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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2093665-Dignity
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Drama · #2093665
Writer's cramp, see prompt info below, word count 629
Clark Kingsland grabbed his head with both hands, squeezed his eyes closed and emitted a long, low moan.

"Mr. Kingsland," said the nurse at this bedside, "I can get you something for pain."

"No, no. I'm okay. I want to be as clear headed as I can be today," said Clark as he lay back in his bed. "My head is pounding but I think... think... think the vertigo is the worst."

"You are in charge here. You just let me know," said the nurse. She checked his IV and left the room.

Clark had his phone in his hands. He slid it between his fingers and flipped it over and over. He sighed deeply and frowned.

"It's now or never," he said aloud.

He dialed the number from memory and hoped it was still a good number. He listened as the connection was made and the ringing began.

"Hello," answered a woman.

"Jackie?"

"Yes. Who is this?" she asked.

"It's Clark. Clark Kingsland."

"Oh. Uh, Clark. Geez, it's been ages," said Jackie.

"Yeah. I'm uh, I'm going away and just wanted to talk to you for a minute if that's okay," said Clark.

"What have you gotten yourself into now? One of those get rich schemes backfire?" she asked.

"Yeah, something like that. How are you?" asked Clark.

"Not much has changed in my life. It's just so weird to hear from you."

"I was just thinking about you and Tahoe and wondered how you were," said Clark.

"We all know what memories can bring. They bring diamonds and rust," said Jackie.

"Ah, Judas Priest."

"Joan Baez."

"Joan Baez sang that song too?" asked Clark.

"Clark, this is why we never made it. We were in two different hemispheres. You listened to Judas Priest and I listened to Joan.

"Listen, it was great talking to you, but I need to get back to work. Thanks for calling," said Jackie.

Clark pressed his left palm against his eyebrow. "Yeah, yeah. Always... alley... anyways, um, thanks for answering."

"Sure. Good luck with whatever you've got going on. Goodbye, Clark," said Jackie.

"Goodbye, Ja..Jackie," said Clark with his hand still on his forehead. He pushed the end button and tossed the phone toward the end of the bed.

He leaned back against his pillow and brought his other hand up to his head. He covered his eyes and his chest heaved as he sobbed.

After several minutes, he pressed the nurse call button.

"How can I help you, Clark," said a voice from the intercom.

"It's time. I'm ready," said Clark. "And I think I'll take that pain med now as well."

"Okay, Susan will be with you shortly," said the voice.

Susan Blankenship, was the head nurse at the Three Rivers Hospice facility in Spokane, Washington. She walked into the med room and pulled out Clark's "dignity" meds as they called them. A massive dose of Secobarbital and prepped it for her terminal brain cancer patient.

Susan walked in Clark's room, sat the tray on the table and pulled the chair in close to his bed. She took his hand and they sat quietly for a moment.

"I know I've asked you this before, but is there anyone you want here with you?" asked Susan, the nurse.

"Just you, Susan," said Clark. "I have no other family and I don't want to put my few friends through this. That probably sounds bad with me asking you to be here, but great ... had... words escape me, damn it."

"I understand, Clark. I'm honored to be here with you," said Susan. She squeezed his hand.

He smiled for the first time since he arrived two weeks ago.

"Thank you, Susan. You don't know how much this means to me," said Clark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WC 8/17 11 a m Prompt: Write a short story or poem (in any genre) inspired by the following lyrics from a Joan Baez song: We all know what memories can bring. They bring diamonds and rust.

Word count: 629
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