Slim's Broken Leg, Part 6
To Vac Or Not To Vac
“Slim. . .” She swallowed. “That's not a name, that's a. . .description.” I chuckled. Nice to see she still had her sense of humor. Her breathing was shallow. Tongue darted out a few licks. A trickle of yellow slime slid from her nose. I pulled a tissue from a box, carefully wiped. She just laid there.
“Honey,” I said, “I understand you didn't take the vaccine. Can you tell me why, darlin'?”
“Uh. . .Why. . .—what?”
“Why you didn't take the vaccine?”
“Uh. . .are you—one-a-them?”
“Them? The. . .doctors? You a doctor?”
“Naw, honey, I'm a free agent, here.” I leaned in close, whispering. “It's okay, sweetheart, you can speak freely. I'm from Q-Anon.”
For the first time, her eyes popped open. “Really?” As if she'd been given a shot of something. Even seemed to recover her breath a little. I looked around at Darwin and Lila, took Maybell's hand.
“Go ahead, hon, you have nothing to fear from me. So, how come you didn't take the vaccine?”
“Well, 'cause. . .uh. . .Aw, you know, Slim. It's a hoax.”
“You think everybody's lying about it.”
“Yuh. . .Yeah”
“You think the CDC, the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, Doctors Without Borders, the U.N., all the scientists, practically everyone on earth, is lying through their teeth.”
She hesitated, frowning, like she'd just been handed a math problem she couldn't solve. Her tongue slipped across parched, cracked lips. “Who are you? You sure you're with Q-Anon?”
“Damn right I am, Maybell.”
“I think you're lying to me, Slim. Slim, is it?”
“Yeah, Slim. I wouldn't lie about a thing like that, honey.”
I signaled to Lila to get her some water. Lila handed me a bottle with a bent straw. Behind me, I heard Darwin whisper, “Lila—?“
“You sure she needs a ventilator?”
“I don't know. Suarez says she does.”
“You think he's a real doctor?”
“Suarez? Of course he is!”
“How do you know?”
“I saw the documents in his office.”
“His diplomas and shit.”
“Where? Where in his office?”
“Up on the wall. All framed up, real nice.”
“Those could be fake!”
“Why would he have fake documents?”
“'Cause he ain't a real doctor.”
Maybell now had one eye closed, the other a thin slit, pinned on me, like a hawk to a rabbit. “What's that?” she said.
“Water,” I said.
“What's the matter, hon?”
“P. . .poison. That stuff the Nazis used.”
“Zy-clops,” she murmured.
Locking eyes with her, I took a sip. Swallowed. Opened my mouth to show her. Her hand reached out. I took her hand, held the bottle with the straw to her lips. She sucked in several swallows, then closed her eyes, licked her lips. Her eye popped again, a razor slit.
“Maybell, honey,” I said. “If you don't have Covid, what is it you think you have?”
She squinted. “F-Flu. . .Or. . .pneumonia. Ain't all that serious.”
“Honestly, hon, you look pretty bad. They're fixin' to put you on a ventilator. That's serious, wouldn't you say?”
“Slim. Is—is that your name?”
“I. . .I didn't feel this bad. . .when I first got here. It's uh. . .all them drugs they been. . .shootin' me up. . .one thing and another. . .since I got here. Don't even ask my permission. Make me sicker than I am, then they can. . . put me on that machine. That's more money. . .Tucker says. . .” She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. Suddenly, her chest rose, seemed to draw in more air.
“Dear Tucker,” she went on. “I miss him, so. Why can't they bring him in here, Slim? Huh? What could it hurt? Six days I been locked up in here. Or is it seven? I lost count.” Now, she was breathless again. “And these. . .demons!. . . refuse to. . . bring me. . .a TV in here. Why? They don't want us knowin' the truth, Slim. They've blacked it out. They'll put me on that machine. The death machine. And if I don't die from that, then. . .then, they'll just. . .stick me with a needle and. . .send me on my way. Like a dog!”
(Next—Slim’s Broken Leg, Part 7: Maybell’s Ordeal)