Road Killing: Planet Buzzkill Chapter 2

#2: Nick’s Run 

This had been almost a double shift in the ER.  

Ten p.m. until one p.m. is enough, thank you very  much.  

As it was it was 1:43 p.m. and his bus pulled  through Hospital Drive in two minutes. It would  take him fifteen minutes to get home on the bus.  Then he had to get a shower, so that he wouldn’t  reek in class. Class was across town at 4:00 p.m.,  and would take two hours to get to with the Sunday  bus schedule. Sensei Hawkins brought Nick in on  Sunday afternoon to teach Wing Chun to the poor  city kids. He had stayed as long as he could; had  made eight casts assisting the orthopedic surgeon,  Doctor Silverberg.

You’ve done your part Man. It’s not your fault  that all of these stupid rednecks, homeboys and  Mexicans around here get drunked up and break their bones on Saturday night. 

I know Man, but Doctor Silverberg is still in  there cutting and pasting with that sped Theresa for  an orthopedic tech. 

He understands you have other responsibilities.  Don’t sweat it Man. Find your center, relax. 

He was in such a hurry he was still in his  scrubs. Hell, he still had his mask on. Nick was a  little on the compulsive side. They had told his  parents that he had ADHD and had wanted to drug  him up. Dad had put him in martial arts class  instead. Ever since, as long as he trained, taught or  fought, he didn’t need any drug to focus. Nick was a  drug-free person who worked in a drug-dispensing  hospital, lived in a neighborhood full of drunks, and  taught in a ghetto awash in crack and heroin.  

He liked the contradiction—savored it, liked  being the lone wolf among the dogs and sheep.

He was walking fast down the hallway toward  the ER entrance. He would just step out the same  door that his patients got wheeled in through. He  liked that contradiction too. He was still pumped  up. It had been a crazy night. Some big fat SOB had  taken a swing at Doctor Silverberg. Nick just blasted  him with a palm to the chest, speared his throat,  and put a compliance hold on the broken arm,  saying, “Oh, I’m sorry sir, is this the arm that hurts?  Well then, maybe you should apologize to Doctor  Silverberg so he will fix your fat ass up!” 

As usual Doctor Silverberg gave him that  calming nod, that set him at ease, and Nick let the  filthy biker scum lay back and apologize. Such was the stuff that Nick Lemonakus’ reveries were made  of. He had adjusted to society as much as he might.  The ER, the gym, and the school were good places  for him. He had never been able to hold down a  steady bouncing or security job—excessive this,  excessive that—whatever people! 

He smiled at how far he had managed to evolve  in this messed up society and then realized that he was looking like he was headed to, not from, work,  when the mask hugged his grinning cheeks. Big  Sam, the daylight security guard, then waved him  off toward admittance. This put Nick’s mind on  edge, and he shouted through the cottony mesh of  the mask, “You need help brother, you good?”  

Big Sam rumbled in his baritone, “Yeah  brother, I’m good. It’s jus’ I know you gots class ta  teach, en dare all kinda crazyness outside the  entrance here. Bes’ go aroun trough admittance if  yah wanna catch that numba tirty-five downtown!” 

Nick had been adopted as the tactical instructor by the hospital security staff—he taught  on his break in the hallway outside the video  room—so they all looked out for Nick in their own  way. He smiled under his mask, “Thanks for lookin’  out brother. Catch you tonight!” 

With that Nick scooted out through admittance  and slid out the single glass door on the side, just as  the #35 was pulling through the drive. He began to  run, knowing that he would catch it easily. The handful of people at the stop were acting strange,  and up by the woman’s pavilion some females were  screaming.  

What the heck? Is this a terrorist attack or  something? 

Just then, he noticed that an ambulance, a fire  ambulance, had stopped in the middle of the drive,  stalled diagonally over the median. The driver was  getting out and running back around to open the rear doors. 

Heck man, it looks like you’re missing that bus  after all! 

As people hurriedly boarded the bus he veered  toward the back of the ambulance. As he  approached the female EMT looked at him, “We  have a situation!” 

He stopped just short of her worried face as  she shook and shivered behind the ambo; could see  she was melting down—a pretty blonde fire woman.  This could lead to something nice.

Wanting to impress this cute chick, he yanked  open the doors and saw a scene of chaos that was  beginning to take on a horrific aspect. Some poor  little wetback was on the gurney coughing up gobs  of congealed blood like he had pneumonic plague.  The EMT in the back had just taken off the oxygen  mask to clear it and something was sticking to his  face. No, it was a big gross spider with a white X on  its back prying the EMT’s mouth open while the  man cried and shook in terror! 

“What the hell!” 

Something darted—a red rubber band with a  red spider on the end of it—at his face and he  slipped it like a punch, just like he had slipped  Eddie Butcher’s jabs. He heard a smacking sound  behind him and turned. To his horror, a big nasty  spider was on the pretty blonde EMT’s forehead,  laying eggs that were dropping into her mouth as  she screamed! 

Something hit the back of his head and little  claws locked into his skull. He instinctively slapped the back of his head and smashed something heavy  and gooey, an insect that felt somewhat metallic. As  he looked at the mess on his hand, and stripped off  the surgical glove, that he had neglected to take off,  he noticed people running in the employee parking  area. Someone was gurgling. It was the blonde EMT choking on something as she fell to the ground.  There were even more hideous sounds behind him  in the ambulance.  

He looked down at the woman whom he had  briefly considered dating, and saw her look up with  a look of abject dread on her face, pleading for  mercy. Even as she choked and gurgled and cried  and gasped and beseeched him through glassy eyes,  the head of the six-legged spider with the white X  on its back swiveled to regard him with alternately  flashing multifaceted eyes, like those of a fly, but  like a disco globe too. 

Without thinking he screamed and punched  the spider with his gloved left hand. The force of the  blow splattered the thing on her forehead and  knocked her mercifully out. He kicked her in the throat, killing her immediately. He then knew why  he was hyper, why he was a fanatic, why he had  been born—for this! For this! 

Nick darted up into the ambulance and ripped  the mask and glove dispensers off the walls and  bounded back out onto the median above her dead  body even as the poor wetback and the paralyzed  male EMT gurgled and gasped out their lives behind  him. 

He looked to his right and saw the #55 bus  rolling up the drive. He looked to his left and saw  the admittance lady with her walker, waiting for  the bus curbside, as the homeless man and woman  behind her swatted at a swarm of insects—no, the  X-spiders!  

“On it!”, he shouted to himself, and ran over to  the two-hundred-pound middle-aged woman,  heaved her across his shoulders in a fireman’s carry  as she yelped, and stepped out in front of the bus,  waving it down. The bus driver was the big biker  bus driver, one of the only white dudes in town who drove a bus. The guy had never liked Nick. He  pulled up short though and opened the door. There  was hardly anyone on the bus, just the Sunday  afternoon regulars. 

Nick dumped the lady in the first seat and  yelled, “Shut the door!” 

Just then the homeless man was reaching up  into the bus as something—one of the red X-backed  spiders—crawled into his mouth. Nick kicked the  man in the face and yanked at the doors manually  while the bus patrons murmured and the driver  yelled, “What the hell man!” 

Nick turned, pounced, and grabbed the back talking driver’s windpipe and squeezed as he  snarled into his face through the mask, “Drive or die  Big Boy!” 

The man nodded in a paralytic fashion and did  something that caused the door to shut and then  pulled off as someone ran up beside the bus  banging on the side. The man looked at him with a  worried look, just as Nick saw a woman collapse on the stairs leading up to the Women’s Pavilion,  screaming in agony.  

Nick pointed to the woman, “All of you; look,  look at that! That will be us if we get off this bus!” 

He looked to his right and was relieved to see  that he had somehow brought the glove and mask  dispensers onto the bus and laid them on the fire  extinguisher box. 

The bus rocked to a stop, people banging on  the side, the homeless man writhing on the  pavement, his homeless hag of a girlfriend running  around screaming. 

Nick had been surprised at the commanding  timbre of his voice. The woman he had hoisted on  the bus cried behind him, as the other passengers  murmured in disgust and amazement. He then  looked in Big Boy’s eyes, not able to recall when he  had let go of his throat, and softened his tone, “We  need you Big Boy, need you to live. Drive us out of  here.”

Big Boy then seemed to experience a shivering  chill, and regarded Nick, looking him up and down,  as if he had just seen him for the first time, “You got  it, Pal!”  

With those words the driver hunched over the  wheel and put it in drive, taking them up out of the  nightmare world that had once been Hospital Drive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close