Kickapoo Edwards awoke with a splitting headache. He felt like Michael Jackson had done the Fat City Tango on his skull. Then he remembered what had happened. He had just captured the notorious kidnapper Billy Balderdash and was taking him in when the nefarious rascal asked Kickapoo to be a nice guy and tie his shoelace. Concerned about his reputation, Kickapoo bent down to accommodate Billy and immediately felt a sharp blow that the perfidious criminal delivered to the back of his head. Then Kickapoo lost consciousness.
For a brief moment Kickapoo didn’t realize where he was. But when he saw the nurse sitting beside his bed, he concluded he was in a hospital. He was not reassured because she was reading an article from “Oops! The Journal of Medical Malpractice” over the phone to an X-ray tech named Seymour Pipes.
Kickapoo moaned and cleared his throat to get the nurse’s attention. When she realized that he was conscious, she glowered at him, shook her head, and said, “Tsk, Tsk. Tsk.”
“So this is the upshot of your orgiastic frenzies, your seasonal bouts of lust, and your psychic episodes of lewdness,” she said.
“Forgive me for having such a firm grasp of the obvious, but I assure you that I am not the Menards Man,” Kickapoo said, hoping to confuse her.Not at all daunted, she grinned at Kickapoo like Ernest Borgnine in “Bad Day at Black Rock” and replied, “Now, my pathetic friend, you have met directly the terrors of a world ruled by the irrationality of chance and unmitigated by any regard for the laws of causality, not to mention common sense.”
‘What does common sense have to do with it?” Kickapoo asked, hoping to silence the nurse’s tirade.
“I told you not to mention common sense,” she countered, seeing Kickapoo’s ploy and refusing to be distracted by it.
Honestly wanting to understand her, Kickapoo tried the common sense approach. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about. No offense meant, but you sound like a deconstructionist trying to impress other deconstructionists at an annual conference of Deconstructionism and Linguistic Gobbledygook. Would you please dispense with all of the academic gibberish and tell me something about my medical condition? After all, you are a medical person, aren’t you?”
An ugly scowl appeared on her face, and in a crispy tone of voice she answered Kickapoo. “So you want to know about your condition, eh? Very well. I will explain it to you in plain language that even a child could understand. Your chickens have come home to roost, and now it’s time to pay the piper and feed the Rottweiler. Or, to put it another way, those who dedicate themselves to the mysteries of Priapus are bound to fail miserably. You are living proof of that,” she said smugly.
Trying his best to introduce some levity, Kickapoo said in his best James Cagney voice, “Top of the world, Ma! Top of the world!”
Like Queen Victoria, the nurse was not amused. She snarled, “You silly goose, how can you make light of the horror of those nameless, lurking forces that threaten the human condition and seek to destroy the foundations of civilization. My God, man, the human race is in the process of self-destruction and all you can do is make jokes. We are perched on the very brink of the abyss and time is running out.”
It came as no surprise that the nurse’s name was Monique DePressive. After she calmed down, Kickapo told her, in all seriousness, that he needed to speak to his doctor as soon as possible so he could leave the hospital and get back on the search for Billy Balderdash.
“Now you are being reasonable. I will see if I can find your doctor,” Nurse DePressive said, but she still had a sneer on her face that would have reduced the Medusa to a pile of gravel.
As soon as Nurse DePressive left, Kickapoo began to miss her. To avoid being overcome with her pessimism and existential angst, Kickapoo began to count his blessings instead of sheep. He thought of his loving parents and his best friend Suds Guzzle, who was to be married in a fortnight to an exotic dancer named Bubbles McDrafty, who had wandered into his nightclub. Using Prof Markem’s brainstorming method, Kickapoo tried to think of a wedding present for his best bud, but he soon became sleepy and started to nod off.
But Kickapoo became fully alert when Nurse DePressive returned, followed by a large man with wattles, who came bounding into the room looking as pompous and officious as Dennis Hopper in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.” He was the happiest man that Kickapoo had ever seen or would ever see, for that matter. His laugh reminded Kickapoo of Edmond O’Brien in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
“My name is Helmut Von Kraeusen. I am an exchange physician from Germany and a practicing sadomasochist. I am proud to be a votary of the cult of pain,” the jolly fellow said, shaking his wattles.
Dr. Logsdon is the much-loved English professor who has inspired students at Western Illinois University and Eureka College for many years. He lives in Eureka with his wife, Mary, and writes a weekly story for the Woodford County News Bulletin.