Rick Kahn, sat alone in his study, flipping from channel to channel. Barely escaping each blurb of the tragedy that has beset the Democratic Party with the passing of Senator Wellstone and his family and associates, in a mysterious plane crash that killed all on board.
Still reeling from the scorn of his impromptu rally-monkey behavior at the memorial service for the senator, Kahn, the senator’s good friend and campaign treasurer, couldn’t escape his own disbelief of the horrific and tacky opportunistic speech that seemed to spew forth from his lips as though he were possessed.
Downing yet another tumbler of Dewars, Kahn physically shook off the feeling of dread that had become his cloak of shame. The warmth of the scotch had eased his brain enough to calm his nerves, and he drifted off.
In the first stages of REM, Rick’s peace was shattered with a crash. He jolted awake and sat upright, straining his senses to determine the source of the noise. No sooner had he risen from his chair, when a shadowy form appeared at the study entrance.
The form was slight in nature and Rick’s stuppored brain seemed to be collecting its faculties. “Who’s there?,” he slurred. All that was answered in return was a low and gurgling moan. Rick was confused as the form came closer. Is this a dream he asked himself unable to distinguish reality. “Who’s there?,” he asked, this time more definitively.
The form became clearer, it was a woman, whose blond hair was matted with clumps of blood and face mangled and burned. “WHY?” she moaned, raising her hand and pointing at Rick as he cowered in his chair. “Sheila, is that you?” Oh dear God, how is this possible?”
All the blood drained from his face and Rick felt the urge to throw up. It was Sheila Wellstone, her charred and tattered body standing miraculously before him. “Why Rick? Why did you do it?” she gurgled.
Rick screamed and covered his eyes like a child. What was happening? Too much scotch. It had to be a drunken hallucination fueled by his guilt over being a scum-sucking corpsehumper.
With eyes still covered he run through the room, knocking over lamps, as he tripped and stumbled his way out the front door.
Fortuitously, he fumbled through his pockets and found his car keys, still running he hysterically unlocked his car, slammed the door, and dropped his face in hands crying like a little girl. “Oh God this can’t be happening.” After a few moments of sobbing, he took a deep breath and put the key in the ignition and started his car. He wildly backed his car down the drive, taking one last look at the house as he pulled away. He saw nothing.
The adrenaline had temporarily sobered him enough to drive. After about ten miles it occurred to him that he didn’t know where he was going. Rick picked up the phone and dialed his girlfriend’s number. The phone rang numerous times while he mindlessly looked out his rearview mirror, suddenly a young woman appeared, her face a pristine vision.
A voice answered on the other line but Rick had dropped the phone as he slammed on the brakes. “Marcia!!!” he screamed, and as he turned he saw the beautiful girls lower body was missing and all that remained was a floating head oozing blood.
Rick, screaming and fighting himself to get out of the car, finally managed to get the door open only to find he was running in the cold wet grass, shoelessly along a deserted country road. Before long, a car’s headlights could be seen coming rising up over the hill.
A delirious Kahn barely noticed as the car pulled up next to him. “Are you okay man?” as the driver. Kahn didn’t even notice. The young man stopped his car and walked alongside the mumbling Kahn. “Dude, you been in an accident? It’s not safe wandering in the dark practically in the road like that. You could be killed. Hey you don’t have any shoes on.” The young man put his hands around Rick’s shoulders and stood in front of him, trying to make eye contact.
“You better come with me. I think you need to see a doctor or something.” Rick stared blankly at the kid and let him lead him to the car, where he was gingerly strapped into the front seat.
“Hey man, don’t worry you are gonna be okay. I will take you the hospital. I heard that people who have been in accident’s go into shock. Was there anyone with you. Anybody else hurt?” Rick shook his head as he muttered to himself, “Marcia, oh God.”
The kid took the head shaking to mean no, but pressed him for more info, “Dude, who is Marcia? Is that your wife? Do you want to call her?”
Rick looked up and turned to the kid, “No, Marcia is dead.”
After that the car remained silent as they drove in the dark. When they arrived at the hospital, they kid left Rick in the car and walked to the front counter of the Emergency room. Rick saw the kid speaking to the woman at the counter, for the first time he noticed the kid and something seemed familiar about him, but he couldn’t place his finger on it – quickly his mind returned to the horror he has witnessed. This was not a dream, I am losing my mind he thought to himself.
Two men emerged with a wheelchair and helped Rick out of the car. The kid walked inside with him, “Don’t worry man, these guys are gonna take real good care of you. I told them all about what happened.” Rick studied the kid’s face hard and didn’t notice that the men were strapping him into the chair. One of the men was preparing a needle as the kid was still talking to him. “You take care of yourself. Everything will be okay.” Rick couldn’t place where he knew him from; finally he managed to ask him, “What is your name? Do I know you? How can I thank you for helping me?”
“Oh man, I don’t think so. Ever been to Carleton? I teach up there, maybe that’s where you know me. Well, in any case my name’s Paul. No need to thank me, just speak of me fondly. Good luck.”
As the young man disappeared, Rick was stricken with a sense of overwhelming fear and knowledge, he began to struggle, only to find himself strapped in. He looked up to see a big burly orderly sticking him with a needle.
The last thing he saw before succumbing to the drug, was the young man driving away, waving and smiling.