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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Current Affairs (06/07/12)

TITLE: Sick in a Sick World
By Llewelyn Stevenson


“What’s that?” Gar queried into the phone.

Gar was short for Graham who was in hospital being treated for pneumonia.

“Too busy for hospital,” he had grumbled, but finally relented under pressure from his wife.

“Look mate, I’ve got four million in bank shares, they’d better do something right,” He was talking with Mike, a business associate, and friend, “Hang on, they’ve got me on a drip and its getting entangled. Give me a mo.”

Grunting, grumbling, and muttering he twisted and turned in the bed, looping the tube over his head, then talking to the drip moniter, “Look, Fido, if you don’t behave yourself, you’re gonna get speared through the glass doors on the opposite side of this ward. You can go and enjoy the sunshine and stop bugging me.”

The lady in the next bed turned her head into the pillow to stifle a giggle, earning a glare from the irritable Gar.

He spoke into the phone, “Back mate. I’m paying people around the world to play an internet game... what’s that? [a pause] It’s my favourite. I spend a couple of hours a day playing it when I’m relaxing. [there was another pause] Very funny mate, why does everyone think I work twenty four seven? [brief pause] Well, of course I’m busy, but it doesn’t mean I don’t eat and sleep.”

Twinkling eyes in the next bed hung over a mischievous smile. You could tell Edna longed to interrupt but was afraid of an angry response. Mike had taken over the conversation as they talked about the world financial crisis, but he had phoned Gar because he really enjoyed his outside the square ideas and honest appraisal and opinion. Like everyone, Mike was worried, yet it seemed the only thing Gar worried about was how soon he could get out of that “blasted hospital”.

“Can’t do anything here,” Gar had complained, “Would rather be at home where I can do what I want... and without Fido.”

“The game?” Gar came back online, “Call of Roma. Just go to callofroma dot com and you can look at it for yourself. [Another pause] Yeah, I like the game. I’m paying people to play it because I can afford to and this rubbish that’s happening in the world means many of them are struggling to afford to live. You’ve got to look after your money mate, and sometimes you’ve got to give it to the less fortunates to spend so you can maintain its value. If you leave it to the government to print it, you may as well use it as toilet paper because that’s all it’ll be worth. The rich ought to use their smarts if they want to stay rich. What’s that?

Gar let Mike hold the conversation a while as he listened, then, “I pay them to play the game then they don’t have to beg. Actually, they’re employed so they can feel better about it. [A pause while Mike interjected] Come on, Mike, we pay cricketers to play; we pay footballers to play. They’re all games, why get technical? [Mike broke in again] The point is, if we do nothing we lose anyway. At least this way I get some benefit out of it, some pleasure. Think about it Mike, we can either spend some of that money we’re never gonna spend in a lifetime, or we can lose it to the financial crisis and inflation.”

Mike thanked Gar for his crazy ideas, but had to go as he had much to do that day.

“Ok, Mike,” Gar concluded, “Thanks for calling. We’ll talk again, and hopefully in better circumstances. Be good mate. Bye”

Gar sighed as he hung up the phone and lay back, head resting on his arm over the pillow. Better times... that would be nice; but the world was what it was and you had to accept that. Each day will bring what it must. Reaching over for his laptop, he typed into the explorer bar www.callofroma.com.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/08/12
I love the title. What a perfect fit. I was a tad confused and aren't totally sure of your message. I also didn't see how the patient in the next bed was a female. You might see that in the ER but not on the floors.You had some great lines that made me giggle. I often name my IV pole too.I did end up reading the ending a few times and that helped clear some things up for me. As both an RN and a frequent patient I have an unique position of really knowing both sides of the bed.
Sunny Loomis 06/14/12
Interesting story. Thank you.