1. Friday, July 19, 2002

    DC Pierson 

    Tony and his staff of three-

    You said send in your story. So here’s my story.

    Your blog is the alpha and the omega. Get well soon.

    Heart Attack

    Lothario Japan is suffering from a heart attack.

    When I walked in, his heart was standing on his forehead, jumping up and down, stabbing him in the eye with a plastic Spork from the hospital food tray.

    Who knew hearts could be so downright mean sometimes?

    I grabbed the heart, but hearts are slippery.

    It hit the floor with a resounding splat (hearts are also noisy,) scurried out the door on its little heart-feet, and ran down the hallway.

    I followed it.

    My stride was bigger than the hearts’, but hearts are faster, and they excrete a natural liquid agent to trip up their pursuants.

    It’s called blood.

    So the crocodile-skin shoes that Lothario Japan made me wear were slip-sliding in blood puddles all the way down the hall. You would think that hospital orderlies would be trained to deal with rebellious organs and the like, even ones that decided to become runners, but no. There was no one around to help, as Lothario Japan’s cruel little heart jumped between derelict old people�s legs as they dragged their walkers, fairly oblivious to their below-waist area, as anything of any importance had refused to happen down there in years. So the heart passed undetected, save for little stains a nurse would later ascribe to a bladder infection. There was no one around to help when Lothario Japan�s heart hopped a ride on a cart being pushed by a big black orderly, delivering processed meals to every person on the floor.

    I saw where it went. I�m observant like that, I�ve got �pigeon-eye,� as Lothario Japan once said. As far as Lothario Japan was concerned, pigeons were the best-sighted birds on Earth. Try telling him otherwise. Try it.

    So my pigeon-eyes spotted the heart nestling itself into a brown plastic bowl full of red Jell-o. Actually, let�s not say Jell-o, because it probably wasn�t, and I can�t risk a lawsuit from the Jell-o people, and neither can the estate of the late Lothario Japan. So let�s just say the heart nestled itself into a brown plastic bowl full of red gelatinous foodstuff. Yes, let�s.

    I like red gelatinous foodstuff. You know what my mother used to say?

    Something about red gelatinous foodstuff. That�s really all I remember, and she didn�t use those words. But if I could remember it, it would be a good anecdote, and really appropriate and you would kind of smile because your mother said the exact same thing, in different words. And we could all kind of use that sort of sentimentality break, because I�m already several paragraphs into my narrative and I have no idea where I�m going.

    But isn�t red gelatinous foodstuff amusing?

    Mr. Quentin Sans of room 377-B sure thought so. I could tell, because he had wolfed down half of it by the time my crocodile shoes squeaked bloodily into the room. Here it was, the cardiac ward, where most people are too weak to turn the page of a magazine or slit their wrists, and Mr. Quentin Sans was sitting up in bed, shoveling red gelatinous foodstuff down his gullet, happy as a clam.

    My mother used to say that, too. About clams. It was never in the same breath as the red gelatinous foodstuff anecdote. I asked her once why clams where so damn happy, and I used the word damn. She proceeded to tell me it�s because they didn�t get slapped by their mothers for using dirty words. Then she slapped me. Ow.

    Lothario Japan used to slap me too, come to think of it. I must have very slappable cheeks. Or maybe I�m just an unmitigated bastard. Who knows.

    Mr. Quentin Sans didn�t slap me, or even notice me, as I stood there at the foot of his bed, watching him stab a Spork into Lothario Japan�s heart, and not realizing it. Two Sporks, actually. Served the heart right, I thought. A bowlful of red gelatinous karma. But as he raised the heart to big fat recovering-from-surgery mouth, I had second thoughts. This is the first time more than one thought had hit me in less than a minute, and I had to take a moment to recover. So two thoughts in fifteen seconds plus a recovery moment equals Lothario Japan�s heart in Quentin San�s mouth, about to be chewed. Insubordinate or not, Lothario Japan needed that heart to live. So I did what any law abiding American would do. My mother, too.

    I slapped him. The heart went sliding across the floor, finally settling in a corner.

    �Hey, what the fuck?� said Quentin Sans. He was awful uppity for a recovering cardiac patient. Before he had completed his expletive, he was sprawled across the floor, legs still on the bed, grasping at the heart in the corner. He probably still thought it was a big piece of fruit or something, and put it in his mouth again, accordingly.

    �Who the fuck are you, anyway?� he said in between meaty chunks of Lothario Japan�s heart muscle. Swallowed heart equaled dead Lothario Japan equaled no paycheck. So I had to stop Quentin Sans from swallowing, because I wanted to save Lothario Japan. So I strangled Quentin Sans, because I like money.

    I didn�t actually strangle him, much to my money�s dismay. I just wrapped my fingers around his neck enough to keep him from really breathing. Strangling implies I did it long enough to kill him, which I didn�t. The big black orderly nearby was too quick for that.

    So I was charged for the attempted murder of Mr. Quentin Sans. Kind of makes me look like an asshole, choking a guy in the hospital. But it was for a good cause, that is, saving the life of Lothario Japan.

    Unfortunately, I didn�t even do that. Not to mention no one believes the heart story, so they have me on the murder of Lothario Japan. Not attempted, real successful murder. They say I extracted his heart with a Spork, hid it in a bowl of red gelatinous foodstuff, then tried to kill the person it was fed to. Which makes me look like even more of an asshole.

    Don�t use the word �asshole,� though, because I�m in jail for life. Real life jail. And that word is just rubbing it in.

    Oh, and it turns out Lothario Japan had never even been to Japan.

    What an asshole.

    tony’s reading: riley dog