FLAT LINE: the driver


On Sunday, May 11, 2011 a category EF5 multiple vortex tornado touched down in the U.S. state of Missouri, just east of the Kansas state line. It started slowly, tracking its way along a rural part of the state, where damage was minor and people remained safe. But as it entered more densely populated sections of the state, it became more angry, more aggressive and began to raise the stakes. The warning sirens had long since sounded and most residents had taken cover in safe havens, heavily fortified schools and in storm shelters, below ground. But the EF5 would not be satisfied with destroying a few homes, it would continue to track along the ground, with sustained cyclone force winds of more than 200 miles per hour. As its fury could not be contained, and there was nothing anyone could do, the violent tornado changed directions, taking dead aim at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, leaving the helpless patients and those intent on saving them, trapped, with only God’s mercy to save them.


from Sacramento California
Mozzy with Perk Callin


“The road is important,
but not more so than the driver.”
– Kendall F. Person

part i FLAT LINE the road

FLAT LINE the driver (the conclusion)
written & edited by Kendall F. Person

Joshua had screamed himself into a deep slumber. While he had robbed a bank and taken a woman hostage, the hospital staff that attended to him and even the guards who stood outside his door, could not help but to be affected by his screams and the condition he was now in. He was quadriplegic, forever losing use of any of his limbs, Joshua still had to stand trial and most likely be sentenced for all he did. But the continual punishment seemed to be a waste, for Joshua was now a prisoner within. One floor down, in Rosi’s room, the life support monitor continued its slow drag across the screen, rising in proportion to her breaths, falling in the appropriate places. There were electrodes and wires attached to her head, needles sticking in both arms attached to both medicating and feeding machines. Her brother Nathan sat down by her side. He held his sister’s hand inside his, and slowly began to cry. Then his mind drifting back, to the war he thought he had left behind.


His platoon  was under attack, as the Taliban had become more brazen as the US-led invasion was slowly pulling back. The coalition forces scrambled for cover, as mortar shells flew in from all directions. The wagon had been circled and the men who had signed on to protect their countries were now in the middle of hell. Nathan fired into the darkness, sand and smoke blinding his eyes. The screams of his comrades emblazoned his charge and he shot into the darkness just hoping they all would die. There were times when he longed to turn the gun on himself. To end the madness of the war, if only for him. But the thoughts of seeing his sister, and sharing a life they had missed as kids, and the belief that the taking of his life was not a choice for him to make, kept his gun leveled at an invisible enemy, that had never done anything to him.

He survived both tours of duty, and he had made peace that there would be no homecoming parade, but how could life be so cruel as to leave his only sister in a vegetative state.  But Joshua never once said “Why me?”

Life can be cruel with its twist and turns
as everyone of sometimes learn.
– excerpt from If by Rudyard Kipling


the decision

The county’s transfer team arrived to take Joshua to the county hospital for he was now a ward of the state. Officer Jay Smith had noticed the darkening skies, but gave them no further thought, even as the stray dog on the corner began to howl toward those same skies. Dr. Ian McKenzie walked into Rosi’s hospital room. He carried a clipboard with paper, and Nathan knew he was the messenger of doom. Nathan turned his head toward the life monitoring machine. The ball still bounced which meant his dear sister was still with him and he would not allow them to pull the plug.

On the edge of town, a category EF5 multiple vortex tornado had just touched down. The sirens began to wail in the distance, and the farmers and their children began to enact the drill they had practiced on so many days. But Mother Nature would prove to the inhabitants of the city, she cared less about their preparations, and would hand pick who would meet their maker. The EF5, a catastrophic monster, would zig zag through the county, zeroing in on its target and taking dead aim at a hospital on the far end of town.

Nathan bowed his head in prayer, “Dear  Jesus, please guide me and tell me what I should do. Are you to bring my sister home, or should I fight to keep her here with me?” Rosi could not move or communicate, but she could hear her brother’s prayers. She was not dead inside, rather, she was simply locked-in. She screamed to herself, Nathan, don’t let them take me! I am here! I’m alive! But no one could hear her thoughts but her. Nathan looked at his sister and her lifeless body, and thought it would be too cruel to make her lay there in silence for the rest of her life. So he took the clipboard from the doctor’s hand, signed the form, allowing them to turn off the life support machine.

Nurse Maria Sanchez would be the first to scream. The lights to the city went dark, and the 5 seconds before the generator would kick in, all life was held in the balance. Joshua awoke to the panic around him. Hospital personnel and law enforcement, some running for cover, others continuing to do their job. He was being wheeled to safety, and now even he could hear the sirens, and knew the city was under attack by nature. He thought that this would be his chance, to allow the storm to take him, and he would deal with the afterlife, whatever that meant. But they ignored his cries and wheeled him to cover, just as the EF5 blasted out the windows, sending large shards of glass across the floor.

The doctor, with form signed in hand, stepped around Rosi and her brother, and began to remove the tubes. Nathan’s silent tears turned into loud sobs, he could not fathom the cruelty of so much loss in his life. But when he turned to his sister, for a final goodbye, he looked deep into her eyes, and something striking caught his attention – her eyes were looking back. He screamed toward the doctor, “Stop, she is alive!” But the doctor paid him no attention, he had seen it all before, and right after he removed the final tube, and just before he would turn off the switch, the multiple vortex tornado entered the room with such force, Dr. McKenzie, was thrown to the floor.

The life support machine flat lined. Nathan screamed. Dr. McKenzie was knocked unconscious, and lightning from the EF5 entered the room, as if locked on target, striking Rosi precisely where the bullet entered. Immediately, she sat straight up, gasped for air and cried like a newborn child.


Discussion Question: No scientific explanation, and rather we believe in miracles or content with phenomena unexplained, does the meaning of our life change, when we have clearly been born again?


There has never been anything like
CITIES debuts fall 2017

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⊕ this is…. The Neighborhood.
⊕ Created by Kendall F. Person
⊕ Built with contributions from scores of visual, recording & written-word artists,
⊕ Belongs to You and those who are on the way (big smile)
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