I just got this new job, which is kind of cool, but it kind of sucks. My old one was perfect, at least for me. I had a pretty big cubicle, didn’t have to attend a lot of useless meetings and was given a lot of freedom how to get my job done.
I would just get a list of things that they needed by the end of the week, and I would get it done. So why did I get laid off you ask? Well, the company was one of those startups that didn’t make anything. And our funding kind of dried up. And when there’s no money, there’s no honey.
The good news was that our boss was pretty good about giving people really good references and helping us as much as she could. It only took me two weeks to find another gig. But this job isn’t quite as carefree as my old one.
It turns out they have his incentive to get out of paying a lot of health care costs. I signed a bunch of documents when I’d started, just happy to have a source of income, so I didn’t really read them.
But one said I would only get health care if I kept a lot of my “stats” at certain levels. Like blood sugar, blood pressure, some kind of ratio between lipids or something. I’d been working there a month when the HR person called me and reminded me I had a week to submit my “stats.”
I’d honestly forgotten about it, but they were pretty serious. They said that if my stats weren’t good enough, they’d only keep me employed if I went and bought my own health care on the open market.
I’ve never really shopped around for it, I only know that it is as expensive and crap, and I probably would end up spending half my check on it.
The first hurdle was finding a fricking doctor that would see me. Finally somebody recommended I just show up at the emergency room, and let them do it. I guess emergency rooms are the new friendly neighborhood doctor’s office.
So I show up, and figure I’m going to have to wait. Luckily I brought plenty of tunes. I downloaded these pretty wicked self hypnosis MP3s that are supposed to make you healthy. I suppose anything that works right?
They’re based on this new kind of brainwaves that allegedly alter your subconscious so that it can actually reconfigure your DNA on a molecular level. Now, it sounds like total hogwash but they only cost like twenty bucks apiece. And they sound pretty trippy.
So when I was listening, some nurse came and told me to move into another smaller waiting room. Kind of like the on-deck circle. It was much smaller, and there were fewer chairs. But when I walked in, I was the only one. No big deal, right?
So I relaxed, and fired up the hypnosis tapes. Listening to some really sexy voice take me all the way down deep into relaxation, where all troubles can vanish into a pool of pure energy bliss. I started to have this dream, only it wasn’t a dream.
I would slip into a dream like state, and the ladies voice would still be there, but I would be dreaming of the things she was talking about. Then I would sort of come out of the dreamy state, and remember that I was waiting in the on-deck circle at some hospital.
To tell the truth, I didn’t remember which hospital I was in. I just kept driving around and around until I found one that didn’t have a three day wait in their emergency room.
Finally, after what seemed like several hours, the hypnosis mp3 ended, and I kind of woke up. There was this little girl sitting next to me. No parents. And she was looking at me with this really weird look on her face. Like I was in the middle of telling a joke and I’d stopped just before the punch line. Like she was waiting for something.
I looked around, just to make sure I was alone, or we were alone, and looked back at her. She kept looking at me with that goofy look on her face.
“Hi,” I said, trying to start a conversation. She wasn’t any older than ten.
“It didn’t hurt,” she said back, smiling. “I thought it would, but it didn’t!”
“Oh,” I replied. Not having any idea what in the fuck she was talking about. Then some nurse came walking in, and sat next to me. She rolled my sleeves and gave me an injection. I thought she was going to draw blood, so I just kind of watched her. For that lipid ratio thing. But she gave me a shot.
“See?” The little girl said. I turned to her and smiled. Then back to the nurse.
“What did you just give me?” I asked her. She only smiled and told me to relax. I nodded, really feeling sleeping. I kind of slid down into my chair, not really caring if I had to wait another couple weeks.
Maybe this was a new thing in emergency rooms. To keep people from getting angry while they are waiting, they inject them with a relaxant so people just kind of nod-off while they’re waiting. But that wouldn’t make any sense, right?
Next thing I knew I was on this cold, steel table. Strapped down. I tried to sit up but I couldn’t. I looked around and it looked like I was in an operating room. I could see nurses gowned up, getting all the equipment ready. There must have been a mistake.
But I tried to talk, to scream, but nothing came out. Pretty soon a doctor came over, leaned over me from behind, and looked right into my eyes and winked. Then he went over to my side, and started getting all the surgical instruments ready.
He had two nurses on either side of him getting ready to assist. They drew a line from my stomach all the way up to my neck.
“Here’s where we’ll make the incision,” the doctor said. The nurse standing next to him nodded her head, and then looked up at me, giving me a “Hey what’s up,” look. Maybe they thought I couldn’t feel anything, but I could. When they drew the incision mark on me, I felt it. I really felt it.
And when the knife started cutting through my skin, I felt that too. But I didn’t move. I didn’t scream. Just felt the pain, and felt the scream explode inside my head. Only it wasn’t me screaming. It was that little girl.
She lied to me. I does hurt. It really, really does.
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A boomtown on the edge of economic liftoff. An evil lawyer with inescapably psychotic power. When Marcus Canfield, an underachieving bartender realizes his gift has been reawakened, only to have the girl of his dreams snatched away, he knows he must stop the horrific threat to both her and the entire United States before it's too late.