The next day, around lunch time, things had managed to sour even more.
As it turned out, Shark’s mother was none too happy about him staying in the hospital. It wasn’t out of concern for her son’s health, but rather how much the hospital bills were going to cost.
Even now, Shark could hear his parents out in the hallway, bickering over medical bills. Dennis was trying to convince Silver that the precautions taken were necessary, but Silver protested that it was all a waste of money.
“Silver, please! He’s got a bad case of influenza! You want to risk infecting the whole household with it?”
“I don’t care! The longer he stays in there, the more we have to pay for something completely unnecessary!”
It hurt Shark to know his mother’s priorities lied in alcohol and shopping sprees, and not in the well-being of her own children. He tried not to let it bother him as he lay back on his hospital bed, rubbing his painful chest.
Thankfully, he was given a welcome visitor in the form of Sinbad walking in. Sinbad himself looked both amused and disturbed at the argument taking place.
“Are you aware your parents are showing enough potential to be on Springer?” Despite the pain he was in, Shark nodded.
“I’ve never been on that show myself,” he rasped back in response. “Why, have you?”
Sinbad just snorted. “Nah, but I’ve been on COPS. I’ll say this: Your Uncle Dudley is a lot faster than he looks. He’s damn good at tackling, too.”
Then Sinbad turned his attention to a tray of food brought in for Shark, and pointed at it. “You gonna eat that?”
Shark just cringed at what he hoped was a joke. “You really want hospital food that’s probably been coughed and sneezed on by a sick teenager?”
This got Sinbad to lower his good arm. “Good point.”
After the remainder of Shark’s now cold lunch was wheeled away, he now leaned back on his bed and watched TV. Sinbad was still on the other side of the isolation chamber, messaging someone on his phone.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to have your phone on right now,” Shark told him when he was looking over at him. “Who are you texting, anyway?”
“Girl I know,” was Sinbad’s gruff answer. “Been friends with her since I moved to this shithole of a town.”
Shark just nodded. “Anyone I know?”
It was then quiet again. Shark tried to concentrate on the TV show he had on again, to no avail. He had more pressing matters on his mind.
“Do you think I’m going to die from this?” He quietly asked.
Sinbad looked up from his phone. “Not gonna lie to you, man…You might. But if it helps at all, I’ve seen people die from worse.”
“How much worse can it get than influenza?”
There was a delayed reaction while Sinbad tried to remember any unusual deaths in his lifetime. Quickly, he remembered one.
“I once found a guy who’d erotically asphyxiated in an Arby’s bathroom, while dressed as the green Teletubby. And he was probably one of the tamer deaths.”
All Shark could say to that was, “Yikes.”
Being in an isolation chamber got boring quickly. Besides watching television, all Shark could really do was nap the time away.
He only wished that his illness would go away faster. He was at least thankful that Sinbad had been visiting.
After Shark had woken up from his latest nap, he caught sight of a get well soon card positioned on the nightstand by his bed. A sticky note from the doctor said it was dropped off while he was sleeping.
Picking it up, Shark grinned at the amusing drawing of a dog in hospital scrubs on the front. The inside of the card gave a simple, yet oddly sweet message:
Get well soon. My arm’s getting tired.
P.S. Wanna actually have a proper date sometime?
The interesting message definitely got a laugh out of Shark, as did the post-script offer. Putting the card back, he wrapped himself up in the hospital bed’s blanket and went back to sleep.
If nothing else, he needed to think about it.
-A week later-
Shark’s fever hadn’t quite broken yet. He still watched his father bring in a set of fresh clothes from home. Dennis at least took the precaution of wearing a mask around his son.
“Sorry boy,” he said to him while handing him the clothes, “but your mother threatened to sue the hospital if you were in here any longer.”
Although the reason sounded ludicrous, Shark was well aware that Silver could do it if she paid off the right people. All he could do at this point was nod and get dressed.
“Also, when you get home, don’t look up at the roof. Bill managed to get his golf cart up there again, and now he’s mooning the neighbors.”
Shark just nodded again. When he was dressed and ready to go, he followed Dennis out of the hospital room, and to the checkout desk.