"If it ain't broke, don't fix it....."


by James Nathan Post

My name is Jolene I am seven years old. Last year when I was just a little kid I used to play with my friends Debby and Janis and we would listen the radio. I liked it best that way because its not too loud and it turns off when Iím not listening. When Martha thats my mother and her friends listen the radio they always turn on the stereo, which is the part I think or used to think is too loud.

One day I asked her why she always turned on the stereo. She said because she likes the music. I laughed and said me too, but I donít like the stereo, its too loud. So she said turn it down and I turned it off and she got real mad. Thatís not nice. Now I canít hear the music she said. I said I can hear it and she got madder. You have to turn on the stereo she said and yelled at me. Peter came over and asked what the matter? Peter is her Old Man, he works a factory. I said Peter I donít like the stereo on, its too loud and it makes other noises and I just want to listen the radio. He said you have to turn on the stereo you canít hear if you donít and I said I can too.

Peter and Martha my mother got into a fight and Peter said its my magination. He made me tell the truth and said did you pretend and I said no. Then he yelled at Martha its all your fault all that dope and loosenation. She said your crazy. But I donít like any dope because it smells bad. Pretty soon my mother cried and came and said Jolene honey, your kind of sick and Peter will take you to see the doctor.

That is how I got to the hospital. I hope I never have to go to the hospital again. I really didnít like it much but it wasnt too bad, especially my friend Miss Shipley, shes the nurse who comes in at night. At first Doctor Hardisty just asked me a lot of questions and made me do things with blocks and things. Of course I couldnít answer all the questions and he said it was probably loosenation. He had the other nurse give me pills, but they made me dizzy and it was hard to understand things.

But pretty soon I learned what was wrong. It was because of the radio. When I used to listen the radio. And when I stop listening the radio, I can go home. Doctor Hardisty used a machine I donít know what, but he said what my friends and I did was loosenation and it would hurt me if I had it. I guess I really had it because the machine hurt me a lot, but pretty soon it went away. The radio I used to listen. Its too bad some other stuff I didnít understand went away too, but I can still hear OK if I turn on the stereo, so I can go home again tomorrow.

I hope I never get loosenation again. Doctor Hardisty said I should stay away from Debby and Janis. Thats too bad they are my friends, but at least we can still talk the telephone.


This story is included in KING'S KNIGHT -- A Science Fiction Anthology.