Where am I? The old man tried to speak, but only gibbering nonsense came out of his mouth. He dropped his feet from the edge of the bed. The trio flinched with confusion. Why did he say that?
“Sir,” the blonde said again, his two colleagues sulking at his sides. “I won’t ask again. Please lie down in your bed.” More nonsense came out of the old man’s mouth.
“He must have dysphasia,” the blond man in white said to the others. “Get back in the bed or I’m going to have to use this.” The blond man meaningfully tapped his baton across the palm of his oversized hand.
Where am I? What’s going on? Who are these people? The old man was confused and getting very agitated. They were telling him to stay put but he had to get up, he had to move around. The Blondie shuffled foot from foot and frowned. He looked uncomfortable, more than uncomfortable, he looked … agitated.
“Sir,” he said, and paused, apparently thinking very hard about what to say next. “Sir, you are in a rehabilitation facility. We are trying to take care of you. There was an …” he frowned. “There was an accident and you need rest. Now, please, if you would just lie back and relax we can get a doctor to you next week.”
The old man was still agitated. He slid off the bed and stood straight before the men. His knees did not tremble.
Several things happened simultaneously. As the blonde swung the baton at his head, a feeling of warm, pulsating power washed through the old man’s body from toes to finger tips, filling him with a sense of strength, a sense of invincibility, even. The other two men piled on. Blondie’s baton reached the old man’s forehead. Full contact. Blackout.
* * *
He awakened slowly. As he emerged from a groggy sleep first induced by a blow to the face, then reinforced with intravenous medication “for the pain,” (although the old man didn’t know about the medication), two men in white dragged an old black man down the hallway screaming. They dropped him outside his door, delivered a kick to his gut, picked him back up, and kept dragging him.
It was now dark outside. Restraints on his wrists strapped him to his bed. An irritating, burning sensation came from his penis—a catheter and thin clear hose ran from under his gown to someplace under the bed he couldn’t see.
Once the hollering of the old black man faded out of earshot, the old man could hear the wailing of another man, not too far away. Then another. And another.
* * *