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At the Stroke of Three (standard:drama, 2602 words)
Author: WaltAdded: Aug 30 2006Views/Reads: 2107/1295Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A man faces life after suffering a stroke.

At the Stroke of Three 

It must be snowing again. The soft white flakes are floating around,
swirling on a breeze like autumn leaves that refuse to touch the 
ground, circling around and around. It is warm for snow. At least my 
arms are warm. My foot is cold. Just my left foot. I hear voices 
calling, Mr. Watson, Mr. Watson. I cannot see them. They must be lost 
in the snow. Or maybe I am lost. I will just wait here until they find 

My left leg is cold and numb. I try to rub it to get the circulation
moving, but my left hand feels odd, tingling pins and needles, as if I 
have been sleeping on it. Sleeping. My bed is hard. Like the old bunk 
bed in the hunt camp - a bed formed of a thin tick mattress on a sheet 
of plywood. I open my eyes. Perhaps I am dreaming. I am not in the camp 
but neither am I at home. This is a strange place. I try to sit up. 
There is someone lifting me, pulling me up, but I do not know who it 
is. Mr. Watson, Mr. Watson, can you hear me? 

"Yesss," I hear myself say. 

"Do you know where you are?" this woman asks me. 

I have to think about that. "No. Where am I?" 

"You are in the General Hospital." 

"The hospital," I confirm. Why am I in the hospital? I cannot remember.
I was at home. I remember watching the football game. "Why am I in the 
hospital?" I ask. 

"You're sick, Mr. Watson." 

"Sick?" I do not remember being sick. 

"Yes, you had a little stroke," she says. I can see her now. She is
dressed in blue. It has stopped snowing, but my left leg is still cold. 

"A stroke?" I ask. "I don't remember. My leg . . . ?" 

"Yes, your leg and arm were affected, but don't you worry, we'll make
you better again." 

"Okay," I say. What else can I say? I want to think about this but I am
so tired. "I am going to sleep now," I tell the woman. 

I sleep and dream. My dreams are broken, interrupted by sounds and
feelings that I do not understand. There are strange sensations 
coursing throughout my body as if it is doing things that I neither 
command nor comprehend. Perhaps I am drunk on whiskey but I swore to 
myself that I would never drink too much again. Not since Nattie left 
me. Nattie. Nattie. 

"No, Dad, it's Cathy." 

"Cathy?" I open my eyes and see my daughter and someone with her. "Who's
that with you?" I ask. "He doesn't even know me, Cathy. I told you . . 
." I recognize the perfectly modulated voice of my preacher son-in-law 
but decide to play a joke on him. I always found Robert to be a pompous 
ass. "Is that you, Jerry?" I ask. Jerry was Cathy's first husband. I 
liked him. 

"No, Dad, it's Robert," my daughter says. 

"Well, I don't have my glasses on. Hello, Robert," I say. Cathy finds my
glasses and puts them on. I try to adjust them but my left hand will 
not work right. I look at it. My vision is a little blurred but I can 
see Cathy and Robert clearly enough to recognize their features. "My 
hand . . . " I say, looking for an explanation. 

"You had a stroke, Dad," Robert says. I wish he would not call me Dad
but let it pass. I vaguely remember someone telling me I was in the 
hospital and that I was sick. I think back to my dreams and recall 
people saying I had a stroke. It must have been Dr. Halliday. Doc 

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