Book of Brennan 2: Update

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Nick Brennan has spent the last six months dealing with his diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.

Submitted: September 12, 2018

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Submitted: September 12, 2018

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Ever since I could remember, the one image I had in my mind of a professional writer was of an older man with a battered notebook and a pencil. Someone like a Steinbeck or a Hemingway, traveling the world in search of adventure. Documenting the joys of life and the pain and downright cruelty of it. Those images evoked a simplicity that I had always longed to achieve but always came up short some how. After almost 30 years the thought that I would have had it down by now had crossed my mind. We do learn something new everyday.t


It had been almost six months since I was diagnosed with Parkinson's. March to be exact. I can remember the day. Sitting in the office with the specialist, watching her face as she explained everything to me. The feeling of loss and shock pouring through my body. My heart stopping and slowly starting up again as I was gaining my bearings. Not a day went by that I didn't think about my life before the big reveal. Now my life is more regulated and grounded. I am home a lot more. I don't travel as much and Jenny Mintz is always right by my side in case something has happened. 

Supposedly the rule is that it is always good to have friends and family around you. Well it wasn't that way with my family. 

I called my mother in McCall. 

"Nick, I am so sorry." My mother said. Trying to talk through her sobs was hard. When my stepfather Carl Lindstrom came on the phone all I got was the most trivial and pointless greeting of my life.

"Sorry about your damn luck." Carl said.

There was a reason why I didn't talk to them at all.

My sisters sent their support. Janice had her family in Boise but offered to head to Washington if I needed her too. Lindsay stayed on the phone with me for hours. I assured her that I was fine. She told me that I was lying and that she could still beat me up just like we were kids. Having flashbacks in my mind of those times, I decided to leave it well enough alone. Once I got the family I called, I called my group of friends. That was tougher to handle than the calls to the family.

It would be pretty fair to say that my friends are not for the faint of heart. I tried to tell them as calmly as possible. I felt like I had succeeded on my part. However, what I didn't expect where the reactions.

First on my list was my oldest friend. Lucas Coleman was a legend in Ridgeview. A very popular DJ, he was on local radio for almost 25 years before the station let him go. Afterwards he joined me and my business partner Harlan Sinclair in our online entertainment company. Now he was the host of a very popular show online. I happened to catch him at home, just finishing up a show. 

"Nick, life does hold no greater pleasure than a call from an old friend," Lucas said.

I shook my head.

"How are you?" I asked.

"I can't complain, already up to show 75. Doing a profile of Dion and the Belmonts. Greatest Doo Wop group of all time. Of course, Dion going solo wasn't that bad either. I'll have to play the show for you sometime." Lucas said.

"Hey that works," I said. "I need to tell you something."

"I always wanted a little brother. I can handle a sister too. I don't know. Just so happy for you and Jenny," Lucas said.

"Wish it were good news," I said. "About six months ago I went to see a specialist in Portland. I got a hell of a lot of bad news. I've got Parkinson's." I said.

There was a long silence.

"Damn. Just damn. I am sorry Nick. Anything I can do, I am there. Jesus. It sucks. Damn this is harsh. How is Jenny? Son of a bitch." Lucas said.

"Jenny is fine," I said. "I have good days and I have bad days. I just wanted you to know that I am still here and am alright."

'Well, that is good. I would hate for you to leave us." Lucas said.

"Me too," I said. "I'll see you soon."

We hung up. I took a deep breath. It was a good day. The first one in almost three months. Movements were affected in ways I couldn't even begin to imagine at first. Now it seemed normal. Steps were shorter, sitting in a chair was impossible, my left hand had a noticeable tremor. Jenny was there for me when she wasn't teaching at Ridgeview High. I had made the decision to hire an assistant to take care of all my professional matters. More often then not, professional became personal.

Joyce Stiles was a college student over at Johnson University. She was a 27 year old Journalism major who wanted to be on TV badly. I didn't blame her. Good looking woman with dark black hair and green eyes. Networks loved exotic and mysterious looking women. I had Jenny place the ad and two days later, Joyce came and interviewed with me. At first we had the obligatory star struck conversation, afterwards that settled down. I told her what the job entailed and she was eager to make it work. 

So far, it was going great. While I was making phone calls to my friends, Joyce was at the store getting a few things for me. A couple of notebooks and a box of ballpoint pens. I hadn't really been able to do some writing for a while and the feeling came over me that it was time to try and see if I could still get some writing done or not. Plus if all else had failed, I could always get Joyce to work on some writing for her classes.

I had tried to call Liz Howley but all I got was her voicemail.

"Hey, it's Nick. Just wanted to let you know that I had some news. Give me a call." I said.

I hung up the phone and tried to get up from the chair. The pain was pretty harsh. It was as though you were lifting the heaviest weight imaginable and you yourself weighed about 60 lbs. 15 minutes of this struggle occurred when I finally got up from the chair and walked over to the kitchen. As I was going to get a glass of water, I heard the phone ring.

I grabbed the phone and placed it on speaker. 

"Hello,"y

"Nick, what the hell is wrong with you?"

"Michelle, it is always nice to hear from you." I said.

"Don't give me any of that. Why didn't you tell me? I am a nurse. In fact, I am your nurse," Michelle said.

Michelle Dallmer was a nurse at St. Lucia's. She was Chris Messner's ex girlfriend and an one night stand of mine. We had known each other since high school. Michelle was one of the strongest personalities I had ever known. In a town like Ridgeview, nothing ever happened that Michelle Dallmer didn't know about. Even when someone had a diagnosis like mine.

"Technically, that was a long time ago. Second I wasn't ready to tell people yet. After all, I am kind of well known around the world. I was taking my time and trying to establish a routine when it came to this. I have good days and bad days. Michelle, I am fine right now." I said.

"What are you taking?" Michelle asked.

"Levodopa," I said. "They want me to take more but I can't pronounce what the hell their names are." 

"That is probably the best for Parkinson's," Michelle said. 

"That is what they tell me." I said.

"Would you take care?" Michelle asked.

"I would be a fool not too." I said.

Michelle laughed and hung up the phone. I got my glass of water and headed back to the living room. I found a record laying on the table and put it into the player. An old school Joe Ely record. I put it on and just tried to walk around the house. My body was feeling stiff. Must have walked about 5 times around the house when I heard the front door opened. 

Joyce had walked in with Jenny. They were laughing as they were walking in. I tried to walk towards them. Worst part of having Parkinson's is walking. 5 feet seemed like 5 miles. The steps were shorter, the breathing was heavier. It made life unbearable sometimes. I just couldn't believe that this was happening to me. I made my peace with it but there were days that were more gloom and doom than anything. I would refuse to get out of bed and if I had to, it was with a huge reluctance on my part. Letting the sadness take over was the main thing I would do. Work wouldn't get done, appearances were cancelled and people were becoming more and more upset with me. There was a part of me that had the thought of letting people know sooner about this. I figured that I would tell them this on my terms. 

Today was the start of that.

"Well what are you doing?" Jenny asked.

"Trying to find my dancing shoes," I said. "Can't seem to find the damn things."

"I can't see you as a dancer," Joyce said. 

"I've got a pair of glasses on the desk for you," I said.

"Someone feels funny," Jenny said.

"Just the usual life altering disease. Oh, the two bowls of Ice Cream too." I said.

"Vanilla?" Jenny asked.

"Of course," I said.

"My guy is always the exciting one," Jenny said.

It was harder to make movements with my body. Smiling was right there too. I couldn't smile as easily as I once could. It was rather humorous though.

"I got your notebooks and pens," Joyce said.

"This is why you earn the big bucks," I said.

"What are you gonna do?" Jenny asked.

"Well if you and Joyce are up for it, I was thinking that I would let you help me write my last works." I said.

Joyce and Jenny stood in silence for a minute.

"What do you mean?" Jenny asked.

"There is gonna come a time where I cannot write anymore. Where holding a pen is gonna be impossible or even trying to write damned near terrible. I figure that while I am able to remember and do something about it, we can all work together on a book." I said.

Jenny raised her eyebrow. Joyce let her jaw almost hit the floor. I nodded my head.

"Well that settles it then." I said.

"How was making your calls?" Joyce asked. 

I walked over to the fridge to grab a bottle of juice. I opened it and grabbed one. 

"Alright, I suppose," I said. "Talked to Lucas and Michelle. Left a message for Liz and will call Jake and Casey and Chris in morning. Or better yet, I will have you call them." I said.

"Seems fair," Joyce said.

"You know this assistant thing is working out quite nicely." I said.

"I am gonna get some dinner going," Jenny said. "Spaghetti tonight."

"Yum yum," I said.

I took one of the notebooks and pen from Joyce and tried to write a title down on the page. The pen was a smooth Uniball ballpoint. Black ink. My favorite. I took the cap off and wrote the title down on the top of the page.

"JUST AN OLD NOTEBOOK AND PEN"

"What does that mean?" Joyce asked.

"That is what 30 plus years have boiled down too. A notebook and a pen. No matter what you do in this business, the two things you need with you always are a notebook and a pen." I said.

Joyce nodded her head in agreement. I gave her a thumbs up and walked back to the bedroom. There was time for a nap before dinner. 

Trying to sum up the little bit that I did today, it came down to a basic reversal of sorts. A little bit seemed like a marathon race. I knew that tomorrow was a repeat of today. Perhaps better or it could be one of the bad days. Only time could tell.


© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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