First, good news: after intolerable wrestling with the technical difficulties of converting an old video into something that can be uploaded to You Tube, I finally succeeded. Click on the title to see Dr. C and the Stratocats play his composition, "What Will You Do?"
The video was produced by my brother, Chris Chaffin, who also plays drums. I sing and play lead guitar. Charlie Rowe plays bass and his brother, Dave Rowe plays rhythm guitar. There is also a second drummer, Dave Rodig. And you can see my daughters and friends dancing, including my late daughter, Rachel, the tall, slim redhead.
Now for the next installment of "Positively Bud."
Thirsty but can't sleep. God this place gets cold at night never thought it would be so cold shirt back on no pillow what is the point how I would like a drink of water. But what is the point if I call out why would anyone answer? I am being punished because I couldn't say my room was "terrific" with conviction. What if I can't ask for help like I mean it? Why would they give it to me? Better just to doze, dream. Floor too hard. Back aches. Turn to side. Hip-pointer. Curl up in corner for warmth. Better. Thirst and aches. Better than tears of a vacuum. Get through the night. Through the night. All is night, night has fallen. Can barely move. Pissed in the corner earlier. Don't mind the smell. If I have to shit, so what? My smell. My waste. Waste from a waste. That's funny. Case of wasted space. Don't deserve the oxygen that keeps me alive. Can't stop breathing without a rope. Give me a rope long enough to hang myself and I could move the world.
What if I call out? No one on duty. Why bother? Maybe tomorrow. Do they mean to kill me? That's a blessing. But Martha knows I'm here. They'll save me first. What do they want?
"Did our little bird stir last night?"
"Not a peep, my man."
"Yeah, I feel sorry for him."
"You know that's the worst thing you can do, don't you?"
"I know the protocol, Larry, I'd never say it to him, but for a man to get in that state-- so depressed and helpless that he won't even cry out for water--"
"Oh, I think he will."
"Sometime this afternoon when his thirst gets worse than his depression."
"I hope so, but he's a tough case."
"That's why he's here."
Bud woke to the dim light latticing the floor but noticed he had stopped shivering. Must be day. He felt an urge to crap but suppressed it. He got up and stretched, tested the temperature of the corrugated ceiling, then paced. His tongue felt like a large, dry pickle. His throat felt raw as a scab. The day wore on. He huddled in the corner of the giant oven. He had peed once. No tears. Not even saliva left to swallow. Was he dehydrated? He pinched his forearm and watched the skin tent up for a minute before returning to flat. He felt as if the dentist's blower had been in his mouth all night.
Larry looked at his watch: l PM. Bud better vocalize his needs soon or they were going to have to get him out. Where was his survival instinct?
Bud bellied over to the grate to look at the floor outside. He didn't recognize any human shadows or chair legs, had no way of knowing if anyone was near, heard no footsteps or voices. For all he knew he had been abandoned. Perhaps if he banged on the door a little-- no response. Fingernails across grate--nothing.
Larry smiled as he heard the raps and scratchings. But he waited, as instructed, for a more concrete expression of need. Adults could talk, after all.
"Hello?" Bud croaked. "Is anybody out there?"
Larry didn't answer. Question did not address patient's need.
"Hello!" Bud croaked louder. "Can somebody help me?" He rattled the aluminum walls like thunder.
Larry ignored the plea. Request too general.
"I'm thirsty! Please give me something to drink!" Bud said in a sandpaper voice.
Larry smiled, put his magazine down and approached the slot with a glass of slightly warm water.
"Here, Bud," he said, "why didn't you ask sooner?"
Bud greedily took the water without comment. He put the glass back through the slot. "May I have another?" he asked.
"How was the water?" Larry replied.
Bud paused for a minute, then said, "It was terrific!"
"Good," Larry said, and gave him a glass of cooler water. "And how was that?"
"Wonderful, thank you," Bud said. The colloquy continued for six glasses of water. The last one had ice and Bud called it "heavenly."
"Would you like any more?" Larry asked.
"Not right now, but thank you all the same."
"Would you like to talk to Troy?"
Bud thought a minute. Yes. "That would be terrific, thank you!"
"Good, I'll send him down."
The relief of his thirst was so palpable that Bud forgot his depression for the moment. By the time Troy arrived he was over his brief nausea from drinking so fast and had just begun to feel hunger. Troy pulled his chair up to the door to better hear through the grate.
"How are you today, Bud?"
"I feel terrific!" he said, hoping that the modulation in his voice imitated the proper feeling.
"Good, good," Troy said soothingly. "And how do you like your new room?"
Hot. Stifling. No bathroom. Freezing at night. "The room is great!" Bud said with all the enthusiasm he could muster.
"Tell me what's great about it."
"Well, to begin with, it's an efficient use of space."
"And it's designed so one can experience the real outside weather instead of the false air-conditioned comfort of my previous room."
"You have something against air-conditioned comfort?"
"Oh no, not at all. I only meant to say that the exposure to more natural weather was invigorating."
"Do you mean to imply that a controlled indoor climate is unhealthy?" Troy asked.
"Not at all, not at all, I was only celebrating the difference."
"Do you have a preference?"
Bud froze. To prefer one thing over another might be perceived as a veiled criticism. But to have no preferences was unacceptably passive. "In this climate I really prefer air conditioning," he said with forced nonchalance.
"Because I find it more comfortable."
Troy winced. "Are you implying you find your present room uncomfortable?"
"Oh no, not at all, it's quite comfortable. I just think the air-conditioned part of the building is a little more comfortable."
"Good," Troy said. "Would you like to come out and change rooms again?"
"I would dearly love to return to my previous room," Bud said, "and would be most grateful if you would permit it."
Troy unlocked the door. Bud rose slowly and squinted at the harsh light and shiny white walls and floor. Troy led him back to his room and said, "Why don't you shower and shave and then come down to the mess hall afterward? Just follow the signs. See you there."