For Keegan, life became like a constant bad night when you can’t stay asleep. Repeatedly he would wake up to the dark room, lie still for what seemed like hours, then the burning headache would return and ravage him until the machine kicked in and returned his sleep. He had no way to track the passage of time, and while it felt like days he knew better than to trust that feeling.
“So what time is it?” he asked the moment the opening of a door broke the pattern.
“Hmm?” the man responded from the doorway. “Oh, about 6 in the evening.”
“And is it Sunday or Monday?”
“It’s only Sunday. You haven’t been here that long.”
“Well it’s really hard to tell in the dark here with nothing at all to look at, maybe you could let some sunlight in?”
The man sat in his chair in the shadows. “I’m afraid not.”
“Can you at least give me a clock or something then?”
The man sighed heavily. “I suppose…”
“And maybe something to pass the time?”
Keegan heard a computer mouse clicking for several seconds before the man responded. “You know, you are a really troublesome test subject, far too talkative…”
“Well I’m sorry,” Keegan shot back, “but being quiet wasn’t in my contract.”
“Those headaches making you snappy?”
“There’s that and there’s the fact that I’ve been lying here with nothing to do for nearly a day, plus there’s the whole ‘being experimented upon without my consent’ thing…”
“Would you rather I not try to solve your problem?”
“It’s your problem. As such you can at least treat me better than some kind of lab rat.”
“At least I don’t have to answer questions for the rats.”
“Oh come on, at least let me sit up straight.”
“I’ll think about it, now if you’ll excuse me…”
“Leaving again? So soon?”
“I’ve decided to come back when you’re more agreeable.”
“You mean when I’m asleep.”
The man said nothing before leaving, but Keegan could tell that it was exactly what he meant. Keegan wasn’t going to stand for it, for any of it. Sitting (or rather, lying) complaisant in a box all day to be studied for the benefit of faceless agencies wasn’t his cup of tea at all. Heck, they probably weren’t even keeping him alive for any reason other than to work out the kinks in their broken experiment. Once they did that, they would have no reason to keep him around, and they certainly were not going to just let him loose.
So, Keegan decided that, even if the sedative was the thing keeping him alive, he’d have to take his chances. He resolved to find some way out of the stupid box, preferably before the man came back. Seeing little else to do, he pounded against the glass a few times, gingerly for fear of triggering the sedative, when a small wisp of cool air brushed against his face. All at once he realized: if the air can get in, I can get out.
So is it just me, or does “complaisant” look really dang strange? I feel like it should look more like “complacent”, but that word means “showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements”, which is what the people outside the box would be doing. Being “complaisant”, that is “willing to please others; obliging; agreeable”, is indeed the word I wanted, but it just looks wrong for some reason… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
(Side note: the font on my Linux installation does not support the ‘ツ’ of the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ face. That must be remedied ASAP.)