by Macgregor Douglas
The fear is real. I know I’m in a world of trouble and I must escape.
I hear them, standing a few beds down, as if they think that I can’t tell they’re talking about me. This might be some sort of otherworldly, extraterrestrial hospital and I might well be a patient, but I can still hear like a bat.
The problem is, they talk in such gibberish I can barely make out what they’re saying. I’ve heard them refer several times to the patient in bed number 27, but I am confused by the name they use as it makes no sense to me whatsoever. It’s a woman’s name, like ‘Harriet Williams’ or something and I catch phrases like: “…proper procedure…” and “…can’t make an informed decision until…”
I’ve already worked out that I’m suffering from a concussion and a certain degree of mild amnesia, but I’m not crazy. I still have my powers of reason and observation and I’ve always had a very analytical mind. Big pieces of my memory are completely intact, which is why I think my fear is entirely appropriate to the circumstances. Either they’re going to torture me for information they think I’ve got, or they’re deciding whether, or not, an American fighter pilot is expendable enough to kill.
I am a fighter pilot. I’m privileged to be one of the chosen few of Tactical Air Command to train and fly the F-104 Starfighters supplied by the United States since the early 60s. We didn’t know at the time, but the reason they were being so generous is that they had an ulterior motive. It wasn’t until New Year’s Day 1976 that we discovered what that was. I’m now part of a top-secret anti-espionage task force that remains on high alert to fight any threat to national security.
Wait: here they come again…
I must stay sharp, even if I’m incapacitated. I’ve tried to file away in my mind any details of conversation I’ve had with them in the hope that, if I ever get away, the command team might be able to use it to find a chink in their armor.
The way they pretend to be concerned over my health is disturbing. They even have actors coming in and claiming to be my daughter and granddaughter. I guess they don’t realize that I’d schtup the granddaughter who looks about my age, but never in a million years the hag troll they’ve chosen to play my little girl. Proof positive, I guess, that their intel leaves a lot to be desired.
The usual nurse that comes leans over me.
“How are you today Mr. Roosevelt, feeling more like yourself?”
I pretty much say nothing unless severely provoked, so I stay silent and sullen.
A new character steps forward, dressed to look like a doctor or maybe a psychiatrist.
“Mr. Roosevelt; I’m Doctor Segers. I specialize in helping war veterans deal with the traumatic experiences associated with active duty. I understand you feel that the staff here in the hospital are not who they say they are. Now, I know sometimes it is easy to get a little confused in an unfamiliar environment such as this, but perhaps you’ve had time to relax and realize that you are surrounded by people who love you and want to help you?”
I’m feeling calm and perfectly in control until this reiteration of insult to my family.
I remember like it was yesterday how I got to spend just two weeks with Marien and our new daughter before being flown to the Military Flying School in Jackson, Mississippi. She’d only just given birth and my C.O. felt I should get to spend some time with my new family to give me something to fight for. My baby girl is the most gorgeous flower on the face of this Earth and even if I never get to see her again, I’ll fight tooth and nail to preserve her future freedom.
Bringing my family up again forces me to cry out.
“Stop trying to poison my mind with your lies and propaganda! I’m one hundred percent loyal to my country and my people. Now you take those vile… animals out of here and leave me be, I won’t tell you anything!”
I feel myself spitting, but I don’t care, the message seems to have gotten through. They’ve moved away again and drawn the curtain around my bed. I hear them murmuring amongst themselves, but the thought of seeing my real family again spurs me on and I feel renewed vigor to get back to them at all costs…
“Ms. Roosevelt, this is the last opportunity for you to reconsider this decision.”
“I understand, Doctor. And I won’t be changing my mind. I love my Father as much today as I did when he first returned from the internment camp thirty-seven years ago. The reason I want this for him is to preserve his dignity, instead of rotting here in a demented state, not knowing who he is or who we are. Did you know that he was a pilot? Captain Gerrit-Willem Roosevelt of the Royal Netherlands Commando Tactische Luchtstrijdkrachten. His experiences helped formulate today’s standard anti-espionages procedures. I just can’t stand to look at him like this anymore.”
“He still has periods of lucidity though, Ms. Roosevelt – you’ve said so yourself.”
“Look, we’re not having this conversation again Doctor. This is the Netherlands, is it not? And Euthanasia is legal, is it not? And as the legal guardian of my Father, I have the right to decide that it is in his best interest to be Euthanized. So, I would appreciate you signing the approval form and letting me get out of here and on with my life.”
The fear is real. I know I’m in a world of trouble and I must escape…
Some license has been taken with this story, as the euthanasia laws in the Netherlands still allow the responsibility of choice to remain solely with the individual, not their guardians. So even if a patient previously indicated that they wanted to be euthanized under a certain set of medical circumstances, if later in any conversation they indicate the contrary, then the procedure is nullified.