Sunday, February 13, 2005
Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 14 - "A" is for Apple
It was about eight thirty when Vern made his way to the office. He wanted to clear out the little odds and ends so that he could figure out why one computer was defying his expertise. It had bothered him all weekend long. He picked up the work orders that were stacked on his desk. He still had the two flow monitors to check and one printer that would no longer print letter quality characters.
The printer was fixed in just a few minutes. Vern had only to check the “Pencil
Switches” to find that one had accidentally been switched off. He ran a few test prints and was satisfied that the problem was solved.
Vern picked up the yellow maintenance request form that hung from one of the flow monitors and read the symptoms that Maime had written down. The information regarding the problem was very brief; “Monitor does not register accurately!” Vern plugged the unit into a service monitor counter to check for any deviation from standards; all frequencies appeared to be within accepted guidelines. He then looked over the other yellow tag that Maime had filled out. “Monitor changes displayed numbers from acceptable readings to pure gibberish. One minute it is fine; then it starts displaying random numbers!”
Again Vern hooked the monitor up and checked for deviations in frequency responses. He studied the request forms for a moment and was about to pass them off as coincidental when he noticed that both forms were filled out by the same nurse.
“I know Maime. She wouldn’t tie up a monitor unless there was a good reason.” He examined the forms more closely, looking for some clue; “. . . changes displayed numbers. . . displaying random numbers.” The light bulb began to intensify within the closet of Vern’s mind. He tucked his tongue between his teeth and pushed on it, spreading his thin lips as his thoughts formed. His eyes squinted, not from an excess of fluorescent light; but, from the troublesome idea that was surfacing within.
“Naw . . . It couldn’t be. . .”, Vern was already reaching for the telephone. “Is Maime Stuart working today?”, as he talked with the personnel operator. “I’d like to have her give me a call; better yet, just tell me where she is and I can go up and visit with her.”
“I show her working Four North SICU.”
“Thanks, I owe you one.” Vern was headed out the door and up the stairs as the
dangling phone cord slowly swung back and forth in the now empty room. He had heard a rumor about some guy up in SICU that was “talking” via the monitor screens. It all sounded sort of silly at first; but, if it were true. . .
“Where’s Maime Stuart?", he asked as he stood in front of the Nurse’s Station. “I’d like to talk to her about some faulty monitors that she sent down for me to work on. Is she available for a few minutes?”
“She’s down the hall with a patient.”, gesturing in the general direction of a row of rooms to her left as she talked. “We found out that the monitors weren’t the problem. It was the guy in Four Sixteen causing it all.”
“So its true then?”, Vern pulled his head up a little more erect as he listened, not quite believing the matter of fact manner that the desk nurse exhibited as she dismissed
the whole situation.
“We should have called you, you know, so you wouldn’t waste any more time trying to fix them. We’re sorry to have bothered you.”
“Hey, no problem; but, I would like to see how he did it if its okay.”
“Sure, go on down. His wife is in there now; just knock.”
“Thanks; Four Sixteen, right?”
“Uh huh”, pointing and nodding as she went back to reviewing her charts. Vern
walked to the room and presented himself at the door. He read the information from the
index cards that were windowed at the entrance.
“4788494 SICU 416/A
Dosilmeyer, Matthew S. 37/M
Dr. Gwyen 03/27/90 " The other card read;
“4788275 SICU 416/B
Alejandro, Fernando J. 42/M
Dr. Laramore 03/19/90”
Vern quietly tapped on the door, not wishing to disturb the privacy of a wife’s visit; but, at the same time having a really strong desire to meet them. He wasn’t sure of what he would say as he stood there waiting for a reply. “Hi, I’m a nosey person who wants to see for himself what. . . No, that wouldn’t . . .How about, My name’s Vern and I . . .”
“Come in.” Bev greeted him, not knowing who he was; but, speculating that he must be a friend of Sinclair’s. “I’m Bev.”
“Sorry to intrude; but, could I talk with you for a few moments. I really feel awkward, but is your husband the one who has been making all the monitors react?”
Vern didn’t want to seem too impersonal in his tone. “I work here as a computer technician and I also have to fix these monitors.”, as he reached over and lightly patted the top of the monitor that was next to Sinclair’s bed.
Bev smiled back as she realized how sincere the stranger was in his attempt to break the ice. “Then you’re not one of his friends from the police department? I guess you must be wondering what it is that he has been doing. It really is amazing to me that he can do it.”
“Can he do it all the time?”
“I’m not sure. It’s hard to tell when he’s awake or asleep so I really don’t know. I do know that he can do it better when he is relaxed mentally; like when the music is playing.”
Vern’s eyes brightened as he fought to contain his ever increasing excitement. “I was in the room directly below this room last Friday afternoon and I think he made my
computer screen change. I know . . . it sounds weird; but, that’s why I came up here.
I had to find out if it was possible.”
Bev sank back in her chair; hearing the words; but , not being able to comprehend the far reaching meaning. “What was it that happened; I mean, to your screen that makes you think that my husband might be the cause?”
“Like I said, I’m the one who fixes the computers. Well there’s this one down in the Lab that just started putting some numbers up on the screen. I thought it was some kind of practcal joke at first; but, when I heard about what was happening to the monitors up here; well I just figured I would see if it might be tied in.”
“What kind of numbers?”
“One, Two, Three, Four, One, Two; and once it read Four Zero One, all on its own.”
Bev could not answer for a few seconds. She had a blank stare; no words were necessary. Bev began to wonder just what the implication of all this would be. Sinclair
was able to send his thoughts, not just to the monitor at his bed side; but to a computer on
the next floor.
“Then it is true; he really did it!”
“I guess so.”, bewilderment graced her soft voice. “He always has a surprise for me; this is one of his better ones.”
“I’d like to bring my lap top in here; if its okay? It would be up to you, nothing
official mind you. He might be able to communicate his thoughts a little more clearly.” Vern was sure that she would jump at the chance; he was right.
“Oh! Could you? I think it would be okay?” Bev looked over to Sinclair as she
wondered what she should do. “What do you say Hon, is it okay with you?”
“Well I’ll be, he’s been listening all this time. I’ll only be a few minutes. Its down in my office.” Vern could only hope that his legs were as fast as his mind. His wiry frame bounded out the door and down the hall leaving Bev to wonder if there had been a visit or had she imagined it all.
“Well, you really lighted a fire this time. You should have seen the way that young fellow sprinted out the door. I bet that even you didn’t know you had it in you.”
Bev looked down at Sinclair, still immersed in thought. “It will be okay, won’t it?”
A few rapid knocks at the door, not waiting for a reply and Vern was back with his lap top computer. He had not brought too much attention to himself as he returned; not wishing to turn it into a three ringed circus. “It takes a few moments to warm up, but its just as powerful as most of the bulky desk top variety.” The miniature screen came alive, not as bright, sort of silvery with a glow of orange behind it.
"I want to see this too, all this time I thought he was sending those messages to the monitor across those tubes in his arm. I had no idea that he was, what’s the word, telepathic?”
“I want to see this too. Okay let ‘er rip.”
“Send me a five, a seven, then a nine just to see if this is for real.”
“ 5 7 9”
“I still can’t believe this. He really can do it.”
“How about words? Can you send me some words?”
The screen was blank, nothing was displayed as Sinclair tried to send even the simplest word.
“Let’s see if he knows what number I put on this screen.” as Vern typed the number six into the computer. “Six, that’s right, now with a little coaching I’ll bet you could pick up the alphabet.” Vern began by typing the letter A. “That’s an A, do you recognize it. A . . , as in Apple?”