The old man was always in a fever dream these days. Coming in and out and catching snatches of conversation. He was an agent or had been an agent. He caught that. He never forgot her coming out of the ocean that day. Completely perfect womanhood. Was that his wife? No, not her. But, she stayed with him for a little while. The old man was 80 or was it 90 years old? What was the difference these days. He slept and dreamed a dream of violence and hangovers and friend’s long gone or were they? They seemed more real than he did in a way. He was drifting off. Not becoming nothing or into nothing but just becoming just being.
The young nurse looked at the orderly and flashed a disgusted look at the old man on the bed. Well, that’s your job ya know. His ass stinks and that’s below my paygrade. She was a little shocked when the supervisor walked in. But, the older nurse just motioned both of them out of the room.
Are you Russian? She was wasn’t she? Did he love her? No, not love. But, he knew her. She was one of the many that he knew. Drifting now….Steel teeth? Damn, that was a ride. Who are you? I just can’t get it….
The doctor looked at the old man. Who was paying his bills? Nobody got doctors and nurses and round the clock care like this. Not in this facility. Private room itself must have cost a year of the doctor’s pay and the doctor was very well paid indeed.
The older nurse looked at the old man and remembered the stories. She was one of the few who actually knew a little of the old man’s background. She had been young then but still a grown woman. He was quite the catch back in the day. The young nurse who looked so disgusted earlier at his shitty ass would have drooled all over him back then. Idiot.
The old man drifted…Coming awake now and feeling old wounds and stiff joints. He had made it though hadn’t he? Of course he had “lived” and was now in purgatory. A soft chuckle followed by a coughing spasm shook his narrow chest. The hands that had crushed noses and fired the finest weapons and caressed the most beautiful of women shook now in a palsy.
Almost over said the doctor. Another day maybe not even through the night. You knew him then? He asked the older nurse. She of the high cheekbones and ample bossom and the greenest eyes he had ever seen. The doctor noticed how beautiful she was for the first time. Like a work of art. Weathered and chipped but still under all the years and wear. Beautiful.
The old man saw a light. So bright and yet so easy to look at. So inviting. The old man was no longer an old man. He was fully himself. He walked up to the bar. What a place. So bright and the bartender was wearing a clean immaculate white jacket. What will it be sir?
The clock on the wall read 4:44 AM. 444 was the number of angels his mother used to say. Hello Love? He looks and there she is. His wife? Tracey? My God, she’s perfect. Sir? The bartender says what can I get you and your lady?
Martini. Medium dry. I’ll have mine shaken, not stirred
He’s gone…He’s finally gone the nurse thinks. That can’t be right. But, right before, just a moment before he had such an expression of joy and wonder. Call it says the doctor..Time of death 4:44 AM.