Chapter 17: the Hospital ( Huis Clos)

Chapter 17: the Hospital ( Huis Clos)

A Chapter by Joseph LaBarge

Jacks journey


Leo woke up alone in a warm room. He was confused about a few things, not that this was unusual for Leo, as far as he knew, he had been confused the majority of his life.  So when we say he was confused what we mean is he was more confused than usual.  According to some of the more eclectic spiritualities, this in and of its self was evidence of his enlightenment. The sheer number of epiphanies alone must have meant something. Not that it ever really ever did anything for Leo. Sure it had helped him be decisive for a week or two, finish some projects, roof the house, buy a new car, write a book, change his breakfast cereal for a few weeks at least until he realized he still didn’t actually know anything, and would continue his quest. Some spiritualists call this being enlightened. Some would argue that Leo on his perpetual quest of the infinite was humbly experience the present fully.


Leo didn’t agree at all with this, for a few reasons.  First and foremost, he was simply indecisive, his mind was always changing. Meaning whatever epiphany came to day would as likely go tomorrow. He tried them all, singing, dancing, shampoo,  religion, taking drugs, stopping drugs, ritual sacrifice, burning words, prayer, death, even atheism, and had been gun ho about all of it. Meaning any time any new opportunity for enlightened presented itself Leo jumped. Only to be disappointed and return further into his dejected search of the divine. This was not so much spirituality as it was simple bullheadedness


Second: There was always something. Meaning for every view there is a counterview. Despite what people may like think or believe, most positions (especially the increasingly sticky philosophical positions) have valid arguments on both sides. Truth to a point is indiscernible after awhile because of the complex battering back and forth. If most people were honest about their beliefs they would be forced to admit that there isn’t really a logical argument or persuasion that caused them, and since they are firm in their belief, there really isn’t argument or logical persuasion to cause them to change their mind. This means that if you go into one of these debates completely neutral, basing your belief structure entirely on argument, you would constantly be in flux because your faith as it were would be based primarily on the ability of the speaker or source to convince you.


This is why Leo had gone the experiential rout.  The only problem with this was of course the interpretation of data.  In short Leo was like the kitty of enlighten stuck high upon the tree of philosophy. His mind always found a way up there, but could never manage to figure out how to get back down


He started to look around the room. It was a drawing room in second empire style. A massive bronze ornament stood on the mantelpiece, next to a paper knife.  There were also two hideous sofas, one blue and one green. The room actually seemed rather nice (in a French way)


Leo sat down on one of the sofas. He couldn’t remember how he had gotten here. Slowly his memories came through. He was on a trip. This must be the hotel room. But why weren’t there any beds. It was also rather bright. Leo was used to introspection. This was another situation where he would just have to wait. He wasn’t sure where the others had gone to but he was sure (for some inexplicable reason) that he shouldn’t leave to go look for them.


He was subtly reminded of a play he had read once. It had about the afterlife. How had it gone? He remembered the point: Other people were hell (at least in the play). But he couldn’t remember the specifics. It was French, he remembered that.  At any rate he would wait.


Maybe he was supposed to do something, something meaningful.  All of a sudden there was a knock at the door. He looked around. A woman came in. She was wearing a valet’s uniform.


“Is there anything I can do for you?”


“What do you mean?”



“You called.”


“Did I?”


“Yes, just now, you were in here thinking you should be doing something.”






Leo was at a loss. At this point he was pretty sure this was a dream. On the other hand he typically didn’t dream of second empire furniture. In fact he typically didn’t dream of furniture at all. Usually things just kind of were. Though there was the woman in the valet uniform. He had dreamt of women before, though not typically in 20th century valet’s uniforms.


“So you are here to help me?”




“What are you supposed to be helping me with?”


“That is really up for you to decide.”




“Is there anything you want me to do?”


“I am not sure I understand.”


“What is it that you want?”


“In general, or on this specific occasion?”




“I guess I want to know why I am here.”


“Ah the big question.”


“Is it?”


“I can help you with that.”




“Just step this way.’


Leo followed the woman out the door. She turned left down a hallway. There were many rooms. She finally stopped at an elevator.


“Just go up to the top floor and ask to see management”


Leo stepped into the Elevator... There were a row of buttons. Leo pressed the top floor.

There was a flash of light. The Elevator doors opened and he was standing in front of a door marked “Management”


This is when Sarah saved his life.


For anyone unaware, having your air cavity swept is a very unpleasant experience. To be awakened from a dream involving attractive women in valet uniforms is bad enough, but to be awoken from a dream involving a woman in valet uniform, once they shown you to the management office and you are clearly going to have a new epiphany/spiritual experience, by having someone sweeping your air cavity is worse.


Needless to say Leo was not happy. Leave it to level headed people to ruin a perfectly acceptable near death experience. The worst part was now he was in the hospital, alone, at night, with no television or books. No real entertainment. Leo hated hospitals. He hated the lights, the sounds, and the smells. He hated everything about hospitals. And he didn’t even get anything out of it this time.

© 2013 Joseph LaBarge

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Joseph LaBarge
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Added on December 14, 2013
Last Updated on December 14, 2013


Joseph LaBarge
Joseph LaBarge


I am a lapsed anarchist with a Dadaist sense of humor. I am horrible with punctuation, grammar, and spelling. I do not believe in form or reasonableness. My writing tends to contain contradictions and.. more..

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