Fortunately, the hospital wasn't far from the park. Valerie drove Corncob to the ER and somehow talked the nurse into letting them see Michael once the doctors were through with him. Michael lay in bed with the sheets pulled all the way up to his chin. A clear plastic tube ran under his nose, and he stared at the ceiling.
"You okay, Michael?" Corncob said.
"No, Cornelius," Michael said, "I am definitely not okay. If I were okay, I would not be in the hospital with heat stroke now would I?"
"I guess not."
Valerie clucked her tongue. "You look better now than when they put you in the ambulance, if you ask me." Corncob winced as he saw Michael gather a breath for a scathing retort, but Valerie cut him off. "Corncob here is just concerned for you, that's all.
"He's fine," Corncob said. "If he were in trouble, he wouldn't be this ornery."
Michael clenched his jaw and stared back up at the ceiling. "I'm so overjoyed by you both coming in here to offer your well-wishes. I can feel my strength returning, buoyed on by your outpouring of sympathy and understanding."
"Don't mention it," Corncob said.