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Good Night Rudy for Red
I don’t take red for an answer. Never liked the idea. A car is just another challenge you must face when you cross the street, like the possibility of a storm if you venture out on a boat. This car, even though it moves like a bullet, doesn’t have my name
on it like a chart at the foot of the bed would if I were in a hospital asking: where am I? But that is my question and the nurse – I haven’t lost touch so much as to be unable to identify a nurse – won’t say anything but Good Morning and This won’t
hurt much. Never liked hospitals either. They dropped one on me when I was a baby. It crushed my foot and thrust me stumbling into the corridors which I can still see from the corner
of my eye. I can’t turn my head. I think something broke and I’m strapped into the bed so tightly that my world has been rendered much smaller than I remember. They say your mind is the last to go, but that may not take
into account a car that moves faster than legs. Maybe I’m busted up inside, full of shattered vases. I remember 7th Avenue and a race against time to get to a meeting where I think we were to talk about my future with the company
I keep, but there’s no such thing anymore. It seems I’ve ventured beyond my expiration date. No career, no family, no memory of much. A street and a car and a guy on the other side who screamed watch
out you reckless man before he vanished from my recall. Maybe this place isn’t a hospital. Maybe this is the waiting room where I keep still until my life comes back. Maybe it’s the backroom of a store where they keep people who haven’t quite
died yet. Look. I could always run between the bumpers with a dodge and a graceful leap over a slippery spot to get to my final destination which always showed me another destination in an endless series of leaps and destinations, as if there wasn’t much point in moving at all, as if one life were no different from another, just meat and steel on an inevitable course to collide. Not everybody sees
things that way. The nurse – I’m starting to wonder if that’s what she is – found more words, at least enough extras to say the doctor has gone home and I foolishly reacted by lifting my leg and yet it wasn’t there. It seems to have wandered
west where legs go to be by themselves just long enough to come to their senses and return, but in my case, I think it’s not coming back. I remember a bone saw with many teeth and a sad but determined look on a surgeon, yet it might have been a dream. I do that sometimes when I’m late for a meeting. I dream about how it will all go my way and I’ll get to keep
my job. It always seems worth it, to flirt with windshields for they are of glass and I am of meat and if you’ve ever been in a supermarket you know that glass protects meat, gives it a buffer between safety and danger. Therefore, I must be okay. I doubt that the balloons in my room are hallucinations even though they say, in standard black letters that march across their globes like adventurers, climb on me and ascend
to the next level of recognition. But there is so little that I do recognize. Even the walls don’t appear to be made of plaster and nails, but shimmer like a translucent curtain of calm plastic that beckons you step over the threshold into the next roomful
of life. I could go there. It could be fun, but it seems I’m late and must run across the street to find my future. The future doesn’t wait for you. If it were a clock, it would keep ticking. If it were a car, it would run you down. Unless I could climb through the ceiling and ask the sky which way home. That might work. That might get my neck
on straight and my leg attached. That might answer all the questions I’ve had in my pocket since I was a kid. This could be my chance to be a genius among all the geniuses that passed before me and with our collective wisdom call back to the world to be careful of assigning importance to hurried meetings, and beware the arrogance of assuming that tomorrow will be another day.
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