The Scooter Pick Up
by Ted Visaya
Johnathan always loves riding his scooter everywhere he goes. Even though he has a car in the parking garage, he prefers using his scooter. He loves riding in the warm trade winds of Honolulu. Since moving here from the mainland, every chance he gets, he rides his scooter-moped to feel the warm breeze rush around his body. One thing only a mainlander coming from a colder climate can appreciate and something the locals take for granted.
He came to Hawai’i to enjoy the rest of his life. Being on his own since his wife died a few years back, he lifted himself out of a deep depression. He was tired and wanted to be happy again, so he moved to Hawai’i to find his aloha.
Life isn’t fair, and he’s had his share of hardships more than more people would even know. He has always enjoyed vacationing in Hawaii with his late wife. So, he returned to relive the happiness he had experienced with her. He wants to enjoy life as much as possible before his time.
It’s morning, and he goes to the supermarket to get some groceries. Riding his scooter on King Street, he’s waved down by a female who appeared out of nowhere from the sidewalk. She waved him down as if she knew him. He was surprised; she was a lovely young lady who seemed to be native Hawaiian or Hapa, mixed race, by appearance. She asked Johnathan if he could do her a big favor and give her a ride to Ala Moana. He said, “sure, it’s a bit out of my way, but I’d be happy to bring you there.”
She hops on, making herself comfortable, placing her arms around his waist. Johnathan says to himself that it feels so good to have the feel of a female companion with him as he takes off down King Street.
“So, what’s your name?” Johnathan asks. “Anela,” she says as she hugs him a little with a soft touch. “Aloha, Anela, I’m Johnathan from the mainland.” “Well, aloha back at you, Johnathan of the mainland, and mahalo for giving me a ride.” “Oh, no problem,” Johnathan replies. “So, where are you from?” He asks her. “I’m from around here, just a couple blocks away,” she points up to Punchbowl Street. Johnathan enjoying the snug caress, was wishing this ride would take forever.
“Well, if you are around this afternoon, I could use a ride back instead of taking the bus,” Anela asked with a smile. “Here, let me enter my number on your phone.” Johnathan had no problem with that as he dropped her off in front of the second-floor food court. Anela turns around and says, “Call me, okay, about 3 pm?” Johnathan gets excited, “Oh, sure, I will!”
Jonathan rides away in a blissful infatuation over this newfound friend. She’s like a dream, Johnathan thinks.
Three o’clock comes around, and Johnathan calls her right away. She answers and tells him she’s on the 3rd level in front of Liliha’s restaurant next to Macy’s. Then she asks him, “are you hungry? Do you want to grab a bite at Liliha’s?” Johnathan agrees, even though he’s not that hungry. He wants to spend some time with her.
The hostess sits them down at their table, and immediately, Jonathan asks, “so, where are you from originally?” “I’m from where you picked me up,” she chuckles. “So, what do you do for a living?” Johnathan enquires. “I’m a nurse at the Queens Medical Hospital,” she replies. “Wow, a nurse; I’m impressed; what department do you work in?” Johnathan asks. “I work in diagnostics, full body scans, cat scans, x-rays. You should get a full body scan and check yourself out. You never know what you might find.” They chat a little longer, finish eating their meals and then leave the restaurant. They both get on Johnathan’s scooter and head back to Queens Medical.
As Johnathan drops her off, he asks her, “will I ever see you again?” She replies, “I don’t know, I’m pretty busy these days. Maybe you can make an appointment in diagnostics and come check me out.” “I might just do that,” Johnathan replies as Anela fades into the busy entranceway to the hospital.
On his way back home, he can’t stop thinking about her. He waited a few hours and then tried to call her. Her voicemail came on to leave a message, so Johnathan did. He asked her if she was free for dinner. He waited a little before he called her back, and again, it went to voicemail. Frustrated, he thinks to himself that she must be swamped. Nurses are known for working long, exhausting hours, so he didn’t want her to believe he was trying too hard to meet her again, so he decided to try again tomorrow.
The next day first thing in the morning, he calls Anela to see if she wants breakfast. Again, the call goes to voicemail. Now, he’s getting a little upset, like maybe she’s ignoring him, and sad that he feels she has no interest in him. Then he gets a text from her stating that she’s swamped and the only way she can see him is if he makes an appointment in a facetious way with a laughing emoji at the end of the text. Anela texted that she doesn’t know when things will let up, and she works long hours and is completely exhausted at the end of her shift. I understand, Johnathan acknowledges.
This is crazy. Johnathan can’t get her out of his mind. It’s like something possesses him, like a spell. He thinks, “Well, if the only way I can see her is to make an appointment in diagnostics, then I’ll just have to do that.”
He checks through his medical coverage to see if routine body scans are covered, and they are with a small copay. Perfect, Johnathan thought to himself. He checks appointments at Queens medical and finds out the next appointment isn’t available for a couple of months. That’s too long! Johnathan thought. So, he had to make an excuse to see his doctor and convince her he needed a body scan.
Johnathan was a reasonably healthy man in his late twenties. He would have to dig deep into his medical records to find anything worth scheduling a full body scan. He searched his medical history online and couldn’t find anything. So, he had to think of something to convince his doctor to approve a full body scan on him. Then as he was going through his medical profile on the medical website, he caught on to a story published on the HMO website where they’re evaluating a new full-body scanning system that uses optoacoustic without any contrasting go-betweens—a quantum leap in medical imaging.
So, Johnathan contacted the hospital’s imaging department and asked to be a volunteer, convincing the staff representative that they would be knocking out two birds with one stone, metaphorically speaking. The hospital would get their evaluation, and Johnathan would get his full-body scan to search for anything that needed medical attention. But really, Johnathan only wants to see Anela in the diagnostics department.
The diagnostics staff contacted Johnathan’s doctor, and she gave him the go-ahead and approved his request. Excited, Johnathan was contacted to come down to the medical center for prepping in the morning the next day. Finally, he can get a chance to see Anela.
Johnathan tries calling Anela, and again his call goes to voicemail. He tries texting her and gets a message that her inbox is full. Frustrated, he thinks, well, I’ll see you tomorrow then and surprise you.
Tomorrow morning Johnathan shows up at the medical center’s diagnostics department and checks in, looking around to see if Anela is there. He asks the receptionist if she’s here, and she says, “there’s no Anela here, but this is a big hospital, so maybe she’s in another department.” “No, she told me she was in diagnostics,” replied Johnathan. “Well, maybe she’s new or goes by another name,” the receptionist implied.
Looking distraught that his efforts were for nothing, he went ahead to the pre-diagnostic briefing with the staff. The head staff doctor prepared him for the procedures they would like to conduct and reminded Johnathan that he had volunteered. The doctor explained that Johnathan might be in the scanner for a long time with periodic breaks between scans. The staff nurse reassured him that the procedures were completely safe with this new optoacoustic technology. Prolonged imaging will not expose him to radiation.
So, Johnathan got completely undressed and donned a hospital gown, then entered the diagnostics room looking around for any sign of Anela. The staff escorts him to the scanner room and asks him if he needs to use the bathroom before being placed on the scanner platform. Johnathan says he’s good and doesn’t need to go.
As Johnathan lies down on the platform, the doctor reviews the different diagnostic scans they want to complete. The process may take over an hour to conduct all scans. As the doctor reads off the list of scans to be performed, she adds that if he wants to take a nap during the process, that it’s okay. Johnathan can use the sleep after staying up most of the night and anticipating seeing Anela again.
The temperature in the room was a bit on the cool side as the doctor vacated the chamber and turned on the intercom inside the room. There is also an intercom inside the scanner as well. The scanner looks like a giant donut with a platform bench sliding in and out of the center. The doctors can see the patient from the other side of the wall through a large window and also with cameras throughout the area and inside the scanner hollow.
It was time to get started, and the lights were dimmed to a slumber setting. The doctor said to relax over the intercom, and if you want to take a nap, by all means, go ahead. Johnathan replied to the doctor as the bench was slowly entering the cavity, “good thing I’m not claustrophobic,” as the doctor chuckled.
The bench slid him in and out slowly as the machine was calibrated to Johnathan’s body size. The slow movements were making Johnathan sleepy. As the bench slid softly back and forth, taking tomographic images of his body in close metric increments, Johnathan fell into a soft slumber, half awake and half asleep.
The nurse entered the room and asked Johnathan how he was doing. Johnathan, being in slumber-sleep mode, answered that he was okay. The nurse asked if he would like to take a break and Johnathan said, “sure, I’d like to get up and stretch my legs a little.”
As the scanner winds down and slides Johnathan out of the chamber, he is surprised to see Anela standing there waiting for him to get up. “I must be dreaming,” Johnathan said with excitement, seeing Anela there. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” Johnathan replied. “Well, here I am, Johnathan, from the mainland,” she replied with a smile. She said, “I came in to check on something that showed up on your chest. It looked like some jewelry.” “Oh, yeah, that’s my wedding band from my late wife. I forgot to take it off; I’m so used to wearing it all the time,” he replies with a somber voice. Traces of sorrow fill his mind, and you can see the hurt in his eyes. “I’m so sorry, Johnathan. I’ll keep it in good hands as you finish the rest of your body scans,” Anela replied with a nurturing voice.
Anela removes the wedding band necklace around his neck, and Johnathan lies back down on the platform and slowly re-enters the chamber; Anela whispers softly for him to take a nap and think of happy thoughts, sweet dreams Johnathan.” Anela was able to put a smile on his face that you can see from the inside camera in the scanning area. He slowly slumbers into half-sleep mode.
By this time, Johnathan was in a REM state of sleep. The staff clinicians were chuckling at how loud he was snoring. Then, with an abrupt gag, he woke himself up by looking at a mirrored window above him. Inside the smoky tinted glass, an image was beginning to form. The image is of his late wife, Claire. Johnathan was shocked and, at the same time, happy to see her again. “This can’t be real; I must be dreaming,” Johnathan says to himself. “No, I’m here talking to you through the camera. I just wanted to tell you how I wish I could comfort you, and I know that you’ve been going through some hard times without me.” By this time, Johnathan knew this must be a dream. “Close your eyes, Johnathan, and imagine my warm hug embracing you again.” Johnathan complies and can feel her body’s presence holding him tight. The look on Johnathan’s face was happy, with a sensually pleasing smile. The clinical staff was watching him through the inside camera and wondering what he must be dreaming about. It must be something nice to have a look like that on his face.
Johnathan could feel his wife’s soft lips kissing his as he lost himself in her warm caress. Now the clinic staff was really in tune with his facial expressions. His lips looked like they were being pressed against some other lips. His head movements appeared to be in motion with a deep passionate kiss. The doctor and the clinic nurse looked at each other fascinatingly, baffled at Johnathan’s behavior. The nurse commented to the doctor, “looks like he’s having a good time in there,” as they both giggled. As the final scans were being processed, the nurse talked to Johnathan over the inside camera speaker. “Okay, Johnathan, we’re almost done with the final scans. How are you doing in there?” Johnathan awakens with a troubled brow but still maintains a smile. Johnathan answers, “I’m doing awesome right now.” Off speaker, the doctor turns to the nurse and says, “I bet he had,” as they both laugh.
Johnathan slowly exits the scanning chamber on the platform as the nurse enters the room and turns on the light. She was an elderly native Hawaiian lady and asked Johnathan how’s he doing. He has a puzzled look on his face and asks where nurse Anela is. The nurse looks at him and says, “There’s no nurse Anela here, but an angel must have sent you to us because we found a small spot on your chest that looks like a benign tumor” “We’re sending it out the x-ray scans for further examinations in the lab.” As the nurse helps Johnathan off the platform.
Both of them looked down at Johnathan’s gown, and there was a large wet spot near his penis. He touched the wet spot, and it felt like sperm. Johnathan ejaculated on his gown, and the nurse was giggling, “Boy, that must have been some dream, eh” as she laughed and escorted Johnathan to the changing room. Embarrassed, Johnathan told the nurse that Anela had my wedding band necklace. The nurse looked a little confused and assured him that there was no Anela and that he wasn’t wearing any jewelry before entering the body scanner.
Johnathan got dressed and went back into the diagnostics reception area to talk to the nurse again. He told the nurse that he couldn’t find his wedding band necklace and explained that nurse Anela had taken it. “You keep speaking of angel nurse. Maybe you were dreaming of angels, “ the nurse said. “No, her name was Anela!” Johnathan clarified. “Yes, of course, Anela, Anela,” the nurse replied in a heavy pidgin accent. “Eh, young braddah, in my Hawaiian language, da kine, Anela means Angel.” as she was getting a little annoyed. Bewildered, Johnathan was left in wonder, was this all a dream? But everything felt so real.
His regular doctor entered the room and wanted to review the scans with him. She noticed the troubled look on his face and asked him if everything was all right. With a lost look, he replied, “I’m not sure,” as he was still thinking about what had happened here. She brought out the X-ray scans to show Johnathan and discussed his next steps.
“Okay, Johnathan, here you see the scans of what we believe is a benign tumor. It looks like we caught it very early,” the doctor shared. She was pleased they caught the tumor early in its progression and that the clinic used the latest diagnostic scan-slicing technology. As Johnathan was viewing the spot of the tumor, he realized that might have been a location where his wedding band could have hung off his chest, and asked the doctor, “are you sure that’s some cancerous growth, or maybe it could have been a piece of jewelry around my neck.” She replied, ”there was no jewelry. We always ensure that it’s routine before you enter the body scanner. Did you forget?” Johnathan doesn’t remember as he checks his pockets for his wedding band and doesn’t find it. For some strange reason, he doesn’t remember anything.
As the doctor finished her evaluation and recommendations, she set up an appointment for him to come back and begin the procedures to remove the tumor. She assures him that this is a minor surgery with only a day or two of downtime as she escorted him to the exit into the waiting room. Before closing the door, she says to Johnathan, “Okay, so we’ll see you back in a few days. You’re lucky; a guardian angel must watch over you.” With an astonished look on his face, he replies, “there must be,” as he looks up and then waves goodbye to the doctor.
Johnathan hops on his scooter and starts it up. Revving it and pulls out into the street. He’s on Punchbowl heading leeward side as he remembers Anela telling him she’s from around here.
He stops at the light at Queens and Punchbowl and notices a bright little flicker of light as the late afternoon sun reflects down just above the horizon line. It’s like the light intentionally made him look in that direction. It was on the top of a tombstone close to the corner of the cross streets. A shiny object was gleaming at him, something so familiar to him. He knew right away what it was. He recognized the leather cord that he wore around his neck, and yes, his wedding band was on the cord.
As he hopped over the fence to retrieve his wedding band, he read the tombstone the necklace was placed on. It read, “In memory of our beloved unknown friends of yesteryear found in unmarked graves during the excavation of Queen Street. These 102 beloved souls are committed unto Almighty God our Heavenly Father, and their remains tenderly laid to rest in peace in this place. NOVEMBER 20, 1988.”
Johnathan knew then that his late wife called up a guardian angel to look after him, and all he could think about was to say, “thank you, Anela.” Johnathan stuck around for a while, checking out some other tombstones before he got on his scooter and rode off. He wasn’t depressed and feeling alone anymore with a new outlook on life, knowing someone was watching over him. Now all he had was naughty thoughts about how he could trick them both into paying him another visit, but maybe that’ll be another story.