A story that I’d like to make something bigger and better, about a group of convicts who are given a controversial drug which slows their metabolism dramatically, kept alive in a sort of living organ farm, told from a few points of view: A patient who was the first beneficiary, the warden who brought the program to his prison, a religious zealot who thinks the drug is for people “playing God”, and a prisoner, locked inside of his own mind, because of the drug.
There are a few other characters crawling through my mind that I think would make the story work even more, as sort of a short story/anthology collection regarding the drug. This story and Roanoke have priority for me, and will be what I work on most.
Dear Governor Bishop,
My name is Sally MacAuliffe, and I am twenty-nine years old. I live in Katy and I am the first recipient of an organ from an inmate in the Inmate Reclaimation Project. I was born with a liver disorder, hemochromatosis, where my body would store too much iron, and hurt the rest of my organs. I spent lots of my life in hospitals, sick. I have no education, because I was simply too sick to work, too tired to stay awake, and too heavily medicated.
My daddy, Tom, told me that I could die at any time, and that I had to make peace with God. Governor, I’ve always wanted a husband, and so, I prayed everyday that God would make me better, or send an angel to make me better. I am convinced that you are that angel.
I recieved my liver and heart transplants a year ago, and since then, I’ve met a man who is my everything. For the first time, I could go outside, and breathe fresh air without wondering if something else was going to shut down. I’m still frail, but, I love my life.
I’ve wondered about my organs, and what they went through to get to me. I’d heard that Miguel Gonzales de la Cruz was a terrible man, though I cannot express the joy I feel for him. He’d kidnapped a family of religious missionaries, and raped each one, repeatedly. But, there must have been love left in his heart. It beats in my chest, and I feel nothing but love with each beat that goes by.
I know there are people out there who are against this program, Governor. DO not let them influence you. Let me speak to them. I’ll set them straight, sir.
Your humble servant,
Eighty-two bodies lay on guernies, attached to eighty-two machines, eighty-two pulses matched in perfect sync at fifteen beats per minute. Eighty-two chests rose and fell with the same staccatto.
“Isn’t it perfect?” asked Doctor Harold Onizuka. “A perfectly synchronized event. Eighty-two independent creatures dependent on one person — me — to both keep them alive, and keep them asleep. I’m a God, I must be. I control their lives.”
An inmate reached up and pulled the machines from his body. He was still weak and wary, but, he’d had enough. His body rejected the drug, and his mind finally cleared enough to rise up and fight back. He tried to stand on knees that had not stood in eight months, and fell. He would not be denied his escape, even as the riot squad burst through the door, mobilized the moment the alarm sounded. The captain calmly waited, his AR-15 drawn and pointed.
Emmanuel Garza, inmate 1025402, incarcerated in July of 2002 for the quadruple murder of a police officer and his family, stood. The bullet flew, and struck Garza right between his eyes, his body dead before the bullet exited the departed’s skull. He fell with a small trickle of blood, his eyes open.
“Eighty-one men, Nurse. They all look to me to be their shepherd.”
“Yes, Senator, there are no-known side effects of Comadox. In fact, studies have shown that patients who recieve this drug vs. any other drug ‘cocktail’ so to speak, live in a much ‘healthier’ state than any others. The inmate’s bodies age at one tenth the speed ours do, while using Comadox as perscribed. That means, we could keep a man alive for ten years before he even felt like he’d had a birthday. I don’t know about you, but, I’d trade ten years for one hundred.”
Percifal James McNair was a smooth talker, and a fantastic lobbyist for the TruCare group, a group of pharmecutical companies with the same governmental interests — far less restriction on drugs they attempt to market to the world, and more money to be made from their successful marketing campaigns. PJ as his friends called him was brash and talkative, and represented the conglomerate of William James and Tonidandel, though he was far more the public face for TruCare.
Comadox had been an accident, in it’s truest form. Scientists, looking for a way to slow the progression of cancers through a body, found that Comadox simply worked in reverse — the body’s metabolism slowed to a crawl, and organs shut down and preserved themselves in an almost perfect stasis. Doctors could then spend weeks in surgery, cleaning out entire organs of microscopic tumors without any sort of risk to the patient. It was the cure for cancer, or, similiar.
The religious were the first to object, saying that cancer was God’s way of telling you it was time to come home. When the first public trials went for the drug, eight doctors were murdered by religious zealots, screaming that bullets were God’s way of telling the doctors they were wrong. They were Agents of Christ, not acting on their volition, simply killing in God’s name. The chief scientist, Robert Scobee, was killed two days after the drug was synthesized, and perfected. His lab was raided and set on fire, but, by then, it was too late.
Atheists acted next, killing entire congregations of churches who objected to Comadox, simply for standing in the way of progess. They pointed to no faceless God, and took immediate responsibility for their actions by killing themselves. Women’s groups were next in line, saying that this could be the ultimate date rape drug, if it fell into the wrong hands. They spoke of graphic gangrape scenarios, talking to other weaker minded women about just how many times a penis could invade them, before they ever knew what had happened.
Athletes followed, each trying to lobby a company to allow them to take it in a slighter dose, to work as sort of a fountain of youth. It would slow wear and tear on their bodies, so that injuries wouldn’t take as much of a toll, if they suffered one at all.
The first black eye that Comadox recieved happened during the Super Bowl. Running back Clayton Jarvis, a Comadox supporter, took a handoff, and rushed up the middle for a six yard gain, tackled by Tywon Smith. Smith’s helmet glanced off Jarvis’ arm, causing a gash almost eighteen inches long. Three hundred and seventy five people saw Jarvis bleed to death on television, because his body simply could not and would not react in time to save him.
The senate congressional hearings that happened for months afterward revealed the Texas inmate program, and brought Sally MacAuliffe to the forefront of the American mind. A pretty, frail girl, she was paraded as a beneficiary of what Comadox could do for someone. Nevermind the inmate, what of the child who could die of a disease we could prevent? She could be put in stasis, and given hope that one day, she could live the life of a little girl, not a patient.
PJ was brilliant on Capitol Hill, extolling the virtues of a society where we could control when the Lord took us home, as well as decide when a loved one had enough suffering in his life. We could take back our lives from God.
The sniper took his life, seconds later.
I killed that son of a bitch, and I’m thankful for it. God asked me to do so, and I did. I will not repent for a sin I did not commit. I will not repent for a man who disrespected the will of God. I will not. I cannot.
And while my cause was just in God’s eyes, in man’s eyes my current plight is anything but. He was a powerful man here on earth, a man who even beyond the grave could get what he wanted. I lay in a hospital bed with eighty-one other men. Our chests rise and fall at the same time, almost five minutes apart. I feel my heart beat. I think clearly.
I am inmate 1102324 in the Texas Penal System, and soon, Amanda Resnik will have my heart beating in her chest. I will be with my Lord, Jesus Christ, and I will be reunited with Him in heaven above.
Praise be to God.