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A Life Unlived
“Here you go, Mr. Johnson, here’s some soup.” The nurse set the tray holding simmering hot soup next to me.
“I’m not hungry.” I pushed the tray away.
“Sir, you need to eat. I’ll leave the soup here, and you can eat it whenever you want.” The nurse was stubborn. “Oh, and Mr. Johnson, here’s a list of things Dr. Miskell wrote for you, so you can remember what you had before the accident,” she handed me a piece of paper.
The accident? I had no idea what she was talking about. On the piece of paper, a few things were written in bullet points;
Wife: Mary. Children: Alex and Sophie. House: Lansing, Michigan.
Job: Republican senator from Michigan
I couldn’t recall any of these things. “Nurse, what happened to me, what is this accident?” I asked her, extremely confused.
“Eat, and then get some rest, Mr. Johnson, it will do you some good. Look, Mr. Fank is sleeping.”
I looked over, and there, a man was sound asleep in the bed next to mine. He looked to be a fairly ugly man, his hair dark and his face very asymmetrical. My eyelids slowly grew heavier and I fell asleep.
I woke up with my feet sticking completely out of my small hospital bed. The whole hospital room smelled of tomato soup. I looked over to where the pungent smell was coming from, and yes, yes it was him. It was him, William Johnson, the man I had so long sought after, not just him, but his life mostly. The raging jealousy inside of me could finally be resolved today. Yes, this was the man who I had been best friends with all through school, despite constantly living in his shadows, never fulfilling to the life I wanted; his life.
“Hi, my name’s John,” I reached over from my bed and shook his hand.
“According to this piece of paper,” he held up a written note, “my name’s William Johnson.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” I wore a fake smile. “So, why are you in here?” I asked him, despite already knowing the answer.
“Listen, man, how about you clean the s*** out of your small, meaningless brain, obviously I’m not doing well, or else I wouldn’t be here.” He hadn’t changed.
“All right, sorry, I’ll leave you alone then.” I turned over to the other side of my bed.
“Mr. Johnson, your family is here to see you.” I immediately became tense.
I felt no emotion whatsoever as my so-called ‘wife and children’ came walking in. I felt no attachment, and I felt as though I had never seen them before. After a few seconds of trying to remember what was written down on that piece of paper, I finally spoke. “Hi Mary, Hi Alex, Hi, Sophie.” I knew it sounded fake, but was surprised when Alex and Sophie jumped into my arms.
“How are you feeling?” Mary seemed a little worried. As I described to her my pain, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, John, the man in the other bed, was staring attentively at my family and me. I felt his eyes pin-pointed on my head, and suddenly, I heard an astoundingly loud blaring sound pounding through my head.
“Mary, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to leave, take Alex and Sophie, I’m not feeling too well.” William told his wife to leave and they did so accordingly. I could tell I was bothering him. “Hey asshole, mind your own fucking business!” William jumped in his seat, his wires and tubes flying everywhere.
The nurse came running in, “Mr. Fank, please, let’s let Mr. Johnson get some rest. You can take a nap in the lobby if you’re feeling tired.” The nurse showed me out of the room.
As I left the room, I immediately noticed two men in formal black suits, and I knew both of them well.
“Hello, John.” They said, at the same time.
“Bernie, Fred, how we doing today?” I greeted them.
“Let’s skip the introductions, we know each other. Let’s get to business, any progress on Johnson?” Fred asked me rudely.
“I’m getting there. This isn’t easy; he doesn’t remember a single thing.”
“Shouldn’t that make it easier?” I forgot how annoying Bernie was.
“I suppose, but convincing someone everything they used to believe in, they should believe the opposite isn’t hard on him, it’s hard on me.” I lied. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to mess with his mind.
“All right, well the vote is next week, you have to get him to vote by then, this is absolutely crucial John.” Bernie was definitely one hell of an annoying piss-ant.
“Yeah, I’ll have him ready by then.”
I woke up to the loud slamming sound of the hospital room door closing. I was all alone except for the quiet sound of the TV; “Republican Senator from Michigan, William Johnson, has been gone the last week with unknown medical leave. Voting day for the authorization of using military force against Mexico is next week, and the Republicans can’t win without every single vote from each one of their senators, so we’ll see William Johnson’s situation in a week.”
Why does no one know or will tell me what happened to me? I need answers. I deserve answers. This is happening to me, and I’m the only one that doesn’t know what’s happening.
I walked back into the room, and immediately, William came crawling back to me, “Listen, John, I’m sorry about earlier, I didn’t meant to yell at you, I’m normally not like this. I’m just a little frustrated with this whole situation.”
“No need to apologize, I completely understand.” I wanted to punch him in the throat.
“Can I ask you a few questions?” He asked me, a little shy.
Here we go, I though to myself, “Of course, anything you’d like.”
“Can I just get a quick summary of this last week and my week coming up?”
“Of course,” this was almost too easy. “Well, first of all, I think you deserve to know why you’re in here. Last week Tuesday, you were on a hike with your family, and with little luck, you were severely hurt by a thirty pound icicle in the head.” William looked very confused. “Now I know I asked you earlier why you were, but here’s the truth, I already knew why. I’m a republican senator, also from Michigan, and pretty much the whole country is relying on us to vote pro military force. And they need us to do that next week Wednesday.”
I could tell he was thinking hard about this, “Wow, that’s a lot to process. So I’m just expected to vote for the war next week?”
“Yes and then resume your everyday duties as senator, and slowly your life will come back to how it used to be.” I knew I sounded convincing.
“Do I have to vote? I mean, I can’t really remember anything I believed in, so I don’t know how accurate my vote would be.”
“You don’t have to worry about that, we know what you views were, and trust me, this was one of them.” I knew he believed me.
“All right, well hopefully I can get out of here by Wednesday.”
“Yeah, let’s hope so.”
Voting day came quicker than I thought. It was already Wednesday when the nurse came rushing in to my room with great news.
“Mr. Johnson, your brain results are looking very promising, and I’ll have to check with the doctor, but you will probably be leaving today, so you can vote!”
There was some slight suspicion behind her sentence, the way she told me I could leave to go vote didn’t feel promising at all, I felt a little used.
“Wow, that’s great news. I’ll call Mary.”
“Oh, Mr. Johnson, there’s no need, she’s already here.”
“Well, I’ll go out there and see her then.” I got out of my bed and made my way for the door.
“Oh, no, Mr. Johnson, I’ll call her in, you must rest.” She pushed me back into my bed with a strong fight, I felt easily manipulated.
“No, I can do it, I’ll go to her.”
“Mr. Johnson, I insist. It’s vital to your recovery that you must rest.”
“What’s going on here?” I felt even more suspicious.
“Here, take this painkiller.” She shoved the little pill down by throat. And before I could say anything about her taking the pill out of her pocket, I was knocked out cold.
I walked into the hospital room, and there was William, drooling on himself, and the nurse standing there next to him, checking his vitals.
“Is he asleep?”
“Yes, but it wasn’t easy.”
“All right, get him dressed, bring the hypnotist in, and call the limo.” I straightened my tie in front of the mirror.
Bernie and Fred walked in along with the hypnotist.
“You think he’s ready?” Bernie was always curious.
“Well, he wasn’t entirely ready, so unfortunately we had to turn to this.”
“Well, we need to do whatever it takes.”
I awoke with my vision heavily blurred, as I looked down, I could slightly tell I had black pants on and a shirt and tie. There was a man standing at the end of my bed.
“William? Listen to me. I want to imagine yourself in a dark, dark room, completely alone; can you do that, William?” I sort of nodded my head. “Now, imagine the light in the room slowly getting brighter, and as it gets brighter, your eyelids get heavier and heavier.” I could imagine everything exactly the way he described it. “Now, feel all your weight, everything from your body, completely center to the center of your body, and relax yourself. When I snap, William, you will be hypnotized, are you ready?”
As he snapped, I felt my whole body snap to life, and I was out of my bed without hesitation, it felt like a dream.
The hypnotist guided William outside to the limo, where all three of us got in and we drove off. William looked completely normal, thankfully.
“All right, William, we’ve arrived, please follow me. Greet anyone who’s there, and stay relatively quiet.” The hypnotist’s wish was William’s command as we pulled in to the capitol building.
“We’ll circle once around, and then I’ll get out of the limo.” I told them, trying to avoid any possible misunderstanding between the crowd, William, and I.