Snoring off my Aprés LIVES

Hold on! I MEAN…

STORY OF MY AFTERLIFE

 

Starting HERE

 

Total blackness.

I awoke in a closet. Or what I thought might be a closet. And I thought that I was awake… but I wasn’t too sure.

Somewhat gingerly, I felt my face. It was still there. This was good.

Hmm.

I ran my hands over my body. There were some radical puncture wounds and more than a few incisions in my chest and abdomen (not that I knew what CHEST and ABDOMEN were. Just guessing, really), some more under my arms, and one or two in my neck. These places were tender- some agonizingly so- as I, very tentatively probed them. But… after I did so? I guessed that I was still me. Sort of. I mean, whoever I was.

I felt my head (still attached- this was also good). Then I felt my arms, my groin (ooh! wait now! that felt nice!) and on to my legs and feet. I felt my groin again just for fun, but thought I should probably stop doing so. For now, at least.

Then I began to feel around my environment. I was covered with a blanket and beyond that I didn’t know what to think. Hmm.

I wrapped the blanket tighter around my apparent nakedness, and reached out. Here was a carfboarg-a CARDBOARD- box. And another. There a stack of papers, and further away what felt to be a muff. No. Not a muff. I mean MOP.  Yeah. A mop, alright. And a BROOM. A dustbin too. Some lightbulbs still in their boxes. Some bottles of, I don’t know. Maybe… cleaning fluid? Wax? Probably not water. I resolved not to drink any.

I raised myself up until my knees were beneath me, marvelling at the stabbing pains and aching which thankfully subsided after a minute or two.

Now that I was done feeling ME (I’d definitely return to my groin region later. I made a note of this) I felt around further. There was- lo! and behold!- the back of the closet. Or maybe the back of a small store room. (What’s the difference, I thought, between a closet and… Never mind that now, you twip. I mean twit. Jesus.)

And before me, there was a door. With a doorknob.

I grabbed the doorknob and very slowly pulled myself into sort of a half-standing, half-crouching position. My knees wobbled a bit for a few seconds, then I continued my search, feeling this bucket and that waste bin and shelves, until I croaked- or somehow vocalized…

“Yeth. A croset. I mean,” here I cleared my throat a bit, “a CLOSET. Dephinably- scratch that- DEFINITELY this is… A CLOSET!”

Proud of myself, although I had the only the slightest inkling of who, or what I might be really, and what I was here for, I stood fully. My knees shook, but was I most definitely now, standing eblect. ERECT, meantt. I like that word. It made me think of my groin again. Hmm.

“I now STAB. No.. I now STAND! before you, and slalomly- solemnly- attune, no! Not attune. I soddenly (SOLEMNLY) ATTEST! That I am stamping- dammit!- STANDING, in a Croset. I mean… a CLOSET!”

A thought struck me and I began to feel more and more frantically around the walls until I found- Lo! Behold! A LIGHT SWITCH.

Dare I switch this light switch ON? I wondered to myself. I mean, whoever- WHOMEVER- has placed me in this croset- goddamit! CLOSET! might well want me to not turn it on.

Hmm.

And then I remembered- Steph. Oh my God, STEPF, I mean STEPH! And Max. And I grew very, very sad.

“I wubber- WONDER- where they are. Wie… WHY… did they go to the trouser- TROUBLE- of placing me hear… I mean HERE?”

I began to weep. But only for a minute. Then I began to… giggle. First a little bit, then I broke into uproarish laughter (which sounded like a cross between snuffling, croaking and barking. With a bit of wheezing thrown in… but hey! It got the job done!)

Steph and Max ruled! They HAD to be okay. Simply must. Be okay.

I hoped.

My laughter subsided and I reached again for the doornut- DOORKNOB, goddamit. I was suddenly very worried for Steph. And Max.

I turned it slowly til I heard it click. I very cautiously, and very circumspectly (how did I know this word, CIRCUMSPECTLY? This warranted a moment’s contemplation, which I finally ended with another “Hmm”), I pushed the door open a crack. (I like that. “Crack”. Another very good word to remember. I reached down to my groin to cop a celebratory feel. Nice.)

And as I pushed the door open a crack, I immediately heard, coming from out there, and all around me

AUTO-FUCKING-MATIC WEAPONS FIRE

A LOT of AUTOGNOMIC WEAPONS FIRE. I mean AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FIRE! and it was coming from fucking everywhere!  The World was Endive! I mean, ENDING! Jesus. Everyplace  Out There, that wasn’t In Here, in this crozet- CLOSET, goddamit! was absolute toast.

Everyplace outside of this closet was replete with, completely filled with, Endtime Insanity!

Punctuated by….? The distinct detonations of grenades, C-4, I.E.D.s. Grenade launchers! Maybe even Bazoukis. I mean… BAZOOKAS!

Hoary ship!!!

Something hit the ground outside, rattled up to the door, and stopped. It… it was a… GRENADE.

A roar. Jesus, I thought as I flew backwards from the inward exploding door, will I have to learn everything all over again?

Then darkness was back.

One more time with feeling, Maestro.

 …

Mary Gregory got out of her Prius. She had had enough coke- My God- she had fucking snorted enough to kill a small horse! But she did chew a few more Oxy’s to ripen her mood, and maybe settle her down a bit- as she marched through the front doors of Very Advanced Cryogenics.

A woman at the front desk looked up, startled by Detective Mary Gregory as she walked past the front desk, following Dr. Avery Clarke III down the corridor as he walked on oblivious that he was being followed, and ready now for one monstrous confrontation with this whoring Oncologist jerk. Onward they went,  towards the office of the director, The ReAnimater himself. Whom Mary had never heard of.. .but she was also willing to take down his sorry ass too.

“I’m with Doctor Asshole,” she called over her shoulder to the receptionist, who blinked for a minute, then scrambled to place a frantic call to her supreme Boss of Bosses. And also to Dr. Dierdre, the bitch of all holy bitches.

A Very Big Night was Now Taking Shape.

Somehow those fuckers had found the garage.

Had they fixed a beacon on Max’s van? She hoped not, because that would have lead The ReAnimator’s Attack Force to County/U.S.C., where Jacek had been hospitalized and, one hopes, lay in Intensive Care recovering from a very intense abdominal wound, caused by gun-happy security types back at the ol’ ReAnimation Complex.

Jesus.

As Max detonated the first of many front line defenses, in this case a set of very nasty Binary Explosives, and they retreated back to next corridor, it struck her. They had placed a tracker inside of ME (Yes. I am still telling this story, goddamit. I’m the fucking Omniscient Narrator, okay? I may be stuck in a broom closet figuring out Who or What and Where I am, and what I’m doing here, I will continue to INFORM you. So deal with it.)

“So that was what the little module I removed from behind his ear! The one she had, with bright hindsight, stuck in a petri dish and shoved in the Refrigeration Unit for inspection later, instead of crushing pronto under her Doc. Marten goddamit. Oh, well. Live and learn.”

But she was still pissed at herself as she covered Max with well-placed bursts of withering return fire, as he bolted over a set of garbage cans that had been packed to the gills with gelignite.

“Time to move into the tunnel. Make it snappy, okay girl?”

She accommodated him, sliding down the escape hatch.  Max dove right behind her, into the pipe leading down to the Sub-basement. They barely had time to cover their ears. when…

THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD EXPLODED

Anya and Radya, ready for lunch at Burger King

Story of My Afterlife

Chapter 7. Or Maybe 8. But Then… Who’s Counting?

Continued From HERE

But Starting HERE

Max drove the van down a series of side streets and alleys near the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. He finally arrived in front of a large garage door in front of the totally trashed remains of a warehouse off of St. Julian in the dark, bleeding heart of the Tenderloin. There were a several tents, lean-to’s of cardboard, and sleeping bags strewn up and down the alley, but he ignored these. He pushed a garage door opener beneath the dashboard. The metal door of the warehouse slowly cranked open and he drove the van into an empty, cavernous storeroom, one which had seen better days. He got out then closed the gate from the inside and triple-locked it with monster case-hardened steel Schlages.

I was in the back of the van with Steph, who was nuzzling and fondling me with extreme fervor. Wow. And just Fucking Wow.

She kissed me one more time, tongue probing my tonsils, then climbed off of my lap. She began pushing my wheelchair out of the van then said,

“Come now. Enough noodling me, you depraved and damaged beast! We have more work to do on you.” She stopped the wheelchair and she kissed me again.

“You know I fucking adore you, right?”

“Glrrft,” I replied. “I mean… yes. I am aware. Of both things. That you like me. That there is more work to be done on me. Yes, I am aware.”

She stared deep into my eyes, blinked twice, smiled, then began pushing me through halls of filing cabinets and storage bins, one room after another filled with detritus and discarded equipment and into a large and open, central warehouse.

This was equipped, it seemed,  with every imaginable kind of medical device. The tanks, tubing and all conceivable medicines known, and unknown, to modern man were here, in droves. Central to this cavernous amphitheater was a kind of operating room. She wheeled me to its center and she helped me onto the table, then turned on the massive surgical lamp.

She came around to face me.

“I’m so sorry, but the last few procedures I need to perform on you, in a word, are quite painful. Actually kinda beyond words, really. Morphine will help some. Lots of it. Mixed with Fentanyl.” She pushed the hair out of my eyes tenderly. “But it will be agonizing. There’s no way around it. I’m so, so sorry.  But when it’s over? Well, you will be finished. A newer, better you.”

She thought for a moment, then asked,

“Are you prepared for this? Do you want to go through with it? Not that you have a choice. I mean, if we don’t continue these procedures on you?” There were tears in her eyes. “We… we’ll have to… dispose of you. To put you down.  Oh God, I am so, so sorry. Tell you me what you want me to do, my love, my very reason for living and breathing. Tell me now.”

She straightened up and looked at me.

“Uhm,” I considered for a second. “Well, I say ‘fuck it’. Do your absolute, goddamned worse. And I adore you more. So… there.”

She considered this, considered me, saw her own life flashing around her. Her own death too. And her resurrection. And pain, agonies she too had endured. And the affection that ensued. The Rebirth… Adoration. Worship. Wanting.

She prepared the needle, her hand shaking, and leant over and kissed me again. She stated in no uncertain terms,

“I fucking love you,” she sighed. Then she injected the admixture of painkillers and anaesthetics into my neck.

Max had finished putting the van away, securing the warehouse, and had come in to inspect me and to assist Steph. He began scrubbing me down and prepping the theater.

“Good luck, buddy. Be strong.” He said, bending over and holding my hand my as I slipped away and under. Steph kissed my eyes and I drifted into a warm, opiated coma replete with dreams of angels, of bathing in pond surrounded by many Stephs, and soaring into the sun while… I just drifted away.

But then….

A soreness overcame me. I mean, this really began to hurt.

I grasped in pain for something that could restore me.

HOLY FUCK! OH MY GOD THE AGONY. SEARING, INIMICAL TORTURE AND PAIN.

UNREMITTING.

I strained like a beast against the leather straps that secured me to the table.

HOT-GUSHING-VOLCANIC SPASMS OF UNMITIGATED WRETCHEDNESS, TRAUMA… IN MY GROIN, HEAD, ARMS, LEGS, CHEST, FEET AND… AND… AND…

Thus began….

Hours Of It. Days. Weeks. Years. Decades. Millenia. An Eternity of Forevers. A Split-Second and a Week. It continued on and on with a fucking vengeance. The Four Horsemen of a Dire and Prolonged Apocalypse. The Rages of Arjuna against his foes. Mohammed stepping from the Mount and into the Heavens with Blazing Affliction, Wraiths and Phantoms.  The Whole Range of Norse Gods cursing my very  name. Goethe and Faust awaiting me in their descent to Hell. Choking, spitting spasmodic gargoyles. Total eclipses of both Sun and Moon. Asteroids plummeting to earth and exploding in a vast, full scale nuclear holocaust. Shingles. Massive, splitting head trauma. And.. and…

And then?

Blackness.

Sheer, Total Nothingness. Wretchéd and profound, comatose Non-Existence. An End. A Finality beyond All Possible Finalities. An epilogue written in sand that slowly washed away with dawn’s early tide. Then…

I. Slept.

Forgetting all. Forgetting all and Disremembering. ‘Round the drain and down, down, down into the swirling maelstrom that waited at the end of forever. And very little beyond that. Bone tired, I slipped into a profound unconsciousness, black and dreary and prolonged, beyond imagining. Beyond, beneath anything I could possibly ever know.

Detective Mary Gregory screeched into the parking lot of St. John’s Hospital and slammed on her brakes, then backed violently into a spot reserved for one Doctor James Elias. Fuck him.

She rammed the car into park, then turned the engine off in her Prius; she checked her messages and lit another American Spirit (Yellow Pack). There were too many messages to respond to and she said to no one in particular and everyone in general,

“Fuck it.”

She did some more coke- a lot more, took a few Oxys and stared up at window of Dr. Avery Clarke III.

“That asshole has a whole lot to answer for,” she said aloud. Her phone rang but she ignored it, continuing to watch the fourth floor window.

Doctor Avery Clarke III had his two Ukrainian nurses splayed across his desk with their underwear pulled down to their ankles. He fondled them absently, his hands fluttering over their delectable bottoms, but he was utterly unable to concentrate. The nurses looked at each other, their eyebrows raised.

“Що нового? (What is up?)” Anya, the first one whispered.

“Не знаю. Може бути, він стає гомосексуалістом? (I don’t know. Maybe he is turning homosexual?)” Radya, her friend, whispered back in reply.

“Штраф мною. (Fine by me.)” Anya answered, stifling a yawn.

The phone on the desktop rang. Dr. Clarke answered it on the first ring.

“Now what is it???” He shouted into the phone.

The O.R. Nurse at the other end, cleared her throat.

“Your patient is prepped and ready Doctor Clarke. Might you be joining us soon.”

“What? What do you mean?” he snarled.

“Your patient- uh… the 36 year old female? She’s ready for her new kidney?” She was tired of this. Doctor Clarke grew more irascible with every surgery he performed. “The kidney has  just arrived. It needs to go in like now?”

“Oh.” Doctor Clarke thought about it for a minute. He had scheduled a kidney transplant for today? Where did he get the kidney, he wondered. Then he remembered. Oh. The ReAnimator had supplied it, for a rather steep price, and promises that Doctor Clarke III would assist him soon on a ReAnimation. He felt queasy. What had he gotten himself into? What did they want from him. Oh God.

“Doctor?” The O.R. Nurse was getting impatient. “Can you come downstairs to Operating Room 6? Now, please?”

“Yes. Yes, of course. I’ll be right down.”

He hung up the phone and looked at the two nurses he had bent over his desk.

“Jesus. I can’t deal with you guys right now. Go on. Get out.”

Anya and Radya knew enough english to get up quickly, retrieving their panties from under the desk and slinking into a corner where they put their underwear back on and neatened their uniforms. They were really hoping for green cards so they didn’t want to piss off the Doctor who had brought them over from Kiev, having discovered them on a Ukrainian website offering up young women for assholes just like him.

Dr.  Avery Clarke III pulled up his own pants, zippered them, then straightened his hair and put on his glasses.

The phone rang again.

He grabbed it and shouted “Goddamit. I’m coming. I’ll be there in a fucking…’

The voice on the other line was not that of the O.R. Nurse.

“Dr. Clarke. This is Doctor Dierdre ______ From the ReAnimation Center. The Director would like to see you as soon as you have finished with your surgery. That is all.” And she rang off.

Doctor Avery Clarke III was sweating now. These guys meant business. He ignored the two nurses as he left his office, in somewhat of a daze, and went to down to O.R. 6

Anya looked at Radya with raised eyebrows.

“Ми ледве уникла порушуються” (We have very nearly avoided being violated!) Anya said, with a deep sense of gratitude.

“Ходімо до Burger King, щоб відсвяткувати!” (Let us go to Burger King to celebrate!) Radya replied.

Anya grinned and they put their panties back on, smoothed their uniforms and left the office- to indulge in Whoppers, Fries and Cokes.

Anya and Radya, ready for lunch at Burger King

Anya and Radya, ready for lunch at Burger King

Detective Mary Gregory was on her tenth or eleventh American Spirit. She had been packing her nose with cocaine throughout the morning, and washing down Oxy’s with Stoli while ignoring her ringing phone and incoming texts.

She had seen the Anya and Radya pass by, arm in arm, headed for the culinary delights of Burger King, and had seen them return, arm in arm, sometime later. Finally she was rewarded by what she had come here for.

Dr. Avery Clarke III had finished with the kidney transplant and he emerged into the parking lot, putting on his coat tie and getting somewhat wearily into a brand new Audi S8 Plus. He looked in the mirror before he took off out of the parking lot and headed out to the 10 Freeway going east.

Cigarette in mouth, and snorting coke from the back of her hand, she stuck with him. Like glue.

He was far too oblivious to notice. He kept running his hand thru his hair and adjusting his glasses, turning the radio on, then off, and occasionally pounding the ceiling of his car.

He drove through downtown and into the San Gabriel Valley, finally exiting at Gary Blvd. headed North. She almost lost him for a minute as he wove through traffic towards an industrial park on the outskirts of Montebello. Finally, he pulled into the parking lot that faced a large building. A sign over the entrance of the building read Very Advanced Cryogenics. He pulled in front, parking in two spots, got out of his car, straightened his tie and went into the building.

“Now we’re getting somewhere.” Mary Gregory remarked. She took another rather huge snort of coke. Then phoned the Detective Division back at S.M.P.D. Her supervisor, Lieutenant Daniels came on the line.

“You are in deep shit Detective Gregory. Very deep shit. What do you mean by abandoning a fucking crime scene. You had better…”

“Shut up and listen, Daniels. I’m about to go into a very dubious enterprise. Get the locals over here, I guess that would be the Montebello Police Department. Or maybe call in the fucking Bureau. I don’t care.”

She gave him the name and address, then hung up before he could ask more questions.

She did another enormous blast of coke, then got out of her Prius, and headed into the building.

Days, it seemed, drifted into weeks. In turn I sweated, had chills, twitched and vomited. I drifted in and out of consciousness, unaware of my surroundings, laying on the table, feeling much, much worse than mere death. Steph, then Max took turns monitoring me, adjusting my medication and oxygen. I had like million tubes and catheters running to and from my body and there was a constant susurrus of suctioning and breathing devices about me. Of tubes carrying my waste.

And completely unaware of the battle that Steph and Max were carrying out on my behalf.

Story of My Afterlife

Continued from HERE

But Beginning HERE

 

Steph was crouched over Jacek inspecting his wounds and trying to control the bleeding as Max wended his way down side streets and talked frantically in Russian on the phone. He was attempting to get Jacek’s sons back, safe under the care of his associates in Moscow.

Stephanie was calm but she called out to Max. “Jacek is bleeding out. We’ve got to get him to a hospital. Stat.”

Max glanced in the rear view at Steph and nodded, finishing up on the phone. “Okay. We’re heading there now.”

Me? I was staring at Jacek’s writhing body as Steph held him down.

Suddenly I uttered,”Jacek!” and then to the amazement of Steph-and me as well…. I stood up.

“Jacek. Come back. Now,” I blurted as I walked forward and bent over him.

“Don’t leave us!”

Steph stared at me for a minute, then continued her ministrations. She had strewn cotton padding around him and was trying to inserting a needle and tubing into his arm, which she did on her second attempt. I reached out and held him down long enough for Steph to intubate him.

Jacek looked at me. “Hey, Buddy. You are with us again!” Then he shut his eyes and grew very still.

Max was pulling into the Emergency entrance to County/U.S.C. He ran inside then reappeared with a two medics who pulled Jacek out of the van and loaded him on a waiting gurney. One turned to tell us to follow, but we were already in the van and leaving. I guess we couldn’t wait.

“I think he’ll be fine. But he’s going to need a new spleen and many liters of blood. The bullet missed his spine” she said. And she turned to me. “You. Just look at you now!”

And she kissed me deeply, as she removed her bloody togs. She rummaged around to find new ones, then kissed me again.

“I’ve missed you. A lot.” I was sitting down again, played out from my exertion. But happy. Very. For Jacek. For ME.

Max smiled in the rear view, as Steph drew me close and almost hugged the life out me. But not quite. She had her tongue in my ear and clutched at my garments. Wow. This was bringing me back from the brink faster than anything else I could imagine.

Max's Black Van.

Max’s Black Van.

Mary Gregory got to the Detective’s Offices very quickly. She took another snort of coke then was out the car and heading upstairs, ignoring the greetings of other policemen.

She strode to her office, sat at her desk, thumbed through the appointments and saw that Dr. Armen Ghookasian  was now a half an hour late. (The Pathologist who had performed such a perfect autopsy on me. Yes me. I’m still narrating this.  It is, after all, my story)  She picked up the phone and lit a new cigarette.

The other detectives started to tell her there was no smoking allowed but she glared at them so witheringly that they just shrugged and continued with whatever they were working on.

The machine picked up at Ghookasian’s office, with it’s usual prescription to leave a message.

“Well fuck that,” she muttered and gathered her things and left again, the other detectives fanning her smoke away after she’d gone.

Ghookasian’s office was a few blocks away on Colorado and Detective Mary Gregory drove with the red light flashing through a series of red lights and the angry drivers who had to slam on their brakes at the intersections she flew through. She arrived at his his office in two minutes fourteen seconds. But then, who’s counting?

She ran up the stairs, found Ghookasian’s office and banged on the door.

“Doctor Ghookasian! Open up. It’s Detective Mary Gregory.”

Getting no answer, she pounded on the door again.

“Dr. Ghookasian? Open the fucking door!!!”

Getting no answer, she finally exclaimed, “Well, screw this!”

She moved a couple of feet back, the kicked the door, once, twice. Third try was a charm. The door flew open and she entered.

It was dark inside, the curtains drawn and the lights turned off. She tried the light switch, but it didn’t work. But she could see that the office had been turned upside down. Papers were scattered all over, phials and slides smashed to pieces.

And slumped over the desk, with his head definitely caved in, lay Doctor Armen Ghookasian.

Detective Gregory drew her gun and looked around backing into a corner. After a moment she realized there was no one else there. The perps were long gone.

She reached out and with two fingers felt for a pulse in Ghookasian’s neck. No go. He had been dead for a couple of hours maybe.

“Shit. Shit, shit, shit,” she muttered. She looked around for a few minutes, and then she saw- poking out from under the desk, the Autopsy Report on.. well ME. She grabbed it, then closed the door behind her.

Down in her car she radioed in that the Forensics and Police should come. She sat in the car for a few minutes reading the report. She paused for a minute then said, “Fuck it” again. She pulled out onto Colorado as the first of the Santa Monica Police squad cars were arriving.

She took off into the traffic, making cars slam on their brakes once again, and headed to St. John’s Hospital.