It was all a blur. Fuzzy folks hovering over me. Was one Dad? No, Dad doesn’t wear white. A doctor?
“He’s coming around,” the doctor said to Dad. Dad came into focus. Worry lines wrinkled his face. Nellie was there too, smiling.
“Yeah,” I sat up. The room spun and I plopped back down.
“You better take it easy.” The doctor patted my shoulder. “You had quite a fall.”
“How’s his bite?” Nellie asked.
“I got bit?” I couldn’t feel anything.
The doctor smiled at Nellie and winked, “He’ll be just fine.” Turning to Dad. “But you, sir, need some rest.” Dad did look pretty bad.
“I’ll take care of him,” Nellie said smiling at Dad. She still had those weird sunglasses on.
“I’m sure you will,” the doctor said in an odd, almost laughing, voice.
“Should we wait a while before taking him?” Dad asked.
“He’ll be fine. Just take it slow.” The doctor disappeared into a dark room. The sign on the door said, “Keep Out.”
“I wonder what he does in there?” I asked, hearing some odd squeaking sounds.
“He turns little boys into frogs.” Nellie smiled. Dad laughed. I frowned when I thought I heard a “ribbit” from behind the door.
When we got back to the apartment, I felt a hundred times better. I may have felt better than I have ever felt before. Boxes were still crammed into our van. I grabbed one as we got out.
“Don’t carry that with your shoulder,” Dad said worried.
“It’s light,” I said tossing it up and catching it.
“Still...” Dad tried to take it from me. He stumbled under its weight. Surprised, he said, “This is heavy!”
“You must be tired,” Nellie said giving the box back to me. Dad looked at me a moment, puzzled, then nodded. “You must be right.”
I followed Dad up to the apartment. I could almost skip up the stairs. I felt so good, so powerful. Dad opened the door and we went in. The front room was dark because the shades were drawn but I could see well enough. The apartment had furniture already... well, sort of. An old sofa sat on a worn orangy-green rug in the middle of the room. A table and two chairs squeezed in a corner by the kitchen.
The kitchen was a mess. The fridge stood open and smelled something terrible. Raw meat was scattered on the floor. Bloody juice dripped from the shelves.
Dad sighed, “That dog that bit you sure made a mess first.”
“I’ll clean it up,” I volunteered. Dad’s forehead wrinkled.
“You should rest, kiddo.”
“I feel great.” And I did. I couldn’t believe how good I felt.
“I can help,” Nellie said following us in with another box, “After all, it is my building.” We stacked the boxes in a corner. Dad shrugged and disappeared into the bedroom.
Nellie produced some paper towels and we began to clean up the meat. Suddenly I felt very hungry and my stomach began to growl. “It’s a shame to throw away all this good meat.” Nellie smiled at what I said. Her skin was so white. Maybe she didn’t get enough sun.
When we finished, the kitchen looked great and night was coming. Nellie turned to go. “Time to open up. Send your dad down when he’s ready. He’s had a hard day. We’ll let him be a little late.”
I nodded. She left. Time to open? Weren’t they open all ready?
I woke up Dad. At least I tried. He looked dead... real dead. He wasn’t moving. My heart raced. That dog thing that got me... it didn’t get back in, did it? “Dad!”