Room 23

A gathering place for those who love the ABC TV show Lost. This blog was started by a group of Fans who kept the Season 3 finale talkback at Ain't It going all the way until the première of the 4th season as a way to share images, news, spoilers, artwork, fan fiction and much more. Please come back often and become part of our community.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lost: The Remains - chapter fourteen - "Legally Blind"

Napoleon Park
Chapter Fourteen
“Legally Blind”

Jack Shephard helped some people and dispensed a few pain relievers, made a few close friends and scored with one of the pretty girls, so his clique decided he was the man and elected him leader in an election in which he pretty much ran unopposed and a lot of people simply abstained from voting. Then he made some speeches and some promises and organized a few projects and a few basic laws and rules of behavior were set up and enforced by his little band of cowboy gunslingers. He was our Ben Cartwright, welcome to the Ponderosa.
If they'd actually wanted to set up a constitutional democracy and write up a Book of Law then they could have used a good lawyer and Stefan Ray Healey would have been useful.

But on an island when the big challenges are getting firewood and enough food and water from day to day, watching the sea, the horizon and the skies for any sign of rescue and the jungle line for any sign of menace, being a pretty good lawyer wasn't a very useful survival skill. Especially a blind lawyer.

Stefan Ray Healey was not actually 100% sight impaired. His vision was so poor that he was legally blind. Even with some incredibly powerful corrective lenses, he could not read or drive. And he lost those glasses in the crash. The group sifted through the wreckage, the luggage and even the corpses and collected every pair of glasses they could find, and with the pair closest to his prescription, a pair of thick dark shades that helped with his photosensitivity, Healey could make out colors and shapes and take a walk without heading into the ocean or a tree. Without them he lived in a world of soft, fuzzy gray smears.

Some smart aleck wags like Neil "Frogurt" found it amusing that a lawyer would be "legally" blind and joked that "legally blind" was a term meaning "doesn't have to work". Well, there wasn't much work on the island that didn't involve fetching firewood or hauling water through dense undergrowth. He tried washing dishes at the kitchen for a while but in the tradition of husbands eternal, he did it badly enough that he was asked not to. And forget peeling roots or tubers or cleaning fish or anything else involving sharp knives.

So he sat around and while others were doing constructive work he wasted energy doing calisthenics and trying to stay fit. A few of the people would take him for a walk on the beach or a swim in the shallows occasionally - while the scenery was to some degree lost on him he grasped the scale and the vastness of it all. And a few people would visit and talk with him and when they had nothing much to talk about they would read to him, which he enjoyed.

Fay Dentine was self conscious about the jagged scar running down the side of her face even though the raw edges healed surprisingly fast. She saw how people looked at her or away from her. She used to get a similar but different nervous look when she used to breast feed in public. She enjoyed reading to Stefan and taking him for walks. He looked at her the same way he looked at everything - quizzically and through thick dark glasses. He had never seen her without her scar and had never seen it with it - at least, not clearly. She did mention it at some point. When they finally got around to sharing a tent and huddling together for warmth and he embraced her and caressed her face he was not surprised by the jaggedly stitched together line on her cheek and from brow to chin and he made no value judgment about it being "ugly" - he just found it fascinating. A trace line along her facial contours that no other woman he'd ever touched had had.

Kirby Pollack told me that the comic book industry was built entirely on the work of young artists who grew up learning to read, write and draw from comics and who dreamed of drawing comics as children and never snapped out of it. He supposed there were a few publishers and writers who had become rich and a few dozen "fan favorites" who had made a good living and bought houses and cars. And then there were all the rest, bullpen artists and freelancers alike, scraping for work from month to month and barely making a living - some working a second "day job" just to be able to afford to labor at the job they'd dreamed of into the night.

The point being, even back in civilization, comic book artist barely qualifies as a survival skill. In the wild, and deprived of Bristol board and India ink and pen nibs, it was no sort of job at all. Kirby Pollack was an artist in search of a new medium.

Anthony Hemingway was a botanist and cultivator, a biologist who crossbred strains of plants to develop hardier and more potent varieties. He had traveled to Australia to visit friends but he had the proper credentials to import seeds and he was traveling with nearly a hundred pounds of seeds in well-sealed containers. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, root vegetables and tubers... and well concealed in the midst of it, about eight pounds - two pounds each of four varieties - of hemp - cannabis indica, cannabis sativa. Marijuana. Pot, grass, ganja, gage, muggles, moo. Dope. A plant particularly adaptable to hot moist climates.

Fay Dentine had lived in the city all her life but fondly remembered visiting cousins and aunts and uncles on various farms. That was her dream. She maintained a carefully manicured window box and a dozen potted plants in her apartment - the light coming in her windows took on a green tint filtered through and reflected off of the leaves and shoots and the spider plant vines.

Early in the adventures on the island a small waterfall and some natural fresh water springs - at the time the only source of drinkable water available - were discovered some distance inland from the beach and it was decided to move the group there. This caused the first civil war of the Shephard administration when some people chose to remain on the beach and keep watch for the rescue ships or planes they still had faith were coming for us.

Later on - after one of the caves collapsed and nearly killed Shephard and Charlie "Driveshaft" Pace - it was decided to move everyone back to the beach. There was no real civil war then, just a minor rebellion among a hardy band of conscientious objectors engaging in a small act of civil disobedience. A small band who packed up their belongings and said you go ahead, we'll be right behind you, and then once the last of the stragglers had gone from sight, they simply unpacked and settled back down in the caverns they'd come to call their homes.

Stefan Ray Healey was assigned to sit on a stool by the entrance to the caves and keep an eye out for whatever threat the rest of the group had apparently moved away from. Others, "Hostiles," polar bears, "monsters" - he wasn't sure what he was on look-out for or what he'd do if anything came to his attention beyond trying to discreetly warn the rest. Yes, they were aware of the irony of having the blind man be their look-out. They were the survivors who just didn't care.

Up the hill a ways and through a thicket past the springs they tracked the creek feeding the falls back and found a sunny clearing and went in with home-made hoes and picks and a machete and cleared out a chuck of flat land and scraped into the dirt and pulled anything that looked like a weed and took advantage of Hemingway's extensive collection of fruit and vegetable, berry bush, tuber, vine, melon and nut seeds and Fay Dentine had her own little farm.

In return for his seeds and his hours of backbreaking, sweaty help, Fay assisted Anthony "Stoney Tony" Hemingway in clearing another, smaller patch of land about a half hours walk farther inland. Where he planted his "special" seeds. They had a monopoly on the islands best source of fresh water, but didn't really have to haul much with the islands erratic weather patterns and frequent monsoon like rains.

During their stay there Stu Lloyd the architect designed a hut - a three-seat commode - an outhouse. George Benton helped dig and shore up a solid trench to put it over and set a foundation to support it and Chick Krupa used his furniture making skills to make the thrones and the framework for the shack and they used animal skins Apollo had cleaned and tanned and Genna stitched together using the twine Peter Castor had made. Robert Wallice even contributed a carved wooden bucket they could wash cloth and towels in.

So Healey, the blind man, and Fay, a nice modest lady, didn't have to go wandering in the forest on the look out for snakes, bugs and poisonous plants and squatting to relieve themselves and wiping with hands full of damp leaves. Instead they had a nice rest room to use and some rags to clean themselves up with and a bucket to clean the rags and their hands in and a line to hang the rags up to dry on.

And as a side benefit of this, they had a neatly contained trench full of waste they could use as fertilizer in Fay and Stoney's gardens. Just their way of giving a little something back to the island.

Now Kirby Pollack didn't have any drawing pads or pencils or ink. But he had caves - lots of them. And dyes made from crushed berries and something like beets. And shit - an unlimited supply of feces in an interesting pallet of browns and ochres. And he knew from the art history classes he'd taken in Community College that cave paintings were the oldest form of artwork in mankind's history. He also knew the tradition of relating tales of hunts and exploits of adventure - sometimes with a series of pictures depicting a course of actions - and depicting the tribal leader as bigger and more heroic than any one else. In effect, cave paintings were our earliest super-hero comic books - or at least comic strips. So Kirby helped in the gardens and got high with Stoney and found an outlet for his artistic impulses and decorated the walls of their communal home.

The four of them couldn't sit on the islands main source of fresh water without being discovered, but they convinced Shephard that they weren't coming back to the beach. Well, what was he going to do, kidnap them and drag them away? So they served as the guardians of the springs and helped fill water bottles and fed the visitors who came to fetch the water and let them rest up for the walk back. Fay and Stefan and Stoney went vegan but sometimes the visitors coming for water would bring Kirby a little dried meat or dried fish jerky. They ran their own little commune. A few times they made the hike back to the beach for one of the chef's boar barbecues but they always headed back to their adopted home early the next morning. They smoked bud and ate fruit and lived peaceably. They worked in their gardens and took turns reading to Healey and Fay took care of him. They didn't barter much - they didn't really have enough time for most of their crops to come to harvest. Though they did give the Korean woman sun a few pounds of seeds for her garden. And they were helpful and friendly to anyone who came buy to fill up water bottles at the springs.

They didn't tell most of the people about their pot smoking or Stoney's garden... but it was kind of an open secret among a few of us that they shared their secrets and smoked the peace pipe with. Like Chick Krupa, like An and Porsche, like Genna. Like Lance, and Hurley. I mean, obviously I knew about it. Probably because of the dreadlocks. I knew they'd come in handy some day.

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