"Flying Saucers Piss Me Off!"
For the sake of other patients' privacy, the "Santa Fe long term care facility" once responsible for housing the man we call Patient-X has expressed its desire to remain unidentified throughout the course of this narrative. For the sake of the same privacy accorded to other patients, they have also requested that Patient-X's real name not be released. Given that the very few surviving members of his family have also proven hostile to the idea of publicizing their familial connection to this individual, The Saucerologist has agreed to maintain a state of anonymity in return for access to records and memories that were previously impossible to examine. For those attempting to track Patient-X down by the use of clever hints and context delivered in part by The Saucerologist, who some people seem to think is a complete idiot who doesn't understand the background and the presumably overlooked application of location! Location! LOCATION!, the long term care facility discussed in this series of articles is also anonymous in relation to its natural place in the universe (so live with it dear, vocabulary pickers). As understood by all three editors of The Saucerologist, there is not now, nor has there ever been, such a medical facility as that described in these few pages anywhere near the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. To give this series of articles the necessary conditions of locality demanded of such narratives, we have determined to maintain this illusory quality throughout. Obviously, such a facility does exist within the United States, and it was, at one time, responsible for housing the comatose individual we have elected to call "Patient-X". While our readers are certainly welcome to look for it, The Saucerologist is confident, given the current desires of both the facility and the family, that no such attempt will reach a successful conclusion until the above conditions no longer exist.
The conversations as presented in the article below have been recreated from the recollections of Ardajio Jonas, video files recorded on a cell phone owned by Ardajio Jonas, archived recordings currently maintained at a long term care facility outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, private documents held by Patient-X's few remaining family members, and the contents of private emails that were accidentally stored on a non-affiliated server, thereby allowing independent contractors to examine their contents, most of which were trivial, with the remainder serving primarily as a means to confirm a number of claims originally addressed by other sources.
SPI SANTA FE NM -- For 46 years a quiet secret was watched and fretted over by three generations of care givers at a coma ward hospital outside of Santa Fe, standing isolated and sun-bleached amongst the barren hills and the brutalized landscape of northern New Mexico. The identity of this secret was originally discussed -- if discussed at all -- as "Patient-X", and up until the summer of 1993, Patient-X had been comatose and cared for longer than any other human being in recorded history.
Ardajio Jonas, a Veteran's Administration representative who was attached in an "informal" capacity to the Santa Fe facility in 1993, became interested in the case and conducted his own investigation, primarily to satisfy his own curiosity. "I didn't have much to do anyway; it's not like all of those people needed advice or had any questions that needed some urgent answering." He was able to eventually gain access to the original documentation in regard to the man's commitment, and was surprised to learn that he had originally been treated at a small clinic on the old army base at Roswell, New Mexico. Those documents went a long way to explaining exactly how he wound up at the facility in Santa Fe.
According to Jonas, his medical history as a comatose individual started out as a death watch. When Patient-X "failed to stabilize those first six weeks at the clinic on the old army base at Roswell, New Mexico, nobody at all expected him to live longer than a few weeks at best. In those days, and we're talking about the summer of 1947, there really wasn't much social pressure involved in the decision as to whether or not someone should be removed from life supporting systems. Wasn't at all like today. There just wasn't much to it, and those systems in use were so primitive compared to what we've got now, that social pressure, whatever your belief, just didn't happen. There simply wasn't anything to argue about, because there was no substantive issue involved. You either died or you lived, period. Things are a whole lot different now ..." Remarkably, Patient-X was still alive 46 years later, and nobody from Roswell to Santa Fe would have ever guessed at such a resolution.
"That old boy must have had God on his side that summer, 'cause he was one of the very few who lived. And, of course, he continued to do so, even though it took him a bit of time to settle into it. It's unsurprising, really, that it also took a little time to pull out of that coma. It must have been a Hell of a thing to witness his awakening, once it got started and all, but that's one of those little miracles they'd never let an admin frog like me hang around for. Only doctors and nursing staff got in, which was pretty damn ironic, really, given that his condition became so precarious so immediately once he started showing signs that there was something new going on in his head.
"For a good two weeks in February of 1993, he started having these awful seizures -- long and drawn out, like a slow leak in a swimming pool; you don't even notice the water level dropping until you realize the chlorine level is starting to burn your eyes a little more than usual. They just weren't ordinary seizures, y'know? Most folks have a seizure longer than 40, 50-seconds, and it's an alarm goin' off, 'cause that's a long, long time. But he was havin' these seizures that lasted a half hour or more! Even worse, the doctors couldn't figure out what was goin' on. This was truly a bad, bad time, and everybody was pretty certain that he was fixin' to die. When you're talkin' about a person's health, the only odds that doctors can go on is based on history. How long do most people in such circumstances go on? What happens to the brain when you start seizing up like that when you're in a coma?
"The thing is, there ain't much history to go on when you've been in storage for almost fifty years -- there's just no precedent for it, and nobody really knows what 50-years of unconsciousness is going to do to a man's brain, his nervous system -- Hell, even his lower functions, all that automated stuff like breathing or getting rid of the waste and poisons that a man can absorb over the years without even knowing it. It was uncharted territory, so you couldn't really tell what was going on upstairs. You couldn't plan for it either. But I'll tell you, when those eyes of his started fluttering and then snapped open like somebody had pegged a switch, those doctors had to have been shocked. After 46-years or so of darkness, not a single one of them was thinkin' about recovery. Every doctor and a good ninety-percent of the nursing staff expected him to die in the shadows without ever waking up. It was just gonna be lights out, and he had been in that lights out state since 1947 when he was still being treated at the little clinic they used to have at the Army Air Field in Roswell. In those days, they still had a little bit of hope that he might regain his wits a little. Yeah... that hope didn't last too long at all.
"He was moved outta Roswell years and years ago and put in cold storage right here in Santa Fe. They were nowhere near properly equipped enough to keep him just lyin' about there in that little clinic they had. They moved him up here and locked him away. And then, for no apparent reason at all, he started to get a little more ... a little more ... active. The seizures came and the seizures went, and that's about when his chances of living through that waking up stage started to get particularly bad. He started cramping up at times, and archived records show that over the course of eleven days, his heart stopped eighteen times. He did a lot of drifting in and out of this organic fugue state, but it was all internal. You couldn't really tell what was going on from the outside. Every once in a while someone might see a muscle flutter that could have been the wind, had he been takin' a nap out in the grass. It was all just drifting. For the most part, folks just assumed that he was gonna drift on out, that his body was gonna catch up with the rest of him that was already dead and gone. Hell, it was long, long gone."
Patient-X was eventually moved from
Roswell to a coma ward in Santa Fe
Once that awakening process stabilized somewhat, and Patient-X could be described at least half the time as "conscious", he dropped right down into something the doctors described as "a continuously failing state" for about five-and-a-half months, and nobody at the hospital expected him to hang on much longer than that. Most of the staff shared the opinion that his lifespan was something of a miracle that became more alarming with each day of consciousness.
"It was all very sad," Ardajio Jonas admitted. "Most of his life, he was in a coma, and when he finally wasn't, the whole awakening process was most likely gonna kill him. Eventually, of course, that's what happened. The awakening killed him. Well, more specifically, his advanced age combined with the horrifying physical condition that 46 years in a comatose state had left behind killed him. His death sentence became a fact of life as soon as consciousness slipped in." It was a cruel judgment that Jonas described, but it couldn't be helped. "Mercy is one of those aspects of human life that has no real place in a long term care facility. It's a luxury no one can afford, because the job is to wake the inmates up, not euthanize them once they start sensing that the world around them actually exists.
The patient's condition was the primary reason that his eventual care and treatment was so different to that accorded to most coma patients. From day one, he couldn't participate in any except the most basic physical therapy exercises that require the very least measure of effort. It was believed with some authority that the standard physical effort required for successful therapy would kill him very quickly. None of it was kept secret from him, of course. That would have been so unethical that most of the staff would have refused to participate in such a strategic retreat from human dignity. All the same, it wasn't a subject anyone cared to dwell on, and that included Patient-X.
While some remarkable advances in medical care came about as a result of World War Two and its influx of badly wounded soldiers requiring treatment, not enough had been learned about keeping a human body alive after it has dropped off the scope of human consciousness. All they could really do at the time was watch it, keep it clean, prevent or treat the bed sores that tend to develop, and make sure enough nutrients were being absorbed to prevent infection. As for the vegetative states that encompass most modern discussions of comatose individuals, the medical communities worldwide didn't even understand how best to define the issue. They couldn't measure the whole spectrum electrical activity in the brain, and they lacked the knowledge to define its importance. If the body could breathe on its own, the assumption was that it could recover on its own. The primary medical duty was to prevent infection and starvation, and a lot of the time all they had to go on was muscle cramps and body fluids.
Patient-X was a medical disaster when he was discovered in June 1947 just outside the perimeter of the Army base at Roswell, New Mexico. A single, anonymous phone call had alerted the military about his presence. One side of his skull had been crushed, his pelvis was shattered like it was glass in more than a couple of places, and both of his legs were hideously mangled, one of which was very nearly snapped off at the knee like a twig of dry kindling. He was already comatose when security personnel attached to the Army base discovered his body, but his wounds had also been cleaned and dressed. Although the effort was obviously substantial, it was far from being the treatment he would have received at a hospital, or even for that matter, from someone properly trained to administer first aid. As a result, infection had already set within his broken leg, and it later required amputation.
Braceros were "shamefully neglected"
In 1956, labor organizer Ernesto Galarza’s book Stranger in Our Fields was published, drawing attention for the first time to the conditions experienced by Braceros. The book begins with this statement from one of the Mexican laborers: “In this camp, we have no names. we are called only by numbers.” Galarza concluded that the Braceros were lied to, cheated and “shamefully neglected." The U.S. Department of Labor officer in charge of the program, Lee G. Williams, described it as a system of “legalized slavery,” proving that the issue of Mexican laborers in America is far more complex than most Americans are wont to believe and suffers from roots far deeper than those recognized in America today.
American icon Woodie Guthrie's take on the issue, reprinted below, has been judged by history as a far more striking and effective measure of the malignancy that has since developed within our two cultures. Too many Americans seem to have forgotten the invitations that one nation extended to another, thereby fostering a migratory system that to at least some extent still exists and oppresses to this day.
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"
My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.
Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?
Many Braceros never made it home
Today, millions of Mexican-Americans can trace their families' initial arrival into the United States to their fathers' or grandfathers' employment as Braceros. This program -- the largest foreign worker program in U.S. history -- would eventually invite and employ men and women from every state across the nation of Mexico until 1964, when it was finally discontinued by the Democrats in an American Congress that had previously danced to a Republican chorus more concerned with cheap labor than a secure border. For 22-years, business concerns throughout the country had contracted for and utilized the labor the Braceros were more than willing to supply, given the economical climate forced upon the nation of Mexico by an American business doctrine that had assumed ownership of everything in the western hemisphere, including its population. This was an attitude that would eventually result in some terrible abuses to American security, Mexican sovereignity, an economical system that applauded and rewarded labor practices and an ever evolving protocol that represented and retained the closest thing to slavery that either nation had been subjected to since the Reconstruction era, and the contemptible and irrepresable shame that was part and parcel to the unjustifiable burden of racial prejudice, hatred, and blame suffered by latinos ever since.
Braceros were routinely humiliated
When the sovereign nation of Mexico very publically refused to accept any contracting of its citizens by businesses and individuals located in the State of Texas, they were responding, for the most part, to a plethora of racially motivated insults that were common in America. It was believed throughout Mexico, for what are sound and convincing reasons, that those American citizens who lived in Texas, and indeed, the State of Texas itself, was typically prejudicial and abusive in its treatment of Mexicans and had been for the past century. Given the extent of farming interests within Texas during World War Two, this refusal to contract with businesses associated with or based within the State of Texas tended to be responsible for some very real economic damage within the United States, most explicitly within the State of Texas itself. The governor was forced to adopt a very active role in the efforts to convince Mexico that its citizenry would be safe in Texas, and would be treated with the care and respect they deserved as hard-working guests of the United States. Having been lied to repeatedly, Mexico was understandably doubtful and openly questioned both the motivation and the sincerity of these "promises to be good and worthy neighbors" that Texans were now so openly affirming. These insistent pleas for friendship were bracketed by the sincerity and the urgency expressed by federal interests in Washington, DC, without which Mexican Braceros would have very likely ignored the steadily increasing desparation behind the pleas and promises of interests within the State of Texas. It was apparent that 1947 was expected to be a watershed year for international relations.
The fact that the whole Bracero Program was originally intended to end when the war ended seemed to have been forgotten by both nations when World War Two actually ended. There were some very good reasons for this, just as there were some very bad reasons that nobody really wanted to discuss at the time, a characteristic of international diplomacy that still exists today, primarily within the consistent refusal of the United States Congress to even debate the issue, while simultaneously insisting that something has to be done. It's an unfailing sign of the hypocrisy of political demand that has been well and truly employed for decades in Washington, DC.
Repeatedly since 1942, the Immigration and Naturalization Service very publicly extended the time limits allowable for Mexican Braceros to remain in America under the same agreements and treaties already negotiated with our great neighbor to the south. This was considered necessary, it was agreed, to proactively control the border regions in the southwest. They wanted to take advantage of this federally-sanctioned, labor-based program as the best means to control both Mexican immigration and possible border incursion. The Bracero Program had become something of a cause celebre amongst those seeking a more robust immigration policy and system of border control. Unfortunately, the Bracero Program also enabled American contractors to skirt the issue of immigration entirely by simply refusing to honor the contracts that had already been established.
The Mexicans were still paid, of course, but oftentimes only a fraction of the wages they had been promised, and that the United States had previously guaranteed. You would think that during the state of such a tense and irrefutable war footing, American pride and patriotism would have counted for something, some expression of honesty to an economic and spiritual ally of the United States. Sweet dreams, right? Yeah ... but not so much where money is concerned. The large farming interests that provided much of that pay were not idiots. The wages they offered were all too often retained until the contracts were fulfilled. And that's when "mistakes" can happen. Those "mistakes" sometimes forced Braceros to remain in the United States, moving from farm to farm or migrating to the larger cities for more lucrative employment. Those who did leave would often return the following season to earn the same deflated wages.
This pattern was maintained throughout the war, and had three very closely associated consequences: (1) American farmers got into the habit of paying for seasonal, Mexican labor at a rate that was far lower than anything they could possibly negotiate with American farm workers returning from Europe and the Far East; (2) U.S. government officials were persuaded by those hiring the Braceros to maintain that status quo throughout the war; and (3), because of the first two consequences, Mexican government officials found themselves continuously in conflict with American Immigration and Naturalization Service personnel, angrily lobbying for America to honor its treaty commitments and international obligations to pay the Mexican laborers the wages they were promised, to give them proper housing and food, to provide them with protection from the American criminal classes, and to ensure that the Braceros were treated no differently than any other workers in the United States. This last meant they were not to be forcibly segregated or treated as if they were somehow less deserving of human respect than any citizen of the United States. These agreements were an American promise that the Braceros were to be treated as equals in law by those who employed them. Mexico, however, refused to recognize that these conditions could be achieved within the State of Texas. Its refusal to allow Mexican citizens to bind themselves with contracts that were to be satisfied within the State of Texas was unconditional.
There were other problems with the Bracero Program that would eventually lead to abusive policies that guaranteed a future of tension between peoples, just as they signaled the eventual corruption between nations that would soon evolve into the irresponsible and unfair contempt adopted by American stakeholders who were possessed of only one goal, one abiding desire: to force Mexico to give up its labor force without those conditions required for the pursuit of human dignity that Mexico insisted upon. The tactics of government made this goal necessary, whether intended or not. The United States had unfairly placed the burden of border incursion control on the Mexican government, a tactic that allowed the U.S. to ignore the illegal conditions imposed by those corporations that benefited the most from the imposition of abuses that had already incensed the government of Mexico. By simply complaining that the contracts were improperly applied, Americans could declare that those crossing the border to the north in support of those contracts were doing so illegally, crossing a line in the sand that was "supposed" to be controlled by Mexico. The primary stakeholders -- a group that included the nation’s largest growers, farm lobbying groups, and the congressional farm bloc -- had determined for themselves how best to take advantage of the Bracero Program. More importantly, insofar as the conduct of America's agricultural gentry was concerned, those same stakeholders had already determined that continued abuses of the Bracero Program also increased their profits.
Responsibiliy for those abuses rested to some extent with the American Immigration and Naturalization Service, which interpreted the Bracero Program in terms appropriate to its own interests. In other words, the most significant response to border incursion recognized by the Immigration and Naturalization Service represented an American immigration policy that required no interference with a status quo that was typified by abuse. As such, it provided for accurate records of migrant workers under contract through the Bracero Program while tending to ignore everything else. While this practice encouraged illegal border crossings, it was hardly the most injurious aspect of this policy. The worst problem was a result of America's insistence that Mexico police the border alone without American consideration. This ensured that the "accurate records of migrant workers under contract through the Bracero Program" mentioned above was accurate only when American-Mexican borders were crossed from Mexico into the United States. All of that emphasis that was being placed on Mexico as the controlling "partner" in this fraudulent excuse for an international relationship meant that nobody north of the border cared much about those Braceros who chose to accept additional work, thereby allowing them to remain in the United States working contract to contract, or who simply remained in America after their contracts were fulfilled. They certainly didn't care enough to count them, such a small task, one would think. By ignoring that small task, however, those with the responsibility to do otherwise ensured that the number of migrant workers crossing the border from the United States into Mexico was woefully underestimated and ensured that the Immigration and Naturalization Service could not possibly respond in any dutiful way to the mandate that its very existence demanded: that policy must sensibly meet the challenges imposed upon it by America's refusal to give necessary attention to its own system of national borders.
Over 4-million Mexicans were ultimately allowed into the United States by the time the Bracero Program was shut down. By adopting an immigration policy that commanded the legal and unfettered access of contracted Braceros into the United States, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was symbolically and objectively ignoring the need for a secure border. It should be noted that this was accomplished with a significant measure of irony, given that the migrant workers under contract had nothing whatsoever to do with immigration or naturalization.
The Bracero Program ultimately fostered
the admittance of over 4-million laborers
Unfortunately, life tends to be far more complex than the simple black and white character of an isolated policy normally suggests. In this case, the Immigration and Naturalization Service had instituted a policy that tended to ignore the much wider view framed within the context of American labor policy, a conclusive mistake not applied by other interest-groups and stakeholders such as the nation’s largest growers and farm lobbying groups, the congressional farm bloc, various government officials, and organized labor. For them, the Bracero Program very clearly represented labor policy, not immigration policy. And in the context of labor policy, there were some very definite problems.
The 1947 Taft-Hartley Act specifically excluded agricultural workers from the bargaining advantage that U.S. labor enjoyed and employed everywhere else. The intent was to maintain a status quo favorable to U.S. interests; and U.S. interests clearly insisted on cheap labor, even at the cost of employing illegal migrant workers. This was not much of an effort in the long run. The American Immigration and Naturalization Service simply redefined the issues. Whenever uncontracted and therefore undocumented migrant workers were discovered, they were immediately placed under arrest, processed under a legal system that provided the documentation necessary to negotiate a contract, and then paroled to growers who trucked them to cotton and beet fields in New Mexico and elsewhere where those same contracts were promptly ignored. Again. The process was called “drying out the wetbacks,” and its frequent use in the late 1940s and early 1950s ensured that the available stock of Bracero labor was capable of being expanded by the number of illegal workers apprehended on the United States' side of the border. Illegal migrant workers were essentially dropped into an environment that required cheap labor and allowed to stay as long as they continued to work for the slave wages they were ultimately forced to accept. The United States Congress -- with both chambers controlled by Republicans for the first time since 1931 -- had legislatively created a system that would have been illegal had it been applied against American workers.
Congress, of course, justified its legalization of slave rental by declaring a labor emergency brought about by America's post-war foreign policy. That policy essentially made the United States the primary stakeholder responsible for rebuilding Europe after World War Two. It's difficult to believe that any other nation could have possibly achieved what America had resolved to accomplish within the relatively short amount of time that a new and stable world economy required. That status, however, is hardly relevant to those opposing the new policy, especially that one aspect many Americans considered too great a sacrifice to accomplish: the feeding of those millions who had survived the devastation brought to Europe by the single most destructive war in world history. The better interests of migrant farm workers from Mexico was a price that few people gave any thought to. It was particularly unfortunate that the leadership of the Republican majority that would later convince President Harry Truman to dub the 1948 U.S. Legislature the "Do Nothing Congress" simply didn't believe Mexican citizens were important enough to worry about. More to the point, Republicans were far more concerned with using America's foreign policy to get rich, not to solve problems with border control and labor policy, and employing the cheapest labor possible is a tried and true means of doing exactly that. If America was going to feed all of Europe, it's agricultural interests would necessarily become the center of attention for the entire world. If a Republican-led Congress could prevent the unions from organizing the labor force and its potential within the agricultural industry, a great deal of money could be made by those funneling the resulting profits into their own bank accounts. Any examination of America's health care, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries today proves that the G.O.P. has changed very little over the decades. They still want to increase their own worth, and they still don't give a damn how many lives they destroy in the process.
As for the Braceros that had been picked up at the border by Patient-X, they have become something of a mystery. It's known that they were picked up at the border by Patient-X, because border police watched it happen, and in 1947, everything was logged down, including this pick-up of 10 common laborers on the U.S. side of the border. Unfortunately, between the border and Roswell Army Base where Patient-X was later found, horribly injured and comatose, is a space of time that has become little more than a question mark, a blank spot in history, part of that haunting Dead Zone occupied by Patient-X alone. That blank spot was there well before anybody else in the world had even an inkling of the revelations he would eventually reveal. Before such revelations, even the guessing game sometimes played at amongst historians and the frenetically curious was still just a game. The only thing the rest of the world had that they could bounce off of for inspiration was a sad couple of negatives: no one ever reported seeing those Braceros in America ever again, and not a single one of them ever returned south to their families. It would take another 46 years before some new information could be applied to those insanely cold cases, and that new information would be a stunning reminder of both human cruelty and human incompetence.
It was a full month-and-a-half after Patient-X started to regain consciousness that he was able to talk well enough to be understood, but even then, his words tended to slur and he often forgot where he wanted to take his sentences, or how best to carry a thought from the back of his head to that pause of breath that his lips sometimes failed to recognize. He was all too often forced to drift among the scattered vowels and consonants populating his loss until he could start over again with a little more clarity. Because of this handicap, and it was a horrifying one nobody really wanted to recognize or witness, conversations could be difficult at times even when they were as short as a request for a little water.
Ardajio Jonas, the Veteran's Administration representative attached to the Santa Fe facility where Patient-X was trying to recover spent a lot of time with this once healthy young man who fell into unconsciousness and awakened an old and dying man of 73 years. Their very short friendship started as a show of sympathy, but Ardajio very soon came to admire the character and honesty of this odd and forgotten old man, this Rip Van Winkle of the modern age. "There was just something about him -- something that was serious and kind and without an ounce of sadness; he was thankful for simply being conscious and possessing the humble ability to communicate. How many people can you say that about? He was completely disarming; it was all very unexpected, and more than a little sad. He was well aware that his time was running out, and that is a curse many men would have held inside, letting it fester and turn into the worst kind of unreasonable anger. But that just wasn't in him. He had a smile for every thought in the day. And I've never met a man who was so genuinely thankful to God for granting him one more day to fill up with conversation. If truth be told, that was my only real reason for spending so much time with him. I didn't have to be there. Hell, I was VA and he weren't no veteran. He could make you feel good for breathin' though. Thankful. An' that's a truly rare gift."
Jonas spent some weeks discussing the past 46 years with Patient-X, but the entire time the VA rep could not help but notice that there was sometimes an odd disinterest evident in the patient's broad demeanor the closer the subject of those discussions came to the present day. It was as evident a structure of the man's personality as that terrifying coma once was. It seemed to Jonas that the further back in time these discussions eventually came to center on, the more attentive Patient-X was, and the more urgent his expressions became. There was something missing in his history, something that was making it difficult for him to recenter himself into his newly awakened state. These were strange suppositions for a man like Jonas to face down. After all, he was an administrator at best; he simply wasn't equipped to analyze the environment and the weathering of another man's mind. On the other hand, the fact that he was unable to define in any convincing way the mysteries he was now facing didn't make them any less possessive of his thoughts when he was ultimately left to his own memories and conditions and human flaws. More importantly, Jonas wasn't the only person to notice this apparently historical defect to the newly awakened soul, nor the hollow inattentiveness that normally billowed like gentle yet aggressive furnitures crumbling with near disinterest on the far side of the older man's memory. "Hell, I'm not exactly the brightest spoon in the drawer, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't the first one in that hospital to notice what was going on. I don't know exactly who saw it first, but I'm pretty certain they had nothin' to do with me."
It was the doctors, of course. Once they recognized the possibilities inherent to the near daily conversations between Jonas and Patient-X, they realized that this might represent their best means of keeping their patient alive. The self-assessment effect has long been recognized as a possible tool for the treatment of long-term coma patients who have spent years in the minimally conscious state so many fail to recover from. The self-assessment doctrine tends to force those applying it to maintain the newly awakened concentration on their own mentality and its effect on any physical changes such concentration may in fact be responsible for. On the other hand, the existence of any newly awakened consciousness, particularly one that has been quiet and unused for such a long period of time is extremely rare, so doctors are forced to rely on a whole lot of theory surrounded by a tissue's worth of conversation. In addition, self-assessment is a difficult task to apply when the condition of the patient's memory is largely unknown. It is even more pronounced when the patient's musculature and internal organs have been largely unused to any significant extent. Nonetheless, the rarity of the phenomenon is still the greatest handicap to work through, especially when consciousness has been given free reign over the subtle monsters of man's lazy incontinence. The rarity of the issues ensures that we can never have enough data to properly predict with any real confidence how one particular individual is going to react to whatever changes to his environment that we determine to introduce for whatever medical reasons we're trying to work through. Without that knowledge-based confidence to rely on, we're forced to contend with a lot of guesswork. If your patient is so close to death that even the slightest change in treatment can toss him back into a coma, or even kill him outright, guesswork can be murder for medical personnel to work through; sometimes, depending upon one's point of view, that can be the literal truth.
In the case of Patient-X, self-assessment was difficult to confirm, primarily because nobody knew the point where an accurate memory might give way to fantasy. Some doctors were convinced that forcing the patient to experience events that could not be confirmed as actual history might not only force the patient to rely on false memories as emotive portals into a possibly inaccurate or conditional field of remembrance, it could even promote a firm suspicion of internal doubt so great as to suspend the patient's belief. And belief is a powerful thing, particularly so in such an uncertain arena as the mind of a man in his 70's with the neuron tracks of a man in his 20's.
Post-comatic mentality is rarely strong enough to overcome the stress normally expected to accompany even the partial erasure of one's temporal foundation, and when that happens in a patient whose mind has already failed at least once to recover from a happenstance that would very likely kill any other man in the entire world -- and, yes, statistically that is exactly the horror that has already become an ingrained and sculpted facet of such a man's defined humanity -- the very real threat of almost certain rejection of self is every bit as threatening to the newly awakened after the expense of such time as a bullet to the head. In any case, that was the fear. There has simply never been a sample group large enough to inspire confidence in our medical expectations.
The doctors had noticed that most of the conversations between their patient and Ardajio Jonas were primarily one-sided narratives meant to address the patient's ignorance of his many years of silence passed but not experienced. These discussions lacked the experiential factors that recovery patients needed the most. In the same method of unconscious recovery from illness used by patients under conditions imposed by the placebo effect, the unconscious affirmations of one's own history can often -- relative, of course, to the significantly small dataset researchers are forced to contend with -- provide the foundation of one's identity necessary for the maintenance of a secure and healthy mentality. As we often see when the placebo effect comes into play, a healthy body can be the unexpected bounty of conditions imposed upon the mind. Unfortunately, in the case of recovering coma patients, the opposite can sometimes prove detrimental to that recovery, and that was something Patient-X's doctors sincerely wanted to avoid.
The staff eventually broached the subject with Jonas, explaining that any interest the patient showed in the events surrounding the accident that had brought him to this evident impasse in his life could possibly be a great benefit to the healing process. Of course, they recognized as well that any detailed examination of the subject would probably have to be initiated by the patient himself. "This was just in case," as they put it. His constitution, being so weak, might not breathe the still air favorably if his attentions were to be forced into a laser beam of well-focused confrontation his mind had no desire to wander upon. A man's memories leave a kind of red hot branding on his personality that all too often can't be predicted. Often, men simply refuse to examine themselves at the depths necessary for the catalyst of a psychological breakthrough to occur, and when that man can only discuss 26 years and a few months out of his 73-year lifespan, there's very little that can be predicted. He was, after all, dying and had been for 46-years. It would be cruel to force him to relive anything, let alone the accident of his life that took those 46-years away. It's a fickle fate, however, that measures the benefits that are possible when those affirmations are confronted. And as we've already noted, when you're addressing issues involving those recovering from a long term comatic state, it's impossible not to guess a lot.
The parallel indices that we use to define our place in time are not often so completely isolated as those that fate spun and braided for Patient-X. Whereas one man's lifeline would naturally break and bend as it applied recognizably common interactions with the lives of other men, the lone character of one man's 46-years of silent communion within a universe he was to all outward assurances unaware of might very well appear to us as part of our environment, like a forest or the blasted torrid furnace of a desert, something to encounter without any expectations of communal response. It was already apparent that Patient-X had been violently uprooted and tossed like a sauce-pot by an otherwise unaware God into a quiet world of imposed nonexistence for 46 barely endurable years. To suggest that this had been accomplished merely to allow the present to catch up with the future until another man's story might first develop of its own accord before being granted leave to cross paths with the secret void represented in the heart of the comatose man would seem intemperate even to the least aware amongst us. After all, Patient-X was clearly a man composed of little more than beginnings and endings, a man lacking almost entirely both the substance and the superficial of a normal man's livelier years.
For a much younger man named Roger Craggett, the story was entirely different ...
Craggett, you see, had been adopted as an infant by a quiet, lonely couple already in their fifties when they decided to enlarge their family. He had been told throughout his childhood that he was born in a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri before being wrapped up in the ancient love of a couple of well-intentioned and well-doctrinated Episcopalians who eventually grew eager to settle in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their plans originally required them to move south into Texas. Those plans fell apart, however. They discovered that it was impossible for them to relax is such an environment. They lived there for less than two months, leaving only upon discovering for themselves how uncomfortable the people made them feel. To be fair, they had only spent a couple of weeks in Houston, and a little over a month in El Paso, but they had always maintained that those couple of months were entirely sufficient. Any longer, they insisted, would have been verging on the excessive, and they had always believed that good and fair opinions should be based on as much data as possible, while critical opinions must be based on as little real data as necessary. The Craggetts very firmly believed that the centerpiece of a man's better nature must be so significant as to eviscerate doubt, while a man's faults and the harsh features of his personality must be assumed in order to force those inclined to venerate their leaders to raise the value of their expectations. Roger, of course, had a very difficult childhood, but only before he had finally determined that men could never be trusted. On those rare occasions when trust, appreciation, and sometimes even nobility became apparent, it was best not to discuss such opinions with his parents, convinced as they were that idolatry was at all times a grievous and disappointing character flaw that should be rooted out from the hearts of even the best of men. Young Craggett learned at an unfortunately early age that whenever his thoughts of other men encompassed feverish doctrines such as horror and contempt, such opinions were almost always much easier to discuss and defend.
These quiet yet outspoken qualities he was forced to examine in his youth ensured Craggett's complete and utter ignorance about his own beginnings in life. Insofar as his abilities could be measured and applied, he became entirely skeptical that anything of real use would eventually pop up as he embraced his future as well, a certainty that guaranteed he would know even less about his endings than most men come to expect. After having abandoned himself to his livelier years long ago, it was perhaps appropriate that the connective disorder fate had almost maliciously reserved for these two very unique men would require many years of incubation for each before the possibility that such an intense crosswinding of opposing forces could bear real fruit. For Patient-X, 46-years had been reserved then set aside as useless merely to provide the mental acclimation necessary to create an eventual foil for Craggett's intimate and thereby inconsistent rages, the sources of which lay somewhere in the past, albeit undefined and resistent to all examination. Was fate cruel? Perhaps ... It is far more likely, however, that fate had merely thrown instances of time together without approbation or cause. Any cruelty the universe may have been stoking up between these two personalities had already occurred and the wages of misfortune that may have been earned as a result had already been spent and accounted for.
"Flying Saucers piss me off!"
All of which explains why most of central New Mexico knows exactly who you're making fun of when you shake your head violently, hunch your shoulders and say in a cracked and hate-filled voice, "flying saucers piss me off!"
Thus ends our Part One...
This work is the culmination of The Saucerologist's most complex and lengthy investigation to date. As a result, the necessity for travelling throughout the States of New Mexico, Maryland, Georgia, and Utah to conduct interviews and to access numerous archives of personal records has increased significantly the expenses and time required to complete the task. While it's true that we would prefer not to incur such a taxing condition, we would nonetheless be far more dissatisfied were we to ignore such obstacles that fate has placed before us. Now before our constant readers get their little tillies in a willy that oh, bother! pooh bear's gonna ask us for a contribution to keep the meryl streep weepers sweeping, rest assured, nothing of the sort will ever happen at The Saucerologist. The only contribution that was ever provided us was immediately turned over to another website entirely -- one that we have no control over and no honest means to politicize for good or for ungood. That website advocates for the immediate colonization of the moon by crooked gangs of communist engineers on the close side and NAZI Frigidaire repairbots on the dark side. Then you hide a bunch of various weapons such as big sticks with nails protruding out on one side or handguns without any ammunition or pumice stones made of steel wool all over the place, plant a huge pile of wireless video cameras tuned to a single frequency and then wait for the fireworks to blow and the subscriptions to roll in. We think it's the most phantastical money making mirage we've never seen and can't wait to get it out of the boardroom, and onto the pay-per-view. No, we only mention the expense so our constant readers will understand the daily sacrifices we make on their behalf, and grow to appreciate our insincerity just a little bit more than yesterday or the day before. So please, remember and tell your sugar daddies and boogie uncles that ...
Part Two will be published right here in a bit of time measured out by clockwatchers in steps of quality found at the end of grace! And always remember:
This is a Saucer Press International Publication