Just Super.


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15. Hospital.

 

 

While attempting to remove a bandage that had stuck t his burnt skin in his 10b hospital room at Porkbelly Scott was having trouble concentrating.

“7 – block out pain,” he said to himself.

“7-block out pain,” he repeated. “7-Block out pain.”

“Shut your trap or I’m going to come over there and shut it for you,” moaned Harold in the bed next to him, who was in no state to shut anybody’s trap due to the heart attack he’d suffered the week before.

“7-Block out pain,” he whispered.

“I can still hear you.” His roommate whined.

“7-block out pain,” mouthed Scott.

“Don’t make me call the nurses again.”

“I didn’t say a thing,”

“But you were thinking it, I know you were.”

“Whatever…” While he’d imagined himself jumping roof to roof battling bad guys and breaking windows in the name of humanity he knew he’d have a harder time justifying his actions if he remembered people like Harold Herbert were included in humanity.

“Sorry to interrupt your chat gentleman,” said senior doctor Fred Maverick, striding into the room while junior doctor Paul Whit[1] scuttled along beside him. “Back again Mr Bradford?” said doctor Fred, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, I was using a lighter and then I tripped and my shirt caught fire.” Scott said by way of explanation. The doctors made him uncomfortable and he didn’t like the way doctor Paul’s beady little eyes didn’t leave him for a second

“Well you did the right thing,” said doctor Fred, “Dousing it in fluid.”

“Yeah,” Scott sniffed, “To bad it was cooking oil and not water.” The sound of muffled laughter came from the other bed in the room.

“Right, and then of course it caught the carpet on fire.”

“I knew not to mix water and oil though, I saw that on a fire station leaflet.”

“Right, so instead?”

“I rolled on the burning carpet.”

“And that put it out did it?”

“You betcha.”

“Well Mr Bradford,” The doctor said, slightly amazed, “Other then congratulating you on not dying,” he looked at junior Paul, “We’ve come to tell you that you’re free to go.”

“Awesome,” Scott said, grabbing his healing creams and bag of Lycra with his un-burnt hand.

“There’s j-just one thing,” Junior Paul interrupted, a pleasured look in his eye. “You w-won’t be able t-to go home t-today.”

“And why’s that?” Scott said, looking at Doctor Fred.

“Yes,” Fred nodded, flicking himself on the back of his hand, “I almost forgot, you’re not allowed to go home because of all the toxins released when the carpet was burnt. The doors have been left open but you’ll have to stay somewhere else for the next few days.”

“Somewhere else?” Scott repeated, he didn’t like the idea of staying somewhere else, it might affect his preparations to become a superhero.

“Yes somewhere else, didn’t you hear him the first time?” snarky Harold said.

“Okay, whatever, I’ll text my friends.”

Scott snatched up his bag and left the room, as he waited in reception he worked through his options; Gorgy will take me no doubt, but he’s been kind of angry about the whole superhero thing. I might not make any progress if I go there.

He called Al, after three clicks the phone was picked up, “Al speaking.”

“Hey man, still at Walmart?”

“If you looked at the time you’d see it’s lunchbreak now.”

“What are you doing later?”

“Well…” Scott could hear the reluctance and assumed it was gaming, for some reason Al didn’t like talking about what his team was up to on World of Warcraft or Name of the Wind. “I’m probably on the computer,” Al whispered, as if he was giving too much away.

“Can I stay for a few nights?”

“Why?”

“Because I’m your friend and my house nearly burnt down so it’s got to air out for a few days.”

Al paused and for a moment Scott thought he might say yes, but things were difficult with Al. “My family have quite a few mouths to feed…” Al explained, “I don’t know if my parents would be able to support one more.”

Scott rolled his eyes, “Look I’m only going to be there a few days, just till my house doesn’t reek of smoke.”

“We’d have to find room for you, and I’m going to be up late most nights. There might also be the issue of……probable circumstance…”

Scott ended the call as Al started going into his vast vocabulary of fancy terms. He knew from experience how stingy Al was about doing anything for other people. Instead he called Josie, who answered on the first ring.

“Hey Scott,” she said breathlessly.

“Are you at the Basement?”

“Yeah, just heading back.”

“What are you doing after?”

“Nothing, why?”

“Would you mind if I came to stay?”

There was silence on the other end. For a moment Scott wondered if she’d hung up.

“Josie?”

“Yeah sorry, sure it’s fine come over.”

“You don’t sound so sure.”

“No I am…” In the background he could hear the sounds clatter of cutlery and conversation as Josie passed the coffee shops that crowded the street she worked on. “It’s just you haven’t stayed for ages, I mean I’ve asked a couple of times but you’ve always been doing something.”

Scott bit his lip, maybe he was more like Al then he thought, over the past couple of months he’d managed to be attending either a superhero convention or an online meeting every time she’d asked. “Well I can’t stay at home,” he said, “I caught myself on fire and the carpets released a whole heap of toxins. So I have to find somewhere for the next few days.”

“Oh,” the volume of the  shops increased as  she held  the phone away from her ear, Scott was sure she was laughing. “That’s terrible Scott,” She said eventually, “Are you at home now or…”

“No I’m at the hospital.”

“They must be getting sick of you.”

“Yeah, one of the doctors didn’t seem all that friendly. I’ll head over to yours, shall I?”

“That’s a pretty long way to walk, I’ll drive you.”

“Don’t you have work?”

“I do, but who cares? It’s a slow Monday. Phil can cover for me.”

“Josie, I can walk.”

“I don’t care- a click sounded as she switched to speakerphone. “Hey Phil

The mumble of Phil’s monotone invaded the background noise, “Yeah?”

“Hey can you take over, it being a slow day and all?”

“Why should I?” came his blunt reply, Phil didn’t sound too pleased and Scott couldn’t help smiling as he imagined the look of mock horror on Josie’s face, “Why should you, hmm…” Her voice changed as she shifted closer to him, “Who covered when you couldn’t sober up? Who cleaned when you vomited at the staff toilet? Who made sure the management didn’t find out about you taking from the till that one time, huh?”

Scott could practically see Phil turn white, “It was just a question,” he mumbled as the phone turned away from him.

“Thanks Phil,” Josie called out sweetly, Scott heard the sound of her car starting, “Alright Scott, I’ll be there in five.”

 

[1] It’s not an emergency, and Junior doctor Paul Whit threatened to pull out of this book unless his name was written in full.Hospital

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