Circus Madness: A Novella: (Part Five)
Collaborators: wingedcentaur and Doc LS "Moppet." You know who you are, buddy!
Derek stared at him.
"Don't tell me you haven't seen him," George said.
"I haven't," Derek said, "but if you have he must be your guide."
"Guide for what?"
"Back to your own world, your own reality," Derek said. "Most of the people who stay here have rejected their guide."
"I'd rather stay here."
"Because there's nothing for me in the real world."
"What will you do?"
"Live out my days here in Kwaljuk. But if you want to go back, all you have to do is talk to your guide and let him lead you back."
"How will he do that?"
"It depends on your relationship with your guide," Derek said.
"I've never seen him before," George said.
"He knows you," Derek said. "Talk to your guide if you want to go home."
George shrugged. Why not? Makes about as much sense as anything else.
They got underway again and once George happened upon Zanzibar brushing his teeth, he did the only civilized thing he could think of to do. He didn't know where he got a bucket from, but he extended it to Zanzibar and said, "Spit?"
George Sanders was in a coma at Fairview Trinity Memorial Hospital. He had been in a traffic accident and had sustained head trauma. His condition had been upgraded from At-Death's-Door to critical in the last twenty four hours. He was in a room by himself in the intensive care unit, attached to an IV unit, hooked up to electronic monitors, linked to the nurse's station.
The physician in charge of his care had assured George's wife that they had done all they could for him, and that the rest now depends on how much George wanted to live.
According to the police report, the toxicology screen had showed George's blood to have high concentrations of marijuana -- which the doctor seemed rather blase about (fact was he smoked a joint or two once in a while himself) -- as well as, and more troubling, PCP, Ectasy, and hard alcohol. Sandra had tried not to sound shocked as she learned that her husband -- a man she had known as an apparently clean living, vegetarian, squash and racquet ball playing, workaholic, and somewhat bland to be honest, corporate hard charger -- was a closet junkie.
When she had been notified by phone by the Seattle Police about her husband's accident, Sandra left Tommy with her mother. She had flown to the other side of the country to be with her husband, who had told her he was going to Tokyo on business. She had thought about what all this meant on the plane ride over.
Her husband had obviously led a secret life which he had kept quite separate from her and Tommy -- until now. He had lied to her about where he was going to be for two weeks and what he was going to be doing. An interesting question that presented itself was: Who had George been doing these things with and under what circumstances?
It was perfectly understandable that George would seek to conceal his chemical dependency from his friends and family and the social circles in which they moved. Indeed, she felt a kind of gratitude to him that he had been so very discrete all this time -- concealing his weakness even from her.
But his activities had finally brought him low and brought him to this hospital bed in the intensive care unit. Was this George's bottom, that all addicts have to reach before they set out bravely on the path of recovery? George Sanders would be an addict for the rest of his life, taking his sobriety "one day at a time," as they say.
Downtown, a homeless man named Kirby Richter gave the following statement to the authorities:
"I was out back of Hop Sing's Rib and Chinese Take out Joint, looking for some scraps when a good looking guy with long blond hair pulled up on a big red motorcycle. He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride with him. Right then I thought he was either going to kill me or pay me ten, maybe twenty dollars to suck his cock for him.
"I even considered that he might have me suck his cock for him with the promise of ten or twenty dollars and then kill me because he couldn't risk his sexual preference cominhg out, for some reason. I decided to go with him. One way or another I would get some relief.
"Now I'm not gay or even curious. But as you can see, I've been down on my luck for quite some time, and I haven't eaten anything in two and a half days. He handed me a spare helmet as I climbed on the back. And as we sped off into the night, I didn't know where we were going and I didn't ask, didn't know if I would be coming back, and I didn't care.
"I would have taken myself out long ago, if I'd had the guts. Can you understand that? Do you have any idea what its like to live with that level of desperation? Can you empathize, you officers of the law?"
George Sanders had weaved between cars, ran stop signs and red lights. He had gone the wrong way down certain streets, and had even terrified pedestrians by riding on sidewalks. He attracted one police car, then another, and then another.
Kirby Richter held on, exhilirated and not caring one wit for his safety or that of anyone else. The chase came to its climax when they had turned a corner onto the wide, tree-lined avenue of Elm Street. But a small truck carrying peanut oil had overturned, and though the driver had not been hurt, the contents had made the whole street slippery.
The motorcycle spun and Kirby flew in one direction and George had flown in another. Kirby had landed on somebody's manicured lawn. George had gone head first into the side of a box truck, with the face of a clown painted on it, that had been carrying party supplies. Good thing they'd both been wearing helmets.
Sandra dismissed Kirby's speculation, that her husband had been in the process of sexually propositioning him, as a bit of errant nonsense often spouted by the deranged homeless. George's legal predicament, the fact that he was actually under arrest, barely registered with Sandra. That is because she had complete confidence in the ability of her mother-in-law's lawyers to quietly and effectively sort all that out, so that her husband would not have to do any jail time.
There would be probation. George would have to pay an exorbitant fine, no question. He would have to commit to thousands of hours of community service, to be sure. His driver's license would be suspended for a year, no doubt. And there would be court-mandated drug treatment and counseling.
But it would go no further than that. His name would not get into the papers. There would be no scandal. And a generous to the local Police Benevolent Association couldn't hurt.
Where had George gotten the motorcycle? Did he steal it? More details. The attorneys would see to it that all was quiet on the criminal front.
George Sanders was surging upward into consciousness. He was naked, swimming up from the bottom of the sea. He pumped his arms and legs as he strove to breach the surface. He kept up the effort, even as it seemed that the more and faster he pumped his limbs, the farther away from the surface he got.
Two years ago George had been in a hotel room in Cairo, when he'd told his wife he would be in Denmark. With him was the man he had just finished having sex with, the four-foot-nine inch gentleman called Ernesto Tresvantes, a native of Zanzibar, Morocco, of French and Spanish descent. He was an internationally celebrated zoologist.
Once they had been alone and could greet each other properly, George complained, once again, about Ernesto's thick, bushy mustache. It prickled his upper lip. He should shave it off.
Later, George had been at the desk of the to hotel room, doing lines of cocaine. Ernesto came over and caressed him.
"George, my love," Ernesto said, "why do you do so much, with the drugs?"
"I need them to steady my nerves," George said.