When I wake up, it’s the afternoon and my parents are there fussing over me. Mom fusses, anyway; Dad just says, “Looks like you took some good knocks,” but I know what he means. We talk for a bit, and then Dad takes Mom out to go get a late lunch for me, since she keeps crying when she looks at me and it’s making both me and Dad uncomfortable.
Frankly, I think I look pretty good, all things considered. The lumps on my head are barely noticeable, and the nurse tells me that they’ll be gone in a few days at most. I’ve got a dozen assorted staples in my back, but most of the cuts were just closed up with glue after they removed the glass. The nurse showed me a picture of a small metal tub full of glass shards, and told me that they pulled over three pounds of glass out of my back, arms and legs. That’s kind of awesome.
I lucked out on my arm. It turns out that the back of the forearm is mainly meat, without any important tendons or ligaments there, so as nasty as that cut Regina gave me is, all it needs is 18 staples and some time to heal. I can’t tighten my fist completely right now, but that’s because it pulls on the staples, not because of any internal damage.
Everything else is just superficial damage. My legs, arms and hands sting from all of the cuts, but none of them needed anything more serious than disinfectant and surgical glue. Also, the nurse tells me that the IV bag is just saline to help rehydrate me, so apparently the lack of pain and muzzy-headedness this morning was just residual effects from the surgery anesthetic.
By the time Mom and Dad get back with lunch, I’m unhooked from the tube and sitting up in bed. I ask the nurse for my actual clothes, but she just laughs and shows me the torn and bloodied rags I was wearing when I arrived last night, and I agree that those aren’t fit to wear anywhere other than a Halloween party. Fortunately, Mom and Dad have brought me some extra clothes to wear. They’re Dad’s, so they’re a little bit too short and a little bit too tight, but I feel better wearing them than I did in the hospital gown.
And speaking of tight-fitting pants, my cast is gone! The doctor X-rayed my foot before applying a new cast, and found that it had healed, according to the nurse, “freakishly fast.” It feels startlingly good just to be able to wiggle my toes freely again.
I eat my sandwich in the hospital room while filling out the necessary paperwork to process out, and then my parents give me a ride back home. Dad compliments me on the upkeep of the house, while Mom goes into the kitchen and tuts about how much junk food I have in the cupboards. I swear, sometimes they’re so stereotypical it’s like they’re working off of a sitcom script.
There’s an awkward moment when Mom starts to make dinner. Dad and I are flipping through the Netflix menu and talking about nothing in particular, when Mom calls from the other room, “Danny? What happened to the pots?”
“Nothing, Ma, they’re in the cupboard to the right of the stove, like always!”
“I see them, but why are they all stuck together?”
Evidently I forgot to demagnetize the stack of pots the last time I was practicing with them, and they got put away magnetic. I don’t know if I can undo it now, either. I tried using my magnetism on the way home, and I’ve got just enough residual ability to pick up a paperclip from a few inches away and make it stick to my skin. Making the pots nonmagnetic will probably take days, if I can do it at all.
“It’s, uh, a new kitchen gadget I found! It makes the pots magnetic, so they heat up faster on the stove. It helps the electricity conduct better, I think. Also, it makes them harder to spill if you bump into the handle, since they grip the burners.”
“Oh, that makes sense!” Mom calls back. It doesn’t, but it’s nice of her not to call me out for wasting my money on As Seen On TV products. Dad, on the other hand, is giving me a pointed look, but when I say “What?”, he just sighs and turns back to the television. So maybe my parents think I’m a bit gullible, but at least they don’t think I’m insane.
Mom and Dad stay the night, which is more than fair, since it is their house. In the morning, we hug goodbye — carefully, because of my slashed-up back — and Dad asks if I need anything else from them.
“Nope, everything’s going fine!” I say, which basically could not be further from the truth. I had a voicemail from Edgar yesterday, from icy, controlled Edgar, telling me that the museum would be closed for renovations, and that my services would not be necessary during that time, or indeed at any future time. He did say that I could expect a check in the mail for two months’ pay in lieu of notice, but then concluded by telling me that the museum’s lawyers were ready to vigorously argue that they were not liable for acts of God, should I also attempt to get worker’s compensation.
Two months is plenty of time to find another job, though, plus I have savings. So this is not information that my parents need. Anyway, the sun is finally shining, my foot is healed, and in a week I’ll be back at the hospital to have the staples taken out, so maybe things aren’t that bad after all.
My phone buzzes as I’m waving goodbye to my parents, and I fish it out of my pocket. It’s a text from Brian, and it says, “Checked up: R released yesterday. Diag: concussion caused temp psychosis, no danger to self/others, full recovery.”
So Regina’s back out in the world, too. Despite the early morning sunshine, I feel a chill, which I do my best to brush off. After all, her problem with me was all part of the magnetic ability, right? So we’re fine now. As long as she’s not mad about having a personal magnetic field that keeps her from getting within a foot of anything computerized, anyway.
My phone buzzes again, displaying a followup text: “Wanna hang out?” Which I do, so I grin and put my worries aside for a while. If I’ve learned nothing else from this, it’s that I don’t need to go looking for trouble. Trouble’s got no problem finding me.