Crippled

By Joseph Logsdon

Thomas Brown had lost the ability to walk during a brutal and vicious battle in Afghanistan. Ever since his retirement from serving his country, Thomas devoted his life to becoming a surgeon. He was, without a doubt, a very good surgeon, but he could not change what had been done to his legs. After many years of working alone, Thomas decided to hire a secretary.

One afternoon, Joseph Blake, a young and optimistic man, interviewed for the position. At first, Thomas was doubtful, but as time passed, he realized that he was interviewing the right man for the job.

"Do you have any experience?" Thomas asked.

"I'm still studying," Joseph answered.

"What makes you think you're right for this job, then?"

"Well, I'll work really hard," he stated.

"Many people can work hard, but few can actually produce results," he stated.

"I can assure you, I'll try my very best," he replied.

"I'm sure you will, considering that you're a lonely, self-conscious college student," Thomas laughed.

"Sir, I won't let you down," Joseph assured.

"Tell me, Joseph, do you know what it's like to live without the ability to walk?"

"I'm afraid not," Joseph laughed.

"Don't laugh, I'm being serious," Thomas exclaimed.

"Sorry," he replied.

"To most people, walking is something normal, something that can be done at any time. Sadly, for me, walking is something abnormal, something that can't be done, no matter how hard I try. Now, you have to understand, I didn't become a surgeon because I wanted to help people like me, I became a surgeon because I wanted to help all people, regardless of race, nationality, or religion. I became a surgeon because, even though I can't help myself, I can still help other people. You understand what I'm saying, right?"

"Sure, I understand," he replied.

"You have a talent for listening, and because of that, I'm giving you the job," he stated.

"Do you really mean that?"

"If I didn't mean it, I wouldn't have said it," Thomas laughed.

The following week, Joseph Blake smiled as Thomas introduced him to his beautiful daughter.

"Joseph, I want you to meet my daughter," Thomas stated as his daughter walked into the small office.

"Hi, I'm Jane Brown," she stated.

"It's nice to meet you," Joseph replied.

"Well, now that you two have been properly acquainted, I'll be leaving," Thomas stated.

"Why are you leaving?" Joseph asked.

"I don't have to tell you everything about my life, do I?"

"Of course not," he replied.

"In the meantime, I've instructed Jane to help you with the rest of your work," Thomas stated.

"Why? Don't you trust me to do it alone?"

"Believe me, I wish I could let you do it alone, but you're not ready for that kind of responsibility," Thomas stated as he left the room.

"Don't worry, I won't get in the way," Jane stated.

"He's right," Joseph exclaimed.

"Right? Right about what?"

"I can't do it alone."

"You can, just believe in yourself," Jane stated.

"Jane, I really don't need corny encouragement right now," he huffed.

"I was just trying to help, that's all."

"Well, the next time you try to help, don't give sappy advice," he grunted.

"I'll try my best," she laughed.

That night, Joseph was relieved as he finished his paperwork.

"Tell me, Jane, would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"

"Nothing would make me happier," she laughed.

As if no one was watching, Jane kissed Joseph as they entered the crowded restaurant.

"Why did you do that?"

"Because, I think you're very handsome," she laughed.

"Oh, is that the only reason?"

"Tell me, is my father tough on you?"

"He can be a little tough, I guess," he answered.

"Ever since the war, he's been a nervous wreck," she stated.

"You really can't blame him too much, can you? Hell, If I lost my legs, I would probably go insane," he exclaimed.

"Even before the war, he wasn't like most people. Instead of raising me to be a rude, narcissistic woman, he taught me how to be tough. Most women, despite what they might tell you, only want a stupid man to take care of them, but not me. I don't want an average life, I want a life full of passion and mystery. If I were to have a family, my dream would never come true. You understand what I'm saying, right?"

"Sure, I understand," he answered.

"You don't talk that much, do you?"

"The way I see it, the less talking a man does, the more he will learn about people," he stated.

"That's very true," she replied.

During their dinner, Joseph started to feel sick.

"Gosh, what is wrong with me?"

"Are you sick?" Jane asked.

"It's not that, it's just that I feel like I have no energy," he sighed.

"Do you need something to drink?"

"That's just it, the drink might be the problem," he gasped.

Suddenly and without warning, Joseph Blake fainted. The following morning, he finally opened his eyes. At first, everything seemed normal, but that changed as he tried to stand. Something was missing, something very important. His legs were, indeed, gone. Just as Joseph started to panic, Thomas Brown entered the office. To Joseph's amazement, Thomas, like a normal man, was walking.

"Good morning, Joseph," Thomas stated as he sipped his coffee.

"My legs? What have you done with my legs?"

"What are you talking about?" Thomas asked.

"Don't fuck around with me, understand?"

"Joseph, if you don't calm down, I'll be forced to remove you from the property," he threatened.

"They're gone," he cried.

"You lost them five years ago, remember?"

"I just had them yesterday," he cried.

"Honestly, Joseph, this is the first time I've seen you like this. Now, why don't you tell me exactly what's troubling you?"

"You drugged me, didn't you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"First, Jane drugged me, then you took me back to the hospital and removed them, didn't you?"

"Removed what, exactly?"

"My legs, of course," he cried.

"You're crazy," he replied.

"You took them, admit it!"

"Even If I somehow did take your legs, what makes you think that I would have time to perform a surgery on myself in a single night?"

"Jane did the surgery for you, didn't she?"

"Don't go too far, Joseph. It's one thing to accuse me of doing something, it's another when you start accusing my daughter," he huffed.

"She did it, I know she did," he grunted.

"Even if she did, how can you prove it?"

"I can't," he whimpered.

"Exactly," Thomas laughed.

The End