"Yes?" the nurse said, crossing her goose-pimpled arms.
"Nurse, it's damn cold in here," Eric said. "And I think my pain medication is wearing off. Can I have some more pills?"
Her beady eyes, set atop wrinkled, puffy cheeks, lasered him in his bed. This was the sixth time Eric had shouted for her since her shift began. She didn't know him well but she was definitely starting to hate him.
"Oh! And my urinal needs emptied!" Eric added.
The nurse pursed her lips and folded her arms without breaking eye contact, "get fucked" in body language.
Eric smiled a crooked, leering grin at her and winked in a bid to charm her into emptying his piss. The nurse wondered if he was about to have another seizure.
She picked up Eric's chart, flipped through it, and replaced it.
"Mr. Raymond," the nurse said, "you're not due for more pain medication for two more hours."
Eric's mustache, orange and drooping, twitched.
"Do you need your bandages looked at?"
Eric shifted in his bed, stiff and uncomfortable. He slowly, awkwardly, stretched his hospital gown down over his knees.
"Nooo, no, no I don't," Eric said. "My bandages are just fine."
"Fine then," the nurse said. "I'll get your urinal. Do you need anything else?"
Eric watched as the nurse lifted his urinal carefully off of his lunch tray. It was completely full--1,000 cubic centimeters, one full quart of piss-- and mounding at the top.
The nurse stifled a gag as she slowly made her way into the restroom.
"This damn IV has me swimming!" Eric called after her with a quick laugh.
He heard her pouring his urine into the toilet and felt the urge to go again. It had been dark brown, viscous, and smelled to high heaven like sick wet meat. He really hoped whatever they had him on was working.
She returned from the restroom and replaced Eric's urinal.
"I'll be back when it's time for your medication," she said. "Dinner is in an hour."
With that she left until, she knew too well, the next time Eric grew bored or irritated.
Feeling as anxious as ever, Eric reached for billywig, his blueberry iBook, which had finally charged. He hit the start button and watched Yellow Dog Linux slowly crawl off of the hard drive into RAM.
Thank god this hospital had wifi. Thank god he had an Airport card in his iBook.
◇ ◇ ◇
Eric was having no luck. The more he optimized his Google searches, he noted with alarm, the less relevant his search hits became.
foul smelling like decay meat and at times like grated yam. this odor ... and fifth day i see dirth brown dischargeAbnormal discharge from the nipple .... the air asking what that rotten meat smell was...and the consequent search ... So, my UA (urine analysis) came back abnormal
"Jesus Christ!" Eric muttered to himself as he squinted at his iBook's twelve inch screen. "I don't think I have anything coming out of my nipples!"
Making sure his iBook was steady, he gingerly squeezed his left pectoral.
Eric command-tabbed back to vi, where he was typing "RFI on brown piss that smells like rotting meat" to post to his blog, when there was a knock at the door.
It was the nurse.
"There's someone here to see you."
Finally, company! A hacker mind like Eric's was not used to boredom. He needed plenty of Iranian hackers to chat with, a cave full of LARP buddies, or, optimally, a Linux party. Not the sanitation of lonely, well-lit hospital.
A second later the door opened again and in walked not Eric's LARP troop or Linux party, but something far less arousing: a New Jersey state police officer.
"Eric Raymond?" the officer asked. He was 6'2" and built like the Mack trucks he probably ticketed on a daily basis.
"Yes, sir, that's me, officer," Eric stammered. He hated being dominated.
"You're under arrest for lewd conduct, public indecency, and conspiracy to solicit," the officer said. The tone in his voice told Eric not to interrupt. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say..."
Eric's mind wandered. He had to call his wife. She was his attorney and had dealt with this sort of thing before. He had to keep this quiet.
Eric decided then and there to be as cooperative as possible.
"...Do you understand these rights, Mr. Raymond?"
"Yeah, sure," Eric said. "But I'd like to share info about the other party involved in this incident."
"Go ahead...?" the officer said, not expecting Eric's offer.
"The other party," Eric said, "is a man named Emad, an Iranian hacker, quite possible in this country illegally. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his AIM handle is iran2hax0rc0ck."
"Any idea who the other parties involved were?" the trooper asked, taking his notepad out.
"Other parties? There were no other parties. Just Emad and I."
"Mr Raymond," the trooper said, "you were the victim of sexual assault last night."
Eric's left eye twitched. It was usually him, with his Glock and Jägermeister, in charge of the proceedings. Not the other way around. He felt so powerless.
"You'll be arraigned upon your release from the hospital. Do you understand that?"
"Sure," Eric said, "but why do you think there were other parties? It was just Emad and I the entire time."
"Mr. Raymond," the trooper said while replacing his notebook, "our crime lab extracted the DNA of two other people from your wounds."
Eric sweated, cold and salty, and his world spun. Who else had been there?
"Also," the trooper said, producing a plastic bag, "do you know what this is?"
He handed the object to Eric, who turned it back and forth. It reflected the room's lights weakly through the baggie.
"It's Ubuntu," Eric said softly.
"Ubuntu? What's that?" the trooper said.
"It's a Linux distribution," Eric said unhelpfully. "Where did you get it?"
Eric noticed the version number on the CD face as he passed it back to the trooper. 9.10--Karmic Koala.
The trooper looked away before he spoke.
"The doctors removed it from deep inside your ass."