med bay snippets # 3

Is this one of your stupid jokes, Rains? What do you mean with, “we lost Decker”? He’s hooked to E-bed 2, in quarantine, thanks to you. Care to elaborate? He raises an eyebrow.  I know the doc doesn’t approve that I ripped off the seal. The best I could do, to trigger the alarm.

I shake my head, but plunk down into the seat, the doctor offers me. He pushes a cup of fresh coffee over to me, and glances down his watch. I know perfectly well, that what I’m about to say is… It sounds batshit crazy, even to me.

Look doc, I’m… I don’t know. I – I just – I have to tell someone. Makes me feel less…

Disoriented? Distressed? The doctor offers. I know he means to be helpful. But…

This is a report. I keep telling myself. I have to warn everybody. Doc Wellington has to keep his cake-hole shut. I tell him, before I let the Captain in on this… Whatever this is.

I can’t meet his gaze. Those eyes,  they accuse, they see through, they strip you bare.

I nod and take a sip from the freshly brewed hot dark liquid. My mouth burns…  This is a report. I will burn less, when I talk. I need to get this out of my system.

You know, some hours ago… Down on Chimon, when Decker knocked himself out, and I had to haul his heavy ass back? 

The doctor nods.

I… I think something happened to Decker. Uh, he said some very weird things… Some, uh, really disturbing stuff… I don’t think he was himself.

The man sitting opposite to me,  fixes me with his blazing eyes. Even though I’m not looking at him, I feel two hot spots resting on my cheeks.  As if two wasps had decided to sting me simultaneously.  Just freaks me out. He harrumphs politely, and  folds his fingers into a praying gesture.

Well, delirium is a very strange mental state. He begins explaining, but this is bullshit. But this is not that easy. It can spook anyone. I don’t like how he shrugs. There are documented cases, where people started speaking tongues, even ancient greek or latin… His patronizing smile turns my guts.  And it was a most stressful situation. Acidic taste seeps on my tongue, and I force my stomach back down. I shake my head.

THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEAN!  Not at all. I nearly left him on the surface! I have his full attention now, he leans forward.  I nearly left him on the surface, because he freaked me out. 

The solar storm damaged the engines of the landing pod, upon reentry.  And the com.  I have to admit, the landing was less than optimal, and it’s my fault, that Decker got nearly killed on spot. He kind of rescued me, and got his oxygen tank damaged. 

My hands leave the cup alone and I raise them, palms up. Shrugging palms.

First everything was normal. Well, as normal as being stranded in a volcanic eruption zone on an unstable planet. Normal apeshit crazy stuff.  The man in front of me scoffs.  A sense of humor is always a good sign. That’s what they tell you in the military. A residual coping mechanism, when everything else is beyond repair.

Got him into the nearest pick-up area.  That was when his oxygen got down into the red zone. He said that he won’t survive this, that the drugs aren’t working properly, that something was wrong.  Then… I swallow.  

Then, uh… He screamed! He screamed for three minutes straight. It was, it was , uh nauseating. It must have hurt so badly. He screamed for his mother… I – I-  Oh, God…

Take your time… It must have been hard to listen to a man dying. 

I cannot hold back, to my surprise – I sob.

Uh, he said that he is going to enjoy this. And that I will enjoy this too. He’d make me…

med bay snippets #2

The soft purring of the monitoring alarm on my watch wakes me, by vibrating. I’m up…

I tell the watch and it recognizes my voice. The command kills the alarm.

Sleeping at the med bay is seldom a good idea, and sleeping at a working station – uh, table – is downright irresponsible. I rub my face into some kind of wakefulness and wish I could rub my back into a painless state.

I wish I would have slept in one of the E-beds, but shake my head at the idea. The beds are semi-autonomous, so they can keep an exhausted man in stasis, till he gets all the tiredness out of his system. No matter how long that may take.

In case you are the ship’s doctor, this is a very bad idea. They tell you that in doctor’s school. Don’t get high on E-beds pain or sleep medication. I guess some of my colleagues must have tried, during their long trips to the Kepler System.

I have Lieutenant Decker in one. The screen above his E-bed flashes red.

Let’s check you then. 

I download the most recent parameters the bed has measured to my watch. I throw out my thumb and index above its display to activate the tablet function. Blood pressure: 100 to 80. Good, pulse: 110. Almost okay. Oxygen saturation: 85%. Not okay… Breathing frequency dwindling under 10. Bad. I shake my wrist to retract the tablet. The antidote is wearing off.

Load E-bed 2 with enough Naloxone. Doctor Oscar Welligton, authorization 00.01, code 672779-0.

The unconscious man in front of me looks like he just hopped from the grim reapers grasp, with a nearly translucent, pale skin.

What a disappointment… I do not recall Decker to be a genius, or  even smart. The flashing red on the E-bed monitor stops. His breathing improves visibly, oxygen saturation climbs above 90%. That’s the spirit, Lieutenant. 

This bloke finds the most pleasant way to go. Fearless, without the hunger for oxygen, without the hunger for life. I make a mental note to stock every suit – at least mine – with enough morphine to kill an elephant. This is a manageable last resort.

It is a stroke of genius to use morphine to save himself from asphyxiation. The question remains, if he’s left with cerebral damage. No one knows how long he was cold out, or even breathing… After all, Rains is not to be trusted with precise observation about his colleagues. If I recall correctly, he even broke Decker’s nose in a brawl a month ago.

How’s the lieutenant? 

The captain’s voice rings through the med bay. The com is in override mode on my watch.

Barely alive. I answer. That’s that.

Any permanent damages? 

Can’t tell… Sleeping beauty has to wake up on his own. The morphine still has  about two hours to the  pharmacological half-life. Ask me again in two hours. 

The Captain seems satisfied, and the com dies down. I pull the footage from Decker’s and Rains’ suits.

med bay snippets #1

I look at my bandaged hand in the unnatural green light of the exam room. Nasty… That’s what I would say, if my mouth would do its job. Lips and tongue are swelling and numb. I try not to be too suspicious by licking them. I bet, if you eat a swarm of angry hornets, it would feel the same. Not the regular ones, but the big, Japanese ones, with mean attitude.

Oz is smiling at me, like he always does, when I get into trouble. It’s an equally patronizing and cheering smile, reserved for fuck-ups like me. It’s the smile of a big brother I never had. I’ve seen him do this with his patients too. I can almost hear his habitual mantra.  Unbelievable!

Oz jumbles on his sterile gloves. Elegant trick, how his long slim fingers do the opposite of striptease. Now comes the folding, his fingers clench into a praying gesture. I call it The-praying-Oz.

Hibernation unit. Ate my hand. 

My mangled palm leaks through the bandages. The black stain seeps through the cloth I wrapped around the hand.

I hate this part. The peeling away of bandages, the revealing of hurt, skin, muscle and sinew, maybe bones. The heavy lid traps not only fingers and palm, but the momentum of damage. The will to destroy, the idea to kill needs dear payment. Maybe I pay with more than my blood and my  fine motor skills. My breathing is fast, but not because of pain. I switch my pain sensors off, when I’m about to pull a stunt. To pull a stunt… That’s what Oz calls getting into trouble. Breathing. Fast and shallow, which is a problem. I feel the swelling starting down my throat.

This is bad. I sure hope Oz tries to get me to speak, so he’ll notice. Come on Oz, do your magic! I cheer him on mentally. 

How did you hurt your hand? Tell me!

Oz’s eyes lock on mine. Guided missiles…

I’ll pull the footage afterwards.

They just look like laser guided death on a mission. Thank God, my mouth is out of function, or I might be telling him the truth.

Mffpfen…felin …Ifaf…wetwiiin…it. 

Ah, yes, the perks of drug allergies. Not having to care about the tension in your voice, when you are lying.

My pen is safe, don’t worry about that… Of course, I won’t tell him that I was meddling with the security protocol of that hibernation tank.

I swallowed codeine beforehand and brought a broken ampule. I already swapped it with the one on the table he did not give me, when I stumbled in.

What? Why are you talking so funny?! Epinephrin. Now!  

Oz jumps out of my field of view. Better hurry…

He slams the epipen into my thigh. There they are, the angry hornets with attitude flooding my leg, or is it my lungs? Feels like drifting…

Look at me! Focus!  

I don’t think so….

What about dreams?

 – the struggle to get a grip on dreams and ideas –

A dream is a delicate, fickle thing. Only those who understand that it is alive, will  be able to touch it, to sense its presence.

As a living thing, it desires to remain where it is. Opposed to changes, there is not much of a choice, but to follow the laws of entropy. It wants to stay undisturbed, in the dark, the warm and secure place… It struggles erratically when unearthed, winds itself from your grip – my grip, at least.

There are other ripe dreams and ideas with brilliant, vibrant colors, glowing from below the surface of the subconscious waters. Acting as perfect homing beacons for motivation and desire…

But this all feels like catching smoke with bare hands. 

So? What is the nature of a dream? 

For one, it is a mirror image to its creator, not only mirroring but comforting its creator. 

A dream always has a purpose, a mission. It serves its creator, the best it can.

Broken off of intentions and phantasies, it is a shard mimicking its creator.  Besides that, it is a  fractal of imperfection and  inaccuracy, distorting the emptiness within the unknown regions of a human mind. It bears the innate inertia of its origin, the legacy of a chemicals soaked addicted brain. It is summoned into view, by a tireless, impatient heart, fueled by some kind of desperate hope.

It becomes a clouded copy, because the creator is bound to love it, to believe in it… To nurture it…

This fractal is imposed upon the usual paths the conscious thinking moves (also upon the strings, hooks, shortcuts and backdoors within), it creates regions of power – traps, basically.  Regions of desire and  fear, regions of gravity. Loops. Regions of enlightenment, if exposed and recognized. Their pull is barely recognizable, but it bends the ways of ideas.  A region revisited in a short time, easily becomes a habit.  And with short time I mean the matter of 3 to 6 weeks.

A habit… This is when the consciousness loses the game.  This resilient, contagious structure becomes a habitual thinking pattern. The dangerous bit: its invisibility and its invasiveness.

This marks a blind spot… An untrained conscious is quick with swallowing blind spots. It doesn’t even hesitate with denial about the sole fact of incorporating it… 

So what can one do? Stay focused? Wait for an accidental find? Hunt for it?  How do you hunt for something invisible?

 

No barking!

I ran out of luck today.

My landlord cornered me in the laundry room. I evaded him for two weeks, but not today though. ‘Your fucking dog keeps yapping the whole goddamned night’, he spat on my sneakers. Mr Garbagegoblin, as I called him, was as pleasant as explosive diarrhea. I grabbed my wet shirts and stuffed them into the dryer. He stepped closer. The smell of his armpits hit me.’Shut it up! Or you’re out!’ He barked into my face, breath  wafting with rotten teeth and whiskey.

‘But he hasn’t barked yet, because he’s a good dog. Even if he’s a cat.’ I tried.

Indeed. Felix was a tremendous cat, the best pet ever, and my best friend.

‘Don’t! Care!’ He jabbed his fatty index into my shoulder. ‘Bitch!’ He stormed out of the laundry room.

I punched the start button on the dryer and went upstairs too. In the living room Felix dozed on a sunny spot on the rug. Lifting his head just a tiny bit, he acknowledged my  presence. ‘You have to be careful from now on. He heard you exercising.’ I told Felix.

‘It’s called conversing, Pat.’ Felix lectured me in his usual manner. ‘Besides, you never know, when a foreign language comes handy.’ Of course he was right. I knew it, and Felix knew that I knew it. Garbaegoblin made me irritable, and poor Felix had it coming.

‘Boastful as ever, old friend.’ He only rolled his golden eyes and twitched with his tail. I was annoying him, but I could do better. ‘Come here, and let me pet you. Please.’

‘Oh hell, no!’ He sat up alarmed, fur bristling. ‘No! No. Not. Ugh, Pat! I swear, the first thing, when we switch back, that I will borrow you to a daycare center for children. See what good it does to you!’ I was already kneeling beside him and softly scratching him behind his ear.

‘I know…’ He stretched into my palm, bending a bit towards me so I caught the spot.

‘Screw you.’ Felix started purring. He was indeed a good cat.

 

don’t visit my garden

-zero draft-

Several weeks ago I moved to my new apartment.

It was the first of September, and it was an unusually hot day. The first thing I did, was to water my new garden. I went out barefooted, straightened out the hose, and opened the water tap. The yellow grass smelled like hay, and the anthills I wetted dissolved under the water jet. Little white eggs were swept away, swimming towards my patio. The soil under my feet still radiated with the heat of the day.

I went back to the deck and took a cigarette and pulled the lighter out of my pocket. The sound the lighter made, seemed alien. I thought of the dry grass and told myself not to torch the place. I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, especially when exhausted on hot evenings… You have a running hose in the other hand, dumbass! Sometimes I told myself, I deserved a huge face palm, an unbelievably gigantic one. What could I do? Should I start slapping myself? I decided to sigh instead and proceed with the watering.

“So stupid”, I told myself with Paul’s voice. Paul’s voice.

That was the only thing left; the only thing he left me with… It remained the only thing that had found its way under my skin. His voice nested in my head, and told me things he used to say to me, used to whisper. It teased me, snorted and laughed at me… I nearly felt his fingertips on my scalp to ruffle my hair. It was very convincing.

No.

I was convincing, I corrected myself instantly.

I was convincing myself, that he liked to be with me. And that he would have stayed with me, that his parents made him go back and marry that woman.

My reflection in the window was clear, and lonely. Above me, the sky turned slowly violett with orange on the western edge. No wind, no stars. Yet, I sighed smoke escaping through my nostrils.

For a moment, I saw stars I seemed to exhale with the smoke. I stared at the window, observing the movements of my own reflection. Nothing unusual.  Was I so exhausted, that I was seeing things? Obviously.

How strange… My watch showed 7:30 pm.

I loved evenings. I loved gardens. To be accurate, it was why I took this place. The garden.

I loved Paul.

Between my toes, the yellow grass flossed among the attacking ants. It burned somewhat. The violet faded to a blue-black. It burned under my skin, in my lungs and head. My eyes kept stinging. Smoke got into them. Burning… Stupid…

The smoke corroded its way to my bones, blurring my vision, blackening my skin from the fingertips and nails. My chest felt tied up, so tightly, that I couldn’t breathe. Something moved. Suffocating. It jumped, and spun and jerked deep inside. Felt like crumpling me up from the inside. It kicked. I tried to cough it up. It felt like ants crawling inside of my airways.

Stupid! Why was it so hard to breathe?

The something hammered on my ribcage. Breathe, dumbass! Crushing me from the inside. It banged against my thorax, it threw itself against my lungs. So desperate to get out. Smoke billowed out of my mouth. Ash and a tiny star fell to the ground. It rolled around in the wet yellow grass. An ant crawled in the hollow of my right knee. Above me the sky was black.

No moon. I stood in a puddle and my feet felt like ice. The star still rolled around in little circles like a too big marble. It glowed. Funny. Huh… I let the hose fall down.

Something dripped down, something warm. The tip of my fingers went dark, wet and warm.  Nosebleed, huh… I threw my stub into the puddle, it fizzled out.

The little gleaming star in the marble was still there. It looked so natural, as if it always had been there, between drowned ants and brown grass. Stupid…

It was my own voice that echoed in my head. I remembered, I said it to Paul. I… I spat it to his feet.

It was a really cold day last November, and it just started snowing. He stood stiffly by that opened living room window expectantly, or angrily. I couldn’t read his facial expression, maybe I didn’t wanted to. His eyes glowed with… anger, or fear.

“I jump, if you go!” His words slithered across the carpet and the snowflakes.

“If you go now, we’ll meet downstairs. Look at me now, and remember my face, cause in one minute its going to be pulp.”

Stupid.

That November day I passed my last examen. I could call myself a doctor. He hated me for it.

“If you leave me, I’ll jump.”

I hit him. And went.

I slammed the door behind me, as hard as I could, so I wouldn’t hear, if he really did it. Stupid! On floor level I held my breath and peaked around the corner. Nothing on the pavement. It snowed. A car was passing by.

As I looked up the house front, all windows were closed. Stupid.

I told you, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box. I believed a coward.

Between my naked cold feet a glowing marble was lying in a puddle.

trash snippets #4

ME:“Nono, sweetheart. This not how you do it. Look.”

DEALER:“Twenty- one.”

ME:“See? That’s mine now. You want a smoke? I won a good brand and a nice lighter… Here. Now you.”

POOR GUY:“Go away.”

ME:“My, touchy? No darlin’. You have to hit… There you go. Now stick!”

DEALER:“Soft seventeen”

ME:“Oh. now come on. Don’t leave me now. You’re doing great! Don’t make that face, smile sweetheart. You’re my lucky charm.”

POOR GUY:“No I’m not. What makes you think that I’ll stick ’round?”

ME:“Yes, you are! You’re the most pathetic, luck free person in this room. And broke. I’ve got a job for you, mister-leave-me-alone-I- have-to-drown-my-problems. I’ll make you my pet.”