THE WINNER

Posted: April 19, 2015 in Chat

A city hospital; on the fifth floor, the room near the corner of the building had its blinds drawn.

The muted light was made even more solemn with the sound of smothered sniffling, quiet movements of clothes. All the remaining family members of a wealthy old man had gathered at his bed side. This was his last request, being rather stuck in his ways, and those ways being of a rather old fashioned, wealthy gentleman. Olaf sat painfully on a hospital chair; Marcus was still in his military fatigues; Thomas stood between two prison officers.
Only Karen was not there. Karen had the job she had dreamed of, and was wholly unaware of that hospital room’s dramas.

The old man, a centenarian, lay in the pristine bed, his dusty-blue and textured dressing gown slightly gaping at the neck and chest. The doctor has just left the room.
All was quiet for moment, and then the man began to emit a crackling sound. All were horrified. Death is, after all, an unseemly and unpleasant episode; better left unknown.
The crackling resolved itself into a chuckling, it was a breathy sound; this developed into a full-throated laugh, so that the man’s frail body seemed wracked with it.

The priest, brought in to administer the last rites, was aghast: ‘Remember where you are!’ he admonished. ‘You stand on the very doorstep of the Almighty’s hall of judgement. This is no time for mirth!’

‘It is true, that is where I stand,’ chuckled the old man, ‘ and around me I see the spectral shapes of spirits, spirits of all the cancers, and that one there is the spirit of a stroke, there of dementia; and there in the corner is it… paralysis?’
‘It puts me in mind,’ he continued, ‘ of all the wars I have lived through, of all the serial killers I have lived amongst, of all the car crashes, plane crashes… of all the fatal accidents in all the world.
And they have all missed me!

Here I am, dying a natural death, from old age.’

‘I won! I won!’

But what he didn’t know, was that he had been given by mistake the wrong dose of a wrong medication; and that what he thought was his dying moment of illumination, was in fact the on-set of a bout of prolonged and agonising pain ,that would, after several days, eventually see him out in a most unseemly manner.

The priest, of course, would interpret this differently; as would the different members of the family gathered, presupposing dire guilty secrets, terrible behaviour, from a head-strong and demanding life.

Even the administrator of the medicine would continue unaware of the error in dosage.

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