PARIS TIMES (chapter 2) by matthew carlson
As spit like rain landed upon the rooftops of Paris, Patches Phukett lay in her bed, cell phone cupped in her gnarled hands. The voice of handsome Guy explaining how Maxine was ill and wouldn’t be coming. I stood at the door listening as my morning sentence was being read: I would be getting Patches up or else she would continue lying there…. ! (Gads!) Of course my mature self just said “Do it” and went on its’ merry way, but knowing the bad charachter that was Patches’, I knew before having that first cup of coffee that there would be an ensuing battle of some kind. Patches had major control issues where the people around her became her marionettes. I had to quickly implement a plan!
“So listen up Patches, ” I said using my 7 of 9 Borg voice. “There’s no problem. I’ll get you up, take you to the bathroom, get you comfortable and something to eat, but that’s it. I won’t be doing the millions of duties you normally require. Just the basics. But you’ll be comfortable, relieved and have something to eat.”
Patches scowl disappeared behind her cell phone with a frantic gnarled finger quickly tapping (with minimal success) on her tiny keyboard. “You sure you don’t want to go to the toilet?” I asked again. “Usually that’s the first thing people want to do in the morning when they wake up.”
“Not yet, thank you.” She replied.
“Okay. Tell you what, I’ll come back in 20 minutes, finish my breakfast and then if no one’s coming, I’ll get you up, take care of your basic needs. At least you’ll be comfortable.”
“Okay,” she replied again still puching away at her keyboard staring at her phone.
True to my word I returned in twenty minutes.
“Okay I’m ready Gelledge,” she said as I appeared in the doorway. ” Can I tell you something before we begin?” My Borg impression had really worked! She knew she was not going to get away with pushing me around.
“Yes, of course. What is it Patches?” I had all the cards in hand, or so I thought.
“Can you put some cream on my feet?” I had images of doing that with gloves on and immediately I responded.
“No, Patches. Like I said, just the basics. Later on today, you can ask whoever it is to give you that foot rub…” A little voice told me that I was being mean, but to give in now would be my undoing! I had to hold on to my borgness, (or volcaness)…Otherwise I would be a victim to her every demand and for the entire day! I had not signed up for any of this.
“But usually they put cream on my feet and then you have to…” I cut her off with a lip zipping motion. I was already annoyed and had seen this behavior too many times to get suckered in one more time.
“Let me remind you Patches,” I said, “that I am not your employee, that I am here doing this as a friendly service. I’m not one of your ‘slaves’. I’m only helping you because you need it. All of the things you’re going to ask, well don’t. Unless, it is something vital, of course.”
There was a moment of silence. Patches had little experience with people putting her into place. And the word “no” was not something that people said to her.
“Ready?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she answered looking at me with wide eyes.
I pulled her gently by the legs hoping to slide her down lower onto the bed hoping to then sit her up in a sitting position. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” she screamed. “No like daaat gurggle blrggggg” she half screamed half garbbled a second time. Aware that she might be in pain, but also Knowing her strong skills as an actress I quickly moved to a second attempt by trying to sit her half way up by holding her in a sitting position. She screamed again even louder.
“It’s not like that!!! Go get the LIFT person,” she said. I had already put her to bed on numerous occasions and it was obvious that what needed to be done was by following the same steps in an opposing manner. But Patches Phukett had over the years developed a rigide, concise method which could not be bended or altered in any way. There was only her way.
I felt her stress and said: “Patches, you know I’m here to help you. We’re just going to do the opposite of when I put you to bed. I’m gonna lift you up and put you back into your chair.”
“But that’s not the way we do it,” she repeated. “Fuck,’ she yelled.
“Yes, I know that,” I said.
“But today, it is. Unless you would rather stay in your bed. My eyes and head tilt implied the obvious. “Tomorrow you can do it the regular way. You’ll have to just trust me.” She was cornered and she knew it.
So quickly I pulled her into a sitting position & all the while she screamed and battled with her legs rigidifying and cursing me under her breath. “The lift person,” she uttered with shakiness, her eyes fluttering almost into a faint. ‘Almost’ being the key word. (Remember: a very good actress). Once she was sitting up I wasted no time into transferring her into her wheel chair. She spitted and spoffed, her eyes now doing rollar coasters, her spactic muscles unrelenting into ZOMBIE-like straightness for no apparent reason, other than that she was being forced to relinquish control. The maladie that was hers’, between body and brain – some dire need to control all things: big and small. Any other possibility would not be, could not be considered.
As I rolled her into the living room to then brake her wheelchair into a stopping position, then bring the famous ‘metal barred-human-lifting-device’ that would place her onto the toilet, she couldn’t help but try to regain control, “Telephone” and then “Slippers…these aren’t the ones I wear during the day!” and then “My pills. I need my pills”…(and then) “The stereo, music…”
“Patches,” I said taking a deep breath. “Let’s just go to the toilet and focus on that for now.”