Willie struggled to sit up on the blacktop while two drunk, underage girls laughed at the old beaten man on the ground. Willie managed to pull himself up and get into his Lincoln. The alcohol in Willie’s system was enough to dull much of the enormous pain he’d be feeling in a couple of hours. Willie reclined the seat and slept until 4:00 a.m. when the fierce aching of his head woke him. Willie started the engine and drove himself to JFK Hospital, in Edison. Without insurance, the nurses just bandaged Willie up and released him the next morning with a prescription for a week’s worth of Vicodin.

Bourbon Billy by Ted Fiolek

Mixed Beans (Health Insurance)

 In twenty minutes an ambulance had arrived taking Tony and Willie with identical symptoms to Chilton Hospital in Pompton Plains. A wallet biopsy revealed a Blue Cross/Blue Shield card and Tony was whisked into the emergency room. Willie had let his insurance lapse after baby-John and bastard John were born. Willie’s wallet biopsy only produced seven credit cards, a wrapped prophylactic and a VIP card from the Go Go Rama in Laurence Harbor, showing Willie was only two dances away from earning a free lap-dance. Willie was placed in the waiting room and given a bottle of water. An hour later, a nurse approached a groggy - but conscious – Willie, still seated in the waiting room between a gunshot victim, who had been accidentally shot by a fellow bear-hunter, and a large Guatemalan family of illegal aliens at the emergency room for their annual wellness check-up. “What have you eaten today?” asked the Nurse.
​ “Just chips and some bean casserole my wife’s aunt made,” muttered Willie. “Okay, finish your water then walk over to the pharmacy down the road and pick up some Beano and Pepto Bismol. We’ll charge the ambulance run to your friend’s insurance.” “Tony?” asked Willie. “How is he?” “They ran about twenty thousand dollars of tests. They’ve got him on Beano and Pepto too. He’ll be out in about an hour.” “If you’ve got Beano and Pepto Bismol here, why do I have to walk to the pharmacy?” “Beano’s thirty dollars a pill in the hospital and Pepto Bismol is five hundred dollars a pint. Don’t worry about your friend, though, after insurance pays, he’s only looking at four or five grand out of his own pocket. And, stay away from your aunt’s casseroles.”​