Kung Pow

chinese-takeout-boxJarred out of sleep by the ringing in his ears, Jake rolled over and looked at the infernal contraption called the telephone. He didn’t recognize the number. He hit “ignore” and rolled over again, but the damage had already been done. There was no way he could return to his precious little slumber now. He sighed and laid there for a minute with his eyes closed, willing himself back to sleep, but he knew it was useless.

He glanced at the clock when he sat up. It said it was nine-something in the morning. He had returned home at seven. He had been asleep for exactly two hours and twelve minutes by his reckoning. That wasn’t nearly enough. Sometimes, he really hated working the night shift because people who didn’t work the night shift refused to understand that the daytime is when he slept. He had worked overtime the night before, putting in over twelve hours straight. He was exhausted.

He lumbered off to the bathroom and then to the kitchen in search of food. He opened the refrigerator door and saw nothing but condiments, beverages and Chinese take-out from three days ago. It would do. Jake walked to the living room and flicked on the television. The news was showing some public interest story, which he, the public, was supposed to take an interest in. He did not. He surfed the channels until he found a movie he had already seen at least a hundred times. He didn’t have much interest in the television anyway; it was merely background noise.

As he ate his three-day old Kung Pao chicken, he wondered why he was awake. Then he remembered the phone call. He grimaced at his own idiocy in forgetting to turn the ringer off and shook his metaphorical fist at whomever had called, the bastards. Jake retrieved his phone and listened to the message.

“This message is for Jake Thomas. Jake, this is your biological mother. I know we’ve never actually met and you probably won’t believe it’s really me anyway, but I need to tell you something. Your biological father has died. He had a rare genetic condition called Mitochondrial Binormalism. The doctors diagnosed it too late. It is possible that you may be a carrier. Even if you don’t want to talk to me, I urge you to seek a medical opinion. It will kill you if you have it and let it go unchecked. I’m sorry that we haven’t been in contact before and that bad news is the first thing I have to say to you. I have a whole lot more that I’d like to say and I’m sure you have many questions. I will answer them all if you decide that you want to talk to me. I’m sorry that things worked out this way. I never stopped thinking of you, not even for one day.”