Wednesday, August 21, 2013

the bottom fell out

Emergency crews were already at work by the time Aesop got out on the street. They got one look at his blood-crusted and swollen face and tattered clothes and they wrapped a blanket around him and tossed him in the back of an ambulance.
At least I think I know where we're going this time, he thought as he realized it was the second day in a row he'd been put in the back of cube van under wrong assumptions about his identity. Still, it was probably not the worst idea to get his face looked at. It would be a real comedy of errors if not for all the violence. He wondered if it would end, as all Shakespearean comedies do, with a wedding.
At St. Paul's Hospital his wounds were cleaned and some of them sutured and he was told to sit in the salmon-coloured waiting room to be interviewed by police.
Aesop discovered with some pleasure that the pocketbook edition of Maigret & the Bum he kept in his blazer had miraculously survived the kidnapping, the beatings, the explosions and the aftermath. It was as if the sports coat had given its life to protect it. How would he ever replace it? He looked up in despair just in time to see a smokey-eyed nurse smother an equal made-up patient with a pillow on some daytime soap on the waiting room TV.
"Bad timing," he said out loud.
"You say something about a timer?" asked a uniformed cop who stepped between Aesop and the ceiling-mounted TV, eclipsing Aesop's entire field of vision.

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