“Roe I’m glad you’re here, I really wanted to speak with you. Come, make yourself comfortable.”
“Thanks Jason but I-” says Roe but is interrupted.
“Just hear me out first. Can you do that?” says and asks Jason.
“Sure Jason.” says Roe.
“Great, great! Now look, I know you and everyone else are unhappy. I get that. This isn’t an easy job. And I know you guys are going to do what you’re going to do. We can’t keep you from striking.”
“Actually, can you close the door real quick?” asks Jason.
Roe reluctantly gets up and closes the door.
“Thanks. So look. I know they are getting all riled up, and I know it’s not you that’s doing it-” says Jason.
“Jason, I-” says Roe as he tries to interject.
“One second, this is important.”
“Look, you see that office next to mine? That assistant director position?”
“It’s been open for over a year now. We still haven’t found anyone.”
“And you know John, across the hall from you?”
“Yeah he’s my friend.”
“Did you know he is completely qualified for the position? And he does good work here.”
“He could walk in right now, and probably get the job. Instant 100% pay increase, just like that.”
“But what? Do you think we are going to go knock on his door and say, “Hey John, we want to give you a pile of extra money! Would you please apply for this position?” No! No way are we going to do that. Why would we? Why would we want someone who won’t help themselves?” asks Jason.
“You know, not everyone cares about money.” says Roe.
“Sure. But this place isn’t a place to get rich either.”
“Where are you going with this Jason?” asks Roe.
“What I’m saying is, is that in life, you need to look after yourself. You need to take action for yourself. No one is waking you up everyday and trying to make your life better. Only you can do that. You have to work to get what you want. No one is going to just magically walk up to you and offer you a pay increase, or a fit body, or a nice relationship. You have to earn these things. You have to show that you deserve these things.”
“I see what you’re saying, and I agree, but-“
“Good. And just keep that in mind. These people out there, they want to complain and you know, just get handed more, without doing anything for it. How can people be complaining they want more, but they won’t even take action, real action, to try and get it?”
“I agree Jason but um, that’s not why I came in here.” says Roe.
“What?” asks Jason.
“Look, I had been feeling sick these past few months. And. Last night I got a call. So um. This is going to be my last day here.”
“What!? What happened?”
“Honestly I’d just prefer to not talk about it. But um, I’ll come get my stuff sometime this week. I really appreciate what you’ve had to say here, it’s good advice. But um, I don’t think I’ll really be worrying about that anymore.”
Roephun abruptly gets up and walks out, leaving Jason stunned.
One month later, Roephun and his parents have arrived at a special hospital in Washington D.C., for an experimental treatment and last ditch effort to cure his terminal illness.
“Honey. Jesus. You know we love you right?” asks Roe’s mother.
“Of course Mom.”
Roephun’s father places his hand on his shoulder, but can’t seem to find the ability to speak.
Roephun reaches up and holds his hand.
“It’s going to be okay guys. I want this. And maybe it will work you know? And if it doesn’t, I won’t feel a thing. Please, I…”
Roe stops his sentence short, he doesn’t know what else to say.
The Doctor approaches.
“Hey folks so um, we are ready to get started okay? Let’s all be strong here and pray.”
Roe is being wheeled away to the operating room and the last thing his parents see is his weak and pale face, using every last ounce of energy he has, to force a smile.
Seven grueling hours pass, and then the Doctor becomes visible down the hallway, walking towards them.
“Hey guys, let’s sit for a moment okay?”
They all sit.
“So. You know some of the challenges we had discussed when we first met you guys, we ran into many of those, and we were not able to overcome them despite our best efforts.” says the Doctor.
“Jesus. So like what? He won’t be the same?” asks Roe’s mom.
“Unfortunately as we had first discussed, the potential challenges with this operation will usually result in a failure of our treatment and then-“
“Is our son dead?”
“I’m afraid he did not make it, we-“
Roe opens his eyes, but the room is dark.
He feels a confusing combination of strength and pain.
“Am I dead?” he says out loud.
“No.” says a voice from the darkness.