American Medicine

I don’t make a sound and the drool falls from my mouth in gallons. I’m not sure where they hit me, but it feels like everywhere, my face feeling flat like a cartoon character, my nose feeling nonexistent. Someone took my shoe. Why? Why my shoe?

I get up without a problem. They didn’t break my legs, which is fortunate because the big guy said, I’m gonna break ya fuckin’ legs. I claw at my ear and come away with pools of blood. There was a knife in there somewhere. I spin around in circles and catch my balance. Then I walk.

I wonder what she’ll say. She’ll probably cry and put me back together, but she’ll scold me too. It was bound to happen, she’ll insist. I won’t say anything, just like I usually do. She’ll wash my clothes and make me some food, then pay the bills and put Jimmy to bed.

I see the car in the distance. I don’t remember it being this close, though when they dragged me into the alley, everything felt a world away.

The pain’s not bad. It’s all numb right now. If I can get it cleaned up soon, I can probably hold off the aching until tomorrow. By then, I’ll be lying in the soft bed with her smell all around me and this new pain won’t be my worst.

I reach the car and spread out across the backseat. I’ll get home eventually, I say. For now I’ll just lie here. That’s the answer. That’s what the seat’s here for – to welcome my nearly broken back. I’ll get up soon. Soon, soon. Five more minutes mom, pleeeeeeeeeeeease, five more minutes.

I look out and see a couple fucking in the car next to me. The woman’s beautiful and the man’s not. She’s on top of him, her mouth wide open in orgasmic need, bouncing like the window’s nowhere in sight, and he’s staring straight ahead, right at her tits, holding it back with every fiber of his being. Just five more seconds, he’s thinking. I lie back down in the seat.

She’s in there, my mind, just doing what she normally does. She’s a Doctor at the biggest hospital in the state. A Doctor, not even a nurse. A nurse I could deal with, but a Doctor? No siree. Too much money, too much prestige. And what am I? I’m a …

What do I do?

I’m a … I’m a …

What the fuck do I do?

It’ll come back to me. Whatever I do, whatever I drag my feet out of bed in the morning for, it’s nowhere near as important what she does.

What the fuck do I do?

I play cards at night and she knows it. She found me a few months ago, hungering over a hand lost in an online poker game. She scolded me. I’d made thirty thousand by then, but I didn’t tell her; it was hidden. It was all hidden. I was planning on springing it on her. One day, just tossing her a hundred thousand or something. Hey honey, catch! It was a beautiful plan, sure in its ability to secure my place in the house as the dominant male.

Until I lost, of course.

How the fuck those guys found me is something I’ll find out later. I have to get home. I look down and the blood’s forming a puddle below my seat. Thoughts fill my mind of little Jimmy running into the car tomorrow, eager for school, and accidentally stepping into a pool of his dad’s blood. I laugh.

Why am I laughing?

I sit up and there they are again, finished now, and lying back, holding each other’s naked bodies, like their windows are tinted or something. Fuck these people. Fuck their overt sense of sexuality. That guy’s a fucking pig and she’s probably a hooker — just look at the way she lets his filth stick to her, sliding down her exposed thigh.

I open the door.

Those guys that attacked me, they’re probably sitting in their homes now. Some of them are probably married. Probably watching TV – something mindless, like one of the reality shows about death on Spike. They’re warm and homely and alive, absolutely alive, with bills popping out of their wallets and dreams highlighting the starry nights of their minds. Destitute dreams, but dreams enough.

I look down at my watch and find that I have no watch. The blood, it’s seeping out now. I need a Doctor. Oh, the fucking irony, I need a Doctor.

I open the door and step out. They see me and grab a blanket to cover up, though they don’t move. That fucking whore buries her face in his neck and kisses, pushing her chest up against his. I step around to the trunk mindlessly and open it like a machine, reaching down without looking and pulling out his bat. Jimmy loves little league.

Their car door is open. Probably so her pimp can run in if he hears a scream. There’s music playing inside. Tom Petty singing, Don’t do me like that! I greet them and she screams, yanking the blanket up further, while he sits up and his fat spills over into the seat. The car smells like filth. It’s the American Dream, ain’t it?

What’s the matter? I ask.

The bat flies out and hits those knuckleballs silly. The whole time I’m wondering where his keys are and where I can take us. I mean, where do people go now-a-days?


About Jonathan Klay

Jonathan Klay is an author on The Story Shack.

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