The First Papyrus Vessel by Eldon Reishus

Half-listening, Dr. Chip pokes in his number. He punches up the copier for thirty-six letter-size copies. Like city lights rhythmically streaming a windshield – (glitch) – the copier lamp repeats a poem it already knows by heart – (glitch):

The Price of Today

Back when an amazing Picasso was worth $1,124,473,
the world was, yes, significantly wobbly,
but no, not begging for the big ka-blowey!
With a pair of binoculars from Hoboken
you could do some serious Statue of Liberty ass worship,
plus still get in that gorgeous, last-minute nine.

Monday a Picasso fetched $106.5 million.
Never even heard of it: Nude, Apple Blossoms and Bust.
You want to get out and play,
you’ve got to reserve your foursome three weeks ahead,
two carts, 5:25 A.M. tee-off, go eighteen.
Noon you’re back and got nothing left for the Old Lady.

Professor Ryan, in a brown pillared skirt and wrinkle-resistant, plus-size floral blouse occupies the neighboring machine. Her life is seemingly a breeze: she lectures in theology.

She essays forth, “If our ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, and if our knowledge of nature destroyed them, then it’s the knowledge of the nature of our knowledge which shall restore us to our ignorance, shall restore – if not the old Gods – then the rightful cushions to their seats.”

Dissatisfied, Dr. Chip jumps up the contrast. “Yeah? So who died and pronounced you philosopher queen?”

He was thinking of his wife. And before his wife, his mother.

Professor Ryan takes Dr. Chip’s left hand; sculpts its shape to accommodate the richness of her right breast; shoves it down her blouse.

His hand, it fits prophetically.

“That’s who,” she says.

Breathing-wise, Dr. Chip substitutes his nose for his mouth. Out the window, across the Hudson, above a pair of run-down refrigerated warehouses, blackbirds write their flights in glints and flashes.

“The value of money” (image via Flickr user RedGlow82)

The patient, aged fifty-five, is a creative writing teacher who came into the emergency room late this evening because of severe chest pressure radiating to neck and down left arm to hand, predominately digits four and five. The patient had experienced associated nausea and dyspnea but little diaphoresis until after admittance. He had taken Nitroglycerin four times over the two hour period prior to arrival, but without relief. He was convinced that he was undergoing a severe angina episode.

The patient complains that recently he has experienced a slightly increased frequency of chest pain episodes consistent with his known angina although he has faithfully been taking his daily medications for atherosclerotic heart disease including Inderal 400 mg q6h, Isordil 40 mg q6h and Procardia 10 mg.

The patient sleeps on two pillows but owing to loneliness and not shortness of breath. He admits to mild dyspnea when giving lectures and more moderate dyspnea when climbing stairs. He has had no definite PND, orthopnea, or ankle swelling. He does experience occasional palpitations, but no associated dizziness nor history of syncope. Post- appendectomy status.

The patient was last hospitalized in October 2011 when he was admitted with an acute inferior posterior MI complicated by A-V node dysfunction, sinus pauses, supraventricular tachycardia and severe chest pressure. Myocardial infarction was ruled out and the patient was discharged following three days of observation.

The patient, a widower, continues to smoke. He has diabetes mellitus which is controlled by diet although he remains overweight. He complains of feeling increasingly detached from career and surroundings, mentions that he would ship out aboard the first papyrus vessel would it not devastate his retirement plan. Ten more years. Other risk factors include hypertension and a positive family history for ASHD.

Eldon (Craig) Reishus plays the piano under the Alps outside Munich (Landkreis Bad Tölz – Wolfratshausen), and is a ghostwriter for hire, all-around web and print media pro, and the translator of a broad score of films and books. He originates from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Visit him: