Tsu woke up to the sound of him gagging, people in white robes surrounding him, and the feeling of hot pain in his throat, his ass feeling un-penetrated, to his deep relief. Still tied down, but with the ability to hear and see, he attempted to scream. Immediately the doctors began to remove the feeding tube. “What the fuck are you doing?!” Tsu screamed as the tube was removed. “Can you hear us?” asked one of the doctors, which Tsu later found out was named Dr. Stephen Dodgeford. “Yes I can hear you! Why the hell are you people trying to kill me?”, Tsu shouted as he looked around and got a look at the white-robed people who surrounded him. He was still strapped in, and attempted to prop himself up on his elbows in order to get a better look. The nurses were frightened, but were all for the most part very cute, he though fleetingly. When he saw his right side, which was encased in cotton, white with areas red where blood had bled through the material, he let out a small yelp. “Please calm down Tsumotu, we’re here to help” “Like hell you are” Tsu snapped back. “I’m Dr. Dodgeford, Steven Dodgeford. You’ve been in a terrible accident” “Aliens?” asked Tsu, which he and the doctor would later recall with laughter and blame on the previous drug induced dream. “No, not Aliens Tsumotu, an explosion. A nuclear bomb destroyed your city. It’s a miracle you survived.” Not aliens?, he thought to himelf, a nuclear bomb went off and it’s not aliens? Was he sure? Tsu was not coninced he wasn’t still dreaming. He pinched himself – ow – yup, it’s real. He wasn’t convinced, however, that the attack wasn’t from an alien. “Wh-who bombed us? We were bombed?” “Yes, I’m afraid so. The details are still coming in. Right now we want you not to worry about anything but getting better. You’re a one in a million.” Steven, the doctor, winked at Tsumotu. “We’re sorry about the tube. You’ve been unconscious for half the day now, we were taking precautionary measures” Tsumotu’s throat hurt. So did his right side. “H-how much of me is burned?” “You’re pretty lucky. You’ve sustained some third degree burns on your right side, but we think you’ll be okay to leave the hospital in a couple of days time. Do you have anyone we could contact? Or…or were they living in the city?” Tsu thought to himself. What does he mean by ‘were they living in the cit-’…oh….they’re all dead I suppose. Tsu quickly made a tally in his head: who does I know in that city? Well, my boss, and everyone I work with. My dad…was he at work by 8? He usually comes in early… “My father. I-I don’t live in that city, neither does he. We live in another nearby. We commute two hours, you see, but separately, we live separately, that is. B-but, my father makes his own hours, he’s sometimes in before me, sometimes after. Oh my god. C-could you call him?” The doctor agreed, and Tsumotu gave him the number. While the doctor was gone, Tsu thought about his colleagues, they were almost certainly all dead. Most of them lived in the city, so, regardless if they had gotten to work yet, they were probably no more than ash by now. How did he feel about that? He was only close with a couple of people, and even then, not close enough to want to call them after work. He thought about the various times he had had lengthy arguments/discussions with some of them, the jokes they made.
He had become ok friends with the one guy, Gus. They would sometimes meet up in the city for a bike ride, Tsu would often have to bring his bike on the bus. They would travel to various places, and sometimes talk on the way. One time, after a lengthy bike trip, Tsu was invited to stay at Guses for dinner, his wife was cooking and they’d be happy to have him. Although he wanted to go home and collapse in his bed, he thought better of it and decided to take them up on the offer. Gus had given him a beer, and a tour of the house. Tsu had never thought of himself as ever getting married, but in a way, he envied Gus and his nice wife Josephine. Dinner was delicious, and the conversations flowed smoothly. Tsu didn’t feel his awkward self that day, and he even gained some confidence because of it. After more beers, and realizing how tired he was, he took up the couples’ offer to sleep on the couch that night, and to stay and continue drinking their beer. Josephine ended up going to bed early, but Gus and Tsu stayed up drinking and watched a movie. Tsu, on one trip to the washroom, noticed through blurry beer goggles that there was a cardboard container in the garbage. Curious, he picked it up and turned it over. It was a pregnancy test. Although Tsu never brought it up with Gus, and Gus never mentioned anything about them having kids, this one event became ever present in Tsu’s consciousness as he layed there in the hospital bed. He began to weep. He may not have been that close to his coworkers, but he certainly felt for them now, at that moment. What did they do to deserve this? Gus and Josephine were wonderful people, young and potentially excited for a new addition to their lives. None of that was real anymore; it had been smothered, extinguished. Tsu, never having been much of a religious man, but never having fully denied it in his life, at that moment felt deep in his stomach that there was nothing pure or good in the world. Shit was shit and things happened to good and bad, irregardless of who they were. The world was a random series of events, and people were in it trying to make sense and meaning.