Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gotta be trippin'....


So... the word burbling up is that Jacko went out on Demerol. Mmmmm... Demerol. I can dig it. And with his face falling off the way it was, completely understandable.

Like... me and Demerol? We dated briefly.

In a reassuring tone laced with an undercurrent of you-deserve-everything-you're-getting, an emergency room doctor once told me that pancreatitis is the closest a man can come to knowing what it's like to give birth. If that's the case I cannot even begin to figure out why a woman would decide to have a second child. On the other hand, I tried the pancreatitis thing a couple of times myself, so I suppose it all boils down to the same thing ... making the same mistakes all over again just means you're crazy.

Demerol burns as it makes its way up the vein. Not a bad burn, just a disconcerting one. Sorta sexy, if you're into that sorta thing. The pain doesn't go away, but it soon becomes insignificant as other things catch your attention ... like how perception of the hospital room shifts and suddenly the bed seems to be aligned against the wall. Sorta cool, but you don't want to sit up suddenly... you might tumble off the bed and smack your face against the wall. Which is now the floor.

That morning, I had woke up with what seemed to be the nastiest hangover. Not being prone to them, I figured it was just something that was long overdue. It was... just not in the way I thought. A pints-o'-Guinness diet chased with J├Ągermeister shots (and no food) is not a diet. As the morning wore on, cold sweat settled in and the abdominal pain began to build. And build. Jack-knifing my torso in a futile attempt to ease the agony, I took a cab to the hospital.

Rewind to the ER doc. And a nurse. And an IV drip. Mmmmm... Demerol. Did I mention that Demerol is a blast?

It is ... at first.

Motionless in my bed as the room slowly tumbled, I kept my attention on the television. Vampire hunters were taking on undead hookers with supersoakers filled with holy water. It was very wet-looking and sounding, although not as much so as my roommate's dying gasps. An older gent, it sounded as if he were drowning in his own blood.

Unfortunately for him, he was on an HMO that had decided that he was more expensive than what had been signed off on their terms of agreement, and soon the staff was wheeling him out of the room to presumably dump him out on the street.

More on the street later.

I was on the government's dime, so again they obligingly paused during the course of his evacuation and asked if I "needed" more Demerol. Why the hell not? I was having fun.

Mmmmm... Demerol.

The fun ended early in the morning. I didn't see them at first, but I could sense the ghosts of the patients-past moving in. If you're going to be haunted, an old dark hospital is probably not the best place to be. Soon I began to catch glimpses of them, a hollow-eyed little girl darting peeks over the foot of my bed. Not good, and even worse than that was the shadow lurking ... waiting ... behind the curtain that separated the room. Whispering rustled from intangible throats.

As they say... fuck that noise.

I ripped the IV from the crook of my arm and quickly got dressed. Easing the door closed behind me as I stepped out of the room, the hospital seemed deserted. Almost. A German shepherd padded slowly down the hallway. It looked up at me with dull eyes and I hit the stairwell, winnowing down through the levels until I reached the street.

Well, hell...

The dead were waiting for me. Over the last couple of hundred years a lot of folks have died at that hospital, and I suppose some of them had nothing better to do than to while away the countdown to the End of Days. Loitering near where they drew their last breath. The streets were choked with them, and they had a malevolent mien. I gave them wide berth. Their empty eyes turned to watch as I stumbled by, the only movement they made toward me. I made for my home, zigging occasionally as a specter loomed in my path, zagging away as another turned towards me.

As I made it further from the hospital, the haunts began to taper off. A bloody little boy here at what I assumed was a deadly intersection, a bag lady there where she probably crawled into the bushes one night to sleep off life.

They were finally gone by the time I began to cross the campus. Dawn was near. In the place of mere haunts, the crisp air was filled with the dull thuds of something being torn asunder. I spied colossal trolls, trying to tear the roof off of a nearby auditorium with giant sledgehammers.

"Damn," I realized ... "I'm trippin'."