Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Jack Swenson
I'm on the phone to my wife who's driving back from a conference in L.A. "Is it swollen?" she asks. I look at my hand, which is the size of basketball. "Well, yeah," I say. I ask her if I should go to the emergency room. "No!" she yells. She doesn't want me to go to the hospital in town. They'll want to know how I got bit. And that'd be curtains for the cat. She'll take me to the hospital across the bay where she works. My wife's a nurse.
She sets a land speed record for I-5 on the way back and gets here a little after noon. I'm not feeling so good. My hand is red and swollen. My wife asks what happened. I tell her the cat has a cut above his eye. I wanted to take him to the vet, and he didn't want to go.
In the E.R., it's like old home week. Everybody knows Angie. Nurses, doctors, clerks, they all ignore me. They'd rather chit-chat with my wife.
Somebody gives me a report to fill out, and Angie snatches it away and pops it in a wastebasket. The gal at the desk looks away.
The doc who takes care of me is a handsome East Indian who seems to be on good terms with my wife. Too good, in my opinion. They kid around while he's checking out my hand. "Pretty bad, huh?" my wife says. The doctor nods. "Yup," he says. She tells me afterwards that it could have been very bad. Cat bites are nasty, she says. There's one kind of bug they carry in their mouths that's extremely dangerous.
"You mean, I could have lost my hand?" I ask. "Oh, sure," she says.
The doc pressure washes the holes in my hand and fits me with a removable cast. On our way out, we stop by the pharmacy and pick up an antibiotic that will kill any germ known to man.
The next day my hand is better. My wife says it looks like I'm going to live. Meanwhile the cat is snoozing in his comfy basket in the garage. I go into the garage weighing his fate, but he is unconcerned. He knows I'm an old softie. He stands up, stretches, and at a leisurely pace heads for the door. He wants to go outside. As he passes the rack where we store the cat carrier, he looks up and I swear I can see him smile.
Jack Swenson is a cat herder from the wild and woolly west. His most recent book Local Hero may be ordered at any bookstore or from www.iuniverse.com
Back to Flashes