Hey guys, I'm posting the first episode of twelve in a new series Jeff and I have thought up. The series is titled "hospital" and it revolves around the different types of people in or around hospitals. In terms of the collaboration, Jeff wrote the dream sequences and I wrote the narrative sections. Keep your head up and your ears open, because this is just the beginning of this trippy fandango. Happy April Fools Day (or is it Fool's?).
young male intern
The night began slowly for Kumar. He stood on the corner of the converging avenues and watched a slow parade of traffic lights. Empty streets, ghosts, he thought, and shivered in the night air. His shift was set to begin in ten minutes. Already he could hear the ambulances. Already he could feel needles upon his back. He felt ready. Kumar’s first year at Our Sacred Lady had been difficult. His girlfriend had left him, his dog was sick, his car had broken down, his mother had divorced his father. He felt like a sheet of paper. And working the third shift left him feeling completely alone. Even now stray cats mewled out in the distance of sewer drains, uncaring and completely calico. If he could catch them, maybe then. But Kumar let the thought drift. He headed into the hospital, eye on his wristwatch. The night had officially begun. Kumar thought quickly of his dream.
He saw Asian twins, whores most likely, sitting on a pool table. They were
muttering in Arabic or gibberish. He was in some strange bar he had never been
in before, but it felt like home. Kumar got himself a drink. An old man sat
next to him on a stool, streams of blood came from the man’s nose. The Asian
twins stood up and had lizard tails swinging behind them. They moved toward
Kumar slowly. The old man held out a knife and chased Kumar around the bar.
Kumar wanted to scream, but no sound came from his open mouth.
The first patient Kumar saw was a homeless man who had smashed his head on a broken cinder block. The bum was drunk. His face was red crashed into ivory crashed into old stains of soda pop and burgundy. His name evaded Kumar although he’d seen this man in the hospital before. And a nurse could not seem to be found. Kumar had to hold the old man down himself, pleading with the lunatic to calm himself. For your own good sir, Kumar found himself saying. Please sir, he repeated. The iodine on the shelves begged to be poured over the sins of the homeless man, they rattled on their tin stands. The scalpels pleaded to dance over flesh. The linoleum floor decried blood. But Kumar held the man, steadied him, a nurse was found, and the vagrant was subdued. Peacefulness fell over his storied face, and quickly enough he passed into slumber. Kumar swiped a broad white apron-ed forearm across his cheeks. The sweat of the night, like insects in the air-duct, was all pervasive. But he contained himself.
At around two in the morning, Kumar felt a heavy drowse creep over his face. He tucked away in the back room of the library and told himself fifteen minutes and the world would be right. Kumar passed out, head down, wristwatch timed for alarm.
The jungle. Mrs. Grace, his third grade teacher, was naked except for hiking
boots. She was laughing and masturbating. A person sized mosquito flew at his
face. He jumped. He fell to the dirt. He had to do whatever he could in order
to avoid getting bit by this giant mosquito. Mrs. Grace was gone. In her place
was a marching band. "Stars and Stripes Forever" rang out in the jungle.
Strange hounds howled. Kumar woke with a jolt.
The waking world, when it’s easy, when the hospital is ready, is a thing of ballet. A careful order that dances in seeming abandon. But Kumar was aware that such was not the case. A delicate balance is always achieved, despite the chaos of the emergency room, despite the flow of IVs and anesthesia. Kumar was aware that this first year of living with the hospital would be the hardest. But it was also magic. It was a grand entrance with white paint spilled over its threshold.
Kumar found himself back upon the street corner, counting emptiness. If some lovers were to pass at this brisk morning hour, all would collapse and revive in clearer sense. He tossed his face away; the sun would rise soon enough, only several hours. Traffic lights continued their endless campaign down the street. Red, yellow, oh green, he witnessed and imagined race cars as he huddled against the brusque gusts of cold. He tried not to think about the woman with slit wrists, the kid with a toy stuck in his ear, the old man who had busted his hip, the sweet teenage girl who had slipped and broken her jaw. Kumar thought about his dreams and glanced into the face of the statue of Our Sacred Lady. She had deep-set eyes and a careful demeanor. She held a scale in her hands. She was draped in a stone toga. Kumar wanted to write his name across her feet, but refrained, and returned to the hospital. Only three more hours to go.