|"What could possibly go wrong?" (image source)|
A MeanMesa Fiction
A Volunteer's First Day at the
Hedge Fund Memorial Medicare Residential Facility
For the young college student volunteer, Bill, the trip to his first day at the old folks home was not so bad. The ride from down town on the solar monorail had gone smoothly, and bike trail across the open spaces in the bright morning light and fresh air had been a joy, too. Thanks to universal health care, Bill was a healthy, well developed young fellow, actually rather athletic.
He was happy to have his new job, too. Although it paid only the minimum wage of $18 per hour, the extra income would make it a little more comfortable as he made his way through graduate school.
As he approached the gate to the Hedge Fund Memorial Medicare Residential Facility he could see why his classmates had warned him not to be shocked by the lavish grounds or buildings. The thing looked unsettlingly alien to the common sense Medicare installations he had seen before. He knew that it was one of the special centers established after the economy had finally recovered, but the sight was beyond any preparation he could have made.
The facility was a grotesque mixture of photos he had seen of the old gangster mansions of the 1900's and his history book's treatment of the old Las Vegas glitter and glamor. Yes, it was cheap and lavish, but the tasteless quality of the place was unnerving. Every architectural feature of the scene had been grotesquely over done. Cheap concrete statues of medieval gargoyles, angels and nymphs along with endless beds of stale roses gave a sort of funerary theme to the place.
After checking in with the staff, he found himself sitting in the Human Resources office with an overly positive woman who was explaining too rapidly all sorts of rules for new employees.
"Whatever you do, don't get any of these residents to start talking about the 'good old days' -- especially, not politics. They get so excited that their meds have to be jacked up for a week before they settle down again." the woman droned.
"This facility was built long after the 2012 election ended all these old geezers' dreams of the 'Big Take Over.' Some of them have never gotten over the let down."
"But, doesn't the architecture of this place remind them of the oligarch period? I mean, just the appearance of the grounds is enough to start someone thinking about the, uh, 'good old days' isn't it?" the young man asked.
"In fact, why in the world did Medicare waste all this money building something so bizarre and ostentatious?"
"This is the setting that makes these particular patients comfortable. Medicare built a string of these places after the common sense facilities turned out to just never satisfy these types."
The woman continued, "They are closing them down and remodeling as these old Republicans die off, turning them into something useful. Now, report to nurse Smith in the day room. She's expecting you."
Nurse Smith was predictably busy when he found her in the gaudy, massive day room of the facility. Looking over her iPad, she smiled broadly, "I'll be able to spend some time with you a little later in the day, but right now we need someone to sit with Mr. Babbit. He's just had his lunch and he usually rambles a bit before he snoozes off for his afternoon nap. Mr. Babbit ruminates about the past -- at least the parts he remembers or imagines that he remembers -- so don't pay any attention to what he's saying. Just smile and act interested."
"Human resources may have told you to avoid politics with the patients, but in this case that won't be possible. Mr. Babbit hasn't talked about anything but the 2012 Primary election for years." the nurse related as the two of them began the long walk across the day room.
"He was one of the GOP's largest campaign contributors back then. He never got over what happened."
Nurse Smith escorted the young man to an older gentleman sitting alone by one of the floor to ceiling windows in the day room. "Mr. Babbit, this is Bill, a new employee. He's going to sit with you for a while. Won't that be nice?"
The old man slowly turned his head. "Why isn't he in a servant's uniform? Isn't he supposed to be in a servants' uniform? Who's in charge here, anyway?" he grumpily demanded of the charge nurse before his voice drifted away.
"Now, now, Mr. Babbit. We all quit wearing those uniforms a year ago." Nurse Smith glanced at Bill, winking quickly with her left eye.
"Why don't the two of you just relax for a while and have a chat?"
Nurse Smith vanished across the room, leaving the rather perplexed young man and Mr. Babbit to themselves.
The old man began to ramble almost at once. "Damned servants knew their place before the 2012. After that, civilization itself began to crumble."
"I was a Republican and a damned good one back in those days. Why, I was on my way to becoming a billionaire. I could call my Senator any time I liked and he'd do what I told him. Times were good, boy. Times were good."
"We were going to be rich and powerful! Everyone was going to be afraid of us, you know, take us seriously. All we had to do was win the damned election."
"Then they screwed up the election. That's right. Just when things were really rolling along in the right direction, the damned Republicans screwed up the election. Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, they did. What a bunch of losers!"
"Why, we were at the very edge of crushing Medicare and the damned health care plan, you know, freeing up all that money so the country could prosper. Why, my broker, son, my broker was selling stuff right and left to Arabs and Chinamen. Good American stuff like securitized mortgage packages and junk bonds. Then, the damned losers ran that damned primary and everything went to hell in a hand basket. That's what happened, boy, went to hell in a hand basket!"
"All the voters were supposed to forget about the looting, but oh no, the damned losers in the Republican Party had to trot out the damned freak show in 2012 primary. The voters were forgetting, but when they saw all those crazy candidates in the primary, the damned voters started to remember again. The whole thing went to hell in a hand basket after that. Oh yeah. Bunch of damned geniuses..." the old man wandered off for a moment.
"Can you imagine? We had the hole thing under control. The tea baggers were staggering around and the news stations were there every time. Couldn't get enough of it. It worked in 2010. We took over the House, and we thought we were on our way. Yeah, on our way... And, we would've been if the damned losers in the Republican Party hadn't trotted out every freak in the circus and expected the voters to take it seriously. Expected the voters to forget!"
"But, oh no. Turns out that it was just too much to forget. The damned losers in the Republican Party expected the voters to forget. Nothing worked after that. All those damned voters remembered the 'guns, gays and God' garbage from all the damned tea baggers in the House. The damned tea baggers were doing that cheap crap instead of pretending to work on jobs. The voters were supposed to forget about not having jobs, but oh no, the damned tea baggers started trying to cut their damned unemployment benefits and health care."
Old Mr. Babbit was getting agitated. The young man considered mopping up a bit of the spittle drooling down the old man's chin, but decided against it. Mr. Babbit would fall asleep for his afternoon nap soon enough. After a momentary silence, the elderly right winger seemed to get a second breath.
"Oh yeah. We had to have Sarah Palin debating Donald Trump on national television. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump! What the hell did they expect to happen when we had Sarah Palin debating Donald Trump on national television? We were that close to taking over the government," the old man held two bony fingers up in the afternoon sunlight, "...that close! Then the damned Republicans, of yeah, the damned Republicans... What in God's name were they thinking?"
"And if that weren't enough, that's right, if Sarah Palin and Donald Trump standing there totally bewildered for 10 minutes of dead air didn't wreck it, the damned Republicans had to keep going. Out came Huckabee with his damned guitar and folk hate songs. Right, the old Arkansas yuck, yuck. The damned voters were supposed to like that. They were supposed to think 'Oh, what a good President he'd make,' but the damned voters were still remembering Palin and Trump. Palin and Trump! God, what a disaster."
"Christ, the damned Republicans had so many health care frauds, car thieves, job exporters, wife cheaters and boy pinchers they couldn't even find enough chairs for them all! But, out they came. Oh yeah. Out they came! The damned Primary reminded all the damned voters all about the stuff that the damned Republicans were supposed to be hiding."
"Hell, they had Michelle Bachman and that drooling bigot from Mississippi debating on national television -- national television! The damned Southerners couldn't even understand what that cracker was saying, not even the damned Southerners! The only part the viewers could even understand was what Bachmann was reading, and that was the answers to the wrong damned questions. God, what a bunch of losers and freaks."
"And, when they got to the Primary debates between Bolton and Bush's brother, Jeb, all that was missing was a fly over by a bunch of damned B-52's and another Enron scandal. Hell, after that they interviewed Gingrich. They wanted to know what Gingrich thought of the debate." Mr Babbit was chortling and coughing all at once.
"Gingrich! The fat guy that every woman in the country hates like fleas on fruit cake. Gingrich! Can you believe it? Gingrich?" The old man's face was turning red. He didn't seem to be drifting off into a nap at all.
Explosively, Babbit continued. "As if all that wasn't enough, out came the guy from Jersey that looked like a Mafia boss. Oh yeah. The 'Big Man' boss ass hole. Who in the hell did the damned Republicans think was going to vote for him. Right? You don't have a damned job so you're going to vote for a mob boss from New Jersey? What in the hell were they thinking? Just because the guy roughed up a bunch of damned poor people, they think every one's going to want him to be President?"
"Before the polls could even hit the floor, out came the damned crackers from South Carolina, a debate by a pair of damned, deep South Republican Senators. That's right. Some throw back queer hating Baptist and the closet guy whose face has had sixteen plastic surgeries. Trying to beat a black guy in the White House with a debate between two Senators from South Carolina? Oh Sure. The damned losers thought that stuff like this was going to 'fire up the base?' What were they thinking?"
"And the debate between the damned Governor of Louisiana and some nobody from New Mexico? A Presidential debate between some weird little guy who was already the laughing stock after his State of the Union rebuttal and some cowboy who wants to legalize marijuana and let faggots get married?" Babbit chortled again. This time his eyes were beginning to wander.
"National television, damn it, national television! The creepy one wants to dump volcano studies and the other is ranting about Round Houses and wind storms while the damned poor people are sucking up food stamps and unemployment checks like there's no tomorrow? No damned tomorrow!"
Babbit was finally beginning to wind down a little. His eyes had taken on a frightening red color -- they had grown beadier and beadier throughout the entire tirade. The old right winger now had the appearance of a long dead vampire in a cheap special effects movie staring at the wooden stake someone had just driven through his heart.
Babbit came back to life for one last crampy, breathless blast before he suddenly slid into his afternoon nap. "By the way, why in hell aren't you wearing your damned servant's unif..."
Bill pulled the blanket up a little higher on the old man as he slept soundly there in the afternoon sun. He went to find Nurse Smith for his next volunteer assignment.