portion of the artwork for Alec Niedenthal's stories

Father Goes to Work
Alec Niedenthal

I watched my father roll forward down the stairs. Eventually he was rolling backward, and then I could not tell which way. Probably, he rolled in both directions at once, perhaps in a moment of extreme freedom.

My uncle, who is not his brother but the brother of somebody else, helped him erect. And then my father thudded down onto a gurney. My grandfather produced some sounds to say that there was a woman already unconscious filling the gurney.

“We take two at a time now,” a paramedic said, tucking my father’s hair behind his ears.

My small brother remained heedless of the emergency. He would either not believe it, or was simply an insatiable son.

I can’t remember, but it might have been my mother asleep in that gurney, only I believe she had a place in the hospital at that time.

My grandfather read a book of history to himself, in his chair with wheels, while we waited for the conclusions to be reached.

My uncle said, “I will wait to call Aunt.” He read his watch effortfully aloud.

My brother continued to cry near where my father had finally stopped falling.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 28 | Spring 2010