Episode 18 — Chapters 21 & 22
With great care, Dr. Hale began unwrapping the bandages from the patient’s face. Gradually, the forehead became bare, then the nose, mouth and chin. The tedious process lasted several minutes until Mr. Cobb’s face was completely exposed.
Dr. Hale stood back for a couple of minutes and inspected his handiwork; he then extended a small, oval, hand mirror to Mr. Cobb.
The patient felt a mounting vertigo as the head of the bed angled upward to allow him a better view. He took the mirror in his hand and hesitated to look, apprehensive of the image that would greet him.
The mirror slowly rotated in the patient’s hand until his right ear became visible. He grimaced at the sight of sutures on the side of his face as he continued turning the mirror. The mirror steadied once his face became centered in the reflection. There was bruising and swelling, but it least it was surprisingly recognizable.
“Well?” the doctor asked.
The patient continued to study his features, from forehead to chin and from ear to ear.
“It will look much better in a few days, as the swelling subsides, but I think we’re on the right track.”
The patient handed the mirror back, giving a subtle nod of his head.
“Now, as I’ve told you before, don’t try to speak. We want to make sure that none of the sutures open up. So,” the doctor grabbed the pad and pencil on the tray, extending it to the patient, “tell me, how do you like it?”
The patient took the pencil while Dr. Hale secured the pad for him to write.
IT WILL DO.
Dr. Hale smirked inwardly. I’ve labored on this task for hours on end and that’s all the thanks I get? It will do?! He shook his head subtly. It really was a masterpiece! One of the best results he’d ever achieved with a face so badly damaged.
“Soon, we’ll get you talking again. Another week or so. Then your arm and leg casts will come off before you know it. We’ll get you soon started on real food, too. Broth and soup at first, then fruit. We’ll gradually introduce you to vegetables and meat. How does that sound?”
The patient made a fist with his right hand and gave it a little shake.
“Okay, that’s what I want to see! A little enthusiasm, if you please.”
What has happened to me? What is this strange new world I’ve become part of?
People talked, looked and dressed in ways he had never heard or seen before. There were bizarre sights and sounds coming from a square device hanging from the ceiling. It was utterly fantastic, like a dream—images of wondrous motorcars, huge metallic birds in the air, peering into the privacy of people’s lives, with music so foreign and caustic to his ears. It was a world gone mad!
Yet, here I remain. Confined to this room, day after day. I can’t do anything about it—they have me strapped in. I’m ordered not to speak; I can’t ask any questions or receive any answers.
I’m a prisoner here.
Where was Charlie? Where were his young children? Why didn’t anyone come to visit? No teammates. No friends. No family. He had made a lot of enemies in his life. Had his friends and family all deserted him?
Or, maybe, no one knows I’m here.
It was a terrifying thought; one that had surfaced earlier, but one he had managed to repulse. Now it came to the surface in full force. Could it be that his worst fears were true? After all, he’d been called unstable before… even psychotic. He dared not conjure up the horror, yet his mind couldn’t help but entertain…
Have I been committed to a sanatorium?
After an intense early morning workout and shower at the office tower’s fitness center, Savannah took the elevator up to her office. During the past several days she had continued her research, resulting in a large manila file folder full of papers printed off the internet. Today, she was determined to create the perfect opening paragraph. Then hopefully, the story would flow from there.
She stared at the blank screen on her computer for a few minutes, searching for the ideal mix of words.
If we were to turn the clock back a hundred years and venture into a ball park, what would we see? Well, the first thing we would notice is the size of the stadium; an average capacity of less than 20,000 fans. The playing field was not the immaculate carpet of grass we see today. Infields were regularly raked, but there was no cover of smooth dirt to always produce the proper bounce. Outfield fences could be close or far; it mattered little, because only a cannon could propel the ball out of most parks. In the dead ball era, the ball was denser and often used for most of the game—there were no souvenirs for the fans.
Players wore flannel uniforms, heavier than modern dress, which slowed them a bit on the base paths. Crowds often streamed onto the field of play when the bleachers could hold no more. Just two umpires called the game. The defender’s glove was much smaller and left on the field between innings. Errors were more than twice as common as today’s game, a product of inferior playing conditions and smaller gloves. Outfielders played closer to the infield, making outfield hits more of a challenge.
Savannah re-read the two paragraphs and yawned.
If the opening paragraphs produced a yawn from the author, then there was little chance that the reader would react differently. Savannah shook her head and deleted the draft.
I need something really interesting to spice up the story… something to grab the reader’s attention… give it an edge.
As her mind began to wander, Savannah checked her email. She accessed the login screen, which also displayed the latest news stories from MSN.
One story caught her eye.
HIT-AND-RUN VICTIM CLAIMS TO BE THE LEGENDARY TY COBB.