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much like paper does when it’s held under a match—or when it’s left on the stove—and so I looked up and saw that Mother had just burst into flames, and she held out her hands, which were melting, and cried, ‘What’s happening to me?’ and so I latched onto her, thinking I could put the fire out, but I couldn’t, and she turned to dust, right in my very arms.” “Remind me,” said Dr. Shire, “to order you a psychiatric evaluation.” “You really think so?” “Yes,

Mr.

Rosewater.

Never

have

I

been

so

sure

about

something. Ever.” “Have you ever lost a loved one, Doctor?” “I had a cat drown when I was seven.” “Ah, yes,” said Rosewater. “Burning and drowning. They say those are the two worst ways to go. What do you think?” “Never gave it much thought, really.” “Yes, right, right…” “Now,” said Dr. Shire, “we want you on your best behavior. Because, frankly, Mr. Rosewater, we’ve all grown sick and tired of your antics—knocking over trays of food, putting holes into walls, coaxing patients and staff into doing strange things… Again, everyone is just sick and tired of it.” “Sick and tired, huh? Those words again…” Rosewater sat up as straight as he could. “Hospitals are made solely for sick and tired things, aren’t they, Doctor? Things taken into rooms—cold, lonely rooms—where they wait to be fed and forgotten and, if luck permits, to die too.” “Now, Mr. Rosewater…” “See it, Doctor?” Rosewater motioned to the open window across the room. “The afternoon breeze… as it dances through those transparent blue curtains? A miracle the breeze can fit through those mesh bars, don’t you think?” For a moment, both he - 42 -

The Fine Line Issue 3  

The Fine Line presents its third compilation of art, fiction and poetry by contributors Francis Raven, Michael Young, Dorothee Lang, Raj Sha...

The Fine Line Issue 3  

The Fine Line presents its third compilation of art, fiction and poetry by contributors Francis Raven, Michael Young, Dorothee Lang, Raj Sha...

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