Annabel Donaldson awoke with a fright.
The re-occurring dream which always ended the same way had come again. In this dream Annabel was her 14 year old self on holiday by the seaside with her parents. She’d gaze from the sea’s edge into the water and dive in. But instead of seeing the tropical fish and coral which she had seen when standing on the water’s edge all she would see is darkness. Blackness. And she wasn’t able to swim again to the surface, to the light, she could only swim down, down, down, until the darkness enveloped her.
It didn’t take a genius to decipher what this dream symbolized. Annabel Donaldson was 104 years old and she knew that this dream meant impending death. Or perhaps her unwillingness to come to terms with her impending death which is why in the dream she always fought back against the darkness and tried to resist it, rather than accept and embrace it. That was okay, thought Annabel, I love life and I love being alive. Just because death was inevitable didn’t mean that one shouldn’t resent its intrusion.
Although this time was different. Now that Annabel was awake and had recovered from the fright of her dream she noticed a sharp pang in her stomach and severe cramping which left her gasping for breath. What was this? She had never experienced this before. Arising from her bed she went into the kitchen where she saw on the clock it was 10:30PM. Annabel made a cup of strong black tea to which she added a tablespoon of organic honey and the juice of half a lemon. She stirred her beverage and returned to her bed where she sat, propped up by pillows, and sipped slowly. The pain began to alleviate, the honey working it’s medicinal magic. Annabel put the cup on her bedside table, rearranged her pillows and drifted slowly back off to sleep.
Awaking the next morning at 7:30am the pain had returned and was even worse than the night before. Deciding that expert medical attention was what was required she phoned her youngest and dearest granddaughter, Fiona, to take her to the hospital. Fiona who loved her Grandmother more than anyone else in the world wanted to call her an ambulance although Annabel downplayed her condition and convinced her that this wasn’t necessary. She didn’t want to be taking up valuable medical resources if it meant that someone else, much sicker than her, may miss out.
Fiona arrived with Grandmother Annabel at the hospital just 32 minutes after she had received the call. Explaining to the receptionist on the ground floor her grandmother’s symptoms she was directed to take her to the 3rd floor where the gastroenterologist would see her shortly. Fiona pushed her grandmother in a wheelchair into the lift and hit the button for the 3rd floor although when the doors opened they were met with an empty department. There was no one to be seen. Fiona who was by now panicked that she’d misheard the receptionist and had taken her grandmother to the wrong floor was about to get back into the lift when she saw a sign saying that this was in fact the gastroenterology department. They were in the right place but where was everybody? Fiona started to push her grandmother down the long empty southern corridor in the hope that she might find someone, anyone, who could tell her where she was meant to go and who she was meant to see. Annabel who was a tough and stoical woman could feel her granddaughter’s tension and frustration and told her that it was okay, “perhaps, dear, all the doctors and nurses are busy working to treat the covid-19 patients? Perhaps they have been taken from this department and are working in the section of the hospital where all the covid-19 patients are located? Perhaps this is why there is no one around?”
Fiona pushed her grandmother down the next long corridor and still no one. Not a soul. Her exasperation continued to grow. Where was everybody!? Reaching the end of the corridor she turned left again where she was greeted by the immediate sight of 30-40 medical personnel dressed in full personal protective equipment and arranged in equal numbers along the two sides of the north facing corridor. They were all holding mops. What the fuck was this? Why were they all just standing there holding mops? Why did no one look at her or speak to her? Was this even real? She tapped the nearest medical orderly on the shoulder and said “Miss, miss, please. It’s my grandmother and she’s very sick and she needs to see the doctor.” The orderly looked at Fiona and Annabel with barely restrained annoyance. “Shhh! The recording is about to start. What are you even doing here? You can’t be in the video, go quickly and wait in the next corridor and someone will deal with you shortly.”
And then the music started and all the medical personnel started furiously mopping the area of the floor immediately in front of them….. The music boomed over the hospital speakers and from the other end of the corridor, the end furthest away from Annabel and Fiona, a humongous black woman emerged. Although this wasn’t just any humongous black woman. This was head nurse Brianna Brooks who was about to twerk her gigantic ass the entire length of the north facing corridor to the backdrop of “Who Let The Dog’s Out” by the Baha Men. All of this was being filmed by a centrally located wall mounted camera and would shortly be uploaded to TikTok. The nurses were hoping to crack 7 figures, that is, have their video viewed by more than one million people. Hell, if it really took off it might break 8 figures. 10 million viewers! It was aspirations such as these which got these modern day heroes out of bed every morning and excited about the day ahead.
The Baha Men sang, “Who let the dogs out?” and all the medical personnel who lined either side of the corridor answered in unison, “Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof!” and the Baha Men sang again “Who let the dogs out?” to which all the medical personnel responded in thunderous unison “WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!” and all the while they continued mopping the floor space immediately in front of them as Brianna Brooks twerked her watermellonesque buttocks in perfect time to the beat, shimmying to the left, shimmying to the right, twerking that ass as the medical personnel answered again and again every time The Baha Men asked “Who let the dogs out?” “WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!”
In each of their hearts they knew and could feel that this video was something very very special and was going to go on and become a TikTok sensation and they would be famous. And why not? They were modern day Heroes and they deserved the recognition and acclaim that such publicity and videos would bring. And how did they know they were modern day Heroes? Because the newspapers kept telling them so.
“WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!”