When the nurse took George’s blood-pressure thirty minutes later, George woke feeling as normal as a fifty-four year old overweight man with hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal reflux disease, high cholesterol and toenail fungus could expect. No distorted faces or walls, no eerie noises, and he no longer leaked from a variety of orifices.
The nurse, with a coy smile, said he had normal blood pressure. “Are you up to walking on your own to the bathroom or would you prefer a bedpan?”
“Neither.“ He lay there like a beached whale, leached of fluids, flaccid and beginning to smell fetid. “I’m hungry and need a drink of water.”
“Back in a jiffy.” A wink and she left the room.
George figured she was like him, feeling youthful inside, but displaying a face way past repair in the mirror. He began to compile a list of questions, grudges and displeasures in his head. Where the hell was his dearly beloved Dolores? Had there really been someone inside the house with her or was that another hallucination caused by that strange drug the doctor had mentioned?
Why would his carpool buddies drive off without helping him? Did they hate him after sharing morning doughnuts for the last ten years? Had they even been there at all?
His own blood or not, the sooner he could get his granddaughter, her exotic plants and infected navel out of his house the better.
He never wanted to see another slug.
Deep in the center of his brain, some nerve or piece of gray matter began to pulse. He touched the top of his head and found rubber pads attached to his newly shaved head with wires leading to a monitor displaying a small pea-shaped gland glowing, going dark, glowing His vision narrowed to a yellow dot, a dot not unlike the bouncing dots that moved along with song lyrics on the screen at the local cinema when he was a child. The pulse became a bumbling drill, the one his dentist used when finishing off a cavity, grinding and spiraling in one line toward the center of his forehead, or as Dolores’s palm reader would call it, his third eye. Before he passed out, an old nursery rhyme played in his head.