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A Sickle Situation

Written by:
Cousin Whitney

Part One

“Oh Cousin I am so excited!  We are going to LA to visit Kelsey for a whole week!”  Balki said excitedly as he packed.

“I know isn't it great?  Goodbye cold, windy Chicago, hello beautiful, sunny California.”  Larry said as he put some clothes in his suitcase.

“Don't forget smoggy and the traffic too.”  Balki reminded Larry.   “Cousin, do you think we'll get a chance to see some stars while we're there?”  He asked.

“I don't know, maybe.  Kelsey said she had a whole itinerary planned out for us which I like.  It’s always good to be organized and have a plan.”  Larry said.

“Well I hope I get to see my fa-vah-rite star.”  Balki said.

“Really?  Who is that?”  Larry asked.

“Spiderman.”  Balki replied.

“Balki, Spiderman is not a real person.”  Larry said.

“Yes he is, why would they make pajamas with him on them?”  Balki said proving his case.

Larry just shook his head as he closed his suitcase.  “Well Balki I guess that's about it.”  Larry said.

“Yep I guess so Cousin.”  Balki said.

“Now Balki remember the process we got to go through when we get to the airport.  I don't want no problems like we had the last time we'd flew.”  Larry said.

“Cousin I didn't have no problem.  That was you because you were upset, remember?”  Balki said reminding him of the last time they flew.

“Well it's not going to be that way this time!”  Larry said excitedly.

“Cousin you surprise me, last time we went on a vacation you was the grumpiest man on earth, now we are going to LA you are the happiest man on earth.  You must have PMS.”  Balki said.

“Well whatever we are going to beautiful, sunny California!”  Larry expressed again.  “Let's go!”

“Wait Cousin.  Are you going to do your usual checklist?”  Balki asked.

Larry looked around the apartment.  “Everything looks okay to me!  Let's go!”  Larry said as he grabbed his bag and dashed out the door.

“I swear that man really surprises me sometimes.”  Balki muttered to himself and he went out the door and locked it.

*************************

Balki and Larry finally landed in LA.  They walked off the plane.  Kelsey was right there waiting for them.

“Aahh!  Balki!  Larry!”  She screamed excitedly as she ran to them.  They both gave her a big hug.  “It’s always so great to see you guys!  Come on let's go get you guys' luggage so we can get this vacation started!”  Kelsey said excitedly.

The trio walked to the baggage area.  They reached the baggage area and waited at the carousel where Balki’s and Larry's bags were going to come off of.  “So how was the plane ride?  I know you all got a chance to enjoy first class this time.”  Kelsey said.

“First class was wonderful!”  Larry yelp out.

“Kelsey, he kept making the flight attendant bring him hot towels, blankets, drinks, and he had three ice cream sundaes with extra cherries on them.  It was quite embarrassing.”  Balki remarked.

“Balki I can't even count how many times you have embarrassed me, I think I am entitled to one embarrassing moment thank you.”  Larry said.

Kelsey let out a laugh.  “You guys are so funny.  Balki I think it's okay if Larry wanted to express his enjoyment in first class.”  Kelsey said defending Larry.

“Thank you Kelsey.”  Larry said.

All of a sudden the buzzer from the carousel came on and the bags started sliding down the chute.  “Look Cousin!  Bag #1 is coming.  Come on down!”  Balki said excitedly.

Then more and more bags started to fly down the chute all at once.  The three of them started looking for Balki and Larry’s bags.

“Ohh all these bags look the same.  I’m never going to find mine.”  Larry groaned.

“Larry don’t worry.  I’m sure we will find yours.”  Kelsey said gently.

“Well here is mine.”  Balki said picking up his unusual bag with kre-kre tassels and shiny metal ornaments dangling from it.

“Now that’s what I call making your bag stand out against the rest.”  Kelsey said as she saw Balki’s luggage.

“And not to mention embarrassing too.”  Larry added.

They continued to search for Larry’s bag.  Other travel goers were identifying their bags and picking them up as they saw them.  Still no sign of Larry’s bag.

“Oh Cousin!  I think I see yours.”  Balki said as a bag came his way.

“No that’s not it.”  He said as his high energy faded.  “What if my bag didn’t get here?  What if someone picked it up?  What if it got left in Chicago?  What if it got sent to another country?”  Larry said as he began to panic.

“Larry, calm down.  I don’t think that has happened.  They are probably still unloading the bags off the plane.”  Kelsey said.

“Kelsey everybody who was here that was on that flight has gotten their luggage and have left already except for us!”  Larry stated.

“Well that’s true.”  Kelsey admitted.  “Come on let’s go report it to the airline company.  What a way to start out the perfect trip.”  Kelsey said in a sad tone.

As they were getting ready to walk away all of a sudden a bag came down flying the chute.  “Cousin look!  It’s your bag!”  Balki said excitedly.

“Well they didn’t have to throw it down like that.”  Larry said aggressively as he went to pick up his luggage.  “Jerks!”  He muttered.

“Oh Larry don’t let that bother you.  Don’t forget you are in beautiful, sunny LA!  Los Angeles!”  Kelsey said as she reminded him.  “Come on let’s go!  We got a fun week ahead of us!”  She said.

*************************

The three of them were driving down near the beach and plenty of palm trees along the street in Kelsey’s convertible car.  “This is a nice car Kelsey.”  Balki said admiring Kelsey’s car.

“Thank you Balki.  I enjoy it.”  Kelsey said.

“The wind is blowing through my hair!”  Balki exclaimed.

Kelsey giggled.

“So Kelsey what are we going to do while we’re here?”  Larry asked.

“Well I got a whole itinerary planned out for us.  I thought today we make a picnic basket and go to the beach, then we can go to Hollywood, see the sign, walk on the Walk of Fame; hopefully we may be able to see some stars and do the stars home tour, then one day we can go to Universal Studios Theme Park, eat out a few places, go to the Santa Monica pier, and then I guess on the last day before you guys leave we can go back to the beach and maybe have a bonfire.”  Kelsey said as she spilled out the plans.

“Kelsey you think we can go to Disneyland too?”  Balki asked.

“Of course we can Balki!  No trip to Cali is not complete without going to Disneyland.”  Kelsey said explained.

“Yay!”  Balki exclaimed.

“Plus I get to see my other favorite love: Mickey Mouse.”  Kelsey said.

“I love Mickey Mouse!  And Minnie too!”  Balki exclaimed.

“Oh I don’t like Minnie that much, but I am a Mickey lover.”  Kelsey said.

Larry was just sitting back enjoying the ride with his sunglasses on.

“Larry is there anything specific you want to do while you’re in Cali?”  Kelsey asked.

“I just want to relax.  I don’t have to think about no articles, no photos, and no deadlines, no Chronicle at all.”  Larry stressed.

“Sounds good enough to me.”  Kelsey replied.

They continued to drive to Kelsey’s house.  They finally arrived at Kelsey’s three bedroom condo.  Kelsey unlocked the door.  It was very big and lavishing.  Two small dogs met Kelsey as she was walking in.

“Hi babies!”  Kelsey said talking in a baby voice.

“Wwoww!  Someone really does like Mickey Mouse and mermaids too.”  Balki said as he walked in and admired the condo.

All around the condo there were décor of various Mickey Mouse, mermaid, and ocean items and it was colored of an ocean blue and white.

“Well make yourselves at home.”  Kelsey said as she put her purse and keys down on the counter and began giving a semi tour of the condo.  “There’s two bedrooms / guestrooms so you guys don’t have to fight about who gets the bed or not, and their equipped with a TV and cable in both. There’s a bathroom, but you guys have to share which I know you’re used to doing, the kitchen is here feel free to help yourselves, and of course the living room, and a washer / dryer if you have any clothes to wash.”  Kelsey said making the guys feel at home.

“This is a nice condo Kelsey.  So this is what being an actress / voice actress is like.”  Larry said in awe still admiring the condo.

“Yeah it has its perks.”  Kelsey said.

The dogs walked up and started jumping around.

“And who is this?”  Larry asked looking down at the two dogs.

“This is Mushu, and this one’s name is Balki.  I thought the name Balki was such a cute and unique name and his personality is just like yours Balki that I named him after you.”  Kelsey explained.

Balki stooped down and petted the dogs.  “Aww they are so cute!  Especially the one named Balki.  Cousin look!  A dog is named after me!”  He said.

“I see Balki.”  Larry said.

Mushu and Balki began to lick him.

“Aww I miss having a dog.”  Balki said sadly.

“Balki you know why we couldn’t have kept Suprides.”  Larry said.

“I know but I still miss him.”  Balki said as he continued to pet the dogs.  “I hope he is still happy in his new home.”  He said.

“Balki by now Suprides have probably di-.”

“Larry!”  Kelsey said cutting Larry off knowing what he was getting ready to say.

“Had puppies by now.”  Larry finished with a kinder statement.

Balki just smiled as he continued to pet the dogs.

“Well I don’t know about you but I’m ready hit the beach!”  Kelsey said.  “So why don’t we all get ready.”  She suggested.

“Okay.”  The guys responded.

Balki and Larry both picked up their bags to head to the bedrooms.  There was a little hall that led to the rooms.

“Cousin I want this bedroom.”  Balki pointing to the second room.

“Balki I think both of the rooms are the same.”  Larry replied.

“But I want this one.”  Balki cried.

“No.” Larry said sternly.

“But I want this room.”  Balki repeated.

“No!”

“But I want this room!”  Balki said as he began to cry.

“Balki don’t do this, oh alright.”  Larry said with frustration then gives in.

“Okay!”  Balki said as he brightened up.

“You do that all the time.”  Larry said as he picked up his bag and went into the second room.

Both of the rooms had a nice full-size bed with a bedside table next to it, a plasma TV on the wall, a window with curtains, a dresser, a chair, a walk-in closet, and pictures and décor of Mickey, mermaids, and different things seen in entertainment.

Everybody started getting ready into their beach gear.  When Kelsey was done she was in the kitchen getting the cooler ready.  Balki and Larry walked out.

“Hey guys, I’m just getting the cooler ready.  So I have made sandwiches with ham, Italian roast beef, pastrami, provolone cheese lettuce, tomato, mayo and spicy mustard on this good sweet, Hawaiian bread.  We have po-tah-o chips, fresh fruit, juice, soda, and a couple bottles of water.”  Kelsey said as she described the banquet.

“Wwow!”  Balki said as he admired the food.  “We have a smorgasbord.”  Balki said.

“Kelsey do you think we need all this food?”  Larry asked.

“Sure Larry and there’s plenty if anybody want seconds.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay.”  Larry said.

“I’ve got three beach chairs in a bag with canopies on them and a shoulder bag packed with towels, sunscreens, and visors in them.”  Kelsey said. 

“Wow Kelsey you take a trip to beach serious.”  Larry said.

“I love going to beach!  It’s so relaxing, fun, serene, and just amazing to see miles and miles of water in the ocean.”  Kelsey said.

“That’s how it is on Mypos.”  Balki said.

“Balki I don’t remember any beaches when on Mypos.”  Kelsey said.

“That’s because our beaches are different from American beaches.  The sand on the beach is what we use to build our mud huts which is a mixture of sand, dirt, rocks, and pebbles.  Instead of bringing towels to the beach you have to bring cushions to sit on because the rocks will hurt from poking you if you are laying just on a towel.  And also the sheep are allowed to roam free on our beaches.”  Balki explained.

“Wait so all those sheep I saw running around when I was there, that was a beach?”  Kelsey asked.

“Yepper.”  Balki confirmed.

“Well… okay.”  Kelsey said stunned at what Balki just told her.  “Are you guys ready?”  She asked.

“Yes, I’m ready to be a beach boy.”  Balki said excitedly.

“Balki I think you mean beach bum.”  Larry said correcting Balki.

“No Cousin I want to be a beach boy like that singing group.”  Balki said.

Larry just shook off what Balki said and picked up an item and all three of them headed out the door.

*************************

The beach was crowded, but not too crowded.  There were families with young children making sandcastles and playing in the sand, couples laying out on the sand on beach towels, people playing beach volleyball, people riding bikes, running, walking/playing with their dogs, and of course surfers hitting the waves.

“This looks like a good spot.”  Kelsey said as she sat her chair and the shoulder bag down.

“Finally!”  Larry said out of breath with him and Balki carrying the cooler and chairs.

“Are you tired?”  Kelsey asked confused.

“We’ve been walking for miles and this cooler is not really light!”  Larry said trying to regain his breath.

“I’m sorry, but I had to make sure we found the right spot and Larry cooler had wheels on it.  All you had to do was push this button and the wheels would’ve popped out.”  Kelsey said pointing at the button.

“Oh.”  Larry said embarrassingly.

“So this is where we are setting up camp?”  Balki said.

“Balki you don’t camp on the beach.”  Larry said pulling his chair out the bag.

“Balki, if you want to pretend this is a camping trip I’m perfectly fine with that.”  Kelsey said adjusting the canopy on her chair.

Balki was having a little difficult setting his chair up.  Larry saw his cousin struggling.  “Balki do you need some help?”  Larry asked.

“No Cousin I can do it.”  Balki said.

“Here let me help you.”  Larry insisted.

“No Cousin I can do it.”  Balki replied.

“Here let me help.”

“No Cousin I got it.”

The two guys started fumbling with the chair.  Kelsey just stood back and watch them bicker.

“Here guys let me do it!”  Kelsey said in an annoyed tone finally stepping in to fix it.  “There.” She said.

Balki and Larry exchanged upset looks at each other.  Then all three of them took a seat in their chairs.  They looked at the scenery of the waves meeting the shore.

“You know Kelsey, this is relaxing.”  Larry said as he absorbed the atmosphere.

“I told you.  This where I love to come when I want to get away from the stressful events of the world.  When I am here everything just seems to be right.  It makes everything that seems to be going bad all better.”  Kelsey explained.

“You are so right about that.”  Larry said.

“Are you guys hungry?”  Kelsey asked.

“Yeah I’m getting a little hungry.”  Balki said.

“Well help yourselves.”  Kelsey said as she opened the cooler.  She handed the guys each a sandwich as well as took one out for herself.  She opened the bag of chips and all grabbed some and grabbed something to drink started grubbing down.

“Whoo!  Kelsey, you put your foot in them sandwiches.”  Larry said when he was done rubbing his stomach indicating he was full.

“Kelsey you put your feet in these sandwiches?!”  Balki asked surprised, making a face.

“No Balki, that’s expression meaning they were really good.”  Kelsey explained.

“Oh why didn’t you just say that?  Had Balki thinking body parts were in the sandwiches.  Good thing I am not that gullible.”  Balki said followed by a scoffed laugh.

Larry and Kelsey gave each other a look knowing they knew better.

“Excuse me guys, I got to go to the ladies room.”  Kelsey said as she excuse herself.

Larry then put his sunglasses down and relaxed himself in the chair, dug his feet more in the warm sand, closed his eyes, and sighed contently.  “Aaah.  Now this is the good life.”  He said to himself.

Balki was busy looking at the activity that was going on around the beach.  There was so much going on and it was fascinating to him.  But there was one thing that was catching Balki’s eye.  The surfers surfing in the water.  He thought that was so neat.

“Cousin!  Cousin!”  He said as he lightly tapped Larry who had drifted off to sleep.

“Huh, huh?”  Larry mumbled being awaken from his relaxed state.

“Cousin are you going to do that?”  Balki asked as he pointed out.

“Do what?”  Larry said as he followed Balki’s finger.

“That.”  Balki said still pointing.

“No I am not going to do that.  I am not going to go out there and make a fool of myself.”  Larry said.

“Oh but Cousin it looks like fun.”  Balki said.

“Yes it looks like fun and very hard too.  You have to practice for years to be that good.”  Larry explained.

“Cousin, can I go do that?”  Balki asked.

“No you cannot try to do that.  It’s also dangerous too.”  Larry said.

“Cousin how is it dangerous?  All it is is people on a wooden board in the water.”  Balki said.

“Oh that’s all you think that it is do you?  Just people on a wooden board in the water.”  Larry said.

“Yes Cousin that’s all it is.”  Balki said.

“Balki, Balki, Balki.  You see those waves in the water?  Those waves are very strong and powerful and if you go out there and don’t know what you’re doing those waves can sweep you out to sea and you could be lost at sea forever.  You’ll be swept away from me, Dimitri, your Mama, and especially Kelsey.”  Larry said as he painted the horrible picture.  “No you don’t want that do you?”  Larry said making Balki feel guilty.

“Oh no Cousin I don’t want to swept out to sea away from you, Dimitri, Mama, and Kelsey!”  Balki cried.

“Well okay then.”  Larry said as his point been proved and tried to go back to his relax state.

“But - but Cousin...”  Balki said as he tried again to state his case.

“Balki, I just wanted to go back to relaxing!”  Larry said in an annoyed tone.  With that Larry put his sunglasses back down and went back to the position he was in before.

Balki just sat in his chair and started pouting.  Kelsey came back from the restroom and saw Balki pouting.  “Balki what’s wrong?”  She asked.

“Cousin Larry said I can’t go surfing because the sea may sweep me away.”  Balki explained.

“Well…Balki he’s right.  You have to very good and have a lot of practice to surf.  You have to have good upper body strength, be a good swimmer, all that.”  Kelsey said.

“The upper part of my body holds itself up.”  Balki said.

“No Balki, I mean those waves are very strong and show no mercy.”  Kelsey said.

“Ohh but it look so fun.”  Balki whined.

“Ohh I know it does, but you want to know what’s even more fun?  Riding a jet ski!”  Kelsey said.

“You mean a plane with skis on the bottom?”  Balki said confused.

Kelsey let out a laugh.  “No Balki.  Come on, I’ll show you.”  Kelsey said as she pulled Balki up from out of his chair.

“But what about Cousin Larry?”  Balki asked.

“Oh Larry is looking like he is having the time of his life.”  They both looked at a sleeping now snoring Larry.  “He’ll be okay.”  Kelsey assured.

Balki and Kelsey rented a jet ski and rode around on the ocean on it.  Then they returned it and played around in the ocean water splashing each other and even having water fights.

“Now wasn’t that more fun than surfing Balki?”  Kelsey asked as they were heading back to their spot.

“You were right Kelsey that was fun!”  Balki said.

As they were walking back they could see Larry was still knocked out.  “You want to have even some more fun with Larry?”  Kelsey whispered to Balki in a mischievous voice.

“Yeah, but what are we going to do?”  Balki asked.

“Just watch.”  Kelsey said.  She saw a little girl playing in sand making a sandcastle.  Kelsey stooped down to the little girl.  “Excuse me can I borrow one of your pails for a second?”  Kelsey asked.

“Here you can have it, I have plenty here.”  The little girl with a squeaky voice said as she handed a pail to Kelsey.

“Oh, well thank you!”  Kelsey said shocked tone not believing the little girl let her have the pail.

“Kelsey what are we going to do with that pail?”  Balki asked.

“We are going to take this pail and get some water from the ocean.”  Kelsey explained.

“Are we going to drink it?”  Balki asked.

“No Balki, ocean water is very salty.  We are going to throw it on Larry?”  Kelsey said.

“Kelsey we can’t do that!!  Cousin Larry will be furious with us!”  Balki said worried.

“No he won’t, plus it’s a way for him to pay the price of him going to sleep on us.  You don’t come to the beach and sleep.”  Kelsey said.

“Oh po, po.”  Balki said quietly and worriedly as they headed back to the water to fill the pail up.

They headed back up with the plan of attack filled with water.  They finally reached their sleeping target.

“Okay, ready Balki?”  Kelsey whispered.

“Not really.”  Balki said with his voice quivering.

“Okay, get ready.”  Kelsey said.  She mouthed the numbers 1, 2, 3.  Then they toss the water on Larry.

“Whoa!!!”  Larry said as the cold water hit him waking him up.

Kelsey started laughing hysterically.  Balki was stifling his laugh because he was afraid of what Larry’s reaction may be.

“Looks like you got me.”  Larry said with a wet smile on his face.

Balki then broke out laughing knowing that coast was clear.

“Yeah, Larry who comes to the beach to sleep?”  Kelsey said.

“Obviously Cousin Larry.”  Balki added.

“Larry you come to the beach to have fun.”  Kelsey stressed.

“I know, I’m sorry.  The last article I wrote was a doozy, practically almost killed me so I guess I was trying to recuperate.”  Larry said.  “So what you two been doing?”  He asked.

“Well Cousin while you were being Rip Van Wrinkles, Kelsey and I went and rented a jet ski and rode on the ocean with it, then we played in the water and had water fight.  (I think I won.)”  Balki said as he leaned in and whispered the last part.

“I think not Balki.”  Kelsey said placing her hands on her hips.

“Well it looks like you two had lots of fun.”  Larry said.

“It would’ve been more fun if you were there Cousin.”  Balki said sadly.

“I’m sorry Balki, I’ll try to participate in all the rest of the activities.”  Larry assured him.

“Yay!!”  Balki said excitedly.

“Well what do we do now?”  Larry asked.

We go home now.”  Kelsey said.

“We are?  It’s time to go?  Already?”  Larry said disappointed.

“Yeah Larry you slept the whole time so sadly it’s time to go now.  See everybody is starting to leave and the sun is going down.”  Kelsey said.

“Ohh.”  Balki said sadly.

“Well let’s pack em up and move them out!”  Kelsey said.  The trio packed their belongings up and headed home.

*************************

They finally got back to Kelsey’s condo.  “Whew!  Finally home.”  Kelsey said as she unlocked the door and tiredly walked in.

Balki and Larry also dragged their tired bodies in as well with all the stuff they had.  Mushu and Balki met them at the door.

“Hi babies!”  Kelsey said as she greeted them.  She closed and locked the door.  “You guys can just put the chairs down and put the rest of the food in the fridge and leave the stuff in the bag.  We can take care the rest of that tomorrow.”  Kelsey said as she took her sun visor off and sat it on the counter.  “I’ll get you guys some towels and washcloths so you can take a shower and get that sand off of you.”  Kelsey said.  She then went into her bedroom to the linen closet.

Balki and Larry began to put the items away in the refrigerator.  “Cousin I am “poped” out.”  Balki said as he handed Larry the items to put away.

“I am too Balki.  I can’t wait to take a shower and go to bed.”  Larry said.

“Cousin how can you be “poped” when all you did was sleep?”  Balki asked.

“Well… Balki we did get straight off the plane and went straight to the beach.”  Larry said covering his tracks.

“No we didn’t Cousin, we got off the plane, got our bags, got in Kelsey’s car, came to Kelsey’s house, got ready, and then we went straight to the beach.”  Balki said giving an instant replay.

“Okay Balki, you’re right.”  Larry sighed not really in a mood to put up a fight to prove his point.  They put the last few items away.

“Hey I put you guys’ towels and washcloths in the room at the end of the beds.”  Kelsey said.  “Thank you for putting the items away.”  She said.

“Oh you welcome Cherry-Kel.”  Balki said.

“Yeah anything we can do to help out Kels.”  Larry added.

A moment went by as a smile came across Kelsey’s face.  “Well you guys figure out who takes a shower first.”  She said breaking the moment.

“Balki why don’t you go first.”  Larry said.

“You sure Cousin?”  Balki asked.

“Yeah.”  Larry said.

“Thank you Cousin.”  Balki said.  He then went to go take his shower.

Larry and Kelsey went and sat down on the sofa in the living room.  Mushu and Balki went and jumped up onto Larry and Kelsey’s lap.  “He is so happy to be here in LA.  He’s been talking about it ever since you invited us.”  Larry said as he petted one of the dogs.

“Aww!  It’s great to have you guys here, I’m glad you all were able to come.”  Kelsey said as she petted the other one.

“It’s a little warm in here.”  Larry pointed out.

“You warm?  Here let me cracked the door on the balcony.”  Kelsey said as she got up and cracked the door to the balcony a little.

“Why do you keep it so warm in here Kelsey?”  Larry asked.

“Uh, no reason, I like it a little warm, I can’t stand it when it’s real cold.  But I have the A/C set to 75 and to kick on automatically.  If you want you can crack the window open if that don’t work and you still feel uncomfortable.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay.  Thanks Kelsey.  I’m sure we will be fine, but are you sure there is not another reason why it’s so warm?”  Larry asked with a slightly raised eyebrow.

“Yeah I’m sure Larry, what are you getting at?”  Kelsey said getting defensive.

“No reason, never mind.”  Larry said brushing it the subject off.

“Okay.”  Kelsey said.

“Well what’s on the agenda for tomorrow?”  Larry asked.

“Well I was thinking we can go to Hollywood and see the sign.  I know a way up to where we get really close to it, then go to The Walk of Fame and have lunch down there if you guys want.”  Kelsey said.

“That sounds okay to me and I’m sure Balki won’t object at either.”  Larry said.   Kelsey let out a laugh.

Just then Balki came out in a robe rubbing his ears with the towel.  “That was a great shower!  Very refreshing!  Hey Cousin, did you know Kelsey’s showerhead has multiple heads?”  Balki said.

“Multiple heads?”  Larry questioned with an eyebrow arched.

“Balki I think you mean the showerhead has multiple settings.”  Kelsey said as she laugh.

“Oh right, yeah Cousin it has that.  I tried every one of them too, one of them even tickled.”  Balki said.

“Ohh I can’t wait to try this really unique showerhead.”  Larry said.

“But Balki if you tried all 10 settings then that means there’s probably no hot water left.”  Kelsey said.

“Balki, why would you do that knowing Kelsey and I haven’t taken our showers yet?!”  Larry fumed.

“I’m sorry Cousin.  I didn’t mean too!”  Balki apologized.

“Larry don’t get too upset with him, it’s not his fault, he just let the excitement of the showerhead get to him.”  Kelsey said defending Balki.

“But that’s still so inconsiderate of him.”  Larry stressed.

“Larry the water will heat back up in no time and you can be the next one to take your shower, okay?”  Kelsey said.

“No that’s okay, you should’ve been one to take their shower first, I mean this you’re condo.”  Larry said.

“Larry it’s no big deal, you can go next.”  Kelsey said.”

“But Kelsey it’s your place and your water, I really think you should go next.”  Larry threw back.

“Larry you are the guest, I insist that you go.”  Kelsey said as she gritted through her teeth.

“Kelsey if I go next then you would be the last one to take your shower and that’s not right.”  Larry threw again.

Larry I don’t mind.”  Kelsey said sounding more frustrated.

“But Kelsey…”

“LARRY!!!”  Kelsey bellowed.  She then regained her composure.  “I really think you should take your shower now.”  Kelsey said calmly.”

“O-kay.”  Larry said in disbelief to Kelsey’s reaction that just occurred.   It was almost similar to Larry when he gets frustrated.   He then got up from the sofa and went to go take his shower.

Balki took a seat on the sofa next to Kelsey.  “Kelsey I’m sorry I used up all the hot waters.  Your showerhead was just so much fun.”  Balki apologized. 

“It’s okay Balki, with the back and forth bickering Larry and I just did the water probably heated back up by now.”  Kelsey said as she laughed.

“Kelsey I really had fun at the beach today, especially riding the jet skis.”  Balki said.

“If you think you had fun today just wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the week.”  Kelsey smiled.

“Ohh you giving Balki geesebumps.”  Balki said.  Kelsey laughed.

*************************

During the night the guys were soundly asleep in their beds, but Kelsey wasn’t.  She was in her room in excruciating pain.  She was sweating and panting.  She turned on the bedside lamp and reached inside the bedside table and pulled out some medicine.  She took a pill out and popped it into her mouth and took a swig juice to wash it down.

She laid in her bed awhile waiting for the pill to kick in but it was taking a long time.  She needed to go to the kitchen but the pain was so unbearing that she couldn’t move and didn’t want to move.  She wanted to scream because the pain was so intense but she didn’t want to wake or alarm her houseguests.  She finally managed to gain enough strength to get up and go to the kitchen.  She was in so much pain that she was in tears and almost crawling to the kitchen.

She made it into the kitchen and reached the sink.  She was hunched over as she filled a container up with water and put it in the microwave and started it up.  While the water was heating up she pulled out a hot water bag from the container.  “Aahhh!”  She screamed a little then sucked her teeth in at the unbearable pain.

Larry was in his room and was woken up by the sound.  He got up quickly and ran to the kitchen to see Kelsey hunched over almost on the verge of falling and crying in pain.  “Kelsey what’s wrong?”  He said as he ran over to aid her.

“Larry!”  She said weakly and now kind of woozy with the pill kicking in.

“Come on, let’s go over to the sofa.”  He said as helped and let her lean on him.

Kelsey held on to him and limped over to the sofa each move causing her more pain with each limp.

“Kelsey what is wrong?  What happened?”  He asked in a more concerned voice.

“Larry I need to go to the hospital.”  Kelsey barely got out.

“The hospital?!  Why?!”  Larry asked even more terrified now.

“Larry I can’t answer any questions now, I just need you to drive me to the hospital, please.”  Kelsey begged as she continue to wince in pain.

“O-o-kay.”  Larry said in a confused tone.

“Can you please go get my robe and slippers out of my room?”  Kelsey asked.

“Right.”  Larry said as his panic mode was starting to kick in as he rushed to Kelsey’s room to get the items.  He stopped by his room to get his robe and slippers on.  He rushed back to the living room and helped Kelsey put on her slippers and robe.

“My keys are counter and purse are on the counter.”  Kelsey said she continue wince at the pain.

“But Kelsey I don’t even know how to get to the hospital.”  Larry said worriedly.

“Don’t worry, my GPS will guide you there.”  Kelsey said trying to get up.

Larry ran over and helped her put her jacket on.  “But what about Balki?  Should we wake him up?”  Larry said still in his panic mode as he helped her put the jacket on.

“No, he has my cell number in case he wakes up.  Besides the dogs are in there with him.  He’ll be fine.”  Kelsey said still in the unbearable pain.

“Okay.”  Larry said unsure.  He was unsure about anything now.  Kelsey then limped out the door holding on to Larry as he carefully followed behind and shut and locked the door.

*************************

Larry was pacing back and forth in the hallway of the hospital.  Things were not making sense.  One minute ago he was enjoying fun in sun on the beach and was sleeping soundly in his bed and now he is pacing up and down in the hallway of a hospital.  What could’ve happened to Kelsey?  Did she get bitten by something when she and Balki were playing in the water and now having an allergic reaction?  Did she hurt herself when she was water skiing?  Was it something she ate now disagreeing with her?  What could possibly be wrong?

And also Balki was left alone at Kelsey’s condo.  Apparently he must not have woken up and noticed they were gone because Larry had Kelsey’s cell phone and had no call come through yet.  Larry needed some kind of answers regarding Kelsey and pacing back and forth like he was doing was not making time go any faster.  He then saw a chair and sat down for a split second only to be standing back up and doing what he was before: pacing back and forth.

Just then a doctor came out.  “Mr. Appleton?”  The doctor said.

Larry rushed over quickly to where the doctor was.  “Yes I’m Mr. Appleton.  How is Kelsey?  Is she doing okay?”  Larry asked in a rushed tone.

“Mr. Appleton please calm down for a sec.  I have to ask you some questions regarding Miss Brighton.  Please have seat.”  The doctor informed him offering him to sit down.

Larry didn’t want to but he did what he was told and sat down in the chair as well as the doctor.

“First of all I am Dr. Culver.  Now are you related to Miss Brighton?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“N-no we are not.  We are good friends of hers.”  Larry said nervously.

“We?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“Oh my cousin and I.  We are here visiting Kelsey.”  Larry explained.

“I see, where are you and your cousin from?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“We live in Chicago.”  Larry said.

“I see, and what is your occupation in Chicago?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“Doctor, I don’t see how these questions are applying to Kelsey.  Now is she okay or not?!!”  Larry said as he was starting to get frustrated.

“Mr. Appleton this is procedure that has to be done especially since you are not related to Miss Brighton.”  Dr. Culver explained.

“Doctor I could care less about your procedure.  I am concerned about Kelsey and what is wrong with her!”  Larry said now really upset.

“Okay, of course.  Can you please tell me what made you bring her to the hospital?”  Dr. Culver asked.

Larry sighed.  “All I know is I was soundly sleeping in bed to where I was awoken to the sound of scream or a shriek of some sort, so I got up and when I found her she was hunched over the sink in the kitchen saying she was in extreme of amount of pain.  All she kept saying was that she needed to go to the hospital because she was in so much pain and so I brought her here.  Now what is going with her?!”  Larry begged.

“Uh huh, I see. Mr. Appleton, Miss Brighton has a disease called Sickle Cell.”  Dr. Culver said.

Larry’s face dropped in horror when Dr. Culver made that statement.  He then got up from his seat in disbelief and stood for a minute.  “Sickle Cell?”  Larry repeated as he went back to sit down.

“Yes, are you familiar with the disease?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“Well I have heard of it, but I don’t know much about it.”  Larry said.

Dr. Culver began to explain, “Sickle Cell is a hereditary blood disorder, characterized by red blood cells that assume an abnormal deformed, rigid, crescent shape.”

“Kind of like the shape of a banana?”  Larry asked.

“Exactly.”  Dr. Culver said.  He then continued.  “The hemoglobin plays a big role in sickle cell and what the hemoglobin is a protein inside the red blood cells that carries oxygen.  So when this happens it causes something called a “sickle cell crisis” or a “sickle cell episode” where the sickle cells are keeping the normal red blood cells or the hemoglobin from getting oxygen and letting the blood flow freely causing extreme amounts of pain in various joints of the body.  These painful episodes can last for hours to days, sometimes months.”  Dr. Culver explained.

Larry took in all the information that was explained.  “How is a person diagnosed or get Sickle Cell?”  Larry asked.

“Sickle Cell disease is inherited from both parents.  However there are some people that carry one normal gene and one gene for sickle hemoglobin.  This is called "sickle cell trait".  These people are normal in almost all respects.  People with sickle cell trait do not develop sickle cell disease as they grow older.  People with sickle cell trait rarely develop problems related to their single sickle cell gene, and then only under very unusual conditions.  A person receives the sickle cell genes or not only at the time of conception.  Therefore, neither sickle cell trait nor sickle cell disease can be contracted.  By the same token, people cannot lose their sickle cell genes over time.  A person born with sickle cell trait (one sickle cell gene) will always have sickle cell trait.  The same is true of sickle cell disease (two sickle cell genes).  Sickle cell disease produces illness, while sickle cell trait usually does not.

"The severity of sickle cell disease can change over time.  The change in severity is not due to a change in the sickle cell genes over time.  Rather, number of other biological factors, most of which are not understood, change to alter the severity of sickle cell disease.  People who inherit two genes for sickle hemoglobin (one from each parent) have sickle cell disease.  With a few exceptions, a child can inherit sickle cell disease only if both parents have one gene for sickle cell hemoglobin.  The most common situation in which this occurs is when each parent has one sickle cell gene.  Another one of the most important genetic factors is thalassemia.  One form of thalassemia, called beta-thalassemia, reduces the production of normal hemoglobin.  A person with one normal hemoglobin gene and one thalassemia gene has thalassemia trait (also called thalassemia minor).  Should one parent have sickle cell trait and the other have thalassemia trait, any child they conceive has one chance in four of receiving one gene for sickle cell disease and one gene for beta-thalassemia.  This condition is called sickle b-thalassemia.  The severity varies.  Some patients with sickle beta-thalassemia have a condition as severe as sickle cell disease itself.  Others have few and relatively mild problems.  The gene for thalassemia is very common among people of Mediterranean origin.  The sickle gene also exists in people of Mediterranean origin, although its frequency is much lower than that for thalassemia.  People of, say, Greek or Italian background who have a sickle condition most often have sickle b-thalassemia which in Miss Brighton’s case she has this type of form of sickle cell disease." Dr. Culver explained.

“What ethnicities or who is affected that have sickle cell?”  Larry asked.

“Sickle Cell is mostly found in African-Americans (among whom 1 in 12 carries a sickle cell gene) and Mediterranean decent.  It is also seen in Hispanic-Americans from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East decent.”  Dr. Culver explained.

“How is a person diagnosed or know they have sickle cell?”  He asked.

“Well a simple blood test is done during a person’s lifespan, which is mostly done when the person is very young but some people don’t find out they have sickle cell till mostly later in their life, but in Miss Brighton’s case she was diagnosed when she was a baby.”  Dr. Culver explained.

“What causes these sickle cell crisis and how you do know when one is coming?”  He asked.

“Well unfortunately you don’t know when one is coming.  It comes without warning.  It is also not sure what causes them, but what can trigger them is dehydration, infections, emotional stress, certain extreme activities, and unexpectant weather changes, especially in the temperature.  Most people that have sickle cell do not like the cold or living in cold environments.”  He said.

“That explains why is always slightly warm in Kelsey’s condo.”  Larry thought to himself.

“Well we did go to the beach yesterday, do you think that could’ve made her gone into the crisis?”  Larry asked.

“It’s a possibility.  Did she go into the water?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“Yes.”  Larry answered.

“It could’ve played a part in her going into a crisis, if the temperature is not warmer than the temperature of the water and that person goes into the water, they can most likely go into a pain episode.  But like I said you never know for sure what triggers a sickle cell pain crisis.”  Dr. Culver explained.

“Well how do you treat it?”  He asked.

“Well the goal of treatment is to manage and control symptoms to limit the number of crisis, but if a patient does goes into a crisis they have pain medication they take at home to manage it, sometimes a hot bath works, using a hot water bag or a heating pad, and pain ointments, if none of those don’t work after a few days and/or the pain is still unbearable it’s time to come to the hospital and in the hospital they are giving pain medicine intravenously and given plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which is what we are doing for Miss Brighton.”  He continued to explain.

Larry took in more of the information and was silent for a minute.  “Ca-can she die from it?”  He asked hesitantly.

“Now that medicine is so advance, more information is available and better care and a number of new methods are available for reducing the severity and frequency of sickle cell crisis, people that have sickle cell are living longer; living past 50 and beyond, but cause of death can be from organ failure and infections, that’s why we still have to keep that certain infections aren’t caught like pneumonia, infections in the lungs, developing an acute chest syndrome, etc.  People with sickle cell have very weak immune systems.  And all I am telling you is just the basic of this disease.  It can get more in depth on what other complications that can happen or occur.”  Dr. Culver said.

“So let me get this straight, she was born with this disease and diagnosed when she was a baby and since there is no cure she will have to live with it for the rest of her life?”  Larry asked.

Dr. Culver shook his head.

Larry rubbed his curly brown hair then asked, “H-how is she doing now?”  Larry asked.

“She’s stable right now.  Like I said she is getting pain medication intravenously to bring her pain level down and getting fluids to prevent dehydration.  She is also on oxygen because her oxygen level was low.  We’ve done some blood work on her and waiting for the results but I don’t think she is in need of a blood transfusion but we have to wait and see on the results.  But as severe as her pain level was when she came in looks like she is going to be in the hospital for a few days.”  Dr. Culver explained.

“What do you mean when you say you are trying to get her pain level down?”  Larry asked.

“Pain level is determined the amount of pain the patient is in.  It ranges from a level of 1 to 10 with one being little to no pain and 10 being in the most unbearable, worst pain imagined.”  Dr. Culver explained.

Larry couldn’t believe this.  It looks like now the perfect trip to California was now perfectly ruined.  He and Balki was supposed to be having fun and enjoying the sights and now that looks like that has all been shattered.  Plus how was he going to explain to his cousin that the girl he loves has a genetic blood disease.  He had so many other questions he wanted to ask but couldn’t come up with them.  “Ca-can I see her?”  Larry asked.

“Yes you can see her but keep in mind Mr. Appleton that the pain medicine is very powerful and she may not seem or be responsive as normal.  She may drift in and out of sleep, especially if you are talking to her.”  Dr. Culver explained.  Larry shook his head understanding.

*************************

Dr. Culver opened the door to the room and walked in.  Larry followed behind.  He slowly walked toward the bed and saw Kelsey laying asleep hooked up to all these machines.  An IV, a heart monitor, a nasal cannula coming out her nose that was hooked up to the oxygen valves, and a pulse ox meter attached to her finger.  He pulled a chair up to her bed and sat down.

“I’ll leave you two alone.”  Dr. Culver said as he excused himself from the room.

Larry looked at Kelsey for a minute then just sat there and put his head in hands.  He hated to see her in this condition.  What was he going to do? How was he going to do it?  So many thoughts was running through his head.

“Larry?”  A voice said hoarsely.

Larry’s head quickly shot up and over to Kelsey.  He got up and stood over her bed.  “Hey Kels, how you feeling?”  He asked.

“In pain, but a little better than before.”  Kelsey said weakly.

“That’s good…I suppose.”  Larry said as a smile tried break out.

“So I guess the doctor told you, huh?”  She said groggily.

“Yeah he did.  Kelsey why didn’t you tell us you had sickle cell?”  Larry asked concerned.

“I don’t know.  I guess I didn’t want you guys to worry about me or think differently of me and I didn’t think I would go into a pain crisis especially during your visit here.”  Kelsey said.

“Well you being in here doesn’t exactly put my mind at ease.”  Larry said.

“I know Larry.  I’m sorry.”  Kelsey apologized.

“You know what Kels forget it, the important thing is you get well.”  Larry said as another smile broke out.

“I take it you haven’t heard from Balki yet have you?”  Kelsey said.

“No I haven’t and I need to be getting back to him.  He’s probably woken up and wondered where we have gone.  Only thing is I don’t know how to explain to him that you have sickle cell and what that is.”  Larry sighed.

“I’m sure you going to figure something out.  The best way is…too…”  She then drifted back to sleep.

Larry got a worried look on his face.  “Kelsey?  Kelsey??”  He called.  He then remembered that the doctor said since the medication was so powerful that she probably would drift to sleep while in mid-sentence, but he didn’t want to leave without her knowing.

He pulled out a piece of paper and wrote a note saying he was going to check on Balki and would be keeping in touch.  He left the note on her roll-up table.  He then lightly rubbed Kelsey’s forehead and as he was going out the door he took another look at her before walking out and quietly closed it.

He stopped by the nurse’s station.  “Hi my name is Larry Appleton.  I am a close friend to Kelsey Brighton who is in Room 203.  I have to go and check on my cousin in which we are staying with her at her condo and he is rather … foreign and I need to get back to him to get him and explain to him what is going on.”  Larry explained.

“Are you any relation to the patient?”  The nurse asked.

“No, but I am a good friend of hers, me and my cousin.  See I brought her to the hospital.”  Larry said starting to get nervous.

“And the name was…?”  The nurse asked.

“Larry Appleton.”  He said.

“And we have your information in case we need to contact you?”  The nurse asked.

“I think so.”  He said.

“Okay, let me make sure we have you in our system.”  The nurse said.  She started typing on the computer.  “Hmm you don’t seem to be in our system so let me put you down on the list of emergency contacts and friends.  What was the name again?”  She asked.

“Larry Appleton and can you also add my cousin Balki Bartokomous.”  Larry said.

“Balki Bartoko…?”  She said confused.

“That’s B-a-r-t-o-k-o-m-o-u-s.”  Larry said as he spelled the name.

“Interesting name.”  She said as she typed it in.

“Yeah, it’s Myposian, interesting name, interesting culture.”  Larry said uneasily.

She typed the rest of the information in.

“I am going to coming back, I just need to go get my cousin.  If I’m not around he will send a search party out for me.  He has the mindset of a child almost.”  Larry said.

“That’s nice.”  The nurse said with a sarcastic smile.  “Okay, we will contact you if any changes occur with Miss Brighton.”  She said.

“Thank you.  Thank so much.”  Larry said relieved.

He then took off and headed to the garage.  As he was driving home he was thinking how he was going to tell and explain to Balki this whole situation.  He was not good at doing these types of things.  Of course Balki was better at taking news better than he was, but Balki wasn’t exactly good on understanding certain information nor has never dealt with this kind of situation.  How was he going to react?  How was he going to take it?

Just Larry having to tell him was tearing him up inside.  He thought he could what he normally do and lie about the situation, but that would only make matters worse and Balki knows and hates it when Larry lie.  He really needed his antacid at the moment.  This was a time Larry wished it wasn’t early morning and there wasn’t no traffic, he rather would have the traditional, heavy, back-up normal, bumper to bumper LA traffic, he would have more time to stall.

He finally made it to Kelsey’s condo.  He made it to her door.  He took in a deep breath before sticking the key in.  He turned the lock and opened the door and walked in.

“Balki?”  Larry called.

No answer.

“Balki!”  Larry called again now walking through the condo.

Still no answer.  Not a good sign.  What if Balki left to go look for him and Kelsey?  No that couldn’t be because the door was locked when Larry opened it.  All of a sudden the dogs came up to Larry.

“Hey guys!  Have you seen Balki?  Well not dog Balki, human Balki.”  Larry said as he bent down and petted the dogs, then realized what he was saying.

Just then that’s when he heard water running in the bathroom.  The water stopped and the bathroom door opened.

“Cousin, there you are!”  Balki said as he ran to Larry like a child.  “Hey Balki.”  Larry said nervously.  “Cousin where you been?  I’ve been worried out of my spine about you?”  Balki said with concerned in his voice.  “And did you go out the house in your pajamas?”  He asked.

“Well Balki, I-uh.”  Larry started.

“And where is Kelsey too?  I went and checked in her room and she wasn’t there.  Did she get called to go shoot a scene or do a voice-over narrative?”  Balki asked.

Suddenly a lump developed in Larry’s throat.  “No Balki she didn’t get called into work.”  Larry said.

“Well where is she?  Did she go get breakfast for us?”  Balki asked.

“Balki, I need to talk to you.”  Larry hesitated.

“What Cousin?”  Balki said.

“And it’s about Kelsey.”  Larry said.

A worried look came across Balki’s face.  “What has happened to Kelsey?”  Balki asked.

Larry hesitated again.

“Cousin what is it?!"  Balki stressed.

“Balki… she’s in the hospital.”  Larry finally said.

“The-the hospital?”  Balki said with a shocked look on his face.  “Cousin what happened?  Did she hurt herself?  Was it yesterday at the beach?  Did she eat something that disagreed with her?”  Balki asked anxiously.

“Balki right now that’s all I can say.  I need for you to get dressed so we can go back to the hospital.”  Larry said.

“But-.”  Balki started.

“Balki please just go get dressed.”  Larry stressed.

“Okay.” Balki said meekly as he went to go get dressed.

This was really hurting Larry to have to do this.  He went in his room, opened his bag, took out his antacid and took a big swig, then took another one.  He was so tired and worn out.

While he was waiting on Balki to get ready he took the opportunity to change out of his pajamas and robe and put on some regular clothes.  He also fed the dogs and gave them some fresh water.  “Balki are you ready?”  He called out.

“Yes Cousin I am.”  Balki said meekly as he walked out.

On the way to the hospital Balki didn’t say a word.  He wanted to ask Larry again what happened but didn’t want him to go off the deep end.  All that was going through his mind is what could’ve happened to the girl he loves and cares about.  All types of worst case scenarios was going through his head.

They finally arrived back at the hospital.  Larry was doing all he can to rush back to Kelsey’s room and not have to explain what had happened.  He was walking fast down the hallway.

“Cousin are you going to tell what has happened to Kelsey?”  Balki asked.

“You know Balki, I need go find Kelsey’s doctor.”  Larry said as he tried to take off.

“Cousin!”  Balki yelled as he stepped in front Larry to stop him in his tracks.  “I want to know what’s wrong with Kelsey, now!”  Balki demanded.

Larry couldn’t hold back the truth any longer.  It was time he finally told Balki what was going on.  He took in a deep breath, “Balki, Kelsey has a disease called Sickle Cell.”  Larry finally said.

Balki’s face dropped.  “Sickle Cell?”  He repeated.

Larry shook his head.  “Yeah, she went into this thing called a pain crisis early this morning.”  He said.

Balki took a seat on the bench that was outside Kelsey’s room.  “Cousin what exactly is sickle cell?  Is it contagious?”  Balki asked.

“No it’s not contagious.  It’s a genetic blood disease she was born with.  It causes really bad pain in her joints in various parts of her body.  Our red blood cells in our body are round, well some of Kelsey’s turn into the shape of a banana or those crescent rolls that you like so much.”  Larry explained.

Balki just sat for minute completely in shock.  “C-c-can she die from it?”  His voice cracked.

“What the doctor has explained to me is since research in medicine has come a long way, she cannot, but there are certain things they have to keep a lookout for just to make sure.”  Larry said, doing the best job he could to explain this horrible situation to his foreign cousin.

“Is - is she going to be okay?”  Balki asked with his voice still cracking.

“Of course she will, the doctors and nurses are taking real good care of her.”  Larry said in a sincere and sensitive voice as he could muster to make Balki feel okay.

“C-c-can I see her?”  Balki barely got out as he cleared his throat.

“Yes you can but keep in mind that she is hooked up to all these kinds of machines and she’s getting some medicine that’s very strong.  It’s helping her with the pain but it makes her sleep extremely.  So she’s not going to be herself at all.”  Larry warned.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said not trying to let voice crack.

Balki got up from the bench and followed Larry inside the hospital room.  Balki slowly walked up to her bed.  Kelsey was still in the same state as before when Larry left.  Balki continued slowly to approach her bed.  The person laying there was not the same cheerful, sweet, smart, talented, lovely, fun, enjoyed life, always had a smile on her face girl that Balki knew.  He then sat down in the chair next to her bed.

“Balki, I’m going to go get a cup of coffee from the cafeteria.  You want anything?”  Larry asked.

“No Cousin.”  Balki muttered fighting the tears back.

“I’ll be right back.”  Larry said as he patted Balki’s shoulder before he left.

Still trying to fight the tears back he grabbed her hand and just held it while listening to the machines quietly beep.  He wished it was something he could do.  He didn’t understand why such an awful disease could be affected by such a lovely, good person, but then Balki didn’t understand a lot of the hardships that happened in America.

He continued to stare sadly at Kelsey.  And even though she was soundly asleep she still look like she was in some pain.  He continued to gently hold her hand and quietly place his head on her bed and listened to Kelsey’s soothing breathing that made him doze off to sleep.

All of sudden the IV started beeping.  Balki quickly raised his head by the awful sound.  He stood up and looked around, but saw no one coming.  He was hoping Larry was going to come in at that moment, but he didn’t.  That sound obviously meant that something was wrong and Balki didn’t know what to do.  He started to worry and panic a little.

Just then a nurse walked in with a bag of fluids in her hand.  Balki let out sigh of relief to himself.  He then sat back in the chair and watched the nurse.  She saw Balki looking at her.

“Well hi Darling!  Aren’t you a delight?”  The nurse said with a smile.

“No, I’m a Mypiot.”  Balki responded.

“O-kay.”  The nurse said confused.  She then continue to do what she was doing.

Balki continued to watch.  “What that is?”  He asked as he pointed to the bag of fluids.

“Hmm?  This?”  The nurse said pointing at the bag of fluids.

Balki shook his head.

“This is another bag of fluids I am hooking up to Miss Brighton.”  The nurse said.

“Is that good for her?”  Balki asked.

“Yes, it keeps her from getting dehydrated.”  The nurse explained.

“Can’t you just give her water or juice maybe?”  Balki asked.

“We could, but IV helps it go into her more quickly and more actively.”  The nurse explained.

Balki wanted to ask her more questions, but could tell the nurse was very busy.  She then finished hanging up the bag of fluids then reset the IV.  She then checked the heart monitor machine, listened to her heartbeat, took her pulse, check the time, then wrote some notes down on a piece of paper and put it back into her pocket.

“Do you need anything darling?”  The nurse asked.

Balki shook his head no.

“Okay.”  The nurse smiled as she left the room.

Balki then returned his attention back to Kelsey.  She was still soundly asleep.  He continued to sit quietly holding Kelsey’s hand and listened to the machines quietly beep.

Just then the nurse came back into the room.  She pulled a syringe out of her pocket.  It had a long needle on it.  Balki’s eyes grew wide.

“What are you going to do Kelsey?!”  He asked defensively.

“Darling this is her medicine. It’s going to help make her feel better.”  The nurse explained.

“You’re going to stick that big needle into her?”  Balki asked worriedly.

“Darling don’t worry.  This going to go into her IV.  It’s not going to go anywhere near her skin.  She is not going to feel a thing.  Just the effects of the medicine working.”  The nurse explained.

Balki still had a worried look on his face even though the nurse explained it and she could tell.

“If you don’t believe me you watch for yourself.”  The nurse said.

Balki got a little closer and saw the nurse put the needle into a part of the IV line and push the medicine slowly in and flushed it with some saline afterwards.

“See no harm done at all!”  The nurse said with a smile.  She then discarded the needle into the biohazard box and left the room.  Balki then sat back down again.

Continue to Part Two . . . .