"Today, the President promised full cooperation with the Israeli forces and ordered another 25,000 troops to Iraq. More and more governments send forces against the American troops already stationed in Iraq where soldiers are under almost constant attack by terrorist forces and suicide bombs. Sources still have no word on the identity of the leader of the terrorist forces now holed up in the hills surrounding the savannah region where the latest attack occurred. The opposition nations, under the leadership on Chinese and Korean officials, continue to state the terrorists pose no danger to Israel or the United States, and they will no longer stand for US 'bullying'."
"Thom! You're needed in the admission office. We're up."
"Another one? We already got one earlier today. You're kidding right?"
"Nope, he's out there waiting for you to walk him back."
"Damn! All right, but I'm taking my break after I get this bozo in, OK? Is this one going to be a problem?"
"I don't know Thom, they say he's mute."
"Oh, one of those."
Thom steps out of the unit and locks the door. It is a secure unit after all. Then he starts up the hall. Sullivan is a long building, laid out according to the new "advanced" architecture of mental health care. He enters the admission room through the employee's entrance and sees the new person for the first time. He looks surprisingly healthy and well fed.
"Hey Thom. Can I buy you a cup?"
"I thought you would never ask. What do we have here, Ricky?"
"No information. I gather he's a male, he did volunteer he is 33 years old. Looks middle-eastern to me. That's it."
Thom hmmphed into his coffee cup, and turned to the quiet man staring at him.
"So, do you have a name?"
"I have a name."
His voice was clear, almost melodious.
"Can I know what it is?"
"You already do."
"Hmmph. That helps a lot."
Ricky throws his hands up in exasperation.
"So, what do we do Rickster?"
"What can we do? He'll have to be 'John Doe number whatever'. He can't be 'You know my name'."
"I guess so," Thom mutters, guzzling back the last of his coffee. He turns his gaze to his new responsibility, noticing for the first time that there is no bag near him.
"Where's his stuff?"
"He doesn't have any Just the robes."
"So what? Did he just fall out of the plane form Iraq?"
"I'm not from Iraq."
"Well, that's something. OK, 'John', let's go to unit."
John stands in one movement, almost floating down the hall to Sullivan "C."
Admission procedures haven't changed that much in fifteen years. Since John didn't have any belongings, except his toga, there was no reason to go through and confiscate contraband. John looks as if he had recently shaved, his beard was well groomed, and the robes themselves were clean, white and almost linen-like.
"What do we have, Thom?"
Thom was busy thumbing through the admissions book, writing down needed orders and procedures while responding.
"We have a thirty-three year old male, middle-eastern I suppose, in physical good health, name unknown."
"Refuses to give his name, huh?"
"Yep. Only gives 'You know my name'."
"OK. I guess he'll be 'John Doe num-berrrr."
"Looks like number seventy."
"OK then, John Doe number seventy it is, that is until you tell us your real name."
John sat quietly, serenely staring at all in the office, as if studying there faces for something only he could know. Thom approached him, a non-threatening stance twenty years of experience taught him well.
"Mr. Doe, I'm going to escort you into the shower room, and I will assess your physical body and check for scars, injuries, infestations and the like. This is standard procedure, and it has to be done for the safety of you and for the others on the unit. Do you understand?"
"I understand, and I hold no malice to you my son."
John only smiled, still serene. He floats from the chair and follows Thom out of the office and into the shower room, passing several other male residents along the way. All of them stop and stare at John. That's not unusual when a new resident appears, especially someone like John who is truly new, not a revolving-door patient like so many on Sullivan "C" and in the hospital in general. John removed his robes once the door to the room was closed, and Thom could take careful assessment of any wounds and body features that he could see. John has a scar on his flank that could be an old wound or perhaps surgical, and some peculiar stab-wound scars on his wrists and lower shins just above the ankles. It also appeared that he has several wound scars on his back region. Thom could not hazard a guess how those wounds came to be. After the shower, John is given a shirt, underclothes, hospital trousers, socks and bedroom slippers.
"John, come on, and I'll take you to your room. You will be monitored at all times, and your location and behavior will be noted every thirty minutes until further notice. Do you understand? If you have a problem with this type of monitoring, now is the time to mention it so you and I can talk about it."
Thom noticed that he didn't say much during the shower, and in fact, since his arrival on the unit. John is apparently one of the quiet ones. A red flag for Thom, and other experienced staff, since the quiet ones give no warnings.
"John, you will be assigned to room number 316, bed A. You will have a roommate, but he is out today. Mealtime has passed of course, but I will try to get you an extra bag snack. The doctor will be here shortly to see you and order any medications. Were you taking medicines before?"
"Not in my house. Father wouldn't allow it."
"So you live with your father?"
"Where does your father live?"
Thom scowls. John is going to be a tough nut to crack, that's for sure. Either he knows something, and is hiding all information for either personal reasons, or it is part of his illness, or he honestly doesn't know anymore due to injury or illness. The doctor will be able to determine more when he speaks to John. The doctor on-call was a personal friend of Thom's, and he knew that Dr. Julio could take care of John.
"C'mon John, snack time."
John walks calmly to the window at the nurse's station, and receives his sandwich, snack cake, milk and cup of grape flavored drink. He eats all and drinks the milk, but sets the drink down after tasting it.
"Is there a problem John?"
"I don't like the flavor of this beverage."
"Really? What's wrong with it?"
"It reminds me too much of vinegar."
"'We will kill the American infidels, and all the dogs that join with them against the coming of the One, who will someday rule with justice and power, and bring all nations under his thumb in the service of God.' These, the taped words delivered to a Cairo television today by mail, the latest tirade by the terrorist forces in Iraq."
"Hey there Julio! What's up, Doc?"
"Same old same old. Got a new admission here. He's 33, apparently middle-eastern. Won't give his name or any other information. Here's the admission sheet on him.
He was cooperative with his shower, and I examined him and found these marks on his body. Otherwise, nothing to report."
"Won't give his name, huh? Well then, I suppose you're John Doe."
"My name is not John."
"Really, well then, can you tell me?"
"You know my name also."
"Perhaps, but can you tell me anyway, for the record."
"If I must. I am named Emmanuel, but you call me Yeshua."
"Yeshua, sounds Jewish."
"In the Latin tongue, I am named Jesus."
"You're kidding, right?"
"I am not."
"The customer is always right. John Doe number seventy, AKA Jesus Christ number…?"
Thom was quickly thumbing through the book again.
"OK. Let's get to the examination."
"The President now says that with the addition of Australia today, the number of Allied Forces now stands at seven, with at least three separatist groups in the area also joining the Alliance against terrorist forces. The governments opposing US and Allied forces include Korea, Iran, China, and Ukraine."
Whenever Thom decides to work a little overtime, he generally prefers to work the night shift. It was quiet tonight; most of the patients are asleep in their rooms, one asleep in the bed in the quiet room, after a minor verbal disagreement with her roommate, and all the other more physical work done already. All that remained until wake-up call was the written record of observation that Thom would do every half-hour. It could be a boring task, but it also meant an easy eight hours of overtime pay. He kept a close eye of a few of them, like Thelma in the quiet room, as she pitches restlessly in the bed, a victim of nightmares once again. Then there was John. Thom worries about him. He just can't decide if he should be trusted, or feared greatly. A quick look at his watch, and he's up to perform the half hourly bed check. He starts at John's room. Thom is startled when he looks through the window and sees John staring out the window back at him. Thom knows this could be trouble, and so he very cautiously opens the door.
"You OK John?"
"Yes my son."
"OK, as long…."
Thom only then notices the blood on the floor, and the trickle from John's wrist and side.
It is a flurry of activity that follows, and John is whisked to the quiet room, and Thelma shooed back to her bedroom. John is laid on the bed, and the leather restraints fastened on his wrists and ankles Thom takes care to avoid the bleeding areas, and he also then notices the bleeding on John's ankles.
"Why John? What did you use?"
"I did nothing."
"Right. Well, I guess you'll lay here until Dr. Julio says different."
"The terrorists, under the command of the leader known only as 'The One' has retreated back to their stronghold at the site of the ancient city of Megiddo. It is learned today, however, that the Chinese and Korean Embassies have both been attacked within their capital cities by missiles, which both nations claim to have been launched from Allied forces. Both nations state they will end the ' reign of terror' by the US and Allied forces and wipe them out, with nuclear weapons, if necessary. The terrorists, perhaps in a fit of bravado, claim that they too possess nuclear weapons, and have threatened to use them if the Alliance does not unconditionally surrender."
John was asleep, still restrained, when Thom left, and went home. Numerous times during the night, Thom checked on John's wrists and ankles, and never really determining exactly where the blood was coming from. The bleeding stopped almost as soon as John was taken from his bedroom, and by morning, the areas looked the same as they did when Thom first saw them. Still, after sixteen hours of work, Thom was too tired to think about it, and only slept fitfully for a couple of hours when he returned at three o'clock. John, understandable, took up much of the report.
"John Doe was brought into the day hall on 1:1 staffing at ten o'clock, and was released at ten thirty. Nobody seems to able to find those areas on him that were bleeding, and now the supervisor is questioning why he was put in restraints last night."
Thom rubbed his eyes, and poured himself a steaming cup from the carafe of coffee.
"Yeah, I know. I've got to write a statement tonight and take it to the staffing center."
"Well, the other patients can't seem to stay away from John. They keep coming by and touching him on the arm or brushing his back with their fingers."
"Did you notice Cathy? She hasn't shut-up in two days, but when she sat down and started talking with John, she reached across and held his hand and suddenly, she stopped talking. She's been talking clear all day long since. No craziness, just good common sense. She thanked us for taking care of her while she was sick and thanked John for allowing her to touch him. John is amazing!"
"Do you know just how crazy you sound now? You almost sound like you believe that he is Jesus Christ."
"I'm beginning to wonder."
"What about Henry's ear. Henry has picked that thing almost off, and John touches it, and the ear looks healed, and Henry says he doesn't want to pick it off anymore. Can you explain that?"
"Yeah, I can explain that. Henry's crazy, and he doesn't want to pick at his ear, but he will want to eventually. It healed because we performed a good treatment."
"Whatever, well then, why don't you explain the juice."
"What about the juice?"
"When Mr. Johnson had the low blood sugar, we didn't have a drop of juice, only water. John touched the jug, and suddenly, we had orange juice. Later, Mr. Johnson talked with John, and when I checked his sugar, it was normal. Mr. Johnson hasn't had a normal blood sugar since he's been here. The unit has been quiet and serene all day. I'm telling you, there's something special about John."
"Hey, if John can somehow calm these people down, then good. I still say that you're losing it."
The report ends, and Thom looks at the assignment sheet. Once again, he is the only male on duty, so he is once again "male role model." John has piqued his interest as well, and so Thom has a few questions to pose to the unit messiah as well, like what he used last night, or did he really cut himself anyway.
"Without warning, and without any direction from the United Nations, Korea has launched nuclear missiles into South Korea, a long time US ally. The US and United Nations condemned the act immediately. China launched it's own nuclear missiles at Taiwan and other US territories in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The US says that this will not go unpunished, and prepared to launch at China. The Ukraine states that if the US does, it will launch. Iraq and Syria, long suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction, launched nuclear and conventional weapons at Allied forces and Israeli targets soon after."
Thom could barely believe it. All the patients were watching as the events unfolded on the screen before them. Some of them understand that war was here. Those patients who don't understand at least understand that something big and important was happening. John was the exception. He stands quietly in the center of the room, his face serene. Thom just can't resist.
"John, what do you think?"
"Peace. It's time."
"Time? Time for what?"
An intense white light suddenly blinds Thom. John is surrounded. When Thom's eyes clear, he realizes that most of the patients in the day hall are missing, except for John and Pete, the pedophile. Thom doesn't care much for him anyway.
"You are very much like another Thomas I once knew."
Thom stares at John, and realizes the truth. John is special, very special indeed.
"Are you ready?"
Thom smiles and nods, and the white light returns.