Last week, Stan and Ollie met with Egbert in the parking lot of the church, and told him the truth. Just as Egbert was about to say something, Pastor Will Robinson showed up. And then Ollie fainted! See what's up with that in this week's installation of Stan and Ollie. Enjoy! Don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale!
Stan and Ollie #18
My heart leaps into my throat but I refuse to give in to the sense of panic that overwhelms me. I manage to catch the crumpling Ollie before he can hit the ground. He’ll be all right in a moment, once he gets past this momentary glitch. He’ll be fine, I know it.
But seconds pass, and he doesn’t open his eyes, and I’m starting to panic now, just a little.
Hold it together, hold it together…
It isn’t until I notice that Xylina has shifted into her human form that I realize the gravity of the situation. The fact that she feels the need to do so speaks volumes to me.
“We have to get him back to the hotel,” she says. “Now.” She reaches out her hand and I know what she wants. I toss her my keys.
No time to argue. No time to worry about Egbert Montauk, or Pastor Will Robinson. My only concern is for Ollie.
Hang in there, Ollie, please…
I don’t know what I’d do if… my mind refuses to fill in the awful blank.
I lift him and cradle him in my arms as I swiftly carry him to the car. Xylina has opened the rear passenger door, and I gently set him on the back seat, before I come around to the other side and get in, taking his head into my lap.
“We’re ready, go,” I tersely command, and she obeys with unwonted obedience and no lip.
The car moves backwards so that we’re facing the rear of the church. A shaft of sunlight strikes the copper-plated steeple bell, bouncing off and hitting me full in the face. I squeeze my eyes shut at the intrusion. She puts the Lincoln into drive and the moment passes.
Ollie still hasn’t opened his eyes. Only the shallow rise and fall of his chest keeps me from completely losing my mind. He’s breathing, that’s got to be good.
“Ollie, can you hear me?” I whisper. Did I feel him respond, did his body jerk just a little, reacting to the sound of my voice? I hold my breath and wait, but the movement isn’t repeated. I cup his cheek with my hand; it feels too cool or my liking.
“It’s all right, Ollie,” I reassure him in the steadiest voice I can muster. “Everything’s all right.”
We reach the hotel after a ride that feels like forever, but I know Xylina has made good time. Now we have to be circumspect. I’d just as soon not get caught carrying him in, if I can help it. If we can get past the front desk clerk and make it to the elevator, we should be home free.
After that, I can only pray that Xylina knows what to do. But first things first…
“I’ll go in first. Give me five minutes, then bring Ollie in. I’ll meet you upstairs.” She doesn’t wait for an answer, tosses me my keys and glides out of the car, heading for the front door of the hotel.
I have no idea what she intends to do, but it damn well better work.
Longest five minutes of my life, spent stroking Ollie’s soft blond hair, whispering words of love and encouragement, watching anxiously for any change. There is none. But the minutes pass, and I gather him into my arms and carry him up the broad steps of the hotel’s front porch.
As I fumble for the knob, trying not to jostle him, the door suddenly opens and Xylina stands there. She puts her finger to her lips and motions me in.
I carry Ollie inside, wondering what she’s done to engage the desk clerk. I’ve noticed in the short time we’ve been here he is about as nosy as they come. A quick glance at the front desk reveals all.
I do a double take at the sight. A carbon copy of Xylina stands there, and she’s engaged the man’s attention to the point where he is oblivious to the rest of the world, asking him about something she’s spread out on the desk.
I’m not even going to ask.
I tiptoe as well as I can past Mr. Besotten. Xylina presses the button to call the elevator, and when it arrives, I enter the car and breathe a sigh of relief when the doors close on us.
Third floor at last. Our room is at the end of the hall. I balance most of Ollie’s weight on one arm so that I can get the key out and unlocked it. At last we’re inside, door closed, and I can lay him gently on the bed.
I kneel on the bed beside him, lean down so he can hear me better. “Ollie… I’m here, Ollie… Come back to me… please…” No response.
I brush my lips across his cheek. No warmer than it was before. I still the trembling of my limbs as I stretch out beside him and lay my arm across his chest, drape one leg over his, offering him the warmth of my own body. I burrow my face against his chest as well, the better to feel him breathe.
I hear the door open and I know it’s Xylina; I never look up, but I can hear her enter, feel her presence as she closes the door and approaches the bed.
“Has this ever happened to him before?” I’m hoping it has, so she’ll know how to deal with it.
“No, never. It’s this damned planet. There are things here that are bad for him,” she fairly hisses and my heart gives a lurch in my breast.
Okay, so this is a first. First time for everything, right? We’ll figure it out.
I can’t lose Ollie, I just can’t.
I’m drawing blanks, my mind grasping at straws.
“Call Room Service,” I instruct her. “See if they have any brandy.”
She looks at me like I’m crazy.
“Just do it!”
to be continued
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