Wednesday Write-in #24 @ CAKE.shortandsweet
Prompts: cookie dough :: greeting :: slippery slope :: tin can :: bloom
EMERGENCY CARE OR ALONG FOR THE RIDE
The volunteer greeter at the hospital wasn’t very engaging, the old bag, so I focused my eyes on the Hyacinth bloom on the table while I listened to her direct me toward the Emergency Room.
“Through those doors and to the right, then a left, then another right. You can’t miss it. This whole first floor is like one big square, you know. So if you miss it the first time, you’ll get there eventually if you just keep walking.”
A slippery first step onto one of the more treacherous slopes I’m aware of.
That was at 9:00am.
By noon, the intravenous line was in and pops was supine, saline dripping, his mind vacationing on Demerol’s dime. I was hungry so I walked outside the ER doors and into the sunlight, that odd juxtaposition of antiseptic spaces and springtime weather.
I’m free. Dad’s not.
I finally settled on the 7-Eleven on the corner of Prospect and Lindale, the last oasis on my walk before the entrance to emergency care and the facade that is the hospital cafeteria. Don’t be so harsh, I thought as I reached into the refrigerator for a tube of cookie dough. They feed the surgeons and the nurses and the specialists there, after all.
“Will that be it?” asked the cashier. He was only slightly better than the volunteer.
“Parliament Ultra Lights,” I said, nodding to the shelves behind him.
That was at 2:00 pm.
At 3:00pm, the cookie dough was halfway eaten and the pack of cigarettes halfway smoked. I sat on the curb near the “SMOKE FREE CAMPUS” sign, the cracked tube of dough next to me, its sides torn and flared out like shredded newspaper. The smokes tasted good like that, one after another. Apart from a few portly nurses that looked at me weird, the other patrons going in and out of the ER were too concerned to give me notice.
They seemed to understand.
By 5:00pm, pops was conscious again and the nurse was in to pull the IV and begin discharge proceedings. Pops was still drowsy from the pain-killer so his answers to the nurse’s practiced instructions were comical.
He liked to flirt when he was fucked up.
“This is to acknowledge that you received care in the ER today, including instructions on how to continue care once you go home.” She drew on the paper in three quick motions. “Please sign here, here and here,” she said as she handed the clipboard to dad.
“And where else now, honeybee?” he asked with lascivious intent. The nurse grimaced.
At the house, pops went to the fridge before taking his place in front of the television. He was quiet.
“How you holding up, pops? You good?”
He cracked a beer, took a gulp and nodded without turning to face me.
“Pops, don’t you think–”
“Leave me alone, will you? That trollop at the ER yapped enough for the both of us,” he said impatiently. So I left.
That was at 6:00pm.
The Tin Can was crowded for a Tuesday night. Some shitty garage band was giving the open mic a go and people seemed into it. A girl with half of her head shaved sat down next to me and made small talk. I bought us both three fingers and then turned to the music to finish my share.
That was at 1:00am.