Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beside Manners

"You fuck. You'll do anything for attention." Jack walked into the hospital room and pulled a card from his coat pocket. He put it beside the laptop on the tray above Mark's lap.

Mark picked the card off the tray and began to open it. He moved the IV tube away from his wrist. "You bought me a card?"

"Shut up." Jack took off his jacket.

"Thanks bro." He read the card, closed it, and tucked it beside the rosary on his nightstand. "So what are they going to do?" Jack sat on the ledge and put his back against the window.

"Antibiotics. If that doesn't work, they're going to take half."

"It's not a leg."

"I know."

"Yeah but I know you, Marky. You're telling yourself to grow a pair and face reality. Right? You've told yourself all morning you're going to lose your leg. And you don't know that. So stop already."


"At worst it's half a foot. It's only half a foot."

"Okay. How's Beth?"

"Oh who cares?" Jack stood up and paced the room.

"We do."

He settled in front of the window and stared outside. "She's okay."


Jack turned around. "Mark, don't be afraid."

"Bro, I'm in terror."

"I'm standing right here."


"Okay," Jack turned and resumed his stare. He studied dusk as he offered a silent prayer.