Posted: Approximately 6:40 PM EST December 31, 2008
Third-person, present-tense, which was not as difficult as I thought it would be.
Summary: House gets mugged.
House parks his bike forty yards away from the liquor store, behind a line of cars. He slides gently off of the seat, retrieves his cane, and begins to limp for the store. There are two kids leaning against the wall, purposely not looking at him. He rolls his eyes and pushes open the door.
He knows the guy behind the counter-- Mike. Mike greets him, they chat idly about sports as he buys his Scotch.
Then he leaves, and things turn serious.
The two kids begin to follow him. Of course, they're faster than him. He's basically trapped, but he keeps going like nothing's wrong, only maybe he picks up the pace a little bit.
They catch up. The one on his right takes the cane from his hand and they casually throw their arms over his shoulders. They all keep walking. House's mind is racing, trying to find a way out of this. All of his muscles are tense, making his leg ache miserably. They steer him into an alley. As soon as they're fifteen feet in, the one with his cane draws back his foot and slams it into the back of House's knee.
House goes down, groaning through angrily clenched teeth, lands on his knee. It hurts like a bitch. The second kid takes the cane and strikes him across the back with it. He falls onto his stomach, biting back the scream, and he's pretty sure his face got scratched up and he bit through his lip.
The tip of the cane is pressing his face into the gritty asphalt, and the kid is stepping on his thigh. He is effectively immobilized, and he is in agony.
"Empty your pockets," the first one says.
House takes a momen to try to process the situation one more time. It doesn't work.
"C'mon, old man," says the other, grinding his foot down. House moans, reaching into his pockets with awkwardly bent arms. He comes up with a wallet, his keys, and a bottle of Vicodin.
"Sweet," says the first, scooping up their loot.
House licks his dry lips with his dry tongue, reaching out to them as they scramble to his bike, taking the contents of his pockets, and his cane. The one holding the cane snaps it across his leg before throwing the two halves in his direction. They drive off laughing.
He desperately wants his Vicodin back.
He lays on the floor of the alley for a while, breathing deep to fight off the nausea. The bottle of Scotch is broken on the ground, and the paper bag is soaked with the alcohol. Finally, he pukes on the ground and staggers to his feet.
The trip back to the liquor store is terrible. He uses the wall to support his weight as he goes, attempting to ignore the pain.
Mike is at first surprised to see him back, then alarmed.
"Hey, Mike, I need your phone."
He knows he's a cripple, and honestly, it scares him a little. He doesn't like having shortcomings, especially not exploitable ones. It makes him vulnerable, and vulnerability leads to pain. He much prefers being in control.
Mike hands him the phone.
He calls Wilson, though he hates having to.
Wilson tries to make him call the police, but the thought makes his stomach turn and his pride ache. He refuses outright. He suspects Wilson calls for him as soon as they hang up. He's secretly alright with that; he wants his stuff back.
"Are you okay, man?" Mike asks him.
"I just got mugged," is House's terse reply.
Mike provides him with Neosporin and a Band-aid for the worst scratch, the one on his cheek. It has been bleeding steadily down his face for minutes.
Wilson arrives. House slides into the passenger seat with some difficulty.
"I called the police for you," Wilson announces.
He rolls his eyes. "Would it hurt you too much if I told you that you're completely predictable?"
Wilson smiles, but his smile soon fades.
"Are you alright?" he asks.
House sighs and doesn't answer for a moment. He isn't, really; he's been reminded of his own fallibility, his lack of control, his pathetic disabledness too many times tonight. He feels weak. He's not alright.
"Yes. I'm fine."