An Excerpt from W.B. Bugg’s Change Of Heart

William Bradford Bugg was driving the Aston Martin down Pearl when his second heart stopped pumping. The first one was free. He was born with it. That heart worked tirelessly and for quite a long time. Then it started to complain. But like a domestic servant that, as the years roll by, begins to do less and less, it never quit completely. His second heart had cost him a six million dollar donation. It did its job with great vigor for seven years and then, in a moment when it was least expected, when Stravinsky was on the radio, when Mr. Bugg was set for a trip to Broadway, to see in a private viewing, his passion, which was Costume Design, the second heart, in a figurative manner entirely, walked out on the job. He had been grateful for the work that heart had done. He understood it was a Herculean task that heart had been assigned, to pump copious amounts of blood, blood rich with the things that made life a pleasure, fois gras, hand-cured bacon, osso buco, charcuterie, reductions, etc.  But why now? If the heart could’ve only given two weeks notice, he would’ve sent the thing off with a golden watch for all of its trouble. Instead, at the worst possible moment, while the Aston Martin’s engine purred like it had been asked to do, while he was lushly wrapped in leather, the symphonic tunes began to distort, his chest felt crushed-in, and his arms no longer followed his direction. The Aston Martin crashed into a Hawaiian themed taco shop. A stunning young man, entirely stunned but built for such moments of heroism opened the door, not to hurt William Bradford Bugg but to see if he was okay. William Bradford Bugg extended his large soft arms, slightly cold, a little clammy, around the young hero and Mr. Bugg was pulled out and laid down gently by the spilt salsa and poi poi. Those who saw it would later say that Mr. Bugg stared up into the slow-turning ceiling fan with a look of shock, incredulity and then relief. He passed in the arms of a hero.

As the paramedics dashed in to Auntie Ke a’ooni’s Taco Shack wearing tight-fitting short-sleeve black polyester shirts and carrying boxes of equipment, their biceps gleaming with a sheen of perspiration, it’s hard to imagine that they were not struck by the beauty and irony of the diorama they discovered: the Aston Martin, it seemed, had burst through the window and spit out Mr. Bugg. His lower half lay in the pretend ocean painted on the floor among starfish and surprised yellow tangs, his upper half on the sand and colorful blanket. His hands were splayed out above his head in the expression of hallelujah. They bent over William Bugg’s beached body, cut his dress shirt and ascot with a curved-bladed knife, his chest and neck expanded and jiggled like panna cotta when it is done just right. The tall one touched William Bugg’s throat and yelled, “HE’S ALIVE! START COMPRESSIONS!”