Kick sat on a bench outside the Rutland Regional Medical Center trying to decide what to do. After spending the better part of the day at the hospital he had finally been discharged, but now he had no ride home. Kick had never set foot in a hospital before, and he found the collection of papers detailing his discharge instructions and billing procedures confusing and slightly intimidating. He didn’t know if it was okay to throw them away so he just held them in one of his heavy hands.
He didn’t have any insurance, but he wasn’t concerned. He knew the Widjiwats were good for it.
Thinking of the Widjiwats made Kick grin as he recalled a conversation with the woman who had admitted him to the hospital earlier that day. The woman, a pleasant older woman named Janet, had asked, “What brings you here today, Mr. Tomwright?”
He told her, “Janet, it’s like this- I like to drink, but there are these little people, they're like leprechauns, who are blackmailing me, and one of their demands is that I give up drinking. So they made me drive way out into the middle of nowhere, disable my truck so I couldn’t leave, and walk out into the woods looking for a chimney filled with gold. They thought it would be good to get away from stuff I guess... you know, so I wouldn't try to get some beer. I was sick from not drinking though, and I accidentally dropped a drawer full of gold on my head, which knocked me out and gave me this cut. So, when I came to I was pretty messed up, and I followed a stream down to the lake where I passed out on the shore. Somebody found me passed out I guess and brought me here.”
“Oh, I see,” was all the woman had said.
Kick glanced up and saw a man walking across the parking lot toward the hospital. He recognized him as a man from his town, but he couldn’t remember his name. Kick searched his brain for the man’s name, but couldn’t pull it up. “Starts with a ‘B,” he muttered to himself. “Barny, Billy, Barry?” Kick thought it might be ‘Barry.’