Unexplained / Unexplained

The MRI

MRI

 

It wasn’t my first. I have had three before this one.

Technology is a fascinating thing.

I don’t understand a lot of it. the science of how it can help in medicine has always been of interest to me.

I arrived early. the requisite paperwork needing to be filled out.

They ask you for a complete run down of your medical history. allergies, medicines you might be taking. past surgeries, any possible medical devices permanently installed in or on your person. metal specifically I guess? best way to understand it is. you don’t put metal or any foil in a microwave do you? no, you do not. same thing applies here. it messes up the functionality of the machinery.

The paperwork is about two pages. I’d reckon 40-50 questions. needed by them for no other reason than to make you aware of what you need to do, how you need to prepare.

MRI or CT scans come in all different types. all three of the prior ones I’ve had, focused on taking a look-see inside my noggin.

This isn’t some? you got a splinter you can’t get out. it can be serious. hopefully, it can confirm you are ok.

You can’t be treated if they don’t know what’s wrong with you?

Best you can, you put your faith in your doctor and go with the request.

This is done to give them, and your goodself the best look at what might be going wrong?

Maybe? Hopefully? it’s nothing.

Doctors have to cover all the bases and check you out before they assess what is happening inside of you.

The Day arrives.

After you arrive at either the hospital or medical center.

You check in for your appointment.

They ask you your name and your date of birth.

Confirming with you, your Doctor’s name and the specific procedure you are having done.

Then you head to the locker room, where they have you remove your belt, take out your keys and other metal you might be carrying. since they were focusing on my head. I only had to remove my shirt, this was done so they could give me an IV before my procedure. the test being run required that they inject a dye the name of which I could not pronounce.

The IV now in place. I headed into to the room to begin the MRI. Inside is a large circular contraption that is standing on its side. A table or gurney is attached to it.

There you lay on a table. where they position your head inside a brace to hold you steady. you will need to remain still throughout the procedure. some take a few minutes. some take longer. mine was about 45 minutes long.

My technician Lynn was incredibly nice, she answered all my questions prior. making me feel more at ease with what was being done. they’ll ask you if you are claustrophobic. because the machine surrounds you. If you begin to panic. you are wasting your time and theirs. lastly, they’ll place comfortable headphones on you. The MRI is loud when in operation. this will mute the noise, letting the technician communicate with you on the headphones.

So there I was. all prepped, questions answered. IV in. dye injected. noise reduction in place and ready to be slid inside for the MRI

As I looked up at the ceiling two thoughts came into my mind. one was the placement of a portrait of tall trees above me on the ceiling. this is the last image you see before you head inside. The second was a tingling feeling in my feet.

The table I laid on slid slowly inside for the MRI. I followed my instructions, keeping still as possible.

The technicians voice came on my headphones to let me know that we would begin the tests. I would have a series of them some lasting 3 minutes, some lasting 8.

Once inside, I had trouble finding that meditative landscape I so often escape to.

Yeah, yeah, it’s my happy place. Go ahead, poke fun. It works for me.

We hear what we want to hear. life is too short for some questions. things are either revealed to you or they’re not. if they are? Great!

If they’re aren’t? well? nothing you can do about it, so try not to waste too much time on it.

In the end that’s all the counts, all that matters. believe what you will.

After the test…? life might never be the same. life is like that. things change. life changes. sometimes control is no control at all. Just hold your breath, then exhale…and step forward.

The MRI ended, the table I laid on slid out. I sat up and looked at my feet.

They were enormous.

How was I gonna get my shoes back on?

How would I drive home?

How would I explain this to my wife?

I panicked.

I don’t do panicked well, admittedly.

Things get loud and things get busted.

“What The….? Look at My Feet? What Did You Do To ME?”

A  Mars light began to spin. Loud sirens sounded. My technician Lynn bolted from the room.

“WAIT! LYNN?! HOW AM I GONNA GET MY SHOES BACK ON?”

I gotta drive home.

I gotta work in the morning.

I reached for the door handle.

Locked!?!

I heard a voice over the intercom.

“Mr. Hogan, Are you OK?”

“No! I’m Not OK! Look At My Feet!”

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the wall. My face was beet red.

“Shit! OK! OK! OK! I want to speak to someone right now! Someone in Charge.”

The doors to the room flew open. Guards rushed in holding tazers. “Don’t move!”

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I Want to Speak with Whoever is in Charrr…”

The tazer hit me in my mighty left foot.

I flopped on the floor like a fish out of water.

ZZZZZ! Zap!

The guards pulled me to my feet. restraining me.

“I Want My Lawyer!”

“Calm Down.” A voice said over the intercom.

“Calm down? Calm DOWN! Look at My Feet. Look at My Face! You Calm Down! Next guy who shoots me with a tazer is gonna regret it.”

A Man and Woman wearing lab coats entered the room, The Man held a clipboard. they immediately began speaking in low tones to each other.

After a brief discussion, they looked at my feet, then up at me.

“Mr Hogan. I’m Doctor Leake. This is Professor Funt.” The woman nodded to me. “We’re here to help you.”

“Is that why you shot me with the stun gun?”

“That was an accident.”

“A regrettable mistake to be sure.”

“Mr Hogan, we are going to remove your restraints. Can we count on you to remain calm?”

“Get these things off! What the hell is wrong with me? What did you do to me?”

“Please, if you can’t remain calm…”

The Professor nodded to a guard who took off the cuffs.

“I’m calm. calmer than you are.”

“Mr Hogan, have you recently had an encounter with a being not of this earth.

“You mean the Squirrel? Yeah, I know him. I mean, I’ve seen him. Couple times. He’s not from another world? Is he?”

“Squirrel?”

“Nevermind.”

“Have you begun to have dreams and exhibit behavior for which you cannot account for?”

“Boogie man been paying me a visit lately. But I’ve been dreaming about him since I was a kid. He’s not very fast. so I always get away or wake up. What’s this have to do with my face and feet?”

“Sir we want to help you, but you need to sit down and let us examine you.”

I’d heard enough.

I kept asking questions to which I was getting no answers.

The exit was a mere few feet away.

It was now or never.

I yelled “Look Out!” Pointing to the back wall.

Works every time.

The minute they turned to look?

I bolted for the door.

In the hallway. I ran headfirst into an older woman who screamed at me.

I pushed past her.

“Outta My Way Grandma!”

I kept running through double doors marked Lab.

Inside the room, an operating table. people were dressed in scrubs, everyone’s face covered in a surgical mask. all eyes turned towards me.

I ran back out.

Someone yelled “Hey You!”

In the Hall, Three more people ran by me with massive feet?

A young woman shouted.

“C’mon This Way!”

I fell right in step with them.

Our Feet on the cold floors made a loud slapping sound.

We sounded like a team full of flat footed basketball players running the floor in an empty gym.

Three guards rounded the corner of the hallway.

“Let’s Go!”

One of the three, whose name I found out later was Knut dove head first out a 2nd story window.

Without questioning, the other two followed.

The sun had just gone down.

I looked out and saw them rolling in the grass below.

The doors to a van opened and a woman and a boy jumped out. The boy yelling “DAD!”

Knut hugged his son. everyone climbed into the van. The woman in the passenger seat looked up at me and said.

“Come with Us, It’s your only chance.”

So…..I jumped. thankfully I didn’t break anything.

I dove in the back of the van.

They slammed the door and the kid driving punched the gas pedal.

We sped out of the medical center parking lot.

Looking at the others in the van you couldn’t help but notice, our giant feet and red faces.

Still out of breath, Knut hugged his wife. And put his hand on his son’s shoulder.

The rest of us were struggling to get more room. It was tight inside the van and had a really funky smell.

I asked them to let me out at the next corner.

The kid looked at his dad.

“You could be a bit more grateful you know?” Knut said.

No one else said a word.

I kept quiet. I had no idea who these people were.

We drove for a bit, making sure we weren’t being followed. satisfied, we turned down a dirt road. the kid killed the lights and pulled over.

Knut got out.

I was as confused as I’d ever been in my life.

And Manny? I’ve been confused a lot.

“Can someone tell me what’s happening? I went in for an MRI?”

“So did we.”

“Who are you? what did they do to us?”

“They lied to you. they lied to all of us.”

The third man who extended his hand introduced himself as Tom.

“This is Sally, Knut you’ve met.

The woman extended her hand.

I looked at her feet. “Umm.”

And she glanced at mine. “Yeah….”

“Bunch of army types. Kept us locked in cages. Cameras on us. guards watching us round the clock. We’re Guinea Pigs! Nothing more.”

“Heard a couple of guards talking last night. Some kinda experiment. Testing some vaccine. We weren’t suppose to get out. Knut here smashed a guard in the face with his food tray, We grabbed his keys and made a run for it.”

As I was talking to Tom and Sally.

Knut came over and said we needed to spilt up. He was taking the van and heading to Canada.

The rest of us? Would have to fend for ourselves.

What about my wife? Surely they have contacted her. Do I dare try to reach her? Are the phones safe? What if somebody’s watching our house?

Knut had to go. We shook hands, wished each other luck. And they left.

The three of us stood in the road watching the vans tail lights fade from view.

“I think Knut is right. We need to spilt up. One of us needs to get to a newspaper or someplace with internet access.”

“Screw the internet. I want to talk to someone and find out if they can correct this?”

“Look? people disappear all the time. Best get it on the web first.”

“North is taken. I’ll head east. Sally?”

“South, I guess? Right…..now?”

“Yeah, our best chance to get some help. We can’t hide forever like this.”

I said, I’d head west. Although that was BS. I was heading home. Who knows what the hell they told our families? Maybe I’ll call from the corner. Make sure the coast is clear.

We shook hands and set off into the woods.

Overhead helicopters circled. I could hear loudspeakers.

They had someone. Maybe both of them cornered?

I kept moving, fast as I could, given the circumstances.

They caught me climbing a fence on the highway. There was nowhere to run.

You’d think with big feet I’d be able to run faster?

I was put into a helicopter and flown back to the medical center where I was put into a cage.

Back where I started from.

The next morning.

I woke up and my feet were back to their normal size.

Whatever they did to us? was temporary.

I was interviewed by a mysterious man in a black suit, after which I was given paperwork to sign.

I was told if I signed? and kept my mouth shut? I could go home.

If I ever divulged any piece of what happened? I would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

I have no proof this ever happened. No paperwork, photos. nothing. Just a piece of paper with a phone number that’s been disconnected.

I had no case. no one believed a word I said.

Not my family, my friends, not even my doctor who had ordered the test to begin with.

Something about the man’s tone, told me it was best for me and my family to keep quiet.

The man in the black suit had disappeared. Like he never existed.

Numerous attempts were made to contact someone, anyone, who could give me answers.

I tried locating the others, to no avail, all I ever had was their first names.

My Doctor tells me he has no knowledge of what transpired the day of my test? they claim I was a no show. informing me, I would be required to pay for the missed appointment.

There is no record of any technician named Lynn working at the medical center. No Doctor Leake or Professor Funt on the buildings staff directory. No one had ever heard of any mysterious man in a black suit. nor did they employ any security guards with tazers?

All I got? was the run around.

I couldn’t get any help, no information.

To this day, the government refuses to acknowledge anything of the experiment I underwent.

Why talk now you ask?

Well? I decided to come forward mostly to warn people.

We are cattle, people take advantage of our nature. Our belief that we’re all in this together.

Take this story to heart.

I have a feeling I’m being followed.

I think my phone is bugged.

The people I thought I could count on? Have urged me to let it go. To quit goofing around.

Thankfully the neighbors dog still listens to me. He’s not much help mind you? But it’s good to have someone to talk to.

We speak every night, and sometimes in the morning at the fence after he’s done his business.

I’m not sure what my next step is?

I haven’t gotten any results back from the MRI I took. my doctor claims I never took it, and that we need to reschedule.

I don’t relish the notion I have to go back to do it again.

Would you?

My doctor tells me they still don’t know what’s wrong?

Apparently? he wants more tests done.

What can you do?

You get the tests done right?

What’s the alternative?

Cross your fingers, Hope for the best?

This is my life we’re talking about.

Without your health you have nothing.

The man in the black suit is a worthy adversary.

If you see or meet him?

Act accordingly.

Suspicious Vistors

Noises in the back yard.

Whispering. couldn’t make it out.

Last winter something broke into our shed and ate a bag of sand.

Unusual things were happening.

People behaving oddly.

This was familiar. I’d seen this kind of thing before.

I was suspicious, green-eyed, uptight and ornery. Doesn’t take much to get me riled.

Did I mention someone or something ate a bag of sand out of our shed?

Strangers appear at our door. a man and woman.

Asking me if I accept Jesus Christ as my savior? Looking left, then right. I slowly step outside onto our porch.

Who are these two characters?

They appeared to be alone?

One can never tell, can one?

I grab the man by the lapel of his suit.

Shouting,

“WHO SENT YOU!”

His eyes widened, his female companion backed away cautiously.

“Why? Jesus Did.” the man said.

“OKAY. Good Answer, Good Answer.”

I release him. helping to straighten his coat, brushing lint off his shoulder.

“You think you could come back next week? I have sinned repeatedly today and I am in desperate need of a shower.” I said winking at him.

The man looked down and away, moving to where the woman now stood in a defensive posture on our front lawn.

“A word of caution my friends. be careful, the house next to mine has some bad hombres living in it. if I were you sir? I would not let the woman approach the door. their teenage boys will surely tear through her like locust. let her wait the next one out in the car.”

The man nodded.

The woman, balled up her fists ready to tussle if necessary.

Neither appeared to be intoxicated or concealing a weapon. was the lord truly what they wanted?

I thanked both of them politely for stopping by. finally reassuring, discreetly. so they would know. and not worry.

“I have nothing but good intentions. should you try to tell anyone differently? well? No one will ever believe you.”

Maybe they were up to something? I had good reason to be cautious.

Suspicious visitors, curfew violators and backyard fornicators have me in a heightened state of alert.

I would stand watch tonight in the garage with a shovel. anyone who thinks they can infiltrate our security perimeter. Is in for a surprise.

3 AM. I wedge a chair up against the garage door and go to bed.

Not sure how long I slept? It wasn’t long enough.

Was that the doorbell?

“What time is it?”

I look at my wife who is sound asleep.

Suddenly.

Bright light fills the room from our window outside. I hold my arm up to shield my eyes.

Shadows move in the backyard. the glass to our backdoor shatters.

Something is in the house.

Whispering.

Floors creak. then stop. in the hall, outside our bedroom. whispering.

Our bedroom door opened. I couldn’t move. the fear. paralyzed me.

Something throwing shapes entered the room.

Next to the bed. it moved into view. 4 feet tall, pale, almost translucent skin. head too big for its body. small mouth. big old creepy fish eyes with long skinny arms and Nosferatu crablike fingers.

Rolling his large fish eyes at me, Johnny Fishbone slapped his noggin with his creepy little crab leg fingers. trying to communicate.

I couldn’t make out a gurgle.

The visitor pointed to the window. then at the ceiling, then turned to the bed.

It didn’t look like he wanted to be pals.

Staring into my mind. I could hear it’s thought’s.

“The Shrimp , Crab And Lobster you so love to eat? They’re beings from my world. we came here many years ago. seeking refuge. settling in your oceans. never meaning you any harm. yet? you hunt us for food. we left our planet to preserve our species. we asked only for a place to be safe. to live and raise our young. instead you cover us with hot butter and lemons, cocktail and tartar sauces. serve us as appetizers to fat people who could afford to skip a meal. Your Doctors warn you that eating us will give you high cholesterol which leads in some instances to early death in adults. matters not. you just keep shoveling it in. Shell Fish as you call us. can’t you hear us scream when you cook and kill us? We obviously underestimated the numbers who would find us delicious. in hindsight we should have been more careful, we thought the oceans would be safe. until your fishing industries became more relentless. tell your leaders. to stop now. before we are forced to defend ourselves.”

He waved his left hand in front of my face.

Then it was over.

Johnny Fishbone vanished. his bright light was gone.

Darkness returned. along with it silence.

I wanted to wake my wife, take her in my arms, look into her eyes and tell her everything was going to be alright.

I chose to let her sleep, she looked so peaceful. I would tell her in the morning.

There would be no sleep for me until I knew we were safe. I went back out into the garage and stood guard until sunrise.

Look to the skies. imagine what’s out there.

Now? imagine that one day, it shows up, breaks into your house and tells you how it’s gonna be going forward.

Hopefully? you’ll just get a lecture. a word of warning from Johnny Fishcakes.

Why Me? Why did he choose me to deliver this message? who are my leaders anyway? are they in the phonebook? will they pick up the phone if I call? what if I get the answering machine?

Do I enjoy those Shrimp, Crab and Lobster delicacies? wellll? yeah.

I’m suppose to speak out for Johnny Fishsticks and his tasty little friends?

Somethings coming. something with an agenda.

Do this, don’t do that, act this way and not that way. listen to this and listen to that. you should do this and you shouldn’t do that. this is how you should be, how you should do things. I have the answers you need. know it alls. some wearing overalls, clipboards in hand, looking to have you take a stand. do you have a minute? no? well then? I’ll come back later.

Lock your windows. Do not answer the door.

Take precautions.

Was that the doorbell? At this hour?

This is it.

The squirrel was laughing at me.

I was never more sure of anything in my life.

I hissed at it.

Then, I went back to my raking. filling up seven more bags of leaves.

I looked back up into the tree.

Strange, It was still there?

Only now? there were two more with it. watching me. I stared back at them. they exchanged sideways glances.

These three were up to something. No two ways about it.

“You Imposter.” I heard a voice say, “You fool no one.”

It sounded like Peter Lorre. high-pitched and nasally.

Then the other two started in on me.

“He’s holding the rake all wrong! Will ya look at this guy?”

“He’s not taking into account the wind? it’s out of the west.”

“No No it’s out of the north!”

“Hey man? get it together. rake away from the wind, geez c’mon!”

“If he’d check the weather he’d see the wind is going to pick up.”

Peter Lorre and his squirrely pals were judging me. criticizing my technique. my way of doing things.

I rubbed my eyes.

“If he waited two days? he wouldn’t have to rake em? they’re all gonna blow away!”

One of them put a finger in its mouth to dampen it, then held it aloft to test the wind.

“High pressure system is heading our way. winds definitely gonna change.” it said.

I dropped the rake and ran into the house.

That night, as I slept.

A voice, “Imposter.”

I was raking in the yard again,

I looked into the trees, they were filled with squirrels.

Every branch. Every limb was full of them. And every one of them was looking at me.

“Do yourself a favor and move back to the city, you’re out of your element.”

It was that prick Peter Lorre. I guess he was the lord high squirrel?

One of them threw a bus ticket at me. told me to “Beat it.”

An eerie silence fell.

A large herd of squirrels stared at me from the branches above.

I went into our garage, found the can of gas for the lawnmower and poured it at the base of the tree. then I lit it.

“How do you like that PETER?!? WHERE’S YOUR MOSES NOW!?!”

Flames raced up the trees trunk.

My wife came flying out of the house, grabbing our garden hose spraying the tree with water.

In the distance, sirens approached.

“Can you believe that Honey? Did you see them? Did you hear what Peter said to me? Look? they gave me this bus ticket.”

She looked at our charred tree, before turning to contemplate the love of her life.

“What is wrong with you? What Bus Ticket?”

“I Didn’t Do Anything? They Started it!”

A fire truck pulled up in front of our house. followed by the police. I was ticketed, and told in no uncertain terms not to set anymore fires.

I walked back into the house. and stared at the fireplace. confused.

The following morning, I got dressed and went out into our front yard to scan the trees.

Where’d they all go?

It began to rain. winds were gusting through the branches. I stood there an hour or so watching and listening. Until I heard the rumble of thunder. I had some chores to do before the game started.

Work, work, work.

That afternoon, I fell asleep on the couch.

I was in Hawaii. relaxing in a lounge chair at the pool. A squirrel approached me and asked me “If I’d like something to drink?” I said no thank you. Would it be possible to get something to eat? The squirrel shook his head and said, “No.” Then he hit me with his little drink tray and ran off.

Had a difficult time sleeping that night. keeping one eye on the tree outside our bedroom window. first I heard scratching. then murmuring? like an angry crowd had gathered.

It kept growing louder and louder.

I pulled the covers up to my chin and waited.

The next day at work things got a little sketchy. I had some sort of a confrontation with a parking meter.

At lunch, my co-workers saw me yelling at my sandwich in the break room. All they would say is, he seemed incredibly distraught.

They called my wife to come get me.

To be clear, if I may?

Just because she signed the papers to put me away. doesn’t mean she doesn’t care. it’s only temporary arrangement. ok?

She needed to do something I suppose?

Everyday for the past two weeks.

I would come home from work and run through the sprinkler in my suit.

Sure, I got a few strange looks. But what the hell?

Down the street, we have a guy who cuts his lawn at dawn in his pajamas while drinking a glass of wine.

Everybody’s dealing with something. you know?

Pressures either at work, issues with your kids, your spouse, maybe it’s a combination of things?

If that’s your only problem? Be Thankful. The stuff on the surface can be handled. You can work through it.

But, if you start to see things? Or hear voices? things that aren’t there? Well? You have my sympathy and my understanding Pal.

I really want to go home. I’m tired of all these restrictions.

I wasn’t talking to the squirrel. He was talking to me.

What was I suppose to do? Ignore it?

I should’ve, I could’ve, unfortunately? I didn’t, I just couldn’t.

So now?

I’m sharing a room with this guy who thinks he’s….Magilla Gorilla. Keeps calling me Ogee or Mr. Peebles.

I guess I shouldn’t complain, he’s respectful, picks up his stuff, stays on his side of the room. What more can you ask of a roommate? his goofy voice can wear on you. All this “Gee Mr. Peebles” nonsense. My Name is not Mr. Peebles. I don’t own a pet store with a Gorilla for sale.

Let it go man!

“Won’t you buy him? take him home and try him? gorilla for sale.”

C’mon? take him home and try him? That’ll never work.

I want to go home and run through the sprinkler.

My wife told me on her last visit that my friends and co-workers have been calling to inquire how I’m doing?

I’m feeling better. The dreams have subsided. I am sleeping better.

Although? I can’t be sure that they won’t come back?

I saw a squirrel outside yesterday.

Didn’t talk to me. Didn’t even look my way. Which is fine by me.

Doctor tells me I should make a full recovery. I just need some rest.

Things are a lot easier here, I have lots of friends. a nice bed to sleep in, three square meals a day.

I get visitors from time to time holding clipboards.

Everyone is always asking me how I am?

We get to talk about our problems every day. The people who work here are really friendly.

And the patients are mostly cool. Mostly.

Except for this guy named Larry who keeps asking everyone, “is it safe?”

“How the fuck should I know Larry?”

Tomorrow for grins. I might tell Larry it’s not safe, while staring at his forehead. just to see what happens.

I think I’m calmer? calmer than most people in here. I have lots of room to run and play.

As long as I promise to take my medicine and stay off the electric fence.

I can have jello for desert. And….Not the kind they put fruit in. I like my jello clean, and neat. Preferably Lime or Cherry. don’t even try to pass off that stuff you can’t see through. You know the kind I’m talking about? That pink or white shit. You never know what surprises they’re hiding in there? I like to see through my food when possible. Otherwise, I just keep picking at it until I’m sure there are no surprises. I won’t drink anything out of a can. Has to be a bottle or jug I can see through.

I use to love fast food. not anymore. Few years ago some cement head was putting severed fingers in the chili at Wendy’s after he purchased it? Then Blaming Wendy’s for it? and suing them? Wendy’s? The Guy hired a lawyer to sue Wendy’s? for, are you ready for this? mental anguish. Messed up the whole fast food thing for me. Can’t go near it anymore. Bums me out. Because I love chili.

I also love a good fish taco. extra fish. Grande Fishy Taco por favor. With a glass of water. from a bottle, no ice.

Sometimes, I hear voices.