Creating multiple inconveniences was one of many strategies for interfering with James Michaelson’s inconvenient, daily activities. He was opening a can of tomatoes, and my prompt instructed me to speak into the microphone.
I’d had an “inappropriate outburst.” I’d been restrained, and then the device was used on me. It was designed to shut down the errant part of my brain by using a magnetic pulse. I was uncertain of whether the memory was real, or if it could have been a nightmare.
A holographic video urges me inside, saying, “This procedure will relieve you of unnecessary suffering due to your mind.” As I walk inside, a man runs out with his head opened up, screaming at the top of his lungs. Robots catch up with the man and inject him in the shoulder.
“This is supposed to be a hospital, not Gitmo,” said the nurse. “You’re using extreme methods, and it’s clear you’re trying to destroy him. You’re a thug. Let him go home or I’ll report you.” The psychiatrist said, “I’ll let what’s left of him go home. And, by the way, you’re fired.”
He didn’t have a lot of sympathy to go around, but the dog’s pathetic state moved him, and he shared his half-eaten sandwich. When the dog had finished eating, she sat next to him and shyly licked his hand. At the crossroads of despair, a homeless man unexpectedly found love.
The police were talking to the woman who’d helped me. In the ambulance, an E.M.T began wiping dried blood off my face. I overheard the police say, “I’m arresting you for vagrancy.” I looked out the back of the ambulance and saw that my benefactor was being handcuffed.
When I was 12, my father, bless him, had said, “The men in white are feared. If you say something you’re not supposed to say, the men in white will come and take you away. You will never be heard from again. God knows what happens to you after they take you away.”
The guards believed he was either guilty of something very big, or mentally compromised in some way. They transferred John to the locked psychiatric facility at Highland Hospital and put two undercover men in his hospital room who posed as fellow psych patients in legal jeopardy.
A uniformed man behind thick glass projected impatience. I immediately spotted a number of disintegrator guns built into the walls. I then realized I stood atop a steel grating that would allow for easy, vacuum-powered disposal of my gaseous and liquid remains, should it go that way.