A cure for the cold

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

As far as his roommate knows, Sean is an average, Americanized Arab, who simply drifted through life with simple pleasures. When events turn unfortunate, something changes Seans mentality.

Ata' Allah "Sean" Mohammad was an atheist. Though an Arab by blood, he was as modern and western as any "John Smith." He was not a person of high potential, nor was he an eccentric for better or worse. He was my roommate, my coworker, my friend and my weed connection. He purchased marijuana paraphernalia modestly, and he was a copious buyer of superhero comics and pornographic books. I'm thinking about him because only moments ago, I killed him.

We met as new employees at a semi-classy restaurant and quickly became friends. I was living at my mom's house, as I was fresh out of school and he was in the process of breaking up with his girlfriend, a result of his choice of magazines. Though our friendship was in its infancy, a common problem led to a simple solution.

Time ran its own course as we became products of our own indifference. As I stayed on as a line cook, Sean moved from the same position, to preparation, desserts and eventually to the dish pit. Recently that I gained a raise in seniority by default. It was a position I did not want, nor one I would keep for long. The job came with the key to a back door that was longer than my other keys by at least half an inch.

The following day Sean and I heard some raised voices in the main lobby. Those familiar with restaurant life, will know it is very taxing on the nerves. Sean and I had no reason for alarm as we heard the banter and profanity in the next room. We truly thought it was the same familiar songs until we heard the pop sound of gunfire. Everyone dropped everything and ran to investigate the sound. The gunman's face was a familiar one. He was the former head chef, a title I now hold, but his hostility was not aimed at me. It seems the reason he quit was that our boss has insulted him in such a manner that he would return and take his life. Sean was the one who was so bold as to wrestle the gun away, but instead he slid it along the floor. The shift in weight as he pushed left his balance stray. I swear I heard and saw his forearm fold in on itself. The gunman exploited this opportunity and ran, followed by others who were inspired by the most recent display of bravery. The boss was still alive and the was ambulance parked in a crooked slant, thirteen feet from the front door. The boss was pulled away on a stretcher, while Sean rose and sat in the waiting vehicle on his own strength.

Later that night, he came home. Said nothing. Poured a cup of milk using both hands and went to sleep without closing his door and fully clothed. This was far from our usual custom.

We both awoke to a rapid, anxious knocking on the door around midday. We presumed police officers and questions in bulk, but instead there was a trio of the most stereotypical doctors I have ever seen. They still wore casual doctor attire, but the excessive bald spots where almost reflective. The egghead with the thickest glasses was waving his credentials in my face while they all forced their way into our home.

"We are looking for Hatala Mohammad", as he aimed his gaze to the Arab-looking person.

The third doctor did not hesitate to start sifting through our belongings. The other two dressed their hands with rubber gloves and told us why they came.

They told us that our boss has been irritable the last four months, which was more than an understatement, because he had cancer and was given only a five months to live. Our boss needed blood after being shot and none the wiser, Sean offered his own. A quick and inefficient test concluded he is in fact blood type O negative. As it all turns out, literally overnight, there was no evidence of fatal cancer ever present. So the reason they were present that day was, they would like to draw blood samples from both of us. There was an anomaly in Sean's veins but not enough left over to properly test. I was uneasy about the idea, but Sean almost had his sleeve up before the doctor even finished his sentence. My restaurant key was stabbing me, I took them out and put them on the table before agreeing to sitting down. It was on the completion of the first vial that I noticed Dr.Three was going through everywhere prone to bacteria or chemical leaks to include or rule out environmental cause. He soon found our stash of dope. My heart jumped as I feared that they would turn us in. Our stash was a hefty sum but they did not seem to notice the quantity. He took a modest sample and placed the rest back without care.

All three doctors took their samples with eight vials of blood and went on their way.

"Take me with you," Sean said.

They had no problem with that and where happy to comply. I however, felt completely invaded and dizzy due to blood loss. I then was glad to be alone for a while.

It was two days before I saw Sean again, and when I did he looked like he escaped from the first ring in the City of Dis. His normally copper face was cadaver gray, and needle marks littered his arms like chicken pox. He tried in vain to appear callous, but in true hindsight, it was obvious he was enduring a lot. He then told me some of the stuff they had him on. Vitamin C was the only one common enough to remember. Everything else sounded Russian to me. Punching holes in his femur for bone marrow and a lumbar puncture for the secrets that juice may hold, to stick under a microscope because blood, urine, saliva, and semen weren't enough to isolate the anomaly. They sent him home confident they had enough samples to find what they needed. He assured me that it seemed to be hereditary and not environmental, which is good because that was my next question. Sean had stuck his hand up and almost demanded to be probed and tested, so I don't feel completely bad for him, but if they were as gluttonous with him then what chance would I stand resisting? He still had a proud look on his pale mug and I felt it was necessary to ask him about it.

"I do have the blood type O- and anyone that receives my blood is cured almost instantly. Leukemia, lupus, sarcoidosis, MS, and diabetes. I could probably cure the rhinovirus".

Sean was proud of helping someone, and it flared through the pain.

The next day we were on our way to the restaurant. It was the beginning of our first shift together in a while. Before we could even punch the clock, two lethargic doctors came and stood by the bar. The same doctor with whiskey bottle glasses and a younger MD with only a receding hairline.

"We need Mr. Mohammad to come back for more tests."

They went into some detail about how the anomaly would disappear each time once they attempted to extract it, so more samples were needed. Sean was hesitant but came to the same look I see in his comic books. The firm look that saving the world is going to cost him. Stepping away from the machine, he was escorted in an almost hostile manner to a waiting car outside.

It was a dead afternoon, so I took the remainder of my shift off. The boss is a kinder man those new days.

I decided to visit the hospital, and see what kind of guinea pig Sean turned into. I'm not sure if it was foolish to believe that he would have been at the medical college, but I did check there and they had never heard of him. Since there where fourteen "Mohammad's" in the system, I checked three more times if they spelled his name first name right, but then again I'm not even sure if I did. So on to the medical research facility on the other side of the city, a difficult trek when restaurant funds don't allow for both car and personal luxuries.

After an hour and a half, I arrived. I met an ominous chill as I open the door to a snooty receptionist with worse spelling skills than my own, but she soon found Sean.

The receptionist told me without necessity every detail and procedure that Sean had gone through in the last day. I cringed with the thought of every needle prick and power drill. Extracting bodily fluids I had no idea existed. After a while she told me that Sean is either in the exercise lab or the bleeding room; it was nicknamed for its patients with hemophilia. Again, I suppose my hopes were too high, so I checked the lab first. Then I feared what I would see when I looked into the door, but it was actually a window into a sterile room. Sean was strapped up on a vertical table. His arms spread straight out on two makeshift planks of steel, and his knees where angled out to tap each vein efficiently. Tubes, wires, monitors and intravenous drips with unpronounceable words hanging from everywhere, even the roof. His eyes were open, so I waived to see no response. My thoughts where interrupted by whiskey bottle glasses himself.

"He is in a chemically induced coma. He was still willing to help but only if we did something about the pain, which was a challenge to do so without tainting the samples.

A red light then started blinking, followed by hisses and pops. The table Sean was on began to flatten out by a series of hydraulics.

"He will be conscious soon if you want to talk to him," the doctor said.

I knew he wouldn't want to be seen in his weakened state. He had too much pride. So I left without saying a word to him. I'm not sure what to think about such a sight, but he did this to himself.

It was later last night when I heard a rapping on my door. Sean was still dressed in a hospital gown, bleeding from the arms. He then broke down to his knees crying, exposing every weakness.

"I saw you through the windows while I was hanging there. The mixture was not enough, and I was only paralyzed. I felt absolute unhindered pain with no power to scream as the wretched vampires sucked a better life out of me, leaving only enough vital fluids to beat my own heart. Once I gained the strength, I snuck out and ran without truly thinking about where I was going, becoming aware only a block away from here."

I carried him to the couch where he passed out in a cold sweat. I sat on the chair, pondering what kind of position I was in. The key to the restaurant was stabbing me again so I took out my keys and threw them on the table. I think I saw Sean move, but it could be just a twitch or sigh. I too fell asleep.

Early this morning, I looked across and found that Sean was no longer sleeping there. Concerned, I jumped and looked around for him to no avail. I reached for my keys to find they were missing. The only thing outside our home those keys unlock is the restaurant. So I ran.

The door was left open and the alarm was still armed. A problem I fixed. I assumed he was at the bar, but on my way through the kitchen when I saw a bucket and his wet hospital gown on the floor in front of the meat freezer. Opening the door I saw him, naked, sitting in a puddle of frost and four knuckles around a bold bottle of oak aged whiskey. His hair was splintered shards of ice and his pale complexion was a desolate blue.

"I cannot go back. I cannot go through the pain. This is the only thing I can think of where they can pick me clean when I'm dead."

All I can see is a lamenting, proud man shine while his body dies. I Said nothing, and I closed the door knowing he is going to die. I could stop him, drag him out and bring him to the hospital for a futile sense of healing. Or hide him underground from anyone with any kind of diploma, but they would find him, and take him back to the bleeding room. So I left him. Reflecting on it, I now believe he died last night on the couch.


Submitted: January 11, 2013

© Copyright 2022 The Grin. All rights reserved.

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