BY HUGH FOX
“I’ve / we’ve done all we can do, it’s just a question of waiting now,” Dr. Kamikaze to Nurse Rodriguez in the hallway as he comes into George Martin’s room in the Last Wait section of Central Hospital.
“Yeah, he looks….”
Nodding, the both of them nodding. Comes in and sit down next to the bed, Martin half asleep, suddenly reviving.
“Hey, howya doin’?”
“OK, not enough pumpkin pie for breakfast, but….”
Getting a smile out of Martin.
“There was a time when I practically lived on pie, not pumpkin, though, but cherry….just lying here meditating, a life spent painting, you should see my house, after I’m gone, the funeral reception, not a square inch unpainted, alllandscapes, so real you think you’re in Wales or Scotland….taught painting for years at the U. of M….”
“Whatever you want, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Merde….married to a ballerina, then one of my painting students who became a cyberneticist….my whole life soaked in Claude, Gustave, Maurice….you know….”
“No last names?”
“You know….and my brother in Avignon, my sister married to this guy from Santa Catarina, Brazil. Sempre muito trabalho….I always wanted to go back to medieval times, pre-medieval, out in the forests, God-land….”
“When there weren’t any knights around.”
“Nights always happen, but there’s always daybreaks…”
Getting up, checking all the tubes in his nose and mouth/throat, temperature….one hundred and two….thinking for a moment about the Andeans making it to a hundred and twenty with LOTS of all the so-called “wrong” herbal help.
Waving, both of them waving.
You never knew, thinking about his own heart, liver, colon, brain for a moment as he walked over to the elevator, down to the new lounge at the front of the hospital, almost like Last Vegas in the middle of winter, a little coffee and — if they had any — pumpkin pie.
– – –
Hugh Fox was born in Chicago in 1932. Got a Ph.D. in American Literature from the U. of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, taught writing, film, literary history for 50 years at the U. of Illinois, Loyola-Marymount in L.A.,the Instituto Pedagogico in Caracas, the U. of Santa Catarina in Brazil, Michigan State U. A hundred and ten books published, another 110 still on the shelves. Most recent books: Icehouse and Thirteen Keys to Talmud (Crossing Chaos Press), The Place of the Yellow Woodpecker (The Drill Press) and Gesangvoll/Songful (Pudding House Press), The Collected Poetry of Hugh Fox (540 pp.), World Audience.