Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: COMPUTER (05/19/16)
TITLE: JUMPIN' JEHOSAPHAT
By Pat Small
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He awoke with a start. The last thing he remembered was drifting off to sleep as Ruby recounted her harrowing experience at the beauty shop. She would, no doubt, be angry and accuse him of not paying attention. They had been through similar arguments before so he knew the drill.
He opened his eyes, expecting to see blazing green eyes. Instead, he looked into the speechless gaze of his wife seated in a chair beside the bed. She looks thinner and older, he thought. So many things seemed off kilter that he put that idea aside momentarily. To start with, his bed was narrow, high, and had bars on the sides.
“What in tarnation, Ruby?”
She leaned over the bed, and took his hand. Looking into his eyes, she said tearfully, “Thank God.” She brushed a tear away, embarrassed.
“Thank God? For what?”
“You’ve come back, Henry.”
“What in thunder are you blubbering about? I ain’t been nowhere. Bin right here fars I know.”
“No, Henry. You’ve been in a coma.”
“Coma? Why would I be in a coma?”
“You don’t remember? You went to the store, hit black ice, and the pick-up slid off into a tree. You was goin along at a pretty good clip. We didn’t think you’d make it.”
“How long I bin a layin here like Rip Van Winkle?”
“Long enough so’s you’re considered a medical miracle. Wait ‘till you see all the changes. Remember Thelma’s Beauty Shop?”
“Oh, Lord, don’t let’s get started on Thelma.”
“Alright, but she don’t have it no more. She done retired, and sold the place to a new girl in town.”
“Bet it ain’t changed much,” he muttered under his breath.
Henry’s eyes had been roaming the room. He noticed a tall stand with a black box and screen. It looked a little like a small television, but there was already a television on the wall.
“Ruby, why do we have two tv’s in this little room?”
“What are you talkin about Henry? We don’t have two tvs in here. I was the only one awake to watch.”
“Right there. Up on that stand.” He pointed. “What’s the matter with you, woman? It ain’t more’n three or four feet from where you sit.”
For the first time, Ruby burst into laughter. “That’s a computer. The nurses use it to keep track o’ your blood pressure and stuff like that.”
Henry rubbed his eyes vigorously. Maybe he was still in a coma. “Long enough to be a medical miracle, huh? No wonder you got more gray in your hair than I remember. Hmm, that makes me wonder. “Hand me a mirror, Ruby.”
“My, my. I kinda like the salt and pepper. The gray makes me look distinguished, don’t ya think?”
“If you say so, Henry.”
“I got sidetracked with the hair. Tell me about this computer thing.”
“Well, everyone has one these days, Henry. Usually more than one. Sometimes there’s two or three in the house. The car and office too. Even little children have them.”
“Ruby, you got my curiosity revved up. Now I’m awake, I need to get outta here and ‘vestigate things for myself. What do they do anyway?”
“Well, you can use them to write messages. People don’t write letters anymore. And they remember all kinds of facts and figures so you always have them handy, and you don’t have to cart around files and notebooks and things like that.”
“Jumpin Jehosaphat. Sounds like science fiction to me.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. But you should see our kids and grandkids. They use ‘em like toys.”
“Grandkids? We got grandkids?”
“Sure do. A boy and a girl. Frankie and Ella Mae’s young’uns. Sue and Dave don’t have any yet.”
“Well, what do ya think of that? Time flies.” He laughed out loud at his own joke.
“Who’s my doctor, Ruby?”
“It was ole Doc Blake, but you outlived him. He’s gone on to glory. The new man in town is Dr. William McKnight. He’s a youngster fars I’m concerned, but he seems to know his stuff.”
“Call him. I want outta this place lickety split. I’m gonna get me one of them there 'puters.”
“Okay, COMputers. Sound more fun ‘n a barrel o’ monkeys! Where’s my pants?”
Ruby reached for the nurse call button. “Judy, call Dr. McKnight, please. This man is driving me crazy already. Maybe the good doctor can put him back in a coma.”
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