Tag Archives: HAI

The Match

12 Jan

blood-test

The difference between one brother and another can be as vast as if the two have never lived under the same roof. That was the case for Brad and Erick. Brad was a giver and a pleaser. Erick was a taker and a seeker of pleasure.

The contrast was stark as far back as when they were babies.  Erick was always ripping the toys out of the Brad´s hands which was completely unnecessary because Brad would have simply given the toy if Erick had shown in the most miniscule level of interest in it. Erick preferred violently taking the toy because he would not want to see Brad feel any of the pleasure in giving. Decades of adulthood passed without the two having any contact. This ate at Brad and the latter fact delighted Erick.

One night both brothers received a call. The call came from the same person and had the same information. Their father was dying and both were being requested to take a donor compatibility test.  Brad relished in the opportunity to be a hero. Erick loathed the idea of being so inconvenienced and shuttered at the thought of a needle tearing a hole in his skin and penetrating his vein.  Besides, the thought of his mother being widowed and alone slightly tickled him.

As Brad sat in a thumbing a magazine, waiting his turn to have blood drawn, a disheveled bearded face plodded though the waiting room. “It couldn´t be” Brad thought to himself.

The man plopped down beside him. “Hey shithead” he said.

Brad fought a tear that was burning his eye with will to run down his face.

“Erick! Hey brother! You look, um good!” Brad said.

“No I don´t. But neither do you so we are even” he snapped, fighting the urge to smile. He didn´t want Brad to even dream that he was happy to see him, though he was a little.

“So, how´d they convince you to come?” Brad asked.

“The girl I´m banging said she wouldn´t put out for a while if I didn´t at least take the goddamn test. Even if it comes back positive, she ain´t gonna know” he answered.  The woman he was referring to is his live in girlfriend of five years.

“In that case, I hope I´m a match” Brad chuckled.

“Me too!” Erick roared with inappropriate and slightly forced laughter, sprinkled with a smoker´s hack.

Both men left the clinic with a band aid covered cotton ball on their forearm.  For the next few days Brad waited by the phone with waves of anticipation washing over him. Erick stayed drunk and even forgot why there was a dirty band aid clinging to his arm.

Neither had received a call but Erick´s arm had grown purple and painful to the touch. Brad´s impatience grew to epic proportions. Brad even tried calling Erick even though he knew it was of no use. Even if the number was correct, Erick would probably not answer it anyway.

After a heated, yet typical drunken fight, Erick’s girlfriend walked out promising never to come back.  Went it got this far it meant she´d be gone for at least a week. Usually, Erick relished in these recesses and basked in his freedom, usually getting drunker or higher than usual. This time he wouldn´t. Not even vodka and vicodin could mask the pain in his now swollen, multi color arm.

After seeking for more than three days, Brad finally acquired Erick’s address.  He would not rest until he knew that either he or his brother could be a possible donor. When he arrived to the house he was taken aback. Brad´s living conditions were even worse than he expected. “How could someone live like this?” he thought to himself.

He knocked on the door. No answer. He thought he heard moans coming from inside and they sounded like Erick. He slightly pushed on the door. It was enough to open it. The door did not close properly, let alone have a lock. Erick was on the floor. His face was white and covered with sweat. One arm was raw and swollen, it looked as if it has been burned. It was the arm the blood sample had been taken from. The smell was overwhelming.

Brad said in horror “Let´s get you to the hospital. That arm don´t look so good.”

“It don´t feel no good either” Erick replied, “Ever since that goddamn test. Knew I shouldnt´ve  done it. That bitch tricked me” he was drunk and Brad could smell it over the stench.  “That asshole, son of a bitch of a father of ours is finally gonna get his way after all these years” he stammered.

“What do you mean?” Brad asked.

“Bury one of us! Especially me, the fuck up” Erick said, eyes rolling into the back of his head.

Brad convinced his brother to go to the hospital.  “You have an HAI Mr….”  the doctor trailed off. He couldn´t make out Erick´s last name.

“English, doc” Erick moaned.

“Hospital acquired infection, sir” the doctor replied. He continued ” It´s spread all through your body. Given your lifestyle it has already ravished your weakened system. Let me talk to your brother outside” he said with a forced smile and led Brad to the hall.

There he gave Brad the news that his brother would probably only live for another week. Brad took the news hard and asked if he could be the one to break it to his brother.  The doctor obliged. Erick took the news almost as a relief. There would finally be relief from the pain of his ailment and from the pain that was his life.

Erick was sent home with a smorgasbord of drugs to act as a bridge over pain from the current moment to his eminent death.  One day, high as a vulture with a good draft under its wing, he answered the phone.

“Is this residence of Erick….” the voice trailed off trying to make out the last name.

“Yeah, yeah, sure is” Erick answered.

“I have some good news and some bad news” the voice said.

“Hit me” Erick said.

“The good news is, you´re a match for your father” the voice informed.

“Go on, you said you had some bad news” Erick said with a smile.

“Yes, well, due to the infection I´m afraid we can´t use you and your brother is not a match” the voice said.

Erick sat there in silence with a smile from ear to ear.

“Sir….sir….” the voice on the phone called until there was an audible click.

“This is a great day to be alive” Erick said as he slipped a morphine strip on his tongue,  popped a rainbow of pills and washed them down with cheap vodka.

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