October 10th, 2005



This first part is miscellaneous; i just wrote it while thinking about Ethan. or something like that.

Wake me up when October ends. The leaves are about to change colors, or should be according to normal weather patterns. But unusually warm weather is probably going to delay the ceremonious change from green to red, yellow, or orange. And I frankly don't care if I never see it again -- I like to think that I am choosing my own destiny at this point, and it just coincides with the fact that the destiny I choose will shortly reflect the destiny forced upon me. Actually, I am on the verge of not believing in destiny any more.

this next part, i wrote while sitting in the waiting room at the hospital with dan and friends. i found it appropriate to write about a dying man whil sitting in a hospital. 4 hours, ali, 4 hours. (there is more that goes at the beginning of this, but it isnt typed yet. it just describes the other useless news broadcasts.):



I can’t bear to listen to anymore.  I am in pure agony – this is my Hell: watching Channel 4 News.  Or any news program for that matter. 

“Fuck you,” I say to the screen, as the news anchor dives into some bullshit story about the dangers of pumpkin carving. “Who the fuck cares about fucking pumpkins?”

It’s a sign that the news has gone to shit when all that they can report on are teenagers drag racing and ideas for a “fresh and safe Halloween.”

I attempt to flip off the television set, but I decide that it takes too much energy to move, so I settle for more swearing. 

“You fucking cock,” I say to the news anchor – the fake looking one with the pasted on smile and perfect hair. “I’m going to fucking kill you if you mispronounce his name.  Fucker.”

My body dislikes this last exertion, and I am a bit short of breath. I never used to swear this much, but my situation warrants it. A dying man should be allowed to swear.

A dying man should be allowed to do whatever the hell he wants. 

I want the television off.  I would say that I could die a happy man if the television was turned off, but this isn’t entirely true. At this point, though, it is damn close to what would complete my life.

Outside my door, I hear a nurse messing with some charts or something.  The television is still on, despite numerous attempts to will it off telepathically. My brain is starting to hurt, on top of the perpetual pain that consumes most of my withering body. The most effort that I can possibly exert comes down to groaning as if I am in excruciating pain.

With less enthusiasm than I would have liked, the nurse comes strolling into my room.

“Hi Ethan,” she says somewhat smugly.  “How are you doing?”

“Martha,” I say. “I am in excruciating pain.” I don’t think that I need to fake a pained expression.  “Help me.”

“Where does it hurt?”

“Martha, my brains are melting right now.”

She raises an eyebrow. “Oh, are they?”

“Have you watched the news lately? Do you see this?” Appropriately, the Channel 4 News is reporting on a suspicious looking man they found on the side of the road.

“The dead man was carrying condoms and whipped cream.  Where he was going is not known..." the television reports. “Up next, learn how some parents protect their kids from the evils of the world – Home school, the Safe Haven.”

“And what, pray tell, do you want me to do about this, Ethan?” Martha asks.  I detect a hint of sass in her tone.

“Turn it off, Martha,” I plead.  “Please.  If you don’t turn it off I’ll rip out my IV.”

I am serious.

I will rip out my IV if she doesn’t turn off the television.

Luckily, Martha and I know each other pretty well, and she can tell when I am being serious.  The television shuts off with a satisfying click.

“I love you, Martha,” I tell her.

“I know you do, Ethan.”

Martha shuffles away in her shiny white tennis shoes.  Her shoes are always shiny white.  I don’t know how she keeps them so white. Or why.  It’s not like anyone besides me looks at them.

She comes back with some water. “Dr. O’Connell will be in soon.”

I sip my water silently.  I have mixed feelings about Dr. O’Connell.  I only rarely have doubts in his medical ability, but his bedside manner is peculiar.  Some days he comes in and tells you flat out that your chances of survival are dismal.  Some days he comes in and makes conversation and tells stories and is your best friend – and then he tells you that your chances of survival are dismal. I have experienced both sides of the doctor a couple of times each, hence my doubts in his ability.  It’s a strange feeling knowing that you surprise your doctor when you wake up each morning.

I wonder which he will be today.

An hour passes with no Dr. O’Connell.  I take the time to contemplate how and when broadcast news started downhill.  It can’t be a sudden thing, but I definitely did not notice it as much when I was a journalist.  I was incredibly narrow-minded sometimes; oblivious to how my colleagues where shitting around bringing the whole field with them. Narrow-mindedness in the field of journalism – that was supposed to be one of my best attributes.

I must have fallen asleep briefly, because when I wake up, Dr. O’Connell is checking out my chart. I can’t read his face, as usual.  I bet he flips a coin to decide whether to be friendly or blunt with patients. 

“How are you feeling, Ethan?” he asks with a vague tone.  He looks up at me over the tops of his square glasses. 

My eyes meet his.  I still can’t read him.

“I’m just dandy,” I say.  Not completely untrue.  I am awake and that counts for something.

Dr. O’Connell talks sports with me for a bit. Today is a friendly day. 

“You look tired,” he says to me.  His tone has turned more serious.

I nod as best I can. “My energy level is noticeably lower than usual. It’s the difference between being able to flip off the TV news people and having to settle for just swearing at their fake faces.”

“At least you still have your wits,” he says, almost light heartedly.  I agree.  My first concern when I was diagnosed was that I would lose my brain, my intelligence, my wit. So far, my mind is as sharp as ever, but each day there presents a new challenge. Fatigue takes more of a toll on my mental capacity than anything else.

Dr. O’Connell brings up my numbers. Apparently they don’t look good.  And when it comes down to it, the doctors have decided that my chances of survival look dismal. Again. 

But I am already in a bad mood, so hearing O’Connell’s vague bullshit sets me off.

“Give me a time limit,” I say to him.

“Ethan, you know how I feel about that,” he replies in his doctorly manner. “I can’t give you any kind of time frame and be comfortable with it.”

“Bastard,” I say roughly. “You and I have been doing this long enough.  I don’t want to hear that my chances look fucking dismal.  Tell me I am going to die and tell me when.”

I pause to catch my breath, and Dr. O’Connell squirms in his white coat. I glare as best I can. 

“Tell me, damn it!”

He sighs loudly. “I’m not promising you anything, Ethan.”

“Fine, you don’t have to promise anything.  You can’t think that I actually believe what you doctors tell me anyway.  I have been in and out of here enough times to realize that there’s nothing more that you can do for me. But damn you, you owe me this.” I pause again, this time coughing. I attempt to turn on my side, and have every intention of continuing on my tirade.

But O’Connell gives me a time period.  Nine months.

Martha hands me more water. I want thank Dr. O’Connell but I don’t know what for.


so yeah. that's it. i just kind of wrote with an idea in my mind of how that was all supposed to be, but i dont know if it matches with what you were thinking. i think that maybe i am still in jackson-mode, and i am making ethan sound a lot like jackson, which is not what we were going for? their personalities are different, so their voices in the novels should be different...idk. i just wrote because i couldnt concentrate enough to do my chem lab write up.

[oh yeah. i got a 70 on my chem test, which works out to a 3.0. eh. bad. not too bad. idk.]