Will's central theme was simple. Don't be blind sided by life. Prepare for the worst; accumulate as much wealth as possible so you can be independent. The corollary was that if you were poor or down on your luck, you just needed to struggle and dig yourself out. Nobody was going to help you; that anyone with talent and drive could become like Will.
The Tea Party conservatives had gained a majority in both the House and Senate (with Will's help), and a year later had succeeded in repealing the much loathed Obama health care bill. So his editorial was about getting back to his kind of self-reliance and not depending on the government for all your needs. Basically, that having enough health insurance was your business, and if you chose not to have any, then the consequences were yours to face. If you couldn't get any, then there was always clinics and emergency rooms -- just as there had been when he was a kid.
The editorial was scheduled for the end of the show. To prepare himself for its presentation, he had scheduled former senator Harry Reid, and rivals Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann for the show so he could be in high dudgeon after smiting his enemies. Finally, he laid in, red-faced:
"Well folks, we've just now heard a belly full of the kind of bleeding heart liberal tripe that we've become so accustomed to hearing from what we can only compassionatly think of as losers. It's time that we got back to basics, and thank God we've taken a giant step towards that by repealing this awful bill. Just because you get sick and didn't prepare for that by purgnnnlooog brrooongh flmmmmm..."
Will couldn't get his mouth to form the words he was reading. His eyes saw "purchasing," and he knew what it meant, but his speaking mechanism wouldn't work. He just couldn't get the muscles to coordinate. In the silence that followed, nobody moved -- they were too shocked. Will tried to get up, but his left side wouldn't work either. Genuine panic hit him in the gut as his eyes went dark while he fell out of his chair and into a coma.
Dim recognition filtered thru barely open lids 18 months later revealing a dully painted room in the ordinary part of the luxury nursing home where he had been placed after 3 months in an ICU. He was alone with the beeping monitor and the oxygen thingy poking into his nose. He called out for the nurse, but all that came out was "french fries!" (more like "frrrughenuch fuhrrrunghiiiis?") "Huh? That didn't make sense" he thought. This was wrong. It was like being horribly terribly drunk and trying to talk your way out of a DUI. He could think the words "that didn't make sense," but what came slurring out was all different. Thoughts didn't match vocal action. Fear, real fear hit him.
Finally the nurse came in -- with a bed pan -- and saw that he was awake, mumbling something. "Well!! Hello Will honey!," she said (very chirpy) "I guess you can just gimme some help this time," and rolled him over for the new pan.
"Fucking colored cunt! Don't you come near me with that shit! I want my Doctor. I want him NOW!! Where the hell am I?" he screamed out -- or at least that's what he wanted to scream out. What came out, in drawn out mmmm's and gggg's and various disgusting glottal rattles was something like "Floors! grab peaches but golf alarm grass in Hawaii!" And he was still unable to move on one side, so ... nurse Simpson just did her thing, as she had done it for the past year.
"That's OK Honey!! You've been an asshole since you got here. I've just gotten used to it! Mouth away!!" Will tried to encourage Nurse Simpson to perform a self-abusive sex act: "Mack Top!!!" Nurse Simpson just laughed and said "Well, OK honey. I guess I should call the Doctor now -- You need to know what happened to you! Cheer up -- you certainly got a belly full coming!"
Two hours later (Will had pissed himself by then), his wife arrived, having heard that he had woken up. She wasn't as well dressed as he remembered. "About time!" she said "What a relief. I thought you'd be here forever! Thing haven't been going too well at home since you've been lying here. Your son has disappeared. Doctor's say he's got schizo-friend-something. And I've got diabetes. Damn insurance company says it was pre-existing so they won't pay for anything. You've got to get on that phone to those TOX executives and get them to kick some ass!"
Will was floored. "I just woke up from a fucking COMA!! and what do you do? Whine about yourself!!" he wanted to say, but -- you know -- that's not what came out. She just looked at him and said "Oh come'on! Spit it out!! What are you talking about -- "fish" and "nipples" -- what the hell is that?"
The doctor walked in.
It was not Will's doctor. Will held his hands -- palm up, shrugging one shoulder (the other wouldn't work) -- as if to say "Who the hell are you?" The doctor laughed. "I am Siprad Mukergee. Your former physician, Dr. Hamilton-Smythe resigned from your case because of all the problems with insurance. I am the physician on staff here. You had a stroke, Mr. Beck. A very severe one that has left you paralysed on one side and with a very strange case of aphasia."
"Green tea leaves" said Will, trying to sound astonished.
"Yes -- very strange. It seems that even though you know what you want to say, what comes out is just all wrong. It's even affected your writing ability. For example, take this pad and try to write down "The dog chased the cat."
Will took the pad and wrote down in beautiful clear catholic school handwriting "Mister cathode slurry wall bugs."
"See," said Dr. Mukergee "look at what you wrote down." Will looked at the page and saw "Mister cathode slurry wall bugs."
Shit! he thought, that's not what I wrote!! I didn't write that!!
"So you see sir, you can no longer speak or write in any way that any of us understand! None of us knows what you are saying! A very strange condition to be in -- absolutely. However the good news is that you haven't hit your lifetime maximum yet. Your Insurance company has agreed to fund 2 months of rehabilitation. I would suggest we concentrate on your left side and see what we can do to get it working by then.
"Unfortunately, sir, after that we will have to discharge you since there will be no more money left to pay for your visit here. Of course, we can transfer you to a less expensive public institution -- now -- and you may get three months from them. But that is your decision."
His wife continued the good news. "Hon, your buddies in Washington rolled back all those awful bank rules, just like you wanted." Will got a sick feeling in his stomach. "You should feel real good about that. Just as soon as you get back on your feet, you can sue them for all that money of yours that was lost in the crash." (All of Will's investments had been wiped out when the banks were taken over by the Chinese, who immediately fired everyone and declared default on all their debts.)
What crash? he thought. As if reading his mind, his wife turned on TOXIC Nightly News during one of the interminable analysis interviews with the usual pundits.
"Yes folks, It looks like halting all the unemployment insurance extensions and AFDC sure put a crimp on all those deficits. What we need to do now is convince what's left of the middle class to start spending again. After all, we can't depend on the wealthy (the only ones with any cash left) to spend enough to dig us out. C'mon all you middle-class Scrooges. Interest rates are near zero!! Do that refinance. Get some cash for yourselves and spend, spend, spend. It's the only American thing to do." Unfortunately, the middle-class was totally tapped out on loans and focusing on paying debt. So all the factories had to close (no sales). The only jobs left were in the finance sector. Unemployment was now at 40% and still rising fast.
All Will had left in the world was 3 months of insurance to pay to get him walking again, and his disability insurance, which was only good as long as he was paralyzed.
Fuck that he thought. I'm William Beck. If anyone can climb out of this, I can!!
Three months later, Will's paralysis was completely gone. He felt like a new man (except for that talking thing). As a result, his disability was stopped because he was now able bodied. He didn't have any more health insurance (he had hit his lifetime max), and was ineligible for any other policy anyway because he had that pre-existing stroke on his record. There was the possibility of going back to work for TOX and getting on their group policy, so Will pulled himself together, got out his one last suit and went to see TOX about getting his old job back. The interview didn't go well.
"Will!! How the hell are you" asked Beaufort, the owner.
"Green Biscuits" said Will while rendering a hearty handshake.
"Huh? I didn't quite get that Will. 'Green Biscuits?' What does that mean?
Will put on a happy face and pulled out his writing book. Green Biscuits!!! he wrote and passed it to Beaufort.
Needless to say, TOX was genuinely sorry to have to tell Will that they didn't really have any place for someone who couldn't speak or write, and perhaps he could find something in the labor market.
When he got back to his apartment (the house had been foreclosed long ago), he found that his wife had packed up everything and left. Didn't even leave a note. Nailed to the front door was an eviction notice. Will was now homeless.
That winter was the coldest in history. The Gulf currents, having completely shifted, weren't bringing any relief to the entire eastern seaboard. Those with oil heat were going bankrupt from the bills, and those with gas weren't doing much better. Will was now living in an SRO hotel where you had to feed the gas meter by the minute to keep the heater going. He had by now spent his last quarter and was shivering from cold, hunger and a persistent deep chest cough that he could never seem to shake. He'd been to the clinics and emergency rooms, but they didn't help him. He was completely at the end of his rope.
He called out: "My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me? What did I do to deserve this? Why are you doing this to me?" He realized that a miracle had occurred. His words were coming out right!! He was cured!! Maybe he was OK! Things'll get better now! God had heard him!! Good 'ol God -- his buddy.
A light appeared in the room. A man in a blazing white robe was surrounded by a lot of very grubby, dirty, sick and hungry people. He was directing angels who were removing their rags, cleaning them up with hot baths and soothing ointments, dressing them with new suits, giving them a good hot meal and sending them through a gateway into Paradise.
He looked up and said: "Hey Will. I'm Abraham. God's busy right now and he asked me to see what I could do to help. I know I'm Jewish, but that shouldn't matter -- right?"
Will asked again "Why is all this happening to me? What did I do?"
Abraham answered "Well Will, you've already been rich and had your good times. Now these people are having theirs and you can't. There's only so much to go around after all. Is this an issue?"
Will replied: "But Abraham, I'm so cold and hungry. Can't you send one of your friends to help me out a little?"
Abraham replied: "Sorry Will. You're poor now, and between the rich and poor lies a vast gulf that none may cross. But you already knew that." Will really started loosing it then. "But Abraham -- look -- please -- If you can't help me, then can you send someone to tell the people at TOXIC nightly news to let others know that what's happened to me could happen to them?"
Abraham said, "They have Moses, the Prophets and all of the Gospels. They should listen to them."
Will wailed "Maybe you could send my precious savior Jesus in person to warn them?"
Abraham replied, "Nah, we tried that before. They didn't listen to someone who had literally come back from the dead. It didn't work then and it sure as hell wouldn't work this time either. Well sorry. Nice seein' ya. Gotta go! Work, work work..."
With that, the light disappeared and Will was left in the dark. But just as suddenly, the light came back on. "Oh, by the way" Abraham said "It's supposed to get really really cold tonight -- maybe you should go to a place a little warmer?"
Will's last howl was a distillation of anguish that only the truly abandoned could produce -- long and pained and completely hopeless. When they found him the next morning, his face was a mask of crushing despair that haunted those who saw it for years afterward.