Chapter: Adventures in Children's Hospital -- Part I

Another week, another excerpt.  This one's relatively short, and was literally the first chapter I ever wrote for this book.  Sometimes I think that I'd like to change around some things, that it doesn't really match my current writing style, and other times I feel like it's a kind of sacrilege to change something that Ali loved so much.  Let me know what you think in the comment thingy.


Adventures in Children's Hospital -- Part I        


I am young. Young enough that trying to remember clearly is like trying to count the stars from underneath 6 feet of swamp water. Young enough that I don't understand what's happening... why I'm in this cold, sterile room. The memory shifts, undulates, trying to wiggle away from me like some reptilian creature in the swamp in which I am trapped underneath. The surface I lay on shifts and changes: one minute it's an operating table, the next, a standard doctor's office table, complete with crinkly tissue paper.

In the enormous mirror next to me, I can see my too-large eyes... enlarged due to fear and non-comprehension. There are voices. I don't remember or understand what they're saying, but they're cold... cold as the gleaming instruments on the tray nearby. The words that tumble through the air are bloated, absolutely sagging with doom. Nostradamus-like predictions issue forth from the figures in white.

 My arms and legs are being pulled by cold hands. Those hands don't wear gloves, what would be the point, really? I scream. Something inside of me was stretched to its limit by those scientific hands, and just a little bit further (95° extension, duly noted). The pain is a dull throb, an intense heat.

The memory slides sideways again, it may or may not be the same room, but it is identical. The room doesn't matter now, neither do the people. The pain is also nonexistent in this memory, thank God. Like a dream, I know it's there, I know I am probably screaming. For all I know, this may be a dream masquerading as a traumatic recording of my past.

What matters in this memory/dream is the Needles. The Needles, and the electrical current that flows through them. I feel like a pincushion, a porcupine, Pinhead from those Hellraiser movies. In reality, there was probably only a few of those blasted Needles in me at any given time. Electricity pours into me, testing to see if my muscles function correctly. They don't. Later I would wonder why they didn't just ask me.


I'm on a therapy mat on the floor. I'm older now, and things are clearer... unfortunately for me. They've hurt me again with their stretching and experimentation that they have chosen to call "physical therapy". I'm actually screaming for help because the therapist won't stop. My mother has put up some form of limp and soggy protest, but the therapist is immune to such things. She just wants her measurements so she can go home... maybe watch some Quantum Leap.

Scott Bakula is such a stud.

At the moment I don't give a shit about the adventures of Dr. Sam Beckett. I want to know where my father is, I want him to punch this stupid bitch in the throat, and take me back to Monroe... the land of videogames and chocolate milk in small cardboard boxes with straws poked into the top. My voice has gone ragged, and I'm about to give up entirely. No one is coming to help me.

Suddenly, there he is. My father is a big guy, and when you're a boy of about 10, if you have strong feelings towards your dad -- either positive or negative -- your father is a giant among men. There he stood in the doorway with his Raiders hat and an unpleasant look on his face. There was a bag of something delicious smelling in his considerably sized hand.

He didn't punch the woman in the throat as I had hoped... that's simply not my father. Instead, he spoke a handful of hard, quiet words... and the pain stopped. He removed the contents of the bag that smelled like magic and grease. Never in my life have I been so happy to partake in an Ultimate Cheeseburger. It felt as if the warm, artery clogging goodness was traveling straight to every part of me that hurt, and nurturing me.

That day, armed with only a cheeseburger and candy bar... my father was a hero.