Fleming Unit #89: Hospice Hellfire
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Posted by Enzo Piazza on: 12:36 AM, 12/ 8/17
Fleming Unit #89: Hospice Hellfire
By: Enzo Piazza
Narrator: Esther- Hospice nurse to unit owner Mr. Farkas
OCT 10th

Opening my handbag  I tipped it’s contents out onto the concrete ground. I knew I had the key somewhere, but my efforts to find it with a clawing hand in the dark fold of fabric proved to be fruitless. My first summer in this podunk town seemed to last a lifetime. Now the gelid autumn air whispered foreshadowings of the equally long, arid, and doleful winter to come. Two days ago I received an email from the Fleming Storage Units. The withering european man I was taking care of was in decent shape this week and that led me to decide I would make it my top priority to gather the things he wanted as soon as the situation allowed. I arrived before the area was unlocked to the public. Fifteen minutes later I was pushing the rolling door of unit eightynine far above  my head.

“WHOA!” Tavin took a few steps back and then whistles at the sight before him. His dark eyes scanned the mess almost appreciatively. “Old Man Farkas was kind of a hoarder huh?” Floor to ceiling and and all of the metal box’s twenty five feet back was filled. An endless assortment of furniture, trinkets, and photo albums tetris'd together. It stared at us with a furiously daunting taunt.

“Really? I would have never guessed.” Sarcasm thickly laced its way into my voice.

“It’s going to be impossible to get all of this stuff out in 2 days.” Tavin lived Great Falls and as both a personal armed security guard and volunteer firefighter he could not stay here in Havre to help me longer than that.

I began pulling a folded piece of paper out of my jacket pocket. “We don’t have to. Mr Farkas gave me a list. The police or whomever will trash the rest latter.”

He raised a questioning eyebrow and crossed his thick arms over his chest. “That old man was lucid enough to write you a list?”

Innocently I responded. “He has his good days.” From my back pocket my phone let out a soft ping. I took it out to look at the Twitter notification.

Pope Francis: “God does not disappoint! He has placed hope in our hearts so that it can blossom and bear fruit.”

I snorted in disdain upon reading this. Hope is a rare commodity, even for a believer like myself. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job as much as one can. I don’t enjoy watching my clients die, It depressing. But the time I get to spend with them is precious. The stories, the wisdom, knitting, crafts, and baking. Most people say they have an inner child. I have an inner old lady. But every now and then I get a patient like Mr Farkas.

 Do you ever think about the consequences you’d warrant if people could read your thoughts? I do. Especially concerning my thoughts about the people I take care of. I’ve never physically harmed any of them like they do to me, however, I’m sure if someone could read mind my license would be stripped from me and I would be imprisoned. More so if they listened in on my thoughts about Mr Farkas.

 Mr Farkas is an ill man: his mind rotted with age, regrets, and Alzheimer’s. He had gone through four other nurses before myself. None of them could handle his mood swings and aggressive behavior. I don’t take such things personally. He is sick, and I am a product of an abusive family. Adapting to such is second nature. Or at least that’s what I thought upon taking the position. Mr Farkas proved to be far more of a challenge than I anticipated, I am however, determined to see his life though to the end.

I remember when the weather was still warm and the leaves green Mr Farkas having a bit of a melt down. I’ve been trained to deal with these things and at this point besides tying him to the bed there was not much else I could do. During these episodes Mr Farkas mistakes me for another and would often only speak to me in his native language. Aggressively I might add. He was incredibly strong, in his youth as a gyppo logger and now. That morning he managed to forget the pain his failing knees caused him and picked up the coffee table before hurling it at me from across the room.

Living with him was a nightmare at times to say the least. On the other hand there were days where he would sit down with me on the back porch and read to me from his journals. An idea of mine to see if he could remember his former life.

He never could.

Once I went to far with his memory therapy. Dug too deep. I know this now. Hindsight is usually twenty/twenty. I was replaying the musical record of his wedding, swaying with him to the beat. His eyes once dull now alive with pain. I asked if he was alright, if I should stop the music. He was doing so well earlier that day; managing to eat what I had made him for lunch even. This surprised me. Often he would try to hide the food like a child if I left him alone or refuse to eat nearly.

Mr Farkas didn’t answer but he did stop dancing. Tears began to well at their ducts. At this I crossed the room to the record player. The second I took the needle away something in him broke. The air in his lungs gushed out with a billowing sigh of desperation. I watched as he fell to his knees and clung tight to study’s oak desk. I inched my way to the door, knowing that savage look in his eyes too well at this point. If I addressed him it might provoke him to lunge at me as he had done times before. Mr Farkas clutched at his shirt, bear like hands speckled with liver spots and telangiectasia.

A sob. A scream. And then Mr Farkas was up on his feet sweeping the desk clear.

I ran.

Fear was rare for me when facing Mr Farkas, but on this night it clung to me like a morning fog to the ground. It was suffocating. I clung onto my rosary, praying for daylight as Mr Farkas tore through the house. The bed I had crammed myself under would not be good protection if he realized someone could possibly fit under there. I was too tightly mashed between the floor and bed frame to wiggle out quickly.

My foot brushed against something moist. I ignored it until something wiggled between the webbing of my toes. The feeling made me jump in my skin and in a panic to keep quiet I stifle my screams. I squinted to the dark headboard where my feet lay. Craning my smooshed body awkwardly in an effort to get a sense of what the unwelcome was. It was too dark so I pulled my feet up close to me.  Turning my attention back to assessing my position I listened intently for the Old Man’s footsteps. They were slow and heavy. More importantly they were still upstairs. This was good enough for now. I took my phone out of my bra, a habit I picked up as a teen, and turned on the flash light. I pointed it back to where my feet just were.

A viscous film coated a brown red mass. Twitching in the bright rays and burrowing into questionable object were countless maggots. That image will never be freed from my mind. Not with a thousand puppies, or a butterfly parade. A shiver ran up my spine and I quickly switched off the flashlight mode. There was no other place good enough in this house to hide. I would just have to endure.

If I called the police now there was no telling what would happen to Mr Farkas. He didn’t have living family and I was positive being forced into a mental home was not how he wanted to end his day. I didn’t have it in me to see him leave like that. I took the rest of that long night, panicked and claustrophobic, to plan his last moments for him.

From then on the longer I live with this man, the more anxious I became to see his end. It’s not a lie when I say everyday I think about putting him out of both of our miseries myself. To just dewitt. A pillow to the face. A small push down the stairs. Leaving him to fall asleep in the tub. But I knew it had to wait. Timing and location were key.

I was fiddling with the fleece of a cream colored dog bed I found atop a stack of old TVs when Tavin received a call; essentially bringing me from my daze. Two hours of work and the two of us had only found three of the seventeen items on the list.  “Who was it?”

Tavin was leaning over the hood of his truck, pale faced. “Teresa called. We got to go.” Teresa was Tavin’s newest squeeze; a fiercely  possessive yet warm-hearted Hispanic woman. I quite liked her. Teresa had an air about her that kept Tavin’s wild side more in check. She too was a nurse and offered to stay with Mr Farkas while Tavin and I were out on this errand.
“Why, what happened?”

 Sweeping the loose strands of his long hair back behind his ears with one hand and grabbing the unit lock with the other Tavin shrugged off the wind and hurried to close up. “Don’t know. There were too many sirens in the background to hear her right, but she is on her way to the hospital with the old man.”

For a long moment I was standing stone faced. Was Mr Farkas finally meeting his maker? Briefly I felt a wave of relief. There was still reason to hope. I smiled to inwardly. Maybe. Just maybe, I could move to Great Falls, and take care of Tavin’s neighbor Iris. My heart was swimming with the potential delight. It was an awakening. The awareness of an unexpected sensation of euphoria for what I knew I had done. Mr Farkas found the gift I left him this morning and was about to experience the greatest adventure of all. Our Lord's arms will be opened wide welcoming him into the golden kingdom, I am sure. He deserved peace. Perhaps Ms Iris would like some peace too.

“Hay, Esther. You okay kid?” His eyes held incomparable amounts of bemusement. For the situation; for me. Tavin had been my sanctuary and confidant since childhood back in Wolf Point. He thought he knew everything there was to know about me and the old man. I told him a lot about Mr Farkas and his rough hand.. He would continue to think this way. Every man loves to play the hero to a defenseless soul like me.

My fingertips brushed against the chilled mettle of my crucifix as I watched my Assiniboine friend pull the sheet metal door back down. “Never better.”

« Last Edit: 12:49 AM, 12/ 8/17 by Enzo Piazza »