Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 35 Fill It Again, Please

“Time for another sample Mr. Sinclair.” Maime held a small clear collection cup in one hand while reaching to draw some blood with the other.

“Why can’t you just attach a spigot to my arm? That way all you’d have to do is turn the lever.” Sinclair looked at the list of fresh holes assembled along the crease of his inner arm.

“I know just what you mean Mr. Sinclair. Its getting’ hard to find a spot that hasn’t been stuck.” Maime extended his arm as she prepared the area with a Betadine scrub.

“There’s a spot; no, you got that one last week.” It was difficult to tell where the discoloration was from the bruises or from the Betadine stain. Sinclair accepted the situation and looked the other way as the prick of the needle entering caused a momentary flare of heat sensation.

“As often as we do this, why are you always lookin’ off? A grown man afraid of this little needle.” Maime made light of his inherent fear of needles.

“Never have gotten used to it I suppose.”, looking back as the blood was being sucked out by the vacuum container attached to the needle. “It doesn’t really hurt, sort of stings and gets hot, but it doesn’t hurt.”

“Don’t pay no attention to me Mr. Sinclair. I was messin’ with you is all.”, catching his attention as she looked him in the face.

“I know.”, changing the subject, “Looking at all the used up places reminds me of a dog we had when I was growing up. His name was Gritz. . We got him in the dead of Winter. He was a mixed breed of unknown origin, maybe some Setter and St. .Bernard. We paper trained him in the kitchen. As he got larger, which he did rather quickly, he adjusted easily to the outside stage. The Lord had provided a similar atmosphere. The snow was a little colder than the newspaper, but it was white. Gritz made the trip outside and accomplished the desired results; content within his limited faculties, having followed the instructions.

“That should do it.” Maime slid the shaft of the needle out and covered the hole with a square of dressing material while listening politely and occasionally nodding or smiling. Sinclair continued his reflection. “Hold this in place while, like I have to tell you what to do.” Sinclair automatically put light pressure over the gauze packing.

“Things went along and as Spring approached the patches of snow began to disappear. Gritz began to wander in search of an acceptable location. The patches of snow became harder to find; after a while they vanished altogether. Gritz went out one day and was quite perplexed when he could find no newspaper. The poor beast finally gave in to nature.” Sinclair laughed as he thought of the expression on the dogs face.

“Remind me to tell you about the time Gritz was attacked by a room full of balloons at my little sister’s birthday party.”

“I’ll excuse myself while you ah . . .”, handing Sinclair the clear urine specimen cup.

“Hold it a little lower.”, letting his laughter punctuate the statement. Sinclair was a big fan of the James Bond movies and couldn’t resist.

“Bev must be some kind of woman to put up with the likes of you Mr. Sinclair. Now would you please behave yourself as best you can and I’ll forget that you said that.” Maime smiled and would have blushed if her skin wasn’t so dark.

“This is the third time today that I’ve had to pee in the cup. I hope I’m up to the challenge.” The words came out and he could feel a hidden anger start to resurface. When the Police Department had developed their Drug Testing Program, Sinclair had been one of the first ones chosen at random by the computer to be a “volunteer”. He had a keen awareness of man’s free agency and the struggle to balance the needs and wants of the individual with the demands of society as a unit. He didn’t mind so much the idea of having to be held accountable; it was a necessary part of the job.

What Sinclair found to be repugnant was the Department’s attitude. He had been ordered to supply a sample of his body for an in depth chemical test; however, the form that the City had designed made it look like his signature was totally voluntary. Sinclair had signed the form and added the words, “under protest” directly under his signature. He drove to the testing lab after he got off. Some eager young men hoping to become police cadets were sitting on a bench waiting to be tested ahead of him. “You guys sure you want to join?” He shook his head and laughed; knowing that their choice had already been made and that his rotten attitude towards the Department would not sway them from the path. He completed the forms listing all the chemicals that he had taken in the past month; aspirin, nasal spray, antibiotics for an ear infection and some over the counter back pain tablets.

He was led into a small room where he could be assured that only he and God would fit. He was handed two fairly large containers. One was so the lab could test for illegal chemical substances like cocaine, heroine and marijuana while the other was to be tested for steroids. Each had a strip of temperature sensitive tape to insure that the sample was fresh and not contrived. Sinclair filled the first one about two thirds to the top when his well went dry. Standing inside the cubicle for a spell it became apparent that there was nothing left to give. He placed the lid on the container and handed it to the overseer.

“This is not a sufficient amount to run the test.”, looking at the sample that he handed her.

“Sorry but that’s all I have at the moment.”

“Wait here while I make a phone call.”, as she handed him back the test samples. “You may as well dump this. We cannot accept a partial testing sample.”

“Suit yourself; but I can’t stay here all day. I still have to get home and get some sleep.” She had already turned and gone to her desk. Sinclair sat on the bench as she talked into the telephone. She motioned for him to come over.

“He wants to talk to you.”, handing Sinclair the handset.

“This is Officer Dosilmeyer, who’s this?”

“Lieutenant Masters, Internal Affairs Division. I have been informed that you are not cooperating with the test. Is this a refusal on your part?” The words came over mechanically; as if someone had opened a refrigerator. Sinclair took the phone away from his ear and looked at it. Maybe he had heard him wrong or had missed something.

“Excuse me, would you say that again.” Sinclair had been in the military. The word “repeat” meant that another round of artillery was desired so he purposely used “say again” when he wanted to hear something a second time.

“Is this a refusal on your part?”

“You have got to be kidding me, right? I mean, here I am at this lab when I should be home sleeping. I gave them what I had and they had me pour it out because it wasn’t enough. Does that sound like a refusal to you. Give me a break! Geeezzzzz ! You can’t be serious, , , , can you?” Sinclair had dealt with I. A. D. on many occasions and knew only too well that he was not kidding. The Department made sure that humor and I. A. D. would have no common ground.

“If you do not complete the testing it will be entered as a refusal. Are you going to cooperate and be tested?”

“I don’t have much of a choice now do I?” Sinclair made it a point not to let his tongue get the better of him. He thought to himself, “And they wonder why my attitude is so bad.”

“That will be all, officer.” Sinclair put the handset back on its cradle.

“Looks like I could be here for a long time. Have you got a soda machine in the building. I could use some Dr. Pepper; make that a couple of Dr. Peppers.”

“There’s one in the lobby. Just let me know when you think you are ready to complete the test.”

“Its a shame you can’t take a core sample. This is pure bull shit you know, pure bull shit!” Sinclair was fighting off being totally offensive. “I’m sorry about that last remark; you're just doing your job.”

“No offense taken. I’ll be back here whenever your ready.”

“Mr. Sinclair, where are you off to now? Are you okay Mr. Sinclair?” Maime watched as the anger spilled into his jaw. The muscles tightened and his teeth ground firmly as he thought.

“I’m all right Maime. I was just going over . . .”, he thought for a moment. “ . . . no need to bring up that. Let me have that cup; but only because you said, please.”

“They finally got the lead shielding to put in the walls of your room. They got tired of doing all the routine stuff on paper; you know like they did a long time ago, before they installed the computers. Ever since you started up its been a real test.”

“I’m sorry Maime; I missed something. What’s this about lead shielding?”

“That’s a laugh. All you do all day is send us messages on the computer so’s we can’t get in a lick of work and you want to know how come.” Maime went on to explain to Sinclair the amount of chaos caused by his random transmissions. “Every time you start to dreaming all the computers go wild. The first time it happened we might as well have shut the place down. You were goin’ on about the morning you and Bev went down for breakfast at the Hotel Galvez . . .”, Maime was grinning from ear to ear, “. . . at two o’clock in the afternoon.”

“Hold on now, I never told anyone about that. You mean to tell me that . . .” Sinclair was still not aware of how far reaching his thoughts had become.

“Every nurse on the floor stopped by to keep up with your first day of marriage. You two must have set some kind of record for late breakfast. We had to start keeping the daily reports by hand. You should see some of the charts that got filed. What a mess you made, whoooweeee!”

“So what else has made it to the “General Hospital” crowd that I should be blushing about?”

"You got nothin’ to be ashamed about. . .”, Maime got right up into Sinclair’s face, “ . . . A man is supposed to be wild in love with his wife. You got a wonderful woman to love too.” It was like Maime was proud to be with him.

“How long ‘till the shielding goes in? I’m not so sure I like being this intimate with the entire staff.”

“The first layer was put in to keep you from messin’ with the computers down stairs. They had already drawn lots to see who was going to get to do you in. We had them put up a small temporary one at the desk to protect all the monitors just to make sure it would work.”

“I bet that spoiled the fun.”

“Sure did Mr. Sinclair, but I got to say it was a whole lot better than readin’ the paper; yes a whole lot better!”

“I think I should go fill this up.”, backing slowly in the direction of the bathroom. Sinclair looked down to make sure he was wearing his pajamas.

“Oh, yes sir Mr. Sinclair. I’ll just wait out here.”

“Right.” Closing the door behind him as he concentrated on the task at hand. They had been running tests on his blood and comparing the results with his urine hoping to find out how his metabolism was effected with different medication and diet. He thought that after so many tests that there must be some kind of clue, a correlation that would advance their understanding; but as yet it had not been observed.

“Did you say something Mr. Sinclair?” Maime had not heard anything; it was her way of checking on his progress.

“No, still waiting.” Sinclair breathed out as he tired of looking at the empty cup. “Hold the presses, yes, there may be a winner yet.” A mild wave of physiological sensation focused itself in the proper area. He closed his eyes and thought more intensely as the feeling grew towards fruition. “Ahhhhhh!”