Pawn Takes King Part 21

About 2 blocks later, Donny slows to a trot, then a fast walk. He is covered in sweat despite the cool day. The sun was blazing bright, but being in so close to the snow made him chilly. This snow might not last. The weather was doing strange things these last few years. The number one thing a bum noticed was the weather. When your life depends upon clear skies, and no rain, you become an attentive listener to the climate.
    And so, Donny noticed the changing in the seasons. The winters had been more mild as of late. That was fine by Donny, but it still was strange. The leaves were staying on the trees longer because it wasn't cooling off like it should. Hell, Donny can still see piles of dead foliage underneath the crust of snow. Those leaves that hadn't died yet were still hanging on the branches.  Donny resumed his thoughts about Global Warming from that morning.
    Some scientists say it's global warming caused by car exhaust. There was a movie about it a few years ago. But since then, there's been so much back-and-forth that nothing seems true. Like most topics and ideas, everything was diluted into yes' and no's. With the internet, there was enough room in both camps, and so the truth never really gets revealed anymore. Everyone just bickers and argues the point away.
    Donny thought the earth was warming up. The summers were overbearing, and got hotter each year. It didn't snow as frequently, but when it did, it seemed more severe in a short time frame. Heat was nowhere near as bad as cold, but it was still dangerous. Donny thought back to his childhood, when things were more stable. Even the seasons seemed more aligned in the past. Donny always helped his dad Ronald to shovel the drive. It was a routine, one that Donny aches to have again. Back then, snow meant time away from school, time for sledding, time for enjoying the winter season. Now, snow meant death, or frostbite.
    Donny noticed his elbow was killing him. The cold was making it stiff and hard to bend. Donny pulled up the long sleeve on his Deftones shirt, and sees a gouge of flesh split apart like a burst banana peel.    
    "Fuck me," Donny whispers, as he pokes at the cut. He winces at the throbbing pain which spreads through the skin where he touches it. This is bad. the cut was deep enough that infection might set in. Donny couldn't see bone, but the elbow was getting swollen already, which might obscure any white of his skeleton.
    "Great, just what I fucking need!!!!" Donny says savagely, to the empty pedestrian tunnel he has just entered. His disenchantment roars in repeat as it swims down the tunnel. Donny's own voice continually reaffirms his sarcastic remark.
    Donny went back to sleep when returning to the gazebo. First, he tried to use snow to brush off the residue of mace. It didn't work too well. Although he hated to do it, Donnie left his coat hanging on the rail outside, in the hopes the moisture might ward off the burning chemicals. In the enclosed space under the gazebo, Donny might suffocate in the mace fumes. He wrapped the old sleeping bag around himself tighter than he ever had before. He was so cold, it was like the water inside of his body was turning to ice, bit by bit. His appendages kept going numb, and he would have to wriggle them, until the pins and needles started. Although unpleasant, that sensation meant the blood was still flowing.
    After about an hour of this, Donny abandoned his earlier plan and put the jacket back on. It still made his eyes and face burn something fierce. But in an odd way, it was comforting. It couldn't really raise his temperature, but it felt he was in some tropic paradise. His sweat and runny eyes turned cold, and he continually rubbed his face free off liquid until the point when the mace lost it's effectiveness. In pure misery, Donny repeated his old mantra:
    Donny wished he was dead.
    Donny might just get his wish. The elbow was in bad shape. He had spent the last day sleeping off and on. He wanted to stay out of sight, and off the streets. When donnie raised his sleeve for examination, it was tender and raw, almost like a sunburn. The flesh was also red like an overexposure to rays. Donny could see thick white pus brimming at the rim of the gash like a disgusting volcano. Ready to pop. Donny had to lance it, to drain the fluid. Could he stitch it up? he guess he'd find out soon enough. Skin was like material. Hides could be stretched and stiffened from animals. Human skin was the same, he could sew it like he did in Home Economics class in school. It wouldn't be any different.
    He needed a lighter, to disinfect the swiss army knife. He might even pick up a 40 of Old E' to help dull the pain; maybe even disinfect the wound. Nope, no funds for that, dude. Donny had taken off his pants in the middle of the night. there was a fever running rampant in his body. Even in the cold of the night, he was burning up. As he hunched over, he retrieved his pants and put them on over his other pair.
    He scuttled like a crab, until he reached the lattice. As he pushed the skirting aside, he saw the $5 bill. It was so random. Mr. Lincoln was face-up in the snow, with that weary half-smile on his face. Donny picked up the money. It was wet, and felt as though it could easily tear. He studied the face of the bill. He could see the hundreds of tiny scratches and cross-hatching that make up the former American president's visage. Donny noticed all the minute details of the border, all the insignia. The engraving was done by a tiny chisel, to Donny' s knowledge. The slightly discolored bill was a newer mint edition, and even had a watermark when he held it aloft to the sun.
    Donny spent perhaps 5 minutes just looking at it. It was a miracle. It wasn't much, but it was enough to keep him alive, if just a little longer. Miracles came cheap. Honest Abe. Donny could not say he possessed such a trait. Donny was as crooked as they come. Good old Abraham Lincoln. Donny felt an eccentric desire to suddenly meet Abe, to see the man in action. The only figure to reunite a divided united states, that was who bore an image on the 5. Donny was loopy, most likely from the fever and cold. The mace couldn't have helped either.
    Donny thought back, just minutes ago, how he had contemplated giving in and letting the rot and decay foul his blood and kill him. Donny did not deserve this gift. That much he knew. The festering seemed a more deserving fate. But still, here he was, with the means to heal himself. Donny glanced around. If someone was nearby, it might be theirs. But the park was empty. Finder keepers, losers weepers.
    Donny trudged to the store. The snow was melting already. The incessant sun demanded that the drifts depart immediately. Donny found himself soaked from the upper-shins down to his toes. His shoes were soon speckled with mud. Donny felt exhausted, just reaching the dim neon glow of the Qwik Stop. There were motion trails to all movement. Donny was in a delirium of sorts. Time was slowing. Everything was hard to comprehend. What happened to the bill?!?! Oh, it was still in his pocket. Donny grabbed the 40 ounce bottle of booze. As he blankly studied the label, it dropped from his hand. Donny cannot hear the shatter of glass. Everything is silent. He has passed out, falling into the display of chips.

Uploaded 11/08/2012
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