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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