A small part of a short story I wrote back in college…..
I have no recollection on how I got here or where I was. The old creaking, naked twin bed mattress I was lying on would certainly affect my mobility for the rest of the day. I knew this before even sitting upright. Then came the pain. It began in the front of my head and soon struck like a lightning bolt into the back and sides of my neck. Groaning, I picked myself up slowly, using the wall to guide my ailing body into a seated position. One window with plain white blinds, a bookcase, a rotary telephone and a bright blinking light….Jesus, that bright blinking light. It was coming through the blinds, but permeated throughout the room. It filled the room, came from the walls and infiltrated every angle the room I had in my vision. Swinging my feet, off of the bed and onto the floor sent a blistering pain into the balls and heels of my feet.
And there was the glass. A pile of shattered glass lying almost strategically, at the side of this mysterious bed. I began plucking it out of my feet, and wiping the blood with my now relegated-to-painting college t-shirt. Through the pain in my head, neck and now feet, my thought process began to try and unravel the mystery of where I was and how I got here. It seemed quite familiar, but was very bare, almost like my buddy Tully’s frat house, although I didn’t ever remember him showing me this room. Perhaps somewhere in between the copious amounts and whiskey we had been consuming combined with my ever growing yearning for cheap narcotics, I had somehow forgotten this hollow area of the house. I swiped the glass aside carefully, making sure not to add yet another set of puncture wounds to my arms and legs and headed towards the window for a clue.
Nothing but that blinking red light was blaring into the window. It was impossible to see six inches out of the window without that blinding red light, blazing through my corneas and into what felt like the deepest vicinities of my skull. Quickly, I shut the blinds, looked away and closed my eyes. Seeing spots, I stumbled a bit and put my right foot directly back into the glass lying next to the bed. Now writhing in pain, I sat back down and recollected myself. This had happened before, many a time. Shit, just last week I woke up in the girl’s dormitory with my pants, wallet and phone nowhere to be found thanks to a overzealous night at McFadden’s pub. Apparently, I stumbled down some stairs after ignoring the icy conditions and fractured my wrist. A little glass in the foot was not of perennial concern, but nonetheless a bit offsetting. When I found out who put it there, revenge would be swift and sweet.
Ok, time to go downstairs and find out where the hell I actually am. But upon leaving I couldn’t help noticing the selection of books placed very neatly in the bookcase, the only other piece of furniture in the room. They were children’s books, some of which were my absolute favorite growing up as a kid. Thumbing through them, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Tully. We had always clowned on him for being dumb, not being able to read, pronouncing words wrong and so forth. However, flipping through some of these books, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was still doing at school. I grabbed “Whorton Says a Who” and carried it towards the door for two reasons: 1) It was my favorite book as a child and 2) this issue would be a cornicopio of humorous materials as we all had our afternoon beers.
I couldn’t help chuckling as I opened the door and thought about Tully sneaking up to his secret infantile library to read through some Dr. Seuss. My good mood was short lived. I stared down the hallway before me, lit by nothing but a side lamp. The red light, was even brighter in this hallway and without any windows visible, this was seemingly impossible. Down the hallway, standing at the top of some wooden stairs, was a silhouette of a Labrador mix. It looked like Mac.
Mac was my childhood dog. When he was nine years old he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor behind his right eye. Within a month he was blind one eye and obviously in excruciating pain. The tumor was spreading towards the back of his brain and was beginning to cause slight hemorraghing, giving him headaches beyond what is humanly comprehensible. My parents rescued Mac the side of a highway intersection when I was one. At first, they had decided to take him home, contact the ASPCA and then have him professionally placed into what would hopefully be a loving home. I napped with Mac that first night on our couch as my parents worked the phone and my dog and I spent every moment of my childhood together after that day. When the veterinarian told me he was having headaches, I refused to let him go. When he went blind in both eyes, I led him around and handfed him every day. When he cried incessantly because of the pain in his head, I tried to pet him, placed cold rags on his eyes and sang lullabies to try and make his hurt go away. Then one day, when I came home from school and my parents had told me that keeping him alive was cruel and they had euthanized him….killed him by sticking a syringe into the main artery in his right leg and sent death shooting through his extremities into his heart. I never got to say goodbye.
I had dreams about Mac a lot, so now this was starting to make a little bit of sense…I was asleep. So being asleep I decided to smash my right arm into the mirror to the right of me. No feeling.