Six weeks earlier, a doctor had given me less than two months to live. It wasn’t a formal diagnosis, as such -- more of a threat. His wife was beside me at the time, and neither of us had expected him home so early.
I'm the type to sleep right through the alarm, dead to the world, but there's something about the cool, dry click of a hammer being pulled back that cuts right through the sweetest of dreams and it had me instantly awake. It was still dark. I could smell cigar smoke and whisky -- a good brand. I could hear breathing, shallow, much faster than it should be -- that was me.
“I don’t usually make house calls,” he said. “But for you, a special exception. Why don’t you turn on the light?”
I did as I was told. I did it slowly. I’m no fool.
“I pride myself on an accurate prognosis,” the doctor told me, while I watched the maw of his revolver.
“No chance of a second opinion, I suppose?”
He shook his head. The gun didn’t waver. He must have been an excellent surgeon: he had a very steady hand.
“However,” he continued, “I believe your condition may not be completely incurable. I have a proposal for you.”
The good doctor reached down and pulled a bag from the floor. Never taking his eyes off me -- good decision -- he emptied the contents onto my belly, temporarily winding me. It was several hundred pages of closely typed text. "This is the proposal," he said.
I leaned forward and looked at the first page: Short Title: America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.
"Shit." I said as my heart sank. "Okay, okay. Just shoot me now."
Opening: Anon......Continuation: Iago