Jason was a public servant--following in the footsteps of his hero Todd Stewart no doubt. I never respected him for it, but, looking back, I probably should have. After all, he introduced me to my first and third wives, saved my life on several occasions, and got me that flask with Bronson Pinchot on it for Armistice Day. If I'd known hindsight was 20/20 back then, I might have considered doing things differently.
Jason wanted me to keep him company at the regional medical center. I wasn't about to deny a dying man what was ostensibly his final wish. Anyways, I had years of being a complete asshole to him to make up for. But as I sat there ladling watery oatmeal on his third degree burns I realized I could do him one better.
"Do you remember when we used to go on the road trips, J?" I asked before taking a generous chomp out of a hospital-issued root beer popsicle.
"I do my friend," Jason replied, coughing up bits of charred internal organ. I forgot he wasn't supposed to talk. But at least he didn't have a brain freeze.
"What do you say, old pal? One more time?"
If Jason could nod he would have. But instead he just clenched his eyes shut and quivered his head a little. I guess this is lava beast victim for "yes."
On the way down to the car, I accidently "put Jason out of his misery." How was I supposed to know the air outside the quarantine ward would tear through his immune system like a bag of hot knives? The warning sign that said so was covered up by my sweatshirt. Now I'm being charged for involuntary manslaughter. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.