Ricky Talk couldn’t speak. He was a blubbering mess of tears and mucus which he sucked in on every breath, causing him to sob harder. Boss was lying on a bed just specially for him. They were in the middle of Boss’ home in the Towers.
Boss was connected to machines and they beeped and buzzed like little bugs were stuck inside. But Boss could hardly make a sound. His eyes were closed and his mouth was covered by a weird shaped cup. If not for the soft breaths Ricky would have thought Boss was dead. And he cried because he thought each breath was the last one.
“Help him, Sammy,” he begged his friend.
Sammy reached up and put a comforting hand on Ricky’s shoulder. “It’s OK, Ricky. He will be fine.”
Sammy’s voice was very nice. It was calm and it helped relax Ricky. Ricky looked back at Boss. He was not moving. He wasn’t breathing! “Sammy! Is he dead?!” Ricky asked, frightened.
“No, Ricky, he isn’t dead.” Sammy said, and just as he did Boss took a deep breath, coughing. It was like magic; Sammy spoke and Boss got better. “Look. He is just waking up from a long dream.”
Boss slowly opened his eyes. He looked lost, like he couldn’t lift them up high enough to see the world. Then his eyes rolled around and stopped on Ricky’s. It made his heart jump. Boss’s face looked strange. It wasn’t the same scary look he usually had, instead he looked as if he did not know who Ricky was. He stared at him intensely and Ricky tried to smile back but felt afraid.
“See that, Ricky? Boss is happy to see he has visitors, aren’t you, Boss?” Sammy said in a playful tone.
Boss’s eyes darted past Ricky and he focussed on Sammy. His breathing became stronger and more...more breathing. Ricky’s heart lifted. “Keep talking, Sammy, you are fixing him!”
“It will take much more than what I can do to fix him, Ricky.” Sammy moved around the other side of the bed and leant gently over so Boss could see him, “But he will be fixed.”
Boss seemed to choke and coughed violently. It looked painful and it made Ricky want to cry again. He loved Boss and it hurt to see him like this.
“Ricky, can you give me some time alone with Boss?” Sammy said. Ricky was puzzled. “Can you walk over by the window for a little while? I’m going to help Boss.”
Ricky sometimes didn’t know what Sammy meant with his words sometimes. But he loved it when Sammy would say the same thing but not the same and it would make sense. Ricky walked over to the window and looked out at the big buildings. There were tiny people below on the streets and tiny cars. In the sky the clouds still looked very far away. One of them looked like a giant pony. There was a staircase outside the window that went upstairs to Mark’s room. Ricky remembered Mark. He waved at the staircase like he would when Mark was walking up and down. It made him sad to think of Mark. Mark was dead. Ricky didn’t know what dead was except that dead people don’t move and when they leave they never come back.
Ricky heard the beep of Boss’s machine get louder. No, not louder, but more! Like the breathing, it meant Sammy was fixing him. Ricky raced over, huffing in excitement. He saw Sammy let go of Boss’s leg. “You’re doing it, Sammy!” he shouted.
Sammy turned quickly, “Ricky, didn’t I tell you to stay by the window?” Sammy sounded like angry Sammy. Ricky felt scared. He looked at Boss hoping to see him smiling and better and breathing but Boss’s face looked scary. He had tears and he was hurt. Ricky began to cry again. “Shh,” Sammy soothed. He gently turned Ricky away and hugged him. His arms didn’t get very far around Ricky’s big body. “It’s OK, Ricky. Sometimes fixing can hurt as well.”
Ricky sobbed heavily. He loved Boss and he loved Sammy. He didn’t know why Sammy would hurt him. But Sammy was kind and smart. Surely he was helping Boss. Ricky looked back at Boss, expecting him to nod and smile. But Boss was just staring back at him with that same intense look of fear.
It scared Ricky.