Both Ways

Picture by kind permission of © Janine Amberger (poesielos)


From: «Ham On Rye» (Chapter #14) by Charles Bukowski.
Dedicated to «all the fathers».
Published in 1982 by Black Sparrow Press.

Later in the hospital they were dabbing at my knees with pieces of cotton that had been soaked in something. It burned. My elbows burned too. The doctor was bending over me with a nurse. I was in bed and the sun came through the window. It seemed very pleasant. The doctor smiled at me. The nurse straightened up and smiled at me. It was nice there.

«What happened to my elbows and knees?»
«A car ran you over. Luckily, the wheels missed you. Witnesses said he appeared to be drunk. Hit and run. But they got his license. They’ll get him.»
«You have a pretty nurse…» I said.
«Well, thank you», she said.
«Do you want a date with her?» asked the doctor.
«What’s that?»

When my father came he walked straight into the room and without a word scooped me out of bed. He carried me out of the room and down the hallway.
«You little bastard! Didn’t I teach you to look BOTH ways before you cross the street?»
He rushed me down the hall. We passed the nurse.
«Goodbye, Henry», she said.
«Goodbye.»

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