My Kind of Town
>> Queen's Medical Center
Wrong for years
Sheets Ah Sun was not a good patient. He didn't like the tube in his nose providing a steady stream of pure oxygen. He resented the heart monitor taped to his chest. And the IV, pull it already and let's go home.
"You're lucky that your coronary event happened at the hospital, Mr. Ah Sun," said Dr. Penurious Dang, checking the monitor. "Very lucky."
This guy's so young, sheesh, how'd he get to be a doctor?
"We're going to keep you overnight for observation," the doc said. "But you're going to have to change your lifestyle."
"My doc's been telling me."
"Who's your physician?"
"Mark Chung in Kailua."
"Excellent reputation. Listen to him."
Dr. Dang left and Grace Ah Sun squeezed her husband's hand. The heart attack meant, apparently, that the Viagra she'd picked up for him earlier in the day would be going to waste for the time being. But at least he was alive and well and cranky. That was a good sign.
"Grace, I was wrong. All these years, I was wrong."
"Laird. And Lily. Well, Lance too, come to think of it, I had no idea the boy was gay all these years, but that's off the subject. I mean about taking over the Soap Company."
"Laird told me about your conversation." In which Sheets' eldest son, who was about to graduate with an MBA from Stanford Business (paid for by Dad) said he couldn't come home and take over the family company because he'd just signed on to spend a year in Afghanistan teaching Christianity and Capitalism to the mujahadeen on a mission led by Christian X.O. St. James, author of 'Jesus Was A CEO: The Gospel of Acquisitions.' Which had set off Sheets' heart attack.
"Where is he?"
"Laird? Outside on the phone."
Indeed he was. With Christian X.O. St. James. Telling him about the terrible timing of his father's heart attack, wondering if maybe the right thing was to wait and see how his dad was doing instead of joining St. James and the others in New York the day after tomorrow for the journey to Kabul.
"You're not going to let this be an impediment are you?" St. James said. "What is most important to you? Will staying behind improve your father's health? No. Will staying behind improve your opportunities in life? No. Your career? No. This is what I keep telling you, it's all about you, nobody else. Laird, you have to do what's best for you. Worship the holy trinity of Me, My, Mine. That's the message in the book I just signed a contract to write, 'Jesus Was An Egoist: Dying Was The Best Thing For His Future.'"
Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org