Panacea (bp coyle)

The old man was annoying me and he’d only been on the ward for an hour. He complained about everything. The nurses, the bed, the view from the window.

What you got there boy?’ he asked, grabbing my chart. ‘Cancer,’ he tutted. ‘Pancreatic. My uncles had that. Damn did he die bad!

Maybe you should put the chart back,’ I suggested.

He read on. ‘You know they could cure that if they wanted?’

What?’

Sure. Been a cure for cancer for decades. Takes a handful of pills, costs a couple of dollars. Got cures for everything. AIDS, Alzheimer’s. You name it.

So why don’t they?’

Profit,’ he laughed. ‘Why cure someone for a couple of bucks when they get thousands for…?’ He gestured at the machines I was hooked up to.

Why don’t they charge thousands for the cure? If it costs so little they would still be making good money.’

What you mean boy?’

Well that’s what they do anyway isn’t it? Change a thousand per cent more than the cost.’

Hell,’ he muttered. ‘I hate being stuck in a room with a conspiracy nut.’ He returned to his own side and drew the curtain between our beds.

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