Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 36 Frazetta

“You're making fine progress. It would seem that your trips to the Physical Therapy Department have been very productive.” Dr. Chatterly pulled and twisted on Sinclair’s legs as he talked, observing the extent of improvement along with the pain level that presented itself in mild grimaces and flinches.

“It is nice to be able to move about. You could use some time up there too.”, reminding Dr. Chatterly of how attractive Eva was. It was purely coincidence that Sinclair reached a pain threshold and let out a yelp as Dr. Chatterly pushed on the knee joint. “Hey! That hurt!” Sinclair waited a moment as the muscles in his jaw released their tension. “Was that a hint or are you still checking out the knee?”

“The knee looks fine.”, his hands guiding the lower half of the leg out and then back again. He stopped in mid sentence; his own awkward thoughts infiltrated the open wound of his soul. He could see Eva’s face crisp and clear, floating pleasantly in a forbidden corridor of desire. Taking a deep breath in through his nostrils; he could extract her scent from out of his memory, he closed his eyes.

“I didn’t know you felt that way about me Doc.”, oozing his words sarcastically. Chatterly recovered slowly from his mind trip to find he had been softly massaging Sinclair’s leg.

“I . . . uh . . .”

“Your stuck on her, big time.”

“Can’t get her out of my head. It wouldn’t be so bad if I were single; but I’m married and love my wife. For a while it was just a simple fascination; now I have a hard time picturing my wife’s face when I close my eyes. All I see is Eva’s face, her dark hair swept back forcing me to focus on her eyes and her totally disarming smile.” Chatterly closed his eyes again as he began describing the vision. His voice broke as he admitted to himself that he was in a real jam. Opening his eyes as he turned to look directly at Sinclair, “When I realized that I was becoming too familiar I ran away. I’ve stayed as far away from her as possible here at the hospital. Now, all you did was mention her name and my mind instantly was pursuing some wild delusion that she might care for me. What am I going to do?” Chatterly sank deeper into the chair.

“Maybe you better carry a picture of your wife and look at it during the day. I keep a picture of Bev in my wallet.”, reaching over to open the drawer and grab is wallet. The black leather covering had worn a distinctive outline from the badge rubbing against it from within. Sinclair opened it, smiling to himself as he looked forward to seeing the photograhs of his family, “Have a look; these are my kids. The oldest is Bonnie, then Jennifer and the chuckle head is William.” A great feeling of accomplishment filled Sinclair as he flipped through the pages of his life. He paused just long enough for Chatterly to nod before going to the next picture. “You’ve met my wife, Bev. This is how I see her. The two had been to Olin Mills all dressed up and feeling very much in love. The image had captured their feelings for each other on paper. The red dress complimented her winter colors and the large silvery buttons seemed to act as pointers to her smile. Sinclair was looking at his young bride and for the moment he was inside the picture. Chatterly sat up as he saw a transformation taking place before him. The wrinkles were melting away one by one from Sinclair’s face as if time itself had been reversed.

“I see what you mean. She is a fine looking woman.”

“Hard to believe that picture was taken over ten years ago; seems like only yesterday.” Sinclair let his breath out slowly as he held the picture out for Chatterly to see once more.

“You paint a good picture of how life should be. I wish it were more like that for me.”, a hint of self pity surfaced as he complimented Sinclair’s family life and simultaneously found the holes in his own.

“Think about the day you married your wife. What kind of thoughts did you store away?” Chatterly looked off into space as the question focused on a particular day. Forgetting that he was a medical professional, his thoughts quietly searched and sifted the files of life. He rambled peacefully through fields holding hands with his new bride on their way to a secluded lake. They had rented a cottage for their honeymoon. A smile found its way onto his face as he too was remembering his favorite moments.

“There’s hope for you yet.”

“I suppose you’re right. I think its time for me to take some time off and get my head screwed on straight; which brings me to the other reason I wanted to talk with you.”
Chatterly picked up Sinclair’s chart subconsciously. Glancing over his notes and picking
up where he had left off, “I see that you’ve been having some interesting experiences.”

“Anything in particular or just the usual patient who talks to his computer type of stuff?”, as Sinclair waited for a more specific direction.

“I’m not going to try and tell you that I understand all the stuff that is going on with you. I’ll be the first to say that I’m at a loss trying to give you a medical explanation for the way you can communicate the way you do. My specialty is fixing bones and muscles, not . . .” Chatterly could not find the right combination of words.

“Let me guess; you want me to visit the shrink again?” Sinclair had been visited by just about every specialist that was on staff.

“Not this time; I already know that your crazy.”, looking across the page and laughing. “I read the results of your tests from the last time. Your interpretations of the ink blots were interesting. I particularly liked the one that you said reminded you of Frazzetta’s art work. You must have blown Dr. Laramore away with that one.”

“Well, it did look an awful lot like one of his posters; it was called, “The Mammoth”. Are you familiar with his work?”

“Yes, in fact I have a couple of books at home that show several of his better posters. I went back over them and I’d have to agree with you; it did look very similar to the ink blot picture.” Chatterly was moderately impressed with Sinclair's wide range of interests.

“So, who is it that you want me to see?”

“His name’s Scott Bartell, he’s done some extensive work in the area of brain function abnormalities at Baylor University. He’s expressed an interest in your particular challenge. He wants to put you in one of his test tubes for awhile.”

“ Hey, why not; he’s not into electric shock stuff or anything, right?” Sinclair waited for a moment.

“Never on the first visit.”, as Chatterly contained his laugh. “He told me that one of his classmates had done some work with plants back in the early sixties that made waves in the accepted sciences. He was cutting leaves in half and placing them on specially treated photographic paper.” Sinclair sat up as he listened more closely.

“The energy released by the leaf was enough to present a crisp image. The interesting part was that even though there was only half of a leaf on the plate, it would imprint the image of the entire leaf; not a mirror image of the half that was left, but the original whole leaf. Kind of weird stuff, huh? Anyway, the unanswered questions that came about have led him looking for similar type situations in other life forms.”

“This is gonna sound strange, but I remember having read about that a long time ago. It was in the Academy of Science monthly publication. My grandfather was a member and had me put on their mailing list.” Sinclair enjoyed being able to jump into the conversation and felt a surge of excitement. “Once I read all about some kind of sail boat that had a rigid sail made out of corrugated tin or a fiberglass. This boat . . “, Sinclair made the shape of a triangle with his hands as he explained, “. . . would go faster than the wind that was pushing it.”

“Sinclair, there are very few things about you that would surprise me.”

“So when do I get to meet your friend?”

“I was thinking that the two of you could have lunch; say, tomorrow? I went over some of the aspects of your condition; your ability to project thoughts directly into the computer along with your inability to screen out all the rest of the garbage. He was eager; more like hungry, to meet you and get started as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe you will make it into next month’s Academy of Science as a feature article.”

“Sounds good to me; but who’s paying for all this?”

“Its on the house, no charge. When I mentioned what you had already accomplished he was quite impressed.” Looking over to the computer, “He did suggest that we keep a transcript of your communications. Will that be any problem?”

“None at all; in fact all my thoughts are automatically entered into the computer. It would be just a matter of saving them onto disk.” Sinclair thoughtfully considered that the content of such a disk would reveal not only his conscious thoughts but his inner ramblings also. “I hope this guy has a good sense of humor and doesn’t get bored to easily.”, he threw in hesitantly.

“Relax, this is all confidential.”, realizing that more was involved by the concern in Sinclair’s tone.

“So far so good.” Sinclair smiled as he made believe he was watching something outside the window.

“So far so good; what do you mean?”

“Nothing in particular, just that this reminded me of the office secretary who worked on the thirty fifth floor. That’s what she heard the man say as he fell past her window on his way to oblivion.

“Uhhhh, right.” Chatterly conjured up a series of pictures to fit the story. “Isn’t that just a little too much like the story of how you got in here?”, raising his brow as he spoke.

“Have you always been this quick?”

“What’s in that stuff your drinking? Maybe I should have them lower your sugar intake. You keep this up and I will”

“So I start tomorrow with this guy Scott, what did you say his last name was?”

“Bartell, Scott Bartell. He suggested that we send all the data to his office. That way he can print it all out and have some of his lab rats sift through it for him.”

“He wants it all sent by way of the modem?” Sinclair shook his head as he tried to imagine the mountains of goble-de-gook.

“That’s what he said. He has three under graduate aces on full time. This is how they make points.”

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything; but when do you figure I’ll be going home? I mean. . .”, his face winced as he tried to phrase his thoughts, “. . .I can’t see much reason for being cooped up here now.”

“I’d like to say you could go home anytime. Your healing very nicely. Chatterly pursed his lip as he looked at the last few pages of charting. “What concerns me the most is how you fall out of touch; just drift off to who knows where. I know it scares the hell out of the floor nurses. Last Tuesday after you had breakfast your vitals went off the scale; stayed that way for almost three hours. When you came out of it all you could say was how tired you were as you went back to sleep for the rest of the day. We tried to tap into that computer of yours, but it was just a maze of jumbled letters and numbers.”

Chatterly flipped a few pages more, “Tell you what; you keep your numbers level for the next few days and I’ll see about getting you home soon.”

“Is that anything like a traffic ticket quota?”

“I don’t think I quite understand. What has your staying healthy got to do with writing traffic tickets?”

“Not a thing Doc, not a thing. I was just reminded of some my frustrations with the Department.” Sinclair had been at odds with his immediate supervisors over their insistence on the issuance of a minimal amount of traffic tickets. Over the past few years
it had become blown out of proportion. They would push him to write tickets and he would bristle, reminding them that it was a violation of State law.

“Well, I still don’t see the correlation.”, shaking his head.

“Never mind. I never said a thing.” Sinclair didn’t want to rehash the subject.

“What ever . . . “, walking to the door. “. . . I’ll be in later this evening to set up that telephone link.