The Inscrutable Oriental

Kevin was in a coma. He had been since a serious motorcycle accident nine months


At first he had been wired to all kinds of machines. Big machines which monitored

every part of his body including his brain. He had a machine to breathe, one to feed

him, another to monitor his heart, lungs and blood pressure. In fact, anything and

everything that still worked..

After six months they had stopped the machine which made him breathe, and he

breathed unaided, but there was no sign of him waking up.

His mother sat by his bedside day and night. His father visited every day after work.

They talked to him, they played his favourite music; which certainly was not theirs;

read books to him. Nothing. No.response.

One day Kevin’s father decided he wanted to take Kevin home. ’I’ll take early

retirement and I’ll sit with him every day. He doesn’t need all these machines now,
only the one to feed him. He might as well be home. We can look after him’. The Doctors

had had reservations, but were secretly relieved to be gaining a bed in an already

overcrowded facility.

Arrangements were made for a Nurse to attend daily, to change the feed bottle, bathe

him and change his incontinence pad. His mother agreed she could manage to do that

job during the day. ’No different to when he was a baby. I had to change his nappies

then’ she had quipped. Except that this baby was now 19 years old and six feet one

The day dawned. Kevin was transported by ambulance to his comfortable room at 6

The Laurels. A team from the hospital arrived with the ambulance and after Kevin

safely installed in his bed, set up all the equipment he needed for his feeds and

catherterization. Mother fussed over the team and made then tea and cakes. Father

installed himself in residence beside Kevin’s bed and kept up a non stop chat show all

of his own.

They quickly got into a regime. The nurse came first thing on a morning and Kevin’s

ablutions over retired to the kitchen for the daily report on Kevin’s progress (or lack

of progress) to his parents.

It was on the third day of Kevin’s return and while the reporting was going on, that

Singh the family’s chocolate sealpoint Siamese cat decided he could possibly be of


He jumped onto the bed and climbed onto Kevin’s chest. He poked his head between

Kevin and the bedclothes thus giving himself access to the bed itself. He snaked down

and maneuvered around until he lay between Kevin’s half open legs, where he could

unobserved facing Kevin. He then proceeded to insert one razor sharp claw from each

paw into the nerves of Kevin’s legs. He asserted a little pressure. Kevin jumped.

Father came back into the room carrying the newspaper, just in time to see this.

‘Mother, Mother ’ he called ’Kevin jumped’.

‘Yes. well they said at the hospital he would have involuntary movements’ she

answered from the kitchen.

Nevertheless, when Kevin jumped again his father’s spirits finally rose for the first

in nine months.

He started to read the news to Kevin , Kevin continued to jump intermittently. He had

just got to the part where some Parliamentary Under Secretary was having an affair

with another Parliamentary Under Secretary of the same gender, when Singh decided

to assert more persuasion to the nerves, and stuck his claws in hard.

Kevin jumped violently. ‘Oww. Oww.’ came the sound from Kevin’s mouth. His father

jumped up, the paper floating to the floor. He stared at his son. Kevin’s eyes were

open. ‘Oww that bloody hurts’ he cried. His father not a man of a demonstrative

disposition, flung his arms around his son and kissed his cheek.

He dashed to the open door ‘Mother, Mother’ he shrieked ‘come quickly’

An anguished voice, fearing the worst, came back ‘Is it our Kevin?’

‘Yes. Oh Mother he’s come back to us. He’s come home’

And as Singh settled himself down for what he considered a well earned nap, an

inscrutable Oriental grin covered his face.

The Inscrutable Oriental


Co Durham, United Kingdom

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Artwork Comments

  • barnsis
  • Sean Farragher
  • Barry Norton
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