Thursday, October 5, 2017

Notes Pertaining to Yelmac's Revival

     Shortly after encountering the man who sat by the exit door in the EL car, Yelmac Tobias was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his convalescence endured for an entire week, much to Delilah's chagrin. The hallways in the hospital smelled of tapioca; these hallways were lonely, and often dimmer than one might expect, with metal irrigation towers facing anyone passing through, their depleted IV bags standing in for the faces of nurses and doctors. Nurses and doctors only ever existed behind the curtains in hospital rooms just as they were being drawn back to reveal a medical professional bearing a clipboard and a stethoscope.

     The triage doctor treating Yelmac found him shuddering, slathered in an icy sweat which soaked through the sanitary paper draped across the observation bed. The child's pupils were fully dilated; the eyes were immobile, and did not respond to stimuli of any sort. The catatonic state persisted for four days.

     Yelmac's more permanent doctor, who later happened to write his own amateur Tobiassic biography (see Bohingya Bendraputi's Fricasseed Promises: a Boy's Miraculous Meal), ordered a variety of experimental treatments, as well as a regime of stimulants, hoping to rouse the young one by non-invasive means. Nurses began to wheel brown plastic carts into the room every few minutes, these loaded down with trays of food. The recently cooked meals came trapped under large mauve salad bowls. The trays would be set just under Yelmac's nose and the salad bowls removed, unleashing a levitating eruption of scented steam, which twinkled in the harsh hospital light.

     This measure they took at the advice of Mother Tobias, who reported that her son was incapable of achieving consciousness on any given day without the smell of a crackling breakfast proceeding from their minuscule kitchen into the orifice of his bedroom door. Delilah further reports in Frank Ogorpo's Yelmanac: "My son was almost invisible until the patina of french toast and bacon got ahold of his wee nostrils. It was like that scene in the Bible with Lazarus and Jesu-Christos! I rose him from the dead every day of his life, that's for sure. And that billowing cloud of breakfast wasn't enough to keep him. No, sir. I sent him to school, too, carrying his life support in a brown paper bag" (Ogorpo 2017; p. 88).

     And sure enough, the young Tobias came to life after catching a whiff of the third meal presented to him on his final day as an inpatient: a huddle of derelict corn kernels sunken into a watery mattress of rehydrated mashed potatoes, nestled between a slender pork chop and a modular city-scape of sliced and boiled carrots. Yelmac motioned to Dr. Bendraputi, who leaned down and cocked his head to hear him. The boy asked whether "that man on the EL" would be coming back (Bendraputi 2020; p. 115). And, as anyone reading with a vested interest in this momentous life already well knows, he did. The man to whom the nascent Tobias referred came back, he reappeared later. He is going to show up later.

     One often ponders over a tinkling midnight mint julep what effect this first encounter with the man called Trismegistus had on Yelmac Tobias. For it was at this juncture in the boy's life that he began to smile much more often and to adopt psychological behaviors more befitting of a child of six. Up to that point, he would spend weeks out of school as a result of his apoplectic frenzies, directed against fellow first-grade classmates, during which he would curse them in a strange tongue that no one could decipher - the word "Pwäng" included among his most violent insults. But particularly by the second grade, the incursion of Trismegistus into Yelmac Tobias's life had wielded a remarkable result: the child had become extremely jolly, if still a touch vacant from time to time. Another notable change could perhaps be attributed to this Trismegistus, namely that Yelmac Tobias began to repeat any spoken or written proper noun in triplicate; and whenever he introduced himself, he did so as "Yelmac-Yelmac-Yelmac."


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