The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 126

hallway. She shouted, "Marmie, come quick.'' Marmie, dressed in an identical uniform, came running. "What happened, Catherine? What's wrong?'' Catherine turned and pointed into the room she just vacated. "He started laughing.'' "No ...No ...No.'' Marmie shook her head as she walked into the room followed by her friend. "That boy ain't going to be doing anything for awhile.'' The women looked down at the still figure lying on a bed, shrouded with an oxygen tent, and festooned with tubes. Marmie continued talking. "Our little mystery boy; nobody knows who he is or where he come from. It's like he dropped out of the sky. The Sacramento Bee ran a full page story on him and nobody claimed him.'' The Head Nurse walked into the room and frowned. "Good morning, ladies. Is something wrong?'' The housekeepers stepped aside and replied in unison, "Good morning, Missus Prescott.'' Then Marmie pointed at the kid and said, "Catherine says she heard the boy laughing.'' Mrs. Prescott walked to the bed and looked down at her patient. "I'm afraid he hasn't got anything to laugh about. Where's Nurse Hardy?'' Catherine spoke up. "She had to go to the ladies room. She asked me to watch him for a minute.'' Mrs. Prescott nodded her head and walked into the hallway then stopped and looked back. "You ladies can return to your duties now.'' The kid drifted in and out of consciousness. He knew he was in a hospital but he didn't know how he got here. Sometimes people came and asked him questions and he closed his eyes, pretending to sleep. Voices from his past floated up out of the fog and counseled him. Old Ralph said, "Don't tell them anything, kid. They'll use your own words to hang ya. The only way to beat the sons of bitches is to be dumber than they are. Don't even tell them your name. If they're gonna find a reason to lock ya up and throw away the key let ` em figger it out on their own. Don't give ` em any help.'' Done Gone Broke Charlie chimed in, "Yeah, kid, even a fish wouldn't get caught if he'd keep his mouth shut.'' ### Sometime way back they moved him from his small dark room to a large noisy ward, day and night somebody nearby was screaming, hollering, and moaning. He heard the men dressed in white uniforms talking while they moved from bed to bed changing sheets and washing bodies. They were talking about the ones that weren't going to make it. The kid listened but never heard his name then he remembered that nobody knew who he was. Maybe he was going to die. The idea didn't scare him. All the feeling was gone and nothing mattered anymore. They brought food on a tray, cranked his bed to a sitting position, and tried to coax him to eat but he only picked at the meal; he was just not hungry. One morning Nurse Hardy parked a wheelchair next to his bed. "Good morning, little man. It's time you got some fresh air. How do you feel?'' The kid stared at her careful not to nod his head or give her any sign at all. She ignored his silence, threw the bedspread back, and pulled him to his feet. His knees buckled and he had to be lifted onto the wheelchair. "My, you are weak. We're going to have to get you up more.'' The elevator doors opened and a freezing wind pinned the kid to the back of the chair as Nurse Hardy pushed him out onto the roof and around the corner to take shelter behind the elevator housing. The single blast had the kid's teeth chattering. "It's colder up here than I thought. Here, let me wrap this blanket around you.'' She pulled the folded