Near death and on a constant morphine drip Theo passed from the hospital bed to his past on a regular basis. When cognizant of the present he knew what was happening. It is said when you die, your life flashes before you in an instant. He was on a slow slide towards death and instead of a flash card review he was, on and off, watching a disjointed, slow drug induced movie of his life. Theo was never sure when he would depart the confines of his hospital bed and float off to a different time, where he would go, or what would start him on that trip. He left on a suggestion instigated by a string of words he would catch from shadow like visitors who resembled his mother, his sister, or his friends.
Today, his lover Jeff was with him, leaning over the bed smiling and holding his hand. His face unlike the others in the room was very clear. Theo smiled up into his eyes. He looked so beautiful and strong, like he always did.
“Hi Scooter.” Jeff said, calling him by his old nick-name for Theo.
“Hi,” Theo whispered. “I’ve missed you.”
“Molly I think he’s coming around.” His mother called softly to his sister. “He’s trying to say something.”
Jeff ignored Theo’s mom and squeezed his hand. “I don’t know why, I’ve been with you all along.”
“You have?” Theo asked.
“Just like I promised I would. You know me I keep my word.”
Theo smiled. “Did you get to go around and visit everyone after you left like you wanted to?”
“Yes, and I gave a gift to each one, a special memory that I dropped off in a dream.”
“I’ve been remembering things today. Things I thought I had forgotten.” Theo said.
“What is he saying Molly? I can’t understand him.” His mother said.
“I don’t know Mom. I can’t make it out. It’s the morphine.” Molly sighed heavily.
“It’s stifling in here. I’m going out for a little while.”
“Ah yes,” said Jeff. “You’ve shown me some things on your journey today that I didn’t know about.”
“You were with me?”
“Yes I was, and today I’ll be with you all the way.”
“All the way?” Theo smiled even though he was confused.
“What’s your favorite memory Scooter?” Let’s have one to fly on.”
“It’s funny you should ask me that. Until now I didn’t have one. Always when people used to ask me that question before, I couldn’t decide. But now I know. My favorite memory would have to be of the most glamorous night of my life.”
“Yes, tell me about it.” Jeff leaned forward.
In the smog laden one hundred degree blaze of noon the bowling alley didn’t look like much, a one story turquoise concrete building next to the Los Perros Shopping Center. It was landscaped in front with semi-tropical plants and tall slanting palm trees. Along the front was a white cement decorative grill work set forward from the building three feet. Colored lights were hidden behind the grill. At regular intervals of six feet along the sidewalk in front of the alley were tall gas Tiki torches that burned day and night. At the end of the building next to San Tomas Avenue was erected a sixty foot space-age-Vegas sign that said Riviera Lanes in an exaggerated scrawl, almost a Hollywood autograph. It looked like any other bowling alley in Southern California in 1961.
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