Norman Rockwell is Bleeding #12: The Pendulum

Chapter 12: The Pendulum

(Watching a video of a racecar crash)

That was not my fault. When something goes wrong, people blame the parent. Well, that's crap.

(Takes a drink)

A bad father lets his son be a Wussy. "Oh Johnny got a boo-boo well, let me buy you some panties."

Kids are stupid, especially your own. You'd think that the sperm would transfer some inelegance to the egg, but no, you have to teach them everything.

(Watches the racecar crash video again)

My boy on national television. That can't be as bad as it looks.

The car crash had left Christopher Titus in coma. He was being kept alive by machines.

Outside his room, a doctor was telling Papa Titus "Mr. Titus, your son is brain dead. The machines are keeping him alive. You have to decide weather or not you want to keep him on life support. I'm sorry."

Papa Titus looked at his son through the glass window that separated his room from the lobby. Erin was in the room sitting next to Christopher. Ken then went over and sat on a chair across from Tommy as Dave ran in saying "Hey why the long faces. The vending machines have chocolate milk."
"Damn" said Papa Titus

"Oh no, they're made with real chocolate now. Dad, are you OK"

No parent should have to see his kid die. It's not right. Don't take him. I'm the one who drinks and smokes and eats pork rinds. What do I have to do, take me!

(Takes a sip of beer)

.In a minute.

"No, you can't slap him a little and wake him up" said the doctor to Dave. He continued "He's brain dead. That is what happens to people who drive their cars at 200 mph."
Dave yelled "260 doc, he was boss of the strip!"

"I'll leave you too your grief" said the doctor as he walked off.

"Mr. Titus, what are we going to do" asked Tommy.

"Aw hell, there's only one thing we can do" said Papa Titus.

"Move him to another hospital. These guys are trying to harvest his organs" said Dave

"Dave shut up" said Tommy.

"In Mexico, they get tourist drunk and cut out there spleens. They do it in the fall. It's called 'El dios de spleejos" said Dave.

"Shut up. Guys…..were gunna have to pull the plug" said Papa Titus.

"What" said Tommy!

"Oh my god! Your working for the spleen farmers" said Dave.

"Mr. Titus, don't you think you should take some time to think about it, maybe an entire minute" said Tommy.

"This is what he wanted" said Papa Titus.

"Cuanto cuesta un kidney, papa" said Dave

Death, talk about it with your kids.

(22 years ago)

"Ok dad I promise if you're ever a vegetable, I'll unplug you" said little Christopher.

"Thank you son. And I'll unplug you too" said Papa Titus.

(17 years ago)

"Ok father, I will honor your wishes" said Christopher

"And I'll smother you with a pillow son" said Papa Titus.

"Only if I'm a vegetable right? If I'm high you know just let me sleep."

(Last month)

"I need to ask you something" said Papa Titus.

"Unplug you" said Christopher.

"Unplug me too"
"Hell yeah"

Death, talk about it with your friends kids too.


"Wait! Don't we have a say? Dave's his brother. And I'm his special friend" said Tommy.

"I know. It took two paramedics to stop you from giving him mouth to mouth" said Ken.

"You think I'm gay. YOU THINK I'M GAY. Say it again and I'll kill you."


Tommy stood there for a minute and hesitantly said "Well you know what, I think you're gay. All the children and marriages you've had, they're just cover ups. How does it feel? You big GAY! I'm so sorry it's the grief talking." Tommy hugged Papa Titus while Dave got up and tearfully said "When something is this sad, we're all a little gay". Dave started hugging Tommy and Papa Titus.

Tommy's not a fruit but he hangs out in the orchard. He's not a fruit because I keep calling him a fruit, which makes him suppress his fruit like tendencies. It takes a village to raise a strait kid!

"Off" yelled Papa Titus and Tommy and Dave stopped hugging him.

Tommy said, "Mr. Titus, forget what's logical right now and try to focus on what's good and nice, you fat ugly drunk. Sorry, it's the grief"

Dave said "Maybe Titus did say THAT, but people in comas don't know what they're saying. I bet if you ask him now all he'd say is…." Then Dave started mimicking the respirator. "And who are we to argue with that".

Ken Titus looked at his son's room and said "I got this one son". He slapped Dave over the back of the head.

Dave said "It's not the same" and started to tear up.

"Listen up idiots" said Papa Titus, "this is what he wanted. Pulling the plug is the right thing to do. We have to tell Erin."

Erin had been having bad luck lately. Her and Christopher's house was robbed and she broke her leg chasing the robber out. The robber later turned out to be one of her brothers. She was now confined to a wheel chair.

Erin looked over at Dave and Tommy and gave them a "thumbs up". Tommy and Dave waved at her and returned the signal. Tommy noticed Dave's thumb slowly going from "thumbs up" to "thumbs down". Tommy grabbed Dave's thumb and switched it back. Erin was confused by what they were doing.

Papa Titus knocked on the window and said "Erin, I need to talk to you, but not in there."

"I'm not coming out" said Erin from inside the room. Erin tried to roll her chair over to the door while holding on to Christopher. She almost made it when Ken ran in screaming "what the hell are you doing".

Erin looked over at Christopher and noticed that she had almost pulled him completely out of the bed. It took the efforts of both Ken and Dave to put Titus back in.

"It's alright" said Erin, "Listen, I am not letting go of his hand. If I let go, he'll know that I let go. I've been holding his hand for 7 hours. Do you have a Power Bar or something because I am starving?"

"Hon, I've got some bad news" said Ken.

Erin said "Really, the man I love is breathing through a machine. What's your bad news?"

Tommy started girlishly crying.

Papa Titus yelled "Stop that or we're gunna have to pull the plug on you too!"

"What" said Erin?

"Nothing" said Papa Titus.

"He's fine" said Tommy.

"Yeah, except he's brain dead" said Dave.

"Oh my god" said Erin.

Dave started to cry and gave a "thumbs up" which quickly turned into a "thumbs down".

I've loved a lot of women. But Erin is the only woman I ever liked. She broke her leg not running from a burglar but chasing one. She's a keeper. Someone you can spend six or seven years of your life with.

The doctor walked in and said "I just wanted to ask you before you make your decision, would you like Christopher to be an organ donor?"

"AHA" said Dave "Como esta, señor doctore?"

Erin pulled Dave aside telling the doctor "We are not pulling the plug. Miracles happen".

"Miracles never happen hon. We are pulling the plug" said Papa Titus.

"So you've made the decision" asked the doctor.

"Yes" said Papa Titus.

"No" said Erin.


Dave joined in by saying "Yes, No, Dave!" He grabbed Christopher's arm and hit himself in the head with it. Then he said while wiping his tears with Christopher's arm "It's not the same. God speed tiny captain".

Erin took Christopher's arm from Dave and said "Dave just get away from him. All of you. Christopher is strong. He is going to pull through this."
Tommy said "Maybe Mr. Titus is right. He's in pretty bad shape."
"Shut up pantywaist. He'll get through this. You guys don't know him" said Erin.

Ken started "Erin honey…"
"Don't you 'Erin honey' me. Listen, none of you know Christopher ok. Christopher is resilient. He's a fighter."

"Quiet! Listen" said Ken.

The four of them listened closely to the sounds of the machinery attached to Christopher. "He's that now. That's Christopher now" said Papa Titus.

Okay, God, I'm willing to give up everything to get my son back. Here, no more beer.

(Finishes his beer)

Beers gone. Cigarette? Cigarette's gone.

(Puts out his cigarette)

Your turn……………….ok I tried.

(Gets another beer)

"I love him so much" said Erin.

"I Love him too" said Papa Titus.

Dave, Tommy, and Erin looked at Papa Titus and he said "What, I'm not capable of love? I'm capable of love."

"Christopher" cried Erin, "I know this isn't you anymore. But I know that you are somewhere where you can hear me. Goodbye. Christopher, I love you." Erin leaned over and kissed Christopher. After a few seconds, she yelled "You're supposed to wake up."

"I don't believe this" said Dave. In an attempt to wake Christopher up, Dave leaned over to his ear and yelled Christopher's name as loud as he could. When that didn't work, he said "Damn, goodbye my brother".

Tommy sat down on Christopher's bead, took Christopher's hand in his own and said "Hey, pal. Thanks for making me a man. You know, before you, I thought my jazz dance class was the place to be free, like a blue jay. But you, you taught me it was a place I could go and pick up chicks. You were a great friend."

"That was beautiful" said Papa Titus, "now drop the hand."

Tommy let go of Christopher's hand.

"Well" said the doctor.

"No" said Dave, "he's my brother. I'm pulling the plug." Dave pulled the first plug he found which turned out to be the plug that went to the lamp in the room.

"It's not an actual plug" said the doctor, "you folks don't have to stay".

"No" said Erin, "Were gunna be with him until…."

"He kicks" said Dave.

"Just do it" said Papa Titus.

Erin could not stop crying as the nurses unhooked the machines from Christopher.

After 10 seconds without the machines, Christopher gasped.

"Hey look at that" said the doctor.

"He breathed" said Erin.

"In your face" said Dave to the doctor.

"They did say in med school that when a patient is taken off life support, the shock sometimes kicks the brain back on, but I thought they were just screwing with us. Pretty wicked cool" said the doctor.

"He's gunna wake up" said Tommy

"Not necessarily but probably" said the doctor.

"Well quick, plug him back in" said Dave as he plugged the lamp back in. He continued "If he finds out we unplugged him, he's gunna be pissed". Dave leaned over to Christopher's ear and said "Titus, Dave didn't unplug you!"

"Welcome back honey, I knew you wouldn't leave" said Erin.

"I got my boy back" said Papa Titus "like I always say, miracles can happen."

"I said that. Get away form him. No wait; take a good last look at him, because when he wakes up, you are out of his life forever."

Dave yelled in Christopher's ear, "Titus, say good bye to Dad!" Dave grabbed Titus arm and waved it.

Ken Titus had gone to the bathroom and back. When Erin saw him, she said "are you deaf old man? I told you to get out of here you bastard."

"You're a woman, I thought you'd changed your mind" said Ken.

"This is all your fault"

"I just mentioned the fuel mixture to help him when a race"

"Not the accident you motard! Christopher is always pushing himself to get your approval, which he never gets. So he continues to…do you see where I'm going here?"

"What the hell is a motard?"

"I am the only reason that you two have a relationship and you know what? I'm done. You go, you stay, I don't care."

"Fine, I'll stay"


"See, you've changed your mind. Now who's the motard?"

Erin screamed and chased Ken out of the room.

Dave had left the hospital and gone down to a sporting goods store to pick up something to "help" Christopher wake up. When he got back to the room, he said "This will wake him up". He took out a bullhorn, leaned into Christopher's ear and yelled "Titus, I got you a bullhorn!"

Tommy walked in and took the bullhorn from Dave. He spoke into it "You're an idiot".

"You want some of this" said Dave. Tommy ran over to him and the two began a slap fight.

Ken was running out of breath as Erin chased him back and forth through the hospital. He yelled "Hey, don't blame me! If I hadn't pulled the plug on him, he'd be dead. I taught him how to survive."

Erin said "you taught him how to swim by chucking him in a lake. You tough him how to not stick his finger in a light socket by letting him stick his finger in a light socket."
"So he knows not to swim with a hairdryer. I was teaching him"
"You let a car fall on him. I still don't know what that taught him"

"Cars are heavy"

"Everybody knows that"

"So does he, thanks to me"

"All you have done is put his ass on the line. You tell me one time you put your ass on the line for him."

You don't think I got anything, do you?

"I kidnapped him" said Ken.

You get married, you have a kid, and you sleep around on the mother of that kid. It's in the bible. And just like Moses' mom, that bitch sent my kid off to live with his grandparents in Detroit, all the while drinking up my child support checks, and nobody drinks on my money but me. And nobody raises my kid but me! So I flew to Detroit to get my boy. And I didn't even hit on one stewardess.

(23 years ago)

Ken had hopped on the fist plane to Detroit he could get.

"And that's how I'm kidnapping my little boy" said Ken to the guy sitting next to him. He continued "I dare those dumb ass Michigan cops to try to catch me. I'm from California. So what do you do?"

"I'm the Detroit metro district attorney" said the guy sitting next to him.

Admitting a felony to the man whose gunna prosecute you makes your butt clench. Never underestimate the power of bitterness or the power of a district attorneys ex-wife taking his house, his kids, and his boat.

Ken and the DA were having a few drinks and the DA slurred "I'll tell you how to get your kid back and the bitch can't do anything about it. Sleep with the gardener, let him live in my house! That whore didn't even…"
Ken interrupted "This is not about your divorce, this is about my kid."

The woman sitting behind him yelled "Will both of you losers shut up, I'm trying to sleep"

"Do it" said Kent to the DA.

"Hey" yelled the DA, "I'm the Detroit metric disco attorney of Detroit and you ma'am have the right to remain UGLY"

Okay, I was drinking a little. But I was kidnapping my kid! All right, I was drunk. It's not like I was flying the plane. Not like I didn't try.

When ken got to his in-laws' house, Christopher ran too him yelling "Daddy"

"Hey boy" said Ken.

"Grandpa and grandma said you're a whore loving drunk."

"I just wanna take him out and buy him a toy" said Ken to Christopher's grandpa.

"The hot wheels Laguna seca raceway" asked Chirsotpher.

Toy, my ass, we got a plane to catch.

On the way to the airport, Christopher pointed out every toy store on the way. He even pointed to the gift shop at the airport But, Ken kept going without stopping for anything.

I'm sitting on a runway with a kidnapped kid. What the hell was I doing? I pull it off; my kid grows up to be a man in a coma. I don't pull it off; I spend the rest of my life in prison in Detroit. Which is redundant.

So I got my boy back, but for what? Erin's right. It is my fault. I should have left him with his grandparents. He'd be a different person. Hell, he'd still be a person. My god, I almost killed my son.


Ken had told Erin the kidnap story and came to a realization.

"Your right Erin" said Ken, "I'm a terrible father".

"No, you were the perfect father" said Erin.

"Before I got him, I was a hard drinking-pride killing-womanizer."

"Yeah, before"

"I could never have been a responsible father. You know, having him made me a responsible father".

"That's enough. Stop it"

"He didn't need me. I needed him".

"Oh, that is enough. You can stay".

Erin gave Papa Titus a tearful hug. Meanwhile, Dave had taken the bullhorn and was holding it to Christopher's face screaming Christopher's name in it over and over again. Tommy took the bullhorn from him but that didn't stop Dave. Dave started slapping Christopher over and over again. Tommy tried to pull Dave off him but then Dave started shaking Christopher.

Erin noticed them and said to Papa Titus "We better get in there before the kill him".

They ran in and Ken screamed "Idiots, what are you doing."

"Dave broke the IV" said Tommy.

"That's not what happened" said Dave.

"Shut up Dave"

"Shut up Tommy"







"Dave" whispered Titus.

"Titus" yelled Dave.

"Dave" yelled Tommy.

"Tommy" yelled Dave.

"Tommy" whispered Titus.

"Dave" yelled Tommy.

"Wait" said Erin, "do that again"

Tommy and Dave leaned down to Christopher's ear and began to argue again. Then Titus started to whisper and Ken yelled "Christopher"

Christopher looked over at Papa Titus and said "Oh god, Dad"

Dave leaned over in Christopher ear and screamed "Titus, they all tried to kill you."

Titus raised his hand and hit Dave on the back of the head.

Dave said "that's the sweet stuff."

(Christopher walks in and notices a hot wheels track)

Hey! The Hot Wheels Laguna Seca Raceway!

(Picks up a note)

Son, I'm glad we made that plane. Here's the toy I promised you when you were five. We're even, Dad.

Five, how long was I out.

To all the readers: This will be the last NRIB story that I will post. I hope you all enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Remember, Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and the world laughs harder.