Billy wasn’t seen in the cafeteria for three days. On the third day, he emerged with a bruised eye and looked especially frail. After he gathered his food at the buffet, he sat down and started to eat—like he hadn’t eaten in days.
Blondie walked over to Billy’s table. Billy looked up in fear, a dribble of snot coming out of Billy’s nose, some spittle out of the corner of his mouth. Neither Billy nor Blondie said a word as Blondie picked up Billy’s bag of chips. He opened up the bag and popped one into his mouth and smiled at Billy, whose heart sank in his chest.
When Blondie turned around and walked away, the old man got up. “No, don’t,” Loretta, implored him. He walked the length of the room, handed Billy his own bag of chips, and walked back to his table.
Billy was at first surprised, but he quickly tore into the bag of chips and started eating them right away.
One of the other men in white walked over to Billy. “Give me the chips, Billy.” Billy was devastated, but he didn’t dare say no. His mouth still full of food, but hesitating to chew or swallow, reluctantly turned over the bag to the man.
When the man in white turned, the old man was standing right there. “Get back in your seat, old man.” The old man didn’t move. The other men in white started to close in, their batons drawn.
“Alright, back to your room then. You’re done eating.” Said one of the men in white. But the old man didn’t budge.
The first crack of the baton came from behind and hit the old man in the back of the leg. It barely hurt this time, he thought. He turned to strike the one who hit him. The man in white went flying across the room.
The other batons came cracking down, his arms, his legs, his back, and his stomach. But the old man was unfazed. He struck at his attackers with precision, intention, and great strength. Men in white were thrown on the ground, across the room, and knocked down. Some of them even had blood spilling from their faces.
More and more men in white piled on. It took twelve of them and one chokehold to bring him down.
* * *
When he woke up, it was still daylight and he was restrained to the bed. This again. This time, his door was propped open with a chair. Men in white were cleaning out the room across the hall and it appeared someone new was moving in.