Sunday, April 24, 2011

"The Odd Patient"

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends...


"Hey, doc. What'll ya have?"

"Hey, Moe. I'll take a whiskey."

"Here you go, one whiskey. Say, you don't look too good."

"Yeah, it's...it's a long story."

"Lookit me, I'm a barkeep. You think I got places to be?"

[He sighs.] "Okay. It's a patient of mine. A Phillip Williams."

"What's wrong with him?"

"Someone found him six months ago. He was drowning in a pond near his house."

"Crap, is he okay?"

"That's the thing...he's in a coma. Completely brain-dead. At least, he was, for the past six months."

"He recovered?"

"You could say that. See, during his coma, he'd just lay there, eyes open, staring into space. Every few weeks, we'd get reports from nurses or janitors, reports of Phil looking at them. From across the room. Then when we'd check, he was back to being brain-dead."

"So he did recover?"

"Hang on. A week ago, when I stepped into the ward, he was looking at me. This time, he continued looking at me, following my movement with his head. As I spoke, he repeated my words. He did this with everyone nearby. We asked him questions, but he would only repeat them, not answer."

"Damn. Must be annoying."

"It was a little, but then a few days later, he spent an entire day just...moving his limbs, saying random words. The next day, he acted like a toddler. He tried walking. He sounded words out, specific words. He asked for water."

"This is almost heartwarming, Jake."

"I'm still not done. The next day, he was saying 'Doctor Morgan.' Again and again. All day long."

"Who's that?"

"...that's me, Moe."

"Oh!" [He shivers.] "I...sorry, I didn't, uh...hoo. You got more to this story? I'm gettin' goosebumps."

"A little more. The day after that, I stepped into the ward and asked him how he was feeling. He replied... 'As you are, I was. As I am, you will be.' I remember it still to this day, every word."

"I don't blame you..."

"I spoke no further with him that day. He stayed quiet."

"How many more days did this stuff happen?"

"Four more. The day after the aforementioned, he asked for a pencil. We gave him a pad and pen. He scribbled all day, not saying a word to anyone. After a few hours, he drew shapes, and as the day went on, he moved on to words, proper pictures, and eventually.. he drew a man. He labelled it 'Jacob Morgan.'"

"M..maybe he was growing attached to the guy who's been keeping him alive?"

"The next day, he started asking questions. He asked what the building was called, what a hospital is for, what people do in their days, if I had a family...how much I loved them..."

"...here's your whiskey."

[Takes a long drink.] "Thanks. So the next day...yesterday...when I came in, he was sleeping. He eventually woke up and asked what was going on. I told him he's been recovering from an accident six months ago. He asked a few more innocent questions before saying he was going to try to stand. He did so successfully. Then he asked for a check-up. He was fine. Finally, he asked if he could check out."

"Ah, see, he was just recovering all this time!" [He sighs with relief.] "Did you let him go?"

"We had to. We saw no reason to keep him any longer; he seemed to have recovered completely."

"So what's wrong today?"

"You read the newspaper, Moe?"

"Yeah, as a matter o' fact. I remember today's, too; it was talkin' about some serial killer who's drowned at least seven people today."

"Do you remember the name it gave?"

"Nah, can't say I do. ....are you gonna say it's—"

"Phillip Williams."

"...damn. Well, I hope they catch the guy. Oh, I'll talk with ya later, I got a customer. Hey, what'll ya have?"

"Hello, Jacob Morgan. This is a nice conversation. Your words amuse me."

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