The Dean Gordon Incident and Other Really Really Short StoriesJimmy Lo
Cause : Amnesia
The concentrated plainness of the hospital smell wreaked in my nostrils like rat intestines and it hurt to breathe the clean distilled air as if each breath shaved away at my insides, cleansing it, carving away pieces of myself like carving away at a melon. I opened my eyes against the bold sunlight. I sheltered it with the back of my hands, streaks of light leaking through the lattices between my fingers. The white danky walls greeted me. I already knew I was in a hospital even before I opened my eyes, from what I've heard as I slept in my waking death, stiffly listening to the hum of the A/C in my right ear and the pushing along of carts of soft foods and sounds of nurses frantically jotting some notes down on pads.
Speaking of pads, I saw one to my left, hanging there on the wall. It looked like a form of some kind.
Name : Gordon Dwight
Age : 36
I scanned down a lot of useless info.
Cause : Amnesia
Story TwoPretty Nurses and Wonderful Doctors
"Now you remember what I told you two, right?" Anne said in a tone of voice reserved for little children or pets. She was sitting on her heels as she talked to them in the hallway.
"Right. Our father is sick and he might forget who we are, but he will get well really soon cause the nice nurses and the wonderful doctors are doing the best they can. Am I correct? Word for word?" Alice mouthed as she rolled her eyes. She didn't like being treated like a little child.
Her little brother Ben was standing haunched next to her with his hands in his mothers hands, and he was glancing down at his shoes. His auburn long hair almost reached his blue eyes.
Story ThreeThe Dean / Gordon Incident
"I'm not sure what you're talking about, Gordon" I said. Outside I could hear Alice giggling. Mother's voice : "Alice, calm down". Alice's voice : "But grandma! I thought we came here to see daddy!"
"I'm not Gordon" he said, looking away at the window. The curtains were half parted.
"But you have amnesia. You don't KNOW who you are. We're here to TELL you who you are. Why can't you accept this?"
"No, lady." His voice was calm. "I don't have amnesia, woman. I don't know you, I don't know who those whiny children are, and I don't care about this damned hospital."
Then his voice was a little louder...
"My name is Dean Phillips, 23 years old. I live in Raleigh North Carolina. I'm a pilot, and my last memory was on October 3rd. My plane was shot down in flames on the gulf of Mexico by the Japanese. I had ejected myself the minute before I was hit, and then I forget what happened next. Little critters, those Japanese. My girlfriend... Jane Louise. She's waiting for me now." he looked around as if she were somewhere in the room. Then he looked up. "See, lady? I'm afraid you're so-called Gordon is someone else entirely. Maybe he's in the next room. I'm not him. I don't have amnesia. My name is Dean Phillips and I remember every goddamned thing like a map etched into my wretched mind."
He took a breath, then lowered his voice.
"By the way, is the war over?"
Story FourThe Mirror
The mirror held something entirely different. I groped around for my face, finally comprehending that I was actually looking at myself. My fingers limply slid down my face. Eyes, wrinkled, forlorn, dark and sunken. Nose, wide rimmed, tall. Mouth, plump, thick, pale. Huge features. Gordon. Dean watched as Gordon cried in the mirror.
Or maybe it was the other way around.
"THE War, dammit woman. Don't you watch the news?"
I looked at him like a big question mark.
He sighed. "OK, history lesson, woman. Apparently, YOU are the one with amnesia. 2002 : Japanese prime minister Igorawu shot dead like a turkey at the Iwo Convention. Ring a bell?"
He tilted his head, waiting. I must've looked stone dead cold or something.
"Are you OK, lady?"
Kyle : Sis, it's for you. Some OLD sounding guy
Jane : Hello?
Dean : Jane! My lovely Jane. It's me Dean! Dean Phillips. Do you remember me? Don't tell me I'm crazy. Shhh.. Don't say a word, just listen to me.
Jane : Who the hell are you, mister.
Dean : Wait, don't hang up yet.
DOOOT DOOOT DOOOT DOOOT DOOOT
The mirror shattered to pieces, staring at me from all directions. My knuckles were bloody. The shrill sound peirced the silence. I could hear the nurses rushing nearer to pin me down or give me a shot in the butt cheeks. I couldn't think. All I knew was that I needed to get to a phone. I looked around. Aha. There it was, black, sleek, plugged into the wall. My portal to Jane. My fair Jane, I thought. She would understand. But before I could reach my forbidden fruit, I was pinned down and stabbed in the buttocks. Nurses were climbing all over me.
"Calm down, Mr. Dwight. This is for your own good." One of them frantically bandaged my bleeding hand.
Story EightLaughter Is the Best Medicine
Doctor Wintaker was a tall man, standing more than six feet tall with dark brown hair. Dressed in a cloak of all white, he descended down the stairs like a saint.
"Doctor," Anne called, waving her arms as she came out of the silver doored elevator. "Doctor Wintaker!"
She caught his attention and he spun around, pulling out a blue bic pen from his coat pocket.
"Mrs. Dwight. How may I help you today?" he said. His voice was warm and simple, well suited to be a bedtime story telling Grandfather's voice or some voice in a lozenge commercial.
"I want to know what's wrong with him. I don't want all this medical talk. I don't want lies. I want my Gordon back," Anne said, half whimpering.
"His behavior is natural, Mrs. Dwight. I've seen many patients with similiar conditions. The only thing that can help an amnesia victim is support from his family. That's the only thing you and I can do. Meanwhile, we just have to be patient."
"But all he does is.. watch television. I mean, he sits there and watches all day. Cartoons, the weather channel, ESPN, Ricki Lake. He watches all of that and he laughs and drinks beers,"
"Well, you know what they say. Laughter is the best medicine,"
"And then when I try to talk to him or tell him about who he was, he'd deny it. He comes up with these outrageous stories about being someone else, someone from the future in this big Japanese war or something. Doctor, you've got to help me. It's not like I don't try, but it's so frustrating. The simple truth is that I don't think he WANTS to know who he is. I don't think he cares. He TRULY believes he is this man from the future or whatever."
"Oh you mustn't worry, Mrs. Dwight. He's simply groping for an identity. Don't force it on him. When he's ready, he'll come to you. He'll ask you who he is."
"And then he talks about the future. Last week he says there'll be a hurricane coming through Florida. Hurricane Elmorez, he says. He named it. And then guess what. Today I watched the news and sure enough, they're talking about a hurricane down in Florida. It's called Elmorez."
The doctor cracked a smile.
"Maybe he IS the man from the future"
Story NineCause : Shot in left arm. Shot near heart, not quite
I heard the clamor of feet, the blood rushing to my temples. It was a dark room lit with long florescent lights lined against the rounded walls. The dim surroundings flashed a bit in my vision. I moved my neck around, but it hurt. I was clearly in a tunnel. There was a sharp pain in my left arm.
"Don't move, Phillips," a nurse said, looking down.
"Who? Who am I?"
"Dean.. Right? Dean Phillips, right? That's what it says from our records, and it matches with the I.D.s you were carrying when you were shot,"
I had no idea where I was or who I was. I just knew I was going to die. The pain was quelling up in me and I couldn't think. I tried to validate what the freckled redhead nurse said. Shot? Where was I shot? I felt a pain in my left chest. Near my heart, but not quite. Did I remember the shot? And where was I? Was this a hospital? Looked like war to me. Did I remember any war? No, no, no. The gulf war. But that was a long time ago. I don't remember, but I don't think I fought in it. I tried to grasp my name. Merely thinking hurt my body, as if I were pulling needles through it. Dean? No. Didn't ring any bells. Hells bells maybe.
Then I stopped thinking. I was draining away. The nurse shouted something, and I heard people approach me. They shocked me with electricity. I felt it racing through every cell of my body, right down to my fingertips and my big toe. Then I slipped away again.
I slipped back for a second. Clamor. Confusion.
"This one's gonna die. I don't think we can save him, he's been ..."
I drifted away again. Then suddenly, a blinding white light hit me. I guess when they say that your whole life comes rushing back to you like a silent picture show when you die, they weren't kidding.
Images blurred in my mind, clear and crisp. The touch of papers. Yes. It was my office. Familiar. Mattisse painting on my left wall. Coffee next to the phone. The phone rings.
"Gordon Dwight, how may I help you?"
"Gordon, Alice has a cold. I think I'm taking her to the doctor today."
Then voices rushed past me again.
Ben. Picking Ben up. My mind was pre-occupied with something. Something with significance beyond picking him up from school. Driving my Mercedez down 5th Avenue. It was some papers I was thinking about. Patents. Infringements.
Slam of a door. I didn't care. Anne is such a pain, I thought. She yelled at me from the other side of the door. I was thinking. Still thinking. Something big was circling and circling my mind and it couldn't seem to escape.
The room shrinked into a small hole, sucked rather like coke being sucked through a straw. It must be another memory. Another time.
Pain. I felt pain in my head. I took more Tylenol. I came home, rubbing my temples. Candlelight. I heard something. Everything seemed small. Everything, that is, except for what pressing matter stood like a big impossible wall in my mind. She came from behind me, grabbing me around the waist.
"How was your day, honey?"
"Well, sit down and forget about it okay? It IS our anniversary, you know. You need to relax. By the way, thanks for all the gifts and flowers today. One gift delivered each hour? That's a pretty ingenious idea, Gordon."
"Gifts? What? Anniversary?" I seemed to be losing it. "Flowers?" I looked around. I saw roses bathing in the candle light.
"What? You mean you didn't send those?"
I looked around blankly.
Then the memory passed.
Flashing light again.
I was being moved, somehow.
I knew it even though I was unconscious.
I heard familiar voices. One was from a little kid, high shrill voice. Very enigmatic enthusiasm in it, even though it carried a sense of sadness. Another voice was unfamiliar. Total foreign territory. Then another voice. Soothing. Familiar. I couldn't place these voices. Who were these people?
Did I live with these people?
I don't know. They seemed like nice people though.
Then everything played in reverse, twice as fast. My life was blindingly scratching against my every membrane at light speed.
Make it stop.
Then it did.
"Wait, he's coming back to conscioussness." someone said. "Mr. Phillips? Can you hear me?" Why did they call me that? I thought for a fleeting moment.
"Here, hold my hand, Dean. You're gonna be alright, you hear me? You can't die right now. You've got loved ones right? They care about you. Tell me about your loved ones."
The pain hit me again like a red brick. "Anne," I whispered. ", Alice, Ben ...". My free hand stretched out as if to touch them. Then the pain was too much and I couldn't whisper any more thoughts.
"One one thousand, two one thousand . . .
Story TenThe Phone Call
The world seemed to spin around me as I sobbed, my body heaving for breaths of air like precious gems. I swallowed back my grief. I couldn't hear the person on the other end of the phone line. All I knew was that he was dead. Kyle had just walked in, and I looked up at him with wet eyes. He knew what had happened.
I swallowed back my tears.
"What were his last words?" I asked.
The cracking voice on the other end said something. Three names. Total strangers to me.
My grief turned into sudden anger and rage.
Story ElevenThe Phone Call Part II
I sat there for almost three hours crying, and hating myself for crying. Then the phone rang again. The October snow fell outside the window. It was the fourth ring, and I picked it up. The clock on the wall said five O clock. I didn't say hi. I was in a trance. Who the hell was Anne? Alice? Ben?
"Jane. Oh Jane. I've been waiting years to make this phone call. By now Dean must've died, right? Wait, don't talk. Don't hang up. I know my voice doesn't sound familiar, but I know you and you know me. This sounds crazy, but I'm Dean."