The whole medical center was newly renovated, a white modernist cube in the heart of the ghetto. There should've been more colored paintings in the waiting rooms. Mentally disabled boys and girls in pink t-shirts sat at the pick up point, well behaved, wondering about lunch, quietly engaged in inner worlds. A nurse from another country sat with them, pretty, patient and chatting with her companion. An ambulance parked nearby, no one at the helm. Heat was building up to noon.
There was a temporary clinic set up, adjacent to the main building. I learned later that a main clinic several train stations away is closing down for renovations. A whole neighborhood of sick people will be re-routing to the ghetto. I'm not sure if shuttle services were an option.
Inside the clinic, everyone wore masks and queue numbers escalated and buzzed like false answers. There were other sounds, pinging and chiming, babies crying, a tide of murmuring. At least no one was screaming. I passed the emergency center and asked a hooded woman where ultrasound was. "Level three." She said, pointing to the stairs," room 308." I got lost looking for the elevator. Security guards watched my every move. Corridors turned sharp corners, circling a cube. The spatial design reminded me of an old school I attended. Looking over the railings, I saw sick people squatting by drains waiting their turn with the doctors. Once the room was found, I handed over the documents and waited. The light from the halogen lamp hummed louder when I entered, it beamed down at me some unknown information from the levels above. It was nearly lunch and most of the patients scheduled before me drained out the waiting area one by one. Their auras had been altered after coming out from hidden rooms. Occasionally I would hear a technician from somewhere within the place instructing people to take in deep breaths, hold it and breathe out. What happened during the holding phase? Imagery is extracted from the body.
In the beginning there were two administrators at the counter. Then there was one. The phone kept ringing and no one would answer it. One or two more patients came out, faces turned white but their lips were full of red. My name was finally spoken; I looked up to see a skinny girl in a lab coat. "Come," she invited. I felt the ethereal. She led me to a blue-lighted room, fairly small with curtains drawn, drowning out the natural light. The main machine pulsed in one half of the room, it's screen flickered. I tried to see fetuses, shadowy and static on the screen. Somewhere in the room I sensed radar and sonar and heard a low frequency beeping, slow like a heartbeat from an unseen creature. "Lie on the bed."
"Take off my shoes?"
She had no mask on. I was instructed to lift up my black robes and close my eyes, arms above my head. Every action I took was accompanied by a "good, good." She smeared a colorless and odorless gel onto my stomach. "When I say breathe in, you take a deep breath and hold it until I tell you to breathe out." That was the ritual, the medical yoga, and I abided without question. She began the mantra, emotionless and deadpan.
The instrument she wielded looked like a short shower handle and had a gentle electric emission. When made contact with my skin, I felt an almost imperceptible vibration, waves of stellar energy entering my body, rippling toward my organs. "Breathe in…breathe out….breathe in….breathe out." The instrument roamed my body, slippery on the gel, pressed into fundamental areas of biological activity. She flicked something and instantly I knew polarities was reversed.
She did not extract images, but seeded it.
My head swam in a hypnagogic state (Induced somehow by the hypnotic voice that instructed me on respiration) I saw master blue prints of unidentified aircraft snapshot in my mind. Flashes of portrait and horizons, underbelly and birds eye; internal mechanisms and energy cores, weapon systems and force fields. "Good, good." She kept repeating. "Now turn to your left. Come closer to me." I felt her body press unto mine but there was no eroticism. Somehow, I was caught up in a clandestine operation, a mission I was not briefed on. More images of the futuristic aircraft were beamed into my body, stored in cells of energy in the long of my bones and the holographic hemoglobin. IN about twenty minutes, she was done with me. A strange sensation settled at the nape of my neck, as if final instructions and the opening of the keys were stored there, ready for retrieval at some unannounced date. She handed me paper towels, told me to clean myself off then I could go home. I thanked her. "Exit by the left."
The sun outside had changed, charging overhead now and staring down like a God-stance of severity and the reprimanding. It was no angry at me I sensed, It was blasting heat rays to an activity unfolding outside. The ambulance by the side was gone and in front of the pick up point - where I had seen the group of mentally disabled children- was a van, engine running, and driver door open. I paused by the vehicle, knowing deep inside that I was part of this campaign now. There were 'old folks' waiting inside but I knew it was just a disguise. Their grey curly wigs somehow looked obviously. Their wrinkled, aged faces bore the signs of rubber masks, true eyes lost behind flapping cut out eyeholes. Very quickly I understood that this was a robbery of some kind. The getaway van. A man with real grey hair and a white suit went by behind me to the back of the van. "Get in," he ordered. I realized I was the driver but saw instead, myself in an old-fashioned dress, messed up wig and sickening looking mask get behind the wheel. I climbed in, into this figure, noting that the figure was actually a composite of radar and sonar and hallucination and shadow static from the screen. As I settled into the drivers seat, I merged with the image, my imaging self. The door slammed.
I don't remember departing, screeching off. I don't remember reaching anywhere I could I recognized. I just knew it was a Buddhist temple, post-modern, black and white architecture and a big open space in front of the main building, like at an airport. We were caught somehow; the van angled awkwardly, doors flying open, thieves trying to dash free. I stumbled out of the vehicle and form the sky up ahead came three futurist aircraft, not unlike the ones I had seen in my head. In real form, dark brown and black, sea shell shaped, they hovered above me. Without words, I knew they wanted me to hand over the plans inside my body.
"I am NOT a sick man." I calmly told the machines. I stared them down. Were they scanning me? Extracting the images from my body? I couldn't tell. I felt nothing. The senior citizen van was abandoned, rubber masks with plastered grey hair and overused grandmother dresses sprawled over empty seats. Echoes of waiting rooms and buzzing queue numbers chimed inside me. I thought of images of fetuses on a screen, the technician telling me to breathe in and breathe out, the nurse handing me back my appointment card, telling me to go home now, that my results would be ready in a week.