1982 AD, Grandview Nursing Home, Canoga Park, California, Earth
Mr. Hoo Nun's room
Hoo Nun watched two nurses unpack the few boxes that comprised his
worldly goods. He lay
sunken in his new hospital bed studying them from his prone position.
The large hospital window offered a restful view of an oak tree
with the orange-red leaves of autumn.
The younger of the two nurses turned to glance at the old Asian
man who had a reputation for babbling about his fantasies and delusions.
caught her glance before the other nurse, who had warned her not to get
him started, could pull her back. He
asked her, “Do you know what happened?”
He spoke with a thick accent.
She assumed it was a Chinese accent, but an expert would say that
it really wasn’t.
me?” She tilted her head to
one side afraid she misplaced something of his during the room transfer.
The other nurse, five years her senior and far more experienced
with Mr. Hoo Nun’s idiosyncrasies, decidedly ignored him.
looked at an ornately carved, golden rod he had been fiddling with and
asked her again, “Do you know what happened?”
Then without waiting for a response he continued, “I am not
talking about the move, or what happen yesterday, or even the day before.
I am talking about this,” he held up the rod, “about what lies
at the roots of human history.”
older nurse leaned towards her and whispered out of the side of her mouth
in a sort of singsong voice like a mother admonishing a child, “Don’t