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The Man from the Ministry[edit]

Sir Reginald Crumbly MP’s horror was quickly turning to nausea. The Minister was beginning to regret his request to visit the Hospital. It had seemed a good idea a week ago, in the safety of his mahogany office. Tour the facilities, chat up the nurses, and get a few votes in the bag while he was about it. However, things hadn’t worked out that way.

He’d stepped into the reception area and already things hadn’t looked good. There was no reception committee waiting for him. There wasn’t even a nurse with a cup of coffee, as he’d hinted for on the telephone (milk, two whiskies, just as he always had it). Instead, there was a continuous cacophony, a pervasive smell, and sick people milling chaotically. Ghastly. Oh, well. Better get on with it. Sir Reginald strolled to a door nearby. He looked in and saw the view blocked by a bloated head. Without warning, a hand clutching a huge steel needle pierced the side of the cranium and deflated it with an audible pop.

Sir Reginald recoiled and moved to the next window. A doctor was fiddling with an impressive, well maintained machine. This was more like it. Someone was leaning over the machine, looking into its innards. But what was that? The figure’s tongue, grossly enlarged, was lying over a sharp edge. Without warning a blade swished down and the tongue, twitching, fell into the depths of the machinery. Sir Reginald hurried on, too shocked to speak. Further along the corridor was a room with a row of windows. Looking in, the bureaucrat distinctly saw a disgusting creature, the size of a person, but covered with hair. It was strapped into a machine glowing with electric currents. A doctor threw a switch and the figure jolted and jerked as the industrial-strength electrolysis machine did its work. A burnt smell drifted faintly under the door. Sir Reginald, trembling, moved away. The next window was misty with condensation, but Reginald clearly saw molten human flesh being poured onto a living skeleton. Why was he in this chamber of horrors?

As Sir Reginald stepped back from the window, he bumped into a bed trolley being pushed by a nurse. The Minister almost mumbled an apology, until he noticed the patient on the trolley. Before he could shut his eyes, he clearly saw that the patient’s flesh was transparent, revealing his bones. The world went gray, as Sir Reginald fought to keep from fainting. He stumbled towards a drinks machine. His eyes bugged out-$20 for a can of cola! He fumbled the money from his coat, and took a can, hoping it would revive him.

As he walked unsteadily across the reception area, swigging lukewarm pop, his eyes darting from face to misshapen face, Reginald decided to investigate one more room. Nothing, he assured himself, could be worse than what he’d already seen. Sure enough, as he peered into a well-appointed office, he saw a calm, clever-looking psychiatrist counseling someone on a couch. The figure looked familiar. Slicked coiffure? Spangly white suit? Yes, there were the blue suede shoes! Sir Reginald was about to knock on the door, to ask for an autograph when he glanced to his right. From a few feet away, the slimy green alien stared at him impassively with its one saucer eye. Sir Reginald broke and fled, screaming.

As he rushed towards the exit, Sir Reginald’s foot slid in something liquid. He crashed to the floor, and lay, sobbing with pain and horror, among the remains of a meal someone hadn’t finished digesting and hadn’t been able to contain. Crumbly’s strength failed him. He felt hands grab his ankles and, as he wailed and clawed uselessly, he was dragged deeper into the madness of the Hospital. Before he passed out, he distinctly heard a voice say, "Nice one, Les. This one looks rich enough to be here for a long time. I mean, it’s all about profit at the end of the day, isn’t it?"

Theme Hospital manual