The Womanless Man, Continued, 6

12 Feb

The Womanless Man

Continued, 6

L. Stewart Marsden

 

Go to previous installment …

Go to story beginning . . . 

* * * * *

“Hey, jackass! You gonna sleep all day again?” 

He cracked open his eyes. A grinning, bald, fu Manchued Mr. Clean sat at the side of the bed, his face inches from Stew’s.

“Brent.”

“Live and in person! Damn, Stubie, you scared the shit out of me!”

“That was not my intent. What happened?”

“What happened? You saved my fucking life, that’s what happened!”

“That also was not my intent,” Stew grinned.

“Coulda fooled me. So I guess I owe you another deer hunt — after you’ve recovered, of course.”

“No more hunting. Tell me — what really happened?”

“It was the damnedest thing! There we were, both of us facing this large as shit bear. You had the flashlight in his eyes, and I had a bead on him with the rifle. He looked back and forth at us, and I honest-to-god thought he would run — but he didn’t. He charged — straight at me! So I’m thinking, shit, no pussy tonight for me, and all of a sudden you jumped between us, clubbing the bear in the head with your damn flashlight!

“Well the bear grabbed you and threw you to the ground like you were a tin can, then jumped on you with all his weight. You musta passed out right away. He was swiping at you with those huge paws, and biting into your side and arm and leg! I figured you were a goner.

“But I managed to fire my rifle at him.”

“You killed him?”

“Naw! I was afraid of hitting you — though I did think for a moment one in the head would take you out of your misery.”

“In my head?”

“So I clipped him in the ear and he stopped working on you. This all happened in a matter of seconds! I guess the pain in his ear and the sound of the gun finally got through to the bear, and he hightailed it into the woods.”

“So you didn’t kill him.”

“No, Stubie, I didn’t kill him. So I grabbed my cellphone and dialed 9-1-1. Did you know they can locate you with GPS when you call 9-1-1? Anyway, they were able to send a rescue chopper out here based on that, and about an hour later you were in one of those rescue beds and they pulled up into the chopper. That was amazing! I even got to ride in it! Goddamn best hunt I’ve ever been on! Of course I had to leave the buck there, and when I finally got back to the site, there wasn’t much left of him.

“Man, you were a mess! The bear broke your thigh, and swiped through your spleen. You had claw and teeth marks everywhere! And don’t worry, I took plenty of pics with my cellphone. God you looked like shit! As bad or worse than Shark Week! Which of course in your case is an improvement!

“And you have been all over the news — even hit the national evening news. Wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t do some special kind of news report or documentary! You’re a celebrity! And man, the girls love that sort of thing.”

“Love what sort of thing?”asked Simone as she carried in a lunch tray and set it on the bed table.

“Well — a hero! Especially one that’s been beat up like Stubie here? What’s your name again, Honey?”

“Simone.”

“You married?”

“No.”

“Got a steady?”

She looked at Stew.

“He always this brash?”

“Always.”

“I don’t apologize for wanting to make the most out of life, Simone. And since the most of my life is in my past, I don’t have much time to waste, either.”

“I am married to my work, then.”

“Poor girl. Let me give you my phone number if you ever want to do something besides change Stubie’s bed pan!”

“That’s okay.” She rolled the table close to Stew, and adjusted his table more upright. “The doctor says it’s time to try some solid food.”

“Ugh! That’s food?” said Brent.

“Actually, it doesn’t smell half bad,” said Stew.

“Which half?”

“And depending how you do over the next few days, he’s going to release you to home. You have anyone there to help you out?”

“My dog.”

“Well, I’ll have the social worker visit and get some more information. You might qualify for temporary in home care. Hope so.”

“You can come and give me in home care anytime, Simone,” blurted Bert. She ignored him, wrote something on Stew’s chart, and left the room.

“Now there’s a possibility, Stubie! She is one well put together nurse! And, she’s not married! I bet she’s not even got a boyfriend.”

“So you go after her.”

“I’ve got a girlfriend.”

“That never stopped you before.”

“Yeah, but I can’t keep this pace up forever. And I’m a generous man and don’t want to hog all the good ones. Share the wealth, I say.”

“You’re a socialist?”

“Shut up. I like you, and thought I’d take pity on you — especially since you offered yourself up to the bear to save me. The least I can do.”

“I’m underwhelmed by your gratitude.”

“How’s that breakfast?”

“It’s amazing what they can do with powdered eggs and watered-down gravy these days.”

Brent grabbed a spoon from the table and scooped up a spoonful of grits and gravy, which he slurped down, spilling some on his fu Manchu.

“Say! Not bad! I might just have to fake a coronary sos I can come see Simone and have some more of this exquisite cuisine!”

“I’m surprised you even know those words.”

“I’m telling you, Stubie — you gotta link up with Simone. I have a good feeling about her.”

“Not gonna happen … wouldn’t be prudent,” he replied in his best Bush, Sr. voice. “I’m done making the lives of women miserable. It will never happen again.”

“You know what they say, Buddy …”

“I’m afraid to ask.”

“Never say never!”

* * *

Continued …

 

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