I was jolted from my slumber by six heavily armed men in tactical black. They kicked in my door and rushed into the room, covering each other in overlapping fields of fire. I was seized with fear, too stunned to move. But somehow I expected them.
No one said anything to me of course, but I knew who they were, and exactly why this was happening. For many months now, someone else picked up my bar tab. Another someone else had bought my ticket to all the concerts and movies I’d gone to. A third someone else had given me a ride home. Over and over. At last, the account was overdrawn. I’d coasted too far on the hospitality of my friends, unable to carry my own weight and had finally pissed them off. This, then, was a Repo Team sent to collect payment.
A work crew entered behind the assault squad, carrying black toolboxes that opened with a hiss. From these boxes, they removed exotic-looking tools which were used to loosen recessed triangular panels I’d never noticed in the highest corners of the room. A metallic fitting was unsnapped, and with a beep, a click and a hiss the walls rolled together. Beyond them was crisp white nothingness. Needless to say, my jaw hit the floor. And yet, somehow I expected it.
Not daring to move, I watched in morbid fascination as the crew continued with their work; peeling back the windows, the picture of a sun-filled day warped and shrank like the dot in an old TV. They took everything in 60-seconds flat: the bed, my clothes, the carpeting, lights, the room, everything.
Two more technicians in bio-suits entered, one wheeling a large silver tank. He jerked my head back and applied a rubber mask to my face, and I felt an articulated tube begin to squirm and crawl down my throat on its own power. I thrashed about helplessly, unable to move as the very air was removed from my lungs. The other fellow shoved a large clipboard in front of me, his gesture demanding that I sign for services rendered. I was too confused to do anything else; I scrawled something on the bottom line and they left through a place where my walls used to be. The distinctive pop of pressurization tickled my ears as the walls settled back into milky white perfection as the door disappeared. I sat there in the crisp white nothing, which turned gray as my brain began to slowly wither from oxygen deprivation.
I had no air with which to scream for help, and even if help arrived, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable asking for it.