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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #443
E-5
David Gunn

The patient in room E-5 on the second floor of the North Wing of Saint Salmon's Hospital did not look well, not well at all. Wrapped in a cocoon of drip feeds and sensory cables, he looked more automaton than human. A split-screen twenty-seven inch monitor mounted above his head showed both his vital signs and an old episode of General Hospital. The head nurse shark entered the room, glanced at the monitor, frowned and made little tsk-tsk noises. (In fairness to the patient, Courtney had just told Jason that she was leaving with Michael and Morgan, while a comatose Carlotta dreamt of Sonny and Alcazar.) An intern strode into the room--i.e., E-5, not General Hospital. He examined the patient's chart that was moored to the foot of his bed, checked some figures against the monitor, and shook his head in concert with the nurse's tsk-tsking. Mentally he ticked off the maladies with which the patient was presently afflicted: Hansen's disease, rachitis, kwashiorkor, myasthenia gravis, goiter, schistosomiasis, pellagra, Zenker's necrosis, Dutch elm disease. A commotion from beneath the bandage that encased the patient from waist to left patella prompted the nurse to peel it back slightly. Peering underneath, the doctor added "small purple shrub on pelvis in early stages of defoliation" to his mental list. Better news came from an oscilloscope that was hard-wired to the patient's latissimus dorsi, which showed dilithium crystal activity to be entirely within paranormal parameters.

The intern ordered a battery of more tests: colonoscopy, echocardiogram, Rorschach, chi-square, multiple choice, SAT, screen, Parcheesi, plus a pack of double-As to run them.

Next entering the room was an orderly who bore an uncanny resemblance to the patient. He placed the resemblance in a vase on the windowsill and attached an electrode to it that was connected to the comatose Carlotta. The resemblance blanched. So, too, did the patient, whose face turned pallid nearly to the point of translucency. The orderly unbuttoned a flap on the underside of the patient's dressing and withdrew a plastic tray that was brimming with bodily discharge. Turning to leave, he tripped over one of the nurse's tsks and dropped the tray. The room erupted into bedpandemonium as nurse and intern shrieked and hopped onto the patient to avoid la merde renversée. Whipping out a shop vac, the orderly quickly hoovered the objectionable debris. Order returned to the room after he departed, the only sounds being the gentle susurrus of the defoliating shrubbery and Courtney's muted sniveling.

There was a knockwurst at the door. The intern grabbed it and bit off its head, a habit he'd started with marshmallow Peeps during his harried year of residency at the Area 51 Hypochondria Ward near Roswell, New Mexico. A memory of Dr. Robert G. Beezer (who long-suffering listeners will recall was affiliated with that burg's Alien Incursion Response Team) thoroughly shivered his timbers. Some of the tests arrived then, but not the batteries, so the intern elected to hot-wire the SAT through the patient's secondary drip feed. He motioned to the nurse, who rolled up the patient's sleeve, revealing an elaborate tattoo that ran from phalanges to Brachialis anticus. A strikingly realistic image of exposed tendons, muscles and interosseous membranes - why, it looked just like the cutaway drawing from "Gray's Anatomy" that he'd colored as his first grade science project! The nurse gingerly grasped the man's arm ... and just as quickly dropped it, as the exposed pronator quadratus flexed and contracted to her touch. An intravenous tube in the arm flexed and contracted, too, and then burped as a bubble of something traveled from the patient's arm through the tube. Both nurse and intern turned to follow the path of the tube as it snaked across the room to ...

A loud plunk sounded from the corner of the room as a chaw of tobacco was hawked from the end of the tube into a Saint Salmon's spittoon. Simultaneously, Jason poked Sonny in the ribs with a hydraulic press, eliciting a similar sound, and the two briefly scuffled before breaking for a raft of commercial non sequiturs.

The intern stooped to retrieve the knockwurst, which had rolled under the bed. En route, he paused to open the patient's mouth, peer at the roof, and add "shingles" to his mental list of medical maladies. Standing up with the sausage, he was startled to see Michael and Morgan in the doorway. The patient, too, suddenly didn't jibe with his chart or the monitor readout. Gone was the defoliating purple shrub; in its place was a very feminine pelvis that he instantly intuited belonged to Carlotta. He turned to the nurse ... and instead came face to face with Dr. Beezer. A loud squawk from the television monitor above Carlotta's bed got the intern's attention, and he glanced up to see himself being sucked out of the room by Jason with a gigantic shop vac.

A shadowy figure clutching an apparatus appeared at the doorway. It was ... Jason? No, it was the orderly!

No. It was Jason.

No, the tale's dénouement will have to wait, for today's 443rd episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar has a lot to cover and not nearly enough time to cover it, so without further to-do, I give you Courtney. No, Carlotta! No, Kalvos!