Friday 1 October 2010
I know: it’s not a nice way to examine the subject. But after viewing a recent television show, I started thinking about how this sort of thing is really happening to people all over the world, because people with money, and people who believe that they are entitled, will stop at nothing to get what they believe they deserve. So, please spare a thought for Carla Bickford, the other innocent victim in all of this. And, yes, this is a work of fiction . . . I hope.
Unaware of how she got there, Carla Bickford struggled against the ties that bound her to the cold, metal table. The more she fought with those ties, the tighter they became. Panic was beating its way out of every pore.
Laying face down on the slab, she was unable to move her head very far in either direction. She wanted to scream. She tried to scream, but the duct tape across her mouth prevented any sound, other than a muffled groan, from escaping. She was terrified, and suddenly aware of her nakedness.
Carla’s mind raced through every possible scenario that might explain her circumstance, each one more horrific than the last. There were no sane reasons why she was here, wherever here was.
How did I get here? she wondered. Her inability to recall anything about the night before terrified her even more. Tears began streaming down her face, and she sobbed, choking on each one, as it fought to break its way through the tape.
Amidst the tears, she saw a pair of almost white, slightly ruddy, rubber boots appear in front of her. Had Carla been able to lift her head high enough, she would have seen the bloodied apron that protected the torso and upper legs above the boots. She would have seen the malicious smile spread across his face. But she could not. Again, she tried desperately to scream.
‘Shut it.’ A large hand forcing her head back down onto the cold metal accompanied the gravelly voice. ‘Have you set the camera up? I want every second of this captured this time. This one’s a prize.’
Terror enveloped Carla again, and once again, she tried desperately to scream, tugging at the ties restraining her hands. It was of no consequence. She wasn’t going to be heard by anyone, and she certainly wasn’t going to be escaping any time soon.
‘If you keep doing that, my sweet, I’m going to tape your head to the table. And then how would I see those pretty, brown eyes when I’m having my fun?’ He laughed as he pushed her head harder against the metal.
This is it, she thought, this is where I die. Alone, in a shithole. My mother was right: I never should have moved to the city. The thoughts bounced around her head, throwing her into panic once more. She could feel it rising from her stomach: the nauseous feeling one gets before vomiting. Terrified that she’d be asphyxiated, she used all her strength to force it back down, to no avail.
‘Oh, crap, John. She’s puking. Get the tape off her mouth. NOW.’ The second voice sounded somewhat kinder than the first.
Obviously, Carla thought, John is the brawn behind the operation if he’s not smart enough to recognise I’m choking to death. Her mouth quickly filled and prevented her from breathing.
John’s fumbling, huge hands fought with the duct tape across her mouth. Just when she thought she might actually die, he ripped the tape away. Carla spat out the contents of her mouth, gasped for air, and cried.
‘Clean it up, John. A lady shouldn’t be forced to lay in that mess.’ The second man was determined that Carla not know anything about his identity, but she thought that his voice seemed familiar.
It took John a few minutes to clean the table near Carla’s face, and then it was business as usual. He reached for the roll of duct tape sitting on a bench somewhere to the right of Carla. The second man spoke again.
‘You know what, John? Let’s not tape her mouth again.’
Responding to the request, John replaced the tape where he had found it. Stupidly, Carla felt of pang of relief. Perhaps if they weren’t going to tape her mouth again, there might just be a chance that nothing untoward was going to happen. All thoughts of reprieve were thrust from Carla’s mind when she felt the sensation on her back.
At first, it was just mildly uncomfortable: a slight burning feeling. And then it worsened. Excruciating pain shot through every nerve between her back and her brain. She howled in agony. The two men laughed.
She didn’t know how long she managed to endure the pain, or at what point she passed out, but Carla could recall hearing them speak, as she drifted in and out of consciousness. When she did awaken, the pain in her back was even worse, and it prevented her from moving at all. Her strength sapped from her body, the most Carla could do was attempt to turn her head.
To the right of her: a bench. Its top covered with rolls of silver duct tape, and what appeared to be surgical equipment from the little that she could see. To her left, a camcorder was connected to a television. The TV glowed to life, the images on the screen making Carla sick all over again. There, before her, was a high definition account of what had occurred.
As Carla Bickford watched the television to her left, her left kidney, packed in ice inside a medical transportation container, was being flown to a children’s hospital in downtown Los Angeles.
In ward seven, five year old Bonnie Stevens was being prepared for her long awaited kidney transplant. Her surgeon, Isabella Bright, smiled at the young girl, and spoke in a soft, reassuring voice.
‘Bonnie, you’re so lucky. Many people wait their whole lives for a new kidney.’
Bonnie’s father, Don, smiled as he arrived in her room. His short helicopter flight, with kidney in hand, was the most exciting he’d had. He continued to smile as he thought about the future of his daughter, and the fate of his new secretary, Carla Bickford. Her services to his company would extend way beyond secretarial skills. Carla Bickford was going to save many, many lives.