Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Only Thing Worse is the Cure, Part 5


This is Part 5 in a weekly serial. You can begin at Part 1 here.


They know he’s here. The trunk that came this morning was full of ashes from his house – from the very estate you served in, Cecil. They burned the bed he was birthed on. The mariners know he’s here, they see it from their ships, and they think he’s causing the plague that consumes the continent. Thousands upon thousands dead that he could cure if he’d go out there, and then they’d know what we’ve turned into a way of life. It is worse than an affront to keep him on this wretched island. We’re squandering him.

We need only to tell him something, and his heart will bring him to his feet. So why not tell him we found the Arab? Ruth and Hansel found an Arab hanged for heresy. It could be him. And your Young Master’s been practicing so long in cemeteries. Let him go raise his personal Lazarus and ask his identity. After that, we’ll never have to deal with these ships or assassins again.

This isn’t my notion. None of these are words original to my mouth; this is everyone’s notion, but yours, and the crone with her printing press. Everyone thinks we ought to spur him into manhood, save you, and that little gardener, and your Young Master himself, who only believes such because he’s so obsessed with these arcane books, so possessed of his own origin that he ignores his destiny. This is his time. A plague is the perfect time for the man who is the cure.

I attest this of sound mind, for once I was mad and fretted over the sensations of an arm that had long left me to gangrene. Your Young Master took my ghostly limb and ghostly anxiety, but if you shut him up in this little safe isle any longer, he’ll never know all the limbs that are truly at his command. You’re raising a bull to be ignorant of his horns, a lion ignorant of his voice. There are eight ships in the bay, and they’ve brought cannons, Cecil. They brought the trunk of ashes. They haven’t thrown a dead mariner overboard in a week; they circle to find the safe distance from your Young Master’s reach. Do you want to wait to find out the reach of their arms?

So let us tell him we found his Arab, and get him into the world. You can go to him this morning, speak one sentence, and he’ll believe you, because you’re the one he grew up trusting. Or, so help me, I will lock you in a cellar and find another way to convince him.

We need lions, and they need the cure.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Homeless Magician


Skepticism kills jobs. The encroachment of science, obliterating hunger and HIV, left people with no wonder for a man levitating on stage. They thought they saw wires he didn’t need. Infinite kerchiefs from his sleeve paled from Nova’s special on infinite bubble universes. He even caught his beautiful and talented assistant brushing up on Honors Chem; he could have prognosticated the fine career she’d have, but she quit before he could tell her. There was no money left in magic, and soon he had to saw himself in half just to fit inside a friend’s rent controlled closet. He’d be damned if he slept with the rabbits in his hat.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Foot Stopped Working: Needles in My Legs



I thought I’d experienced every nerve test. I’ve had sweat tests, blood tests, muscle biopsies, shock tests, tests where they strapped electrodes to me and tossed me onto a treadmill. I have what are likely exaggerated memories of an hour spent in a room with gradually elevating temperature and currents being run through my left arm.

But this “Nerve Shock Test” I got in Fishkill was a new one. The technician stuck needles into the muscle tissue of my legs, then electrified the needles to record nerve reactions. It may be the first time I’ve ever bit my lip to keep from yelling. Didn’t help that the technician was a jerk who talked down to me for the entire test.

What a nice place to be electrocuted.
Then I got off the table and heard exactly what anyone who’s been electrified for their own health wants: “This shows there’s nothing wrong. That’s a good thing.”

A good thing because, according to a glib explanation, it ruled some problems out. It’s probably not Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. He didn’t even think it was neuropathy, though he didn’t have an alternative to suggest. Now all I had to do was get another neurology appointment to come up with more tests. Recall that last time, the Nurse Practitioner was drawing a blank on what it could be and what to do.

The only good thing I’ve experienced is that the numbness hasn’t spread far. For the last few days I’ve felt it in the ball of my left foot. Otherwise it is located in the toes and periphery, and every time I’ve checked, motor control has been available. Sweet, sweet ability to walk.

I waited two weeks before posting this, just in case. Bruises the size of my thumbs still mark where the needles “probed.”

Eight days after Nerve Shock Test. My leg doesn't look like Jupiter anymore!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: “Nothing to write home about”



“Nothing to write home about” had been a joke in his father’s time, when all soldiers wanted was to write home or receive mail from loved ones. It had mutated since then, into a dismissal of events that the needy would have cherish. No one wrote home enough these days. No one called their mothers enough, or had heart-to-hearts with Dad, or took five minutes to simply make sure everyone was okay and lunch went well. It was a dismissed world.

The cell phone didn’t change things the way he wanted it to. Somehow the ease of dialing, or having a number auto-dialed, and having a brief conversation amounted to an effort that left people rationalizing to keep their minutes. The postal service was on the verge of demise, and e-mail was outmoded. Nothing was simple enough for the stupid mind to write home and keep those micro-contacts firing in the shape of a real life.

He’d change all that once he invented the text message.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Ninja in the Chapel



“Listen, we have to make this quick, because my brother’s eldest daughter is getting married in ten minutes. I know where your ninja are. There are twelve, counting the two out here – one behind the statue of St. Aloysius, and one in the rafters over my head. I’m guessing you intended to execute me along with my brother and his family. I haven’t told many people because I don’t want to spoil the weekend.

“So let’s make this quick. I poisoned your crepes this morning with an extract from a newly discovered species of jellyfish. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to darken the afternoon, and I figured if you were polite at the wedding, then I’d put the antidote in your cake at the reception. It blends seamlessly with syrups and icings.

“So. If you don’t make a stir, and all of your invisible assassins remain unseen, I’ll hand you a piece of cake in an hour and we’ll go home. I’ll even write the names of your three associates who I’ve similarly poisoned today on your napkin so you can go about saving them, or letting them die and taking their place. Don’t rush into the decision now. It’s a wedding day. This should be something special.

“And where are you sitting?”
Counter est. March 2, 2008