“Doc, you have to help me, I’m at my wits end here! PLEASE…”
The voice on the other end of the line was so overwrought with panic Dr. Zach Gerdian had to concentrate to understand the words coming through the phone receiver. It wasn’t for several seconds that he realized the hysterical man stuttering and straining to regain control was in fact his own kid brother.
“Tommy, Tommy,” Zach had to yell over the nonsensical sputtering of his brother in order to be heard. “Slow down. Tell me exactly what’s wrong,” Zach realized he was using his ‘doctor’ voice, but hearing his usually stoic brother behaving like a neurotic patient was really freaking him out. After several more minutes of struggling to make heads or tails from Tommy’s ramblings and panic-induced outbursts, Zach had had enough. Instructing his brother ‘not to move’ he hung up the phone and in less than 20 seconds he was out the door and racing to his brother’s duplex across town.
Pulling his trusty ’83 Landrover up to the curb in front of Tommy’s building, Zach hopped out of the vehicle and ran down the semi-interior hallway, at the end of which he found Tommy’s door hanging wide open. Not a good sign. Slowed by the fear of what he might find behind the threshold, Zach took his last steps into the apartment tentatively, trying desperately not to think of the million and one scenarios, all terrible, that would explain why his very private brother’s was open to the world.
“Tommy? Tommy, where are you?” Zach’s throat had suddenly gone dry, causing his voice to rattle out in weak mewing sounds. Hearing movement in the direction of the bedroom, Zach sprinted towards the sound and prayed it was his brother and not some hulking monster or giant squid as his imagination would have him believe. Reaching the doorway, confusion immediately replaced irrational fear as he tried to process the scene in front of him.
Surrounded by broken plates, drinking glasses, food wrappers and fresh stains that looked like red wine, Tommy was sitting with his legs crossed beneath him, stripped down to his underwear and humming softly.
“Hey bro,” Zach slowly tiptoed through the litter and debris so he could circle in front of his brother to better see his face.
“Oh, hey Zach,” Tommy smiled up at his brother languidly; his eyes glazed and bloodshot and then returned his unfocused stare to his left hand. He was high as a kite.
Not knowing his brother to be much of a ‘stoner’, Zach sat down in front of him and pushing up each of Tommy’s eyelids with his thumb checked his pupils. Checking his pulse and finding it slow but steady, Zach relaxed a little. “What the hell is going on, Tommy? What was that phone call about? I thought you were dying or something, you sounded terrified,” anger at being needlessly frightened for his brother’s wellbeing was beginning to creep into his voice.
“Oh that…” Tommy said without looking up from his left hand.
Giving him several minutes to elaborate to no avail, Zach’s patience had run out. “Yeah that! And what the hell, Tommy? You’re stoned out of your gourd! Since when do you smoke?”
“I don’t!” Tommy looked like an innocent child wrongly scolded. “Some dumb kids down the hall thought it would be funny to give me pot brownies. But Zach… Zach, I swear I didn’t know they weren’t regular yummo delicious chocolaty treats, honest. That’s a funny word… honest. HONest, OOOnest. Heh, weird…” Tommy smiled again and then returned to his study of his left hand.
Zach suddenly felt very tired. Knowing it was just the adrenaline seeping out of his system, he decided he better give himself a few minutes before driving to make sure he didn’t completely collapse. “So, what the heck is you obsession with your hand all of a sudden, brownie boy?”
“You’re never going to believe it, Zach. Tonight, I finally understood something… my left hand… my left hand is a monkey hand. It makes total sense, cause I have terrible control with that hand, I’m always dropping stuff or fumbling something and now I know it’s cause I have a monkey hand! That kinda freaked me out, you know… so I called you to have you come give me a physical and get rid of the monkey hand for me. But I’m ok now… I’ve come to love my monkey hand.”
So that explained the broken dishes and spills.
Zach watched as Tommy gave his own ‘monkey hand’ a high five and he felt confident he could leave his brother on his own without any further incident. Instead, Zach sat down on Tommy’s bed and was asleep less than a minute later.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Tonight at dinner, Andy made the comment that he couldn’t use his left hand properly and as he clenched his fork like a two-year-old might declared he had a ‘monkey hand’. This stuck us both as extremely funny, and as he attempted to stab his asparagus with his fork like a thumbless primate might, I requested that he pass the iced tea pitcher. Not being able to handle this task with his monkey hand, I mocked him a little and grabbed the pitcher with my own left hand, saying “let me do it, I have full control of my left hand”. At which point I then poured tea all over the countertop, completely missing my glass. Looks like I have a case of monkey hand as well.
Love & Squirrels.