Prose Header

Intensive Care

by O.J. Anderson

That damn machine is coming around again. Meds time for mother.

* * *

Oh, how she used to love her crossword puzzles! Flowing through the house in her threadbare gown like a tired old ghost. Sharpened pencil in one hand. Folded up Times in the other. Off she went. Free associating, mumbling to herself. Gliding towards her pack of Newports and plaid beanbag ashtray on the kitchen table. The late morning well in hand. All set until lunch.

* * *

“Get your damn claws off her! You damn... machine!”

The machine won’t listen. It never listens.


* * *

It’s my fault, I’m afraid. I brought the machine here. I was so worried. I had no idea what to do. It was during my monthly visit, right after I had noticed the Times in the waste basket, just lying there, tossed away after brunch. Mother napping away upstairs. It caught my eye. I pulled it out.

5 across: DIE!

10 down: Killer!!!!

8 down: Death!MURder!

Et cetera.

How long had this been going on? I had no idea. I just thought she was good at the crosswords. She had always completed them so quickly. She seemed so smart. Turned out she was barking mad.

Oh, my poor, poor mother!

* * *

The HMO’s “home care unit” took care of me the day I visited mother and saw her strapped to the chair. Catatonic. Drooling. I flipped out and attacked the machine. Karate chopped it.

* * *

The machine turns to me next. I struggle against my bindings, but it’s no use. I can’t move. 30cc’s worth of a Dabutol-Zolaxamin cocktail coming at my left arm. The machine’s prescription for my hostility. I’ve been trying to trick it into letting me go; pretending not to be hostile anymore. But no luck yet. Somehow it knows.

The long needle pierces my flesh. Nothing I can do about it now except let myself glide down the candy-coated water slide that will soon be my mind. Usually takes about a minute. Mother will have to wait until later. Because

s o   o   n

I’   l   l   b   eeee

g   o   n e.

Copyright © 2007 by O. J. Anderson

Home Page