Awake. A halo of bright white light streams into my eyes. All is blurry as my pupils painfully dilate to take in my unfamiliar surroundings. A lamp, some kind of lamp, swings slowly above me. At first, out of focus, but the blurred edges are becoming clearer now. I feel a cold, hard mattress underneath me. It’s crinkly plastic and slightly inclined. Laying on top of me is a ridged light blue blanket resting above a crisp white sheet. I grasp it with my hands. It’s real.
Where am I?
The musty acrid chemical smell and the cream decor give the place an institutional aura. Woozy, senses flooded by the light, I feel like vomiting. I wrap my hand around the chill steel of a guard rail and know this must be some kind of hospital.
How did I get here? The last thing I remember is the fall. Looking up, there was Ray and Laura, standing over me, shaking me, shouting something unintelligible.
Fade to black.
It was the college faculty lounge. I know that smooth leather-backed couch and low pine-wood coffee table, scattered with various lightly read journals. We were having…jasmine-scented tea, so warm, so pleasant. Suddenly, I recognize my throat is parched. This is a hospital. Is there a nurse?
Reaching down, some kind of button. Hit it. Need water.
What day is it? The last I recall, there’s a conference coming up. A spring conference for social anthropologists. Is that what we were discussing when I passed out?
No, it was some bit of political gossip – the war. My god, the war!
I tapped the call button in earnest, frantically trying to reach someone. The sound of a trashbag liner being ruffled and a scraping noise. Someone else was already in the room.
“Hello? Sir?” I gasped, my throat muscles barely responding.
“Mr. Carter! Why, I can’t believe you’re awake! This is amazing!” said the pleasant-sounding man, who was apparently Nigerian from his accent and his wonderfully dark complexion. “Let me get the doc!”
“Mr. Carter? Is that my name? No, no!” I cried. “You wait right here. Now before I passed out, there was this news – some kind of bill. This Patriot… Act. Do you know of what I speak?”
My pulse was pounding. I felt light-headed and mere moments away from passing into unconsciousness again. I reached around desperately for something to be sick into, but there was nothing readily at hand.
“Oh, sure,” the man said. “Heard about it on the news just the other day. The president signed it.”
“What?!” I yelled, and couldn’t believe it. “Do you know what this means? Do you know what this means? We are officially living in a police state. This president – he must be impeached. Or worse! Let me out of this bed. Let me out of this bed!”
“Calm down, Mr. Carter,” the man said while coming over to me. He was tall and strapping, wearing a blue v-neck scrub. “You’ll overdo it again and fall right out of bed. Let me get the doctor…”
“No!” I yelled weakly and grasped him by his short sleeve shirt as he leaned over me. “No, you must… tell me… the wars? The wars are still being fought, right? All those innocent people! Tell me the wars are over!?”
“No, Mr. Carter. I’m sorry, but the wars are not over. In fact, the president just launched another war, this time without even asking for permission.”
“That bastard!” I choked out. I couldn’t believe it. The man was pure evil. He must be stopped! We have a dictator as president, and what are we going to do about it? I suddenly felt faint.
“Sir, calm down. A doctor is on the way. You will be feeling better in no time.”
“But, tell me some good news,” I pleaded desperately. “Please tell me there is good news…”
“Well, to be honest with you,” the dark man said thoughtfully, looking down at me with the soulful whites of his eyes. “The economy is not very good, either. Unemployment is around ten percent, maybe higher. Lucky to have this job as an orderly. Then again, I’m an accountant by trade…”
“Oh, you’re educated?” I asked politely, but then suddenly felt a tinge of guilt. “Tell me, what are we going to do about this man, this president? He’s completely out-of-control! I’m so angry I want to explode. Those goddam Republicans…”
The man gave me a look of shock and ceased folding the transparent cotton sheet, and laid it gently on the armchair next to the bedside table. Suddenly, an expression of understanding passed over his face.
“But, sir, you don’t know, do you? The president is a Democrat,” he said gently. “You’ve been in a coma for ten years. We elected the first black president…”
“No!” I yelled. “Nooo! Please, please tell me this is some kind of joke. I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it! He is a nice guy, right? Kind and just? Tell me this isn’t true. Tell me this isn’t true!!”
I could barely contain myself. I reached out for anything I could grab, and snagged the man’s shirt around the chest. He stepped back, greatly offended. Just then, two doctors in white lab coats burst into the room.
“Sorry, we were prepping for surgery, and the doctor on call got delayed. What is going on here? Oh, Mr. Carter has returned from his coma!”
“Yes, but I am afraid he is very hostile right now,” the Nigerian man said. “It looks like he might be a threat to himself and others. Look, he grabbed my shirt and nearly tore it clean off!”
“It appears that the man is suffering from a dysphoric rage, brought about by his lack of situational awareness, exacerbated by acute disruption of the hippocampus…”
“Doc,” the orderly chimed in. “I don’t know what that means. But this man is crazy.”
“Dr. Carlson, run a mental health screen, neuro-battery, check vital signs, the works,” a bearded doctor said to a man with wire-rimmed glasses as they left the room. And then he stopped briefly before walking on. “Oh, and transfer him to the Psych Ward for observation. Not sure if we can trust this man’s judgment.”
“No, it can’t be true! Don’t take me away!” I yelled and couldn’t stop myself from yelling again. “Not a Democrat!”
As I struggled vainly to resist, two more men entered the room, a young clean-cut man and a portly tanned gentleman bearing a strait jacket.
Kicking furiously, I could only remember the evil warmonger who had made my life a living nightmare, and then suddenly felt a soothing warmth come over me contemplating the wonderful African-American president who had followed him…
Or was that the Haldol?
The wars! The secrecy! The lies! Nothing has changed?
Where was I?
Oh, the war!
Maybe it was better this way, I thought as the man slipped on the strait jacket…
Author’s note: 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.