One Blink for Yes

By on Apr 13, 2010 in Fiction

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Eye blinking with doctors
Canwell House was just the beginning.  Attached to a huge teaching hospital, the complex was like a small city. Now, I passed unseen through its floors, hallways and rooms.  I watched babies enter the world, open-heart surgery, crises in the ER, including deaths. The latter interested me acutely.  Occasionally, departing spirits noticed me, but mostly they did not.  I spied interns having sex in empty beds, maintenance men sipping booze on the job, employees stealing supplies and worse.      

Recently, just after five in the morning, I headed back to Canwell from the main hospital.  Just as I entered my own floor, I decided to examine a certain room I’d not yet investigated and passed through the closed door to the inside.  The room contained cupboards of pharmaceuticals and standing in it, his hand in the cookie jar, was the head of neurosurgery, Dr. Stephen Matucci.

It is doubtful that the doctor would be obtaining drugs for patients — nurses handle that.  No, the man was taking them for himself.  He shook out tablets from a large bottle and popped them into his mouth.  I zoomed in on the label: “Diazepam  10 mg.”    And Dr. Matucci had taken two!     

Recalling my experimental days as a student, I recognized this as Valium, and 20 mg is a high dose.  I saw the doctor empty out a handful into his jacket pocket, then watched him move to other bottles.

A buzzer in the distance frightened me. It could be coming from my bed, so I snapped back into my body.  The nightshift nurse was just entering my room.  I opened my eyes, pretending to have just awakened, but my mind was still on the drug-addict neurosurgeon.

The pulmonary therapist arrives at 10.  “You’re a little congested,” she remarks.  She is followed by the new PT, the ex-Marine Rosa had promised.
“I’m Mike Weaver,” he says.  He is, as one might expect, muscular, tattooed and tough looking, with a light-brown buzz cut.

Mike doesn’t talk much but is strong and gentle as he lifts and moves me about.  Though I can feel nothing, I somehow envision my blood flowing better under his capable, kneading fingers.  He is part masseur, part puppeteer.

Rosa strolls into the room.  It so happens that she and Mike are in my view.  I watch her take in the man, and see several expressions flit over her face.  Later, she tells me that Mike’s closest friend in the Marines was injured when his jeep hit a land mine and is paralyzed just like me.

That night, I am up and out.  It’s Dr. Matucci who haunts me.  The man operates on brains!   In  seconds, I take myself to the directory in the main hospital and locate his office on the third floor.
Envisioning myself “there” is a trick I recently accomplished.   On my seventieth or eightieth attempt, when in utter frustration, I’d jokingly imagined myself in Mexico, I, suddenly and extremely disconcertingly, found myself in the center of an unidentified, south-of-the-border town square.  Overhead was a lustrous moon.  Terrified, I immediately shot back to my body.   My heart had pounded, bringing a nurse running.  She found nothing amiss, but I understood I would have to go slowly and carefully with long distance out-of-body experiences.  The whole world was out there to discover, and I certainly hoped to do it.

For now, however, I direct myself to the headquarters of Dr. Matucci.  The doctor should be home in bed, but I’m looking for his surgery roster.  There’s no light in his office, but my astral vision is different.  Objects in the environment emit a dull light of their own, and I’m able to see folders on the doctor’s desk.  Of course, I cannot open anything; my hand passes through all solid objects. And though the computer is on, it is safely in sleep mode.  I have not used a computer for years anyway, even if I could move the keys.
Suddenly, though, it is just after 3 a.m. The door opens, and in walks a haggard-looking Matucci. He flicks on the light and presses in a number on his cell phone.  “Schmidt,” he says sharply.  “Is she prepped?  Good. I’ll be up in a while.”   Then, he opens a desk drawer and pulls out a flask, from which he takes a long slug.
I whiz to the operating rooms and eventually locate what I hope is the schedule for the day.  Matucci is listed at four-fifteen.  The patient is Mary Stergen.  Instantly, I return to his office.  The doctor is weeping.  He rolls his head back and moans, “I’m a fucking mess, a goddamn mess.  My father was right; they’re all right!”  He unlocks a drawer and pulls out an envelope, from which he takes two white tablets and swallows them dry.  Matucci  appears to be experiencing a nervous breakdown.
I am beside myself.  It’s the first time I’ve felt extreme emotion during an OBE,  almost panic.  I have to do something to stop this man from operating and possibly killing this Mary Stergen.  What is Matucci’s rate of medical error?  Does he have malpractice suits against him?  If not, it’s only a matter of time.

But even if I were in a living, moving physical body, what authority or effect could I have over the head of neurosurgery of Truman General?

What if I were to materialize?  Would I appear to Matucci as a ghost?   But how does one perform a materialization?  I remember Monroe mentioning it, but not the details.  Though it may accomplish nothing, I have to do it.

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Margaret Karmazin’s credits include 140 stories published in literary and national magazines, including Rosebud, Chrysalis Reader, North Atlantic Review, Mobius, Confrontation, Pennsylvania Review and Another Realm. Her stories in The MacGuffin, Eureka Literary Magazine, Licking River Review and Words of Wisdom were nominated for Pushcart awards. Her story, "The Manly Thing," was nominated for the 2010 Million Writers Award. She has had stories included in Still Going Strong, Ten Twisted Tales, Pieces of Eight (Autism Acceptance), Zero Gravity, Cover of Darkness and M-Brane Sci-Fi Quarterlies #2 and #4, and a novel, Replacing Fiona, published by