Go get the man
Truck-trailer travel had exacerbated the voices. The mental health facility – located in a Calais suburb – had been his home for weeks. He had limited English, no French. He hadn’t heard Azerbaijani spoken by another living human being for months, since his arrest and subsequent isolation, before his move to the asylum. Seeking asylum. The pun would likely have amused him if his English was as good as his wife Goga’s.
The ghost of Elvis Presley whispered from the air conditioner:
Hitler’s ghost, under his bed, made darker suggestions:
“Kill the big male nurse.”
Elvis spoke English, Hitler – the many-tongued devil – Austrian-tinged Azerbaijani.
Twice daily, Hamid took strange medications at the behest of a big male nurse. The nurse went from ward to ward with his cart of serotonin inhibitors, dopamine blockers, and sleeping pills.
Hamid had not seen his wife since his apprehension. He had been found wandering alone, catatonic, along an autoroute near the Chunnel.
One evening, the pouting doctor’s clattering shoes roused him, her form casting a long shadow on her approach towards his bed.
The nurse wheeled in his trolley, attending other patients.
The doctor stood at his bedside, smiling broadly.
“Your wife Goga comes tomorrow!” she told him. “Here. Oui? Goga demain.”
"Goga tomorrow", but Hamid did not speak French.
GO GET THE MAN.
She smiled her encouragement, echoing: “Goga demain.”
With officialdom’s blessing, Hamid hadn’t needed to be told twice.
GO GET THE MAN.
He pulled a knife from under his mattress, leapt from the bed, and slashed the big male nurse’s throat as he prepped his dose.
The nurse collapsed, life leaving him as he bled out on the floor.
The doctor hit an alarm button. Her eyes met Hamid’s over the other patients’ screams. His smile faded. He knew that he had misheard.