Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 24


24 Hour Party People

    His eyes turned to the clock, then back to the envelope that held the last thoughts that would (hopefully) not ever need to be read or remembered.  Inside, Dad realized that he had better get blinking if he wanted to begin the process of erasing those words.

    He thought of the hospital clothes.

    He thought of the lawnmower. 

    And he thought of me. 

    Not me his son, but me his friend.  The strange friend who provided the songs that led him to become Local Boy.  He thought of their first meeting, and then he was there.

    His bare feet shuffled along the grass, inches behind the motor of the mower.  He recalled how his father had always told him not to mow the lawn without shoes unless he wanted to lose a toe, but the feeling of the fresh mowed grass on his skin always excited him for some reason.  Too bad he couldn’t relive that feeling again here.  When living like a refugee in your own head, all you have are your own thoughts and your senses of sight and sound.  No smell, taste, or touch.  He wondered if he should report that to the doctors, or if anyone ever had before.  If only he could feel and smell that grass again.  Even though he was doing the right thing, he was almost sorry that it would have to end like this.

    A car horn honked.  His body didn’t stop mowing and his head didn’t turn, but in the peripheral vision of his host he could make out a carload of girls doing a drive-by as they often did.  The whistles and catcalls always made him smile. 

    Another car drove by the yard.  This time his body did stop the mower.  An inverted bottle of beer entered his vision and the Dad inside wanted to smile again.  He used to call this one the beer commercial:  Glug, glug, glug, ahhhh followed by an exaggerated motion to wipe the sweat from his brow.  Drove the ladies wild.

    His eyes stole another sideways glance to assess the audience, but an approaching figure obstructed his view.  Something tells me he’s been here before.  This was it, the single moment he needed to change to fulfill his part of the masterplan.

    He heard himself speaking.

     “My parents aren’t home, but if you come back later they may want to make a donation.”

    “Donation?” asked the confused visitor in the orderly uniform.  Dad felt his eyes drift to the hypnotic circular logo on the man’s chest.

    “Yeah.  I figured you were from the hospital when I saw that outfit on you.  Never heard of LBDG though.”

    Yes I have.  But where?

    He felt a confused sense of déjà vu as thoughts from the past mingled with thoughts of his present.  Why did he think this guy was from a hospital?  Something about him was familiar, but at the same time it wasn’t quite the same.  You would see if only...

    The visitor snapped out of his daze.  “Oh, yes.  I just...got off of work.  I wanted to talk to you.  Ask a favor, actually.”

    Inside his own head Dad started thinking intensely just as the man who stood before him would one day teach him. 

    Fucking jerk interrupted my show.  Now I’m not getting laid tonight.  Probably escaped from the mental institution.  Fucking jerk.  Fucking jerk. 

    They were thoughts he hadn’t had in quite a long time, but he knew he had to revisit them if he wanted to convince himself to blow his top.

    “Who do you think you are, interrupting me when I’m entertaining the ladies?” he heard himself say. 

    Throw down the bottle.

    On cue, he threw the beer bottle down at the visitor’s feet.

    “You’ve got me wrong.  It’s more of a challenge.  There’s this girl...”

    “I don’t need any help getting dates from the likes of you.  Now get outta here.”

    “If you’d just let me explain...”

    No explaining was to be done by me on this trip, as Dad watched in disbelief as he sent his future son to the ground with one punch.

    “Are you gonna get, or do I need to knock you into next week?”

    It was hard to tell from his reaction, but the visitor seemed almost amused by this comment even though he held his tongue.  Regardless, the threat didn’t need to be repeated, as the guy in the hospital gear ran off with more spring in his step than one might expect considering the beating he had just received.  Dad wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw him disappear into thin air rather than run off into the sunset.  He left the lawn half mowed and marched into the house to find his cousin.

    At least that’s the way part of my brain remembers the story now.  Seems accurate enough, though I’m not completely sure of my trustworthiness as a narrator given the circumstances.

    This version I am sure of.  While Dad was being prepped for his memory trip, I was with the doctor awaiting the mystery word I’d supposedly have to pass on to Dad in the past.

    “I’m of the opinion that I’m a lot closer than I think I am,” he started.  “But I need proof.  Your father needs to bring back proof.”

    “We will.  What’s the good word?”

    Cupping my ear, I leaned closer in anticipation.


    “Nelsonification?” I repeated.

    “Nelsonification.  I couldn’t use a real word, so I made up something you’re not likely to come up with on your own.”

    So Nelsonification it was.  Not the ‘Rosebud’ I was expecting, but it would do.  Nelsuicide would have been more appropriate, but there wasn’t any need to argue since it wasn’t going to happen anyways.  All I had to do was humor him.

    “All right.  One Nelsonification, coming up.”

    I actually had a better word for him.