Green Eggs and Adam
"The sun did not shine. It
was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.
Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball.
So we sat in the house. We did nothing at all.
"So all we could do was to
sit! sit! sit! sit!
And we did not like it. Not one little bit.
"And then something went
How that bump made us jump!
We looked, then we saw him step in on the mat!
We looked and we saw him! The cat in the hat!"
Willie lowered the book.
"Cat. That's a C word, remember?" He pulled out from a stack of index cards three on which he had inscribed C, A and T. "Now you can make all these sounds, you just have to put them together. This is the way Gene taught me how to talk. It's just like going up steps, one at a time. Say Cuh, Aah, then put the T at the end. Try it."
Adam shook his head, looking overwhelmed.
"Come on, for crissake, yesterday you said Barnabas. You can say cat. Just do it."
"You sure know that word good enough." The monster nudged the book towards his teacher. "No, I ain't reading any more till you say cat. If you do," he added with a tone that implied what followed would be a tremendous incentive, "I'll draw a star on your chart."
"There you go. What's the big idea, holdin' out on me like that." Willie untangled the intravenous tube that occasionally got in the way now that Adam could sit up and move around somewhat. "Don't you want Barnabas to be proud of you? Next thing, he'll be giving you Shakespeare books to read so you can better yourself."
Barnabas actually took little interest in the being his wife created, rarely even entering the laboratory. Julia, although fastidious in the creature's maintenance, never really regarded it as a person. Maybe because he was afraid to speak in their presence, the couple assumed the creature was an idiot, like Willie had told them. They would have to think that, otherwise, what they were doing would have been more than inhumane, something Willie blocked from his mind. He didn't want to think about that. Dr. Hoffman decided it wasn't necessary to return the body to a comatose state; she was concerned that additional medication might leach into his blood supply.
But Willie took good care of his pet monster. Just like he had looked after Jackie. Just like Stanley had cared for him. Willie figured it was a way to score some good Karma points, and he hoped that one day Adam would provide some kind of companionship. Maybe learn to do some of these maintenance chores for himself.
Willie popped a frozen dinner in the microwave along with a plastic bag of blood as Barnabas preferred his meals at body temperature. He poured the thick liquid into a tall, crystal goblet and carefully carried it on a polished tray down the hall to the largest bedroom.
The master's hand reached out from the open casket as he rose to a sitting position. The tray was held out for him as the vampire curled his fingers around the glass's stem and gingerly sipped. From his reaction, the breakfast beverage must have had an unpleasant aroma or aftertaste.
Willie stood silently at his side, waiting to be dismissed. He cleared his throat, causing Barnabas to look up in disdain.
"Am I keeping you from some undertaking of greater import?"
"It's just—uh, you want anything else?"
Barnabas waved him away with a sigh, and his servant took pains to close the door quietly behind him.
Willie trotted back to the laboratory with the tray tucked under his arm, hoping his own meal was still warm. He didn't mind when the boss was a little grumpy upon rising, acting like he had some nasty hangover. It was preferable to the vampire's traditional greetings early in their acquaintance: getting choked, chomped or backhanded…
"Adam, No!" Willie froze in the doorway. The creature was straining to get off the table, reaching for the servant's dinner which had been left on the writing desk. The intravenous tubes were stretched to capacity and about to burst open.
Willie dashed across the room, pulling the monster back. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Stop!"
Adam smelled the air and reached again for the plastic plate. His other hand went to his mouth in an eating gesture.
"Use your words," the teacher reminded him.
"Yeah, but that's Willie food, not Adam food."
"Want Willie food," the creature whined.
"No, you can't, 'cause Dr. Hoffman didn't build your part that eats to work all the way. That's why you have these bags that feed into your stomach. The green liquid stuff."
"Willie food." Trembling, Adam began to cry.
"Shuddup, will ya? You want Barnabas to hear? He's in a crappy mood, and if you make trouble, Julia'll knock you out and you'll be a zombie again." Willie's stomach growled as he glanced longingly at his pre-packaged chicken leg, mashed potatoes and peas. "I guess it's not fair to eat in front to you. Do you think you could stay there quietly for a few minutes while I go out in the hall?"
Well, no break today except for this, Willie mused as sat in the corridor, shoveling his dinner. He chuckled at the memory of Julia standing in the administrator's office at Wyndcliff, assuring Doc Gordon that the mental patient she had shown up to claim would receive her undivided attention. At least she was no longer trying to pump him full of pills. Despite an arduous work schedule and sporadic sleep breaks, Willie hadn't felt so clear headed in who knew when.
When the monster-sitter returned to work, Adam was, once again, trying to get up. Once again, Willie rushed over to avert disaster.
"Look, you. What's our rule about pulling on them tubes? If they pop out, you could die."
"Now we ain't doing that again. If Dr. Hoffman finds out I walked you around the lab, she'll kill me."
"Walk Willie now!" The creature pounded his fist on the examination table.
"Don't you have a temper tantrum at me, big guy, or you will not hear a story tonight."
Adam's face contorted. "Willie bad." He began to weep again.
"Knock it off, you can't get everything you want by crying; that don't work on me." But Willie looked with dismay at his pathetic monster-child. It was frustrated, bored and depressed and had every right to be. Denied even the limited luxuries and freedoms his caregiver was allotted, Adam's only purpose was to be used by Barnabas and Julia. Like a slave.
"Alright, but just for a little time. You don't want to get me into trouble."
Willie detached the food bag, removed the tubes, capped the IV inserts and secured the tape on the body's waste bag. He then helped Adam to stand, close to collapsing under the enormous man's weight as he clung to Willie for support. The creature's balance usually improved after a few minutes, but walking would always be awkward for Adam. His legs had been taken from two different bodies and were not the same length.
"Then-he-came-to-a-dog. 'Are-you-my-mother?' he-said-to-the-dog. 'I-am-not-your-mother. I-am-a-dog,' said-the-dog."
"Very good." Willie was mopping the floor as his student haltingly read aloud.
"Willie, are you my mother?"
"I am not your mother. I am a dog."
Willie continued to clean as Adam looked at the drawing in his book, then to his instructor in confusion.
"'I-did-have-a-mother,' said-the-baby-bird. 'I...'"
Willie peeked at the book. "know."
"'I-know-I-did. I-have-to-find-her. I-willie!'"
"Huh?" Again he checked the text. "Just will. I will."
"Does baby bird find mother?"
"Did he find her the last time you read it?"
"Then he will this time too. The ending is always the same."
Adam gazed toward the window with a pensive expression. "I will find my mother," he announced.
"I told you, you ain't got a mother, except for Dr. Hoffman, and she don't count. That's okay, I don't have one no more either. When you get up to reading Peter Pan, you'll find out mothers are very overrated persons."
The creature analyzed his caregiver's statement. "Mother bad."
"My mom?" Willie smiled at her memory. "No, no, she was beautiful—and fun and I loved her an awful lot. She taught me how to play Poker and…yeah, sometimes she got sad, but I took good care of her…she would've been fine if I hadn't gone away." He wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Lydie was, I don't know, different from the other moms. Okay, maybe a little crazy. I mean, she had two sons and named them Willie and Dick. Who the hell does that?" The creature had a puzzled expression. "Look, just finish your book. I'm busy here."
"When will we walk?"
"When the floor dries."
Willie was watching an old time gangster movie on the portable television. James Cagney was being dragged, screaming and kicking, from his prison cell to the awaiting executioner. It reminded him a little of Wyndcliff when it was time for shock therapy.
"You're missing the end, Adam."
The creature stood across the room, fingering the drapes in the alcove as he gazed wistfully out the window.
"The movie is bad. They hurt Rocky."
"Come on, it was his fault. The lug shouldn't have got caught. But look, see, in the end, he saved them young hoods from a bad life by pretending he's not so tough after all."
"Rocky is chicken shit?"
"Yeah, but in a good way. How about if you come away from the window now."
Adam pressed his hand to the pane. "I wish to see world."
His supervisor sighed, but Adam's face brightened as he pointed to an airplane flying overhead. "What that?" He yanked the young man to the alcove. "What?"
"Not so rough, big boy," Willie pulled away. "Let's check this sucker out." He pushed farther aside the heavy velvet drapery and flung open the sash. A delicious summer breeze wafted in and enveloped the pair. They paused and savored the scent of fresh air.
"The world is pretty." Adam's eyes were filled with wonder.
"It is today, that's for sure. Look at all the stuff." Willie pointed to various objects beyond and the student repeated his new words. Cloud. Tree. Rock. Sky. "Look, did you see? A robin just flew up into that tree. There's probably a baby bird in her nest." He cupped the creature's ear. "Hear that sound? That's the ocean. It's a big bucket of water out there, just past them cliffs, sometimes you can even smell it." Adam pointed below to the white pickup in the driveway. "That's just my truck. I use it to go away."
The monster grabbed him up by the shoulders. "Willie do not go away!" He shook the young man forcefully. "No!"
"Stop, you're hurting me! Put me down. Now." Adam reluctantly released his captive. "What have I told you about yelling when Mrs. Hatchet-face is cleaning downstairs, huh?" Willie reached up and swatted the giant upside his head. "Listen up, dumbass: I only go away for a little time 'cause I have to do stuff. I always come back." He guided Adam to his table. "Your one bag's full and that one's empty, time to hook up."
"Adam wish go away."
"Well, you can't." Willie secured the monster's straps.
"Because…a lot of reasons." Adam waited for the explanation as his caregiver reattached the intravenous tubes. "For one thing, you need all these bags and pipelines; you got to stay nearby them always, or else..." He made a plosive sound to describe Adam's theoretical demise.
"Adam go away for little time, like Willie."
"People might see you, buddy, and they'd be scared, because you're…uh, different." The creature stared at him with big, doleful eyes. "Also, y-you don't got any clothes, just that gown thing, and it don't cover half what it's supposed to—" Monster boy tugged at Willie's T shirt. "No, you can't wear mine, they wouldn't exactly fit. Shit, I don't know where I would begin to find pants in size 200."
Strapped down to the table and attached to his lifelines, Adam was no longer able to move, but turned his head to the wall. "Willie go away now," he sniffed. "Go away."