Sal Jackson’s Wonderful Second Chance
Sal Jackson, a man with an unfortunate limp in his left leg and a slightly twitchy left brow, slid his key into the lock which kept his one-story, two-bedroom, and one-full-bathroom house safe from robbery. He turned the key, which set the bolt sliding back into the door. He turned the key back halfway and pulled it out, returning the key to his pocket. He reached for his cane which he had left leaning against the door-frame, and opened the door.
He reached inside and turned on the light. His home was exactly as he had left it. Spare jacket draped over the back of the chair in the dining room, TV remote turned toward the window, resting on the coffee table which was exactly one third of the way from the couch to the TV, favoring the couch… and his copy of Popular Mechanics magazine on the end-table… However, he seemed to have left the light on the end-table on. Ah, well… he hadn’t been gone that long. He ambled over to it, the rhythmic thumping of the tennis-ball-covered end of his cane on the wooden floor echoing up and down the hallway.
He clicked the lamp switch off. He picked up the small digital clock on the end table, and glanced at the red numbers glowing from the display. They read, 10:47 PM. (the PM was of course represented by a small red dot in the upper right corner of the display.) He decided that he ought to get going to bed soon. He went down the hallway to his bathroom, and he took his sleeping pills. He’d been having trouble sleeping lately, and his doctor had prescribed them. “I’ll take whatever you tell me to, if it’ll make me sleep.” He said to his doctor, when the doctor attempted to warn him of the severe side effects.
It was father’s day. Not that it mattered to Sal. His father had been dead for 40 years; in fact, the 42nd anniversary of the day his father burned alive in his own home was coming up. Sal was a father himself, but he hadn’t seen his son for a little more than 35 years. The last time he saw him was the day he had run away from home and joined a roaming band of musicians. Was he still alive? Where did he end up? These were questions that haunted him every day.
He then climbed into his bed, glanced longingly at the picture of himself, his late wife, Flora, and his long-gone son, Nathaniel (he kept the picture there to remind himself that he wasn’t always the hollow shell of a man he was now); and he waited for the pills to take effect. Until they did, he could only close his eyes in vain, only to have them open again 15 seconds later, turn onto the clock, and see, disappointingly, that morning hadn’t come yet… and then, suddenly… The pills hit him like a train. It felt like he had only closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them again, he was in a hospital bed, one-and-a-half feet tall.