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The Brainwasher

The Brainwasher

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Published by Geoffrey Thomas

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Published by: Geoffrey Thomas on Dec 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Roger Brown
Roger Brown woke up to the mess of sounds coming from thetelevision in the other room. Roger’s presets had all been turned on, andthere were fifty-seven channels on concurrently. As Roger walked into theliving room the channels illuminated according to the direction his eyeswandered, and so the morning weather expanded 25% larger than the otherpanels of video. The ten-day forecast called for highs in the 20’s, lows in the singledigits; at night going below zero temperatures.“Today I have a doctor’s appointment. The weather will be considerablywarmer than yesterday, so I should wear something light yet comfortable.”Roger’s internal thoughts were direct and rational. He lived on a series of rituals which kept him from making mistakes, rituals which kept him in lineand on time.Make the coffee, take the shower, brush the teeth (even though Ibrushed them last night I need to be fresh for today), drink the coffee, eatthe breakfast – because this is the most important meal of the day. Rogerparts his orange hair to the left. Roger had blue eyes, he wore glasses whichhe bought in his twenty-ninth year. Roger’s nose curved up, the top lipreaching above his front teeth.Roger wore a tan suit he bought at J.C.Penny’s. The tie around his neck had geometric designs, and muted colors. The tie was given to him as a gift for his service as a “terrific” numbercruncher. He had been wearing the same black shoes for five years, everyyear he’d replaced the sole. There was a message waiting for Roger. He pressed a small metallicbutton, and an instant message appeared in the air:
Happy Birthday! Fromall of us at Alpha Dental!
Roger was thirty-six today. After washing hishands he drank a glass of water in a chipped glass that he had alwayswanted to throw away.It was ten-thirty by the time Roger exited the doctor’s office. Rogerhad given ample notice to the company on his doctor’s visit today, he wasnot worried about arriving late. Roger entered the office and sat down in hiscubicle, there was a bowl of stale popcorn from last Friday. Roger dumpedthe popcorn into the trash bin, and allowed his computer to boot up.Roger did not let other people on to his condition the entire day. Infact, like every day, no one noticed Roger enough to barely give him areason to mention his plight. At a certain point in the day he thought it
might be considerate to allow at least one person know of his prognosis(even his boss), but soon that moment passed.“What should I do in this situation? I have terminal cancer, that I am sure of,the doctor and his tests made that clear enough. The doctor gave me mychoices, my chances of recovery... he said, I have six months. What will I tellBrenda? How will she react to this news? Should I even tell her that I havelung cancer? Perhaps it’s best, at this point at least, to keep this to yourself.No one needs to know of this news. It will be in my best interest, and thoseof my co-workers, to never mention this again.”Roger arrived home to Brenda, his golden retriever. Brenda was sittingon the living room couch when Roger arrived home. Roger did not mind this,but rather enjoyed seeing his dog so comfortable. Roger fed Brenda, andfilled her water bowl to the tip of the lip. The sun had set right on time, andthe heater clicked on before the cold could saturate the air. There was the infinite on the video screen, a computer-generatedreplication of Joel McHale reciting the words of the Communation, “See theworld. Smile at a stranger. Open the door for someone else. Stop and smellthe roses. Enjoy today, you never know what it will bring. Say ‘Yes’. Dowhat your heart tells you. Keep hold of your dreams, never let them go.Groove your body for ten minutes, three times a day. Eat more vegetables.Eat more fruits. Life is short, stay awake for it. Go for it. Be the best youcan be.”During that night Roger watched the film,
The Bucket List 
, on channel232. Roger made a list of things he wanted to do before he died. The firstitem on the list:
Visit a place you have never been to before.
 The next day, Roger visited his local savings and loan. Explaining tothe clerk his situation, Roger’s job was relocating him to Utah, and sincethere were no branches of this particular bank near the city he was movingto, Roger needed to empty both his savings and checking accounts.When the clerk asked Roger if he wouldn’t mind giving her the name of the bank, he asked why.“We can send your new bank all of your personal information, to make thetransition easier.”“I would just like my money in my hands now.” Roger replied.Roger left Brenda behind, as well as all of his personal belongings, inhis apartment. He drove his car to the airport and parked on the top level.Standing in front of the streaming reports of flight schedules, Roger pickedthe flight that was nearest to take-off and bought a ticket to Amsterdam.
“Would you like a complimentary blueberry scone, sir?” An overweightemployee of B&B Coffee floated next to Roger. Her folds of fat draped overthe contraption that aided her mobility.“No, thank you.” Roger said, taking a sip of coffee. The woman scooted away to the next person she saw. Roger sat in thecourt across from the boarding gates. His thoughts were blank, his onlyreactions being bodily decisions of when to take the next sip of coffee.“Attention. Attention.” An electronic voice on the overhead speakers spoke.“Flight 2631 to Amsterdam has been delayed due to snow storms. Anotherflight is being re-scheduled. Please... Attention, Flight 2631 to Amsterdamhas been delayed due to snow storms...”Roger stood up from his chair. He threw his coffee into the garbagecan and walked closer to the boarding gates for flight 2631. A video screendisplayed the cockpit of flight 2631, the pilot glanced at the camera throughhis speech, “Sorry about this folks, it’s getting very hairy out here. We didnot expect this weather so soon, actually, so we are going to take theprecaution of laying low. We will keep you informed on our progress.” The crowd dispersed from the video screen; some people sat down andwaited, while others called the airline to complain. Roger walked back to thecourt and sat down in the same chair. The obese woman appeared again,“Excuse me, sir, would you like a complimentary blueberry scone?”“I’m not hungry, thank you.”Roger began thinking about when the symptoms of his cancer wouldbecome visible. For a moment he wondered if he should have taken thedoctor’s advice, and gone in for treatment.
You’d think by now they would have found a cure for cancer. I’m terminal, and if I tell no one about my sickness, I can die in peace. That is unless the doctor submitted my information to the Communation Board of Health.
“On the chance that the doctor did submit the information, I have cause forworry. On the other hand, if he did not submit the information, I can forgetabout my visit and move forward.”
Even if the doctor did submit the information to the board of health, do youknow how long it takes for that information to get processed? Months.
Roger scratched his ankle through his sock, but it still itched. Hepulled down his sock, and scratched the skin above the bone. Roger keptscratching, soon he used both hands to scratch either side of his left leg.A tourist group filed through the court. They were loud, and madetheir presence felt with radiant talk of sun, water, sand, air. Roger’s eyes

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