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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.


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Romero

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Let's try a true story for once.

There's, well, let's call him John. John comes by every now and then to clean up the place. He's short -- about my height -- and maybe a hundred and twenty pounds soaking wet. With rocks in his pockets.

John looks rough. He's doing something nonsensical that looks like cleaning, but isn't. He's wiping dust off of some ethernet cables with his hand, accidentally unplugs one, pushes it back in, wipes the top of the little network hub. With his hand.

Here's how rough John looks. He's wearing an undershirt and walking shorts, and he has big splotches of blood on his shirt. Oh. And a pretty decent drippy wound to his left temple. He's walking with a kind of a shuffle.

"What's up, man?" I say. "You all right?"

"Mruh um urhumuhumur urh. Murhuhmurhmuh." He's leaning on a large rolling garbage can for support, which isn't very clear thinking. "Muhhuhrrhuh," he adds.

Some of the equipment -- the cutter, the shrinkwrap machine, a couple of work tables -- have been unceremoniously shoved around a bit. Oh, and there's blood all over the floor and the walls.

Whaddaya know. A George Romero one-man-show performance art piece. One man audience, too.

John is one of the most talkative people I know. Ordinarily. The smack is to the left side of his head. Most people keep all their words on the left side of their head. 911 would seem to be in order. I grab a phone.

"Just making a phone call, John. You find a place to sit and relax."

"Uhruhmuhurhuruh uhrumuruh."

He follows me into the building lobby and makes to pick my bookbag up out of my chair. I tell him not to bother and take it from him gently. He reaches for the desk, which he knows is too much for any ordinary human being to organize. I tell him I'll take care of it.

He wheels another garbage can uselessly around the desk and I tell him to relax and take a load off until his ride gets here. He lays down on a sofa in the lobby.

The fire department gets all the best paramedics in this neck of the suburban woods. A couple of friendly, helpful individuals show up in just a couple of minutes and decide they need to take even more blood out of him (but not too much), and an ambulance shows to give him a lift to the hospital that's pretty much the next block over.

After he's gone they clean up all the rubber gloves and swabs and stuff, but they leave me a few souvenirs. Like this handy set of instructions for professional bondage gear.

And the George Romero set back in the production area. I have an hour or so before the customers are supposed to start coming. I get to work.

 -

Last I heard, John's in the ICU for at least 24 hours' observation. Nobody's got any expectations of any kind at the moment.

[*]

Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

29th Jul 2008, 22:04   | tags:

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Dhamaka says:

:(

1st Aug 2008, 04:26

Update:

John's still in the ICU, last I heard. Also, I'm still finding blood I missed during the cleanup....

[*]

1st Aug 2008, 23:56