Copyright © Arno Le Roux 2017
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronically, electrostatic magnetic tape or mechanically; including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the author. Although this is a fictional work, both the locations, organisations and events are factual. The characters and times in the story line are fictional; therefore, all resemblances to actual people present or past are purely coincidental. Should you wish to contact the Author: [email protected]
All Rights Reserved.
A Short Story by Arno Le Roux
“I Forgot To Mention, My Name Is Luigi”
They say we’re never really alone… Not even when the black serpent-like constrictiveness of isolated abandonment clouds a human mind, wrestling with the promise, of dying… alone…
“You should be proud of the name your parents blessed you with. Michael is a strong name, why don’t you like the name?”
“…just don’t like the sound of it. It feels foreign. Does that make sense?”
“Well the mind is a complex thing… So tell me what you’d like your teachers to call you…?”
“Do you love Italian names?”
“Not really, just that one”
“Are your parents Italian?”
“No. Mom is Irish and Dad’s English”
“Why do you think you’re classed as a rebel in school?”
“You broke a boy’s nose who took a girl’s sandwich”
“Do you think the boy deserved a broken nose?”
“Ok, tell me about your dream again. You’re looking up into bright lights after you left a warmer environment. You heard shouting and a woman’s loud crying. Next you were in what seemed a dark passage looking over an injured woman, trying to comfort her..?”
“Good day Doc, I’m Clement and this is my wife Shonagh. We’re here a bit early, hope you don’t mind. “A very happy celebration of your special day Doc, before I forget.” The Reverend made a great first impression, having memorised her birthday from a recent medical research magazine. And before she could get a word in or thank him for his kindness, he continued. “I absorbed much of your past and recent published research over the past weeks. Even if I don’t agree, and I don’t, it’s fascinating. As a theologian the heaven and hell and living once only is where I don’t deviate from.” She knew he was testing her reaction and responses as much as she was investigating what he was really about. His upright posture and firm handshake matched his neatly pressed suit and polite eyes. “From a good religious, and probably quite conservative background” Habitually analysing her patients, it wasn’t uncommon that she made it her life’s work to “figure people out”, so to speak. The parents and guardians of her patients were sometimes more time consuming to investigate, and proved on many occasions just as relevant as part of the healing process. Most of her patients had been referred by other physicians who seeked her specialist advice, as a fit and capable eighty year old veteran. “Pleased to make your acquaintance Reverend” and the doctor returned the polite smile. “Good morning Doc, I on the other hand, love “New Age reading” Mrs Gardener unecpectedly leaned forward and hugged her tight. Around her neck she bragged a hardwood Buddhist Mala bead necklace. “Shall we let Michael play inside my office while we get to know each other?” Doctor Montana motioned to her office and hinted that the couple enter first. “Politics and religion, two forbidden topics better left for individual interpretation based on what we are exposed to from the cradle to the grave. Or, if my research is to be taken seriously, include certain traits in the form of likes, dislikes, respective inclinations towards or away from reincarnation, heaven, hell, etc. My work is really not New Age, nor is it that obscure, occult or new.” Doctor Sam Montana observed Clement moving forward on his seat and rubbing his palms on his upper legs, while his wife moved deeper into the leather couch, letting it hug her and she smiled and winked at Doctor Sam Montana. “We’re here to help Michael cope better. If we push our own agendas we’re simply going to be as lost as the rest of the world.” Sam tiptoed around the issue of religion versus science. “Well I’m not lost…” Clement fired and frowned. “Normally I have the utmost respect for all views. But I’m compelled to ask just two questions Reverend. Have you ever had the need to prepare a service for your congregation on the religious historical fact that our early church fathers approved of the idea of reincarnation? Just a yes or no? “No” The Reverend was at the edge of his seat, almost precariously balancing. “Have you ever had the need to prepare a service for your congregation on the alternative outcome, had the church not commissioned the old master painters to design a horrid fiery world hereafter should we question their authority, rituals or changing views based on evolving church politics from when after the time of Christ, Mohamed (Peace be upon him) or Buddha’s teachings that had been recorded? Just yes or no please.” “Well no, why the h… why would I do that? The confident arguments led no where and all stood their ground. “I had to ascertain how firm your convictions are Reverend and Mrs. Obviously Michael is exposed to two opposing worlds of view, each casting a different frame of reference for young Michael. He’d draw information from these to fill the vacuums in between perceptions of his reality when he’s awake or asleep.”
Fifty years earlier.
She figured it was night and had been raining for a while, but apart from that, nothing made any sense.
She had known pain in her thirty challenging years, and even on occasion befriended it when there was no other way. But the agony that visited that night was too much. She imagined recalling pushing herself up against the wall but wasn’t sure whether she had passed out from the immense pain. Again she barely pushed herself up against the grimy wet wall of the cobbled alley. To her left her bruised elbow rested on the lowest of what seemed a slowly stacked tower of wooden vegetable crates and to her immediate right, she leaned against the cold cement steps of the back of what she guessed an overly sweet smelling bakery… The pouring rain mixed her makeup with the steady warm red stream from her head wound, and she fought the burning urge to take another look at her left leg that had a frightening unnatural ninety degree bend away from her right leg towards the side of the rough splintered crates.
“Someone called for an ambulance, I imagine you’re going through hell, but if you can, try not to move Sam” The unfamiliar male voice lied about the ambulance, because he had no idea what else to say that would bring her at least a small duration of comfort. She kept her eyes closed and laboriously attempted recalling where she was and who owned the peculiar voice. “It’s going to be difficult but don’t move, we have to get them away from you” The voice had an inexplicable soothing effect on her. “Going to lift your leg just a… like that”.
“What the hell!!” Another man and woman rang out in loud unison. “I can’t look! Did you see her leg!? The apparently horrified woman made little attempt to pacify the situation. “Ok quiet, I think she’s alive, wait, she’s not moving and it doesn’t look like she’s breathing. What a jump! I didn’t think she would” The man’s footsteps went silent next to her and he felt her wrist, then her neck for a pulse. The man wiped the endless rain from his brow, pulled a sopping wet pink velvet purse, which had been protruding from under the woman’s leg and unzipped it with a single rapid jerk, then flung it back over his shoulder, “Here… Jill, catch”. “Shit she’s loaded, must be twenty thousand in here, all big ones” His partner excitedly exclaimed, seemingly less stressed about the heap of pain on the alley floor. “Well put it away, hide it. Someone’s coming” An old man’s cough alerted the couple who splashed water against the alley walls as they headed away from the blooded woman on the paving. “Had to get rid of them before the old baker came out.” The man’s voice was back. A cheerily whistling baker’s version of Billy Joel’s River Of Dreams ended in “Mama Mia!!” as the baker dropped a huge bag of steamy rolls that tore open as it hit the wet steps. “Oh no child what happened!” She followed the voice’s instruction and kept dead still. Strangely she felt the pain was almost bearable as she was overwhelmed by a heavy sleepy feeling. “You can open your eyes now… if you’re still here. If you feel drowsy, fight it, fight it hard Sam, fight it with every cell. It’s too late for me… but fight it for “your” baby.” Amidst the chaotic mixture of tremendous pain, another ingredient was slowly an deliberately whisked in. The magnetism of the deepest sleep had become totally overpowering but the phrase “baby” jerked her back hard to the cold wet paving under her and the splintery crate under her arm. “Help me” was as much as she could manage, almost under her breath and she opened her left eye. Only then did she realise she had no vision on her right side. “Oh no look at you child, look at you. Mario is calling the ambulance, Mario is calling right now” The man smelt like fresh bread and butter even though she was in hellish stinging pain. He peeled her away from the damp wall then held her tight gainst his wide chest and pulled her along as his stood up. His back clicked as loud as his old knees as he managed to lift her away from the sodden alley floor. “You’re with Mario, Mario is my name, Mario is taking you inside” The old baker repeated himself over and over until she felt she was being hypnotised. “Please don’t sleep, please don’t fall asleep, please, please!!” The other voice which initially suggested, was now screaming in her ear and was demanding. Squinting from the top of the stairs before she entered the warmth of the bakery kitchen, looking back over the old baker’s big shoulder, and in unholy pain, she thought there was no one outside and blamed her overriding physical state for her illusion. Inside the blindingly bright bakery, a chaotic symphony followed while the baker was screaming at staff to call for an ambulance and he burst into a room where diners had been seated. “Who’s a doctor, is there a doctor!?” Then marched back into the bakery kitchen and sweeped everything off the large granite work table. One of Mario’s staff echoed over the loud churning machines, “Uncle Mario! The phone! It’s about your wife… it’s the doctor the on the phone!”
“Mama Mia! What’s next tonight!?”
“Oh child I must go to hospital, it’s my wife, my family will be with you till the ambulance arrives. For luck, here… this was my father’s. You must never take this off or lose it.” The goodhearted but distressed old baker kissed her next to the deep cut on her forehead, squeezed her hand and left with his flower covered apron still tied to his tremendously wide waist.
“So in this dream, is there any reference to say, a time or maybe a year?”
“Not that I remember”
“What happened to the woman, how did she end up in her terrible state outside the bakery?”
“She was pushed from a building. Had an argument with another woman, a friend named Jill”
Five minutes later.
Doctor Sam Montana closed her notebook and habitually stroke the scar which ran parallel with her hairline. Looking down at her necklace, she removed it over her long grey hair and placed it inside the 13 year old’s hand and closed it around the present.
“Michael, when you hear me count back from ten through to one, you’re still going to be in a safe comfortable warm environment, but not in your mother’s whomb. With every count backward you will move further away from the deep sleepy state that you are in now. You will listen carefully to my voice and only my voice. Is that ok with you Michael?” “Yes..” “You’re slowly going to wake up in 2017, you’re still 13 years old. You’re going to wake up, a little excited to return home and look forward to your new school. Ten… nine… eight… seven…
“What’s this Doc?” An excited wide eyed teen wanted to know. “Of all the doctors Mom and Dad took me to visit, you’re by far the coolest! My own necklace with my favourite name on! But how did you know? Did you have a friend named Luigi?” “Thank you young man, for the compliment. And yes I think I had a friend a long time ago. Very briefly. I think that he was a Luigi…” After reaching for her walking cane, she pushed herself up with tremendous effort, gave Michael a warm lengthy hug and walked him out the office to his waiting parents…