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    CarlHoliday
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Flight of the Dodo - 17. Chapter 17

I woke early in the morning, and then realized I hadn’t set my alarm. Then I realized that I wasn’t at home, and, therefore, I couldn’t have set the alarm clock to wake me. This was to be my first day as my new self, and my mind was so full of the things I could do if I didn’t have to work for a living, it obviously caused me to wake up without the alarm. I had the trust fund that would provide a certain degree of financial freedom. Plus, there was the additional money from Dr. Levinson’s malpractice insurance. Considering what he did to me, the money E3 was able to get was kind of small, but I suppose it was best to get what they offered rather than extend the negotiations out indefinitely.

I wondered if breakfast was coming soon and decided the only way I was going to know was to push the call button, which is what I did. Then I wondered what time Gloria was going to come down and pick me up. I thought about going to the apartment and wondered if I was going to be arrested again. Then I decided that I wasn’t likely to be arrested because Gloria would certainly be with me.

“Yes, what do you need?” a nurse asked at the foot of my bed.

I had completely forgotten that I had pushed the call button, so I said, “When is breakfast?”

“Not for a couple hours. It’s not even six, yet.”

“Oh, but I’m awake. What should I do?”

“Go back to sleep.”

“I’m awake now. I don’t go back to sleep.”

“You’re being discharged this morning, right?”

“That’s my understanding.”

“Well, you could put your clothes on and walk the hall around the our section of the hospital.”

“I can’t do that because my clothes were cut off down in the Emergency Room.”

“I doubt that. Considering your admit, they should be in a bag under your nightstand.”

“They are?”

“Let’s see,” she said as she walked around the end of my bed. She came up to the nightstand and pulled out a big paper sack. “See, here’s your clothes.”

I looked in the sack and saw the clothes I had on yesterday. “Are you sure those are my clothes?” I asked.

“They wouldn’t be anyone else’s. Would you like to take a shower before you get dressed?”

“That would be nice.”

“Okay, get out of bed and I’ll help you get ready.”

After I came back from the shower in the clothes I wore yesterday, I took the nurse’s offer and walked around the hall as the wing began to wake up for the morning. After about an hour, I saw a man come out of an elevator pushing a huge metal cart. He turned and started pushing the cart toward the nurse’s station. As he passed me, I caught the smell of breakfast. I followed him to the nurse’s station and was surprised that he parked the cart next to the wall and left. The nurses were in the process of changing shift and were totally ignoring me, so I decided it would be best if I went back to my room.

Breakfast eventually came and it wasn’t anything spectacular, just typical hospital breakfast food, runny eggs, over-done bacon, unbuttered toast, pale yellow margarine, tasteless jelly supposedly of some kind of berry, and milk that had lost its chill sit out in the hall. About an hour after they removed the tray, Gloria showed up with a bag of clothes. Today, Gloria was wearing a light blue blouse, with a dark blue jacket and matching skirt. Her hair was the same as the last time I saw her.

“You’re wearing clothes,” Gloria said.

“Yes, I was mistaken that the Emergency Room people cut my clothes off,” I said. “I’m sorry you had to go out of your way before coming to pick me up.”

“Oh, that’s alright. You can take them home.”

“Yes, I’ll do that.”

I went to the nurse’s station and asked if it was okay for me to go home because Gloria was here to take me home. One of the nurses asked if my doctor had seen me yet and I told her no. She said I couldn’t go home until my doctor gave me my release. Then she told me to go back to my room and wait patiently because the doctors would be doing rounds in an hour or so. I went back and told Gloria she might as well go to work because it was obvious I wasn’t going to be released until Dr. Kaiser came to give me my release.

“I knew it, I knew they were going to screw this up,” Gloria said. “Okay, if they want to play hardball, I’ll show them what’s what. Come on, we’re getting out of here now.”

“But the nurse said I can’t go until Dr. Kaiser gives me my release,” I said. “The nurse said doctors will be doing their rounds, whatever that is.”

“Eddie, you’re not under the care of a doctor in this hellhole. You’re under the care of Dr. Kaiser and she already told your father you can go home this morning, so let’s get out of here.”

Gloria seemed so insistent I knew there wasn’t anything I could to correct her. So I put on my coat, picked up the paper sack of clothes she brought, and followed her out, but she didn’t turn left to go by the nurse’s station. We went right and soon came to an emergency exit. Gloria opened the door and motioned me to follow her. We went down three floors and then we went out a door. I saw that we were on some sort of office floor. We went down the hall to the elevators and waited for an elevator to come.

A doctor came down the hall and stood beside us. He was looking at me strangely and then he asked, “Are you a patient here?”

“No, he isn’t, we got off on the wrong floor, we’re trying to find the access to the parking garage,” Gloria said.

“Oh, it’s on floor B1,” the doctor said. “Were you here to see someone?”

“Yes, his grandfather, but he died before we could get down here,” Gloria said.

I wanted to say that we were not down here to see my grandfather, but a down elevator came and Gloria practically pushed me into it. I turned and saw her push the B1 button. That doctor was still outside the elevator, so he must have been waiting for an up elevator. The doors closed and the elevator started to go down.

“Phew! That was close,” Gloria said. “Now, if anybody else asks if you’re a patient here, you let me do the talking. Got it?”

“Yes, I guess,” I said. “Oh, on your way taking me to my apartment, can you stop at the library? I’d like to check out some books to read. E3 said I should do that now that I’m not working anymore.”

“Okay, fine, do you know where the library is?”

“Well, Syl always took me to the library at the south end of Foundry Ridge. Now that I’m living over by North Park Mall, the nearest library is across Fifth Avenue Northeast from Fir Forest Park.”

“Isn’t that north of North Park Mall?”

“Yes, it is one block north of North Park General Hospital.”

“Oh, yes, it’s the other Carnegie library in North Park. Don’t worry, I know where it is.”

The elevator stopped on the B1 floor and I tried to let Gloria go out first, but she shoved me and I nearly fell down. In the hallway I didn’t know where to go, but Gloria seemed to know where to go so I followed her. We went through a tunnel and came out in the parking garage. I followed Gloria to the garage elevators and she pushed the up button. An elevator came almost immediately, but we couldn’t get on after the doors opened because there was a crowd of people trying to get off. Once the rush was over, we got on the elevator and I saw Gloria press the 2 button. The doors closed and the elevator went up and stopped almost immediately. The doors open and there was a crowd of people standing in the way preventing us from getting off. After a moment two men moved apart and Gloria grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the elevator. Most of the people who were waiting for the elevator got on, but some were left waiting for the next elevator. Considering how rude most of the people were preventing us from getting off the elevator, I didn’t feel sorry that those people didn’t get on to go to their jobs in the hospital.

Gloria was still driving her dark green Mercury Cougar and she took me to the Fir Forest Park Library. This was the first time I had ever been there, so I asked one of the librarians if the library card I had been issued at the Foundry Ridge Library was okay to use there. He said it was just fine. I went into the non-fiction shelves and started looking for a book to read. I looked at the titles, but none of the ones I saw looked interesting.

“Gloria, what sort of book would be good for me to read?” I asked.

“What are your favorite subjects?” Gloria asked.

“New Zealand and Switzerland are my favorite subjects.”

“Well, do you know how to use the card catalog?”

“Oh, yes, I know how to do that. It should be up by the front desk.”

I went to the card catalog and saw there were a lot of drawers for books and subjects that started with the letter N: Na-Nat, Nav-Ned, Nee-Nep, Ner-Nez, Nia-Nih, Nik-Nir, Nis-Niz, Nob-Nol, Nom-Nor, Nos-Noz, Nua-Nun, Nup-Nya. But there wasn’t one for New Zealand.

“Gloria, there isn’t a drawer for Nz for New Zealand,” I said.

“Ed, do you know how to spell New Zealand?” Gloria asked.

“Uh, n-z, no, no, that isn’t correct. Let me think about this. New, new, n-e-w is how you spell new. That means I need to look in the Ner-Nez drawer. Thank you, Gloria.”

I opened the drawer and went back through the cards, but then I saw a tab that had New Zealand printed on it. I went there and started through the cards. There were an awful lot of books about New Zealand, so I took a piece of paper and a pencil and started writing down the various Dewey Decimal numbers of books I might want to read. Then I noticed all the history books for New Zealand had Dewey Decimal number of 993. That certainly simplified my search. I went back to the shelves and looked at the number at the end of the shelves. I saw which shelves I should find the 993 books. Unfortunately, once I got down to the 993 books there were only two books for New Zealand. I pulled out the first book and opened it to see what it was about. It seemed to be about the history of New Zealand. That was good, so I took that book.

“Okay, Gloria, I found a book to read,” I said. “I’m going to go check it out.”

“Are you going to need a notebook to take notes of what you read?” Gloria asked.

“Why would I want to take notes?” I asked. “I’m no longer in school.”

“Yes, but if you are very interested in New Zealand, you might want to take notes of what you are reading so that you will remember where you read that information.”

“Oh, like if someone might ask me where I learned a certain thing, I could tell them where I read it. Yes, that sounds like a good idea.”

“Also, if that book has a bibliography, you will be able to write down the books that were used as reference for that book. Then you might be able to find those books and read them.”

“I can do that?”

“Certainly.”

“Gee, that is a good idea. Yes, can we stop at Bartell’s on the way home?”

“Certainly, anything for my favorite young man.”

I checked out that book and we did stop at Bartell’s so I could get a notebook. Gloria suggested I buy more than one so I’d have extra. Then I realized I should buy some pencils with erasers and a pencil sharpener.

After we arrived at the North Park Tower apartment, the regular daytime guard was working. He acknowledged that I was a resident and he apologized for what the substitute guard had done to me. Also, he had my umbrella and gave it back to me. I said goodbye to Gloria and I went up to my apartment.

————

I was concentrating on reading my book on the history of New Zealand, but was interrupted by the door buzzer. I wondered who would come to my apartment at this time of day, as the sun had gone down hours ago. I put the bookmark in its place and put the book on the end table. As I walked to the door, the buzzer went off again. I got to the door at looked through the peephole. I saw Frank out there and wondered why he was coming to see me. After all, we had agreed that he would come down last night, but here he was tonight. I opened the door and asked, “Yes, is there something wrong?”

“I guess you weren’t here last night, so I took a chance to see if you were here tonight,” Frank said.

“I was in the hospital last night,” I said.

“Anything serious?”

“No, I had a panic attack at E3’s office and he called an aid car. Would you like to come in?”

“That’s the reason I came down.”

Frank came inside and I closed the door. I remembered to lock the door and the deadbolt. I turned and walked down the hall to the living room. Frank was standing by the telephone table.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“You don’t have any lights on except that one way over there,” Frank said pointing at the pole lamp by the recliner.

“I only needed one light.”

“So what were you doing?”

“Reading.”

“Why?”

“Because E3 said I should read, since I’ll no longer be working.”

“You got fired on your first day?”

“Oh, no, E3 decided I was better than being a gofer, whatever that is,” I said. “Well, no, actually I know what a gofer does. Mostly, I’d have been running errands for the owner of the hotel.”

“Eww, that’s no good. So what are you going to do for work?” Frank asked.

“I guess for the time being I won’t be working.”

“So what will you do for money?”

“Well, I have a small trust fund and, well, E3 will be paying all my bills, so I guess I’ll be reading most of the time.”

“Cool, so do you watch TV?”

“Oh, yes, sometimes, but I only have basic cable.”

“But your TV does work, right?”

“Yes, do you want to watch something?”

“Sure, but can we turn on some lights? You know, it’s kind of gloomy in here.”

“Okay, if you want,” I said as I walked around the living room turning on lamps. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Got any booze or beer?” Frank asked as he walked into the kitchen.

“I’m not old enough to drink,” I said as I watched Frank open the refrigerator.

“How old are you?” Frank asked as he pulled out a bottle of Coke. He found the church key in the silverware drawer and opened the bottle.

“I’ll be nineteen in December.”

“Shit, no kidding? I thought you were older.”

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-one.”

“Oh, then you probably won’t want to be my friend.”

“Oh, no, baby, we’re going to be good friends,” Frank said as he walked over to the sofa and sat down next to the end table I was using. “Oh, you got a remote, cool, let’s see what’s on.”

I went to the recliner and got my empty bottle of Coke. I went into the kitchen and put it in the carrier. I opened the refrigerator and took out a new bottle. I opened it and went back into the living room. I walked to the recliner.

“No, no, baby, over here by me,” Frank said as he patted the sofa cushion next to him. “Friends sit beside each other.”

I picked up the coaster, placed it on the coffee table, and put my bottle on the coaster. I walked around the coffee table and looked down at Frank who was busy with the TV. I sat down about a foot away from him.

“No, no, over here big boy,” Frank said as he patted the empty space between us. “Do you like The Mod Squad or The Jerry Lewis Show?”

The Mod Squad.”

“Cool, we’ll watch that,” Frank said. He patted my knee. “Comfy?”

“I’m okay,” I said.

Then he squeezed my leg just above my knee. The last time someone did that to me was my Uncle Paul. He came to visit us when I was a junior at North Park High School. We were in the family room watching TV. I was sitting in my usual spot at the end of loveseat and Uncle Paul sat down next to me, right next to me. Uncle Paul was Syl’s next younger brother and he was single. He said I was a nice boy and if I wanted, I could visit him in the summer at his apartment in New York City. He said we could go to Fire Island to hang out with his friends and swim in the ocean. It sounded like a good idea. Later, I told E3 that Uncle Paul wanted me to visit him in New York City during the summer so we could go to Fire Island to swim in the ocean. Then E3 told Uncle Paul to leave the house. E3 told Uncle Paul he wasn’t welcome in our house ever again. I was sad that Uncle Paul had to leave, but I wrote a letter to him the following week saying I was sorry I couldn’t visit with him in the summer. He never wrote back. I was sad about that, too.

My leg was hot under Frank’s hand. I tried watching the TV program, but that hand was so distracting. I wanted to ask Frank to remove his hand only I couldn’t make the words come out of my mouth. There was something in my mind that was saying the hand being there was okay. I didn’t want to believe that thought, but it stayed in my mind, it wouldn’t go away. I had another thought in my mind that said it wasn’t right for Frank to touch me like that, but I didn’t know how to tell not to do that. I realized I was afraid he wouldn’t want to be my friend if we weren’t sitting together here on the sofa with his hand on my leg.

I looked at my Coke, but it was too far away for me to reach without probably dislodging the hand. There was only one thing I could do to be comfortable with that hand. I shut my eyes and tried to empty my mind, but with the hand there on my leg was so distracting its mere presence overwhelmed my mind. I could only hope I wouldn’t have a panic attack.

Copyright © 2021 CarlHoliday; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Admittedly Frank is going slower than I’d expect but his tone & actions scream rapist. I mean he “could” have actual feelings for Ed but instant jump to calling Ed baby not to mention the way he’s just causally holding his leg is beyond bold. Hard to believe his intentions are pure especially as he knows Ed has mental problems so it just seems like he’s obviously trying to take advantage of him. I hope Ed will snap out of his fear of losing a friend and will put a stop to things soon, though I’m afraid that won’t happen. Why can’t anything good ever happen in his life?

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18 hours ago, NimirRaj said:

Admittedly Frank is going slower than I’d expect but his tone & actions scream rapist. I mean he “could” have actual feelings for Ed but instant jump to calling Ed baby not to mention the way he’s just causally holding his leg is beyond bold. Hard to believe his intentions are pure especially as he knows Ed has mental problems so it just seems like he’s obviously trying to take advantage of him. I hope Ed will snap out of his fear of losing a friend and will put a stop to things soon, though I’m afraid that won’t happen. Why can’t anything good ever happen in his life?

Thanks for the comment. Yes, Frank is a bit forward in his actions. What are his intentions? Is this relationship going to be something Ed won't like? Will Frank take advantage of Ed's obliviousness and innocence? Well . . .

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