Two Blind Men and a Fool
by Sherman Smith
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Chapter 19: I’m Not Nuts
“Where the hell are my clothes?” Stella had bought him a tux. It wasn’t hung up where he could find it because there was no one to do it for him. Instead he had to search in the dark for his pants, shoes, a shirt with too many buttons, and figure out how they all came together.
Desperation chided him, but he didn’t rage. There was no one to hear him except for his three drinking buddies, and they had all heard it before. He could not cry, for he had no tear ducts. “Tedium, I’ll bet you a dime to your doughnut that Self-Pity can drink you under the table any day of the week.”
He found his tux, and after exasperated fumbling and muttered cursing he had most of the buttons buttoned, though not all where they should be. At least his pants were right side out, or so he thought. Whatever he looked like, it was better than the hospital gown with the drafty rear-room view he was forced to wear.
He had a stash of dollar bills in a sock, which he shoved into his coat pocket. He stood up, gripped his cane, and wondered if he had the guts to do this. “Hell, I’m already talking to myself. If I stay here much longer, I will go nuts.”
He stood tall and tossed his bandage-wrapped head back as best he could and proclaimed, “Come on boys, the fleet’s in.”
At the door he went pin-drop silent. He slowly pulled open the door and listened within the dark to the hospital sounds one last time. He knew where the elevator was by sound, but he hadn’t a clue as to which floor he was on, how many floors there were, or where he needed to go.
When the elevator door closed, he punched all the buttons. The motion told him that he was going down. That was good, perhaps. He self-consciously checked the buttons on his pants as he felt the need to take a pee coming on. Damn, why didn’t I think of that before I got the damn buttons done?
The elevator door opened to a damp, musty-smelling place that gave him the willies. After an eternal twenty minutes of wrong turns into pitch-black dead-end places, he lost any sense of direction or hope for recovery and stood with his back to the door inside a locked storage closet and called out with what little dignity he could muster. “Help, someone. I’m a poor blind sheep who’s lost his way... And damn but I need to pee. Help? Anyone?”
He knew that he was in some sort of small room. Tedium and Self-Pity were hogging the space. “Get out of here, you bums. You’re beginning to stink up the place. What’s that? Mr. Black? No, no need to apologize. Believe me, I wish you could leave. If I could grab you by the throat and squeeze the life out of you, I would without a moment’s hesitation. But I can’t. You, pal, are my doppelganger, my faithful second self, and we’re stuck together until death renders us apart. Hmmm, now there is something to ponder.”
A janitor found him and got him to a bathroom in time. He would have cried if he could, because he urgently needed the janitor’s help with the buttons to keep from peeing all over himself. That done, the janitor escorted Brooks back to his room. Brooks’ protests fell on empty ears while his drinking pals laughed at his expense.
Again the bourbon beckoned, and Brooks found himself alone with Mr. Black, while Self-Pity copped an attitude. Tedium had gone ahead to reserve a table. It didn’t take long for Tenacity, who had invited himself to the party, to give Brooks a sharp kick in the ass. And they were off again.
Brooks was halfway to the elevator when a nurse found him and kindly helped him back to his room, back into his hospital gown and into his bed. She had heard about his misadventure in the basement and gave him a pill to help him sleep and to keep him from wandering off again.
Self-Pity had gone on to join Tedium while Desperation shuffled the cards and dealt the first hand. Brooks pushed the cards away. As soon as the nurse left, he counted to twenty then spit the pill out, which was not easy to do through the damned mouth hole.
Copyright © 2013 by Sherman Smith