By: Dawn DeBraal
Debbie lay in bed trying to wake up. She felt a slight burning in her finger. Well, it was happening. Everyone in her family had neuropathy after they were in their fifties. All of them in their sixties, were on metformin or insulin. Diabetes ran in the family. She touched her finger. There was feeling but it was almost a burning pain. When the alarm sounded, Debbie pushed the snooze button. She sighed, thinking about work. Having to sit next to Lenny Cadmer all day was getting frustrating. He thought he was her boss, and he talked to himself all day. "Get it together Lenny!" he'd self-sooth. "You can do this Lenny!" It drove Debbie nuts. It's something she wasn't supposed to hear, but she did, all day long. She pushed the snooze. Just a few more minutes. A surge of energy from her body had come through the hurt finger and put a small burn hole in the quilt! She checked her finger. Though it was sore and hot, there was nothing there. It was all so disorienting. How had she done that? Maybe it was a moth hole she'd never noticed before? It had to be a coincidence that the hole happened to be where she had laid her hand.
Debbie got up out of bed and readied herself for the day. She took her little dog Coco for a walk. She tried to put on a mile before she went to work each day. She and Coco were moving along through the quaint neighborhood when a rottweiler who always tried to intimidate them, popped out of its' yard standing on the sidewalk in front of them. Debbie could feel her stomach churning inside and wondered if she should pick up Coco fearing the big dog would attack them. Perhaps the dog just wanted to smell Coco, but she needed to take charge. She pointed at the dog and said "No," in a firm voice. She felt a shock leave her hand hitting the side walk in front of the rottweiler. The dog yelped running back into the yard. What just happened? She felt the finger and again, it was hot. She looked at the neighbors' dog it cowered behind a tree as she and Coco walked by. He didn't look at Coco or make eye contact with Debbie. This was strange, yet empowering.
Sitting in the driver's seat in her little fiat she turned the key listening to a "click." It was the battery again. She'd just gotten it replaced. The garage said there were no leaks in the electrical system but here she was again stuck in her driveway with a dead battery. Debbie was so mad. She opened the hood and pulled on the cables going up to the newly purchased battery she felt a release of energy. Quickly getting behind the steering wheel she turned the key, the car started. What was happening to her? She wondered why she was able to give off electrical charges? She made it to work on time with moments to spare. Lenny came up with a warning that she was cutting it close. Debbie laughed it off letting him know that cutting it close was not the same as coming in late. She had car trouble, not that it was his business. Lenny self-appointed himself as her supervisor. He was a pain, and Debbie barely tolerated him.
At two o'clock the boss called Lenny and Debbie in to a private meeting. They were both up for the same promotion. He sat them down letting them know that they had performed their jobs admirably. But overall in customer satisfaction, Debbie got more votes than, Lenny. The promotion went to Debbie, who thanked her boss for giving her the responsibility.
"You won't be disappointed!" Debbie said excitedly. She ignored Lenny for the rest of the day. Since he appeared mad at her it wasn't hard to do. Typing up the last report, her finger was literally on fire. She didn't know if she'd burned something inside her finger with those discharges, or if by tapping on it all day, it had stored up energy that needed to be released. And how would she release it? She was not used to dealing with this new talent. Debbie said good night to her co-workers staying long enough to finish. She clicked save and shut down her computer for the night. Walking out to the parking garage she heard a noise. Most of the cars were gone. There were still a few cars scattered here and there. She picked up the pace walking faster to her car. She clicked the remote and heard the satisfaction of the doors unlocking. Just as she was getting into the driver's seat, she was taken from behind. Someone taller than her, pulled her back. Judging by the shoes it was a man. He was wearing a ski hat, pulled over his face. Debbie tried to pull his hands away from her throat. Her finger discharged all of the energy pent up for the day, into the attackers' hand. The man grunted and fell to the garage floor writhing as if he'd been hit by a taser. Debbie wasted no time, she quickly got into the car praising the Lord when it started. She threw it into reverse and left the parking lot. She tried deep breathing to calm herself. What had just happened? She had been attacked. How was she able to defend herself. What was happening to her? How could she control this new "talent?"
Coco was happy to walk when she got home. They found themselves coming to where the rottweiler lived. When the once mean dog saw them coming, he ran for the front porch and lay down ignoring them as they passed his house. Debbie chuckled. That dog had intimidated them for years. Her new talent put him in his place! She smiled and waved as they walked by.
Debbie pulled out her laptop and typed in "electrical impulses in the hand." Carpal tunnel syndrome and peripheral neuropathy popped up. She suspected it was neither of these things, those syndromes were felt inside the body and not able to direct an electrical discharge into someone. It had only been one day with this condition she had done good and bad things with it. She realized she knew nothing about it or how to control it. She started to think about the quilt, she was resentful having to get out of bed, so she was disappointed. The rottweiler made her scared, the car made her mad, her attacker frightened her. All emotional outbursts appeared to have triggered the electrical discharges from her finger. If she was upset, the electrical charge was a defense mechanism. She was sure she was onto something. She just needed to keep her cool and learn to control it. With that, she went to bed for the evening.
Over the next few days, Debbie experimented with her finger. She was able to cook a steak medium rare with one charge when she realized she was "hangry" (hungry mad). Her stress level at work was less that day since Lenny called in sick. No one was constantly over her shoulder trying to oversee whatever she was doing. Worry about yourself, Lenny! She discovered she needed to keep her hand in a plastic bag when she showered to avoid getting shocked. Day three of her amazing stun gun finger, went so much better than day one. Debbie sat at her desk, when Lenny came into the office with his hand wrapped in a big elastic bandage the next day.
"Going to be hard to type with that!" Debbie remarked, "What happened to you?" Lenny looked at the wrapped hand and shrugged.
"Burned it." Was all he said. Debbie felt all tingly inside. Was Lenny her attacker? She knew she had discharged on the man's hand. Surely this wasn't a coincidence! Debbie looked at Lenny's shoes, they weren't the shoes of her attacker, she never looked at what Lenny was wearing so maybe he had a pair of shoes like the ones of her attacker. Lenny was sitting there struggling to type on his computer talking to himself again. Debbie leaned back in her chair sending a charge in Lenny's direction. It was just a little one. Lenny jumped.
"What's wrong?" Debbie asked him ever so innocently.
"Static electricity! I just felt a shock!" Lenny answered dumbfounded. Debbie smiled sympathetically telling Lenny,
"I know I got it touching my desk this morning, must be the carpeting and the dry air." Debbie smiled on the inside, she had the power to control her co-worker, and she started to use it whenever Lenny self-soothed.
"Get it together Lenny!" Zap! "Ouch!" shrieked Lenny. "You can do it, Lenny!" Zap! "Ouch!" Debbie, enjoyed several weeks of this. Lenny was slowly being trained not to talk on the job except for business.
Debbie suddenly felt dizzy fainting in an employee meeting. When she woke, she was in the hospital with a doctor standing over her.
"Debbie, you are in the hospital. You've just had emergency brain surgery. A small pea-sized tumor was pressing on some nerves in your brain that ran to your left hand. It had to be removed immediately it was affecting your breathing that was why you passed out. It acted like an electrical conduit. How do you feel?" Debbie understood half of what he said. She answered "Okay," going back to sleep. A few days later with directions to take a few weeks off before going back to work, Debbie was let out of the hospital. Every day she was feeling a little better, but a little saddened by the loss of her new "talent." No longer could she produce that electrical discharge. It must have been the tumor that made that possible. On the good side, she didn't have neuropathy either. After she recuperated, she got back to work. A nice bouquet of flowers and a card signed by her co-workers let her know she was missed. Even Lenny was behaving nicely. Debbie stared at Lenny's hand, the one that had been bandaged before, was now open to the air. She couldn't help but notice the small round sized burn scar. She was certain it was Lenny who attacked her in the parking lot.
Debbie started in working when she heard next to her.
"Lenny, you can do it. Ouch!" Lenny was trying to self-sooth again. When he did, he would feel an electrical shock. She didn't do it! Debbie no longer had the ability to send shocks his way. Realization crept over her. She chuckled. Just like Pavlov's dogs, Lenny had been conditionally trained not to talk at work for anything, other than business. Everything Debbie had suffered through the past few weeks, was worth it!