Letters and Diary Script posted March 19, 2017

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Prose Potlatch Challenge-Health

A Matter of Pure Luck

by michaelcahill

Scene I
Fade in

An operating room. Cavemen are dressed in scrubs with appropriate masks. The equipment on the tray looks positively medieval. A little boy is counting backwards as he lays on a bed of nails. He looks angelic.
Did you give him enough ether? He's down to sixty-seven.
How would I know? I just keep giving it until he passes out.
Ahhh ... he's out now. Let's get those tonsils.  Hatchet.
A hairy-armed nurse passes him a rusty hatchet.
Old Man

An old man wrinkled and grizzled.

Old Man
Back then medicine was in its infancy. They didn't even have a name for tonsils. They called 'em 'mini-throat punching bags'. The adenoids were called 'those-other-things-we-can't-find-a-use-for-so-we-may-as-well-hack-them-out-too-things'. I remember the doctor taking me into a little room and talking about ice cream. He kept going over all the flavours. Of course, back then there were only three. "Listen kid, this horseless carriage is costing me a fortune. What if I told you I could give you all three flavours as much and as often as you want? You'd let me have my way with you then, wouldn't ya sport?" That's how he put it to me. Needless to say, my response was, "HELL YEAH!"

Fade out
Scene II
fade in

A high school athletic field. Boys are involved in various drills, practicing for an upcoming football game. A discussion among the quarterback and his wide receivers is underway.
Quarterback of the team. He has limited skills but unbridled enthusiasm. It is misplaced as this is by far the worst football team perhaps in the nation.

Harlan McFate: Right End. Tall and lanky. Couldn't catch a ball if it was made out of crazy glue. The fact seems to elude him. He considers himself a star.

Our Hero: Well, the subject of all these stories. He's short, about 5' 7" and weighs no more than 135lbs soaking wet. On the other hand, his arms are abnormally long, his hands are huge and he can jump to the moon. He never drops the ball.
The key is the passing game against Montebello. There's no way our backs are going to run through their line.

I'm down. Just throw it to me all day long.

Our Hero
Look, you know I can catch. Throw it to me and I'll catch it. But I'm not letting one of those two hundred pound slabs of meat tackle me. I'm going out of bounds, scoring or curling up on the ground like a little baby. I'm not getting crushed. We're going to lose by a hundred points anyway. No way I'm risking my life.

Dammit. What kind of attitude is that? Have some balls. This is football not ballet.

Our Hero
Whatever. It isn't suicide either.
Our Hero walks off leaving Brad and Harlan seething. They confer together. Harlan takes off towards Our Hero and Brad throws a pass his way. It's clear Harlan isn't worried about catching it. His object is to tackle Our Hero and Brad isn't far behind to pile on. Our Hero gets up from the pile and shows them a severely broken arm. He makes no sound.
Cut to doctor's office

I just need to pull this into place.
The doctor pulls on the badly out of place arm. Our Hero has no reaction as there is no pain until the doctor jerks the arm up and then down. Our Hero's mouth opens, but no sound comes out. His eyes are wide open in obvious pain. Beads of sweat form and pour from his forehead.
I almost got it.
Our Hero stares forward blankly.
Old Man
Pain is a relative thing. I'm not a fan of doctors, but sometimes you need one. I suppose I couldn't walk around with my arm out of shape forever. I learned to be a loner after that. I'm not a fan of people.
Fade out
Scene Three

Fade in
A hospital waiting room. Our Hero and his mom are waiting for a doctor to speak. His grandma (and her mother) has been admitted with a heart attack. She's sixty-four years old.
She's stable now so you can go ahead and say goodbye. She'll be gone by morning. There's nothing else we can do.
Old Man
Looking back now, I realize how impactful that moment was on me. I used my grandma's health and my moms to gauge my expectations for my own. It threw me off quite a bit. My grandma was sickly by the time she hit her fifties. My mom made it to her sixties before she was sickly. My grandma's condition would be considered mild today. Back then there was no treatment, she was a goner. When I reached my late fifties, it dawned on me that I hadn't aged hardly at all. I had no conditions of any kind. My estimation that I'd slowly fall apart and check out between 65 and 70 looked to be way off. To be honest, the likelihood that I had a good twenty or thirty years to go scared the hell out of me. For God's sake, I'd have to do something. I couldn't just sit there and wait for that much time to pass. I'd have to come up with a plan. That's where I'm at today. The funny thing is, it's a familiar place. I never did come up with one to begin with. Now, I'm in the same boat and I'm kind of old to be there. Sigh.

Fade out

Scene IV
Fade in

Some older folk having a conversation
A sixtyish gent with a walker.

Sylvia: 72 and recovering from a stroke.

Janice: Lots of complaints, but no visible reason for them.

Georgia: A lovely outgoing almost 60 gal. Time hasn't seemed to catch up to her yet.

Our Hero; Zipped by 60 without any trouble. He seems to be ailing though.
I'd just like to have a day where I can walk without pain. That's all.

Well, if it's not one thing, it's the same thing. And the cost of it ... Jeesh. And the doctors don't care. Well ... I could go on forever.

Our Hero
I hear ya, both. It's few and far between the older you get. But I guess if we hadn't have used it up we'd have little to talk about, yes?

Well said. No sense whining about it. Get up, deal with it and move forward. That's my view.
Georgia pulls Our Hero to the side and out of earshot of the group.
I have to laugh when you go along with them like that. I don't get it.
She gives him a tight hug.
I'm rivaling Niagara Falls right now thinking about last night. And I can tell I could hang a porch swing off what your poking me with, boy. Why play the decrepit act? I'd be bragging.
Our Hero
Well ... you never know when we're going to join them. It's all blind luck I think. If I was them the last thing I'd want to hear is details of how we spend our evenings. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't remind me, darlin'. I'm getting forgetful in my old age....
Georgia and Our Hero sneak away while the group continues their discussion.
Old Man
I'd like to say I never did grow old. So, I will. I never did grow old. At least that's how it plays out in my mind.

Fade out

The End


The topic this week will again be one of a personal nature--health concerns, healthcare you have had. Doesn't have to be a deep topic, something like having your tonsils out is fine. Good luck and have fun.

Still with the play thing. I'm experimenting, so whatever input you have is appreciated. I don't really know what I'm doing. I have what it might look like in mind, but then it slips my mind too and I start just writing prose I think sometimes. Sooooo, whatever you point out will help. It's certainly a different way to write. :))

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