The doctor acts out of curiosity. He sets a glass in Sammy Moore’s room with a light coat of transparent material caking the surface. Once heated with a hair dryer, the print can be lifted from the glass and easily transported to a lab.
It isn’t long before Cledus desires a stiff drink; presently, it takes a couple fillings of the glass and beckoning ice cubes to entice the man to drink tap water. Cledus tips the glass to his dry lips, failing to question why it is not a hospital paper cup or why the hospital has enough time to wash dishes. He is just glad the doctor told him his vital signs look great, and he can go home—soon.
He wants to be home watching hockey on the boob tube. He thinks it is such a great game. Cledus wishes his friend Daryl, in the earlier dimension, could have seed just one game. In a few years, Cledus vastly extended the depth of his vocabulary to fit his environment. Automobile, puck, telephone, airplane, steel guitar, amplifier, groupie, all were quick givens.
From the beginning, he found it beneficial to read the dictionary and search out unfamiliar words. Religiously, he added twelve new words every day. Other words became timeless. Parts of the female anatomy. Slang. Animals. Human emotional states of being. Guns and ammunition. Murder.
One more day, and I’m back to my diggings! Lack of air conditioning makes the entertainer consider whether such a luxury is inappropriate or inconsequential. A female nurse brings the rock star a personal, oscillating fan, one that moves warm air across the room in hidden waves. She also fills several glass vases with flowers sent by several female groupies, his manager, and a radio station.
“How’s my guy?” The visiting nurse asks.
“I won’t be in any ass-kicking contest, any time soon.”
The woman laughs.
“At least you haven’t lost your sense of humor.” She says, before she works to adjust his bed.
The woman offers a cute smirk, because she knows several young hussies have gathered in the waiting room.
“Several women have arrived, who aren’t family. You wish to see them?”
“One at a time.”
The busty nurse stretches her torso over the man’s bed, as if feigning to reach for his medical chart on the opposite stand. From the angle the desperado sees, there’s infinite cleavage at hand.
“You married?” Cledus asks.
“No. I’m living with my boyfriend.”
A smile lights up her soft face.
“Why Mr. Moore. Are you asking me out?”
“It’s ok. We have an open relationship.”
Cledus turns his head to the other side of the bed and smiles through the needle pain of clenching his toes. He can’t even walk, and women are still hitting on him as if he is Prime Grade-A Beef. Cledus refuses to look in a mirror, because he knows he probably looks like living death, although it doesn’t seem to matter to his loyal followers. For the first time since arriving in the strange new world, Cledus finds himself blown away by the added attention.
“Sammy, you will be ready for rehab in a week.”
Will you be there?
The woman attempts to tie back her hair.
“I hear you’re going to be a papa. I saw it in The Rocker.”
Cledus forces a spry smile. “Then, it must be true!”
“Do you love her?”
What is coming to call in this bizarre world? Yur in an open relationship—yourself. The gruff man scratches his neck to the posed question, before forming an answer.
“I don’t have much time to be Ward Cleaver. I’m on the road a good chunk of a year.”
The busty nurse gazes at a dark Lynch Mob T-shirt worn by the first woman ok’d to enter the room, and the health provider’s eyes shift to the lengthy list of tour dates which run down the other woman’s back.
“I suppose you don’t.” The nurse returns.
Cledus ignores the groupie, and locks eyes with the nurse.
“You have any rugrats?”
Tears form in the nurse’s kind eyes, before she answers, “You see…I can’t have children.”
“I’m s…o sorry.”
The woman realizes that his focus is on her, not the woman torn from the pages of a slut magazine.
“It’s not your fault. Actually… I don’t know if I’d want to raise a child in such a violent world such as ours, anyway.”
Coming from another existence, Cledus certainly can relate. In his world, kids always respected their elders in their presence, and never thought of picking up a gun and blowing another child away. In his society, kids also were not raised to autonomously make their own decisions as soon as growth and want allowed. Children on the prairie were not raised to expect authority to meet every childish desire.
The nurse’s face reflects total shock when the woman with the tour T-shirt pulls up the hem to expose her well-defined assets. Just as quickly, the harlot lets the cotton material fall back over her belly button. The nurse is left to wonder if she really saw what she thought she saw, and the initial shock is slow to close her gaping mouth.
The shirt is pulled down, before the nurse forces herself to look away. The nurse leaves before her tongue or jealousy get the best of her tact. Besides, she has other rounds to make. Cledus finds the whole thing hilarious. So much so, he can’t help from laughing inside—despite the pain it invokes.
I have two shattered limbs. I’m swimming in pain killers. And a woman casually tries to poke my eyes out! The woman flashed her wares like a human Pez Dispenser, one offering special treats over spring-loaded glossy shorts—that appeared painted on.
TJ ushers the flashing woman out the door, in exchange for another duplicate woman with a more revealing outfit. The replacement looks completely drugged out because her eyes are like distant Quasars. She shimmies across the sick room like a double-breasted Penguin.
Cledus closes his eyes. For a brief instant, he wishes all of it away. His rebirth seems like a long sentence, with a little fun time for parole thrown in. He has it all. What any modern American Male would die to possess. At the same time, Cledus is alone, empty, and in need of some sort of substance—somewhere out of reach. It seems reasonable that his early frontier psyche tries to re-establish itself, because he had grown used to living off the land—while making every attempt to tame it. Cledus found security in the wild and unpredictable elements inherent in moving among beasts and hombres of the field. The imitator finds little random danger in the planning and calculation of professional choreographers, technical grips, or pyrotechnics. Cledus’s hearing serves as a great sacrifice, when he walks in front of six-foot speakers, boosted amplifiers, and mind ripping electric guitars. Sometimes, he finds himself walking into a bouquet of roses thrown upon the stage. It seems strange and sissy, but true.
Cledus closes his eyes for several minutes. He recalls his long dead wife’s gentle face, her kind caress, and Margaret’s hand as it clung to his own. At times, he feels the heartstring ties of belonging to a family, and this often forces a smile to spread across the man’s expressive face. The current eager woman in the room thinks she has induced this happy face, as she flaps her gums at the other side of the hospital bed. Cledus is glad the nurse returns, just long enough to usher the shallow woman out. The nurse holds her ground, despite obvious objections from the loose woman’s bottomless potty mouth.
At a convenient time during the night, the doctor steps into the room and uses latex gloves to remove the planted glass from a small side table. He feels like a thief. But an adrenaline rush seizes him and fuels his excitement. For the sanctity of Street Posse, I hope my intuition proves wrong.
Meanwhile, Sammy sleeps soundly, an idol among a garden of colorful flowers. He dreams of being up on stage and being worshiped by throngs of thousands, while an electrical storm turns the sound stage into charred, smoking metal. A bolt of colored fingers separate the sky, work to point him out, and then reach energizing fingers toward him. Cledus’s mind brings up the cinematography of the movie Highlander. The fingers enter his eyes like they intend to part pools of jelly, prod his temporal lobe, and shoot instant shock waves through his newly amplified flesh. Cledus’s body jumps, as if the dream wants to impose its own reality, and a monitoring machine—hooked to a patient next door spikes—setting off a loud alarm.
Before he leaves, TJ finds slight insight into Jerica’s charade. Within the flickering light, he finds himself hallucinating. He sits down. The bodyguard now understands why he had held the woman at arm’s length. I must figure out how this dark woman figures into my world. Why must she put on such a show? What does she want from me? Will she take advantage of a moment of weakness?
TJ gathers himself in a poorly lit hallway.
A few minutes later, he goes back inside the room to check on Sammy. The oriental woman completes her task by slowly and seductively moving to snuff out the candles. TJ is grateful that visiting hours finally come to a halt.