Outside the door, clanging started and rose to an almost deafening crescendo as the men shouted and strained and complained: “You’re holding it too high!” “I can’t get in here!” “Where’d you learn to do this, a cereal box?” Which Karl thought an odd insult.
“I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” he said and pointed at the door and got naked Japanese girl against his knee for the trouble.
Right girl waved an airy hand. “Don’t worry about them,” she said. “Should we go ahead and make a reservation?”
Karl looked at her. “For what?”
Playful slap at an area a little too sensitive for that. “Not you. Her.”
Karl settled in and listened to the girls and the construction and felt rather content.
“Are you an American?”
Great, Karl thought. Here he was in some third-world hellhole bathroom, or what passed for a bathroom, in midstream of an incredibly wicked piss that had at least three more minutes to completion, and some yahoo behind him was getting political. “What’s it to ya?” he called over his shoulder.
“We’re Venezuelans,” the same belligerent voice that had asked his nationality, the pronoun indicating that more than one jagoff was behind him. Any second, a knife to the kidney. Karl could always turn around and pee on them, but that might end up exacerbating the situation.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said to the broken tiles smeared with god knows what in front of his face. “You getting enough to eat? Heat for the homes? No one you know has been shot down by the National Guard yet, have they?”
Talk about exacerbating the situation. There was shuffling, and Karl knew they were moving on him. “C’mon, guys, just a few more seconds. I hate to beat people up on a full bladder.”
Karl was about to launch straight backward, urine fountaining, as he caught the two jagoffs high on their chests, and oh boy, this was gonna be a knock down, drag out, and his son was calling him. Chris, you do have one lousy sense of timing.
What could the kid want? And why was he pulling him back? This was so wonderful. So wonderful.
Karl didn’t recognize that voice. Wait. Yes. Dr. WhatsHisName. Peters, yeah, that’s it. Amazing how quickly one forgets things quickly unimportant.
As expected, the leap backwards had so surprised the Venezuelans that they lost their footing and sprawled on the ooze-covered floor, and Karl could not help laughing. Getting beat up was now the least of these jagoff’s problems. Hepatitis was.
“Did he just laugh?” Chris asked, incredulous. Well, yeah, son, this is hilarious.
A flurry of activity, far worse than whoever was installing the heating system outside his naked Japanese girl room, with calls and commands that Karl didn’t really understand, and lights, so bright, and it felt like someone had just dropped a safe on his chest, and Karl did two things he did not want to do: He took in a breath and opened his eyes.
“Oh my God, he’s ALIVE!” that last a shriek from Melissa, Chris’s unfortunate wife. Probably thinks she’s just been cheated out of the vast Svenson fortune. He chuckled.
“He’s choking!” And there was more bustling and things being done to him that Karl simply did not appreciate and snatches of things like “…goddamn miracle…back from the dead…what’d you see, Dad, what’d you see?”
“Stop,” Karl said, clearly, forcefully, and surprisingly loud enough to freeze everyone. He opened his eyes. Chris was there, in focus except for the edges.
“It’s dreams,” Karl said. “All dreams.”
D. Krauss currently resides in the Shenandoah Valley. He’s been a cottonpicker, a sod buster, a surgical orderly, the guy who paints the little white line down the middle of the road, a weatherman, a gun-totin’ door-kickin’ lawman, a bus driver, and a layabout. You can find him online at Dusty Skull and on YouTube at Old Guy Reviews Books.
Featured Image via Spirit111 at Pixabay