Thursday, June 30, 2011
Written and owned by Greg Miller 2011
Chapter XXII: Larry’s Psychosis
Larry’s head wouldn’t stop pounding. He needs to drink; he wants to keep drinking. It didn’t matter if people see him drink anymore, just as long as it’s not caught on camera.
These idiots need my help. Without me they would all be dead. How did they get more ahead in their professional careers? I’m smarter, quicker and deadlier then any of them.
He looks to his left expecting to see Mary but she isn’t there.
I’m a dork, she is dead, remember? She’s like in any other female. She doesn’t care about me. No one cares for me outside my dogs and my mom.
The National Guard keeps their distance from Larry. One earlier tried cleaning his hands but he told the dude to get lost. Pixel is being disobedient. She isn’t like the other dogs in her pack. The others are in the kennel. He remade half his house to hold and train his dogs. Larry refers to all the dogs he trains as his. Deep down he thinks he connects with their spirit and loves molding to their behavior. If he could have been a dog in this life he would have been in heaven.
Why did I have to get stuck with the lame dog today? I wonder what’s happening to Zues and Apollo, they show promise. Shit, my dogs! I need to get to my dogs. Maybe if I stay with these people I will get home quicker.
Larry has seven dogs at home. His mom was supposed to feed them at noon. Nothing matters more to Larry then his dogs. He loved them more than his mother; he often gets drunk with them and passes out in their company.
I am the king of the pack. They all do what I want as if they are a living extension connected to my will. All of them expect Pixil.
Looking over he sees Pixel licking the Asian lad.
Who is this kid and why doesn’t he get lost?
Larry’s head pounds as he tries to focus beyond the headache creeping behind his temples. Crunching through the broken glass he asks the get the kid for his name. The Asian boy says something while reaching for his back pack. An African American woman in a leather jacket interrupts them with free burgers. Larry is famished and takes three. He forgets about getting the Asians name for the time being. The white man in a business suit looks crest fallen as his colleague leaves. Soon after the African American girl tells them her name is Juliet. Larry watches in disdain as he learns the white man’s name is Mike. Mike beams with excitement and pleasure when he finds out Juliet has two cheeseburgers without onions.
Look how they act. I don’t like them. Only the strong survive during times like this.
Larry tells Pixel to follow him. She doesn’t. He curses while wanting to repeatedly hit his fifth of Jack Daniels. His hand doesn’t hurt as long as he keeps drinking. The pain is a distant throb. The National Guard moves on.
Why didn’t Mary like me? Why doesn’t anyone like me? All I do is safe people and they act cold. They are all tools used by the system. I really should get my hand looked at. Why don’t I go with the people to the hospital? There’s safety in numbers. As soon as I get my hand fixed up I will get to my dogs, my pack. Maybe with some luck there will be a helicopter there.
Susan, who is not Larry’s version of hot for she is bold and direct, tells the group of a news helicopter three blocks from the hospital. She says her coworker left it there and it’s less than a mile away, he gave her its keys at the Supreme Court Building and they could use it as a backup plan. She adds, “I appreciate you saving us Larry, we can’t pick up any more people but I have enough room for all of us, especially if we do two trips to safety, one group will have to remain patient and wait half an hour. It doesn’t take long to get to Maryland. My identity can get us past what most others can’t. Where do you need to go, I got the general gust people live on the red line?” Everyone agrees while looking bewildered and grateful. Juliet and a homeless person break from the group; Juliet says she needs to get home to her family. She looks confused as she mentions her Dad works at the hospital and that she should go there first. The homeless man with one arm suggests they stick with a larger group, she agrees. Larry doesn’t care about them. They are going to head west towards Washington Hospital Center which is located at 110 Irving ST SW.
I can finally get out of here! The roads are to torn up to drive through making it pointless to hot wire a vehicle- good thing the academy teaches us cops how to combat bad guys by giving us their knowledge. If the tsunami comes we all die. This is turning out to be a shitty day. What’s the story behind the homeless man? Is that blood on his clothes? He walks as if he is ex-military.
Larry forcefully draws Pixel to him while telling the weird group he has to urinate and to hold a moment. He hears Michael ask how long it takes to walk to the hospital. The monkey in the suit whines about his dress shoes and blisters. Susan responds it’s not that far. Larry doesn’t have to urinate; he just wants to have another drink before the dangerous trek and wants a moment in silence. The sirens do not ease. Hundreds of random people quickly pass their group, all look for safety. Larry wants is to escape this shit hole and misses the West Coast.
Within minutes he is away from everyone, he steps back into Union Station. Pixel looks at him and whines, he tells her to shut up and be obedient. The earth has stopped shaking. He doesn’t know what to think about the possible threat of a tsunami destroying everything. His hands shake as he spills some of his precious alcohol over his vest as he slurps down the last of the bottle. Moment’s later calmness settles over him as he savors the texture and aroma of the last of the Jack Daniels.
This one is for you Mary from England; you could have been the one…
He throws the empty bottle against the ground, cursing his luck on Mary’s death. He walks towards the hole. Shining his light he gasps as he sees water. Water fills the lower level, everything is submerged. Something glitters, Larry looks closer. It’s nothing but some unfortunate persons watch glittering in what little light is left. Water quickly submerges the arm and watch.
He tells himself Mary is long gone.
She was arguing with me because she liked the other dudes. In the future I will be the one who gets the girl, not someone else! What does April see in Mike? She is curvy in a modest way, but nor really my type.
He doesn’t think logically as he unzips. Urinating over the broken floor he laughs while pretending he is a common thug, Pixel looks at him in confusion and whines. Not giving a damn about rationing his alcohol he whips out one of the pints of Vodka.
Looking around he sees a wine store appearing to be empty. It’s near a barber store. Darkness radiates as his pupils customize to his surreal puerperal vision. He zero’s in on his objective.
Maybe with some luck there will be something. Was that bottle of wine I saw earlier real in the wine store? It doesn’t make sense they would have something like that on stock.
Sure enough it doesn’t take him long to find something underneath the rubble. He manages to stuff three bottles of cheap wine into his jacket.
Moments later he’s back with the group. His hands aren’t shaking anymore. He thinks he hears someone whisper his name and immediately whips around.
Mother is that you? No, it almost sounded like Mary? Spooky.
He feels something pull at his awareness. Images of his dogs tearing his mother to pieces drifts into his conscious, he is Zues. He leads his pack in for the kill as she calls out Larry’s name in terror. The new random thought makes him hope she’s alright when she feeds his dogs. She better feed his dogs.
Pixel is near the Asian lad. Larry has enough of this non sense and asks the boy for his identification. He is startled when he finds out the lad is deaf. Within moments he’s looking down at a Chinese passport, the lads name is Cheung Dingbang. He is from Beijing. He tosses the passport back at Cheung who deftly plucks it as it soars near him and places it into his back pack. He tells everyone the boys name is Cheung.
They start the journey to the hospital. He feels calm but his hands and feet tingle. He keeps thinking he smells fresh fruit and roses. He puts it away from his mind, rationalizing heat exertion and dehydration mixed with alcohol is causing him to have minor delusions. The damn siren won’t stop its endless wail. His vision steadies as he decides it’s best to bring up the rear of the group. He didn’t have a problem in letting others test unstable ground.
Pixel shakes off some dust from her fur, for the first time in hours he sees her brown fur. She’s innocent in the eyes and sneezes. He’s going to have to toughen her up in the next few weeks. She’s definitely the weakest link in the pack. He doesn’t want to carry her leash. He lets her follow hoping she doesn’t run into a dangerous building trying to play hero again. Larry briefly wonders if his partner is dead. It doesn’t matter to him, he’s happy to have the man out of his hair. He’s losing the desire to be discreet with drinking but still doesn’t want Susan to catch him on camera. She seems to enjoy taking the lead so he doubts it will happen.
It would suck if I lose the opportunity in getting another job, after all life went on after California was destroyed.
A young couple runs from a building a block ahead. Larry feels a large boom followed by a wave of heat. The top half of the building in front of them explodes in all directions, the bottom half collapses as multiple floors fall on top of each other. Glass and debris knock the escaping couple as everything disappears in a new coat of dust. His group rushes in to aid the best they can. He doesn’t want to help but reluctantly follows. His carries his side arm loosely in its holster. He feels ten feet tall and invisible.
A woman wears a purple sweater and blue jeans which fits tightly to her brunette frame. She wears high heels. She screams the name Steven as she holds her beloved man’s convulsing head. He stutters his last breath before the group reaches them. She screams his name over and over. She received a few wounds from escaping the falling building. A small glass shard protrudes from her arm but doesn’t appear to be deep. Steven wasn’t as lucky. Glass and random cuts protrude from his chest. Burns wrap around his face and neck making him look like a burned out candle.
Juliet reaches for the woman and her glass shard as she takes out a small med kit. The homeless man stops her. Mike tries asking the woman her name but she looks back with confusion. She starts talking to Steven like is he still alive. Her eyes are soft brown, her hair bounces lightly around her shoulders.
Larry finds out the homeless dude is named Harry as Juliet asks him how to heal the woman.
Isn’t heal an odd term to use? This new girl is hot. She looks like she goes to the gym.
Harry tells Juliet each wound in different which equates to different treatments. Harry tells Juliet the woman has an incision wound. Juliet asks the woman if she will hold still and if they can fix her. She nods as she holds Stevens limp hand, she stops talking to him as if he is alive. She doesn’t care what’s happening around her, she only cares for the dead man near her. Larry notes a wedding ring and feels put off. He smells lavender and can’t help but feel something stir. He soon forgets about Mary.
Harry directs Juliet to first take inventory of the situation. He tells her normally a person shouldn’t mess with other people’s injuries but seeing as how no help is coming they need to improvise.
Larry watches in disbelief as Harry patiently directs Juliet how to the handle the situation. He tells her to first apply pressure on the puncture after they take the glass shard out of the girls arm. It is roughly one inch long. The injury appears to be smaller than his hand wound. The woman tells them her name is Becky. Becky and Steven are from New Hampshire. They are law students.
Harry shows Juliet how to clean the wound. Larry is startled when he sees Juliet using a fifth of Vodka to clean off some tweezers. She proceeds to use clean water from a water bottle to flush the wound. Luckily there is no glass shard imbedded in the arm to dig around for. Juliet's hand is steady. Becky talks about how she is supposed to be at a law convention at the Holiday Inn. Larry wishes he has Juliet's vodka. He takes out one of his mini vodka pints and drinks some. No one looks in his direction. When its empty he tosses it into a garbage can that stills stands upright. The garbage men did their job correctly as he hears the bottle break when it hits the bottom. Everyone pauses while looking in his directions.
Harry asks Juliet if she has antibiotic cream. She says yes while whipping out some Neosporin. He shows her how to apply it with proper bandaging. He then tells her some wounds heal better with open air but in Becky’s case she needs to keep the wound protected. Larry briefly wonders if he made a mistake in not having someone outside of Mary bandage him up.
Looking down he feels skittish as he sees his bandage and hand caked with dirt and grime. He decides to make it a priority to get his hand fixed when he gets to the hospital.
April suggests Becky come with them. Becky doesn’t want to leave her dead husband but it doesn’t take much effort to convince her as she too understands the situation. She takes off his ring, a cross on a chain and his wallet. April doesn’t need to explain the importance of traveling with them. Becky doesn’t stop crying. Before leaving she takes his non working cell phone and thanks Juliet for doing a wonderful job.
Harry concludes the lesson by telling Juliet if the puncture or wound spurts blood she would have to suture it up in the future. As a group they move on.
Larry falls in step behind the weird shuffling entourage. Susan takes the lead, followed by her cameraman and Mike. April and Chuang try to have a conversation. April obviously does not understand his hands gestures but remains polite. Pixel walks near the lad, Larry doesn’t understand why his dog connects with the Chuang and not him. He feels jealous.
Larry thinks he hears someone mutter to his left, “Pixel doesn’t like you. None of them like you.” He jumps and yells while brandishing his gun with his right hand. Everyone stops and looks back at him again. There isn’t anyone there.
He tells everyone, “I thought I saw a homeless person.” He looks deeply into the shadows and is indeed startled when no one appears.
Am I having hallucinations? Was that Mary?
Larry laughs at himself and mutters, “Your mind is playing tricks on you big boy. I have to make sure to drink a lot of water when I get home. It must be the alcohol and heat.” Pixel looks back at him. He can’t help but remember the voices message.
Is it possible she doesn’t like me? Is she going to turn on me?
Larry fantasizes what it will be like when he gets to his dogs. He is going to feed them a lot of treats and spoil them rotten. His left hand throbs and he briefly wonders why it’s not itching in a good way. If it itches it means its healing.
The current block is peaceful. Dark windows of the buildings are still intact; Larry thinks they look warm and inviting. Cars line the street as if the owners are busy working. There are no birds, no people.
Maybe nothing happened and I’m dreaming?
No, the sirens are still going. The previous block was destroyed. Looking in the distance he sees plumes of smoke. Mike brings him back to the moment when he complains about having to piss.
Larry can’t help but say loudly and with a little rudeness, “Did you ever take the moment to think we all have discomforts. Toughen up.”
Mike sputters, “Yes I did. I’m just saying this sucks. This is America and I have the right to say what I want.”
Larry bites down his almost sarcastic remark, and I have the right to arrest you.
Susan interrupts, “The van is a couple blocks this way. Let’s see if it’s still there. Maybe we can take it to the hospital. These blocks aren’t looking to bad.” Juliet agrees while trying to telling her story of Burger King. Her voice doesn’t sound bad, Larry thinks her image doesn’t fit her character, but as soon as he looks at her closely she loses any appeal. He wasn’t into the tomboyish image.
He doesn’t care what street he is on. It’s a blur, a fast cold blur. He misses California. The counselors at the police department felt sorry for him when they found out he lost all his friends and home, they diagnosed him with post stress syndrome and looked the other way when he became an alcoholic.
Who was going to mess with a cop? We can drive police cruisers with the lights on and go 90 mph and no one will ever say no or get us in trouble. I am the law. I want my Harley. I need to give it new oil.
Becky looks fragile, who was her husband?
Larry quickens his pace. No one is talking to Becky.
I wonder how females are going to fair in a post apocalyptic world. They certainly were not strong in Mad Max. Well, the one with the Mohac was, especially in the Thunder Dome. I wonder if that’s going to happen to me. My dogs will tear any one up who gets my way. I’m going to have to get more bullets and my camping gear from the garage. Maybe I can take the dogs and mom up North?
Larry examines Becky’s rear and comments not to quietly, “Hey gorgeous, you need some protection?” It didn’t come out the way he was thinking, it doesn’t sound suave.
Becky twirls around; her green eyes flash scorn and sorrow “Get away from me pig!” Tears run freely, mascara streaks to her chin.
Larry’s ego is hurt; he doesn’t see her pain. Not having a good come back he sheepishly responds, “I was just joking. This group needs some humor.”
April walks to Becky and puts her arms around the slim law student. Becky proceeds to cry. Mike looks at Larry quizzically.
Larry looks back at him and without flinching says, “You should watch where you’re going. All those blisters on your feet can lead to the death of you.” He feels like an Alpha as Mike quickly turns around. Susan and the camera man are out of hearing distance.
Not expecting and more drama he’s surprised when Juliet pipes, “Can’t you see the woman lost her husband? What’s wrong with you?”
Who does this girl think she is talking too? I just saved her life. She should be throwing herself at me.
He tries to gaining her respect by looking menacing. Harry is instantly by her side. His gaze drills into Larry. For the second time today he feels fear creep in. Harries eye’s seem to scan Larry’s soul. He can’t break eye contact. Larry feels dirty and unworthy. He wants to reach for his gun.
Chuang, darts in between them with Pixel. The spell is broken and everything takes on real time. Larry feels relief as he finds himself moving forward. He reaches for Pixels collar and roughly reins her in. His left hand still throbs. His migraine is back full swing and he no longer feels the ambiance of the alcohol. Not giving a damn what they think he takes out a bottle of wine. He lets go of Pixels leash. She happily runs back to Chuang.
I hate these people. Why don’t they show respect and appreciation? I need to get home as soon as I get my hand fixed at the hospital. This is turning to be a poor day after all.
Larry whistles it’s the end of the world as we know it… Susan excitedly tells them the van in down the block.
They walked many blocks and saw many people in the last thirty minutes. There wasn’t anyone threatening or shooting at them. He knows most crime would be occurring near the green line. The south eastern districts are a little more poor which makes them much more dangerous. Surprisingly no one requests their help.
It’s the whisper again, “Why don’t you take what you want? You are the strongest.” Larry twirls around thinking someone is playing tricks with him. No one is there.
“Who is there? Who is talking to me?” Everyone pauses a third time.
Juliet answers, “No one is talking to you. What are you talking about?”
April rudely follows Juliet’s statement with, “Maybe you should lay off the alcohol.” Larry huffs and puffs, he refuses to acknowledge their disrespect. He gulps down the remaining bottle of wine and throws the bottle back down the block they walked. The glass shatters on something, the echo sounds insanely loud. Everyone is still looking at him. Susan and the cameraman share a look; he feels anger as he realizes they think he is being ridiculous.
Why are they treating me like this? I saved them and now I am a creep?
It doesn’t cross his mind to simply walk off. He wants to go home.
His dogs are his gods, are maybe I am the god of dogs?
Larry laughs at the irony and takes comfort in the fact he has a badge and a gun. Larry is Alpha. Like the voice whispered, I can take what I want when I want. I just have to make sure order is really gone before I do things my way.
He forgets what street he is on. He doesn’t recognize any of the buildings. He’s never been to this part of Washington DC and never had a reason to go to a hospital. If the tsunami comes while they are in DC they all die. The van looks like it can only hold up to six.
Mike reflects his thoughts as he says, “Half of us can take the van and the others are going to have to walk on foot. Juliet instantly says she doesn’t need a van and trots off. Harry says bye and follows her. Becky wants to go with them and says bye to April. Larry decides he wants to follow Becky for a time.
Becky has a nice ass and might need protecting. If something happens to her and if I save her she will throw herself at me.
Chuang, like a lost puppy, follows Larry. Larry doesn’t care. That leaves Mike, April, Susan and the cameraman to try the van.
Larry is happy to be done with Mike. Looking towards Mike he quickens his pace and whispers for no one else to hear. With as much scorn as he can muster he says, “You’re a sissy. Toughen up and take care of your wife.” Mike’s response reminds Larry of the nerdy kids he picked on in high school.
What’s wrong with me? I really love making people feel self conscious and inferior.
He hurriedly catches up with the other group. He can’t but help check out Becky’s rear. Harry steps in between them with Chuang and Pixel. Larry takes out another bottle of wine; thankfully they have loose metal spin caps. Juliet quickens the groups pace as she excitedly heads towards the hospital. She tells everyone her Dad works there.
Why is a homeless man with us? What’s his story and why is he not acting like the other homeless people I see? Why am I labeling and stereotyping all homeless people? Many are good people who are simply shit out of luck for the moment.
It doesn’t matter what Larry’s conscience says, the alcohol does a wonderful job in dampening his compassion, he revels in being judgmental and critical. He is out of patience.
Julie’s voice cuts into his inner reflections; he doesn’t care what she says but still registers the information. He picks up the last part of her conversation with Harry.
“My dad is a janitor. Back in 1958 three specialty hospitals decided to become one big hospital. My dad works for MedStar Health. He’s supposed to be working a swing shift; he wants to buy a new car.” Larry picks up a tone in her voice. In front of him looms the city hospital, crowds of thousands of people swarm the front entrance, they easily span a block. A group of officers regulate a line leading into the hospital. Civilian vehicles block the entrance making it impossible to navigate. Larry sees a few nurse aids evaluating injuries as they direct the more serious to the line. A few orderly individuals try to get their attention but are ignored.
The American flag stands near the entrance; it’s not blowing in the wind which annoys Larry. He thinks it should be a still image of the flag drifting in the wind; he very much enjoys still shots such as that. When he was in high school he paid extra money on the year book to get his picture taken in front of the American flag. He really wanted to dress up as a major in the military but the high school said no to that.
Larry decided enough is enough. The group stalls near the rear of the crowd. Larry orders Pixel to follow him and proceeds to roughly pass through the idle crowd.
I am a cop and I have the right of way.
He catches the attention of a nurse aid. Immediately the aid directs him to the entrance and the crowd parts. Just like that he passes the masses. He tells himself it’s time to get his hand fixed and then to go home to be with his mom and dogs.