No Cognitive Defect - Part VII


No Cognitive Defect - Part VII

By James M. O'Meara, © 2008

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Some light for the cellar...

The first thought through Wilson's mind as he lay on the cellar floor was: Thank God Evan wasn't home. How many times had Evan fretted that one day Wilson would end up tumbling down these steep cellar stairs? When Evan was in town, Wilson couldn't go down to the cellar without his son following him slowly down the steps, so near Wilson could feel his breath on the back of his neck.

"What do you need?" Evan would ask. "I'll get it for you."

"I don't need anything. I'm just checking on Hoffa's body," Wilson would reply. "Stay upstairs. If you see where I've buried him I'll have to shoot you."

"Dad, please, you're going to fall down the steps one of these days."

Well, one of these days had finally arrived and here he was sprawled on the damp basement floor. He couldn't see a thing. The concrete was rough, and the air had a musty, faintly mossy odor. Something warm and wet was running across his forehead; he'd bumped his head when he fell and probably caught the edge of the workbench, likely getting a nasty cut. He had been nearly down the steps when the cellophane tape he'd used to lash the flashlight to his crutch gave out. The flashlight bounced away, leaving him in darkness, and he'd missed the next step. For a brief moment he was airborne, then gravity took over and he'd landed hard on the cement floor, gashing his head in the process.

He moved all his extremities, one by one. Everything worked as well or as poorly as it had before. He sat up. His neck was a little sore, but he was certain that he wasn't seriously injured. The cut was the worst of it, and the bleeding was already slowing down. He fumbled around and found the flashlight under the workbench. The lens cap was loose. He put it between his knees and tightened it with his good hand, and the flashlight came on. He played the light across the floor and found his crutch a few feet away and within easy reach. In a few moments he was on his feet, a little stiff but not mortally wounded. He wiped his eyes and forehead on his sleeve and went to the workbench. A pair of large candles and a box of matches were on a shelf over the bench. He lit the candles. Now there was enough light to see the battered white metal cabinet across the room. There was an old kerosene lamp inside, stored away at the ready. He turned off the flashlight, leaving it on the work bench, and retrieved the kerosene lamp. In a few minutes it was burning and the cellar was bright enough for him to move around safely.

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