“It’s not clear why, Mr. Lee. Can you come to Queen’s Hospital right now?”
I explained my reliance on the bus. At this time of night, or rather morning, there’d be none running.
“I could pick you up, Mr. Lee. Would you mind coming now?”
Lieutenant Chan arrived quickly. Before heading to Queen’s, we stopped at police headquarters, a block from the condo.
When he returned, he carried a tape recorder.
“I wanna tape any conversation you have with him.”
“I’m not sure what kind of conversation there could be. What’s his name?”
“Don’t know,” said Lieutenant Chan. “No ID. I’m waiting for him to come around enough to say.”
“You’re concentrating lots of energy on him,” I said. “Why’s he so important? Isn’t he just somebody who got hurt in a big bar brawl?”
The Lieutenant said nothing.
We parked and headed to the ICU. A Dr. Kamaka was on duty.
“Dr. Kamaka,” said Lieutenant Chan, “this is Lanning Lee. He’s the one this man asked for.”
“Ah, yes,” said Dr. Kamaka. “I’m glad you came. Unfortunately, he’s asleep, and I don’t want to wake him. He’d lost so much blood, all we could do was try to stabilize him. There’s a bullet next to his spine. We have to go in there as soon as he’s stable enough.”
Dr. Kamaka moved to the next bed.
Chan said, “Please look closely at this man, Mr. Lee. Are you sure you don’t know him?”
I stared at the man’s face. He definitely had Korean features. But a Korean hood. So what?
It felt like I was staring so hard I forced him to open his eyes. I blinked, looked again. His eyes were wide open.
“Lanning,” the Lieutenant said. “Please say something to him.” He switched on the recorder.
I thought hard about what to say. Brilliantly, I came up with, “Hello?” I more asked than said it.
The man’s eyes had been looking straight up. They flicked in my direction. Immediately his facial expression changed from glazed blank to something like dread, or maybe wonder. I couldn’t tell.
Still, he said nothing.
“Hi,” I said, “Lieutenant Chan here said you were asking for me?”
He spoke. “Lanning,” he said in a near whisper. “You’re Lanning Lee.”
I glanced at Lieutenant Chan, then back at the man.
“Ah, yes, that’s right. That’s me.”
He gave a small smile. “English majors should say ‘That is I.”
What? He knew my major?
“I heard that woman call your name.”
“Woman? In the barber shop?”
“Yes,” he said. “I only know one Lanning. Lanning Lee.” He slid his hand slowly toward the rail. “Please,” he said.
I reached out and gently grasped his hand. I felt as if I were drifting into the twilight zone.
He closed his eyes, perhaps falling asleep, but then he opened them again.
“Lanning, do you not recognize me?”
His eyes were boing into mine like lasers.
“I, well, no –”
“No?” he questioned. “I am your father.”
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterThursday, I hope you are well wherever you may be. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use the prompt to inspire a piece of writing, short of long, any style, a haiku or a short story, and then post your piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )