Thursday, 9 December 2010

Extract from Button Oak

Daniel Boder hadn’t always been known as Daniel Boder. Not in his youth. Danny, they called him, sometimes Danny-boy or Bod, or Bod-boy; silly, strange names that only boys could make up or bullies badger with. His younger brother had called him Dan, even when everyone else seemed to prefer to call him Danny.
            But now, lying in a hospital bed in some anonymous NHS ward, he is old and known by his full name. The paperwork on the clipboard at the foot of the bed says ‘Daniel Joe Boder’. His age is listed as 72.
            He can’t remember the last time someone had called him Danny, or Danny-boy, or even just Daniel. It was always Mr. Boder these days. Wrinkles, baldness, creaking bones just didn’t qualify you for a first name.
            There was talk of a stroke. He thinks. His memory is fading, at least his short term memory. There were definite talks about pneumonia though, he remembered those.
            “Mr. Boden,” started the Doctor. Doctor whathisname. Even if he could remember it, he’d never be able to pronounce it. Much less spell it. “… are you listening, Mr. Boden? You seem, distant…”
            “Sorry, I am listening…” he replied hoarsely, though he was finding it hard to concentrate. How long had he been recovering?
            There was a big clock at the end of the ward showing the date in addition to the time. He suddenly realised tomorrow was the anniversary.
            “Well, Mr. Boden, we think you’ve suffered a…” blah blah blah. Somewhere in the middle of the speech the Doctor whatshisname said something about pneumonia, but his eyes were on that clock, and his mind was in 1955.

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