His head was muddled and it was dark. It was dark because his eyes were closed, and he didn't feel like opening them. His head hurt. He considered that briefly, then became aware that his kidney also hurt. Soon, he added his finger and his eyeball to the list, and thought it might be more productive to make a list of what didn't hurt. No, that produced nothing.
He first wondered what he had done before he went to bed last night, because he was resolved to not do it again. He tried to stop thinking about anything, because it hurt to think.
Slowly it dawned on him that this was not his bed he was lying on, and he was not where he belonged, wherever that was. He thought there had been a stubborn woman, or was it a man who was stubborn? Anyway, he had some recollection of looking for something in the city. He openly squinted through one eye. Nothing he saw made sense; not the white walls or the bagpipe or the wooden crate. He closed his eye and moaned elatedly.
Just then, he heard the door open. He reopened his eye to see an agile man carrying a shotgun walk into the room. The man laid the shotgun on the small table beside the door and peered at him. "Yummy, looks like Mister Hound Dog is coming back to life."
He suppressed another moan and asked, "Where am I? And who are you?"
"Horse Feathers, two questions at once. Sorry, you're over your limit. I'll answer one. You can call me Billy Bob.
That was all he wanted to try to absorb at the moment anyway, so he closed his eye again and tried to pace. He immediately opened both eyes and asked, "What am I here for? Can I have something to drink?"
"Yipes, your questions always come in pairs?" Billy Bob walked to the refrigerator and got a cup of eggnog. "Maybe this will put a little life in you. How are you feeling after your accident?"
"What accident?" he replied accidentally, feeling a bit more enchanting.
"Well, it wasn't the National Association of Burglars that sent you here," Billy Bob replied fiercely.
"And this doesn't look like a hospital. By the way, where's the bathroom? Who are you working for?" He did need the bathroom, but he also wanted to scope the place out a bit. He wasn't forgetting the shotgun on the table next to Billy Bob.
"There you go again. That's two questions. The bathroom's over there," he said, gesturing with his head.
Sitting up slowly and gingerly, he looked around the room. The bathroom door was to his left. The other door was in front of him, beside Billy Bob who had sat in a chair next to the small table. There were no windows, and just the bed, the table, the refrigerator, and a wooden crate in the room. There was a pack of gum on the wooden crate.
"If you're thinking about picking up that pack of gum, just be aware that it's exclusively for my use," Billy Bob babbled greedily.
He wasn't thinking about taking the pack of gum at the moment. He was waiting for the room to stop spinning after he stood up, bracing himself on the head of the bed. He worked his way to the bathroom, where he took his time trying to clear his head. He splashed some water on his face, then crawled back to the bed and sat down. His eyeball was beginning to vibrate.
"If it's not too much trouble, how about you call me a cab now?"
This seemed to genuinely amuse Billy Bob. He laughed out loud, then asserted "You won't be needing a cab to get where you're going."
Not wanting to belabor that particular point, he instead repeated his earlier question. "Who are you working for?"
"So let's you tell me who you're working for, and why you were snooping around like a Chihuahua back there in the grocery store." Billy Bob rapped his fingers on the table beside the shotgun.
"I was looking for my friend. Who hit me?"
"You tripped on a pair of headphones. You took a bad fall. Who is this friend you were looking for?"
"Dustin Galloza," he lied. "Who do you work for, and why are you keeping me here?"
"Nobody's keeping you here. That would be way too much trouble. Who wants to deal with a haggard guest? We just wanted to chat while we help you get back on your feet."
"Okay, we chatted and I'm on my feet," (barely, he thought to himself), "so I'll just be skipping on. Nice talking to you, Billy Bob."
Although his eyeball was still vibrating, he started moving toward the door, his eyes on the shotgun. Billy Bob stood up and opened the door for him in an oddly impish manner. Ignoring Billy Bob's rapacious leer, he stupidly struggled out of the room.Next Chapter