Alone. A lonely stream of white light shines barren through an iron-grilled window onto the cold tiled floor. Dust particles whirl in the illuminated vapor. The black shadow lines cross the floor’s checkered pattern, forming a clashing array of black and white. I lean back, shoulder blades touching two sides of the wall, and rest in the corner. The bones in my rear ache. The ground is hard and flat and stretches forth to a gray-padded door with a slot in the center.
The walls are padded too. A weird kind of puffiness. Can’t move my arms. What a miserable hellish place.
How did I get here? A hospital. Those two doctors…the bearded bastard sent me here. Why? Some yelling, anger, fury – yes, and why not? There was a war on! The traitor Bush…it was Bush, right? He did this! It’s his fault…for the wars, for that damned Patriot Act, for me being here! He did this to me. The dictator sent me here.
Was this a political prison? Stalin is said to have used psychiatric wards to punish and silence dissidents, but those are just right-wing rumors. Maybe this was some kind of payback for dissent? I wouldn’t put it past him. That man had no intention of leaving since the day he took office. He stole the election, after all. He stole the election!
Must get out of this…strait jacket…inform all my friends. Damn, it’s too tight. These walls, all around me, keeping me in, silencing me. The world has to know! We live in a police state and the world has to know!
What did I say? Maybe one of my friends ratted me out. Was it Ray or was it Laura? The faculty lounge. We were talking about the spring conference. We all hated Bush… I think. Not sure about Ray, he never said enough hateful things about the man. He was always talking some nonsense about keeping an open mind. Ray even once condemned Hussein as a genocidal maniac. It had to be him! He had to be the mole!
Or was it Laura? No, she really detested Bush, and all Republicans for that matter. My kind of woman. I remember one time a student tried to defend Bush at a colloquium and she really let him have it. Think the guy eventually left the program. A conservative – good riddance. No, it had to be Ray.
Footsteps. Somewhere in the hallway. A jingle of…keys, or something. Something is being slid through the door.
Silence. All noise stops.
“Wait, don’t leave me here!”
Click and the sharp-edged sound of a radio or walkie-talkie or something.
“Yo, doc, seems like number six is awake. Yelling… yeah. Maybe needs another shot or something to calm him down. You’ll send the nurse? Got it.”
“Hey, don’t leave me here,” I can’t help but yell again. “Talk to me. Where am I? I won’t hurt you. I have a strait-jacket on for godsake!”
“Alright, man. Hold on.”
More clanging of keys. The door’s unlocked. It creaks open, throwing a bright shard of light right into my eyes. It hurts. I try to cover my eyes, but my arms can’t go above mid-chest.
“Here, number six,” the deep baritone voice comes at me through a huge shadow in the doorway. “Be cool and I’ll let you eat. Nurse will be here in a minute. Maybe we’ll let you out of that thing. You cool?”
“Yeah, I’ll take it easy,” I reply.
The big man set a tray on the floor. The salty waft of canned chicken soup shoots up my nostrils. My stomach wretches.
“You might have a little nausea,” the guy said. “You’re on a liquid diet for now.”
“What is going on? Oh, my head feels so heavy. This is really confusing,” I make out.
“Yeah, I feel you man,” the man said compassionately. “Here, I’ll leave you the newspaper I’m done with. Maybe that’ll help you figure things out.”
The big man walked outside and grabbed an old-time paper newspaper off his cart and tossed it on the floor. It sounded with a thud.
“There you go,” he said. “Enjoy.”
“Oh… thanks,” I say back, weakly.
“Rex, are you giving things to the patients again?” a pleasant feminine voice falls upon my ears. It is mellow and smooth, soothing me instantly.
“Just a newspaper, Nurse Rachel.”
“Alright, well not too much harm there. Help me get this strait jacket off of Mr. Carter, and I’ll let you get back to work.”
Two shadowy figures approach me through the light until they are instantaneously upon me. Human contact. In a few moments, I wriggle out of the heavy sleeves and start to push myself up from the hard floor. The coolness of the tile impresses upon my palms. This whole place is cold.
“Now, just wait here in the corner, and we’ll leave now,” the nurse said lightly. “We will check back on you later. Get something to eat and lie down on the cot a bit.”
“Alright,” I say meekly.
And just as quickly as they arrived, the two strangers are suddenly gone. Forget the food, I want the newspaper.
I try again to get up to walk over to the paper, but then realize my legs can’t move. It’s stunning. I try over and over, shake my legs, cajole them to move. They feel like they are asleep. Must have been sitting on the floor too long.
I crawl with exhausting effort over to the food tray and snatch up the newspaper. The paper feels so good between my fingers, like the hard reality of truth.
I roll myself over onto the low plastic cot and situate myself after a tremendous struggle. I lift the paper up to the light, and flip it over until I get the above-the-fold. Where’s the date?
March 3rd, 2012.
The words hit me like a ball peen hammer crashing into my face. I blink hard. The print is still there: March 3rd, 2012.
I swallow hard and vaguely remember the words of the hospital orderly. Ten years. Ten years! It hadn’t sunk in until now. The college faculty lounge, blacking out, grading papers, going home to my Cocker spaniel Brock… was I married?
What about the war?
I pull down the paper and start scanning. Lead story: President Obama announces…
President Obama? I scan the pages and there is a photograph of a handsome gentleman waving… is he black? I mean, African-American?
…withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by 2014. The president will deliver on his promise to end the wars overseas…
By 2014? The wars are still on? That would mean…
…after pulling troops completely out of Iraq in December 2011. The military campaign in Libya ended successfully after the dictator Moammar Qaddafi was deposed and killed…
Let me see… Bush’s term was up in February 2009? That means…
…but the president still has a host of foreign policy challenges. After Egypt erupted in rioting during the Arab Spring…
Libya? What are we doing in Libya? Why is this president overthrowing foreign heads of state? That’s the same reason Bush went into Iraq…
… President Obama supported the people’s desire to remove the despotic Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak…
What is the Arab Spring? Did our president support it?
…but elections bringing to power the Muslim Brotherhood and hardline conservative Islamist groups in national elections…
Wait? We supported the removal of the Egyptian president? And the groups coming to power could be hardline conservatives?
…throw into doubt whether the president will be able to successfully bring to a close all of his foreign policy challenges in just one term…
Hold on. Is the paper supporting this man’s foreign policy? Didn’t he take us into foreign wars, and as the orderly said, voted for the Patriot Act? This president is a Democrat? No, I won’t believe it.
I stare at the photograph. For a brief flash, I see President Bush smiling at me, waving in that godawful jocular Texan manner…
No, this had to be Bush. I put the paper down and rub my eye sockets with my thumb and forefinger until pain shoots through my optic nerves.
I bring the paper up again. Another flash, this time like lightning. It’s President Bush… no, it’s President Obama. I blink hard. Twice. One image pops into place before my eyes. It’s static, dreadful.
It’s President Bush, except… black.
Author’s note: This is the second installment of a multi-part series. The first, “Welcome to My Nightmare: 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.