The creak of a door and the hallway light again spills onto my face. Curled up in a ball on the puffy plastic cot on the floor, sheets of newspaper cover my frail and shivering body. They crinkle as I roll away from the light. Was it morning? Night? I didn’t know anymore. All I know is I want someone to take me home.
“Mr. Carter, it’s time to get up,” said the same soothing feminine voice from yesterday. I wrapped myself in the warm timber of her words like an infant nestling in the womb. “It’s time to take your medicine and join the day, Mr. Carter. Please get up!”
I roll towards the light and raise myself up in bed, casting the paper newspaper aside. It’s a herculean effort, with my head is still swimming in the cottony comfort of drug-induced dreams. Awkwardly, I pull myself over and throw myself onto the depressed edge of the plastic cot. Tottering, I await the woman’s touch on my shoulder, or anything to jolt me back to the real world.
“Mr. Carter, take this juice and the little red pill…” she orders me with that wonderful maternalistic tone of hers.
“What is it?” I asked curiously and coughed, though consigned to her lovely authority.
“Oh,” I answered, a bit disappointed that it wasn’t something more exotic, something that would make my problems go away. I took the pill and drank down the cool, bright, acidic orange juice. It was the most fabulous thing I’d ever tasted.
“Please put the slippers on that are by the door. The ones wrapped in clear plastic. We have a meeting at oh-nine hundred. Don’t worry about changing your pajamas.”
“Nine o’clock?” I ask, grateful for the clue as to the time of day. “A meeting?”
“It’s a support group, really, for people like yourself. It’s right after breakfast at oh-eight hundred.”
“Is this the military? Don’t we use real time here?” I ask, recognizing the terminology from a few anti-war movies I’d watched.
“It’s not the military, but we like to think of it as restructuring people’s orientation. The change signifies that time is valuable, and so is being on time.”
“Oh,” I answer, slipping on the flip-flops she hands me. No more cold tile. Breakfast sounds terrific.
I struggle to rise, but the nice lady latches me under my right arm and helps lift me up. I collapse onto the floor. My legs are too weak. I had forgotten how to walk.
“Don’t worry, we’ll get you a wheelchair,” she says kindly. I lie there fearful and frustrated, but angrily resolved to walk again. I get my first good look at the woman. She has neatly cut reddish brown hair with highlights pulled up underneath a white nurse hat. The girl is young, surprisingly thin, and her face is full of compassion, eagerness, and a no-nonsense attitude. I was expecting a middle-aged woman full of grit and experience.
“Rachel, is it?” I ask as she leaves the room.
“Yes,” she turns and says with a smile before leaving down the hall to fetch a wheelchair. She leaves the door open, showing me trust. I like the girl already.
After a few minutes, she returns with the wheelchair and her assistant… Rex. A well-built, dark-skinned man, he looks like he might be from the Caribbean. A dark mustache and short, nicely kept afro gives him the look of a gentle, hard-working family man.
The two mental health workers help me into the chair and wheel me down to a small dining room, made for just a handful of people. No one else is in there. A tray with toast, eggs, a pre-packaged juice, a bowl of oatmeal, and a milk carton await. I pull up and eat the food greedily while Rachel watches, even though I can’t help noticing how clean-cut and attractive the young woman is. After I finish the milk, she points to her watch with a friendly grin and takes me out of the breakfast nook.
Wheeling me into a small conference room with light blue carpeting, a semi-circle of people is already formed with several faces staring at me as I enter. A man with a white labcoat is seated, turned towards the group, and is already talking. Rachel wheels me to the end of the row and politely leaves.
“So, Jonathan, can you tell me…well, it looks like we have another guest,” the doctorly looking man with a salt-and-pepper beard says to me. “Welcome to the Democrat Support Group, number six.”
Democrat support group? What in heaven’s name is this? I study the faces of the group. A mixture of dejected men and women, all of them carrying that peculiar, unmistakable look of yuppies, which they bear with them no matter what they are wearing.
“Oh, umm… thanks?” I reply modestly.
“Can you introduce yourself, number six? If you choose, you can give your real name. But it’s not required.”
“Hi, I’m… well, number six is fine. I just came out of a coma… I don’t know how long ago. And the next thing I know it, I’m here.”
“Oh, really?” the doctor asks. “So you don’t have any idea why you’re here, and you don’t believe you have any responsibility for it, either. I’m afraid we’re not off to a flying start, number six.”
All the other group members look at me disapprovingly.
“Sarah, can you tell number six why you’re here?”
“Well, I was a young student fresh out of grad school. I’d just finished my thesis on the mating habits of bonobos and applications to human society. Along comes this clean, articulate black man talking about hope and change. I’m thinking – I want change! Who doesn’t want change? And hope? I’m all for that! So I voted for the guy. Three years of unemployment later, and student loans out the nose, here I am.”
“So, Sarah, what did you learn?” the doctor prodded.
“Just because someone promises you something nice, that doesn’t mean you have to believe them.”
“That’s right, Sarah. Very good!”
The doctor stood up and handed her a golden slip of paper. The girl looked very pleased.
“Excuse me, doctor, what are those?” I piped up.
“Why, those are points that signify time that can be spent in the courtyard or the games room. Get enough of those and you earn a day pass. Earn enough and you get a weekend supervised pass. Even more, and you can get an unsupervised pass. Finally, you can get enough to request discharge. Think of it as your ticket to freedom.”
“Oh,” I answer uncomprehendingly.
“Jonathan, how about you?” the doctor turned to the right-hand side of the semi-circle. A baby-faced man with dark hair and thick glasses turned to the doctor. “Why are you here?”
“Uh… uh… I had a job working in the…the… real estate business, and was helping poor people take l-l-l-loans through F-f-f-fannie Mae and Fr…”
“Freddie Mac,” I answered for him.
“Shhhhh!!” everyone turned towards me and chided me disapprovingly.
“And… then people st-t-t-tarted telling me they c-c-c… couldn’t pay their bills anymore,” the man got out and then sighed heavily. “I realized what I was doing was not c-c-c-compassionate… it was fraud.”
“Very good!” the doctor said. “So what did you learn?”
“The D-d-d-democrats were using me and using poor people.”
“That’s right!” the doctor explained and walked over to hand out another golden slip.
“Sorry to ask, doctor,” I interjected. “What is your name?”
“My name?” the doctor replied. “It’s Dr. Paul Alethia.”
“Doctor,” I asked. “This little session is all well and good, but I’m afraid this isn’t the group for me. You see, I’m fine being a Democrat.”
“Oh, so you are fine with President Obama being the leader of your party?”
“President Obama? I don’t know who you are talking about. Our current president is Bushhh — ”
All of a sudden, the image from the newspaper flashed in front of my eyes. It was Bush, except different. Then it was that black man, again, for a split second. No, again it was Bush.
Everyone looked at me in shock.
“Number six, I’m afraid we are going to have to arrange a special appointment. I’d like to see you on the couch later on today.”
Author’s note: This is the third installment of a five-part series. The first, “Ravings of a Lunatic: A Post-Comatose Democrat Awakens to the Obama Administration,” can be read here. The above is satire. It is a fictionalized account intended to elucidate certain ideas and principles by taking them to absurd lengths. It is not intended to be taken literally.
Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker and BeatObamaPac, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.