While Faith Was Sleeping
Right up front I want to say that I ripped off 90% of the plot for this story from the movie "Talk
to Her." But its such an interesting movie, I hope Pedro Almodover won't mind too much. Male
nurse Paul Flowers was played by actor Rick (aka Ricky) Shroder on "Scrubs." You shouldn't
need any familiarity with "Scrubs" or "Talk to Her" to appreciate this story. It contains spoilers
from the first five seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and much of the "Talk to Her" movie,
but virtually none for "Scrubs."
All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this
story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis. I welcome free distribution of the
story, but please let me know if you are going to do it. trinfaneb at yahoo dot com.
Male nurse Paul Flowers was assisting new resident Ben insert a catheter into a unconscious
patient when Ben said, "So you keep telling me to watch out for weird things in Sunnydale. But
what kind of weird things?"
"Well, take Mayor Wilkens, for example," Paul said. "There were all kinds of rumors flying
around about him, although no one would say anything on the record. Then about a year ago he
was speaking at the high school graduation when the boiler went haywire or something and most
of the school exploded. I've heard several people say the Mayor turned into a giant snake or
some such nonsense, although it never made the papers or anything. But you'll find out a lot of
stuff around here doesn't make the official news."
"That sounds pretty far out. The guy must have been a wacko."
"Actually he was a very polite, sweet guy. At least that's the way he always was to me. Before I
came to the hospital, I was a home nurse for his wife the last few months before she died. It was
odd how much older she obviously was than him, but that they looked to be the same age in
several old photos of them I saw."
"That is pretty freaky," Ben said as he finished the procedure. "You gotta tell me some more of
this stuff. You doing anything after our shift tonight? We could go grab a beer or something."
"That'll work. I need to show you which bars to avoid anyway."
Several beers later, Paul was just finishing up his story about the band candy and his fling with a
beautiful woman named Marti who was hung up on the parking tickets she always got. "Yeah
we went out for awhile even after the drugs from the candy wore off, but I broke up with her."
"Why'd you do that?" Ben asked.
"She was always looking to introduce drama into our lives somehow. I mean, not wearing
underwear and trying to use that to distract a cop who's giving her a parking ticket, that's a little
"Yeah, I guess so."
"I told her to go ahead and pay for the parking garage, but she would never listen. Anyway, she's
the last girl I went out with, unless you count Faith."
"She was a teenage girl in a coma that I nursed for eight months."
"You started to fall for a girl you only knew as a coma patient?" Ben asked with an incredulous
expression on his face.
"Well I did see her before she went into her coma. She lived in a penthouse apartment across the
alley from my rathole apartment building. I would look out my window sometimes and see her
on the ledge grabbing a smoke or doing some kind of tai-chi exercises."
"And you kept watching her because you thought she was hot?"
"There is that, but I also saw Mayor Wilkins in her apartment several times, so I kept on
watching. I thought maybe he was a dirty old man robbing the cradle or something."
"That guy just keeps getting weirder."
"Tell me about it," Paul said, taking another swig of his beer. "But he was the one who hired me
to look over Faith after she went into her coma. That was right before he died at the graduation."
"How did she get into her coma?"
"One night I was looking out my window and I saw Faith and a blonde girl fighting on the ledge.
It was the most brutal fight I've ever seen. Those two were really going at it. I called the police
on my cell phone and the blonde stabbed Faith with a wicked-looking knife."
"Wow, what happened then?"
"Faith fell off the building and onto the back of an open bed truck. I told the police about it and
they were able to find the truck. The driver was on his way to Oxnard and hadn't heard anything
due to the loud music he was playing in the cab. The doctors said if that she'd been on that truck
much longer, she would have died."
"You saved her life, such as it was. Did they find the girl who stabbed her?"
"No, although the balding detective who interviewed me had a look on recognition on his face
when I gave my description of the blonde. I feel like they're covering something up, but I can't
"If the Mayor died right after that, then how were you paid?" Ben asked as he finished his beer.
He noticed that Paul was on the last sip of his beer.
"At first the Mayor gave me three months salary up front. He also gave me the key to Faith's
apartment and asked me to bring different personal stuff like a framed miniature golf scorecard to
her hospital room from time to time. He wanted me to talk to Faith and keep her company. He
even said I could live rent free in her apartment if I wanted. Everything was paid up for a full
year. Then I found out that he'd had his will changed just the day before he died to provide
perpetual care for Faith. I was the day nurse and a woman named Matilda was hired as the night
"The Mayor showed a lot of trust in you. Most people wouldn't be comfortable with having a
man look after a young woman like that."
"Well I had looked after his wife for those three months. The Mayor headhunted me right out of
nursing school. He said he'd had his best people check me out and that I was a-ok."
"What do you think the deal was between him and Faith?" Ben asked as he signaled the
bartender for two more beers.
"I honestly believe it was a platonic father-daughter type relationship. I don't know how Faith
came into the Mayor's life, but he told me, 'No hanky-panky now young man, she's a proper
"She must not have been too proper to have gotten into knife fights."
"Yeah the police and the FBI wanted her in connection to the murder of the assistant mayor and
some other things. I could tell even by looking at her from a distance that she was very worldly.
Yet she seemed so full of life and also a little sad. Of course that's probably just me making
things up in my own mind."
"How did you feel about her when you cared for him in the hospital?"
"At first it was just a job. Then I found out the hospital had contacted her mother, but she didn't
want to have anything to do with her daughter. Faith never had any visitors. I felt so bad for her,
I started talking to her more like a friend than a patient. I got tired of the crappy maintenance in
my apartment building and moved into Faith's place. In one way or another, almost everything
in my day to day life was influenced by her."
"That's when you started to fall hard for her?" Ben asked.
"After four months, the night nurse, Matilda's husband left her and their two kids. Just
disappeared, which really isn't that uncommon in Sunnydale. She couldn't do the nights
anymore, so I offered to switch shifts with her."
"And that's when things shifted into high gear?"
"Well things never really get into high gear with a coma patient involved. But we did have a lot
less interruptions and I started borrowing a hospital VCR and watching a movie or two with
Faith every night."
"What kind of movies?"
"I didn't know what she liked, so I got everything-action, comedy, romance," Paul said with a
sigh. "The corner mom and pop video store had a retirement sale and I picked up a lot of tapes
cheap. One of them was an old compilation of silent movies which included this Spanish film
called, 'Shrinking Lover."
"Silent movies? Sounds boring."
"Actually this one was highly erotic and fairly disturbing for me. It was about this woman
scientist whose boyfriend drinks this untested wonder elixir she's working on. He starts to
shrink, his clothes get all baggy and everything and the girl goes crazy trying to find an antidote.
The guy feels bad that he's putting her through all this anguish, so packs his bags when she's not
home and goes to live with his mother, who he's never told his girlfriend about because old mom
is terrible. Cut to a few years later and the girl finds an antidote and tracks her boyfriend down
and goes into the mother's house with a giant purse and when she walks out, her boyfriend is
hidden away inside. He's about six inches high now."
"And he gets big again and they live happily ever after?" Ben asks.
"Not quite. The antidote stops the shrinking, but doesn't restore him back to the way he was. In
spite of this, they try to continue their relationship. They sleep in the same bed together despite
her fears that she'll crush him in the night. While she's asleep, he pulls off her gown and climbs
up on her breasts and tests out the view for awhile."
"I think that's a common male fantasy."
"Yeah. But then he spots her bush. So he runs across her torso and climbs down between her
legs. He looks at her vagina, which is a little bigger than he is. Then he sticks his face in it. He
comes out, makes up his mind, drops his boxers and climbs all the way inside. Cut to the woman
moving her head to one side with an intense look of pleasure on her face. It ends with the title
card saying the man stayed inside her forever."
"Now that is probably every woman's fantasy," Ben said with a laugh. "I surprised they showed
something that graphic in a old movie."
"Well it was European and made before the Hayes Code shut down scenes like that in most
films. And although it was obviously well made for the time, you could tell the vagina was fake.
It was kinda weird reading Spanish title cards with English subtitles though."
"Ok I get the erotic part, but how was it disturbing to you?"
"Well mostly it was disturbing because it was so erotic. It was uncomfortable to have those
sexual thoughts in my head with Faith lying there in the bed next to my chair. Knowing that I
had undressed, seen, bathed, massaged and then clothed her body every day for almost eight
months. She'd just turned eighteen and I organized a small party for her. It saddened me to think
that she had reached the age of consent, but that she couldn't give her consent to anyone."
"So you started thinking about getting intimate with her?" Ben asked.
"I was already intimate with her. I wanted to be like the guy in the movie and make her happy
somehow. I knew her body better than I had ever known any other woman's body and I had
revealed far more of myself to her than I ever had to anyone else. Yet I felt so small in my
capacity to truly make her happy."
"So did you do anything?"
"I found myself staring at her more often. I even started snuggling with her in the bed for ten or
fifteen minutes at a time. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't help myself. I knew I was losing it.
So I got my old job at the hospital back and told the Wilkins executor they needed to hire a new
"So is Faith still in the coma? I haven't seen anyone around like that except maybe for the
deranged woman who came in the other night."
"Actually she woke up from the coma a week after I left her."
"That's incredible, almost a miracle. Did you try to get to know her after she revived?"
"I didn't get a chance to," Paul said with a sad look on his face. "She ran away, which is
amazing considering the injuries she had sustained. While I was at work, someone broke into her
old apartment and stole some of her clothes and the emergency cash I had hidden away. I think it
was her. Later I heard she got into some kind of trouble and then apparently left town for parts
"So the story ends there?"
"Not quite. After I heard she woke up and saw the break in at the apartment, I started walking
around town, hoping I could maybe catch sight of her. The next night I was alone in an alley,
something that's not wise to be in this town, when some freak attacked me. I think he was from
one of those PCP gangs that like to paint their face or wear masks. I tried to give the guy my
wallet, but he just knocked it from my hand."
"What did you do?" Ben asked.
"I almost peed my pants until this blonde girl showed up and started whaling on the guy. I tried
to help out and grab the guy from behind, but he casually threw me ten feet in the air. I must
have blacked out for a few seconds. The guy was gone when I came to and the blonde was
standing with her back to me with a piece of wood in her hand, looking at a dirty spot on the
"What did she say?"
"I asked her where the guy went and she said he had to dust off. She also said I had the sexiest
voice she had ever heard and hoped the rest of me was as scrumptious. Then she turned around
and my face went pale. It was the blonde who had stabbed Faith."
"Now that is freaky-deaky. Must be some really strange gangs in this town. What did she do
after that?" Ben asked as the waitress brought the next round of beers.
"She tried to come on to me, saying she had been out of circulation for awhile and that she
needed a good ride. The thought of being intimate with the woman who had hurt Faith made me
nauseous. The blonde got the idea after a couple of minutes and took off. I told the police, but
they acted like they didn't really care."
"Man I hope that I don't ever run into that chick, although I might get really horny sometime,"
Ben said with a small laugh as he took the last swallow of his beer.
"Ben, thanks for sitting here and listening to me run my mouth. I really needed to get that off my
chest. I've never told the full story to anyone before."
"Its no problem, we've all got things we have to deal with. Hey, I've been wanting to ask if you
ever get any flack for being a male nurse?"
"Are you kidding? It goes with the territory," Paul said with a grin, then got serious. "I hope you
don't think ill of me for getting so involved with a patient. That's the type of thing that could get
my fired. I've learned my lesson."
"Don't trouble yourself, Paul. I'm really good at keeping secrets."
"Thanks man. Now you gotta tell me something screwed up about your life," Paul said with a
"Not much to tell, except that I do have female trouble occasionally. You've told me so many
horror stories about Sunnydale. Why do you keep living here?"
"I don't know. It used to be the job, then it was Faith, but now its just habit I guess. Maybe I
should go find a job in a big city with a normal hospital with normal staff and patients. Then I
can try to find a girlfriend who's not neurotic or in a coma."
"I think people are pretty messed up wherever you go, but good luck man," Ben said.
"What about your future plans?" Paul asked.
"I need to stick around here for awhile, although I'm not too happy about some of things I'm
gonna have to do. But I think it'll all work out in the end."
"Amen to that," Paul said. "Hey, I've still got a couple of bars of band candy left if you feel like
being young and foolish sometime."
"No thanks, I don't like to lose control of who I am."
Afterword: "Shrinking Lover" was actually made by Pedro Almodovar for his movie "Talk to
Her" ("Hable con Ella" is the original Spanish title). Its worth seeing just to catch this intriguing
little silent film. It was tough to write Paul Flowers and Ben because Paul only had about forty
total minutes onscreen time on four episodes of the second season of "Scrubs" and Ben was such
a cipher where his life outside work and Glory was concerned. Ironically enough, one of Paul's
"Scrubs" episodes was called "My T.C.W." (Tasty Coma Wife). I suspect that if one were to
make a list of all the books, movies, and tv shows (especially soap operas) that featured coma
patients, it would be quite a big list.