Hospital food is much better than I remember it as a child, when I was admitted for a burst appendix. Still, I would much rather have been opening up the bookshop on a Tuesday morning.
Yes, Bob struck again. Of course he couldn’t have known that I have an intolerance to pepper when he pepper-sprayed the pages of Jupiter’s manuscript. All I really remember is her using her key to open my apartment door when she heard me choking and banging on the floor with my palm. The next thing I knew I was laying flat, with bright lights and masked faces hovering over me. I panicked momentarily, thinking that I’d been abducted by aliens, until a female voice assured me that I’d just gone into anaphylactic shock but I was okay, thanks to my quick-thinking wife. I’d drifted off into an oblivion, in which Jupiter and I had gotten married, me in my new tux.
My second shock for the evening came when I woke up in a white, sterile room only to have that very same Jupiter to whom I’d been blissfully wedded in my dream, punch me the moment I re-opened my puffy eyes.
“What the hell are you doing reading my manuscript?”
“And what the hell do you think you’re doing almost dying on me?” She hit me again. “If I hadn’t shown up when I did, you’d be dead! Asshole!”
And then she left.
I was eating my corn flakes and contemplating what I’d managed to read of Jupiter’s novel the next morning when the doctor, a pretty lady named Alicia who was about the same age as me, came in to say I was being released. Ironically, she matched the description of the physician – to a tee – who pronounced Jupiter’s protagonist’s best friend dead in the book.