CHAPTER TWO

 

1.

 

   His scalp itched!

   Jonathan tried to ignore the prickling by focusing on something else, anything. Staring around the room he searched for a distraction and settled on an R.C.A. which was bracketed to the far wall above the foot of his bed. In its dark screen, Jonathan watched a distorted reflection of himself, then decided it wasn't enough of a distraction.

   The itch wouldn't go away. Jonathan couldn't find anything in the room to turn his attention from the rampart prickling. Once more he lifted a hand in a useless attempt to scratch. The hand still went nowhere.

   Over the bridge of his nose a thick cotton gauze was taped to his face. He could feel the stiffness if he creased a face muscle, but he couldn't see any better. Most of his vision was blocked and what he could see, he had to do so by aggressively looking over the bandage. By tilting his head and resting the side of his face in a pillow, he saw part of the leather restraint which held a wrist in place.

   A scratchy dull silver buckle with a belt looped through and then doubled back disappeared over the edge of the bed. Below the wrist, Jonathan couldn't see, but felt the tightness of other bandages wrapped around a hand. A dull thudding throbbed from somewhere in his fingers but he wasn't sure exactly what had happened, what specific damage had been done.

   Jonathan didn't care what had happened. Wasn't sure of anything, anyways, and figured there wasn't much use to probe. All he really remembered was setting at some bar and after that, nothing but glimpses, more dream then reality.

   "What the fuck!"...Realities a fleeting concept anyway, was a garbled laugh, the beginnings of a private joke.

   Jonathan suffered with a reality of being shackled with his own thoughts and he avoided those by concentrating on the mundane. The color of the walls, the feel of the leather restraints against his skin or the thin starched sheet which was pulled up over his chest. Jonathan returned to the television, imagining some scene being played out across the blank screen.

   A fragmented image floated by of a thunderstorm coming in across a green field and he pushed the scene easily aside as a bit part of some dream.

   Off to his left a shape moved, blurred, and he turned his head looking out above the gauze. The blur became a heavyset man plodding toward the raised safety rails. Jonathan watched a hand reach out and grab the back of a folding metal chair. He watched the man guide the backrest to a stop near his head then busily flip pages of a thin medical chart. The man didn't bother to sit.

   He just stood, reading, and every once in a while he'd work his fingers into a thick beard just under his chin and scratch.

   I've got an itch too, you idiot.

   Jonathan couldn't resist the urge, not with his scalp screaming to be scraped with a wire brush, and besides, it'd serve as a useful distraction.

   "If your balls itched would you stand there and scratch them too?"

   The man looked up from his charts and stared.

   "I see you're feeling better," the man said, then sharp and clipped, "Can you tell me what happened?"

   "Don't remember....Why am I all tied up?"

   The man smacked his thick cheeks in resignation to a question he had heard, and answered a thousand times.

   "Tied up isn't a fair word, you've been restrained for your own protection." He paused, "From what I read, you put up a pretty good fight, broke an orderlies arm."

   Jonathan didn't care to hear that, it went against his grain. He was a lot of things but never violent. The thought bothered him, much more then he admitted.

   "You remember anything?"

   "What?"

   "What's the last thing you remember?"

   "Uh..." Jonathan broke the utterance with a guttural laugh, "Setting in a bar...Drinking."

   "Heavily?" the man ignored Jonathan’s grin as it faded.

   "I'd say so."

   Now the man smirked, "I'd say so too," fingertips disappearing into his dark gray and silver beard.

   His smirk irritated Jonathan. Sidestepping his frustration, Jonathan asked the only real question on his mind.

   "So, what happens now? Can you let me up?"

   "Well..." was drawn out, and Jonathan stared, waiting for the rest of his answer, "I think it'd be best if we continue the restraints...,"

   The son of a bitch is enjoying this!

   "...for at least the next few hours."

   "I have to go!"

   The man didn't catch the meaning at first, then laughed at his own stupidity, "I'll send a nurse in with a bedpan."

   "Wait.." Jonathan called out as the man started to turn away from the bed.

   Jonathan waited for the man to turn back, guessing he already knew what the question was.

   "Am I in any trouble, I mean with the police?"

   That wasn't all he wanted to ask, not really, and he eked his words out in a stuttered huff, "I mean...uh, what happened? Where am I?"

   Jonathan saw the man extend an arm above his head but couldn't see what he was reaching for.

   Quietly, the man turned again, walking out of the room and Jonathan heard his monotone voice for the last time that day, "I've rung for a nurse, I'll see that she brings in a bedpan. Until later then, and please try to get some rest."

   Jonathan was sure the fat man was smiling as he walked out of the room. Glaring at the chair the man had never used, Jonathan cursed a ...didn't you put the fuckin' thing back where ya got it...'

 

2.

 

    A large wooden desk drew in the naturally close walls of the office. If not for a large fixed window behind the desk, the room would have suffocated Jonathan as he waited for Dr. Mato.

   Jonathan played out a thought as the sun swept into the Doctor's office. If the window had not been there, would all the paperwork, numerous files heaped one on top of the other, die? Was it the sunlight that gave this little area nourishment; keeping a coffee mug warm, a single lonely plant preening, an empty coke can glistening?

   A series of synchronized small beeps sounded from the personal computer which sat angled away. No doubt on purpose so whatever patient was sitting where Jonathan was now, the screen would remain a mystery. Jonathan easily could've reached over and lifted the thick medical chart off the keyboard. Another office, another Doctor, he might have reached out with bandaged hand and nudged the chart off the depressed key. But not here, and simply so as an act of rebellion.

   It was all he had.

   The door behind Jonathan opened and the Doctor plodded to his chair without so much as a nod of acknowledgement. His entry decreased the office size in half. A fresh cup of coffee was in hand, in one of those fragile Styrofoam cups. Standing behind his desk, the Doctor poured his hot coffee into what had been setting in his mug, then tossed the plastic cup into some unseen trash bin. Before sitting the beeps sounded and Mato reached over shoving the chart off the keyboard.

   Jonathan listened as the Doctor settled in his high backed office chair, letting the air squeeze out of the vinyl covered cushion. Leaning back, he opened a chart on his lap and read, continually oblivious to Jonathan.

   Jonathan held it in. He wanted to say something, wanted to scream, "You stupid fucking idiot, I'm setting right here in front of ya, show me a little courtesy will ya."

   Adam Mato looked up from his chart, noticing his patient was fidgeting and dug two fingers into his beard.

   "How are we feeling this afternoon, John?"

   "Considering I spent twenty fours hours tied to a bed, I'm feeling pretty good, Doctor." his words were tinged with cynicism and Jonathan knew it was evident in his voice. He couldn't help it. Even if he could have, he would of still allowed the taint of ridicule to seep through.

   A light steam drifted as the Doctor reached out for his mug, probably wanting to take a sip before he continued.

   "So, when do I get out of here?"

   Doctor Mato hesitated, glanced over his coffee, smiled, then gulped, finishing half the mug before resting it dead on a perpetual sweat ring.

   "That depends on the evaluation, John."

   "What evaluation?"

   "The one we're doing now?"

   Jonathan scratched an eyebrow with his bandaged hand, then gave in, slumping into his chair.

   "Look, lets start over. What do I have to do to get out of here?"

   Mato watched more than listened, studying, and every once in a while, scratched at his throat.

   "As far as we're concerned, you're here on a Seventy-two hour hold...Three days, Mr. Wright and after-"

   "Three days...?" Jonathan interrupted, "I've been here since last Saturday and today's what...Wednesday?"

   "Wednesday...Morning."

   "That's five days, why am I still setting here?"

   Adam Mato curled his lip corners into a deceitfully asinine smile.

   "Not exactly John," he paused waiting for his patient's reaction, "We don't count weekends."

   Jonathan saw the smirk and wanted to reach out over the table.

   "Why don't you smack the smug pious shit?"

   Jonathan was taken aback at the thought. It wasn't his, didn't belong to him. More like somebody whispered the words in his ear.

   "Is there something wrong, John?"

   Jonathan shook the thought away, "Uh.. No, I was just thinking," and hesitated just long enough to remember what they had been talking about, then added, "So I'll be out tomorrow morning?"

   Dr. Mato redistributed his weight, his chair squealed, and he scratched with stubby fingers as if digging for something just under his skin, then said, "That depends on what I recommend to the court this afternoon."

   "What are you going to recommend?"

   He started to tear into his beard, then abruptly stopped. Leaning forward in his chair, his words were quiet when he spoke, "Lets talk about your son."

   Asshole... was more than a fleeting thought.

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Prologue                                             Chapter 1                                     Chapter 2

 

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