One Shift Ends.

September 8, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Posted in writing | 17 Comments
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The silly old coot is hammering the wrong buzzer again, she thinks. She had explained to him at least twenty times that the white button delivers more morphine and her buzzer was the red one but either he didn’t care or couldn’t tell the difference any more. By the time she arrived at his bedside he had fallen asleep again. This one always falls asleep with his right hand wrapped around his penis. At first she had thought it was funny seeing as the ugly grey lump couldn’t have worked for at least a decade. Now it seemed so sad to her, less like he was trying to pleasure himself and more like he was trying to protect it from something in his dream.

She checked the monitor and there was the familiar peak of activity just before he had pushed the buzzer. It was reassuring. He had stopped speaking nearly two weeks ago and the occassional blip on the screen was the only sign of anything at all happening inside of him. Apart from the constant buzzing of course. She adjusted the line from the morphine drip which had become tangled in the blanket. Her feet were aching. It was near the end of her shift and she should be looking forward to going home but the lonely empty apartment held its own horrors. She looked down at the shrivelled dribbling husk in the bed and just for one moment felt an urge to climb into the bed with him and curl herself up into some shared dream of morpheus. The urge faded and folded into some lines of poetry she had read so long ago,

“There is no ceiling and no sky
No calming words nor lullaby
This is not dream nor mystery
A passing scene wherein we lie.”


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  1. Obviously these last three pieces are all part of one bigger one, I have discovered today.

  2. it feels so much like me, i just got home from a day’s shift and… i was just like that. *shudders*
    Uhoh, not shudders again, sorry Aefiel.

  3. I think “Quasimodo” is dreaming the “palatial surroundings” while “his right hand is wrapped around his penis” to protect it from the “sly vixen”…when the watcher “felt an urge” to sneak into his dream “some sweet melody reappeared on his lips” he smiled till her shift was over…

    And I still smile Paul…Your mind is a wonderland!
    Ahh, you mind is quicker and clevererer than mine, Hayat, putting all those together, I was just throwing the pieces up in the air and hoping they would land somewhere. That is a very cool jigsawing,

  4. It is quite profound when you read the trilogy again as I have. It all comes together to make perfect 3d views. It is also a showcase for your diversity – the slam style of the first with apparently no regard for rules, the beauty in the second with movement, sound and exceptional romance, finishing with the exacting words and pitch of the close. Excellent.
    Thankyou Mary P.

  5. Wow, I disappear for a bit and come back to MORE brilliance?! These pieces are amazing Paul. Hayat is right, your brain really is a wonderland.
    Thanks, Simonne. You have been trouble making in reviewer land, woohoo,

  6. damn, it is as if you have peried thru a crystal ball
    into my future
    Tagged writing as time travel, haha. Could be either of us, I fear, Oz.

  7. Thanks for the visiting my blog and for the kind comment. Your blog is very original and interesting I will be coming back!
    Cool. We will be bumping into each other often, I think. Your blog rocks too.

  8. unforgettable-amazingly deep and yet lightfilled gingatao
    Thankyou Tipota,

  9. i wondered if an earlier piece was part of these three also – ‘if i was’ – it felt that way to me.

    this made me laugh and yet it was touching – sweet.

    Thanks Sarah, I guess ‘if I was’ could fit in there too. It might need another connecticon, we’ll see.

  10. A fascinating and ultimately beautiful trilogy, Paul. Looking forward to the next instalment. No pressure of course. 🙂
    Haha, thanks Brad. I’ve got no idea where I’m going as usual,

  11. A short piece and yet you’ve managed to succinctly convey a complete change of attitude. I think I might direct others to your site.
    Hello, thankyou for your visit and comment. Bring friends, the more the merrier, it’s always a party round here.

  12. Since everyone here took the high road here I, of course, refuse to…rotflmao

    My favorite part:

    “This one always falls asleep with his right hand wrapped around his penis. At first she had thought it was funny seeing as the ugly grey lump couldn’t have worked for at least a decade. Now it seemed so sad to her, less like he was trying to pleasure himself and more like he was trying to protect it from something in his dream.”
    Helloooo my queen, you are back. How’s the hangover? By the sound of the laughing you are still happy which makes me happy,

  13. I love what Mary P. said about your work- 3d indeed. The overlap creates a sense of space, almost a dimension, I’ve seen you do this before it’s brilliant. But lately I’ve walked away from your blog with the urge to give foot massages I don’t know why 😉
    Thankyou, Harmonie. I don’t know why either, how odd. Especially in your condition, you should be receiving foot massages rather then giving. You are wonderful,

  14. Beautiful and poignant, very real, very well observed, or imagined. Nice work, Paul.
    Thanks, Rick.

  15. you describe this scene perfectly. i love the blips of activity things and the lonely apartment part especially.

  16. Big Fat Note for you Squires. The context determines the result. Why do minor chords sound so sad. Well you read that same stanza in two different contexts and the tone while still a minor chord is completely different. So a harmonic is coming through. The eye travels faster than the brain and all six senses operate at slightly different speeds of processing. So by the time they get the sense of smell the eye is picking up words of actions or adjectives which might reference the visual which is much quicker, hahahahahaha, they all think you’re mad because in their hearts they cannot accept the reality of nonlinear time.

  17. i think of time as a coiled spring. press down and time connects. the trick is to know how to press down with just the right pressure in just the right spot to get what you want–when you think you want it

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