed, he’ll just turn back around and eye out another poor bystander to salivate upon.
“Are you deaf now? Did I offend your damn shenshibilities?”
How long does it take to make a fucking dry martini and mojito? He must be picking the mint leaves off the plant. His slender figure, his masculine jawline, his tight little ass are little consolation.
“ Ah, whatever. Prick.”
And then it was over. He turned his body and faced the dance floor with his best head forward. Whatever sick desires that ran up and down his spine were of no consequence. I was alone, free.
“What was that?”
What? What the fuck did I just say!? Peter, just let it go. He’s not worth another minute of burned nostrils and suppressing your gag reflex.
“What the fuck did you just call me!?”
What the Hell are you doing, Peter!? No, just sit there and mind your own damn business!
“I called you a fucking prick. You’re. A. Prick.”
It was at this point I had given up all hope of ever seeing that attractive male bartender ever again. His tight blue jeans with his purple tank top all encrusted with gold flakes were now a distant memory. All that existed was me and this amorphous shit stain. In retrospect, I wish that I had the courage to swallow that one last rotting morsel, but it was too much to keep down. There would be blood.
He stared at me with his dilated pupils making circles in his head. How confident I was when I looked at the bar in front of him: he had emptied a bottle of cheap vodka [McCormick] with that six foot horror in the bathroom, and his predisposition read, “More, more, more!” I couldn’t help but let a smirk escape the right corner of my mouth.
“What’s so funny, prick?”
“Hey! I’m talkin’ to you, ya fuckin’ prick!”
His greasy extension laid its mucky palm on my corduroy jacket, and immediately a balled fury grew in the opposite arm. As I jerked my silent body back from his grip, cocked and aimed for his left temple, serendipity!
“Your mojito and gentleman’s martini.”
Did he see what had ensued? My face flooded red, warm with this blessed disruption. “What was I thinking?” I thought so loudly. My flustered eyes met the bartender’s, whose almost permanent expression was, “I like what you’re pushing, and I want to pull.” He didn’t notice, or perhaps did and wanted to keep face with me. He knew that my drinks were all I wanted, and any other time spent away from Jenny was inconvenient. I couldn’t help but smile, such practical ostentation.
And as I began to turn from the bar, something escaped my lips, something at the time I couldn’t decipher, but its response was clear.
“My name? It’s Aaron, sweetie. Enjoy the martini.”
I had asked him his name and am glad I did. Despite the malignancy leeching in our brief exchange, I was glad I could put a name to the face. It’s not often one meets such a beautiful person,
Jenny’s generous smile had melted away, leaving a pensive grimace in its wake. I knew this face well; it said that she wanted something that didn’t exist, or at least something I couldn’t provide. She wasn’t staring at anything specific, just letting her eyes dilute the spastic scenes on the dance-floor. I couldn’t help but wonder if she felt lost because of me, because I took her from this world. It’s not as if she was never happy with being married, but she was never the type to settle for one person. She divulged many of her love stories to me since that first night driving to Saint Agatha’s, the first one still sticks out in my mind as flattering: “Are you Bob? God, your dick was HUGE!” She then proceeded to examine my identity and apparently confirmed it. “You’re Bob, alright! Hey there, lil Bobby. You wanna wake up for Jenny?”
Whatever was once so lively in those first gleaming green eyes was now faded gray and listless. I placed her drink down in front of her with a loud clink; sometimes it helps to distract her from these episodes of wandering.
“Hey baby, here’s your drink.” I topped her dreadful mojito with a winning smile, the kind that was ingenuine for genuine circumstances.
“Oh, thanks.” It was barely audible, as if she were whispering her acknowledgment of the existence of the drink only to the drink itself. She took a silent sip of her professionally-engineered mojito without so much as a pleasing squint in her eyes. They just hung under her brows like Christmas bulbs, beautiful yet merely ornamental.
I complemented her sip with a loud gulp of my dry martini, almost comical to lighten the mood at our island in the haphazard paradise of cacophony about us. I smirked after I returned the glass to the sandy shore of our island: “I’m glad I changed my mind and went with a Bond.”
Her eyes glinted with that spark of life I was waiting for as she covered her mouth with her fist: “Oh, James. You are quite the charmer.”
I took another confident swig of my martini and half-comically, half-honestly slurred a Scottish: “Just cahll me a Shnake Charmer, my shweet mamba!” I was never much for holding in large amounts of alcohol, but I always viewed that as a boon to my wallet.
She cringed as my Sean Connery impression sunk in. Jenny always swooned when Pierce Brosnan strutted across the screen in his dashing English persona, a gentleman packing serious firepower, as she once said. I could only imagine the Tomahawk missile he had hidden beneath all of his gadgets and debonair tuxedo.
“That should stay in the 70s, hun, along with his biceps and his liver.” Jenny could be rather sharp when she wanted to be, and it always cut a streak of humor around me. Rarely would it ever strike something vital, rarely.
Clearing my throat, I readjusted my posture in the leather and studded lounge chair: “Pardon me, madame, but I noticed your drink of choice to be of a Moroccan persuasion. Have you ever been to the golden shores along the Atlantic in that majestic land?”
“Mr. Bond, you presume to ask for more than you care to know. If you want me, then take me.” She always preferred the femme fatale approach, and I was her willing victim.
As the alcohol worked its way deeply into my nervous system, I could make out a reverberating sensation from Jenny’s curious fingers exploring my zipper. She was a pianist, and I feel rather naughty complementing her on her skill in such a context, but I digress for courtesy’s sake: hertender stroking of the keys of our grand piano filling the loft at home used to wake me up from long nights sunk deep within the lamenting toil of work, the blood-curdling screams from patients still ringing in my dreams lulled to sleep by Chopin or Beethoven. There was once even a Debussy that curbed a particular fellow’s hateful and deadly stare. His searing leer stings ever so slightly in my memory now when Claire de Lune nestles beside me whilst I sleep.
She was a musician. The ease with which her fingers curiously explored my cheeks, how she caught each tear before it soiled my lips, made me her willing instrument. I was strung taut from my coiled head and buttressed by the blissful bending of my knees; sharp were my notes as she stroked my keys with deliberate mien. It was not to be a simple movement but an entire symphony between artist and artistry, the speckled hands of experience upon my curved, generous hips of ebony barely peaking in perfect age.
Her performance is superb, articulate as the sighing resonating from within the hollow of my midriff. Tool though I may be, I am the student to her erring humanity; even the indelicate shrieks she evokes within me are pure pleasure to the ear! And as she sets her bow to crescendo, my wailing bliss weaves my senses together in a finale unparalleled since Vivaldi’s voltaic Primavera. The final bolt coveted from the heights of Olympus strikes my core; the piece is done, and I twinge with remnant vibration.
“Jen, why don’t we continue our anniversary at home? I feel like composing a new measure.” Yes, it was our game.
Fumbling with my fly, she lets out a short tiff of laughter like a gun stopped short of releasing its bullet. She latched her hand to my inner thigh over my corduroy slacks, and with a stare of devilish delight pulled hard on my D chord.
“Fuck that, I want the world to hear a symphony.”
A symphony! Ah, but what a waste it would have been if it were actually relinquished upon the world at such a banal, turbulent venue—the rave now shifted to undulation, shaking both the dancefloor and the ceiling—where one is unable to keep specks of insulation from drifting down into one’s drink. She caught me drifting while her fingers wrapped so luxuriously around me and pressed the knife-tip of her fingernail between the head and shaft. I squealed, she squealed, and the table beside us became noticeably vacant.
“Mr. Bond, you have something floating in your cocktail.”
I couldn’t resist:
“I seem to have something swirling about my cocktail as well.”
It began as a disruptive squeal heard by most of the club—the thumping bass and wailing whoops of the crowd and the loudspeakers, all in dizzying uniformity, either mumbled or frayed for those three seconds—, but it had manifested as a silent current of pink, plush charge which proceeded from its positive point of origin. It sought its negative, denied me the pleasures of lingering resistance, growing exponentially until—
“Pete, my shoes!”
Hey all! Just a quick note before I start littering my wall with all these loose chapters - these pieces are in varying stages of editing, some more complete than others. However, I encourage honest and thorough criticism for anything I post. Bear with me if I don’t respond to your critiques immediately as I am constantly writing new material and work 50+ hours a week. Thank you :)
Chapter 3 - COMATOSE
9:02 AM. I’m late for the first time since medical school. And that poor excuse for a bed didn’t do my back any favors. I can’t believe they took me to jail. Sure, I may have instigated the fight, but he was the first to actually attack. That pudgy binding of appendages called a fist left me with a terrible headache, and for some reason I can still smell the greasy leavings that littered his digits…
"Are you alright, doctor?!" Maggie’s black-button eyes were fixated on my face, scanning the periphery of my unshaven jawline. Her brows creased inward with enough concern to crack a walnut. "Lemme guess, rough night with the misses? You two play far too rough, what with that shiner you got there." Her voice trailed off with a long, dry whistle. Her guess as to how I obtained my black eye was far more preferable to the alternative of telling the truth, especially while surrounded by dozens of patients who look to me to be strong and cool-headed. So, I rolled with the assumption by folding and crimping at the details of the truth. In a nutshell, the new truth was something to the effect of trying a new position and my eye socket engaging her sharp kneecap. A few stifled giggles pattered along the sanitary linoleum, pulling at my wrinkled pant leg for my already divided attention…
"Are you alright, doctor?" I had apparently been standing in front of the sliding glass door staring at the tiny flecks of blue paint in the pink vinyl flooring for awhile, at least enough time to warrant the sound of a clearing throat. I looked behind me and saw another nurse dressed in burgundy scrubs and what seemed to be vomit stains scattered across the front of his shirt. His salt and pepper beard was wound tightly to his face like tiny springs ready to burst out in all directions: "Are you heading back in, too?" Checking my watch, straightening my tie, and wiping my eyebrows with my thumb, I flashed my laminated badge and was let in.
"Take it easy, now." Maggie seemed to always say a lot more with fewer words than what she would say with her long-winded anecdotes and prying questions. What I heard was, "Take it easy, now," but what she said made me feel as if she was trying to communicate some greater truth, something along the lines of, "Don’t eat so much pork! You’ll get angina." I’m not sure, to be perfectly frank.
The ER was rank with the smell of suffering and profit, which are rarely discernible from one another. Families were huddled around doorjambs peering in on loved ones: some of the sickly recovering perfectly and others slowly slipping away. A little girl stood behind what seemed to be her parents. She anxiously tugged at the jacket sleeve of one of her mothers: “Mommy, why is granddad’s skin so gray?” The woman to her left peered over her silken-blouse shoulder at the young girl’s face and said, simply, “He’s dying, Margaret.” The little girl, whose mitten and fluffy jacket ensemble resembled the voluminous poof of a Pomeranian, began to whimper. It was the kind of sad noise that animals make when a parent is stuck in a snare: helpless, pathetic. Yet at the same time there existed a certain heavy gravity to each wheeze, almost as if she was building a cinderblock house brick-by-brick inside her chest. While she was pitiful in that brief moment, she was building a resistance to tragedy which will continue to be reinforced and revivified as she grows. “Keep it up, little one.”
The crowd huddled around the entrance turned to face me with varying facial expressions; one gentleman’s lips creased down toward his chin looking as if they may burst open with unimaginable expletives—“What the fuck did you just say, twat?!”—and in fact, he did! Another older woman grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him down to her huddled, wrinkled height: “Do not be rude to the doctors, Manuel! They have tools and tricks to make you feel better…” She turned toward the dwindling man writhing slowly in his sterile bed, “And to make you feel like Hell.” She did not weep but instead held her hand up to her forehead as if checking for a fever. She was a fortress built against a lifetime’s worth of troubles, while her equally aged husband was a wandering horde of ravenous horsemen frantically searching their barren steppes for sustenance, taking anything and everything they could find. His hooves beat more softly now, slowing to an impatient trot around the exterior of his wife’s citadel. He would circle for hours, waiting for alms to cascade through the crenellations and murder holes to sustain his horde for another day’s raiding. It was a poisonous relationship, to be sure.
"Where’s the nurse, Mommy?" The little girl was still clinging to the end of her mother’s sleeve, anxiously looking from one end of the pink hallway to the other. A series of squeaks sprang from a nearby corridor, and a tall, red-faced boy sporting burgundy scrubs pushed his way past me: "Sorry, doctor."
"No, it’s alright. Just…" I could smell it on him, and I think some of the family members corralled near the doorway could sense it, too. "Are those pubic hairs sticking out from the side of your mouth?" The blonde RN, probably not much older than 22, quickly wiped his palms over his saturated lips. The subtle click of a door closing echoed from the adjoining hallway like a pebble dropped down a long, dry well. I peeped around the corner to find another nurse yanking her hair up into a ponytail with a thick rubber band. Turning back around to face the main hall, I could see the male nurse wriggling through the family of onlookers. Their glares burned holes in the back of his shirt as evident by his raised shoulders. I couldn’t do anything more than what was already happening to the horny fellow: starting morning rounds with everyone immediately hating you. If he survives through the rest of the month, he’ll be a great nurse.
I reached the corral of desks and filing cabinets where the older roosting hens made their daily nests. One particularly cockeyed nurse squawked something loudly in my general direction, but I kept on walking: “Sorry Gladys, but I’m just clocking in—”
"I hope that’s not the truth of the matter, Pete." A massive yet artfully groomed white beard stuck itself in my left eye socket when I turned around to find no one else but my boss, my mentor, and my taskmaster. "I stopped by your house on my way in when Gladys here told me you didn’t show for early morning rounds. Jenny said something about a bar fight?"
"She did, did she?" I bet she did, goddammit. I spend a night in jail because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she still didn’t cover for me. She just doesn’t understand the importance of lies when used with tact because she was raised to be a nubheaded Christian. With the advances in science and technology in this day and age, one would think human beings would move beyond superstitious means of explanation and respect.
"Still with us, doctor?" Chief of Medicine Marcos Suez, M.D. had very little time to spare on just about anything, so it was to my surprise that he was in such a relatively chipper mood when I came in to work that day at such a late hour. "If you’re ready, I’d like to talk to you about trading one of your geriatrics for a more, shall we say, fresh issue? You see, one of our residents may have bitten off more than he can chew. What seemed like a simple case of … " While Dr. Suez trailed off with crucial details of the patient’s prognosis and the ignorant resident’s mistakes, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was a five year-old boy being led by the hand to a sink to wash out my mouth with soap. The question is what did I say to deserve this special level of attention from a senior member of the medical staff.
Before I knew it, I was standing in front of an opaque pane of glass outlining the letters to the words “QUARANTINE” with my eyes. Apparently the patient had experienced toxic shock from an unknown yet sudden infection. A few options for sources of the infection and a list of symptoms were written in the kind of penmanship that can only be attributed to countless hours of writing prescriptions over many decades. I never learned much from other people’s notes, anyway. Replacing the aluminum clipboard onto the hook of the door, I gingerly turned the knob and pressed my shoulder into the room. I could see almost instantly why the man lying in bed was quarantined. His respirator hissed with each artificial breath, suddenly raising then lowering his chest. Three intravenous bags were hanging over his motionless face like overly ripened fruit rotting on the vine. One was obvious: “Saline solution, dripping just fine.” The other two bladders shared the same auburn hue, almost like diluted blood or a good vintage of red wine. While trying to read their chemical information, I discovered them to be almost boiling hot to the touch. I felt the invalid’s wrist, but his body temperature was normal; his heart was beating strong and steady, and his skin tone was suntan golden. Revisiting his charts also hanging from the foot board of his bed, I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow…
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
"Is something wrong, doctor?" The patient’s chart clattered across the floor. "My apologies, doctor. I don’t believe we’ve met. My name is Marylyn Maushart." She extended a sharp blade of a hand toward his liver but stopped short of his loosely hanging hand. To most people, this would have seemed like an overly friendly handshake, but to the distracted good doctor it was an attack. Having turned around to face her, he flew backward onto the foot board and tumbled over and onto the beach body of his comatose patient. "Careful! He’s in a very delicate state right now." With the same hand that played the role of greeting shank, she latched on to his opposite arm’s wrist and pulled him back from the soft blue blankets. All he could muster in the moment was something along the lines of a bark in falsetto. "Is there something I can help you with? I don’t believe I caught your name, doctor."
"It’s Dr. Gosling." Clearing his throat, Peter tucked his black oily hair back behind his ears and drew his thumb across each eyebrow before extending the grooming tool in the general direction of Mary. "Pleasure."
"I’m sure." Mary unsheathed a tissue from her blazer pocket and with the same hand shook his with conviction. "You must forgive me as I have a terrible amount of work to do this afternoon. I trust that he will be well taken care of? I know that you are a capable physician, but his case is, shall we say, special. I’ve been given assurance from your Chief of Medicine that he will have the best of his resident doctors tend to my ward’s every need.” Her eyes never left the gaze of Peter’s still glazed, bloodshot blue eyes. She clenched his hand tighter with every sentence while hers was covered by the thin veneer of tissue paper so as not to spread whatever theoretical infection she believed lived and thrived on the doctor’s rough, scaly palms. “Is this understood, doctor?”
"Yes, yes. But of course." Peter felt as if he was volunteering for military service in an autocratic country. Refusing the request of the Blitzkrieg Bombshell dressed in pitch black wool standing at attention in front of him would have been fatal, maybe not for him but almost definitely for his career as a general practitioner. Mary was not the typical worried party for the sake of an injured or aged family member. She flew the stark colors of business without a single flourish of compassion or mercy; impressions that instantaneous and compelling were all Peter needed to have to convince himself that this vegetable of a man lying in bed was his most important patient.
"I hope we’ve come to an understanding, doctor."
"Please, call me Peter." He bit his tongue.
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
I couldn’t help but think: “What the Hell was that just now?” I didn’t know where to begin my outrage. Clasping the handrail bolted above the foot rest of the patient’s bed, I started to seethe with frustration. My teeth grated against one another, my fingers started to crack under the weight of my body falling down on my gripped hands. I felt as if I might burst open and take the east wing of Sacred Heart with me to Heaven, or Hell. Just as I was about to snap, a minuscule blip tinged from the EKG machine opposite his respirator unit. It was a second—no, a tenth of a second of a blip, but it stood out against the constant melody of his heart. It happened against a moment later, appearing between the two consecutive beats typically made by the human heart:
BEEP-bip—BEEP … BEEP-bip—BEEP …
To anyone else, it would have seemed like a glitch in the software, or an echo from his lungs or stomach. But to me, in that moment of infernal anger and agitation, it was obvious. It was obvious that it was the turnip’s heart not only because he was midbreath every time the EKG read the extra blip but because… Well, it sounds foolish, but it’s true. I felt it.
"I feel it."
BEEP-bip—BEEP … BEEP-bip—BEEP …