Frank by Paddy Dean

Paddy Dean is an Actor, a Clown, a writer and a filmmaker currently based in Galway. From an early age the word has been the building block and the natural connection to his surroundings.  Even when devising a purely physical based theatre piece he needs to write it all down before he can make sense of the movements involved. Never without a pen and a piece of paper to catch the small stones that help to construct the building blocks of any piece of writing. His world is words. Favourite piece of advise ever received inany writing workshop he has attended to help pursue his craft? A writer writes.

FRANK

By Paddy Dean

 God he loved her. Hearing her voice on the other end of the phone broke him into tiny little pieces. Fragmenting further. And it was raining, heavily. An epic downpour. The narrow ledge he was standing on was getting greasier. Even standing perfectly still, a dial tone buzzing in his ear from the just ended phonecall, he could sense his position was worsening. Marriage now terminated as if there had been any doubt, a helicopter hovering overhead its spotlight trained on him, six police cars with the full array of emergency vehicles primed below. At precisely 9.32pm, on a Thursday, from the seventeenth story window ledge of his law firms office, Frank Melia closed his eyes, ceased to think, and jumped.

Whiteness. A blurred whiteness. A metallic taste in his mouth and voices. The voices concerned him most. He hadn’t expected the sharp sense of taste either. Was being dead like being alive? Such a sense of being physical overwhelmed him.
Then, nothing.
“He’s waking up”
“Jesus”
“This time Frank, c’mon.”
“Call the doctor”
“I’m on it.”
“Hi Frank.”
Who was this person coming into vision? He had a round kind face and glasses. Thick, round glasses. A strange type of angel.
“Frank”
It was definately his name. This angel knew his name that must be a good sign.  His voice was strange though, echoey. Frank sounded like Fraaaaaaank. Too many “aaaaaaa’s” not enough “nk,” or something.
“Is this heaven?”
A big loud voice, only in his head, no words forming. Speech, but no mouth, everything echoing, going nowhere.

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. In Frank’s case it was the physio, the psych and the district attorney.

Slowly but surely, bones fusing, the numbness of his brain abating Frank began his recovery, if it could be called that. Each morning he awoke to a fresh lawsuit against his firm.  Always in the past, sharp of mind, this was the hardest part for him. His brain clunking into gear over writs and bankruptcy documents. He felt like a four year old trying to fit round pegs into square holes. Such an unholy mess.

Freedom. Or what freedom left now that nothing remained.  For Frank freedom came to him at 8.04am Thursday as he took the rest of his belongings to a taxi waiting outside Pacific General Hospital, to a new rental that Frank had procured online in final few days of his stay.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change,” Darwin said. If anyone was the embodiment of that it was rehabilitated Frank.

Change was required and change is what Frank did. Utterly. Seamlessly. Frank, bankrupt Frank, took residence in a detached bungalow with a garden and got a job in the local chain supermarket which had recently gone 24hours. Frank worked the graveyard shift and it suited him.  Returning home each day at 7.00am, a couple of hours wading through the legal mess side of Frank. Bankrupt Frank. And all the repayment schedules finally aligned. He proceeded to climb forward.

Every Thursday was bowling night. When all the staff got together. Those who weren’t working, and everyone got a turn. Frank proved quite the bowler and had racked up a prominent lead in the overall strikes league. After each Thursday Frank would report to his graveyard shift, sullen, having accepted the necessity of having to work to find his way.

More sullen, perhaps, if truth be told, because he had to say goodbye to Martina Lawless the best of the lady bowlers at the Freeway Bowl. All was well with his world whenever she was around.

Elegant, sexy, intelligent. She had it all. A funny little twirl she did with her fingers in her hair made Frank feel all fuzzy inside.

And her laugh was just, well, beautiful.

A lot of Franks time was spent desperately trying to pluck up the courage to ask her out.

And so it was. And so it continued.

Sure enough, years went by, pins went down and Frank found himself waking up beside her in his detached bungalow with a garden.

Marriage wasn’t a possibility because of the previous difficulties with the bitch as she was called in his house. But common-law was just fine for the two of them.

About where he had been before, Frank didn’t talk much. Hardly noticed, but there it was just fleeting in the corner of his eye some sense of a distant pain gone but not forgotten if anyone ever brought it up. Few did and little was said.

He didn’t get up on ladders much unless he really had to and really all in all he was happy with his lot in life.

And there we leave him to trundle along with a timeless gaze of understanding.

Babies, bubble blowing guns and roses blooming in his garden all to follow ……………

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