Sunday, June 05, 2005
Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 37 Logged On
Sinclair turned off the voice synthesizer for the night as he quietly said his evening prayer and readied himself for bed. He wondered what kind of thoughts he would find recorded in the morning. Each word instantly ran onto the screen and as the text neared the bottom it was automatically sent to the hard disk for storage. Vern had given the computer a simple command that would repeat every twentieth line so that it was no longer necessary to manually save anything; it All went into storage.
“I guess this is one sure fire way to keep my journal up to date. ( Hahaha. )” Sinclair watched the added on laugh that was not part of his original thought. “The purpose of this, what is this anyway; oh yes, this documentation is to help Scott Bartell find out what is going on inside my head. Sounds like a kind of fruity alcoholic beverage; Scott Bartell. Sorry, just came to mind. I’m naturally crude sometimes.”
Sinclair could see a four pack of cold twelve once bottles filled with translucent grape colored wine. The impact of advertising permeated every part of society. Sinclair had not always been a member of the Church. He had played the fool more than once after having had too much to drink. He reached back to when he was in the Army. A special weekend pass had allowed him the chance to go home to Bev and his folks. It was all a blur excepting the trip back to Georgia. He was at the window looking out at the airplane he was about to board. There was a man standing on a tall triangular based ladder that reached all the way up to the engines. He had the shroud lifted out of his way and with his finger he was following a diagram that was on the inner part of the shroud. He then would turn and follow the same basic line on the engine until he got to a particular area; stop, shake his head and look back at the diagram. After having observed the same exasperated look on the mechanic’s face from several attempts to complete the line, Sinclair was not at all pleased to see the man slam the shroud back into place and tighten all the bolts. There was something wrong and nothing done to fix it.
“I’m not getting on until I have a chance to talk with that mechanic!” Watching the man as he came up the external stairway and into the main building, Sinclair cornered him and conveyed his concerns.
“Nothing to worry about. These newer jets can fly just as well on three. I wouldn’t let it bother you.” The answer was not at all what he had expected. Sinclair boarded the plane with the idea that it was time to get good and drunk. The booking agents must have been on his side; having over booked the flight, Sinclair was given the only seat left on the plane. He had never flown in First Class before, but he did know that he was going to get a proper meal and all the drinks he could swallow on the way to Atlanta. If it was to be his last meal he at least would have a good one. It didn’t matter that the plane was taking off two hours late and that he would miss his connection in Atlanta back to the base. Heck, he might not get there at all.
“ Another one, please and some olives if they’re are any?” The jet stream was much farther south than usual and the pilot found it pushing them, hurtling as it were, toward record matching speeds. The lost time was most nearly made up as the pilot’s voice broke the air.
“Ladies and Gentlemen this is your pilot speaking. We have taken advantage of some very strong tail winds and will be making our final approach into Atlanta within the next ten minutes. We are aware that many of you will be making connecting flights. Most of the flights out of Atlanta have been delayed because of the rain and you will more than likely be able to make your next flight. Please have the Flight Attendant assist you as you exit the aircraft as needed. Once again thank you for flying Delta.”
Sinclair took a moment to glance at his watch as he tried to figure out how much time had been made up. “Houston to Atlanta in an hour and a half?” It didn’t make sense. “Just think what they could have done with all four engines working. We could have gotten here before we took off. Hahahaha.”
The pilot had been correct, his connecting flight to Augusta was still waiting on the ground; it too had mechanical problems. As he boarded the aircraft he noticed right away that the air was hot and stuffy. There were three men in overalls going down the isle checking the over head luggage bins.
“Something wrong with the air conditioning?” , Sinclair asked one of them as he felt for air movement out of the square port just above his seat.
“Yea, we’re working on it now.”
“It’s no big deal to me, can’t we just get going? I’m late getting back as it is.”
“It’s not as simple as that. Without the air conditioning you wouldn’t be able to breath.”
“Take all the time you need.” Sinclair wondered how long it would be before he could order another drink. An hour later the plane made its way down to the end of the runway. It was now late into the evening as the rain fell from the sky. Sinclair was past worrying about being late. He was wondering how much trouble he was in. “I’d like a drink please; make that two!”
“You’ll have to wait until the plane is in the air, Sir.”
“Oh, I thought we were.” Laughing to himself was a sure sign that he had already had one too many. The short flight into Augusta and the ride back to Fort Gordon ended the miracle weekend. Sinclair stumbled into the company office and explained his situation. The sergeant behind the desk listened as the story came full circle.
“I suppose it wasn’t entirely your fault. Tell you what; you stand guard duty tonight while you sober up and we can forget all about it.” Sinclair had been given a reprieve.
The memory danced across the monitor and became part of his recorded thoughts for the night as he fell off to sleep.
“Scott Bartell; still sounds like some grocery store brand wine to me. Hahaha, sorry.” He read the words and laid himself down; closing his eyes as the pillow contoured itself around the base of his neck.
“Mild pain requiring attention one and a third inches above the left knee.” Sinclair reached down and rubbed his leg. The monitor registered his activity. As he rubbed the area he was reassured that he had sufficiently attended to the need. “You may resume pre-sleep preparations.” He had not yet reached the point of slumber and he noticed the slight change of light in the room caused by the words jumping onto the monitor. He looked at them through one eye.
“That’s interesting; I didn’t think those words.” Sinclair thought for a moment and then realized that he had just been rubbing his leg. “I guess this quiet time could get to be interesting. Its even getting the neuromuscular activity. “He rolled back and practiced a ritual to help himself relax. He would think about a specific part of his body and instruct that area to relax. Then one part of his body after another would work the kinks out and in a matter of a few short minutes he was totally relaxed.
“Arms; relax and allow the bed to support you. Elbow; bend a little more; that’s better, much more natural. Wiggle your fingers and let them relax too. Okay, now the muscles in your face are still trying to hold their tension. Your jaw is stiff; swallow and let your tongue settle. Now relax your lips and take a more natural breath. That’s better; now the wrinkles on your forehead need to soften along with your eyebrows. Look out into the eternities as you think about how peaceful it is here. Your shoulders are still too tight. Let them fall to the sheets as you feel the tension leave your body. It feels much better now.”
“Good night, Sir, and thank you.” Sinclair looked upwards with his eyes still closed, to a place inside his head as he contemplated the many blessing that he had been given. “Thank you for my lovely wife, my children who are always in my thoughts, the professionals here at the hospital who are tending to my every need, the chance to examine my thoughts on this marvelous contraption. . .” The edge of sleep mixed with the fading fabric of reality as he reported each and every impulse. Sinclair had not mastered the art of inserting graphics into his text recordings; however as he continued to dwell on his many blessings, he could see a clear image of his Father in Heaven.
“. . . Thank you for the Gospel and my chance to improve each day. Thank you for my Savior who has done so much for me.” The computer began to accept the thought much the same way that a printer accepts one line at a time; the entire image formed on the screen. Starting at the top and working down to the eyes, the eyes that looked back at Sinclair as he focused on the eternal nature of his own soul, the monitor began to record the image. Most of the features were incomplete at best, but the eyes were almost three dimensional as the detail of his thoughts became fixed on the screen.
Sinclair had no way of knowing that this particular vision was being saved onto the computer’s hard disk. He had passed into his first level of sleep and was moving rapidly into his first dream period.
“In . .the name. .. . of ... ....Jesus . .. ..Christ, .. ... .Amen.”, Sinclair’s thoughts came so slowly. He knew that it was impolite to start a conversation with the Lord and not wait for a reply. His mind struggled as he repeated parts of his prayer, not sure where he had drifted off in sleep. The moments became minutes as his day came to an end.
“Good night Sinclair, I Am with you.”, the computer recorded the response that Sinclair’s mind heard. The illumination from the computer cast a ghostly glow across the room; much the same as a television set left on after the late late show. Line after line being recorded as his every thought, his every internal command found its way across the darkness. Pleasant dreams and nightmares, flights of fancy together with passions of the flesh surfaced on the back lighted screen.
“Five Frank Twenty Five . . .”, the familiar voice of his regular dispatcher rambled into his thoughts. He was lying on his back on the cool ground. His mind replayed the event and his body responded by lowering his temperature slowly. There was a moment of panic as he felt himself slipping from control. The night air filled his nostrils as he lay in a broken heap.
“Five Frank Twenty Five . . . Five Frank Twenty Two what is your E.T.A.; Five Frank Twenty Five is not responding?” As the units got closer he could hear the wailing sirens. He looked up to where the railing had broken away just moments ago. He studied the faces of the men looking back at him. For a moment he recognized one of them. Straining harder to see, his body not keeping pace with his desire to remain alert, the figure faded into the shadows. The muscles in his neck, exhausted from the battle with gravity, relaxed as Sinclair fell into his pillow.
“Are you all right Mr. Dosilmeyer?” Launa the night shift nurse stood over him as the beads of sweat rolled off.
“Ummmm . . . Huummm . . .” Sinclair vocalized his need for human intervention as the nightmare replayed once more. She had heard his moaning and stayed with him, holding his hand much the same way a mother clutches a sick child. The computer continued to record his thoughts and she was able to understand what he was experiencing. The nightmare was there, his fears and his emotions mixed one after the other. Every word he had heard came back time and time again, certain parts of the event were played over and over.
With each successive replay the detailed graphics that he was able to generate took on a more representative likeness. Launa could almost make out the forms of persons frozen at the edge of the balcony even though the images were broken. There would be a quarter inch of graphics, then a line of instructional data, then another fourth of an inch of graphics as a continuation of the original thought. It was like the back page of the old “Mad Magazine”. She looked at each line; all the while trying to imagine how the picture would look if the alternating lines were folded or removed. Once in a while a face would appear on the screen, then just as quickly it would sink into the shadows.
“It’s all right, it’s all right.”, stroking the top of his hand more vigorously as she began to feel his tormented spirit. Tears began to fall from her cheeks with each passing moment. He had recycled the dream; not from the start, but only the part where the men were looking down at him. Over and over he looked into their faces as he tried to see the one face that he knew; their images being manufactured on the screen one at a time. The imperfect sketches were passed on to the hard drive.
“You can’t hide from me now. I know you are there. Come out where I can see you.” Sinclair’s mind sorted through the stored memory relentlessly. “I see you there behind the post.” There on the screen was a fairly clear picture of a man half way behind a post. He was trying to blend in with the rest of the people and yet somehow he just didn’t fit in. He was different in appearance.
“Can you look at him again?” Launa coached Sinclair as he continued the dream.
“Look at the man in the business suit again for me. I think I know that face too.” Launa watched on from her front row seat. She wondered to herself how she could have recognized part of Sinclair’s dream; it was a dream, wasn’t it? He had gotten better at sending images to the monitor. At first he had tried to get the whole image, now he was scanning only parts of the image at a time. The lines scooted across the top of his head forming a hair line. Then after the four or five lines would hit the monitor, a few lines of text before the next part of the image was sent. There was much more detail as his eyebrows were painted into position this time. The bridge of his nose and his angular cheeks fell into place as Sinclair fed the memory out one line at a time.
“Sgt. Perry?” Sinclair wondered to himself how Sgt. Perry could have gotten into his dream.
“That’s the one. Yes I have seen him here at the hospital.” Launa read the name of Sgt. Perry as it too had been sent to the computer. Launa was familiar with most of the accounts relating to Sinclair’s injuries. She watched the two struggle for a gun, the image presented was a whirling of shadows as only Sinclair could have seen it. The imperfect transmission was not the same as watching a video tape. The figures being generated darted by so quickly as Sinclair’s memories pulled and twisted along.
From the apartment door came the man in the business suit. He came toward Sinclair in a hurry. She watched as the two men crashed past the confines of the railing. Sinclair sent his thoughts as patches of reality mixed with strong emotions. The muscles in his body wrenched as once more he tarried in mid air.
“What would Sgt. Perry be doing at that apartment and why; after the you fell to the ground, did he not respond to your need for immediate help?” Launa couldn’t conceive of a rational or logical reason how another police officer could shirk his given responsibilities; it was unthinkable. “Maybe this just some wild nightmare that has combinations of reality mixed in to fit?” Launa continued to watch as Sinclair tossed and turned through each successive moment; he could hear her comments.
“I don't think so; but my memory could be playing tricks on me. Thanks for staying with me. I feel better now and will get back to sleep.” Sinclair’s answer joined the rest of his thoughts and became part of the transcript.
“You get some sleep now; its all over.” Launa continued to massage his hand.
“Muuurrrrppppphhhh.” Sinclair drifted off.
“Sweet dreams until morning, rest now.” She placed his hand back onto the sheets. He acknowledged with a slight nod. Launa kissed his forehead as she would one of her children who had been awakened by a bad dream.
“Julie, this is Moe, I need to talk with Mr. Sanderson.”