Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Opposite Woes"

Anyone for poetry? This is silly....


"Opposite Woes"

"O, Dr. Day, there's something wrong!"
I told him with a yelp.
"Just tell me what it is," he said,
"I'll see if I can help."

"Well, it all started just lastweek,"
I told him with a frown.
"I made an effort to stand up;
Instead I sat back down."

"That's not so bad," the doctor said,
"Just dizziness I'm sure.
I have right here some medicine
that will affect a cure."

"If dizziness was all there was
I'll bet that would be true.
But there's still more that's going on
I need to share with you.

"I tried to fill my coffee cup
and tipped some from the spout
But, instead of filling up the mug
I found I'd poured it out!

"My shoes should go upon my feet -
they end up on my head.
I sleep upon my table and
I breakfast on my bed.

"I know that I'm right-handed;
I've been so all my life,
but recently I use my left,
At least, so says my wife.

"I'm drinking from the toilet and
I'm peeing in the sink.
My eyes are always open, while
my mouth's begun to blink!

"And if all that is not enough
To prove to you my plight,
I'd swear the Cubs have won the pennant
and that CAN'T be right!"

"So, left is right and right is wrong.
That's quite a list of ills.
I don't think I can solve this case
By giving you some pills.

"Let's see," Doc said, "I think I know
Some tests that we can run.
With those results we then will see
If something can be done."

And so they ran a CAT scan
With an MRI or two.
They tested both my ears, my mouth,
My bed and sink and shoe.

When all the tests were finished
The results were analyzed.
Then Dr. Day sat down with me
And shared the big surprise.

"We've figured out your opposites.
Our reasoning is clear.
Do you remember last week, the
Procedure you had here?

"It was a simple surgery;
We just removed your brain.
Once it was out we washed it
And returned it back again.

"But, sadly, a mistake was made,"
said Doc Day with a frown.
"For though your brain was clean,
We put it back in upside down."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Helping Hand"

This story is a combination of two challenges, one to write a story using a journal entry format, and another to tell about what you would do if you suddenly received discovered you had super powers.


Journal of Corporal Joshua Rogers, US Army
August 15, 2009

We inspected another site today. Officially we found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Unofficially...well, that's a different story. The bunker we uncovered had definitely been used as a lab of some sort. The chem sniffers reported blanks, but the rad guys said they detected low levels of some kind of radiation. They tested all of us pretty thoroughly afterward and pronounced us clean. Some of us think the radiation proves Saddam was doing some kind of nuclear research, but the tech wizzes say that since certain lab equipment uses radioactive sources, it's impossible to tell from the faint traces we got what the actual source of the radiation is.

On an unrelated note, I got stung by a scorpion today. Couldn't believe it. I reached down to take off my boots and wham!, it hit me in the hand. Thing had been clinging to my pants and I hadn't noticed it. Tiny little bugger. Doc Johannsen said it wasn't dangerous and shouldn't hurt much more than a bee sting.

August 16

Had a terrible headache today. A couple of times my vision blurred a bit; I definitely felt some eye strain. Thought it might be a reaction from the scorpion sting, but the Doc checked me again and said it wasn't. Gave me some ibuprofen and send me back on duty. Weird.

August 17

Headache is much worse today. Can hardly see straight to write this. Doc put me on medical leave for observation. I'm having problems with my hands - they aren't always responding when I try to move them. Took me several tries to write this. Gonna lie down and rest.

August 19

Somehow I lost a day. Doc says I spent most of yesterday in a delirious state; no fever, but I drifted in and out of consciousness, though I can't remember it. When I was conscious, Doc says I flailed my arms about. He had to tie them down. The headache is gone now and I can write this without problem. Doc wants to keep me for a couple of days for observation.

August 20

Maybe I'm crazy, but I swear this actually happened. I'm sitting in bed, reading a book when I decide I want a glass of water. I reach over for the glass and take a drink - then I see the glass, just floating there in front of me. I can feel the glass in my hand, but both my hands are still holding the book open. I jump out of bed and "throw" the glass away from me. It flies across the room and lands on an empty bunk. I'm freaking out. The nurse comes in, asking what's wrong. I tell him it was nothing. I dozed off and jerked awake because of a bad dream. He looks at me funny, but leaves. I sit down and try to figure out what happened. I can't. All I know is, I FELT the glass in my hand. I moved it to my mouth and took a drink. All while holding on to the book with both hands! I begin to think about the possibility of radioactive scorpions and begin to wonder. I've read Spiderman. It couldn't be real, could it?

I decide to experiment. I sit cross-legged on the bed and put the book in front of me. Here goes. I reach out my left hand for the book. No problem. I try with the right hand. No problem. I put both hands firmly on my knees and force them to stay there. Then I reach for the book. Nothing happens. I feel stupid. Spiderman, indeed. But something happened with the water glass. It did! I try again. Reaching....reaching.... I FEEL my hand, my HAND, close around the book. I glance at my knees. My left and right hands are still there. But I still feel the book in my hand. In fact, I can feel three hands. My head starts to ache, right between my eyes. I ignore it and bring my right hand forward. The book starts to tremble; my third hand is loosing its grasp. My right hand grabs for the book. For the briefest instant I can feel both hands touching, then my head begins to throb, and the third hand goes away. I'm extremely tired right now. I'll try more tomorrow.

August 21

I tried using my third hand on and off today, always careful not to let anyone catch me. I'm not sure what's going on with me, but I've heard stories about some of the research done at DARPA. I have no intention being shuffled off there to be some guinea pig for the Army's Dr. Frankenstein. I'm keeping this to myself.

My control got better throughout the day, and I noticed that the headaches decreased in like proportion. Here's what I've learned.

The third hand is real, yet it isn't. I can pick things up with it, and feel them as though they are in my physical hands, but the third hand feels no pain in and of itself. I can actually touch it with my other two hands, but to objects other than those I am actively trying to hold or my own body, the hand is non-corporeal.

The third hand is about as strong as one of my regular hands. I find I can lift things I would normally be able to lift, while things that are too heavy remain too heavy. The hand extends as far out from my body as my normal hands do, too. This is useful, naturally, but I wish I could reach farther. That would have some really great applications. Maybe it's just a mental block?

August 22

Doc released me today. He can't find anything wrong with me and I certainly haven't told him about hand number three. In fact, I don't intend to tell anyone. Ever.

August 25

My range has increased quite a bit. I can now reach things out to about ten feet. This has allowed me to initiate a few practical jokes I'd never have been able to orchestrate before. The best has got to be got to be goosing Sergeant Brandt as she walked past O'Reilly in the mess hall. Wow did she lay into him. Gave him additional sentry duty for a week. This so totally pays him back for the camel dung in my bunk. As an aside, Sergeant Brandt has a very firm ass.

August 28

We're going on extended patrol today. I've never been comfortable with these. The potential for ambush in the area we're heading to is low, but was an area of extreme violence in the past. I hate seeing people living in fear like these people do. Especially the children.

September 5

This is Dr. Albert Johannsen, with the Army Medical Department. It isn't standard protocol for me to write in a patient's journal, but given the circumstances, I feel it is appropriate. This certainly isn't going in my official report. Maybe Corporal Rogers' family will find it useful.

I find Corporal Roger under my care due to what officially is "an accident in the field." A land mine detonated close to the corporal, causing damage to his central nervous system. The corporal is in a coma I doubt he will ever come out of.

The report is unclear as to how exactly the land mine detonated. Witnesses state Corporal Rogers made an attempt to prevent an Iraqi child from entering an area known to be seeded with land mines. He ran towards the child, waving him away. The child did not respond. The mine seems to have malfunctioned and detonated approximately ten feet from the corporal. The child was five feet from the blast, but remained unhurt. Not so for Corporal Rogers.

That's the official report. What it doesn't cover are the strange little oddities than remain unexplained. No shrapnel from the blast was found more than inches away from the mine. Corporal Rogers has no physical marks on his body - nothing that should have caused his vegetative state. No cause could be determined for the mine to have detonated.

Having discovered Corporal Rogers' journal, I believe I have a possible answer to these questions; not an answer that can ever be offered up officially, but one which nonetheless fits the circumstances. If we take as fact what Corporal Rogers reported in his journal, this is what I believe to have occurred.

Corporal Rogers saw the child moving toward the mine field and moved to intercept. As he approached, he saw the mine and realized he would not make it to the child in time. Using his "third hand" he covered the mine. (Given his increase in range it makes sense that his area of effect could have grown in like measure allowing him to cover the entire surface of the mine even though the mine itself would have been larger than his hand.) In his haste, his third hand detonated the explosive. Corporal Rogers made sure the third hand stayed corporeal and used it to contain the blast. The amount of effort needed for this must have been monumental. The effect, while not affecting him or the child physically, surely fed back into his brain (much as he became mentally fatigued from exercising the hand, only orders of magnitude more intense.) It is this mental feedback which has caused the corporal's coma, rather than any physical trauma.

I cannot know if this theory is correct, just as I cannot predict whether this "psychic trauma" will ever heal. What I do know is that Corporal Rogers is a hero. A child lives because of his selfless action. God bless you, Corporal. God bless you.