We passed through a doorway. Two other women were in a large room. They must have been aides. One aide stood beside a young woman in a wheel chair, likely one of the staff going through training. It was obvious they were waiting for me.
An aide pushed a wheelchair toward me, mentioning “the one in the black pants.” I was wearing black jeans.
“This one’s hospice?” she asked the woman who brought me in.
“Yeah,” she said. “I’ll put her in this chair,” the woman said. “No one who uses this chair lives long, anyway.”
I think the woman who brought me in, left. I never thought I’d miss my silent partner, but I felt abandoned, here with these strangers.
One aide said, “Did she do anything? Work anywhere? Know anything about her?”
The second aide said, “I think she worked at a newspaper.”
“Well, we need a nickname for her,” the other one said. “Even though she won’t last long. Look at her. Not much to her. Let’s call her Nosey. People who work at newspapers are nosey,” she added.
“That or Snoopy,” the other one said.
“Snoopy. Nosey. Pretty much the same,” the first one said. “Don’t know what it is about that chair, but people sitting in it always die fast.”
They sat me down in the chair people died in. One aide was on each side of me now. They tied my arms snuggly to the arms of the chair. They lifted my popcorn filled shoes up to the chair’s foot rest. At least my feet felt better.
Then the chair began shaking side to side. “This chair needs fixing,” the aide behind me said. “See, it wiggles.” Once more, she shook the chair rapidly, side to side.
“Oh, well. Snoopy isn’t going to last long. Nothin’ to her,” she said.
The other one corrected her. “It’s Nosey,” she said
“Snoopy. Nosey. Doesn’t matter.”
My aide called out, “We’ve got a couple of feeders here!”
She pushed my chair, nearly side-swiping a wall in the process, to a table. All the while, she was chatting with her co-worker about the “bad luck chair,” and how nosey newspaper people are and how I wouldn’t last long.
The table was uncomfortably high, as I sat low in the shaky death-chair. I couldn’t see anything but shadows through the bug-eyed goggles. I couldn’t move my arms. The aides’ talk was muffled by my headgear, but audible. The pair kept on chatting about their plans for the weekend.
“Man, will this shift ever end?” one said. “I can hardly wait to get out of here.”
“Seems like forever. I’ve worked three doubles in the last two weeks,” the other one said.
Suddenly, something was pushed into my mouth. I didn’t see it coming because of the blacked out circles on the goggles. It was a spoon with something pasty – pudding probably. A glop was trailing down my chin.