‘Tis Charity to Show
It was like that teatime scene from Alice in Wonderland, but worse, because none of it was happening on the pages of a book. It all was happening live in front of her, and there was no rabbit hole she could hoist herself out of to escape this madness.
Directly across from Rand, Nurse Rose shoveled food down her mouth without break, her free arm encircling her plate territorially. Riley, on the other side of the spectrum, didn’t touch a morsel of food, but talked incessantly, punctuating almost every pointless word with jabbing, grand gestures. He was a man unhinged, who even resorted to climbing onto the table when his gestures and pronouncements weren’t enough to get everyone’s attention.
At the head of the table was a remote Spock; hands steepled, his eyes rolled so far up into his head that only the whites were visible. Rand shuttered, feeling a chill sweep across her shoulders.
“Let’s hope this is as bad as he gets today,” she thought.
On the other end of the table, directly opposite of Spock, was a frazzled Scotty pulling at the bottom of Riley’s shirt in a vain attempt to keep him off the table. Poor Scotty looked pale, haggard, but then everyone did. They were like hollowed eyed ghosts of patients in an abandoned, decrepit, haunted asylum.
Dr. Begay sat next to Rand, his elbows on the table, his head cradled in trembling hands.
“Mathias, is everything OK?”
He had an agonized, knotted expression on his pallid face.
“Mathias, is everything all right?”
He began to take quick, raspy breaths. They were uneven, coarse; the breaths morphed into jarring gulps for air.
“Mathias, what’s wrong?”
Begay wrapped his arms around his stomach and gritted his teeth, grunting violently.
“Mathias! Talk to me!”
Rand reached out to Begay, but he fell away from her grasp and landed on the floor, his chair crashing audibly behind him. His body sputtered and jerked like a helpless fish taken out of its water habitat. He let out a piercing scream that flayed Rand’s nerves.
Fighting against the invading noise, she jumped off her own chair and positioned herself over the doctor.
“St-staples! Please! God, please!”
“Staples?! What the hell are you talking about?!”
“My guts!! My blessed guts!!”
“DAMN IT! CAN’T YOU SEE THEY’RE SPILLING OUT OF ME??!! GOD!! MAKE IT STOP!!!”
Rand looked around the surrounding area where Begay lay tossing around, then observed the spaces between his fingers and arms wrapped around his waist.
“Mathias?! There’s no blood anywhere to indicate you’ve been injured…”
“Get the fucking staples!!”
“Maybe if I could move your arms away…”
“Are you nuts?!?! They’ll spill out!!!”
Rand bit the bullet and prodded gingerly with her fingers under his tightly strapped arms. There was no gaping hole, no wetness, no injuries.
“Nurse Rose! I need help here!”
When Rose didn’t come, Rand became irritated.
“Nurse Rose!! Where are you?!!”
Rand jumped up from where she was and surveyed the spectacle in front of her; Riley was being carried off the table by Scotty, Rose was shoving food in her mouth to the point of self-affixation, and Spock was still absorbed in whatever netherworld held him captive--away from the humans.
“Earth to assholes!” Rand bellowed, not giving a Good God Damn how Spock would react.
“I have an emergency over here! Dr.Begay is having an attack of some kind! He needs restraining! If it’s not too much trouble, I need help here!”
As if on cue, Riley and Scotty immediately stopped what they were doing and ran to either side of Begay.
Rand watched hotly while Nurse Rose robotically reached for Riley’s abundant plate of food and dumped the contents onto her own plate. Beyond angry, she leaned across the table to where Rose sat, picked the plate up from under Rose, and tossed it over Rose’s head where it crashed on the floor.
“You might want to get a hypo needle for your doctor in between your face stuffing,” she said icily.
The two women were locked in eye -combat, frozen where they were, yet ready to strike, like cobras watching each other. They were poised like this for a small amount of time until the nurse finally relented, getting up from where she sat and walking away, her eyes still locked on Rand as she headed for the medical room.
Rand turned her attention to Spock. Her eyes level, she stood in front of him.
“Mr. Spock,” she said, pointing to a helpless Begay. “Our doctor needs assistance! Can you please help us restrain him at least! We could use your strength!”
Spock said nothing. He unsteepled his hands and rolled his eyes from behind his head, the brown of his irises reappearing and focusing on Rand with creepy precision. Rand clenched her jaw and tried her upmost not to flinch while the Vulcan sat quietly, looking at her with dispassion. Finally, he pushed himself away from the table, picked up his plate of food, and simply walked out of the dining area without saying anything, or looking back.