Glasgow Coma Scale

By Christopher M. Drew

6.  Motor: obeys commands for movement.

“Can you open your eyes?”

Get in, he says. You’ve been drinking, I say. Only a glass or two, he says, holding the door, smiling through the rain. You’re soaked through, he says. Come on, it’s only a few blocks. I step forward, take his hand, smile back. Water drips from my hair onto the red leather seat and pools beneath my skirt. The car is spotless. It gleams. My reflection curves in the chrome shifter. In my head, I recite the letters beside the transmission: P. R. N. D. L. There is a cardboard-sleeved cup in the holder beside me. Scribbled across the white foam in black ink is the word Clay. Cold coffee dregs and sterile aftershave filter through the artificial odour of the new car. The smell reminds me of a hospital. A waiting room.

5. Verbal: oriented to person, place, and time. Motor: localised movement in response to painful stimulation.

“Do you feel anything?”

We approach an intersection. A red light. The time is 10:36pm. Cars and trucks rush by, blurring into one another. Rain forks down the windscreen and is swept away by the metronomic wiper blades. Snap, snap. He pops the transmission into N and turns on the radio. His hand brushes my thigh. I lick my lips, taste red wine and lemondrop lip balm.

On either side of the street, apartment blocks tower over us like breaking waves. The windows are half dark, half light. Another vehicle pulls up beside us and creeps forward. Its window drops. He shifts the transmission down to D. A smudge of green appears on the blurred glass. The wipers snap, snap, snap.

4.  Eyes: open spontaneously. Verbal: conversations may be confused. Motor: non-purposeful movement in response to noxious stimulation.

“What is your date of birth? Can you tell me your name?”

Down slow, I say. Fast too driving you’re. Frozen. Paralysed. There not, not there. Floating. Too fast moving. Moving too fast. Blink, blink, blink. Streetamber lampflash. Light. Light. Light light. Light light light. Faster, faster. Green. Green. Red.

3.  Eyes: open in response to speech. Verbal: replies with inappropriate words. Motor: flexes extremities in response to pain.

“Pull me toward you. Push me away.”

You OK are? he says. Fuckshit, I say. Shitfuck. Eyes shattered like glass. Upside down. Stars spin round and round and round. Arms? Pain. Legs? Pain. Spine? Crack. No arms. No legs. No body. Nothing but lights in the darkness. Sirens in the silence. The silence. A single ripple. A heartbeat. Are OK you? Clay. Shitfuckshitfuckshit.

2.  Eyes: open in response to painful stimulation. Verbal: incomprehensible sounds. Motor: extends all extremities in response to pain.

“I’m going to shine a torch into your eyes.”

If you can hear me, think of playing tennis, says God. Imagine playing tennis. We will see your response light up on our screen. Can you hear me? PRNNN, I say. NNNDL, I say. GoodNow, I need to ask you another question. I need you to tell me the truth so that I can help you. God pauses. Are you in pain? If you are in pain, think of playing tennis. Think of playing tennis. Of playing tennis. Playing tennis. Tennis. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tock-tick, tock-tick. Shoes scuffing asphalt. Sweatband soaked, hair dripping. Balls coming faster, one after another. Racket strings stretch and snap, snap, snap. Pain. Help. Forehand, backhand. Green ball. Help. Red ball. Please. Green. PRNNN. Red. PRNDL.

1.  Eyes: no response. Verbal: no response. Motor: no response.

“I’m sorry.”

Can hear me you? God. Me you hear can? Float. Stars. Can you hear me? Green light. Red light.



Christopher M. Drew is a flash fiction writer from the UK. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Third Point Press, Spelk, (b)OINK zine, Firefly Magazine, Flash Frontier, Ellipsis Zine, formercactus, Bath Flash Fiction, and others. You can connect with Chris at, or on Twitter @cmdrew81.

Digital Image by Lesley C. Weston

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