I was headed out for a date that afternoon, leaving early to pick up flowers. Rereading it, her last text listed the time to meet up. I had plenty, even with the unpredictability of public transportation. The last thing I remembered was walking out into the street to get across to the bus stop, then the blaring of the truck’s horn, followed by the flash of its front bumper and the skidding of its tires.
I woke up in a sterile, cold, white room. The thin mattress underneath me rustled with its plastic shell. “Take it easy,” the nurse, who was standing over me, said, “you’re in a safe place, but we’re not sure if everything is right with you. How do you feel?”
I felt… fine, then, and certainly not like… what was it? Oh, the date. I was walking to catch the bus, and…
“He’s awake?” The doctor, in his standard-issue coat was in next, “How do you feel?”
“I feel like I don’t know why I’m here.”
“Well, you were brought in after being found passed out on the road. Do you have any history of…”
“No,” I replied, “no, no, no,” again and again to his questions about my health. It wasn’t until I was stripped down to my boxers and looked over head-to-toe that the man would accept anything I told him.
“Well, next time you pull a ‘sleeping in the road’ prank, wrap it up before you waste the time of medical professionals. We’re busy people. Grab your stuff and go.”
Hoping that the hospital bus stop connected to any of the bus lines I needed, I exited. My phone confirmed that not much time had passed- not a single call had been missed, nor had any emails come my way, but there was a sole text- hey, going to be a bit late.
dw, me too, I replied. It was likely too late for the flowers. The text tried to send. The text failed to send. The tall, blocky hospital building was probably blocking the signal. My battery was also almost dead. I had just charged it that morning. Those dang hospital walls again, forcing my phone to drain itself searching for that vital signal. The schedule at the bus stop told me there was enough time to find someplace to buy a charging cord.
A decrepit gas station was only a block away. The little old tanned-skin proprietor was sweeping the floors as I walked into the otherwise vacant store. “Hey, do you have any phone chargers?”
He pointed me to a shelf near the register, and they were there as promised. The one I needed, of course, not so. Just strange ones I had never seen before. “Are these it?”
The man stepped up. “What do you need, exactly?” He said with remarkable clarity.
“Micro USB?” I said hopefully.
Of course. “The one that’s not for Apple.”
“Apple? Quit joshing.”
“If you don’t have it, I’ll…”
“I’ve got the ones with the jolt connectors for BerryPhones, Pica XQCs for your Smarms, and even a few delta cords for your old snap phones. Just because I look old don’t mean I don’t know a thing or two about tech. Now, what sort of phone you got?”
I held up my none-too-expensive phone, only to receive a few skeptical blinks in return. “Where the heck you buy something like that?”
I glanced at the screen once again, eyeing the dying battery. No signal either, no service at all in fact. Hopelessly, I shoved it in my pocket and pulled out my wallet in return. “Let me guess,” I began, swiping the twenty from my bifold, “you’re gonna tell me next that this isn’t legit?”
“That looks just like money, boy.”