With author Rodney Strange (Authors note: I may have embellished this story a tad bit.)
I have reached the point of exasperation brought on by undue provocation! Yes, harassment in its utmost form, uncut, undiluted...dealt out with the precision of a North Korean rocket. I've been carpet bombed from all directions and I've found it necessary to go underground for my own protection...so....shhh! I'm hiding. I've let my phone battery die. Parked my pickup way back by the cotton field so folks can't drive by and see that I'm really home. I sit here in the dark to avoid raising any suspicion. I'm making an earnest effort to stay off facebook, you know that's a dead giveaway!
"Oh, look! He didn't die of a massive heart attack while taking his morning dump! He's right here on facebook! See that little green dot?"
I've had a rash of misfortune, well not me directly although it is affecting me directly. I've got so many family members and friends in the hospital, we're needing an entire wing dedicated to us. Problem is, they're scattered out in hospitals all across west Texas. This would be a whole lot easier on me if I could just get them all grouped together...in a single room would be ideal. You know how folks are when they're in the hospital. They're NEEDY! Well, they think they are. Fact is, they really don't need anything. Three meals a day, free open-air apparel, and literally someone there to answer their every beck and call, even empty their bedpan. And they have drugs, high powered drugs that make them delusional. They think weird stuff, like for instance..they think I should be right there, sitting in the room, watching them be sick. Can you relate?
I know I'm twisted a bit different than some. I see entire families up at the hospital, a dozen at a time! The kids all gathered around the foot of grandma's bed staring at the little bitty TV hanging from the ceiling while their mothers huddle around the lavatory mixing up baby formula. Uncle Louie is grilling steaks on a propane grill over by the window. Grandma's snoring, oblivious to the chaos surrounding her thanks to an overdose of hydrocodone. That's what family's for...I heard you think that.
I don't come from a big family and what family I have is in the hospital except for me and my daughter. We're stretched pretty thin right now. There's a map hanging in the kitchen and every day the two of us gather around it.
"Okay, you hit this hospital then make your way across the city to this one." I trace a route with my finger, "and I will take this one...this one..and that one."
Yes, we've had to split up to cover more distance. Have I mentioned it's forty miles to the nearest hospital? I'm always the last one to finish because, hey she's seventeen. Pop in..."Hi, thought I'd stop by. Gotta run!"
The sick people don't expect much from her because she's a busy girl and they know it. Me on the other hand...I got nothing better to do but sit in a bed-a-chair and watch people be sick. Forget that I'm a single dad of a teenaged daughter. Sure the laundry can wait until everyone is well. Did I mention I have a teenaged daughter? Try letting her laundry go for a few days. No groceries left in my house? A job? Bills to write and mail off? It can all wait! WE'RE SICK! Oh, by the way...could you pay a few of my bills on the way home when you leave?
Invariably you see parts of sick people's bodies that you just can't unsee when they're in the hospital. Hospitals smell funny. I just can't quite put my finger on that smell. Alien-like machines make sounds I'm not accustomed to. The other day, bells and whistles and strobe lights went off while I was just sitting in a hospital room wishing I wasn't there. Thought I'd won the jackpot until an army of nurses invaded the darkened room like a swat team. I casually rose from my chair and mentioned I needed to mosey on home..."Would you tell him if he wakes up?"
I've been a patient in a hospital several times throughout my life and honestly...I really don't want anybody staring at me while I puke in a gray tray the size of a ring box. Just let me be. I know there are people qualified to care for me just down the hall. I don't need spectators gawking at me while I drool on a hospital gown under the influence of morphine. I certainly don't want anyone sitting beside me in a bed-a-chair impatiently sighing in disgust, thinking 'Either get well or die...I got things to do!'
Nope, just give me a laptop and my magic vape stick. Send in a few pretty nurses every now and then to flirt with. I have a soft spot for nurses. They are all utterly undatable, mind you. Been there and done that and got the scars to prove it. I dunno, maybe it's the scrubs that turn me on.
So, my phone is charged...let's see. A voice message: "I know you're hiding from me! I need you to go over to my house and pick up the mail and drop it by so I can sign some checks. You need to pay my bills for me. Needs to be done today!"
Oh, and a text: 'Dad, you should see all these hot doctors up here! I need clean clothes BTW.'
I suppose sooner or later this will all pass...like a large gall stone. There are headlights coming down my road...it's the cops! One of those sick screwballs called 911 on me...making my get-a-way out the back door! Wish me luck!