A Night in the Hospital (Ginger Man 8J)

“So’s the guy, he goes to work — ”

“That guy must be tired, if he’s doin’ all this stuff while he’s sleepin’.”

Charlie reminded himself that Maggie’s questions, as annoying as they were, demonstrated she was at least listening to the story. “He gets by. Anyway, when he’s done at work he goes home, and yeah, he so tired he falls asleep, right in his chair ‘fore he even gets to bed. He wakes up the nex’ mornin’, and he’s lying on a bed, but he knowed right straight, it ain’t his, too hard. He opens his eyes, looks around — sees curtains, hanging from this metal rod hung from the ceiling — ”

“He’s in a hospital?”

“Emergency room. Guy calls hello, and a minute later, the curtain’s pulled back — he sees a nurse — ”

“The lady who talked to him after the first two nights?”

“Nuh-uh. Different one. Tells the guy the police had found him walking across the street at three in the morning, and when they couldn’t wake him they were like, we either lock him up or send him to the doc. You’re lucky they decided to go easy on you, she tells him. I think next time they’ll put you in jail. So he tells her this isn’t the first time it’s happened, and they do all these tests on him, try to figger out why he keeps sleepwalkin’ — but they don’t find nuthin’ wrong. Best they can figger is that he’s stressed out, so they give him a pill for it, send him home.”

“I’m guessin’ that don’t work out too well for ‘im.”

Charlie shook his head, waved a finger at Maggie. “Hold on, yer gettin’ ‘head of yourself. As the guy’s puttin’ on his jacket and fixin’ to leave, he stops himself, and goes to the nurses’ station.”

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