Man On Bed 42

The week just flew by real fast. I did not realize until yesternight that Friday was beckoning. So today with a hangover and a cup of coffee i tried to pen something down and it just refused. I tried to seduce my words; but they were having none of it. They just said no. I opted to share an excerpt from a short story I am working on instead.  


The last thing you want to hear from a nurse, in a dress as white as your lover’s sheets, short, threatening to burst open under the strain of a full bust and hips; is if you’re okay. So when these words dance out of her mouth I’m infuriated. I can feel my knees tremble and a sharp pain shoots up to my back settling right under the spine. It sits there for a few seconds, my eyes are shut, teeth clenched. I. WANT. HER. TO. GO. AWAY.

“Sir, are you okay?”

She asks again, this time her slippery voice is laced with concern. The back of her hand is on my forehead and she’s leaning in trying to get to that tube thing on my hand. Catheter, I hear them call it.  Bloody difficult name for a man like me.  It’s a pretty difficult name for anybody really. These are names not for Africans.  We believe in the simple old terms like aloe vera and stick. Stick is pretty fucking simple. No one messes up stick ever in their fucking lives.

“I’m fine. I’m fucking fine. Just old and bitter.”

She smiles and from a small syringe pushes a clear liquid into my tube thing. It burns my veins and then it cools. I start to slip away my eyes heavier than I can last remember them. Her face. Her smiling face is the last thing I see as I drifted away. Why in the hell and heaven does she smile? Her smile haunts me. It’s usually familiar, like she sits hours in front of her mirror. Small mirror. They don’t pay them enough to have the big fancy ones.  And there in front of the mirror she smiles, getting it right, wondering if she’s showing just enough teeth. If her lips are curved upwards too much or too little. Too much looks maniacal and too little looks conceited. You can’t be either when you’re the Usher to hell. Fuck.

Okay, back story; you’re probably wondering what a sixty five year old man is doing on a hospital bed, talking about the smile of a young nurse and cussing like a fucking sailor. Yes, I’m sixty five and while my name is not important I’m here because I was poisoned. And I’m cussing because I’m sixty five and I can get away with it. You see there’s no fucking fun in this fucking world anymore. People are too uptight. Too busy. Too normal to live. So let me cuss my fucking life away.

When I first met her, yes her, it’s a girl.  I happened to like them. Loved this particular one I’m going to tell you about. Even though at sixty five, I’m not so fucking sure what true love should look like. Forget the teleromance; that shit is a lie.  You think there’s a Julio somewhere for your Maria? First, whose name starts with a J but is pronounced as an H? All this crap about silent letters, pronunciation and catheters should’ve killed me long before she got the chance.

Her name like mine is not important, from here on we will refer to her as her. We met at a dance, sometime early eighties. Yes, that time exists we didn’t have all this hullabaloo of Internet or telephones. No. We went out and fucking had fun. You guys are cooped up in your houses and apartments meeting in the internet. Or is it on the internet? You don’t even know what the outside looks like anymore.  Do you? When was the last time you had to brush an ant off your skin because it tickled the hairs on your hand? Fucking cowards. Can’t even ask for sex like men. What the fuck is a tinder and a swipe left? Get out there and get rejected, spit on that wound, rub some dirt on it; go out and do it again.  It builds character, hardens balls, fucking twats.

Her was nothing like I’d seen before and trust me I’d seen them. All of them.  The worker girls that worked inside the big houses. The polished ones that spoke like their noses had been stuck in a cold fridge. Those ones that felt their time was worth more than yours.  They are the ones that kept you waiting only to show up in a huff and leave like a damn hurricane. You think you know blue balls? Those ones would freeze your pecker right off. They liked the studied ones, the ones that had been on planes, buses and could drive even if they didn’t own cars.  They set their classes far apart from us. We were the scum of the time; what you like to call fuck boys.

Then there were the pretty white things that walked around towns in elevated shoes and umbrellas. Their hair looking like refined sisal. They listened to jazz and other classical stuff. Stuff you could not dance to. You could only hold waists and do a fancy walk around a dance floor while others watched and cheered. Culture? Screw that. Even though rumour had it that they loved hard. They were jealous and hot heads.  We actually called them hot heads because of their temper and also how their hair glowed when the setting sun hit those golden strands. I once almost had a fling with one. Almost. But things didn’t work out. You see I can’t waltz and didn’t want to learn and she kept nagging me.

“But darling we won’t have any fun.”

Who told them fun was twirling around a floor to music as old as time?  Plus you know when out in the sun they turn pink like an overripe mango? Not even the gods would let me date a ripened mango. So to hell. I didn’t date me one of those sisal heads.

Then there were the trouble makers. The ones that went to school and dressed, acted, talked and even smelled like the sisal heads. These ones knew everything. Every. Fucking. Thing.  They could tell you why Big Ben chimes and why it should’ve been called petite Linda.  Like you guessed it they talked a lot. Chatter boxes spitting faster than the noon presenter on the BBC. They acted like they’d been to Paris and had standards from here to military cemeteries. It wasn’t such a bad thing but like teleromance lies, so did the books they read. Books of swooning romance and fairy tale males that couldn’t exist even if we milked unicorns in the morning. They were known to be hard headed and opinionated we hated them. Avoided them like the plague. But secretly I liked them, and her, she was one of them.  Smart. Hard headed.  Beautiful.

We met outside a building that housed a bookshop. A pretty old building even at the time. A building that had character, a building whose cream colour had a story hidden in the peeling paint. A building that looked like it could sit around a fire somewhere up in the hills and tell a story.  Not these monstrosities of opulence and dick measuring you guys have. There’s no fucking order. Anyone with a few loose million bucks nowadays just builds. It’s sick.

Of course she would be outside a bookshop probably waiting for her man to come out with a brown bag of books. Full of knowledge and more absurd words. Catheter. What the fuck. But she was alone; in a flowered dress that went right up to her knees, a sun hat whose brim looked like it touched he sun when she tilted her head and a gold watch. She was fucking stunning.  Her wide eyes could reach out deep down into the darkest soul and shed light. Illuminate.  Her eyes were like a black man’s sermon.  I knew I had to say hi, not like I could tweet or DM or whatever other thing you guys do.

The first time you talk to a woman like her everything goes wrong. Everything has to go wrong otherwise it’s just not right. Me? I walked up to her hand stretched out, smile stuck on my face and a voice choking on a stubborn hello. But she turned and walked away, like I wasn’t fucking there. Years later we still talked about it. She said she didn’t see me. That I should’ve been louder. Some stupid shit like that. And we’d laugh. Let me tell you about her laugh – magic hidden in a voice. Hers were pearls, gold and diamonds. It was like the trickling of a mountain stream. Soothing. It was also rare. To make her laugh you were either really funny, really dumb or both. I’d say I was both but I am more dumb than funny.  And to be fair that’s not where we met, it was where I saw her for the first time.

bed 42


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