Hey, sorry to keep you waiting – I’ve been battling a migraine for several days and well, it is hard to read, write, type or function with your head under a pillow. I know it is a holiday, so raise a glass of the drink of the month (tequila!! What? Cinco De Mayo can be celebrated all month, right? Right?) and offer a toast in honor those brave men and women who lost their lives trying to finish what politicians and world leaders had started. Then refill that glass – hell, bring the pitcher – and enjoy these latest offerings.
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From Miss Demure Restraint (who is back by the way, please stop by and say hello, maybe offer a hug – ’cause that’s how we roll):
The room was filled with the souvenirs gathered throughout a life of adventure. The bullroarer collected in the Outback lay on the shelf next to the Tumi knife picked up in Cuzco. The Tibetan Thangka hung near the window opposite a Baule mask from the Ivory Coast. The Xianpgi set bartered for in the Pangiayan Market and bone china tea set acquired in Edinburgh graced the top of the Kotatsu table radiating warmth from the corner. Numerous bits and pieces amassed wandering the world vied with one another for attention in the small hospice room dominated by the hospital bed which had only recently dwarfed its fragile occupant.
A man well-traveled had just died here . . . alone. For all his exploits, he had never had the time to make the human connection. Never did he experience the greatest of all adventures. Never did he wait with baited breath for the birth of a child. Never did he work a job he hated to provide for a family he loved more than himself. Never did he return to the loving arms of a woman graying and past her prime. Never did he stand proud at the graduation of a son or the wedding of a daughter. Never did he cry silent in the night not knowing how he would be everything needed by those in his charge. Never did he hear the words “I love you” from one he had given up his dreams for.
The young orderly stood surveying the mess he was packing up for disposal. He searched for a picture, or a letter, or indication of any kind there was someone that would want to know a lost and lonely soul had left this world . . . anyone that would want something here to remember the sad, miserable man that had spent the last days of his life in this forlorn place. The youth closed and taped each box of the now worthless hoard of memories unshared, feeling a sorrow for the adventurer once envied.
The cell phone in his pocket rang. It was his wife. The baby was colicky. His son’s soccer team had lost. The electric bill was past due. She was frustrated and exhausted. She waited for him to respond, but he was only now understanding the treasures of his own adventures. All he could say as he choked back tears was “I love you.”
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From Anne Schilde:
I hate her. I just hate her. There aren’t words for the depth of the hatred that wrenches my gut every single time I see her face.
Life is so unfair.
If life was fair, she would wear my face for a day. Feel what it’s like to walk in my shoes, to not be such a goddess. I should be the goddess, a real goddess. I would curse her to suffer my fate. She would feel the agony of being plain like me. If life was fair, I wouldn’t have to stare at her every miserable day.
Everything about her is so perfect. Why does she have to be so perfect? Not a mark blemishes her skin. Mirrored brows that have never seen tweezers a day in their life drape eyes of crystal blue. The slender elegance of her nose, the kissable sweetness in her Barbie doll lips… I wish she was a picture, a perfect little picture, so I could tear her to shreds.
She knows she has it all. I can see it in her face. Her absolutely flawless, even-the-angels-would-be-jealous face. Rubbing my nose in her beauty gives her such sickening satisfaction. I want to kill her. I’d rake out her mocking eyes, if I could only touch her.
I remember when she was little. God, I hated her then too. Her pretty blonde hair and her adorable pink cheeks stole everyone’s attention and she always had to be first. First at everything. She was first to get her ears pierced, first to wear makeup, first to wear the glow of a boy’s first kiss.
She thinks I want to be like her, to be her. Her smug smile teases me when she thinks it. But she’s wrong. I don’t want to be her. I don’t. I hate for even thinking it. I hate her self-righteous looks. I hate her just for being her, for not being me.
If life was fair, I’d make her take my place. I would make her stare at my framed beauty in envy. I would be the one with the smug smile, and the taunting, reproachful eyes of sapphire. If life was fair, I could bring myself to smash her.
Life is so unfair.
I’ll probably have to stare at her for the rest of my days. I wouldn’t have to if I died, if I killed myself. She’d have no one to torment anymore. It would serve her right. I’d hate myself to Hell for giving her the satisfaction, but I’d be first.
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And from MJ at breakingchase:
The day couldn’t possibly get any longer as the nurse nears the counter to sign out, at least that’s what she is thinking. “Hey, Bailey,” the head nurse calls from behind her as her fingers grasp the clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other, “I hate to do this to you, but we need you to stay for another hour.”
Incredible! Didn’t they realize she was only human? “Please, I really need to get some sleep,” she begins, “I’ve been on the clock for over twelve hours and I came to work straight from picking up my daughter at the airport–spring break, you know.”
“Yeah, I know all about it,” she shakes her head, “but we really need you here. Sorry.” Her superior doesn’t sound sorry, and doesn’t even pause before walking away. The feelings she’s having are irrational, but that doesn’t matter now. Nothing matters but her job, she reminds herself.
The ER doors fly open and the paramedics pull in a loaded gurney and rush past her, down the hall. “Bailey, follow them down there and make sure we’ve got everything ready in the OR. The medics can fill you in on the specifics.”
She rushes to the OR where the men are moving things aside to make room for the gurney. The patient is lying on the bed with bleeding and open wounds amidst purple and red tissue. Where the mouth belongs is a hole where an air tube squeezes inside to keep the esophagus from closing off.
Another nurse pokes her head in the door and one of the men approaches her. They whisper for a bit before he turns around to say, “They say they it’s a streetwalker from the subway. Apparently, she lost her footing–probably drunk or on drugs, I’d say.”
“Thanks for bringing her in,” is her cold response, “There’s nothing more to do until the surgeon gets here than keep her calm and find a vein for the IV.” She begins to search the flesh on the right arm and then the left, with no luck. “Damn waste of life, anyway,” she murmurs, forcing the IV into her arm.
As if in answer to her, the one good eye pops open to reveal a pool of blue, surrounded by the grotesque parasite who owns it. The eye widens and stares at her, as if trying to speak because the only audible noise is the moist gasping of the air hose in her trachea.
“It’s because of vermin like you that my sweet Margo is sitting home alone tonight.” She steps toward the bed, looking directly into the eye that’s watching her when the door pops open.
“All prepped?” the surgeon asks, heading back to the sink, “The anesthesiologist is due any minute. Let’s get this show on the road, kids!”
Approaching the patient again, her hands reach out and grasp the tube supplying the junky with life. She tips it to the side so it sucks against the interior of her throat, cutting off her air. Panic strikes the patient, unable to move due to the straps and her eye grows large in fear. Finally, the singular eyeball quits moving, and stares into nothing. The wheezing stops.
“They found her wallet,” the doctor says approaching the table, “Turns out she isn’t a hooker after all, but some college girl taking the subway to meet her mom for lunch. License says Margo Bailey. Hey, isn’t that your last name?”
Lifting the damaged hand, she can see her daughter’s class ring with her initials surrounding the sapphire, MRB.