Drama Fantasy Sad

I’m sitting in my rocking chair on the porch of my log cabin.  I’m taking in the view of a magnificent sunset over the forest and mountains of New Hampshire. Good God, it is so beautiful! The clouds are tinged with light orange and red as the rays of gold stream through the branches of the pines, dappling the front of my cabin. The birds are all roosting for the night, calling out to one another with one last song. Not far from my place is a babbling brook. Its soft murmur could easily put someone to sleep. I sometimes go there to fish or feed the wild ducks. I know I shouldn’t, but it makes them so happy. I love hearing them quack and bicker with one another.  I also love how the sun shines like diamonds on the surface of the rushing stream.  And then there’s the smell of the forest, a deep earthy smell mixed with the odor of the pines and spruce trees. The wind softly races through the tops of the trees rattling the dry leaves of the oaks.  My father used to say they sounded like dead men’s bones rattling.

My sweetheart is here with me. We’ve known each other since grade school. I love her face. So sweet and innocent. Sort of like Shirley Temple in those old movies. Kind and considerate but always up for an adventure. I must look hot to her, for she is pressing a cool cloth to my brow and temples. It feels nice, and I am enjoying her attention. Somewhere nearby, a lone bird continues to peep, peep, peep as the sun slowly sets.

Funny, but I can’t quite remember when I bought this cabin. It seems new and yet old at the same time. I distinctly remember sitting in front of the fire and looking into my sweetheart’s eyes on many occasions.  Winter, spring, summer, or, like now, fall, she always looks the same to me. Those light brown ringlets framing her face. Her dark brown eyes sparkle as a handful of freckles race across her cheeks and nose.  Yet, she’s always happy, and we never argue.

Soon it will be winter, and with that comes the bitter cold and snow. I’ll have to gather wood for a fire and cardboard to keep the wind from blowing through the cracks around the windows and doors. I hate winter, it is too cold and lasts too long! Most days I don’t even feel like going out to make money. I’d rather stay in and sleep. But I need food, and so I go.  Unfortunately, I often return home without either and am nearly frozen solid because my clothes are wet. I truly hate winter.

I slowly open my eyes and see that the sun has yet to set. Instead, it is casting long shadows across my front yard. I hear my old faithful friend, a yellow lab, panting below me in front of the porch, a sort of steady huffing. It’s my guess that he’s been having fun chasing after deer or rabbits.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more content and relaxed in all my life. Everything I have is with me right here and now. Everything is perfect- my sweetheart, my dog, a beautiful sunset, and a mountain cabin. It’s like a piece of Heaven here on earth.

I’ve begun to feel very sleepy. Plus, I’ve also noticed that the air has changed. Instead of smelling like pine trees, I think it smells more like Pine-sol. I hate to say it, but that little bird’s peeping is starting to get on my nerves. However, it seems to be less loud. Perhaps he’s moved, for it’s fading away. But, God, I’m so, so tired. I think that I’ll soon….

The night nurse responds to the monitor’s alarm and hastens to the room. It was a hectic night, and she was about to go on break but now this! As she enters the room, she witnesses the one long straight line traversing the screen and takes her patient’s pulse. There isn’t one. She shuts off the monitor and oxygen.  It no longer makes a whooshing noise.  She then informs the doctor on duty.

After a short amount of time, a sleepy-looking intern comes yawning his way into the room.

“Good evening, nurse. Who do we have here?” he asks, scratching his head while reaching for the chart.

The nurse responds, “Good evening, Doctor. “Quite frankly, we don’t know who he is. The police brought him in earlier this evening without any identification.”

“Well, do we know what happened to him?”

“The police said they got a call from the officer on patrol that a man was severely beaten and to send for an ambulance.” The nurse shrugs, “Then they brought him here.”

The doctor shakes his head, “I’m going to need more information.”   Then, pointing to a laundry bag on a nearby chair, he asks, “Are those his belongings?”

“Yes,” says the nurse, “I searched his clothes and found a wallet. But the only thing in it was this young girl’s picture.”

Taking the picture, the doctor studies it.  “Say, I know this girl. She’s an old child star of the thirties. I watched her old movie when I was a kid on TV. She was in the movie “Something, something of Sunnybrook Farm. What was her name? OH! Shirley Temple, that was it! Why is the only thing he has in his wallet an old picture of Shirley Temple?  Did this happen in our precinct?” The nurse indicates that he is correct, so he heads off to use the phone at the nurses’ station.

“Seventh Precinct, Sargent Day speaking.  How can I help you?”

“Hello, Sargent. I’m Doctor Oma here at General Hospital, and we received an unknown patient from your district, so I was wondering if perhaps you have any information on him. Like his name ?”

“That was tonight, you say? Give me just a moment to find the report.  Ahh, here it is. The officer filed a report at nine-thirty pm stating that a homeless man flagged him down to report a gang of young men had severely beaten his friend.  The officer says the beating occurred in an alley across from Central Park, where many homeless hang out.   “Charley” led the officer to the alley. Entering the alley, the officer states he found the victim lying partially inside a cardboard shelter and a small fire still smoldering in front of it. He then called for an ambulance. The officer then asked Charley if he knew the victim’s name, and Charley stated that everybody had just called him the Cossack. Not because he was Russian but because that was the name of the cheap vodka he always drank, Cossack Vodka.  That’s the whole report, Doc.  Sorry, no name was mentioned.”

“Any leads on the gang that beat him up?”

“Nah, but only three hang out in that area. Someone will boast about it, and we’ll catch them then. We always do.”

The doctor laments, “ What a sick world we live in where killing a helpless old drunk is seen as fun. No one should die like that.”

“Hell,” says Sargent Day, “ No one should die alone and nameless. That’s just too sad.”

Dr. Oma thanks the Sargent for his time and returns to the room. The nurse has finished preparing the patient to be sent to the morgue. “Any luck?”

“No, just put “John Doe” on his toe tag.” Then, squeezing the bridge of his nose, Doctor Oma asks. “What’s today’s date?”

The nurse turns to the calendar hanging by the nightstand. On it is a picture of a sunset over forested mountains, as seen from the porch of a log cabin. “Saturday the fifth,” she reports.

Sighing softly, Doctor Oma reaches over and pats John Doe’s knee. “I am sorry you couldn’t have had a more peaceful passing.” He then leaves the room to go to his next patient, not knowing that John Doe did die a better death in his own mind.

October 11, 2022 00:37

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