By Liz Lowe and Roz Warren
I was protesting on Wall Street when a crazed banker grabbed my “Corporations are Gonifs” sign and slammed it down on my head, triggering a fracas which quickly spun out of control. As I lay bleeding on the pavement, I told the EMS crew preparing to load me into an ambulance to take me to the nearest Democrat Hospital. The last thing I heard before I passed out was my banker assailant, bleeding on the sidewalk beside me, instructing his EMS team that for an elite professional like himself, only a Republican Hospital would do.
We must have gotten swapped, because when I came to, I was lying on a gurney in a Republican Hospital!
The intake physician, whose bright white teeth eliminated the need for conventional lighting, began firing questions at me. “Do you admit that the accident was entirely your fault?” “How much money have you contributed to our party‘s gubernatorial candidate?” “Would you sign this petition asserting that insurance companies are more important than the Constitution?”
My head was spinning. As I tried to focus, my eyes went to the huge Bush/Cheney campaign button pinned to his lab coat.
“I wear this for sentimental reasons,” he said.
“You’re kidding me.”
He sighed. “The truth is that I just can’t bear to take it off.”
When he asked about my insurance coverage, I said I didn’t have my card with me. “I’ll be glad to check that nasty bump on your head,” he responded, “the moment your insurance information is in our computer.” I phoned a friend and asked her to bring my insurance card to the hospital. Then I passed out again.
I awoke in a hospital room. The television on the wall was blaring Fox news.
A nurse came in.
“Could you please change the channel?” I asked.
“No,” she said cheerfully. “This hospital only gets one channel. But we’ll turn the sound down the minute your dining companion arrives.”
Another nurse wheeled a table into the room. It was covered with an exquisite linen tablecloth and had two place settings, a covered meal at each. A man wearing an expensive suit came in. Beaming, he shook my hand. “Hello — I’m sure you recognize me. I’m your party’s gubernatorial candidate. While we dine, let’s discuss the issues, shall we? I’ll uncover your meal and you can see what you’re getting for your $1,000 political donation.”
“This is a fund raiser?” I spluttered. “In a hospital? I haven’t even been treated yet and you’re trying to get money out of me?”
“What do you mean — trying?” He grinned. “It’s a done deal. We charged your credit card the moment we got hold of your wallet.”
“Unfair?” He eyed me suspiciously. “We don’t care about fairness. We’re Republicans.”
“But I’m a Democrat!”
He backed away. “Nurse!” he shouted. “This patient needs immediate attention! She’s ranting!”
A nurse skidded into the room and thrust a pill at me. “Swallow this,” she demanded, handing me a glass of water.
“Will it cure me?”
“No, it’s just a sedative. It will quiet you down so you won’t give us any more trouble.”
She pulled a small pink gun from a pocket of her uniform and leveled it at me.
“Shut up and take your meds,” she growled.
“Are you nuts? You’re a nurse! You’re not supposed to be packing heat.”
“Of course I am! This is a Republican hospital. Everyone here is armed.”
“Can you get away with that?”
“In a Republican hospital? We’re completely unregulated! We can get away with anything.”
“I want to speak to my attorney,“ I said, before I swallowed the pill and passed out again. When I awoke, I was being wheeled into the operating room. My surgeon met me at the doorway.
“Before I can operate,“ he said, “I need you to sign this pledge confirming that you won’t raise taxes.”
“But I’m just an ordinary citizen! I’m not a politician.”
“Then refraining from raising taxes will be very easy for you.”
“I don’t want to sign.”
He grinned. “No signature, no surgery.”
As I reached for the pen, I passed out again.
I woke up on the sofa in my living room. I’d fallen asleep watching the news and dreamed the whole thing. Relieved, I wrote a large check to the local Democratic candidate, shut off the news, threw my television out the window, and climbed into bed.
That’s when I noticed my Republican Hospital wristband.