What if they were wrong?
Madison looked at him, “So you had never met Rick Sanchez before that day?” She eyed him with suspicion. Matthew shook his head, “never before or since.”
He then eyed her. “How do you know him?” He watched Madison as she flipped through her laptop. Eventually, she got to the page she was looking for.
“They admitted him to the hospice for the criminally insane two weeks ago.” She nodded her head in disappointment, “He had advanced Alzheimer’s. It caused him to become irrational and clouded his judgment.”
She read on, “He was brought in on sedition charges as well.” She frowned looking at Matthew. She flipped back a few pages and said sadly, “He didn’t survive the treatment.”
Matthew wore a shocked look on his face, and then looking at the ceiling the old man’s words haunted him, “What if they were wrong.”
He closed his eyes briefly and then turned to Madison, “Will I survive my treatments?” asked with sarcasm.
Madison shrugged, “it depends on how deeply rooted your illness is.”
She thought for a second and added, “But before we can decide that, you need to confront your crime and admit it to yourself.” She smiled, “That is the first step to recovery. Admitting you have a problem.” She patted his hand reassuringly.
“Don’t lose hope.” She said softly as she stood up. She looked at him, “you have had a lot to digest.”
She turned to leave, “We’ll pick up this afternoon.” The nurse came in again to inject his IV. As he drifted into unconsciousness the words, “What if they were wrong,” repeated over and over in his mind.
Hours later, Matthew awoke with a start. He turned his head to see Madison sitting back in her chair, reading something. She stopped and looked up at him. He blinked his eyes, and looked at her, still fighting off the effects of the sedation.
“Do you feel up to continuing?” she asked. He nodded weakly. She pulled out a pen and turned the recorder back on. Coughing she started, “We have covered the morning in question and the bus stop.” She looked at him intently, “Tell me what happened when you made it to work.”
Matthew sat at his desk, typing notes into his computer. He looked up at his clock and realized it was time for class. No matter how hard he tried to shake it, he kept going back to the words the old man had said.
What if they were wrong? What if indeed, he added. He shrugged, grabbed his notes and headed for the lecture hall to start class. Arriving at the podium in the lecture hall, he surveyed his class. He figured that it was a good-sized class for a summer session. Usually, he could count on around sixty to seventy students, however, he estimated the crowd at a little over a hundred. Time to earn my pay, he said to himself.
“Welcome to History 1302,” he began, “United States History 1900 to present. Today will be discussing the Vietnam War. Its causes and effects on international diplomacy.”
He paused for a moment as the class started writing down notes. Laptops flew open, pens clicked, at the ready to write. ‘All except one student,” Matthew noticed. He grimaced as a male student in the front row just sat there. “Must think he knows it all.” He thought, ‘maybe I should assign a paper to the class just for him.”
“But then it would be one more thing for me to grade.” He shuddered. He took a breath and began his lecture.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.