“Fight me,” I told my nurse from underneath a mound of pillows.
“Fuck yeah. What, you scared you gonna lose?” I fought to unearth my arms from my blanket burrito. I succeeded, like a hero,and then I waved my fists at his face because that’s how badass I was.
No one was going to stop me. I was invincible. I also had stomach cancer and a broken leg from a car crash yesterday, but you know…even the invincible had bad days.
“Yep. You’d definitely beat me,” the nurse agreed, grasping my wrist and administering another dose of something. Maybe chemotherapy. Maybe saline. Maybe the vodka martini that I’d asked for last week. So many maybes.
“Can you even breathe down there?” he laughed.
“You know, I’d love the sun. I’d love the sunburn and the sweat and the god-awful humidity, even. I’d love the skin-crisping, egg yolk-cooking heat. Even though it’s so hot outside right now that my patio set came to life to ask me for some lemonade on ice. Sure, I’d love summer. It’s great, especially if you consider the pavement that’s so hot it’s melting my flip flops right off my feet. Or it would be if we were outside right now. What I can’t deal with is the mosquito that currently drilling a hole in my leg. And let’s be honest, it’s not like I don’t have enough holes poked in me right now!” I said, gesturing to the various tubes inserted in my skin via…holes. I squirmed a little, trying to get the picture of the catheter up my dick right now out of my head.
“That’s what she said,” the next door patient coughed, slapping an ace on the table set up between us.
I flipped the table- well, in my imagination I did. In real life, I just kicked it with my limp noodle of a leg. The one without the extra hole.
The nurse knocked on the door, then stepped in.
“Come on, Dean. It’s time for surgery.”
“Nah, give me like another two minutes. I have to beat this cheater right here.”
“Can’t you do it after the surgery? We’re on a bit of a schedule.” It wasn’t really a question. Too bad, because the fate of my future happiness was at stake here.
“But he’s stealing all my dessert rations! And today’s pudding day!”
“I’m not stealing- I’m winning,” the dude said, coyly batting his hairless eyelids in my direction.
“That what you said when you broke into the hardware store and ended up in jail?” I was genuinely curious. Furious. But still…
“Nice try, bozo,” he replied, leaning back in his chair and crossing his socked ankles. “But I ain’t telling you what I got caught for.”
“Did you happen to steal someone’s pudding?”
“Only if they asked me to, very nicely.” He winked.
“Ugh, I don’t know what that means, but it sounds nasty,” I shuddered. “Come on, best three out of five.”
I started shuffling the cards, but the nurse tapped me on the shoulder and gestured to the stretcher waiting outside my door. Not today, I vowed. I crossed my arms, tucking the cards in my pale, sweaty elbow.
“Well so what if the cancer metastasised? That’s just a big word for losing the battle-there’s still a whole war to deal with!”
I tried to reason with the doctor. He didn’t get my argument; that’s what you got for speaking in metaphors with scientists. They didn’t speak art.
“I’m sorry sir, but there’s really nothing we can do. It’s in your brain, your heart, your lungs…pretty much all of your major organs-”
“Well at least that discounts my balls,” I joked.
“No, it’s in your testes too.”
“Awww, doc, stop, you’ll make me blush!”
“You health is a top priority of our health care providers, sir. Unfortunately, in this case, all we can do is make you comfortable.”
“Yeah, well how long do you think you’ll be able to do that in this bed?” I bounced a little to demonstrate the lack of springiness. Achieving optimal bounciness was obviously not a top priority in nursing.
“About a month. I’m very sorry.”
And just like that, the doctor left.
The room seemed horribly quiet. As a tomb. Ha. Graveyard humour. Before actually arriving to the graveyard. Funny, right?
I couldn’t even laugh at my own joke. Some things just weren’t funny.
For instance, the colour scheme of the room- grey on grey. But not fifty shades of grey- that was way too kinky for a dying man’s room decor. No one liked necrophilia, so what use was a horny dead guy?
There was no TV, or I would’ve watched some zombie porn to take my mind off things.
There was no free WiFi, or I would’ve stolen a laptop to watch some zombie porn.
What the hell was I supposed to do for a month?
Turned out, when the doc gave the orders to make me comfy in preparation for death (oh, cruel fate!), he wasn’t clear. Either that, or he’d forgotten to address the mutilated nerve endings in my body, because well, there was pain. Lots of it. And, to make things worse, the nurses didn’t even want to give me big dosages of morphine because they didn’t want to make me addicted. When was I going to have a chance to act on the addiction while floating around in the ectoplasmic eternity of death?
Tell me, please God, why are people so stupid?
I dunno kid, maybe they watched too much Spongebob as a kid?
You just used “kid” twice in one sentence.
No, you did. This is your own imagination in like, your own head, dumbass.
From all the ditsy heroines in the romances I’d been reading lately, I thought that maybe talking to yourself was kind of funny and cute. Instead, it was just annoying. My conversational partner was an asshole.
Finally, the day I’d scheduled for death came up. I stretched my neck, popped my fingers and got ready to meet the great black spectre of doom.
The nurse from a month ago came in the room, knocking.
“Don’t come in!” I warned him. “You may be sucked in! Into the great whirlpool of death! Woe! Woe may befall you!”
He barely even blinked at that announcement.
“I’m going to ignore the whirlpool and check your vitals, if that’s okay with you.”
“It’s fine with me, but you might want to check with Death. After all, this is the Death party day.”
“You’re having a party?”
“No. Death is. Haven’t you been listening?”
“Have you been listening to yourself recently?”
“Oh. Oh, he thinks he’s smart. The nursie thinks he’s smart. Well you know what, smartie pants? Fight me!”
“Time and place, dude.”
I yawned theatrically, widening my mouth until the jaw crack was audible.
“Maybe after I take a nap- you can use that time to build some muscle. Also speed. Speed is important,” I told him. He came closer and checked the monitors surrounding me like weeping aunties. I didn’t have any actual aunties.
“Sure, sure, Dean. Of course,” he replied.
The sarcasm was strong in this one.
He left the room, doffing an imaginary cap to me.
I took a nap. This dying business was tiring.
I totally would’ve won the fight though….totally.