“What the hell were you
thinking?” Chester half scolded the minute he saw Joe. The rest of the
guys were sitting about the room, talking. Rob was flipping channels on
the tiny television absently without paying attention to any of the
“It wasn’t me! Remy made me
do it!” Joe pointed out indignantly.
“Yeah, blame the only person
who isn’t here. He’d be really disappointed in you, Joe,” Mike
said from the window. He was keeping himself entertained with the
going-ons outside the building.
“And who’s going to DJ for
tonight’s show you prick?” Chester was still a little pissed over
the whole situation, but he could feel a laugh escaping him as he
watched Joe play with his fork and spoon. Joe coolly pointed towards
Mike without even looking up from the plane he was trying to build with
the plastic cutleries.
“What?! Dammit Joe! You had to
go ruin the whole schedule with one of your stupid tricks,” Mike
“But I TOLD you. Remy made me
do it,” Joe looked up at them innocently.
“God, you’re never going to
get a sorry out of him at this rate,” Brad said without looking up
from the issue of National Geographic in his hands.
“Forget it,” Chester threw
his hands up in the air in resignation. “We might as well just cancel
“I’m that important?” Joe
asked in mock innocence. “You have to cancel a show just because I
can’t make it?”
“Shut up Joe, before I beat
your already bruised ass up,” Chester growled through his teeth.
“Yes you are. So you’re
going to get as much rest as you need and rest that fucked up head of
yours too.” Phoenix said as he tried to push Joe back down onto the
pillow and tuck him in.
“Hey! But I’m not tired!”
Joe squirmed away from Phoenix’s grip. “OW! SHIT!! Look what you
did, you dumb ass!” He rubbed his chest where it hurt, pouting like a
“This is hopeless. I’m going
to take a walk,” Mike sighed, heading out the door.
“And try to pick up hot
nurses? Save me some, ya Mike?” Chester called after him, chuckling.
The rest of the guys laughed.
“HAH! You wish!” Mike called
back from the hallway.
“OW! See what you made me do
again!” Joe complained still holding his sides as he tried to laugh.
He, or Remy as he claimed, was
in one of his weird moods when he decided to skate down the grand
staircase of the hotel they were currently living in. He’d sped down
the marbled stairs in fullspeed and lost control of the skateboard as it
whizzed past the lobby, narrowly missing a few guests and a busboy and
scaring the living daylights out of everyone with his screams. He had
rammed head-on into the huge mahogany table with the heavy ivory vase in
the middle. He’d laid there amidst the broken bits of vase and exotic
flowers, dazed and absolutely proud of the stunt he’d just pulled.
“You’re damn fucking lucky
you’re alive, dickhead,” Rob had said, his voice thick with concern
and maybe just a little shock when he found him lying there with a
stupid grin on his face.
Amazingly, he had escaped death
with only a few broken ribs and a fractured wrist which was in a cast he
was extremely proud of.
“Hmm... now tell me how
you’re going to DJ with your hand in a cast, Einstein,” Mike had
said with a grin on his face as they wheeled him out in a stretcher.
Joe had been getting endless teasings and the occasional outbursts of anger from Chester ever since. But he didn’t really mind. He was a little worried about the night’s show, but figured they could always make do with recorded stuff for one night. He’d shrugged off that thought and immersed himself happily in the green jello given to him for lunch.
He opened his eyes and looked
about the quiet hospital room. It was dark, save the dim light from the
light by his bed. The rest of the guys had left a few hours ago and he
guessed they were probably onstage having fun without him. He pouted at
the thought of not being able to stand behind his turntables and
performing for his fans. His self pity only lasted about two seconds. He
then took out a pen and started doodling on his already well doodled
cast. Mike had drawn a little SD version of Akira pointing at him,
laughing on one side. Joe had deftly added a missile heading towards
Akira. He got lost in his world of cast cartooning, adding little
gadgets and weapons to counter the last.
When he finally looked up, he
found his tray of hospital dinner sitting on the table. He hadn’t even
noticed when the nurse brought it in. He eyed his mashed potato wearily,
half wondering if it would swallow his fork or not. Hunger was more
powerful than his imagination and he wolfed down every single scrap of
food in the tray. It wasn’t the best food he’d tasted, but he
didn’t complain. All that sleep and medication made him hungry. It
reminded him of cafeteria food from his high school and he scrunched his
nose up at the memory of fish sticks day.
“Let’s go explore the
unknown,” he heard Remy saying. He ignored the voice and flipped
channels on the television, hoping to catch something interesting.
“C’mon! You’d start
growing mold on your butt and mushrooms would start sprouting from your
head if you don’t get out of this room.” Remy egged on.
“Oh fine, but if I get into
trouble again, it’s your fault.” He argued with Remy in his thoughts
as he placed his feet into the slippers and pulled the robe around him.
He watched the hallway through the crack in the door and poked his head out, looking left and right, making sure that no one was around. He ventured out slowly, skulking against the wall down the hallway towards the bend.
“Hey! What are you doing in here!” A female voice broke his train of imagination. Joe jumped, knocking down the elaborate fort he built with Lego blocks. The tiny plane he’d made skidded across the floor and bumped against the nurse’s white shoe. She picked it up, her other had on her hips and a stern look on her face.
“OH NO! Look what you did! Now everyone’s dead!” He wailed, scooping the broken fort up into his arms. The nurse was caught off guard by his reaction and didn’t know how to react.
“This is the children’s ward. You’re not supposed to be here. You’re too old to be in here,” she said, wondering why she was whispering. She shook her head and continued. “Besides, you’ll spread germs to the kids.”
“What germs?” he asked indignantly. “I only got broken ribs and a fractured wrist,” he held up his hand and continued playing with the plane.
“You have to get out now. Get back to your room,” She stepped closer to the table where he was sitting at. “Scoot!”
“But it’s so much fun here! I wanna play with the toys. It’s so boring up in my room. Look I’ve even ran out of cast to draw on. Besides Akira’s long dead by now,” he pointed to what was once Mike’s doodle which was now some black patch on his cast.
“Look, you’re going to get into trouble if the head nurse comes along,” she continued persuading to no avail.
“Don’t make me go back there!” He shot her a shocked look that almost scared her. She took a step back in surprise at the sudden outburst.
“OK. You can keep the plane,
but you gotta leave now or you’ll get us both in trouble.” He looked
at her for a moment and saw that she was genuinely worried and afraid
that she would get into trouble.
“Ok,” he shrugged and
pocketed the plane, walking out of the playroom as if nothing ever
happened. The nurse simply stared after him, dumbfounded, before she
started packing away the mess he made.
Joe whistled as he wandered around the pediatrics floor. The last time he checked, the clock on the wall said 1 a.m. He stopped whistling when he heard footsteps behind him. Spotting the nurse that caught him in the playroom earlier, he made a dash for the nearest door. He peeked through the crack and waited until the nurse was gone. Turning around, he stopped dead in his tracks. He wasn’t alone in the room.
He found himself staring at a
tiny figure in the bed which stared back at him blankly. Sitting on the
bed was a tiny girl with frazzled black hair and deep blue eyes. She
blinked once and continued staring at him, wide-eyed. The doll she was
clutching lay face-down on the huge story book on her lap. Her lips
“Uh, hi,” he threw her a
grin and waved, not knowing what else to do. She blinked and opened her
mouth and started bawling. Joe jumped and rushed towards her.
“SSSHHHHH....” he tried to
calm her down, but she didn’t stop. “Don’t cry. I didn’t mean to
scare you.” he whispered to her, patting her head gently.
“I’m not the boogey man.
Honest! See, I don’t have green hair or claws,” he tried to show
her, but she ignored him.
“Shhh..... the nurse is going
to come in and I’m going to get into trouble for something I didn’t
do,” he looked at her forlornly. Giving up, he sighed and pulled out
the plane from his pocket.
“Here. See, I got a plane for you. It’s all nice and it’s got all these laser guns and jet engines with super turbo power to boost it,” he hopelessly tried to stop her from crying.
She did, much to his relief, and
took the plane from his hands, which he let go reluctantly.
“You’re going to give that
back after you’re done, right?” he asked her, his voice hopeful as
she turned the little Lego plane around, examining it carefully. She
threw him a sideways glance and played with the plane.
Joe repeated his question, a
hopeful look on his face which would have made most of his fans swoon.
It didn’t budge the little girl. She stuck her little pink tongue out
at him and continued playing with the plane, now involving her much
mutilated Barbie doll.
He sat by her bed mournfully,
hoping that she would fall asleep soon and he could get his plane back.
Fifteen minutes later, Joe found
himself immersed in one of her thick fairy tales book while she was
still playing with the plane. “Can I have the plane back now?” He
decided to try his luck again. This time, she turned to look at him with
her huge eyes and willingly handed the plane back to him. “Thank
you!” he almost kissed her ruddy cheeks as he held the plane in his
“What’s your name?” she
asked, watching him pocketing his plane.
“I’m Joseph Hahn. Ruler of
the Universe and DJ extrodinaire,” he put on a superhero-ish kind of
voice and bowed low. She giggled. “And pray tell what is your name,
fair princess?” he asked, cocking his head to one side inquiringly.
Shears,” she stated, proud that she could get her whole name
“Wow! That’s a long name to
remember!” He exclaimed as she beamed. “Hm... I’ll call you Kiki.”
“That’s what everyone calls
me here,” her little giggles were infectious and Joe felt himself
grinning at the little girl.
“What happened to your
hand?” she asked, turning her attention to his cast. She stared at the
mess he’d made for a moment, her eyes wide.
“Oh! I did this really awesome
trick with my skateboard...” he launched into the full story of his
stunt as she stared at him in awe. “And I got these really cool
bandages for my ribs too. Which by the way was Remy’s idea so it’s
not my fault that I can’t play at the concert tonight,” he ended.
“Who’s Remy?” She asked
“My friend. He looks just like
me and he does all the things that get us into trouble but no one
believes it’s him because he’s always not there when they get here.
But they can’t stay mad at me forever.”
“Cos I’m MR HAHN!”
“Who’s Mr. Hahn?”
“Then who’s Joey?”
“But you’re Mr. Hahn.”
Realising that they could go on
for the whole night, he grinned. “I’m both. Now I think you should
get some sleep.” He added.
He tucked her in as she slid
under the thick covers. “Good night, Kiki.” He reached down to
ruffle her mass of black hair. She grinned back and settled snugly into
the huge pillow.
“Can you tell me a story,
Joey?” He heard her voice as he headed towards the door. He turned to
see her sitting up, looking at him with a hopeful look that he found he
could not resist, but he was rather doubtful of his storytelling skills.
“You can read me this one,”
she said as if reading his mind.
She flipped her giant book deftly to the middle, an obviously well-read
page. He glanced at the page and looked at her weirdly.
“Cinderella?” he asked doubtfully, looking at the colorful drawings
“It’s my favourite,” she
told him with a sparkle in her eyes that could melt any heart. Joe
licked his lips and rubbed his hands together as he pulled the chair
closer to her bed.
“Alright. Just this once. But
you’re not going to tell anyone I read Cinderella ok?” he warned
“Not even Remy?” she asked
in a whisper.
“Shhh...! He’ll hear you!”
“Once upon a time, there lived
a girl called Cinderella. She lived with her evil step mother and
As Joe read on with Kiki
listening to him intently, he too got lost in the fairytale. Finally
looking up from the book, he pouted. Kiki had fallen asleep and against
the night light, she looked like a little angel. He closed the book and
placed it back on the side table. He tucked her in carefully and brushed
away stray locks of hair from her cherub face. He smiled. He had never
seen any child this beautiful before. She reminded him of the little
cupids in Michelangelo’s paintings he’d seen in the Louvre.
Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his robe, he walked back to his own room, sleepily.
“Hey, where’d the
mutherfucker go?” Chester asked, poking his head out from the bathroom
door. The rest of the guys stood around the empty room, puzzled.
They’d driven to the hospital
first thing in the afternoon. The show last night had tired them out,
adding to the fact that Joe was missing. Rob had woken up first, glanced
at the clock and groaned, rolling out of bed reluctantly. Waking the
rest of the guys was almost as impossible as making the sun rise in the
west. Rob had to tip Chester’s mattress to get him up.
“Probably off somewhere to
pull some stupid stunt of his again,” Rob shrugged coolly.
“Yeah. He’s probably hanging
head down from the roof or something,” Phoenix chuckled.
“We better go find that idiot soon before he does anything that would ban us all from this state.” Mike suggested as they headed out into the hallway. Rob had offered to stay in the room in case Joe gets back. He was sprawled on the bed, flipping channels on the television even before the rest could step out.
“Can I have that?” Joe
asked, taking one of the chocolate cookies from her blue plate before
Kiki could say anything. She frowned, but couldn’t say anything with
“Here, I made you
something,” he offered in return, taking out a rolled up paper from
his pocket and handing it to the little girl on the bed. He’d crept
back up to her room the minute he could. He’d liked the five-year-old
the instant he laid eyes on her. She reminded him of his sister when
they were younger. They had the same dark waves with tousled bangs and
the same spark of mischief in their eyes.
He was seated cross-legged on
her bed in front of her, having a mock war with his remodeled plane and
her Barbie doll when a nurse came in. She’d almost dropped her tray of
medications when she saw him on the bed.
“Hey! What are you doing in
here! I thought I told you to get out!” she glared at him setting her
tray down on Kiki’s table.
“You told me to get out of the
playroom. You didn’t ask me to get out of here,” he argued.
“Well, I’m asking you to
now!” she was infuriated.
“But I was playing with Kiki.” He furrowed his brows, sulking.
“Nurse Joy, we were playing.
Look. He’s got this really cool plane and he can kill godzilla,” she
offered to demonstrate, smashing the plane into the doll.
“Kiki, you’re supposed to be
resting and visiting hour’s off. Now take your medicine and get some
rest.” Nurse Joy insisted, placing her cup of medication into Kiki’s
“No buts, now. Go to sleep,”
she leaned over to kiss Kiki on the forehead.
“You, Joey, right?” she
“Nope, Mr. Hahn,” he
“Well, Mr. Hahn. You can get
back to your own room before I get someone to lock you in your room!”
she glared at him. He grinned when he caught a sparkle in her eyes.
“But Nurse Joy! He was telling
me a story!” Kiki called from her bed as Joy pulled Joe out of the way
by his sleeve.
“Go to sleep! You’ll wake the others!” Joy glared at Kiki lovingly as she walked around the room, taking a look at the rest of the kids who were taking their afternoon naps. Kiki pouted and turned to Joe who stood there looking at her. She waved at him, still pouting and sniffled. He waved back and sniffled too, which made her giggle.
“JOE! You nut! Where the hell
have you been?!” Phoenix called out when he saw Joe walking down the
“Hey! Dave! Whatcha doin’
here, dude?” Joe grinned as he neared Phoenix.
“We came to see the Pope,”
Phoenix replied sarcastically, frowning at Joe’s grin. “The guys are
going to kick your ass when they get back.”
“Hey guys! Heard you were
looking for me,” he smiled at the guys who were less than enthusiastic
to see him grinning.
“We wasted half an hour
looking for you. Where were you?” Brad grumbled, plonking down on the
couch by the window.
“Do you know how many nurses
out there have got their thermometer up their ass?” Mike frowned.
“Ask them something and they look at you as if you asked them to go to
hell. Hello! Isn’t this supposed to be some public institution for the
sick and needy where everyone is ready to help with a smile on their
face? They’ve all got their white thongs in a twist over nothing!”
He went on grumbling as the rest started laughing.
“Dude, those are fast food
restaurants you’re talking about.” Brad grinned. “These chicks are
working their ass off around the clock with people like Joe around. You
don’t expect them to smile and ask you if you want fries with that
order, do ya?”
Mike chuckled. “Guess not,”
he shrugged moodily.
“I’m not done with you
though,” Chester gave Joe a light shove on his arm.
“Ow. I got bored! You don’t
expect me to sit around in this room all day and channel surf do ya?”
he rubbed the spot where Chester shoved and sat down.
“Well, get your butt packing.
You’re getting out today and I can see why they let you out so
soon,” Chester dumped his sports bag on the bed.
“Oooh... cool!” Joe rubbed
his hands together and started packing.
“How’s that wrist of
yours?” Mike asked eyeing the doodled cast. He had made a big fuss
over the Akira business and wasn’t really please that Joe hadn’t
appreciated his handiwork.
“Gonna be as good as new. In
no time, this mutherfucker’s going to be spinning at the turntables
like the kickass pro I’ve always been,” Joe grinned confidently.
“Good. Cos I ain’t doing
your part any more. It sucks,” Mike shot back grumpily.
“What’s gotten YOUR thongs
in a twist today, huh?” Chester teased, looking at Mike’s frown.
“Ah... Nothing. Just got into
a fight with Anna over the phone. She hung up on me and I’m missing
her like hell,” Mike pouted.
“Welcome to the club, dude,”
Chester chuckled, draping his arm around Mike’s shoulder and giving
him a noogie to cheer him up.
“Hey! Stop that, you dumbass!
My HAIR!” Mike pulled away from Chester’s grip and shoved him. They
clowned around in the room as Joe packed his stuff.
“Hey, let me go say bye to
someone first!” Joe said suddenly remembering Kiki.
“What? You’re here three
days and you’ve met someone already? Man, you work faster than me,”
Joe just threw them a grin as he lead them towards the lift.
“Hey, these are all kids
here,” Brad mused, looking around the room. The walls were decorated
with soft pastel cartoons and the covers were covered with race cars and
teddy bears in tutus.
“Uh Joe? Who’s the chick?
How come we’re in the kid’s ward?” Chester looked around, suddenly
feeling worried as Joe spoke to a nurse.
“I want you guys to meet
someone. C’mon.” He said walking through the pink door. “Come
on!” he poked his head out again when he realised the guys were still
“Joey!” Kiki gave a shriek
and dropped her toy, running towards Joe who stood there grinning at
her. He held out his arms and she jumped into them as he enveloped her
in a big bear hug.
“Hey Kiki! Look I brought more
friends!” He said to her as he carried her over to the guys who were
all dumbfounded. This was the least expected thing
they’d expected from Joe, making friends with a kid.
“These are the guys; Mike,
Chester, Phoenix, Rob and Brad.” He pointed to them as he introduced
them. “Guys, this is Christina Annabelle Shears,” he grinned.
“Kiki!” she gave the guys an
equally huge grin and waved.
“Uh.. hi..” Mike managed to
mumble as the rest were still too shocked to respond verbally.
“And that there’s our evil
arch nemesis, Nurse Joyzilla,” Joe quipped nodding his head towards
the nurse who just walked in.
“She’s not evil! She’s
nice!” Kiki giggled.
“Here, I got this for you,”
He held out a bag of cookies the guys had brought for him.
“Hey!” Chester cried out
“OKAY! WE got this for you,”
Joe said as she took it, with sheer joy on her face.
“Thank you,” she smiled up
at the others.
“Where are you going?” she
asked through her mouthful of
cookies, noticing his blue sweater and baggy jeans instead of the
hospital robe she normally saw him in.
“Well, I’m all better and
the guys have come to take me back so that I can play at the concerts
“Then you won’t be coming
back here again?” her look of joy turned abruptly into one of
“Well, I’ll come visit you
as much as I can,” he offered, giving her a hopeful smile. She pouted.
“You be a good girl okay? And
get well for me?” He knelt down so that he could look into her deep
blue eyes. She nodded, trying her best to hold back her tears.
“Don’t cry, Joey will be
back as soon as he can. Now he’s got to go save the world from pop
music and crummy boy bands,” he joked, wiping of a stray tear that ran
down her little cheeks.
“Now give Joey a beeg hug,”
he held out his arms and she threw hers around his neck.
“No Joey, don’t go,” Kiki
whimpered as she stood by her bed watching the guys head out the room.
Joy knelt down beside her, holding her, half afraid that Kiki might rush
over to Joe and not let him go.
“Kiki, Joey’s got to go
back. He’ll come back to see you soon. He’s promised you that,”
Joy tried to soothe Kiki as she watched the
guys leave, giving Joe a small smile that meant “she’s going to be
The rest of the guys watched them in silence, not knowing how to react.
“Uh, Joe...? What was that all
about?” Brad asked as they got into the rented cruiser.
“Kiki? Isn’t she an angel?
Doesn’t she remind you of one of those Renaissance cupids? She’s so
cute.” he rambled on, not really answering his question.
“Yeah.... what’s the deal
with all that ‘No Joey, don’t go’ stuff anyway?” Mike asked,
imitating a five year old’s voice as best he can.
“Shut up! She’s real sweet
ok. And don’t make fun of her!” he glared at Mike through the rear
“Oooh... Joey’s getting all
protective over his little angel,” Phoenix teased, chuckling.
“HEY! Stop that you
dickhead!” Joe reached over to shove him on the arm.
The rest were in fits of
laughter as they continued teasing him all the way back to the hotel.
They didn’t know how else to react to what they just witnessed.
“You guys are sick! You know
that?!” he yelled and stormed off when they got to the hotel.
The rest just shrugged it off, knowing that it was merely one of his moods and he would have calmed down before he reached his room.
“Look who’s here, Kiki,”
Joy whispered into the sleepy girl’s ear as she helped her sit up. She
was paler than usual and the dark rings under her eyes were worrying
her. But Kiki had seemed a lot better than she did two days ago and she
had stopped vomiting. Joy almost hugged Joe when she saw him walk out
the lift. She hoped that Kiki would feel better when she saw Joe.
“Joey!” Kiki managed to call
out as she waited in her bed, her arms outstretched.
“How’s my little angel?”
he asked, sitting down beside her.
“I’m all okie dokie,” Kiki grinned and hugged the stuffed bear he’d gotten her. Joy smiled down at her and planted a kiss on her head before stepping outside. She didn’t want to be there and get all sappy and start crying just because Kiki was being brave for Joe.
She knew how much Kiki had suffered just that morning when she threw up all her breakfast. She couldn’t bear the fact that there was a strong possibility that her sickness was finally rearing it’s ugly head. She’d grown to love Kiki as her own. And she’d been jealous at first of the affection and special bond she’d immediately shared with Joe, but she realised how much Kiki looked up to him.
As a brother, a friend and
perhaps even a father. She’d shook her head and laughed silently at
the thought of Joe as a father. His kids would be endlessly entertained,
that’s for sure. She smirked.
“I made you something,” she
pulled out a piece of paper from under her pillow and handed it to Joe
who immediately unfolded it.
He held back tears as he looked
down at the picture she drew.
“That’s you... and this is
me,” she pointed to the drawing of a girl in a pink dress with a
crayon smile on it’s face. “Like it?”
“Is that my super booster
triple power torpedo jet fighter plane?” he pointed to the drawing in
the middle. She nodded enthusiastically.
“I LOVE it! Thank you so
much!” He hugged her tightly.
Joe spent the rest of the
afternoon with Kiki. He’d missed her so much over the past two days he
could hardly contain himself. He’d driven over to the hospital the
minute he was free from band practice and interviews. He was drawing a
picture of Kiki as she instructed him through the process, ending
up in fits of giggles as he tried his best to follow her instructions.
“Hmm..?” he replied without
looking at her.
“Joey, I don’t feel too
good,” Kiki pouted suddenly.
Joe dropped his crayon and
looked at her. She was awfully pale and her skin was cold and clammy.
His heart raced as she let out a little whimper and a tear escaped her
“Kiki! What’s wrong? Where
does it hurt?” he asked, but she couldn’t answer. She’d started
crying and curled up into a ball in pain.
“Nurse! Hey! Nurse!!
Something’s wrong with Kiki!” He yelled, not wanting to leave her
side. “Kiki, you’re going to be okay. Joey’s here.” He repeated
to her softly to soothe her as he held her tiny hand in one and smoothed
her hair with the other.
Joy’s heart dropped when she
heard Joe’s yelling. She had dreaded the day this would happen and Joe
would be a lot more than a handful to handle. She’d paged for the
doctor and called the head nurse before rushing over to the store to get
Please let Kiki be alright... she prayed silently as she sorted out the medical equipment on the trolley.
“What’s wrong with her!?”
he asked, when he saw Kiki thrashing on the bed, her hair matted to her
face with sweat and her skin pale. She was clearly in pain as she
whimpered. The nurse calmly took her temperature as another readied her
arm for an injection.
Joe gulped as he watched the
nurses trying to stop Kiki’s pain. “What’s wrong with Kiki?” he
grabbed Joy’s arm when she entered, almost spilling the equipment from
the trolley she was pushing.
“Joe, get out of here. NOW!”
She dragged him out into the hallway and stayed there with him, knowing
well that if she left, he would have gone back in there again.
“What the fuck’s happening
to her?!” he asked, almost in tears. “Why’s she like that?” He
tried to look through the glass window, but was blocked by the blinds.
He had willingly read Cinderella to her more times than he would ever do
even if someone paid him and he’d often watched her sleep, sitting by
her side for hours. He couldn’t bear the thought of something bad
happening to her right now. And he wanted to throttle anyone near him
for not letting him know what was going on.
“Joe, JOE! Calm down!”
“How the fuck can I calm down?
Kiki’s in there convulsing like she’s demon possessed and no one’s
telling me anything!” he yelled at her. She winced, “Joe, calm down
and I’ll tell you.” She sat him down beside her and waited till he
calmed before she started.
“Kiki’s been here ever since
she was born. She was born HIV positive and we’ve just found out that
she’s got leukemia too.” Joe stared at her dumbly, unable to
comprehend what she just said.
“HIV? Leukemia?” He repeated
Joy nodded sadly, tears brimming
in her eyes as she watched Joe’s shocked expression. “Her mother was
only 17 when she gave birth to her and she died a few months later of
AIDS. We don’t know who Kiki’s father is.” she finished in a low
“She’s going to be ok,
right?” he finally asked, his voice trembling slightly.
“We don’t know for sure, but
we’re hoping that it’s just another false alarm. Tha...”
‘ANOTHER false alarm?! What
the fuck do you mean by another?” he glared at her.
“She experienced the same
thing two days ago, but it was much less serious...”
“SHE GOT SICK AND YOU DIDN’T
TELL ME?!” He yelled, interrupting her. “Why the fuck didn’t you
tell me?!! SHIT!!” He slammed his fist into the arm of the chair,
oblivious to the pain.
“Joe, I didn’t want you to
worry.” She tried to explain, looking into his eyes, despite the death
stares he was giving her. “I’m really sorry for not telling you.
What she had two days ago was nothing. And we still don’t know about
this one. She may be alright. This may be her systems fighting the
sickness, but we’ll have to wait till the doctor gets out, okay?”
she slipped her hand over his when he slammed it against the chair
again, trying to calm him down.
“Damn it!” he tried pulling his hand away. He was angry with everyone right now. At himself, at Joy, at the doctors, at the rest of the guys. He’d lashed out at whoever was nearest and Joy happened to be the one. He wouldn’t have done it if the situation was different, but fear and fury took over.
Joy held on to his hand firmly
but calmly. He couldn’t sit down and wait idiotically for the doctor.
He got up and paced the hallway, fists balled up tightly. He tried to
ignore the ringing of his cell phone as he continued to pace, but the
incessant noise almost drove him over the brink of insanity.
“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU
WANT?!” he yelled over the phone.
“DUDE! Where the fuck are you,
man?! The show’s gonna start in like an hour and we gotta do some
soundcheck.” He heard Mike’s slightly irritated voice over the
“To hell with the show!
Something’s wrong with Kiki!” he managed to say through his teeth
without tossing the phone against the wall.
“WHAT?! Oh my god, what
happened, man?” Mike’s irritated voice was now one of concern.
“Joe. Joe? Hey JOE! What’s up?” he yelled when Joe didn’t
answer. He heard noises before someone answered again.
“Uh hi, this is Joy. Joe’s a
little unnerved right now. Kiki’s gone into a seizure and cardiac
arrest.” She said in a shaky voice.
“Wha..?” Mike managed to
reply. “I- is she alright? What about Joe? How’s he?” Mike’s
voice was now worried and the guys had stopped what they were doing and
was looking at him for an answer.
“We don’t know yet, about
Kiki, but Joe’s really pissed off because we didn’t tell him about
the seizure before this ... look, I better go calm him down before he
kills someone.” Mike heard her sniffle.
“Wait! Try to hold him down.
We’ll be over right away,” Mike said before he heard her hang up.
“Guys, I’m afraid we have to cancel tonight’s show.” He turned towards the rest of the guys who were looking at him expectantly.
Chester opened the door slowly as they peered into the dim room. It was silent except for the beeping from the monitor and a low voice. They stood at the door and watched. Joe was seated by the bed where Kiki was lying in, tubes and wires running criss-crossed around her.
He rested his chin on the back
of his hand as he ran his fingers gently over her dark bangs, singing
silently to her. He knew how much she loved the song from Disney’s
Cinderella. She’d watched the video he’d gotten her over and over
and had insisted that he read to her still.
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will
come true...” 
His sad voice trailed into
silence when he couldn’t remember anymore words.
He continued staring at her
sleeping. She looked so tiny and frail and it was all he could do to
stop the tears from coming. He felt a warm river forming on his cheek
and he ignored the tears, sniffling every once in a while as he watched
her rest. The doctors had managed to stop the seizure, and Kiki was
finally resting peacefully. The only sign of her being alive was the
beeping of the life support machine and the slight heaving of her chest.
“Dude, Joe’s SINGING,”
Chester mused under his breath in disbelief. The only time they’d
heard Joe sing was back up and that didn’t justify anything. The
sadness in his voice brought tears to Mike’s eyes.
“Hey,” Rob whispered as they gathered around Kiki’s bed. Chester patted Joe on his back, letting him know that they were there for the moral and emotional support. Joe merely threw them a small smile as he continued watching her, half hoping that she would open her eyes and look at him with her deep blue eyes and give him one of her cherubic smiles.
Joe stared blankly at his
Styrofoam cup of coffee as steam slowly wafted out of it. The guys had
managed to pry him away from Kiki for rest. They had seen Joe being
crazy and they’ve seen him being pissed mad, but this was new. There
was an empty look in his eyes and he hardly responded to anything. They
didn’t know what to do and were worried that they might make
“Joe, Kiki’s going to be
alright. You gotta be strong for her, alright?” Brad finally said with
a strong hand on his shoulder. Joe moved, turning the cup around. Brad
wondered whether that was a nod acknowledging his words or just a slight
movement Joe made after being still for so long. Joe being still. That
was worrying. Joe was never still. This was the same Joe who’d pulled
that ridiculous stunt that got him in hospital. The same Joe that has
the energy of an energizer bunny times three.
Mike and Phoenix had offered to
stay with Joe as the rest headed back to the hotel to settle some stuff
with the organiser. Joe, meanwhile had returned to his initial position
by Kiki’s bed, his chin propped on his hand, staring at her. Mike sat
cross-legged on the chair outside the ICU, chin supported in his hands.
He watched silently, chewing on his lower lip as the nurses and doctors
go about their usual business. Phoenix paced around, occasionally taking
a peek through the glass window to see if Joe was alright.
“Do you think he’ll be
alright?” Phoenix finally asked as he watched Joe.
“I dunno, man. I mean Joe’s
never been like this before.” Mike looked up at Phoenix, shrugging.
“Yeah,” Phoenix sighed,
stuffing his hands into his pockets and resumed pacing again.
“Kiki’s really got to him hasn’t she? He’s totally nuts over
that girl like she’s his kid or something.”
“Dude! Stop it.” Mike
“Stop what?” Phoenix looked
at him innocently.
“Pacing! You’re getting on
my nerves!” Mike exclaimed and then chuckled. Phoenix stopped,
realising what he was doing and chuckled too. They both stopped
chuckling and sighed at the same time.
“Poor Joe.” Mike turned in his seat to peek through the window.
“Guys, here. Have something to
drink,” Joy offered in a soft voice, forcing a strained smile. “Joe
won’t be moving any time soon.” She handed them each a Styrofoam cup
of hot coffee. The guys took it thankfully.
“What’s wrong with Kiki? We
couldn’t get anything out from Joe.” Phoenix asked as he sipped his
coffee. He glanced at his watch and almost choked on his drink. 2:35
a.m. No wonder his head had started to buzz. Mike looked at Joy,
bleary-eyed as she explained Kiki’s condition to them.
“No wonder Joe’s so freaked
out over it,” Mike managed to say after a long pause. Kiki’s story
was a hard pill to swallow. It seemed that every possible tragedy that
could befall a person happened to her. His heart broke, thinking about
the tiny girl lying unconscious in bed.
“Joe’s an amazing guy,”
Joy heard herself say. Mike and Phoenix both shot her a look of
surprise. “Okay, so he maybe a little crazy at times,” Joy smirked
when she caught their looks. “but he’s been so wonderful around Kiki. He really loves her and she looks up to him. I’ve never seen her
smile or laugh like how she does when Joe’s around. And he’d do
anything for her. She’s never seen her father before and being in
hospital for all her life has never opened her to many people. He’s
the closest she’s got to a father and a friend.” She sighed,
throwing a glance at Joe’s back.
The guys looked at her, lost for
words. The person Joy had just described was nothing like the Joe they
had thought they knew so well. They’d thought that his weirdness and
split personality was as deep as they could get into Joe, but this new
side of him was totally mind blowing. It didn’t exactly fit the image
of Joe they had created.
“Yeah. Amazing,” Phoenix finally mumbled after a long pause.
“Hey angel,” he smiled up at
her from where he was sitting. Kiki’s eyes fluttered open and she
smiled back when she focused on Joe’s face. “How’s my little
angel? Is she okay?” he asked in a whisper, smoothing her hair back
from her forehead. She nodded as her tiny fingers squeezed his.
It had been two days since the
incident and Joe had refused to leave the hospital ever since. Joy had
came in early that morning to tell Joe about Kiki’s condition. Her
blood level had dropped suddenly and hence the seizures. They had
managed to stabilize it much to the relief of Joe. The HIV virus was
still passive and there were no signs of it proving otherwise.
Chester had returned to the
hospital with news of their tour. He’d managed to convince the
organisers to postpone the next venue. He didn’t exactly tell the rest
that it involved some begging and sulking and tantrums. They didn’t
have to know right now.
“Kiki’s going to be
alright,” he crooned to her softly, kissing her tiny hand. She
whimpered, her bottom lip quivering slightly in a pout. She was too weak
to even cry. “Shh... Joey’s right here.” He stayed with her till
she drifted back to sleep. Brad had signaled silently to him that the
guys were outside. He’d reluctantly left Kiki to see them.
“Pheew! DUDE! You stink!”
Chester pinched his nose, waving his hand in front of him in hopes to
catch a smile from Joe. Joe simply stared at him, expressionless.
“So Kiki’s ok?” Mike asked
to confirm. Joe nodded, letting out a small sigh of relief.
“That’s great, man. I told
you she’ll be okay,” Brad grinned, cracking his knuckles.
“Yeah. So you can stop
worrying about her and got get some rest.” Rob nodded.
“Get a bath first, though,”
Chester pointed out. Mike chuckled silently and shook his head.
Chester’s attempt to cheer things up was, he had to admit, a little
lame. But he was glad that he did. It certainly lightened the situation
for the rest of them. Mike glanced at the rest of the guys wondering
what was going through their heads at that moment.
“Yeah. We’ll take you back
to the hotel and you can come back here in the evening. We’ve
postponed the next venue so you don’t have to worry about that.”
Mike draped his arm around Joe’s shoulder and lead him towards the
“Guys, I’m so sorry about
all this.” Joe turned to face the rest of the guys solemnly. “I
didn’t mean to screw up the whole tour schedule, but I can’t leave
Kiki like this..”
“It’s okay, man. We
understand.” Brad patted his shoulder.
“Yeah. No biggie. Everything’s settled. You don’t have to be sorry for anything.” Chester grinned. “Now can you PLEASE get that bath you so need?” he said in mock aggravation, leading Joe out of the hospital by his shoulders.
“NO!!” Joe glared furiously
at the guys, jumping up the couch in all the fury. “I’m NOT going to
“Joe, you can’t stay here
forever. We can only postpone the tour this long. We can’t possibly
cancel the whole tour. There are fifteen more venues to play.” Brad
“Then I’m gonna fucking quit
the band!” Joe yelled, storming out the hotel room, slamming the door
They had sat him down to discuss
the matters of the tour and Kiki. A big mistake they guys wished they
didn’t make. Joe hadn’t been the easiest person to get along with
all week long and they didn’t blame him for missing any of the
practices. The organisers had given them an ultimatum and they had to
leave for the next venue by Friday.
The guys exchanged looks quietly
after Joe left. Chester sighed, “Damn it! What the fuck are we going
to do?” He ran his fingers through his spiky hair in frustration.
“I dunno, man.” Rob
“Give him time, guys. You all
know what he’s been through the past few weeks. Giving him shit about
the tour isn’t going to help. The last thing he needs is more
responsibilities thrown at his face,” Mike said in a serious tone.
“Mike’s right. We’ve got a
few more days to Friday. I hope that he’d have calmed down enough to
think straight by then,” Phoenix pointed out from the corner he was
“Damn. We don’t need shit
like that happening, especially with Joe all worked up about the
girl.” Chester mumbled about the shit the organizers had put them
through. There had been a big argument between him, Mike and the
organizers and they had conveniently dug up the issue of contracts and
lawyers. Mike had to drag Chester out of the room before he kicked any
of the organizers’ asses which would put them in a more difficult spot
than they were already in.
“Chill, bro’. It’ll work
out,” Mike patted Chester’s back to calm him down, but there was a
tinge of doubt even in his voice.
Kiki had regained consciousness
since her last seizure, but she hadn’t improved. Her condition has
been flatlining and the tone of the doctor’s voice telling him about
her condition just drove Joe nuts.
“They don’t tell me shit!”
He’d grumbled to Brad. “All they do is give me all these vague
comments that any crack can give and tell me not to worry. What the fuck
is that supposed to mean?”
“Forget the doctors, man. They don’t know shit. Kiki’s condition is stable, so you don’t have to worry. Look, she’s waking up,” Brad nodded his head towards Kiki who was stirring.
Lyrics: Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston. Just in case. I have no idea how it sounds like and when it was sung and who sang it in the cartoon, but the lyrics sounded nice. More appropriate than the bibbity bobbityboo song. :P 
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|