Night Watching

Delores lay in bed, listening to sounds of the sleeping house. She was thinking. Thinking about all the little ways that they controlled her. How their rules and expectations seemed so unfair. She was thinking it was time to do something about it. About how she had been planning this all day. She glanced over at her clock. It was time.

Her bare feet slid down and touched the icy wooden floor. In long slow steps she padded her way down the hall, stopping at their room. She held her breath for a moment, listening at the door. Once she was sure she heard two different types of snores she slowly moved on. Down through the kitchen.

Jazz, the family dog snuffed awake and picked its head up at her approach. The old mutt wasn’t likely to start barking, but he could be such a spazz sometimes. She fished out the biscuit she had hidden in her pajama pocket before bed, and held it up. Jazz instinctively sat and waited for his treat. She patted him on the head and dropped the biscuit in his mouth. He wagged his tail expectantly as she crept away, and when he was reasonably certain that there were no more treats in his future, he cocked his head, stretched, then walked around in a circle three times and laid back down.

She was almost to the living room when a thought occurred to her. If just getting caught was going to be bad enough, why not make the most of it? She crept back into the kitchen. From the fridge she poured herself a large glass of soda. She took a small sip, smacked her lips and let out a quiet satisfied sigh. She put the bottle back and carefully and quietly she snuck out through the doorway into the living room.

She walked around the sofa and took another dainty sip from her glass before setting it on the coffee table. Thinking better of the action she lifted it back up and slid a coaster under it, one shouldn’t tempt fate. Being caught out of bed might not go particularly well but, she was fairly sure she didn’t want to go through the whole, “water rings on the furniture speech,” again. She cautiously picked up the remote and gently pressed the power button. Her hands flew to the volume control to start turning it down before the television had a chance to make a sound, she’d made that mistake before. She smiled and dropped herself on the sofa and brought feet up onto the armrest. She wiggled he shoulders against the throw pillows and settled in for a night of “grown up” TV shows.

No one was going to tell Delores when she should go to sleep. Bedtimes were for suckers.

This story was written in response to a Flash Fiction Challenge issued by Chuck Wendig at his blog Terrible Minds. You can check out the other entries in the comments there

Horrible things on the TV

This is a continuation of Fall.

Laying in a hospital bed in a full leg cast watching horrible things on the TV. My left leg is in some kind of electric, vibrating sock to prevent blood clots. Horrible things on the TV I can’t tell what they are but they are horrible. There is morphine dripping into me. I can’t tell what is on the TV. I haven’t eaten all day in the off-chance that they can get me into surgery. My wife comes into the room

She is pissed. Then she sees my face. Apparently it is scabbed and bruised. She is worried. Things were going so well too. Of course they were going well that’s why I went out bar hopping with the guys from work. Everything was starting to look up, why not celebrate.

She has to go. Her mom is watching our little girl. Her mom is pissed at me too, I know she won’t say so when I see her she’s too nice. My wife leaves the room. A nurse gives me something for the pain. I float on the edge of unconsciousness without really touching it. There’s something horrible on the TV but I can’t tell what it is. I want some coffee. I think it’s close to midnight, not sure. If I could figure out when the horrible things began and ended I could tell how much time had passed. No surgery today. Someone brings me a coffee. Is it my wife? I drink and  it fills my mouth with muddy, lukewarm grounds and it’s all I can do not to vomit.

Laying in a hospital bed. I manage to turn the TV off. It’s a different day. Surgery day. I saw a doctor this morning, I think he’s my surgeon. My wife is in the room while I’m waiting to be taken to the Operating Room.

A social worker comes in. She is concerned about what my blood alcohol was when they brought me in. She tells me it was a point two eight. She wants to know if I normally drink that much. I lie, and she leaves the room. It’s a private room. There is a man here. He wants to help me pay for my room and my surgery, the morphine. He wants to help me pay for the horrible things on the TV. Is the TV on again. I fucking hate that TV. He gives me paper work, I set it aside and it is lost and forget where I put as I watch him leave. Psychologist is in the room. She wants to know if I want to talk about anything. I do want to talk but they have come to get me. I am wheeled away feeling confused and worried.

I pretend to be in a good mood on the way to get prepped. The trip goes by fast. I’m hooked up to a new IV and some weird box thing. The staff is joking around with me. I start to feel really good about things. One of the staff asks, “when are you going to start the anesthesia?”

“I already did.” The other says.

“What… ?” And then, a sudden, darkness.

“I need coffee.” Mumbles a voice, that turns out to be my own. Two men in scrubs seem to find this amusing. I am in a room, it is very large and white. There are empty beds and only the two men in scrubs in here with me. Post Op, making sure I come out of anesthesia okay. After an hour or more I am taken back to my room. My wife is there but she has to leave again to take care of our girl. I am laying in bed in a brand new full leg cast. There are horrible things on the TV.

I know they are horrible because they are on the TV. That’s  the only type of thing that is on this particular TV. The sounds it makes, those awful murmurs and shrieks, serve as constant reminders of its existence. I can turn it off but then I am alone. My wife can not break away from her responsibilities of motherhood for very long, my friends and co workers do not visit, the nurses will only come every four hours to give me pain medicine. I am left with this television this miserable annoyance that portrays every possible reason I might have for hating humankind all together. Cheating spouses and lie detectors, or is it delinquent dad’s and DNA tests? Crass, foul mouthed cartoons trying to point out how screwed up the media is. I think that’s called irony, or at least what passes for it anymore. I itch all over and keep nodding out, but not sleeping. I know time passes because there is always some new dreadfulness on the screen when I open my eyes. Every now and then someone comes in to stick me with something, I hope they work here.

It’s morning again and I see the doctor again, he has an entourage this time. He asks me if I am ready to go home. No thank you, I’d much rather stay here and be tortured with more boredom, loneliness, and bad cable TV. At least my laptop is here with me, so I can check social media and be reminded of how many people I know that are currently not in this room trying to keep my spirits up. I think the morphine is starting to get to me. Opiates always put me in a pissy mood, but hey they gave me this button in case I want more. Surprisingly I have an appetite, the food isn’t as bad as all that, again that might be the drugs talking. The woman who takes my requests doesn’t seem to believe that I want coffee with every meal. It goes on like this. Each day I see my wife for a few minutes. Every morning the doctor and his cohorts come in and tease me about going home. Every four hours some pills. Always that fucking television.

One day someone came in to show me how to use the crutches I was going to be saddled with for at least two months after I get discharged. I make him help me to the toilet so that I can avoid pissing in a fucking jar again. Apparently I am a natural at walking on crutches because I never see him again either.

Finally, an eternity must have passed because, I am told I can leave. I tell them to start the paperwork and call my wife. A total cluster fuck of scheduling and parking nightmares ensues in the four hours it takes for my discharge papers to arrive. My after care is ever so briefly run through by the most slack-jawed ass ever be employed in the healthcare field, his eyes are glassed over as he drawls his way in stops and starts over the details on the page in his hands. The television laughs a menacing goodbye, as I am wheeled downstairs where I wait for the person who is to pick me up to figure out where the entrance to the hospital actually is. Once this is accomplished I must figure out how to properly stand up and fit into the car without bending my knee or letting my leg drop suddenly to the ground. The end result is very uncomfortable but gets me to the pharmacy to pick up a ridiculous amount of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and some baby aspirin to fight blood clots.

At last I am away from the clutches of that damned hospital and safe at my mother-in-law’s house. Where I lay on a bed, in a cast from my ankle to my hip, with horrible things on the TV to keep me company. I realize that there is no escaping your own personal hell.