Monday was my first visit with Jim. He walked in right on my heels at eight a.m. He said,
"I want to learn to use a stick like that."
"Long White Cane? I said. Holding out my cane for emphasis. His ignorance about the proper name for the cane didn't surprise me. The average Joe on the street called it something like that. Plus this guy didn't sound like he was from around here; he had some slight accent I couldn't quite place.
"Yes excuse me, a cane. Is its length for safety?"
"Right. Who are you?" I never had a conversation nor a teacher/student relationship start out like this one.
"I'm Samuel, Samuel Patrick." I took his hand. "You asked if you could learn to use a cane. Why?"
"My vision is damaged. I am having difficulties traveling independently. I saw how you handled yourself on your way in. I need that skill, confidence too." He sounded like he knew what he wanted.
"All right. But there are somethings we need to talk about before we can get started." I said, headed toward my office. "Wait in here and I'll be right back.
I heard a book being replaced upon the shelf as I came back.
"Find anything interesting there?"
"Collections of books always interest me." He said and I wasn't sure if he sounded guilty getting caught in the act or not.
"I use them with my clients. Some of those stories are just the ticket to help with their adjustment. Anything there strike you?"
"Most made sense. Psychology, philosophy, and I noticed you have about a shelf and a half of material on Blindness. But how does this section over here of science fiction fit in?" He ask, said in his confident way of presenting himself.
"Those are special volumes which for some can open the inner-doors to adjustment through fiction or fantasy."
"Space and time travel fits in there too?" He asked and I wasn't sure how he was implying this last question, maybe how far out am I willing to go with my counseling.
"Depends upon the acceptance and creativity of the student. In your case?" Putting a shrug into my voice. "That remains to be seen." Wanting to get this back to a starting point of my choosing, I said, "But what would help me right now is, out of the print sizes displayed in those books, which can you read?"
"All the titles." Sound of him handling the books again. "For reading the actual text, these Kernel Books... Says here..." voice muffled, like he had to have the print right up to his eye and was reading haltingly into the page. "...The type size used in this book is 14 Point for two important reasons: One, because typesetting of 14 Point or larger complies with federal standards for the printing of materials for visually impaired readers..." That is me. I have to hold it close, off to the side and the light has to be bright. I would need magnification for these others. But any reading is difficult, can only do it for a short time."
What I'd heard thus far told me Jim was experiencing some central vision loss; the detail vision needed to read and do other close work. "What can you tell me about your blindness, what can and can't you see" What is the cause and prognoses?"
"From a virus. Its been a slow process and the doctor says its going to get worse." Going on to describe a condition which was slowly robbing him of both central and periphiale vision by destroying the retina in random patches.
I could guess where he would be experiencing functional limitations in travel, reading/writing, tasks at home and at work. I needed more information. "Besides reading, where else are you experiencing problems functioning?"
"Let us backup for a moment. I need to let you know the time frame in which we have to work in. Three days and approximately two hours per day. And the other area you can assist me in would be through general discussion."
"Okay?" I said, waiting for him to go on, but he didn't. Granted, it was he who had come to me asking for help, cane travel in specific. However like with most people, I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg. More would likely come to light as we got into it. And then this time restraint thing, was it negotiable? It was a start, time would tell.
"Where are you from? Why only three days?"
"Iowa. Though I've not been home for some time. My business demands travel of me and I'm only in town through Wednesday.
"Two hours a day for travel lessons will give you a good start, provided you use what you learn between visits. Its not a super complex skill, just takes learning the basic technique and practice, practice, practice. There is only one other issue about learning to travel with a long cane. Its best learned with out using your vision. How about agreeing to wear a sleep-shade during some of the training and practice times?"
"Sure." No hesitation apparent in his voice. "Makes sense you learn it in its purest form. I know my vision is sufficient for navigating in some environments, however I am where I cannot trust or use it in other areas and that scares me. I need to be able to go when duty calls and that may mean anywhere at any time."
I sure liked hearing his take on skill development. His attitude on the use of the sleep-shade was refreshing, uncommon for a lot of people with partial sight. Refusal, denial or complaints were more the norm. I wouldn't have to spend a lot of time getting him to see the parallel between the partially blind and the totally blind person's universal need and use for the cane. "Sure you can't give any more time?"
"Thank you but no." Some hesitation, then he said, "You see my colleagues and I were just passing through when our vehicle broke down. We are working to complete repairs and be on our way." Then with that quick "take charge" approach I had already seen in him, he stood up and said, "Could we get started?"
at the supply closet I fitted him with a sleep-shade and a long white cane. During the fitting of the cane, he made the comment, "Give me your longest. There are times when I need to move and move fast. I will want all the fore-warning I can get."
The only real awkward moment during this procedure was when it came to payment. He said, "This is embarrassing. I do not have any of your currency. Ah, we weren't planning to stop. But I am sure I can arrange for a transfer of funds and pay you tomorrow."
What could I say but, "Sure." We had money set aside to cover equipment for those who couldn't pay. I had the feel I could trust him to come back tomorrow with the money.
Setting that aside for the moment I said, "The first task is to learn how to make the cane work for you. There is an acceptable range of how and where to hold it, arc it and work your tap and stride all together so you can get the maximum amount of coverage and feedback. Its called the "Two-Point-Touch technique."
"I was unable to see the specifics of how you were working it earlier. Before I put on the sleep-shade May I see you in action again?"
Positioning myself, he found the best angle to see from. "Hold the cane with a grip that works for you. palm-up or palm to the side like shaking another person's hand. Some cane users will also place the index finger parallel down the shaft like pointing a gun. Second, keep it at the mid-point of the body. it makes it equal distance to arc it from left to right, keep's that protective arc square in front of you."
"I see you arc it a little more than the with of your body."
"Correct. Keep the tip low, too."
Sleep-shade on, he extended his cane and arched experimentally. "I suppose if you arc it too high you could miss something, but you would not want to drag it either." He started to walk around the reception area. Coming up on the seating section his cane went under and between the legs of the chairs.
"Slide your hand down the shaft, grip it more like a pencil and change the angle to more up and down. Pull it close in, makes it shorter, takes care of this entangling problem." I liked seeing how this guy found the cane to be such a common sense tool. He was proving to be a quick learner. I'm sure he will respond well to our teaching/learning philosophy of "Structured Discovery Learning;" the instructor demonstrates the initial technique, then places the learner in travel situations where they figure out how to use the cane and their brain to get from point "A to B."
At his side I reached over and checked his grip and placement of the cane. "The next part of the technique we need to look at is getting the tap and stride to work together to give you the maximum safety Clarence. How do you suppose that is accomplished?" Thought I'd see what he'd think.
"Since you mentioned it earlier, I have been thinking on that." Shifting himself around to achieve a stance he said, "You would want to tap on the oppositeside from the leg that has its heel striking the ground. Say the right heel is forward and is striking, you need to tap at the left where that leg is trailing behind, so you know by your tap on the left there is or is not something out there. Gives you about two to two and one half strides of warning."
"Correct." I couldn't believe this guy, very few people figured the tap and stride out so quick. "And that's it for the walking part of the technique. However there is a technique for using it on assenting and descending stairs. Otherwise getting around nonvisually will require the use of your combined senses coupled with your cane and your brain."
"I would say we are at a point where practice is in order, right?" Getting conformation from me. "Now, if its all right with you..." He said, like it was the natural order of things. "I am going to head out of here and what I need from you Mr. Patrick, is to follow and make sure I keep out of trouble. Basically let me figure things out on my own. Give me advise if I need it. Let us go."
He went for where hall-way noises came in through the closed office door. His cane tip struck the medal of the door's kick plate, the door handle was depressed and his foot steps clattered on to the tile of the hall-way, heading to the left to where I knew he could hear the elevator bells. I followed quickly at his heels. The way he was starting out, charging ahead, I'd have to be on my toes and ranging ahead of him auditorially to check out what was coming up; didn't think I'd be able to get out front and stay there anticipating his direction.
Approaching the elevators, two on each side of this east-west hallway, one on the south "Dinged" and opened. Jim's cane tip struck the right side of its doorway as he entered. I didn't hear anyone coming off; good thing, his's quick entrance would not have allowed anyone to get out before he boarded. I followed in and could hear another person hurrying to follow me on.
"I am getting off on two. You gentlemen want first?" Announced Our fellow passenger.
I had debated on how to handle the buttons, thought it may be yet another area of functional difficulty for Jim, but that concern was taken out of our hands for now. Jim said, "One will do. Thank you."
With the closing of the doors at second, I said, "There are Braille and large print tags on most elevator here in this country. Would you find use in learning Braille as a system for reading and writing?"
"No, Braille is not needed. Ah, we use more audio systems. You know, a voice asks you where you want to go and tells you where you are."
The door open before I could fully digest and respond to what he had said. Out in the elevator alcove we were faced with a suprizingly large number of people waiting to board. Jim again charged ahead. "Excuse us," he said as the crowd made way. He headed for the thirteenth street exits which were straight out from the alcove. I am sure he was able to auditorially pick up on their location by the foot traffic coming in and out.
Outside, he didn't slow, turned left or north and headed for the sounds of Farnam Street.
From two strides behind, I could easily tell the placement of his tap. "Your arc sounds good. Covering yourself well." Though in a while if he didn't lighten up on how hard he was striking each tap, I'd need to bring it to his attention.
"Keeping your hand centered?" I asked. A potential problem for many beginners.
"Centered! Had to correct it several times."
"How would you judge your step and tap?" Another part of the technique of which I could readily assess via auditory cues, but I wanted to make sure he was thinking about it.
He skirted around a group of teenagers who came at us from around the corner of the building. "I will be the first to say it will take some refinement. But its working." And on he went around the corner, heading west.
He progressed at a steady walk and though he traveled a straight line, he was to the extreme right side of the walk area. Every few yards the shaft of his cane "Pinged" off a parking meter or metal light pole.
Thinking about Jim and the cane, I wondered what the people he normally associated with back home will react to his usage of the cane. I would need to be aware of potential cultural differences.
Nearing the end of the block, the sounds of traffic on the north/south street started up. I went around him and got out front. I wanted to be there if he needed help.
Just short of the corner he got himself tangled up in the parking meters and poles. I waited at the bottom of the wheelchair ramp. This block has one of those newer concepts of a ramp to street level. The whole corner is cut down from cross-walk to cross-walk.
Finally at the ramp, he came striding right down the slope, not appearing to know it was there. He also didn't seem to pick up on the gutter, nor the different angle of the street surface. It looked like he was going right on out into traffic.
"Jim! read your traffic."
He stopped. "I thought I could get closer to the traffic."
"Where do you think you are now?"
"Zoom." a car when by just a cane's length away.
Scratching around with his cane, first Out into the street, then back to his feet and behind him, he said, "pretty flat. The curb must be near."
"Check your feet."
"Ah, seems to be a small ridge here."
"That's the street side of the gutter. You walked down a ramp, crossed the gutter and are now standing in the street."
The east-west traffic started up.
"Thank you, Samuel. How do you detect a slant like this?"
"The trick is to use your ankles, the cane and your brain. Eventually you develop educated ankles and a cane hand which can detect any slant and with that being fed to your brain, you'll have it. Let's back you up for a minute and take a couple of runs at this curb-cut."
Jim worked hard on the corner and did better. We also worked with his vision and the cane. "Not only is this ramp nearly invisible to my eye, but most times I can't see where the average drop-off is unless the two levels are drastically different in contrast or in color."
"Detecting drop-offs is Definitely another place where the cane will save your neck and ankles." I said.
He slid the cane tip along the ramp way and let it fall the short distance down on to the street and said, "If used correctly, I can see where the cane is a sensor; gives you distance measurement, vibration and sound."
"Ready to tackle the crossing? Tell me what you see? Then we'll work out the non-visual techniques."
"Mostly blears of colored shapes racing at me from very close in. Even then, it depends upon the contrast, lighting and well, how my vision is at the moment.
"Can you see the traffic lights?"
"Not always. If it is in shadow, the illumination will stand out. Otherwise, no, the changing of the lights get lost in the background."
"Tell me then, how can it be done with out vision?" I knew this guy would figure this one out.
"Sound! these vehicles make sufficient noise to know what they are doing. The lights govern the flow and I can go the same direction as the vehicles."
"Correct. Like our mother's taught us, "Stop, Look and Listen."
The rest of our lesson outdoors went well. Though I worked him some under shades, mostly I had him show me what he could do with his vision. I need to evaluate what he could do with it, our time this week would be finished before we knew it. He needed to be able to use the cane in situations where he could use his partial vision along with it, as well as in those conditions when his vision wouldn't help at all.
Back in our building I steered him away from the elevators and into a stair well. Before we finished today I wanted to work on stairways, definitely an important feature of safe travel.
Tapping the edge of the top step I said, "Tell me what this looks like to you?"
"It looks like a large gray hole. Appears to have a descending ramp. The nearer portion here," tapping with his cane for emphases, "is lighter in color and the deeper it descends, with the distance and shadow it looks darker."
Thinking there was something more that if he could recognize it would help him, I asked, "Is there a visual pattern to it that could be interpreted as a flight of stairs; lines or something?"
"yes." Voice moving from side to side telling me he was visually scanning. "If I take the time to study it, I can see something..." His words faded down into a meaningful wordless grunt. "However, it would take too much time and effort."
It was easy to read between the lines, he was also saying, "Yes, I could do it. But I don't like being slowed down by the process. Yet alone the threat to life and limb." To this I would add, the fact of life, even if a partially sighted individual could handle this specific stairway okay, environmental conditions surrounding each stairway vary, the lighting, shadows, color contrast, etc. How would they do with the next they encountered?
I showed him the proper technique for stairs; first a verbal description, then a demonstration with Jim observing visually and tactually. We covered both descending and ascending.
I knew he was getting it when he said, "I no longer have to watch my feet."
Back up stairs, sitting and debriefing, I again attempted to go beyond his need just for travel alternatives. "We have computers here adapted for speech and tactual output. Would you be interested in trying them?" I still wondered where else his blindness was effecting his life.
"Maybe next time. Coming in here this morning I knew many daily tasks can be done non-visually. much of what I do now is technical in nature. Some of it is audio-assisted, with voice input and output. Much of the source materials I deal with are recorded and available in both print and voice output. I also have a staff which have various responsibilities and take my orders. Transportation is provided by my employers."
Curiouser and Curiouser this guy was becoming. First he comes in unannounced, almost demands to learn alternatives (for travel anyway). He's a good learner with little fear or hesitation, in fact takes charge. Plus it seems he has an employment situation that already has in place high-tech mechanisms that lend themselves to nonvisual functioning.
"Jim..." I wanted to ask about what exactly he did and for whom, when my secretary knocked at the door.
"Samuel, your next appointment is here."
"Well, I've taken up enough of your time for today." Jim said rising. "Tomorrow then?"
"Yes. There are a few matters I need to rearrange, but it'll work."
Tuesday 8:00, "Morning Samuel. Ready to go?" Jim greeted me.
"Sure. Same deal as yesterday?" I asked.
"If it is still acceptable to you?" Heading for the door and the elevators, I thought I'd have to run to catch up.
"Sleep-shades on?" I said as we entered the elevator.
"Right and I did take your advise and practiced with them on last evening."
Reaching the main floor Jim wove his way between several groups of people who were standing and conversing in the lobby. Out side he took the same route as yesterday. Today he stayed out of the poles along the curb and at the corner he read his traffic well and crossed with the changing of the light. His progress today was showing signs he must have indeed practiced. Not only did he have that confident air about him, but his performance with the Two- Point technique was near perfect and his awareness of his surroundings was much better than yesterday. Yet I felt he was traveling a bit too fast in areas for his level of experience.
His cockiness finally caught up with him as we entered the civic center where I had suggested we travel through to the opposite side of the block and head back to what is called the Old Market. New goal in mind he walked up to the door at full bore, opened it and charged in.
"You nearly knocked me down, young man!" Said the querulous voice of an older woman.
I was prepared to explain our mission to the lady, student driver and all that. But Jim with the charming side of him that I had seen, quickly had the situation under control. With the woman calmed down, bag back in her hand, he escorted her outside and we were again on our way.
Moving through the building required him to locate the hallway housing the elevators, get us down to first floor and then into the corridor leading to the Harney street exit. He had to ask questions twice and came up with the norm in regard to correctness of the information received; one person knew what they were talking about and the other didn't.
"Interesting how many people do not know how to give directions." He said.
"Yes. Also interesting to find how many people do not know the city outside their own neighborhoods. But Jim, a real key to getting the most usable directions is in knowing how to ask for information."
"It would be in the phrasing of the question. Is that correct Samuel?"
"Correct. Its kind of like, you get what you ask for. For example, if you say, "How do you get to Point-X?" You are asking them to give you that information in their terms. Where if you say, "Do you know where Point-X is? If so, which direction, how many blocks, what street do you turn at..." You lead them on how you want the information given back, you have them put it in your terms. It may take a bit more time up front, but it saves you time and frustration later."
Out on the street and heading back east the direction we had come, Jim was again in the lead. After crossing the first street, I closed up the gap and walked almost at Jim's side as we entered what I knew to be a half block or so of construction. Last time I had come this way the pedestrian was forced to walk down a narrow shoot which took you out into the street and around the front of a building that I believe was getting a facelift.
Encountering the board fence Jim tried going toward the building to get around. Finding that to be a dead-end, he reversed is path and followed the fence on his left on and around. It worked out okay, but forced a couple of people coming from the other direction to pass us on our right.
Another four blocks passed beneath our cane tips and we reached the shopping area called, The Old Market. There we wound our way around several blocks encountering a variety of normal travel situations and headed back to the office. We were coming up on the end of his two hour time allotment.
On the way for purposes of more low vision travel, I had him remove his shades.
"Now that my visual world has closed in and blurred out upon me, I know I can still recognize many familiar visual patterns." He said as we were taking a breather. "However, I have found through experience that it is not to be relied upon. When you are correct, its okay, but if you are wrong, you pay a price and sometimes its painful. Then there is the day to day changeability of your vision. One day its as good as it gets and the next it may be significantly decreased. Another point is that my vision is also too reliant upon the need for sufficient light. Lighting which usually is not in enough abundance. Now with the cane when walking and using my vision, I feel much more comfortable traveling knowing I have this cane out in front of me. I never thought I would need to cope with blindness and need to learn a skill like this one. I can see that attitude does have a tremendous impact on the person needing to learn this, correct?"
"True, it starts there."
"Excuse me, Samuel?" Came the questioning voice of a guy who had just walked up. I thought I new the voice, but couldn't pull up the name that went along with it.
"Hi, you are going to have to refresh my memory. I know I know the voice, but just can't get the name." I answered.
"Howard Shout. You were my counselor a couple of years ago. Remember?" The patronizing tone made it all come back. This encounter would be a good experience for Jim.
"Howard," Putting out my hand for a shake. "What brings you out? Are you off to work?" Knowing this probably wouldn't be the case, but the guy had alluded to that possibility, though I had always read it as false bravado.
"No, just taking a walk down into the market. Are you training a blind man?" His use of "blind man" was an example of where his attitude had gotten stuck; a blind person would use a cane, he wasn't and didn't.
"Howard, meet Jim. Jim's vision is about like yours."
The two shook hands and exchanged brief information concerning their visual status.
"Where is your cane?" Asked Jim.
"Oh I don't need one. I go where I want. I just watch my feet and if I've been there before I don't have a problem."
"Do you have many like that?" Jim asked after Howard had taken his leave of us.
"Lucky no. But there are always a few like that around."
"That reminds me." Jim spoke up. "My staff wanted to know, what is the best method to lead a blind person?"
Arranging myself at his right side and grasping the back side of his upper arm just above the elbow, "This is called Sighted-guide technique. Once you learn this, there need not be any verbal cuing. It is much like that old saying, "its easier to pull a wagon, then to push one. Note by hooking on to you from here, it places me a half stride behind you. Everything I need to know about following you I will be able to get by my contact to your arm. If you turn, you arm will turn. If you step up or down, your arm will follow you. There are only two major points for the lead to remember. First make sure there is room for both to pass any object. If not, you place your arm behind your back and I know to follow single file. Second, as we approach a step up or down, make sure you hit it straight on."
"Or the person being lead may get there first and trip. Or think its a step away and its not." Jim volunteered and had it again.
"Correct. But there is one more point I'll make. Though this works, I personally never totally hand myself over to the responsibility of another. I'll go Sighted-guide, but I'll still use my cane at the same time."
"GOING STEADY, BOYS!" A young male voice yelled out the open window of a passing car.
"Steady? Is that what I think it means?" Jim said, some what aghast.
"Oh, yeah. Like we are lovers or something along those lines. Like we were saying, some people have real attitude problems."
"To change attitudes is at times necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary to force it and with pleasure. But I best not think along those lines or I may find myself stepping out of acceptable bounds" Jim said and it made me think this guy definitely could be a man of action if the situation called for it.
Wednesday, Jim didn't show at 8:00. By 8:15 I decided to go to his hotel to see if there might be something I could offer at the last minute. If not, I'd say good bye. He had been a very good and interesting student.
At the Red Lyon I confirmed that a big blonde guy with a white cane was registered. "All I know is his first name, "Jim, James. could you help me get a message up to his room?"
"Well, let's see... Depends on which one of them signed the book." She surprisingly said as she looked at her computer screen. "They're been walking around here for the past couple of days. I think they were novices with their canes. Are you the teacher? One of them mentioned getting lessons?"
They! There were more than Jim? A group? All using canes? Novices? I needed to check this out.
"Here he is, James. Room 636."
"What for a last name?" I had been too busy to write up his initial paperwork and had planned to cover that with him today.
On sixth I turned left first to get a reading on how the numbering ran; 602, 604. The next corridor read 612, 614. The third was it.
At 636 I heard several mens voices, I knew I was in luck and knocked.
"Who is there, please?" Came a deep modulated voice. With my name, the voice spoke back over his shoulder. " Captain, I believe it is your counselor."
"Captain... And that was it. I made the connection my mind had been struggling over. Jim or James and with the last name of Kerk. I bet if I asked he's say this middle initial would be "T," for Tiberious. So what was this? Who was he and these people? I couldn't believe this was an elaborate hoax put on just to fake me out. Yeah, I'm a Trecky, but how would they know that?
The door opened and it was Jim. "Samuel, come in."
We moved Through a short hallway or foyer and into what I felt must be the livingroom of the suite.
"You didn't come in today. So I came looking for you."
"I called and left a message with your secretary for you. But you had just left. I apologize for the inconvenience I may have caused. Our repairs have been completed ahead of schedule. I don't recall telling you where I was staying."
"No." I answered, all the while listening to the others nearby and in at least two of the adjoining rooms. I was trying to get a sense of what was going on. A theory I was working on put them as a group of actors who specialized in Star Trek. They traveled putting on skits at science fiction conventions? I needed more info. "There are only three hotels in walking distance. Calling around I found you on my second try."
"Well Samuel, you caught us just as we were leaving."
"What did the guy at the door refer to you as?" I asked, backing up a minute, but I thought he'd know where I was going.
"Captain." It was the voice from the door coming up to where Jim and I were standing. I heard the unmistakable "TICK," of the shaft of a fiber glass cane striking the edge of the coffee table next to where we stood. "It may not be advisable for Mr. Patrick to know more than he already may surmise."
Silence for a few long seconds, then, "I have a hunch, Mr. Spok that we can trust in Mr. Patrick's discression." Turning to me again, "Would I be wrong in guessing that you have concluded we are the crew of the star ship Enterprise?"
"I am thinking something like that. But here, as you well know, there is no Federation of Planets, nor star ships." My thought, "Wow! How elaborate. A whole team of them trying to pull one over on me. I'm not sure why, but I wouldn't be surprised if we were being secretly filmed. Weird.
"Correct again, Samuel. We are not from your world, nor from your time. Have you an understanding of the concept of parallel universes?"
Plausible and I wanted to answer as quickly as I could, thinking if I didn't, the Mr. Spok guy would launch into a scientific explanation. "Yes. At least the notion of its possibility."
"Then what may be fiction in one universe may be real in another?" Jim said in that likeable trusting tone I had many times heard the TV captin use to new crew.
"Yes." I answered, thinking he had me going. Nothing to argue with yet. But, "Why are you here? Why did you seek me out or well, what's this with the blindness thing?"
Jim took a few seconds to answer a call from his communicator. Something to do with the transfer of materials; the voice was female and sounded much like Uhura. "I have only a few minutes, but you do deserve an explanation. I did come to you with an honest need, I am nearly blind and so are all of my crew. A few totally. We encountered a new life form, one which infected our nervous systems. Doctor McCoy has been able to clear us up to this extent, but..." Another interruption from a guy that sounded Russian, then, "the Enterprise sustained damage from encountering a space anomaly. Many of our systems were negatively effected, medical being one. We stopped here first for raw materials to bolster our repair work. Secondly and only by circumstance did we seek out your office. It was Mr. Spok researching your Internet that we found there were good blind rehabilitation services available in this city. It didn't take long to figure out what you had to offer may be just as important as the strength of our ship."
He must have taken what I taught him and passed it on to his crew! From the philosophy, to the Two-Point-Touch technique, and even the replication of his cane! I was starting to buy in and fought it. "What do you do next?"
" Jim." It had to be doctor McCoy who had come up. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your counselor and teacher?"
The long thin fingers of this man squeezed my hand. "Son, if my equipment was up and running I might offer you my services. But, I do thank you for sharing your unique services with us."
"Bones, you and the rest of the away team ready?" Jim asked.
"Samiel," The drawling voice of the doctor said, "not having to get your atoms spread half way across the universe as part of your job, is something I envy you. Yes Jim."
"Samuel." Jim took my hand. "Thank you again. You will understand we need to be going. We still have a lot of work to do in order to get back home. Remember what you did for me, you helped us."
A click of a communicator, "Scotty, beam us up."
"Yes, captain." The communicator broadcast the unmistakable brogue of a Scotsman.
A high pitch wine of what we Trecky's had learned to expect a transporter beam to sound like filled the room. Then silence.
I swept the area in front of me with my cane, nothing. I stood, waiting, listening. Nothing, the sound of a small electric motor kicked on, possibly a mini refrigerator here in the suite. I walked around the livingroom probing with my cane, listening. I went into the adjoining rooms and found nothing. They were either damn good in hiding and staying quiet or they were really gone. Or could they have walked out during the transporter sound? I really didn't know.
But what could I believe, they were there and now they're gone. Was it a well played hoax? Was I now being filmed? Like that old TV show, Candid Camera? This would be interesting if it were real. But that was a bit much. Wasn't it, I asked myself?
"It's ten O'clock A.M." My talking watch announced, the end of Jim's allotted time.