True Stories

This is a deranged people. They tell you scared stories of disease. There is the one about the innocent young man in the movie theatre, who feels a pinprick in his back, and turns to find an exposed needle sticking out of the backrest, with a little note that says, “It wasn’t my fault. I got this disease in a hospital, from a bottle of blood that was supposed to help me. Now when you get it, think about how I feel.”

Then there is the one about that doctor who let a patient die because he wouldn’t admit a mistake. The one about the parents who effectively killed their daughter because they got her exorcised and not treated. The one about the man who had his kidneys stolen and got left in a bloody bathtub because he turned exactly at the moment when the scruffy, suspicious man behind him was close enough to put something in his drink

Some of these are true. There is a kid somewhere who believes all of them, and looks for more to believe. Because he thinks the written word doesn’t lie. He knows his parents lie, as do his teachers. He is the one who doesn’t believe he wasn’t adopted till you show him the birth certificate.

He sits in almost-total darkness, the light of his computer screen shining on his impressionable face, and he takes in all the things he can properly know.