Saturday, May 4, 2013
"Hitherto, Minds" (a 3MF entry)
Upon hearing his name for the first time, coming out of the coma, Bascomb was confused. Both his mother and the doctor repeated it continuously as if it alone contained the magical curing power able to return his brain to lucidity.
He pondered the sound but for some obtuse reason his brain seemed to settle instead on “button, button, button! That and a craving for something for which he had previously called beer.
Hitherto, minds such as his were the most taken for granted element of a young life. Now the underappreciated activity of simple synapses and their logical firings would determine whether or not he would cradle his unborn child or even direct his fingers and arms to simply strike a match, or play pull-my-finger with his firecracker nephew.
Tubes ran into his limp extremities and monitors, arranged along his bedside whined and beeped his present condition. One showed brain wave function, while a notable activity persisted there, his family had been warned, that it might simply be a reaction to pain. The morphine was gradually being reduced to trick the chance of a wakeful response and learn of possible brain damage.
For three days he had teetered between the land of the living and the micros wherein lay the living lost. He alone knew where he had been all these weary days and nights. Pure exhaustion carried his mind through a mental parallel to see the trace physique of those about his youthful purpose. Harmlessly bumping into the thoughts of the unemployed actor who cleaned the room with a swivel mop and weighed his shaky career while sitting on the foot of the bed and sipping from a silver flask.
Pale light of morning allowed him the opportunity to see his doctor massaging the shoulders of the ward nurse as she wept over the legal papers informing her of her husband’s demand for divorce.
In that period as his wife stood nearby, he learned his child was male and had all his toes and fingers. But the thing that constantly played along his mental path was the feel of the little girl, while in his arms. Her cold skin clammy in his hands. How still and lifelessly she had drooped in his grip. Struggling to revive her, without hesitation, tossing off the gloves to help make tight, mouth to mouth followed by chest compressions. He felt certain there was a pulse before he gave her over to the cops. His brain tightened again and again on her gentle fingers and rich dark eyes that seemed to reach far into dark infinity. Deep and consoling, now she tried to comfort him.
“It’s not so bad. I already have new friends,” her whispers seemed to fly into his languid mind. Her coaxing smile seemed irresistible.
Now his EKG raced wildly and the doctor called for a nurse. His eyelids fluttered, spine arching in grotesque pain, eyes rolling back, he blacked out from the pain in his charred hands.
“Increase the morphine drip!” He heard the doctor tell the Ward Nurse. His mother sobbed and backed out to give room to the staff, knocking to the floor, a flowered plant and bumping into the unemployed actor, who stood just outside the open door. His mind was wrapped with the thought of how he might play the fire fighter hero in the movie version of the story and how it might make a better role if he did not make it.