Early in his life, Timmy had no aspirations of grandeur, when living day to day was everything.
He came from a single parent home, a mother, that had little time to coddle or hug him. His mother, Marian, struggled to keep the lights on and food in the house. She stayed alive, only to keep him alive. She had no hope, she had no life, but she had him.
Afterall, a woman drowning in the ocean with a child will die before letting the water take her baby.
It is Natural, it is Nature, it is life seen over and over again in the world.
Timmy struggled to deal with the empty stomach, too given to pangs louder than anyone else around him.
His teachers or preachers rarely got through to him, as their voices were softer than his stomach.
He saw his friends and enemies eat. But, just not him, little food for him.
His dreams were filled with food, locked in a pantry or grocery store, able to eat his fill before opening hours freed him.
Later, he began to swim for himself, to find his own food, his own life.
He learned to survive.
But, he discovered a wrinkle in this song of his life.
The stanza began with his creation when he developed a new idea or researched a way that was different. Someone else would steal or take the credit.
This happened so early to Timmy, it was natural to his life.
First as a youngster, later a young man, later still a mature man.
The pattern remained.
So, first he starved for sustenance, later for attention, but in the end, for simple respect.
Along the way, he had signed autographs, created new instruction methods, found ways to make dead machines work again, made string instruments ring, and helped small children feel good, even for just a few moments.
Behind the scenes, he found a way to fund several low-level organizations to identify hungry children and make sure the right palms were greased or inspectors looked to the side, while the food found its mark. Once, he Identified these children he attempted to keep track to keep them fed.
Separately, he searched for multiple ways to help the parents such that they too, could provide for their children. Small steps in the beginning, larger later.
The local churches were separate from him, the local agencies turned a deaf ear to his activities, local police fed him names when no one was looking.
Government agencies would have shut him down if they knew.
But, his efforts went on and children were helped.
All those years of worrying about another never paid off, as he barely met his bills. Still, he did what he could.
His heart attacks came, on a lonely Saturday night, when all he could do was shuffle food packages, in the dark, from one truck to another.
The ambulance was called by a local security guard, making minimum wage working the shipping docks. But, he knew who this man was. He had his job, because of him. His two little girls had kept most of their teeth after malnutrition had taken so much, and they were both in a local 4th grade and doing well. Ornell was also a loser and had met Timmy when suicide seemed the only way to get out.
The ambulance team would not allow Ornell to ride with Timmy, but he chased as close as he could.
Dr. Simmons was on duty that night and had seen the belly of the city come through in the last 10 years, mostly in pain, oft time dying.
He triaged Timothy Dolan O’Dell, as his i.d. card stated. After several medical checks, he decided, he could not spend time on such a wasted case. The heart damage must be severe and the brain deprived of oxygen for too long.
Security Gaurd, Ornell, saw him examine Timmy, pull the sheet up over Timmy’s head, check his watch, and tell the nurse, “Time of Death is 10:21PM. Log it please.”
Ornell gave chase, ran in front of the good doctor, and caused him to stop.
”Please doc, give him a try. Do something, don’t just let him go. He is not trash, He is somebody! You cannot believe what he is doing out there on the streets! He is helping people like me, he is getting food to children that are starving! And, no one seems to know. Please try something!”
“No, I have called time of death, it is unethical and wrong to keep submitting this body to any more abuse!”
Dr. Simmons looked into Ornell’s face and quickly thought of a street druggie, which Ornell used to be. But, in Ornell he sensed more.
”Nurse Whitehall, give me the crash cart and the team, STAT! We will give this guy precisely 20 minutes. He can stay dead or we can move on to help the living!” Dr. Simmons eyes never left Ornell’s.
But, Ornell’s response was immediate.
He gripped Dr. SImmons arms and profusely thanked him. Something in the man’s eyes gave him hope.
That night, he forgot the city he was in and the street scum that came through and the previous 32 hours he was on call. He worked like a devil possessed, calling on every subtle scrap of medical knowledge he knew, to get the heart beating, to placate the sodium levels, to oxygenate the blood.
The paddles were used twice, with the levels climbing, and yet no response.
Dr. Simmons believed in his skills and had little faith anywhere else. With his mask soaked with sweat, he had just decided to give up, when he felt a little tug on his scrubs.
There, in his operating room, were children. There were no children allowed. Children could not be here. He also noticed how pallid they were, and the little hand on his scrub was cold to his touch.
To his left, was a little girl, and to his right, a very small boy, opposite the table from the patient were three children, all looked horrible. They should be dead. Perhaps, they were dead.
”Mister,” the little black girl said, “Please try, just one more time? He helps so many of our brothers and sisters!”
The good doctor failed to breathe for a few seconds, but the children would not go away. He blinked, he turned and looked at the nurses looking at him, then the children, looking at him.
There were long beats of the clock, and no one moved.
His face now sweating profusely, and eyes fluttering, Dr. Simmons was using every bit of his knowledge to account for this stupendously unaccountable situation.
One of the attendees passed through two of the children without any notice.
To steady his suddenly weak knees, he drew a deep breath.
”Ok, well, Nurse, let us try another round. “ And, with that, he calmed down. He did not look at her, afraid he would see the shock in her eyes. He was already worried she might report him, the next day.
Out of his peripheral vision, he noticed the children had taken positions around the patient, joining hands and swaying left to right.
He tried to ignore them.
All desperate medicines were administered and the paddle charge increased yet again.
”Charging, charging, clear!”
Simmons thought the patient’s eyes had fluttered.
The heart monitor had a pulse, a rhythm.
”OK! We have a live one. Get him set up Whitehall, keep the oxygen and drip going, blood chems every 4 hours for a bit. I want him monitored for the next 24 hours. “
He looked around the triage area, but the children were gone.
Ornell was still there and the patient, though on a ventilator.
It had seemed impossible he could live.
With everything stable, Dr. Simmons decided his 2-ton feet and 1-ton hands, along with his 30-ton head needed sleep.
”Nurse, I am going to rest. Any change in any of my patients, wake me up, but I am going down. You, Security Gaurd, can you come back in a couple of hours?”
”My name is Ornell! Yessir, I get off in an hour, I can be back. My girls are fine where they are.”
Dr. Boyd Simmons shook his head and headed off to get some sleep. He hoped he would dream of nothing and asked for just a couple of hours.
Three hours later, he awoke on his own, rubbed his eyes, and stumbled back to the emergency room. For some reason, he felt good, and not exhausted.
The children were back.
Ornell was there, as well, sleeping with his hands folded on a chair near the door.
The Nurses had changed shifts, and Whitehall was gone.
He caught a glance at the duty board and noticed that Nurse, Emma Perry was on duty.
“Nurse, what are my statuses, how are my patients?”
”All stable, Dr. Even the Gomer is ok!”
”Gomer? DId I hear you say, Gomer? DO you really want to work here?”
”But Doc. He ain’t nobody, he is from the street! According to his chart, he had no oxygen or a heartbeat for an hour. Even if he is alive, his brain must be impaired!”
”Nurse Perry, I am placing you on report! You call for your own replacement and hope I do not take this any further. Do you hear me?”
SHe broke into tears and rushed out of the operating area.
Dr. Simmons felt someone take his hand, warm this time, with a pretty good grip for a dead guy.
”Dr. I guessed you saved my life, but she is right, I am nobody, I could have died and no one would have noticed,” Timothy said.
Dr. Simmons looked from him to the children and back again and said,
“I really have no idea who you are but you truly Somebody! You are my new project. Your security Gaurd and I and you are going to have discussions. We are going to figure this out. I am getting you healthy, and whatever you were doing before I am making my personal work to help you. And, I have no doubt that your SG will help us as well. We are going to build a team to help children like I have never seen. Nor anyone else, I suspect!”
With that, he started barking orders for the medical treatments that Timothy Dolan O’Dell needed but in his own mind, he had already disconnected from the hospital.
He had previously thought his life was special, only to learn there was his patient, that should be dead, surrounded by dead children with a pleading security Gaurd that could only happen under the very strangest of circumstances.
But, dammit, he was going to help, whatever it was.
Timmy saw and felt the children around him.
He felt them touch his gowns, shoulders, and hands, saw them smile. He heard their cheerful voices, and just knew he was ok to keep on helping children.
But, now he had help!
3 thoughts on “Almost, Somebody, A Ghost Story (Just for Halloween)”
This was such a touching story and so unique. Thank you for sharing it!
Thank you. I regret to say, I did not run it through a grammar and spell checker. I need a ghostwriter, trained in the “Queens English”. Edited now, should read a bit easier.
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