was a miscarriage of justice. Onlookers were stunned by the amount
of blood. The doctor on call nearly fainted her ownself.
Truth be told,
justice was none too happy about it either, although the birth canal
was wider than he'd been led to believe. Next time, he thought to
himself on the way out, next time I'm gonna come to term come hell
or high water. His last thought was the hope his mother was OK, and
then it was back into the great abyss of undifferentiated
nothingness until the wheel caught him up again.
back so soon?" laughed the void, slapping his...well, actually
it was the sound of one hand slapping.
were the screams of the orderlies as Buchanan passed them in the
hall. He was going to deliver himself a baby whether conceived or
not. Above him, the fluorescent lights flickered and dimmed as he
passed. So much spilt seed he thought. Wasted progeny tossed in with
the cellulite and gall bladders earlier removed.
town, a tattooed, shirtless, 50-something Anglo-Saxon man with
bifocals and a reflective air leaned comfortably against the El
Camino in his driveway. He lit up an American Spirit and thought
about Jenny, vaguely wishing he had stopped five or six shots
earlier the night before. It was so hard to control his mouth in the
middle of a Jack Daniels binge. His native arrogance really grabbed
him by the throat and refused to let go. Hell, Jenny might even have
come home with him if he had been enough in his right mind to
convince her to take a vacation from the hospital the next day.
Looking down, he noticed that someone had shaved the words "EAT
ME" into his chest hair. He did not remember that happening.
cherry red low-rider pickup with chrome wheels careened around the
corner and accelerated down the block. Kids were hanging out of
every compartment, laughing and pushing each other and waving their
guns. They disappeared around the next corner with a scream of
rubber, leaving a haze of burning tires and exhaust in their wake.
Big Dog the Radical loved his neighborhood.
Jenny was barely
making it through her shift. The night before had been another tough
one and the lights kept flickering in and out, on and off, in her
ward. It didn't seem to be affecting the machines. She had some
vague awareness that the fluorescent surges were almost exactly
coinciding with the passing of some jackass who appeared to be
nervously pacing the halls outside but Jenny didn't really have the
energy to investigate further. Rummaging through her bag for a
Motrin she felt a dull pain suddenly in the webbing between her
thumb and forefinger and pulled her hand out quickly to find it
suddenly dripping with blood. Closer inspection revealed that the
straight razor her father had given her and that she used for
shaving patients was not in it's case and instead had been loose in
her bag. Holding it up before her she noticed with a feeling of impending
doom that it seemed to be covered with short and curlies.
she thought wryly, "is not my pubic hair." At that moment
the lights winked out for good.
Big Dog was a
contented man. Admittedly he was a little lonely at the moment, but
he had confidence that the situation would resolve itself in another
couple nights at the most. In the meantime he had cigarettes to last
a month (beta testing the new American Spirit Medium-Tar Bazooka), a
clean ride with a relatively new two-tone paint job (eggplant and
olive from Earl Scheib), an awesome rental house in a crack
neighborhood (lots of cops, but always busting other houses) and a
wholesome hobby: looking out for number one.
It was shaping up
to be a nice day, so he decided to take the El C out for a spin. He
stubbed out the butt with the toe of his clog, and turning to go he
noticed the open window in the living room. That's when the phone
The phone as it
turned out was not for him but an annoying woman on the other end
with a shrill voice begin grilling him about where somebody named
DeShaun might be. Goddammit. What was wrong with John or Ron or even
Juan? Big Dog was about at the end of his rope as far as the naming
trends in these parts were concerned. It didn't seem like the appellates
being assigned to girls these days had suffered the same
degradation. Sally, Sue, Josie. And he had just met Jenny the other
When the phone rang
again it was a deep bass asking for Tawneekwa. The Big Dog put down
the receiver and walked out into the sunlight. It was clear to him
what he had to do.
Climbing behind the
wheel of the most gratifying car ever discontinued for aesthetic
reasons, he paused to light up again. This accomplished, he eased
out of the driveway and headed west, sure that Jenny's secret
longing would overcome any lingering repulsion from the night
before. He flipped on the radio to hear what the shock jocks were
saying these days about charismatic but unqualified governors. He
harbored the illusion that one day he, BD the R himself, might be
issuing edicts from some ivory tower. The vision was sweet. Hogs for
everybody and a Nietzsche aphorism before bedtime, was his intended
tell you what the problem with Pete Rose is, you aborigine! The
problem with Pete Rose is he got caught! I say do what you want but
be smart enough to know who NOT to tell!"
Big Dog made a
lunge for the dial. He landed in an unfamiliar part of the spectrum,
but the voice he heard was soothing, with no exclamation points.
"I know what
you're thinking," she purred. Did she? "You're on your way
to show her just how dedicated you can be. You're on your way to an
apology, and if you're lucky [somewhat indefinable pleasure sound
mixed with vague derision] she might just accept. Where would that
leave you, honey? After all, it's just a name."
Big Dog sat up
straight, pushed up his glasses and looked at the radio. Had he
matter what the world calls her. It matters what you call her. Sure,
you could go along with Polly, Sookie, Jenny...Jenny is actually
nice, I think I'll use that one, mmmm-hmmm......."
Was this what
public radio was like? Erotic messages tailored to whatever was
inside your head? He hoped so. Years of football and Howard Stern
had done little to prepare him, but he liked this just fine. He had
a few minutes of traffic before he got to the hospital, so what was
there to lose?
voted in the last election. Truth be told Buchanan had never voted.
When the darkness finally came he pulled the lever and crossed into
the ward silently. "A vote for Buchanan is a vote for me,"
he muttered to himself as he felt his way along using the metal
rails on the bedsides as guides. Just as his eyes were beginning to
pick up shapes in the gloam he felt his foot slip out from under him
and ended up splayed down on both knees. His hands touched a sticky
substance that smelled vaguely of iron filings.
"How did you
make the lights do that?" He looked up in the emergency lit
gloom to find himself nose to razor with a dripping utensil worthy
of the demon barber of Fleet Street, being wielded by an only
slightly less ferocious looking apparition in hospital blues,
sucking on her free hand.
"P-p-p-pacemaker on the fritz," he stammered.
BD the R backed the
El C into the handicapped spot near a sign that said "Maternity
Ward and Ambulatory Surgery." He sat for a moment continuing to
be impressed by the way the radio programs he chose seemed to be
speaking directly to him. "Hey buddy," a disc jockey was
saying now, "You'll have to move this Camino piece of crap on
down the line." Camino piece of crap? He lunged for the knob
shutting the radio down but it didn't turn any further and the voice
continued even louder. "There ain't no excuse for backing a
heap like this into a space meant for a expectant mother in a wheelchair
on her way to a surgery. Now move yer big ass on down the
route." The BD slowly turned his head to find a red faced rent
a cop looking in at him, his foul breath fogging the Big Dog's side
window as he bellowed on.
This was not the
type of thing Big Dog liked to hear. For one thing, as anyone in
their right mind knew, there was not a more desirable automobile
than the El Camino, and there was not a more desirable El Camino
than his El Camino. So clearly this person was not in his right
mind. On the other hand, he was wearing a uniform, which could imply
a weapon of some kind. He decided he really did not need the
distraction of this uniformed person. His goal was inside. He pulled
out of the handicap spot and backed into the spot where the
rent-a-cop had been standing. That was some consolation. He got out
and sidled up to the still glowering but as anybody could see
largely impotent guard. "It ain't a good thing to criticize a
man's El C...SIR. Anyway, hope yer happy. Oughta try a little harder
to appreciate the finer things in life, though." He left him on
the curb to ponder that wisdom and pushed through the doors.
"Can I help
you sir?" inquired a bulbous nosed woman as Big Dog
approached the counter. "And there's no smoking in here."
The BD went to stub out his American Spirit but realized he wasn't
smoking. "Just so you know." The woman added smugly.
"Well Well Well," BD said to
himself. "A wiseass." He leaned on the counter and read
her name tag. "Genovese" it said.
"Well yes Jen, maybe you can help me.
I'm looking for a friend of mind Mike who is supposed to be workin
here today. He and this guy Jack were supposed to be doin some
installin of somethin or other here in the lobby."
Genovese's eyes narrowed. "I haven't seen
anyone new working around here." she said.
"Well I'm sure they're in this place
somewhere. Maybe you can page...."
Genovese cut him off. "Page them. Yes I'd be
glad to. Unless their names happen to be Mike Hunt and Jack MeHoff."
"Damn it." cursed the Big Dog as he
shoved his way back out the front door. He'd have to find another
way into the hospital.