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.
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.
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…
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…
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…
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,
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.
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.