Monday, November 18, 2013

Conservative Health Care

A converted former right-wing Republican contributed this story:

Luci and Her Visitor

Luci was sick at heart. 

On the way home at 10 PM, from her second  job as a cleaner, the stars finally aligned and three pieces fell into place;  she saw an open drugstore, she had twenty extra dollar in her purse, and she remembered she hadn't had her period since -- well, she couldn't really remember.  It had been at least four months.  She stopped at the store, and bought a pregnancy test.

She'd missed periods before, which her girlfriend Katya had put down to overwork, bad diet, and the strain of trying to raise a child with almost no money.  Luci and baby Liza lived in a fleabag motel which served two types of patrons -- those who rented by the hour (Luci could hear their rutting through the thin walls), and those whose only alternative was the street.  A tenement-style apartment would be cheaper, but Luci found it impossible to save up a security deposit.  Liza, a terrible two, was cared for by the kindly old lady in the next unit, who cleaned the motel toilets in lieu of rent.  Luci had no idea what she'd do if the old lady died or moved away. 

Luci had been home for ten minutes, and had gone straight to the bathroom with the test.  She knew she had to go next door and collect her child, but first she had to compose herself and find some strength.  The test had been positive.

Luci knelt by her bed, her face on the threadbare blanket, and sobbed.  "Dear God, why?"  she said.  "I'm not a bad girl.  It's just that I get so lonely, and when some man looks at me cross-eyed, I get pregnant.  Billy told me I looked pretty, gave me one beer after work, made love to me in the bed of his truck, and then he never called, and now I have his baby in me.  It's not fair.  Help me, God.  Help me."

There was a sighing as of wind, and a dim red glow appeared in the corner of the room.  A voice said, "I vill hear your petition."  The voice had an Eastern European accent.

Luci didn't stop to question the reality of the apparition.  She poured out her heart -- the poverty, the dead end jobs, the pain of trying to do right by Liza, and now the unexpected pregnancy -- a pregnancy in a state where an abortion in the first trimester was hard to get, even if you had money, and a pregnancy in the fourth or later month was unobtainable.

"So vy did you fall pregnant?"

Luci confessed her lapse in judgment, precipitated by loneliness and some unaccustomed alcohol.

"This is vat you need to do.  Fly to San Francisco.  Check into the Four Season hotel.  Speak with the concierge.  She can set everyting up."

Luci was dumbfounded.  "What would that cost?"

"If you are careful, not more than ten  tousand."

"Ten thousand?"  Luci screamed.  "I don't have ten!"

"Den svallow your shame, and see your GP. He can refer you to an OB-GYN who takes your employer's medical plan."

"I don't have a GP.  And my employer doesn't give me medical.  I have two part-time jobs, and neither have benefits."

"Vy do you have such miserable jobs?"

"Because I can't find anything better.  Say, what sort of angel are you, anyway?"

"And vy can't you find anything better?"

"Probably because I'm a high school dropout.  As you ought to know, angel or lady or whatever you are, I can barely read.  I can't even add without a calculator."

"And vy is dat?  Are you lazy, or stupid, or boat?"

"Well, I wasn't lazy.  I tried hard.  But my teachers were all shit;  fifty kids to a class, and we all got A's and B's.  One teacher actually said, 'I'm not going to let a bunch of stupid kids destroy my career.  You will all pass.  Let somebody else tell the principal that you're unteachable."

"Ant vere you unteachable?  Vat is dat, if not stupid?"

"I don't know.  All I know is, my Mom couldn't help me.  She was a dropout, too.  I had no place to study at home.  My teachers went home at four.  The school library closed at four."

"So vy didn't your mother put you into a better school?"

"We were POOR!  Don't you get it?  POOR!"

"Many poor people overcome many obstacles and achieve great success.  Vy veren't you vun of dem? I vas."

"Many poor people?  How many is many?  Out of how many millions of poor people? Are most of them ...fools?"

"Ach, dere it is.  As Herbert Spencer said, 'The only consequence of saving fools from their folly is to fill the world with fools.'  The world is full of fools because misguided people helped fools like you.  Vell, I'm not going to make the same mistake."

"Go to hell!"  Luci screamed.  "Who, or what, are you, anyway?"

"Vat you should say is, 'Go BACK to hell.' I am da ghost of da great philosopher Ayn Rand.  In recognition of my great visdom, Lord Satan has appointed me ambassador to the human race in general, und to da  Republican Party in particular."

"Great wisdom, my ass.  Just go to hell.  Or back to hell.  Whatever."

"Of course, Lord Satan did not SAY it vas because of my great visdom.  He is such a tease.  Vat is said vas, 'I'm kicking you out of hell because I can't stand  the sight of you.  You'll never be a demon, you're already too big a bitch.'  Funny, is it not?"

"Yeah. Hilarious."  At the red glow faded, Luci's eyes fell on the room's single closet, a dusty alcove with no door.  Between her threadbare clothes, there hung  a wire coat hanger.

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