Yayray sees a portal, a portal of light circling into being and a green-tea-ice-cream green ceiling with a panel hanging precariously.
Yayray: where's my phone? oh oh my head hurts. what happened? i only remember the girl.
Dr. Anxiety: that's like all my dreams. you are quite the spectacle, young man. you're here in my care at the hospital. you are quite famous, there were two sets of people here to check on you, one was Benedict Cumberbatch who is an island unto himself and he said he was your brother. lucky! the other was Patty and Selma.
Yayray: those are my aunts, tell them i am so sorry sorry sorry. oh yeah that guy is not my brother. my brother is dead to me. i just remember the sea.
Anxiety: we all will remember the sea one day. hey speaking of see, if you see Benedict again give him my card and this manila folder would ya? i can play a doctor on tv, too. it has my specs for sitcoms, headshots, and a little penguin key fob for Benedict cos, y'know.
Yayray: uh, sure, my hands are shackled with wires so sure. that can't be your real name.
Anxiety: it isn't, it's a nickname the other staffers gave me. each staffer offered the same name upon meeting me for the first time. they took one look at me and it stuck. general consensus. i'm Ansel so it follows. hungry?
Anxiety wheels out a large block of white substance.
Anxiety: no, soy-cheese lick. this is the new and improved hospital food, lots and lots of soy cheese. new and improved. i think it's tastier but it's healthier at any rate. go on, lick in but don't eat too much, i'm saving my stomach for later.
Yayray clutches his midsection. Anxiety moves Yayray's hand to Yayray's heart.
Anxiety: when you are hungry, reach for your heart.
Yayray: the pain! what's this pain in me?
Anxiety: i have the same one. i don't know but it seems to always be there, huh?
Yayray: no, no. what do you do, Mr. Anxiety?
Anxiety: brain surgeon.
Binny: oh there's my baby! told ya, Quinn, it was 3F not F3.
Quinny: that's the problem with this world, nobody listens to each other, everybody is so wrapped up in their own little world that other people might as well disappear. fuck this labyrinth, i'll pay more attention next time when my Rayman plays those mazey vidya games, those things do develop the brain after all.
a large crow stalks the mob outside the hospital. an errant lit cigarette is tossed aside casually by a cameraguy. the crow's feet picks up the cigarette, waves it around a few times like a racing flag, and the cigarette turns into a small orb of fire. the crow takes a large fish swimming in a rainpuddle into its beak and cooks the fish by the fire. it had been saving time and opportunity for just the right nice dinner. when the crow thinks about his plan, his eyes light up yellow. meanwhile the cameraguy notices some commotion underfoot and checks it out. he finds his cigarette butt, is befuddled internally, leaves the butt as litter and returns to the commotion overfoot. when the cameraguy isn't looking, the crow takes the butt and transforms it into a windshield-wiper on a handle. the cameraguy can't sit still waiting, he turns around nervously, he was always taught to keep his head on a swivel for the story, he notices the wiper and picks it up by the handle.
cameraguy B: how on earth am i supposed to use this?
Binny rips all the wires from Yayray's arms, detaches him from the velcro of the pool of sweat that has formed on the bed and flings the boy over her shoulders, leaving without saying a word. she scoots out the backdoor and the two biddies are on their motorbikes before the duped press corps at the front of the hospital has a chance to embarrass themselves cutting across lawns to get their shot of the candidate for most newsworthy boy at the moment.
the house is grey but a dark grey that is deeply distinguishable from the current overcast sky. Binny has one violet eye and one calm ocean blue eye. Quinny has one ocean blue eye and one pinkeye.
Binny: got your medicine? did you make this trip worth it?
Quinny: yep. knowledge is important but not when it becomes no ledge. gotta have some stability, the anchor of sleep, there's always the next day to learn what you missed before. but i hate missing.
the two women plop Yayray down on his bed on one side of the room which is the only room of the house and get to work on the opposite corner. they both in unison unfold their suitcases which transform into typewriters and begin banging on their typewriters whose keyboards are splayed in such a way that they could be two sides of a giant keyboard, they touch corners just enough. that's where the unison stops. Binny is a banger of the keys who takes awkward jerky stops here and there to break up the action, she is in danger of breaking her typewriter each time, her silences are anxious in anticipation of the next bang rather than a true silence meant for introspection. Quinny is more of a steady rumble, quieter but always running.
Yayray (woozy): you know the info contained in my little smartphone here will always trump whatever the hell you two do all day.
Binny gives the evil eye to her nephew but it's a short break and she doesn't miss a beat taking out the next newspaper, scanning it with her lenses and fingering it left to right, crumpling it into a ball and missing the trash basket with it and typing typing typing. the sisters can't wear eyeglasses on account of their eyes.
Binny: not so, snapper, you don't know how to use that knowledge in your hand, it's a hot coal and you don't even know you're burning yourself. have you snapped back into place yet?
Yayray clutches his midsection surreptitiously away from his aunts' view. he doesn't want to alarm them further. they're busy. they're always busy. they're good to him though.
Quinny: the little one peed on me again last night. i had the blanket over me this time though. learning is about adapting. five times more this morning. i don't know what i'm doing wrong, i serve her her water each morning, straight from the refrigerator tap, not from the tap but from ice cubes, chilled to our princess's perfect prerequisites.
Binny: mangy mutt! girls are crazier than boys. remember, from now on keep my door closed at all times!
Quinny: the poor dear is in serious heat. did you set up the appointment?
Binny (after a pause): oh yes, can't wait to get this over with! took the earliest available.
Quinny: she'll be calmer afterwards, you'll see. should i wash my soiled sheets every afternoon or wait till next week after the procedure to finally give it the washing of the century? by then it will be so stinky i will have become noseblind to it.
Binny: put the orange-stained mess in a clump next to her litterbox, that way she'll know this is her new second place to go, away from your bed so you can at least pretend to be dry as you're falling asleep, you can dream you're dry at any rate. keep your window open at night, look at that sky! the cold is good for your eye, the Moon heals the eyes. all for Cotard. what is that monkish scoundrel up to nowadays that he can't tend his only companions?
Quinny: something about a journey to a horrific plane crash, he has to do some good work down there for a long time, he skyped me in more detail but i don't do that. he said something about it taking a while, he stressed that, that the healing might not ever really happen or that it would take a lifetime. the plane crash was in the news but then it wasn't in the newspapers and i actually don't remember it happening at all anymore.
the kitten jumps up on Binny's lap and rubs her kitty head into Binny's human typing fingers.
Quinny: ah ah ah, this might be all the love you ever get, my friend.
Binny: it's not really love, it's being in heat, it's craziness.
Yayray: one in the same, i should know. i'm looking at my screen right now, it's so glossy and clear, i can get a thousand front pages from all over the world instantly at the click of a finger. want the news in Klingon?
Binny: no, why would i want that? that's useless. i use my fingers for important matters.
Quinny raises her eye above her spool and catches Yayray in an uncomfortable gaze back at her. Yayray hated that; his aunt was always so good at that.
Quinny: does your non-dead-tree-edition contraption tell you what to do for gallstones?
Quinny: an educated guess based on all the observable facts and my vast storehouse of previously-collected-and-collated data.
Quinny uses her finger to hit at her temple.
Binny: are your blinds ruined in your room? the kit can't stop herself, she has to constantly look outside, she paws paws paws at them, bending them, fitting herself into them till she's on the other side.
Quinny: that is all of our journeys. really you should feel blessed that someone out there is looking out for burglars. the cat cares that you're safe.
Yayray: ...will kill us all. excuse me.
Yayray slips into his room, which is the far right corner with a blanket on top. he's been viewing on his smartphone that one seminal iconic image of Codrus placing a piece of beige stone on his slithering tongue with the words PUT THEM IN ONE VESSEL under him. just as Yayray is pondering the picture, going deep into it, well as far into it as the screen will allow, it's an HD screen but it's still a screen, Yayray feels the stones in his middle ache up again, move, tremble, bore their way through his body trying to get out and find freedom. he is in immense pain writhing on the floor covered up with the blanket fort that it looks like some naughty bumping-and-grinding activity going on under there.
Quinny: boy you got a girl in there with you? you know the rules.
Yayray closes his eyes. the circular portal closes up into the black circle again. the pain is so grand but it is measured, it comes in timed fits and starts, the black provides a canvas, each time a contraction occurs, red wavy lines appear on the screen of his closed eyelids. then the lines turn yellow, then for a split second bright pure white.
he opens his eyes and the Codrus image is right beside him, the static picture animates like a video but this isn't a video, is it? Yayray sees Codrus swallow the piece of stone then look directly at Yayray with a knowing stare and a shit-eating grin. Yayray tries to close his eyes again but can't. a yellow aura forms around his body core, Yayray moves to clutch his midsection and his grip hardens into a squeeze, he lifts his fingers gingerly and moves them in a perfect wave pattern, the stones rip through his skin, Yayray sees surgical stitches coagulate on his body as the stones come out and fall quietly to the ground.
but then the stitches disappear as quickly as they came. Yayray tries to keep up with everything his eyes are seeing, he is not in control, he is not making any of this happen, this is happening to him quicker than he can process it, he's watching the movie of his own life.
and then he sees all the blood, the blood which pours out of the tiny hole the stones caused in his stomach-area skin. the sight of the blood is more scary than the pain, how is he gonna explain this to his aunts without them worrying? he thinks about the poor kitty and looks at the floor, no blood, never any blood, clean floor, the stones are nowhere to be seen. he sees Aunt Binny pouring milk for the kitten, she's wearing the scarf over her head she wore when she was sick. she turns to lock eyes with him. her eyes are gentler than Yayray ever remembers seeing them when she was sick. she mouths to him:
"patience, we must all have patience, patience creates silence, patience creates nations."
he spies the corner of his blanket covering the view of the corner where Binny is trying to hide her pouring some
MILK, CLICK HERE AT THIS LINK
for the kitty from her family. it doesn't take long for the boy and his aunt with her hand in the kitty-treat jar to lock eyes, both are smart and there's a limited scanning area search field in here. the rest of the space is filled with search boxes.
Yayray waits for Binny to return to her station and he scootches his way over to the saucer of milk the kitten is furiously lapping. his slide transforms into a walking-on-all-fours. he tries to sip some of the milk but the kitten shoos him away with her head.
"come on, man," the kitten says, "go check the window to see if the milk delivery has come yet. i need this milk in this saucer more than you. i need to cool off."