Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 17 - Positively the Greatest

“Hold the mirror a little more to the side, yea , there.” Sinclair was not able to move his head or neck and had Bev extend the visible world for him. He had been listening to the medical reports each day for the past three months and was now having his first glimpse at the handy work that had been done to his body. He was glad that he had not been able to feel the pain as he studied the misshapened leg, potholed and mottled, pitted and scared. The skin where the cast had been was a pale lavender color with angry red edges where the stitches had been recently removed. Bev was struggling to maintain her composure. She had seen pictures of men who had been prisoners of war. It was hard to imagine that Sinclair’s legs had once been healthy and strong.

“I’d like to meet this fellow, Vern. I need to thank him and get to know him now that I can look him in the face. I want to meet Maime too.” The desire to catch up with his life wore heavily on him as he tried to think of what to do first. Bev had become “computer friendly” over the past month and was no longer afraid to start it up.

She wanted to show off her newly acquired talent to Sinclair. She took a floppy disk out of the file box that Vern had left for her. When she would visit, sometimes Sinclair would be asleep. She had typed in all of her daily diary entries and saved them to the disk. Bev was about to bring up the menu to show Sinclair what she had done.

“I’m impressed; you have done a lot of work.” Sinclair was reading the information.

“The least you could do is wait ‘till they show up on the screen. Can you really read all those files so quickly?”

“Actually, I read the whole disk while it was still in the file box. I was bored yesterday and there was nobody to talk to.”

“Come on . . . You’re going to . . . That’s not possible. . .Is it?” Bev knew that he
had learned to do something pretty fantastic by just making his thoughts print out on the
computer; but this was too much.

“Why don’t you pull up last Monday’s entry? Sinclair continued to send his thoughts, “Well, go on. Didn’t you write, “I will be so glad when I can look into his
beautiful blue eyes and give him a big kiss?”

“Word for word, did you just read that or did you hear me talking to myself as I wrote it. You know how I can’t write a thing without talking to myself.”

“The night that Bob came to the front door to tell me about Sinclair’s accident at work was my worst nightmare come true. I thought the day would never end. I called Daddy and he told me to stand tall and ride it out.” Sinclair continued to access the disk for random entries, “Sinclair’s heart stopped today but they were able to revive him.”

Bev continued to read her personal journal that she had put on the disk. There it all was, just as she had written it. Somehow it didn’t seem fair that Sinclair could read it without going through all the proper computer procedures. “Ok, Mr. Smarty pants, since you have the ability; why don’t you tell me what’s on the disk that’s still in the file box?”

Sinclair closed his eyes for a moment to concentrate as he read the files. The information lined up row upon row for him to scan. “This is a game. I still have trouble with graphics; but it has something to do with city planning and budgeting. It’s called “Simcity”. According to the rules I can start building a city from scratch and with proper planning I can make it grow until it covers the entire screen. I like the part where the monster eats the city. I still need to figure out how graphics come across. I can even hear the noises that are built into the program for effect. One of them is like a scream, another is a boat horn and the best of all is the traffic helicopter giving the latest tie ups as he hovers overhead.”

“This is like being in the Twilight Zone; how can you read all of that so quickly?”

“Its all arranged in patterns of twos, all I’m doing is going through and matching those patterns to the ones I recognize as either number patterns or letter patterns. I tried to read music patterns off the cassette you played lots of times. It gave me a terrible headache.”

“But how do you do it so quickly?”

“I really don’t know. How is it that we can be driving down a busy road with a thousand cars, traffic lights and signs all over the place, the music blasting in our ears, buildings and trees, the sky above with birds flying lazily across a perfect sunset, and in the blink of an eye we can see a child’s ball about to bounce into the street. Its just a gift I found since I had that bad fall. Maybe part of my brain got scrambled and this is just temporary.” Sinclair carefully thought as he sent his next thought. “Part of my blessing from Patriarch Larson promised me that as long as I did my part, I would be protected from harm on my job. That has always been a comfort to me as I walked into a dark building or went to settle a disturbance. I guess that this is all part of the game plan.” Sinclair had a tear forming in the corner of his eye as he looked at Bev. “I told you there was nothing to worry about.”

“What did it say about talking to computers? I suppose this is just like learning a foreign language?”

“You said it; not me. For all I know this is the perfect language that we were all meant to learn. It sure is simple enough to pick up. This morning I said “Hello” to some ants that were walking on the window sill. They said “Hello” back and said that they would like to stop and visit but that they had to complete the job they were assigned to do.”

“Okay, so now you want to pull on my leg just because I can’t tell when you’re telling the truth or when I’m being set up.”

“I’m not kidding, I can understand what they said. I read about this in a novel. It was all about King Arthur and Merlin. Once they turned into ants. Anyway, in the story they talked to the ants in very straight forward “yes and no” type sentences. They really don’t talk in words, more like thought groups that activate different chemical responses. Like, “Positive” means all forms of “Yes, I will, accepted, etc. “Negative” covers thoughts that are unacceptable. So when I said “Good morning” to the ants, it as translated as a “positive” and they were not threatened. They were busy and so they sent back a positive acknowledgement followed quickly by a negative of the first power which I was able to translate to mean, “were too busy to stop and visit.”

Bev could only listen in disbelief; the words were arranged so thoughtfully, so intelligently. She knew that at one stage in her life that she was so gullible that many subtle jokes had caught and embarrassed her. Was this another well planned joke that Sinclair was playing on her? She could not tell; but was ready for just about anything at this point.

“It works best in the morning when I’ve had a good sleep. I can feel the answers much better and I have been told, by the ants, that I have articulated my thoughts very well.” Sinclair smiled with his eyes “It must sound like boasting to you, and I suppose it is a little prideful; but I have no other way of letting all that has been trapped inside me escape. I wanted to jump out of bed and start kicking that worthless nincompoop that calls herself a nurse, the one who works evening shift. She acted like I was some Congress Street wino just taking up space. When she came in I would start to boil. I guess she thought I couldn’t hear, well maybe when I start recounting it back to her it will make her stop and think the next time.

“I think you should just be thankful that she does her job and let it alone. I have met her, and yes, she is not a very friendly sort; still she has done a lot for you.” Bev didn’t like her at all either; but didn’t like to talk about people.

“You wrote that my heart had stopped and that they revived me. Well I went to visit Pecaw that day. It was the strangest thing. One minute I was inside a broken body and the next thing I was there standing in the air over myself looking down. It was wonderful. I got to ride on a train that took me to see Pecaw and he was all dressed up in his white Temple clothing. He said I need to get his Temple work done. He bought me a hot dog and an orange soda. I got to meet his father and all of his brothers and sisters. Being dead wasn’t so bad, except for the nagging feeling that I had not done all that I was sent here to do.”

“And how are my two favorite people doing?” Maime poked her head in the door. A beaming smile took over all her face as she looked over to see Sinclair looking back at her. “Its about time you opened those peepers Mr. Sinclair.” Maime came over and turned on her best. “Well, am I the best looking black woman you has ever seen or what?”

“No doubt in my mind. I’ve been wanting to thank you for such a long time. I think your positively the greatest.” It wasn’t like Sinclair to just give away a flattering statement like that.

"Maime, I want to introduce you to my husband, formally.”

“Howdy Mr. Sinclair; I’m Maime Stuart.”

“I know, I’ve been here all along waiting to get in a word edge wise. You two talk so much it took three months to get this far.”

"Is he like this all the time, or did he learn how to be that way while he was here?” Maime was laughing and talking as she waited for Bev to reply.

“I think he’s feeling almost normal now; from here on out it gets worse.” Bev was glad to read the “classic” Sinclair that were appearing on the screen.

“I’ll get Dr. Gwyen over here first thing and get you off of that respirator. Oh, its so good to have you coming out of that long sleep.”

“When will the feeling come back to the rest of my body? So far all I can feel is my face.” Sinclair poured out his hopes and fears all at once.

“I can’t say for sure, but it looks like your doing fine for now. Just you lay there and let us worry about the rest.” Maime couldn’t give any good answer. There just was no real time frame that she could put on such a miracle. Sinclair could tell that there was an avoidance of sorts in Maime's manner. It was a chemical response, like the ants had for when they were unsure of which path to choose. He didn’t say anything; but he wondered if he would ever walk out of the hospital on his own two legs.