Micro-Fiction by Rod Tipton

Thurston Reeves was admitted to Dauphin County Senior Care Center at the age of 58. He was taken to a room in the South East corner of the Memory Annex Building that sits some hundred yards behind the main facility. By luck it had view of the Susquehanna River.

The victim of a genetic mutation, his diagnosis was early onset of Alzheimer’s. At 59 Thurston’s great-grandfather, John Reeves, walked out of the family farm house 3 AM and into an Indiana January blizzard wearing only his long-johns and carrying a broom. John’s last recorded words were “Got to find Tuffy.” Tuffy was his childhood dog that had died some thirty-five years prior.

Thurston sat in a chair at his window for the better part of that day silently watching the river flow past. It wasn’t until just before dinner he made his first pronouncement; “The antimatter converter is failing. We must find another power source or we’re going in.”

Growing up he read comic books religiously. The Dale twins, who lived three doors down, and he spent hours, days, months and years acting out super hero scenarios. They memorized and used the phrases and terminology of comic book fantasy. “Your puny attack is futile against my weaponry” and so on.

Almost a year to the day before becoming a resident of DCSCC, Reeves began peppering his conversations with “comic-book-speak” as his son called it. Six months later he spoke nothing else.

Dean Wilkinson was 62 and worked three jobs to make ends meet. Caring for the slowly dying at the Annex was his least favorite job, but he needed the money. It was 4:30 AM when he signed the forms at the nurses station and picked the tray full of small brown envelops containing the drugs for his 5 o’clock rounds.

He was loopy tired but ahead of schedule which meant an early end to his shift and extra sleep. It was exhausted dyslexia that caused him to be standing in the doorway of room 417. Reeves was sitting at the window watching the summer mist melt away and Susquehanna slowly becoming visible in the light of dawn.
Wilkinson flipped on the over head light and the mist and river were gone. Reeves looked at his own reflection which was confusing. Wilkinson sat the tray down, “Time for your meds Mr. Clark.”

While Thurston tried to make sense of the word “ Clark”, Wilkinson put two pills in Reeves hand. “Swallow these down.” Thurston felt the situation needed to be clarified. “Astronavigation has yet to plot a course for this mission.”

Wilkinson’s years of experience had gave him a deep reservoir of problem solving techniques. “Hurry, take them.” Dean said in his most authoritarian voice, “They will give you more power then you can imagine.”

Reeves gaped in awe at the green and orange capsules glowing in his hand. His destiny had finally arrived. The might and glory of his murky past was being given back to him. Soon he would explode up into the still gray sky and fly away leaving a trail like a comet.

He looked into the eyes of man with the spongy face who stood before him, it was time for a farewell then; “Even though I have replenished my supplies and my sun-packs are full, I am loathed to leave this green planet.” He threw the pills back and swallowed.

Wilkinson’s best smile was thin and tired. He flicked the light out and left. Reeves turned back to the window and found the river. These drugs were not meant for his body and in less then two hours would stop his heart from beating. Thurston liked how the river was long and silver. To him these attributes seemed to give it a purpose, a purpose he wished he could share.

Rod Tipton is a poet and filmmaker from Seattle, Washington.