22 AUG 2020
Alcatraz Prison Medical Centre
I came to on a stretcher in the medical room. The burning of the smelling salts in my nostrils was like that time I snorted cayenne pepper on a dare back in the logging camp in BC….Jesus Christ, I miss those days. My head was pounding, my jaw felt like it had been knocked into next Tuesday, and my vision was blurry, but still I sat up like an idiot.
“Easy, Rick…just relax, let your body regulate itself.”
The doctor’s voice was soothing, at least he had some good bedside manner.
“W-where the fuck is Hughie?”
I blurted out instinctively, my mind still racing from the match. And that’s when it hit me.
“Wait, am I actually talking?! What the actual fuck?”
I could make out the doctor holding his hands up in front of him submissively, trying to calm me down.
“Now, Rick…I’m not sure what you’re saying, but it’s clearly important. Just relax for a minute, like I said, and let your senses all come back.”
He walked over to his computer and I could hear the mouse click a few times, then an interested “hmmmmm,” from the doctor. He adjusted his glasses and looked a little closer at the screen, leaning in to make the words clearer.
“I just wanted to comfirm my prognosis, and it seems Doctor Google is right there with me!”
I shot him a look, one that I hoped sent the message that I wasn’t here to fuck around, but likely more resembled a dog that was just beaten by its owner for shitting on the carpet.
“It seems that hit to the noggin’ might have rattled your brain, Rick. As you know, sometomes head trauma is a little strange, and it affects people in different ways…”
I was getting a little antsy.
“Just…get to the point already…”
The doctor hushed me again. This was getting old.
“It seems this hit to the head…it clearly has unlocked something. Something that’s been buried deep in your psyche. Obviously you’ve realized your newly refound ability to speak! This is a good development!”
He stood up and walked back over to me, producing a flashloght from his pocket. He turned on the light and held up a finger.
“Look here…just concentrate on my finger.”
He shone the light into my eyes a few times, the beam of light felt like it was burrowing into my eye sockets. My head was buzzing, I swear I could feel the blood pumping through my brain with each heartbeat.
“I think I know what we need to do here, just bear with me. See, while you’ve found the ability to speak…”
“Look, I don’t have time for this. I need to get back to the rest of the guys in Chicago. How much longer are you going to make me sit here and listen to this assinine bullshit Doctor Google fuckery?”
He stared blankly at me, blinking a few times before reachijg into his pocket and pulling out a cell phone. Tapping the screen a few times, he pointed the microphone at my face.
“Do me a favour? Say that one more time…”
“Look, you piece of rat shit! I’m tired of this bullshit! What is your major malfunction? Put me through concussion protocols, tell me what you want me to do for the next two weeks! Jesus Christ!”
As he tapped the screen one more time a voice spewed forth from the speaker saying exactly what I just said. I shrugged at him, waiting for him to make his point. That’s when he turned the screen towards me so I could see what was going on. He had up Google Translate. From French to English…
“Rick, I don’t know how to explain this to you, but the punch you took out there from inmate Freeman? Most other men would have likely been on a ventilator and in a coma. I don’t know if it’s your size, or if it’s just shit luck, but you sir? You’re lucky. I mean, yeah, maybe the upstairs got a little jostled around…maybe you’re speaking French…maybe the eGG Bandits beed to spring for someone to subtitle your speech…but what you’re not is in a coma or on a ventilator. Silver linings, right?”
“C’est ridicule. J’ai besoin de retourner à Chicago et de rencontrer les gars …”
The doctor shook his head back and forth slowly, almost in disappointment.
“Look, back up in Canada you might get by with that French crap, but here in the good ol’ U S of A? Not gonna fly. I strongly suggest you turn on your talk to text, and bookmark Google Translate, otherwise people are gonna look at you like you farted in church, know what I mean?”
I nodded and set my feet on the floor firmly, still feeling a bit woozy. The doctor held up a finger and disappeared around a corner quickly, returning moments later with my cell phone.
“They sent your things over here from the locker room, they knew you’d be here afterwards one way or another. Go ahead, get it all set up. You’ve got a long flight ahead of you, and I’m sure you’re going to need to be able to talk to someone between here and Chicago.”
As I flicked and tapped my way through the menus, he asked me an oddball question.
“Look, I don’t mean to be nosy, but you and Hughie…you guys didn’t…y’know….”
He touched the ends of his pointer fingers together with an inquisitive look.
“…I mean, it IS 2020, and this IS a prison…it’s not like that’s never happened here before…I just wanted to make sure. I mean, I don’t want you taking home any unwanted friends, or a case of the drips, or any other inconvenient infections, if you get my drift?”
“En fin de compte, tout ce que j’ai à faire est de retourner au panier eGG, de comprendre ce qui se passe et de travailler pour aller de l’avant. Quand mon vol est-il censé partir, avez-vous une idée?”
Pressing the speaker icon on the English side, my phone spoke in a feminine voice:
“At the end of the day, all I need to do is get back to the eGG Basket, figure out what’s going on, and work on moving forward. When’s my flight supposed to leave, do you have any idea?”
The doctor smiled.
“See? Works like a charm! As far as I know, Mr. Best has set up a chartered flight for you that will be headed direct to Chicago as soon as you clear medical…and as far as I’m concerned, you’re clear. Just, take some Tylenol, maybe a couple of Gravol, and sleep on the flight back to O’Hare…trust me, it’ll do wonders.”
As I pushed myself up off the stretcher, for the first time I felt close to complete. Close to whole. Close to being Rick Dickulous again…and that feeling was tremendous.
Now to get back to the guys…