Stan enters consciousness as if coming up from a deep well. A well with nothing in it, because he didn’t have any dreams. The last thing he can recall is being in the car, the black car with darkened windows the Security spooks always use, with Jocelyn sitting beside him in the backseat and her treacherous dipstick of a husband, Phil, doing the driving.
He has an image of the back of Phil’s head—a head he wouldn’t mind perforating with a broken bottle—and then another of Jocelyn putting her sturdy but manicured hand out to pat his knee in the patronizing way she had, as if he was a pet dog. Good legs, gray stockings, the black sleeve of her suit. That was his last snapshot.
Then the prick of the needle. He was gone before he knew it.
But look, she didn’t kill him! He’s still in his body, he can hear his heart beating. As for his mind, it’s clear as ice water. He doesn’t feel drugged; he feels refreshed and hyper-alert, as if he’s just chugged a couple of double espressos.
He opens his eyes. Fuck. Nothing. Maybe he’s been sent to the stratosphere after all. No, wait, it’s a ceiling. A white ceiling, with light reflecting down from it.
He turns his head to see where the light’s coming from. No, he doesn’t turn his head, because his head won’t turn that far. Something’s restraining it, and his arms, and, yes, his legs too. Triple fuck. They’ve got him strapped down.
“Fuck!” he says out loud. But no, he doesn’t say that. The only sound that comes out of his mouth is a slobb...