Unhappy Trails to You

            Todd Trickle awoke one morning in the Happy Trails Nursing Home in a cold sweat. He had yet another nightmare in which he reflected on his past. When he first started having them he thought nothing of it. After all, everyone had nightmares. Or according to him it must have been the fact that he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given at least six months to live. Six months of which were almost up.
            Many years ago, Todd used to be your typical garden-variety schoolyard bully. They called him “The Satan of Herkimer.” He used to beat up other kids, take their lunch money, steal their lunches and did a variety of other nasty things that cannot be described here. His parents disowned him before he even got into high school and he was forced to live with a deadbeat uncle. And yet even after he dropped out of school, he had not changed his ways. He had been in and out of jail almost more times than he could count over the years to the point where the prison authorities practically gave him his own cell. No woman in their right mind would marry him so he harassed them too even though once in a while a woman who was not in her right mind would sleep with him because his antics turned her on. He was frequently fired from jobs because of his bullying ways not to mention that he was turned down from jobs because of his criminal record. And it would seem to everyone that he would never change.
            That was until he was diagnosed with the brain cancer. And the weird part of that was that Todd was not that old. He was pushing forty and was in reasonably good shape partly due to his frequent use of the gym during his many stints in jail. Normally a person with Todd’s history would have just been left to die because he was just a lousy pathetic excuse for a human being. However someone must have believed that Todd was still a human being and still deserving of some type of compassion so they put him in the nursing home.
            As he was getting ready to come down to breakfast that fateful morning, Todd collapsed suddenly. He was rushed to Utica General Hospital in Utica where he was told by the doctors in the Emergency Room that there was nothing they could do. So they hooked him up to a life support system and had a nurse come in to check on him periodically.
            The days passed and Todd’s condition showed no improvement. He lay there hooked up to the life support machines and had more recurring nightmares about his past. Was this God’s way of telling him to atone for his sins before he died? If it was, he was not buying it for a second. Not even when the nightmares became about the day he set fire to a local church. Ironically it was the last time he was put in jail. They blamed the arson on the cancer and since the authorities could not keep incarcerating Todd on account of his advancing age, they decided to have the nursing home take him in.
            Still Todd would not repent.
            Then one morning a pretty dark-haired nurse in her mid-thirties walked in to check on Todd. She was wearing hospital scrubs with images of Hello Kitty emblazoned on them. Todd may have been barely conscious but as far as he could tell, the nurse standing in front of him looked as though she were one of the girls that he would frequently hook up with in his youth whenever he damn well felt like. If he was not laid up in the hospital with the cancer, chances are he would be in bed with this woman right now.
            “Can I ask you something?,” the nurse asked.
            “Sure, toots,” Todd replied weakly.
            “Did you know a woman named Lucille Edgars?”
            Todd searched his fever-wracked brain for any recollection of a woman named Lucille Edgars. “I don’t remember, sweetheart,” Todd replied. “I’m an old man. I’ve known so many people over the years that I can’t keep track of them all.”
            I bet with all that time you spent in jail, the nurse almost said but stopped herself because she had to be civil no matter how much she hated it and how much this man’s reputation sickened her.
            “She was my grandmother,” the nurse replied. “She died about two weeks ago. She used to tell me stories about you.”
            “That so?” Todd asked. The life support monitor started to beep erratically.
            “Yeah,” the nurse replied. “She especially told me the story of how you used to pick on her for wearing granny glasses in school and stuff.”
            “Aw, come on,” Todd replied. “I was a kid then.”
            “And there was also the time that you let her pet gerbil out and fed it to a stray cat that was in the alley behind the school,” the nurse continued bitterly. “She never forgot that. And I can go on and on about all the other things you did to her.”
Suddenly Todd started to convulse and the life support system started beeping excessively. The nurse lingered for a moment. Should she call a code blue or not? After all, she knew this guy was bad news and even on his deathbed it was clear that he would not change.
            However Todd was not about to go out into the cold dark night without one more for the road. He tried to grab her breasts but she was quick enough to dodge him.
            “What the hell are you doing?!,” the nurse screamed. Her mind was finally made up. He had to go.
            The nurse walked around the bed, even though she was not fast enough to avoid Todd smacking her ass, and walked over to the life support machine. She pulled the plug on it.
            “That’s for calling me toots, you evil old fart!,” the nurse screamed angrily.
            Todd gasped for air. “You… fucking… bitch…,” was all he was able to get out. It hurt him that much to say that without the life support machine to keep him alive.
            It took Todd a couple minutes to stop convulsing and then he fell back on the bed, dead as a doornail. She walked over cautiously and checked his pulse just to make sure he was dead. Once she was satisfied that he was genuinely dead and not faking it, she smiled wickedly and called a code blue. The doctors came in as quickly as they could as they attempted to revive him using the defibrillator to shock him repeatedly. There was no response at all.
            “What the hell just happened in here?” the head doctor demanded.
            “I don’t know, Doctor,” the nurse replied sheepishly. “He must have pulled the plug on himself.”
            “Then why didn’t you call a code blue sooner, Missy?,” the doctor replied angrily.
            “I don’t see what difference that would have made,” the nurse replied. “It all happened so fast. By the time I called it, he would have been dead anyway.”
            And with that, she walked out the door. However she turned back to the doctor. “Oh and by the way,” the nurse added. “My name is not ‘Missy.’ It’s Lyla.”
            And so Lyla Edgars walked out the door, not caring about the reaction the doctor was having at that moment. On the way out she whipped out her iPhone and updated her Facebook status with the simple message: “Did one last public service before I quit my job today. To Todd Trickle, unhappy trails to you, you rotten son of a bitch! LOL!”
            All she did was the one thing people should have done a long time ago: She put Todd out of everyone’s misery. So the way she saw it, it was a mercy killing and as far as she was concerned she did everyone a public service. And it was just like the old saying goes: “What goes around comes around.” That was karma to a T.
 And if you have been a bad person all your life and did not show any repentance for it, well at the end of the day, karma can be a real bitch.
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