Irony

Chapter 24: Whispers
1 - Weird Wet Wednesday
2 - Greggs Place
3 - Questions Without Answers
4 - Wilson Goes Down
5 - Roger
6 - In Wilson's Room
7 - Billy Arrives
8 - Brothers
9 - Mixed Bag
10 - Gregg Screws Up
11 - Don't Go!
12 - The Signal
13 - Finding Jules
14 - Houses is Where??
15 - Billy Rides Again
16 - Looking Out For The Cripple
17 - The Cripple Gets Even
18 - Wilson's Boys
19 - I Need You!
20 - Jules and Roger
21 - Me 'n' My Shadow
22 - Crutch Ballet
23 - Wilson Speaks
24 - Whispers
25 - Winners
26 - Business at Hand
27 - All These Men ...
28 - Get Ready... Get Set...
29: Caper
30 - Over The Rainbow
31 - All Over But The Shoutin'!
32 - Irony

by Betz88

Cuddy:

 

Something is definitely “off”.  It reminds me of those first few terrible months after House’s surgery when Stacy took over his power of attorney and authorized the “middle ground” in order to save his life.  Even then they’d almost lost him.  When he came out of the anesthetic and realized what had been done to him, he reacted like a wild man.  It was frightening and traumatic for all of us and we began to think there would be no end to the ranting and raving when he first discovered his right leg would be next to useless for the rest of his life.

 

 He drove Stacy away with blame and accusations, stormy and hateful yelling followed by bitter, angry silences that finally got the better of her and she left him for good in order to save her own sanity … and perhaps his as well.  And then he clammed up; became sullen and smoldering and forbidding.  Set his rehab back weeks because he would not be caught dead in a wheelchair or on crutches.  He had to relent from that asinine declaration later on, because there was no other way he was able to get around … other than having Bill Travis carry him.  If it hadn’t been for Wilson finally calling him a coward and standing up to his bitter refusal to cooperate,  he might still be in a damn wheelchair; might never have gotten back on his feet to the extent that he has.

 

And now it seems as though he’s back to that same attitude again.  He’s too quiet.  Sullen and introspective.  I haven’t seen him anywhere near Wilson for … I don‘t know how long … and it’s got me a little worried.  He hangs out in the clinic without being ordered there or threatened with forced time off.  He hides out with the snifflers and the whiners and complainers and the sprained ankles.  If he’s not there, then he’s holed up in his office and completely ignores everyone who tries to approach him.  I get the feeling that he’s about to explode, but he won’t let me near him.  Not like he used to when we were a lot younger …

 

His friend James is worried, his fellows are worried, and I don’t know whether to wait him out or go hit him over the head with something hard.  At least that might get his attention.  I think it might have something to do with Roger Wilson, but I’m not sure.  I have no right to interfere, because for the first time in years … he is doing his job!

 

 

 

 

Wilson:

 

I’ve been so busy with Roger and Jules and a heavier-than-normal case load lately that I’m not even sure if my head’s on straight. 

Mom and Dad and Tom and Suzanne were here last weekend, and I’m sorry to say it didn’t go very well.   I’d completely forgotten that I was the only one who called him “Roger”, so it was a little awkward when they all called him “Philip”.  I never fully realized before that our parents are such homophobes.  The visit was fine at first, and we were all a little weepy at the reunion, and they were so kind and gentle with “Philip”, not wanting to hurt him when they hugged him and showed affection and happiness at seeing him again.  He wore blue jeans and a good shirt for the first time, and his hair was trimmed and combed back a little.  His emaciation was not so obvious, and the odd shape of his legs was not an issue.  He stayed in the wheelchair most of the weekend, and no one had to watch him struggle to walk.

 

However, when they were introduced to Jules and informed what they were to each other, you could suddenly feel all the oxygen being sucked out of the air.  My gentle sweet mother clasped her hands over her mouth and looked like she was about to throw up when Philip told her Jules was his lover.  And Dad … well … Dad turned three shades of purple, and I could sense thunder clouds rolling in and forming above his head.  The word “homosexual” was just never discussed in our house while I was growing up, and now I understood why.  It was not a decision that a well-bred Jewish boy made for his life!  (As if homosexuality is a conscious choice!  Where in hell did they get that idea?  Was that why Roger had left and stayed away so long?)  Tom was a different story though, thank God.  He couldn’t have cared less who Philip chose to love … he was just so damned glad to see him again after all this time.  If it hadn’t been for Tom, they might have picked up and left again right then!  Suzanne didn’t say a word one way or the other, but her sense of humor quickly disappeared after Jules was introduced.  And even now, I can’t help wondering what they will think if House and I ever …

 

But I must hold that thought for another time.

 

 I can’t help but wonder where all that long-time “Wilson Compassion” got to all of a sudden!  Not so good when actually put to the test!

 

The rest of the weekend they ignored Jules as though he wasn’t there, except for Tom and me.  It got uncomfortable sometimes, but there was nothing we could do about it.  Tom and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Jules in tow, sitting around the table, talking, telling stories about Philip (Roger) when he was a kid, and drinking a lot of beer and eating a lot of junk food.

 

By the time the family left on Sunday afternoon, I was actually looking forward to going back to work.

 

I’ve been wanting to talk to House; see him, breathe the essence of him and maybe gauge him against everything Cuddy said to me later that day, but between running Rodge back and forth to rehab, my full schedule of oncology appointments, and looking after the boys and the house, I feel myself being run ragged, and wondering if I’m biting off more than I can chew. 

The application for Jules’ driver’s permit came in the mail, and he’s preparing to take his driver’s exam.  At least that will take some of the load off, and the Shadow will finally get moved away from where it was growing roots in the driveway.

 

Dr. Cuddy stopped by my office while I was finishing up an appointment.  All I needed that afternoon was another round of bad news.  She wanted to know:  “had I noticed any difference in the way House was acting lately?”

 

Well, no, actually.  I hadn’t seen hide or hair of Gregg since the day of his “ballet on crutches”, except for maybe the back of his head when he’d been going in the opposite direction in the corridor, or when I heard his voice echo through my office wall from some heated discussion he was having with the ducklings.  One day I saw him disappear into one of the clinic exam rooms and close the door behind him. I didn’t think much of it, knowing how many times I’ve caught him in there hiding from people in general and Cuddy in particular.  If there was some kind of difference I was supposed to notice, like Cuddy said, then that was probably part of what she meant.  Truth to tell, Gregg and I hadn’t exchanged more than ten words in over a week.  Once in awhile our work has to take precedence over our friendship.  I missed him more than I could ever say, but he was aware of all the stuff happening in my life, and other than a few cautionary words at the onset, he’d not made a fuss about it.

 

Cuddy told me he’s been hiding from everyone and acting like “a bear with a sore ass at fly time …” (her words, I swear!), and she wondered if I had any ideas.

 

Hell no!  Of course not!  House is House.

 

After that, I did some serious thinking about everything Cuddy had said, and then dispatched Billy Travis and Mark Fetterolf to keep an eye on him for me.  I couldn’t do it myself because I just didn’t have the time, and he’d know right away what was going on if I stuck my nose in where I wasn’t wanted.  I didn’t need a fight with him when I hadn’t even seen him.  After about a day, they both came back and told me that he was indeed holing himself up in his office a great majority of the time, and his lameness looked to be increasing, but he was … “still the same miserable, sarcastic asshole he’s always been.”   That was Mark’s assessment.  Billy’s was a little less condemning, but basically the same.  

 

I don’t know why their words gave me cold shivers, but they did.

  

I really need to see House and talk to him.  I need to look at him and ascertain for myself whether he might be in some kind of self-induced difficulty.  I need to touch him, feel his shaggy heat beneath my own hand and take his psychological temperature, so to speak.  Or something like that.  I need to make time and make contact!  I miss him like crazy, and I wonder if all this is because he has a bug up his ass about Rodge and Jules … wouldn’t put it past him.  But the limp?  Is there something else going on with his leg?  He has never looked particularly fragile to me, but within normal health guidelines and his own case history, I know he is from time to time.  And that’s mostly because he won’t take care of himself, and he has this damned “fuck-you” attitude. At those times, when he needs help the most, he won’t let anybody, much less me … help him. 

And that sucks!

 

 

 

House:

 

Drag-ass tired!

 

I worked more this week than I have in years, and I hurt all over.

 

There’s enough garbage churning around inside my head to float the Queen Mary, and all of it’s crap.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Trouble with that is … the first shoe hasn’t dropped yet.  But it will!

 

I miss the hell out of Wilson, but I know he’s up to his eyeballs in hospital stuff, and up to his ass with those two fools he’s letting shack up at his place.  They’re both going to dick him around until they drag him through the muck and make him sorry he ever laid eyes on them.

 

How do I know?  I don’t.  But I do!  There’s a fucking Tinkerbell sitting on my shoulder who keeps screaming, “Watch out, Wilson!”

 

I can’t warn him.  Not any more than I already have.  It would sound like sour grapes, and would only chase him away from me and make things difficult.  Blood being thicker than water and all that!   Just genealogical bull crap that best friends should stay the-hell out of.  Life is full of little stumbling blocks like that, dammit!

 

I hate the words:  “I don’t know” with a purple passion.  It screams of lack of effort, and procrastination, and not giving a shit.  It means you haven’t done your homework and you haven’t delved deep enough into the problem, or your biological multi-dimensional thinking machine is defective … for whatever reason.  But that damned premonition … so strong inside my head … has begun to turn me into a stupid blithering asshole who suffers from all of the above.

 

“George and Gracie” are up to something, and it fuckin’ pisses me off!  Because I don’t know!  There’s a part of the puzzle that I’m missing, and I can’t tell anyone.  And I wouldn’t, even if I could!  This one is mine to figure out.

 

The Vicodin scrip I got from Wilson the end of last week is almost gone.  “Taking more now and enjoying it less …”   I’m paraphrasing something I remember from an old cigarette commercial my old man used to quote way back when I was an “Army Brat”.  But it fits. My leg has been a bitch.  My knee is still tender and sore from the night I fell asleep with my leg propped on the bookcase, and it really gets to me that something as innocent as that can screw me up so bad!   I haven’t told anyone.  It’s none of their damn business.  Don’t need anybody fussing over me.  Wish I’d brought Wilson’s moist heat pad home with me.  It might help.  I’m just too lazy … and too damn sore … to try to go out and get one of my own.

 

I worked the clinic all week, and at least it kept people out of my hair while I did some serious thinking … not that it got me anyplace.  Like I said, I still don’t know, and I’m not any closer to finding out.  The “boys” are at his place now, and away from anywhere I can keep a close eye on them.

 

I miss Wilson.  I said that before, didn’t I?  I miss the sight of him and the scent of him and the sound of his voice.  I miss stealing parts of his lunch off his plate, and blowing cigar smoke in his face just to get that snooty reaction.  But I have to go after him soon and get him to write me another scrip.  Tomorrow afternoon at the latest, I have to talk to him about it, and that’s going to raise his eyebrows and get him asking dumb questions.  Yeah, my leg hurts, and I need them!  Can’t let it go over the weekend, or I’m fucked. 

 

Even now, my leg is making me nervous, and I can’t sit still.  Pounding the piano hasn’t done it.  Channel surfing around all the crap that’s on TV hasn’t done it.  The pain is all the way up into my ass cheek, making me wince with every other heartbeat.  It’s almost as bad as it was after Stacy left the last time.  There’s five pills left, and if it gets any worse than it is now, I’ll run out about noon tomorrow.

 

At least it’s not all in my head this time, like Wilson and Cuddy tried to tell me it was the last time.  Stacy has been gone too long for that to have any bearing.  The pain is real and it’s making me nuts.  Not part of my imagination!

 

C’mere, bottle!   Come to Papa!  Hydrocodone to soothe the savage beast!  Just four left now.  Need to shower and get the hell to bed! 

Good luck with that!

 

 

 

Roger:

 

I am such a coward!  I have been a coward all my life, and it makes me ashamed.  I have done things in my life that would make a Rabbi blush, but yet I could not stand up against my parents’ revulsion when they found out that the love of my life is another man.  I have committed criminal acts that would land me in jail if I were ever caught, but still I sat and allowed them to embarrass me.  They used to be kinder, more generous people.  What the hell happened?

 

Shame on me!  I allowed them to rule me with their homophobia until Julie left the room with Tom and Jimmy, when I wanted him at my side.  I wanted them to get to know him and strike a blow at their stupid prejudice.   But no.  I caved like the coward I am, and he was exiled to the kitchen like a galley slave.

 

So I sat still for the hugs and the kisses and the tears and the exclamations of everlasting love, and answered to a name I don’t even know anymore …and pretended to be the good little cripple (like Gregg jokes around about, but which I know hurts him very deeply).

 

Then I listened to the admonitions about how thoughtless of me to go away and break all contact with my family for ten long years, and leaving them not knowing whether I was dead or alive … and their own agendas began to sneak in there about how they had worried and prayed and suffered … blah blah blah blah blah … until my ears were hammered deaf with it.

 

But guess what, folks … if you want me, you have to take Julie too.  Not much chance of that, huh?  I was thinking maybe Julie and I could move in with you guys awhile ‘til I can get on my feet again… cut Jimmy some slack so he and Gregg can kind of figure out where they’re going with their own relationship.

 

But that would never work.  Just think, folks … you not only have one little queer in the family … you have two!  Now, aint that a kick in the balls?

 

If they only knew!

 

 

 

Maria:

 

I’m confused.  On one hand, he is so sweet.  He has the eyes of a wounded fawn and his voice is even softer and more meticulously modulated than his older brother.  He is polite and unendingly gentle.  Even when his legs hurt him the most, he does not complain.  I know he’s in pain, and even with the hydrotherapy and his meds, he suffers from the aftereffects of the polio he had as a child.  He is weak, nearly helpless; and walking, even with the crutches he’s only just begun to use, causes him no end of grief.  Every time he uses them, he hurts for hours afterward.

 

On the other hand, there is a surprising hardness, and a cruelty in him that he works very hard at hiding from the world.  He doesn’t know I know, but I heard him threaten one of the men who share the room.  The two guys in the other beds are older; manual laborers who fell on hard times and ended up on the ward.  Neither of them is very tolerant toward gays, and one of them voiced it to Roger in no uncertain terms.  I was outside in the corridor, getting their meds ready, and I heard Roger tell them he might look helpless, but he was trained in the martial arts and if they didn’t mind their own business, they might wake up one morning to find both of their eyes rolled over into the same socket.  Besides, there was this big black dude he could talk to who would stomp on their scrotums and have them singing soprano the rest of their lives. The voice Roger used was not soft or gentle or carefully modulated.  I was very startled at his tone.

 

Was he threatening them with Billy Travis?  If so, he’d chosen the wrong “black dude”!

When I went in to give them the meds, all was quiet and serene.  Roger was in his wheelchair and Julie was perched on his bed right next to him.  They were smiling at each other while Pook and Joe were busy looking for things of interest on the ceiling, the walls and the floor.

 

When I gave Roger his meds, he smiled up at me with dark, glittering eyes, then quickly caught himself and toned it down to his usual sweet levels.  I winked at him, but didn’t let on that there was anything different between us.  I want to tell James, but I’m not sure how to go about it.  He would probably think I was hallucinating. 

 

After a few hours, I began to believe I’d been seeing and hearing things also.  *Jesus!*

Maybe I should talk to Gregory House … but he would probably think I was out of my mind.

 

 

 

Billy:

 

Jeez … do I look like “Mother Confessor”?  All of a sudden I got people pouring out their troubles to me like I have some kind of psychological degree, or a doctorate of divinity, or a magic wand.  Sorry, folks, but I don’t think I’m hiding any of the answers you’re looking for.  It takes all my grey matter just to keep up with the stuff I’m responsible for on a daily basis without taking on anything more.

 

Man! … there’s all kinds of crap jumbled up in my head about now … and I’m not sure if I’m making any sense at all.  Mostly, I don’t understand what it is about me that makes people run to me for advice … or my opinions about stuff that bothers them.  Most of these people are smarter, wiser, more experienced and a hell of a lot better educated than me.  But a lot of times I open up the door of my heart and find a whole crowd of “the confused” on my doorstep.  I wish I knew why that was, but I have no clue.  Sometimes, the more I try to sort through it, the worse it gets.  I owe Jimmy Wilson and Gregg House a lot more than I can ever repay, but here I sit, dumb old me, listening to them bare their souls.  Jimmy, I can understand.  Jimmy lays himself open like a book.  There’s not an ounce of deceit in his whole body … except maybe around Gregg … and most of that’s just in fun.

 

On the other hand, Gregg House is one of the most closed-off of anyone I’ve ever met.  He guards every aspect of his personality from people as though it’s all a military secret, and to let anyone inside would be a felony punishable by death.  Some of it I can understand, I think.  He’s a man of mental and physical action … or he used to be when I first knew him.  Then “the leg” happened, and overnight he became one of those people who were entitled to use a handicapped parking space.  God, how he hated even the thought of it!  His whole life did an about-face and his body was no longer able to do the things he expected it to do.  He found himself sitting on the sidelines watching while everyone around him got to do the cool stuff.  Yet, he’s told me things that I don’t think he ever said to anyone else … not even Jimmy … and I know he loves Jimmy more than life.  I feel undeserving of his trust, but honored to have it.  And when he tells me things that bug him, I feel all humble and mushy inside.  And I wonder to myself … why me?  What the hell is it?

 

The other morning I went downstairs again, after my shift, to shoot the breeze with Nance and Maria.  I was a little later than usual because two of my people stopped me to ask permission to trade shifts.  So I said “sure”, and went back to make the notations on the schedule.  When I got down to the second floor, Maria Colby had just come back from giving out meds.  She was upset about something she heard Roger say to Pook Andrews and Joe Rezicci for giving him and Jules a hard time about being gay.  Evidently, Roger told those two boys that he was trained in kung fu or something, and would break their arms and legs if they didn’t cut it out.  Then she said Roger threatened to sic me on them! That struck me as funny, and I told her so, but it pissed her off and she accused me of not believing her.

 

Uh oh!  By that time, Nancy had come over and backed Maria up … said Maria was as surprised by hearing Roger threaten anyone as I was.  And I know from experience that you don’t get Maria pissed off at you unless you want her pissed off forever!  So I told them I’d see what I could find out … but they shouldn’t forget that Rodge and Julie were both going to be gone pretty soon … moving out on Ridge Road to Jimmy’s place.  So, anyhow, they were already gone before I could ask around and see what was up.  I was a little too late.

 

The other night I talked to The Boss … you know … Gregg.  (He’s always thought it’s honkin’ hilarious that I called him that sometimes, but he just rolls his eyes and gives me that “whatever” scrunched look and lets it go.)  Anyhow, it seems that he’s had reservations about those boys (he calls ‘em ‘George and Gracie’) since the git-go.  He’s worried about Jimmy, and Jimmy’s involvement in the whole thing, what with him volunteering to take both of them in and provide for them until Roger is on his feet … or a reasonable facsimile thereof …

 

There’s speculation going around that Gregg is having extra problems with his leg … and Jimmy wanted me to prowl around and find out for him if it was true.  (Like I said, I must look like “Mother Confessor” …)

 

Well, here’s the scoop on that:  It’s none of my business, but I really wish those two would just quit their fiddle-fuckin’ around and admit their real feelings to one another.  Damn it, nobody who works in this hospital is blind!  They’ve been doing a chicken dance around each other for years, and dammit, everybody sees what’s going on but them!

 

Gregg wants me to check on Jimmy; Jimmy wants me to check on Gregg … and here I am in the middle, trying to juggle them back and forth while still trying to keep my nose out of the drama. 

 

And yeah … Gregg told me he hurt his knee one night by sleeping in the wrong position, and then hurt it again when he did something or other he calls the “crutch ballet” … what the hell is that? …and it was still giving him problems.  That sucks!  Hurting yourself while you’re sleeping really blows chunks!   And then to screw it up again while showing off in the gym … that was really dumb! 

 

I knew there was nothing I could do for him, and he’s been taking it easy and babying it a little.  He said he’s been hiding in the clinic where he can push himself around on the wheeled stools and stay off it as much as possible.  He said Cuddy has been giving him looks as though she thinks he’s lost his mind … and he gets off on messing with Cuddy’s head.  But when I laughed my ass off about him doing clinic duty on purpose when I know how much he hates it, he got huffy with me … which only made me laugh more.  Finally, he gave me one of his scrunched-up, wrinkled-nose expressions that makes him look like a goofy Hallowe’en mask … and we both got a good laugh out of it.

 

Well, at least now I can tell Jimmy about Gregg’s knee problems, but that he’s also pretty much okay, or he will be.  At least, I think so.  Maybe.

 

Gregg said he believes what Maria Colby heard in the corridor that morning is valid, and she wasn’t ‘hearing’ things, and he’ll back her up on it, at least until somebody proves different.  He still thinks George and Gracie are up to no good, and he’s worried that Jimmy is riding for a fall.

 

Only thing is, we’ll never know for sure unless one of the little farts makes a mistake and proves what Gregg thought about them all along.  So I guess we wait! 

 

That still doesn’t clean up the crap that floats around in my head … but at least now I can think about it a little more clearly, right?

 

Right!  Oh man …

 

 

 

Jules:

 

Nice house.  Nice neighborhood.  Nice arrangement. 

 

Roger’s doctor-brother is a pushover though.  If we decided to shit on the floor, he would clean it up and never say a word.  Too bad!  He begs to be taken advantage of.  Other than that, I find him to be pleasant and agreeable and a nice man.  He is almost as pretty as Roger!  (Ha ha …)

 

Their family is a bunch of assholes.  Can’t stand them!  Sanctimonious bastards, all of them … except maybe Tommy … and he was only dicking around with me over the weekend to keep peace between Jimmy and their parents.  That old schlock and his ugly, prunified wife were scandalized that Rodge would dare choose another man as his life’s partner!  Like it was any of their business to judge him for his choices as an adult!  I wonder what they would think if they knew that James is also in love with another man!?  They’d probably have a heart attack!  If so, I would like to watch!

 

I’ve been studying to take my drivers’ test.  The state of New Jersey is difficult when compared to the simple road test in Cheyenne.  Of course, that was a long time ago.  It is hard to believe it has been that long since I drove a car.  We had a big Mercury station wagon out there.  This little car that James bought is only half as big.  It looks good and runs good for such an old car.  James took me out twice in it, and my driving skills have not left me.  I guess it is like swimming and riding a bicycle.  They say you never forget, no matter how long you have been away from it.  I have found that it is true.

 

When I have my license again, I will be the one to transport Roger back and forth from the hospital for his hydrotherapy and physical therapy classes.  He has been very depressed from the pain and his inability to walk on the crutches, and he said the medications they were giving him were not working.  I think some of it was the fear of enduring the pain while forcing his poor legs to move again until he could regain some of his mobility.  His legs really hurt him badly when we were still on the streets, and sometimes he would cry at night and all I could do was stay with him and rub his legs and hold him.  The aspirin we stole never helped him that much, but our choices were limited then.

 

Everything seems better now.  I think some of it came from the day Gregory House walked  into the gym and humiliated him in front of all those people, and he did not want to lose face by being a coward and sitting there crying while House did that thing he did on the crutches.  Even I was taken back by Gregg’s grace and his ability to make “walking with two sticks” look so effortless.  It made me think that he must have had to walk with crutches himself for a really long time while his leg healed as far as it could.  I stood beside Jimmy and both our mouths were dropped open as we watched, and when Rodge began to move away from the bars and take his crutches and try to sway to the tune of “Wunderbar” … I found myself in tears … and so did Jimmy beside me, although it was for different reasons.  It was because the ones we both loved were brave … and angry.

 

I wonder if Roger and I will ever be able to return to that foolish thing we used to do … just for kicks …

 

Stop it!

 

 

 

Wilson: 

 

Gregg came into my office today while I was doing a case workup and trying to grab a few bites of lunch.  I was surprised to see him, but not really surprised when he limped (really limped!) up to my desk, looked over my chicken salad sandwich, apple, potato chips and Little Debbie cupcakes, and then stole half the sandwich and a couple of chips.  He went over and sat down on the old couch, munched on the food and just sat there.  I knew something was on his mind, but wasn’t sure what.

 

I asked him how he was doing … trying to be nonchalant about it and evidently failing … because he gave me “that” look.

 

“Sucky,” he said.

 

“What’s up?”  I said.  I put the case file aside and concentrated on him.  He was a little pale, and there were dark circles under his eyes which stood out like hell on his long face.

 

“Leg.”

 

He said it so low that I hardly heard it.  But even such an admission told me exactly why he was there.  “Still bothering you from the night you went to sleep …?”

 

“Yeah … and the shit I pulled in the gym a couple days later …”

 

Billy had warned me that might be part of it.  “That why you’re hiding in the clinic?”

 

“Yeah, partly.”

 

“Why else?”

 

“Just trying to keep Cuddy off my ass … and keep the kids off my ass …”

 

“Is that working?”

 

“Mostly.”

 

“And you came in here because … ?”

 

“You know why.”

 

“Yeah, I think so, but I want to hear you say it.”

 

“Damn it, Wilson!”

 

“Say it!”

 

“I need you to write me a new scrip.”  His eyes were all over the place.

 

“Okay …”   Why fight it?

 

“What?”

“I said ‘okay’.”  I opened the middle drawer of my desk and fished around for my prescription pad.  I wrote him a prescription that took ten seconds.

 

He popped the last chip into his mouth and pushed up from the couch.  Took the scrip and made to leave.

 

“Thanks.”

 

“No problem.  Later.”

 

“Yeah …”

 

And he was gone.  That was two hours ago.   I haven’t seen him since.  I think he might have gone home.

 

Damn him!  He was hurting.

 

 

 

 

House:

 

Know what it’s like when you feel so low you have to reach up to touch bottom?  I felt like that in Wilson’s office today.

 

Mainly because he didn’t give me a hard time about asking for another refill so soon after the last one!

 

My Vicodin ran out at eleven o’clock, and by noon I needed more.  My knee is driving me nuts, and if it wasn’t so hot and swollen, even I might begin to think it was actually psychosomatic.  It’s not.

 

I went straight to the pharmacy and filled the scrip, then signed out.  I sneaked out of there like a kid who didn’t finish his term paper; called a taxi from my cell and came home.  My bike still sits in the hospital’s underground garage because I can’t bend my knee enough to get it over the saddle.

 

So here I sit with my damn leg propped up under about ten pounds of ice, still sore as hell, wondering if whatever is wrong is serious enough to go back in there and have myself admitted.

 

Right now it’s tamed down enough that if I don’t move it, it’s okay.  But I dread the next time I have to get up to go to the head.

 

I was even desperate enough to get out my rehab crutches and lean them here against the nightstand by the bed.

If I wasn’t so damn miserable, I would laugh at the irony of it.  Last week I went into the gym and pissed around doing a stupid dance on crutches just to get Roger Wilson off his ass and get him moving.  Now here I am … in the same fix he is.  It hurts so bad it brings tears to my eyes.  Paybacks are hell!

 

Thank God it’s the weekend again, and I have two days to screw around with it and try to get it flexible again.

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m ninety-five years old.

 

I wish Wilson was here.  It would be so good just to know he’s nearby … to have him touch me.  But I don’t dare.  He’s up to his ass in alligators, and I don’t want to scare the living shit out of him with my problems!

 

Maybe if I sit still and close my eyes, I can sleep …

 

Good luck with that!

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