Don't cry, my little patients, it is only the end of the beginning. This is the last piece in the 'hospital' series, but fret not, Jeff and I have another collaborative writing project in the works. So won't you please come injure yourself with our last offering (kind of hackneyed, but, I needed to work the idea of a hospital and suffering into this post intro somehow; waka waka!).
Elmo shifted the spin of the wheel with grace. He knew nothing about the city he couldn’t learn from watching women and men huddle on corners. “It’s love,” he’d say, then dodge the latest barrage of traffic like a bird. “In flight,” he’d whisper, “I am amazing.”
And one day, Louise came to his cab. She hailed like a menace. She was bleeding. “Take me to Our Sacred Lady,” she pleaded. He watched her spill into the back and stain his seats.
“No problem, miss,” he hurrahed, shoving his cab into the drift of the road. Around around, in circles, he was not so certain. She looked feverish.
“Speak to me. Tell me something. Oh god!” she yelped in pain.
“What? What should I say? I don’t - ”
“Anything!” she cut him off. “A dream. I don’t know.”
Elmo glanced in his rearview mirror and shook his head. He could only comply.
“Alright, alright, a dream. Uhmm, let me think. Whoah!” He dodged a couple playing with sticks on the curb. “Oh gosh, you’re bleeding, you’re bleeding real bad.” Elmo was dumbfounded.
Louise sighed and smiled. “Just give it a try, hunh?”
Elmo nodded his head, shut his mouth a moment, then began.
I can’t even begin to tell you how real this dream was, but it was
bizarre and fun at the same time. I was with my sister Caroline. We were at
the little zoo we used to visit as children on the weekends during summer. My
sister and I were about ten or eleven years old in my dream. Our parents were
with us, but I can’t remember them being near. The animals weren’t in cages
either, they were just roaming. Caroline asked me to climb a tree with her. I
found myself hundreds of feet above the ground at the top of this huge tree. We
were so high, but we weren’t scared for a second. I saw a kind of lizard skinned
baby monkey crawling toward us. Caroline tried to do something like fly and
jumped from the top of the tree where we were sitting. I was alone with the
lizard monkey. The creature licked me with its tongue. That’s when I woke up.
“Was that good? I don’t even know what it means. Just kind of crazy, I guess.” Things happen, Elmo thought, and swerved around the juke corner of some beat street. He used to live near here, listening to the birds, watching the people crowd around the bus stop. “You okay? You gonna’ make it?”
They shot under an elevated train and came into view of the entire gorgeous monstrosity that was the tallest building in the city. Louise grimaced and thought of light falling from windows. She’d been stabbed, of course, but she wasn’t certain by whom. A man, a woman, a child. An old crazy sticking around lampposts. Louise moaned.
“You’re dream, it’s strange,” she laughed, pained, “it reminds me of a dream I had once. About two years ago, maybe more. My husband at the time was painting our bedroom. I remember those fumes and wanting to pass out. But…it’s strange.” She huffed, picking herself up and glancing into the rearview mirror, locking eyes with Elmo.
I was in a simple gray room. Nothing special about the room at all
except there was an extremely clean mirror hanging on the wall facing me. I was
standing in the center. I heard distant bells. I walked toward the mirror. My
face was neon blue with orange bleeding sores on my cheeks. I shuddered and
saw a man similar to my husband, but it wasn’t him. The man asked me to come
outside with him. Then about a dozen kittens came rushing in through an open
doorway. They covered me with their softness, easing all tension. I’ve never
been so happy in a dream. It was like several quick orgasms.
Elmo was struck silent. They had just arrived at Our Sacred Lady, a gurney flying outward, her dream crashing in his mind. Strangers are light bulbs, he thought, and opened her door. She stumbled, he grabbed her hand, and they crossed the chassis of the cab. The hospital entrance hung open like a mouth. Some other men in scrubs and white hurried and gathered the poor woman. Elmo glanced into her eyes and watched her wheel away. Traded secrets and hidden names, Elmo thought of, and turned to see the back of his cab covered in Louise’s blood. He dabbed his palm upon a certain spot and felt the thick liquid. He had a dream the other night as well, one where a woman without a face cackled and jumped and popped his car tires. He sat down in the road, slunked against the frame of the cab, and blew on his blood-covered hand. He felt like shooting into the air like a rocket so bold the city would have to cover its eyes. The white hospital before him laughed. It shook. It bristled.