|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Four
11 - The Hanson Game Saga, Vol.2: Who is John Galt? - Tammi
A young man about eighteen years old stared out the window one dreary, rainy, gray Tuesday afternoon. His reflection stared back at him through the window.
Turning around he looked down at the still body lying in the bed.
He sighed. Nothing had ever been the same since IT had happened.
But then again life never was really normal since the day they decided they wanted to become a professional band. What was it like to be a normal teenage boy? Was there even such a thing?
He had been so caught up with things during the past four years he didn’t know where his life was going anymore. He didn’t even know who he was.
Sometimes he would be walking through the mall and people would whisper among themselves.
That’s Taylor Hanson!
And he would wonder: (Who is Taylor Hanson?)
A question he had been asking himself a lot lately. Sighing he stood up and took one last look at Vivian’s unconscious body and left the room.
(Who is John Galt?)
Three years previous: May 4, 1998
"Who is John Galt? What the heck is that supposed to mean?" Taylor Hanson thought out loud. He stared at the thick, paper back book in his hand in disbelief.
"Why the hell am I even reading this for?" he said.
Sighing he placed a bookmark in his book and stood up.
Stretching he looked out the window at the rainy Tuesday morning in New York City.
MTV had asked them to do a Live at the Ten Spot concert in New York City at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It had so far been a week of practice, and practice, and practice, and more practice. Yesterday TV HITS had interviewed him.
He had told then he was reading Atlas Shrugged. He had also said it was a complex book you have to read over and over again to filter it in your head.
"I’ll say it’s complex." He scoffed at his thought as he stared down at the one thousand and seventy four page book. Frowning he flopped back on his bed and yawned. So far their stay in the Big Apple was nothing more than a bunch of photo shoots, interviews, and practice.
Sighing he looked up at the ceiling and took great interest in the light bulb fixture above him. Turning his head his eye connected with the open page of Atlas Shrugged.
Who is John Galt?
"Who is John Galt?" he murmured and smiled. Then he turned back up to the ceiling. "Who am I?" he said softly.
September 14, 2001
The young man once more looked onto the body in front of him and attempted a weak smile. "Hey I brought you something." he whispered and tucked a small stuffed teddy bear under her arm. He turned around and left the room walking down the dimly lit hospital room. Voices pounded through his head.
Play with meTay-Tay!
Come on Tay-bear get your ass off the chair!
Shut up Tay-bear!
Holding back tears he pushed open the doors leading out of the mental ward.
It was all his fault. He was all to blame for what had happened. If only he hadn’t said those words. If only he hadn’t been so careless and stupid. If only none of this had happened in the first place.
He finally approached another door. Room 117. He knocked on the door lightly and walked in.
"Hey Ike." he whispered.
His twenty year old brother Isaac looked up at him and smiled weakly.
"Hey Tay." he said as cheerfully as he could.
Taylor Hanson felt like crying. Here he was one of the biggest pop stars and celebrities in the world along with his brothers and he felt like his life was falling apart.
Why was it he felt fault and guilt for everything? Why was it that all of the sudden he felt like a stranger to himself? Who is John Galt?
"Tay, are you feeling okay?" Isaac asked.
Taylor’s expression froze over at the sight of his older brother.
He was lying in a hospital bed a neck brace around his neck and a broken leg.
He closed his eyes and remembered the night when it had happened.
Isaac smiled at his family stupidly. A strange smile. A hollow smile. A emotionless look on his face, the smile of a dummy. The smile of a doll. Isaac attempted to slur some words together as he half-walked and half-tripped up the stairs.
"Clarke Isaac Hanson, you get back down here now!" his father demanded.
Isaac turned around a scowl on his face. "AW dad I don’t wanna do Top of the Pops again!" he whined childishly.
Taylor and Zac exchanged glances of worry. "What the hell?" Zac mouthed.
"Tay-Tay, what’s wrong with Ike?" a small hand tugged on his shirt sleeve.
Taylor turned to see Zoe look up at him, her clear blue eyes connecting with his cloudy and confused blue eyes.
He quickly looked up to see a new look cross Isaac’s face. An inhuman, animal look. A look of anger, fear, guilt, and pain. His eyes widened as he saw the body flail down the stairs and land at the bottom with a sickening thud.
Taylor snapped out of his thoughts and saw his family had entered the room while he had been thinking. His eyes wandered the room, to his mother, father, Zac, Jessica, Avery, Mackie, and Zoe.
His tongue turned to dust and his mouth dried up when he opened his mouth to speak.
"Taylor, are you feeling okay?" asked his mother.
Taylor swallowed and looked straight at his older brother and said one thing.
"Ike, I know." he said, regretting the words the moment they shot out of his mouth.
Isaac looked confused. "Know about what?" he asked.
Taylor looked around the room again before speaking again. "I know," he started and took a deep breath. "I know about Michael." he said clearly.
October 9, 1999
He couldn’t believe what he had just saw. Not daring to look back he ran outside of the hospital and drove off like a madman.
When he finally slammed the brakes down in front of his house his breathing was coming out in gasps.
Sighing he stepped out of the car and went into the house.
"Hey where have you been?" his younger sister asked in an obnoxious tone.
"In the middle of nowhere Jessie!" he said sarcastically tousling her long blond hair.
"Haha, you’re so funny I forgot to laugh!" she said her voice ladled with sarcasm, sticking her tongue out. "Breakfast is ready." she added.
Taylor smiled and let out a whoop. "All right, finally I’m starved!" he yelled.
"Yet you look like as if mom and dad starve you to death." Another voice piped up.
Taylor turned around to see Zac walking behind him. "What, I do not!" he said indignantly. Zac smirked. "Trust me Tay, you really ought to go and surf Hanson pages more often on the net and see what they have to say about you and your wardrobe!" he said.
"Well excuse little brother of mine who likes to spend every single spare moment boring his eyes out on the Internet, unlike you I actually have a life!" Taylor retorted.
Zac rolled his eyes and playfully hit him upside the head as the entered the kitchen.
"Good morning," Diana called as they sat at the table.
"Good morning mom." they all called in unison.
"Yummy pancakes!" Mackie shoveled a forkful in his mouth.
Diana rolled her eyes. "Slow down dear, you wouldn’t want to choke." She pointed out.
Mackenzie swallowed. "I can eat a lot." He said nodding his head knowingly.
Taylor gave his youngest brother a wry smile. Then he remember what he had encountered earlier that day. A look of worry crossed his face.
He looked up to see that his mother, father, and Isaac were the only ones sitting at the table.
"Hmm?" he asked.
"Aren’t you hungry?" His father asked pointing to his plate which was almost untouched.
"I saw Kathy today!" he blurted out.
Isaac suddenly spit out his coffee and began to cough violently.
"Are you okay?" Walker asked.
Isaac nodded and gave a tight smile. "I’ll be fine." he said.
"What about Kathy dear?" Diana asked.
Taylor opened his mouth to speak and looked over at his brother. "Today I was driving by the hospital." He began.
Isaac had a paralyzed look on his face, his eyes glassed over, and his mouth set in a tight line.
"And?" Isaac asked in a high voice.
Taylor could feel all eyes on him, out of the corner of his eyes he could see Zac peeking at them through the kitchendoor.
"And she’s pregnant." he said slowly.
Diana dropped a glass and Walker abruptly dropped his newspaper. He could hear Zac stifle a gasp from behind the wall.
Taylor watched as the glass slipped from his mother’s hand and in slow motion descend to the ground and shatter in a million pieces.
Diana swooped down to pick up the broken pieces.
"Taylor, did you just say she’s pregnant?" Walker asked.
Taylor nodded. "She looks about a least seven or eight months." he said quickly.
Diana stood up the clear blue pieces laying in her hands. "Isaac, honey did you know about this?" she asked softly.
Taylor saw a look of guilt in his eyes before he shook his head. "No, we broke up about ten months ago." he whispered.
Taylor looked up suspicion in his eyes. Isaac had said clearly that they had broken up four months ago, not ten.
(Isaac, you are a liar)
"Oh I’m sorry son." Walker said sympathetically.
(Who do you think you are?)
Isaac gave a wry smile. "Me too." hewhispered.
(Who is John Galt?)
It had been a day later. His parents still were confused but he knew. He knew everything. Isaac had a son nobody knew about. Nobody but him.
April 21, 2001
"Why are you doing this to me?"
"Please go away."
"Why? He’s my son!"
"You’re not his father! Isaac Hanson doesn’t have a girlfriend, he doesn’t have a son! Remember?" Katherine yelled at him.
Isaac stood their shocked. "I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!" he said indisbelief.
"Well get used to it for all I care Michael’s father is just some guy I met a long time ago who I loved and who I thought loved me back, but evidently I was wrong so just get the hell out of me and my son’s lives and leave us alone!" she roared at him and huffed off to the playground to fetch her son.
Taylor quickly ran back to the car when he saw his brother walking his way.
He looked furious. Anger was burning in his eyes as he approached the car. He had no idea he had been watching him and his ex-girlfriend fight in the woods in the park.
"Hey is there something wrong?" he asked trying to sound casual.
Isaac shook his head. "No, I’m fine let’s just get the hell out of here." he said.
Taylor nodded in agreement and stepped into the car. "So how did things go with Kathy?" he asked as calmly as possible.
Isaac tightened his grip around the steering wheel so his knuckles turned white. "Nothing, we just talked for awhile, that’s all." he said in a monotone voice.
"All right then." he said and smiled as they drove down the street.
September 15, 2001
It was all his fault.
It was all his fault that Isaac was getting lectured just because he told them about his son. It was all his fault that right now that his family was slowly falling apart.
It was all his fault that he had to be put in a drug rehab at the age of sixteen.
It was all his fault that Zac almost ended up dead and in a grave because he had overdosed on marijuana and tranquilizers.
It was all his fault that now she was lying unconscious in a hospital bed in the mental ward.
He hadn’t meant to say that. He didn’t know that she would get so uptight. He didn’t know that she would walk outside the house and get run over by a truck. He just didn’t know.
Life was so frustrating. Everything was just a big jumbled up puzzle. Who is John Galt?
Taylor looked to the side and saw Zac sitting next to him sleeping in his chair. Jessica sleeping on his shoulder. Avery and Zoe curled up next to each other sleeping. Mackenzie was quietly sipping a Coke he had gotten from the soda machine a few moments earlier.
Such a quiet scene. So tranquil and serene. The faint humming of machinery and the soft slap-slap of people walking down the hallway and the murmur of nurses and doctors talk to each other.
Too quiet. Too much. He can’t take it anymore. He can’t take the silence anymore.
"Do you suppose Vivian is asking for the Isaac in this hospital?" he heard.
Taylor jerked up. Standing up he followed the sounds of the voices until he came in view with a nurse and a doctor walking down the familiar path to the mental ward.
He had come down here several times in the past week. He had just been looking for Isaac’s room. And he had found himself in her room.
September 8, 2001
Taylor walked aimlessly down the hallway unaware of his unfamiliar surroundings.
He suddenly noticed that the rooms were all barred and chained. The doors made of a heavy steel and with bars over the tiny square of the windows.
He slowed down his pace, occasionally peeking into windows. He then past by one large window and almost gasped.
It was like watching a movie. The one where in the hospital all the mental patients would all stay in one room like animals in a cage.
All of them in white hospital gowns. Some in a straitjacket.
He did the one thing his mind commanded him to do. Heran.
He ran through the empty hallway until he came to an end and to a door slightly opened.
Out of breath he gasped trying to catch his breath. Curiosity got the best of him and he opened the door and walked inside.
Inside was a patient. A girl patient no older than him. He walked in knowing it was wrong to just intrude on a stranger’s hospital room.
"Hello?" he called out.
"Hey Vivian_" he started to call from her clipboard attached to the foot of her bed. He froze. Vivian.
VivianVivianVivianVivianVivianVivian. Was supposed to be dead.
(No she can’t be alivealivealivealive..)
He quickly jumped to her side. "V, wake up! It’s me Taylor!" he said joyfully.
He shook her madly. "Vivian, Vivian what’s wrong? Why won’t you wake up, come on this isn’t funny! It’s me Tay! Come on I know you’re mad at me but please wake up!" he said furiously.
"Wake up!" WAKE UP DAMN YOU!" he screamedlouder.
The body shook like a rag doll. Annoyed he stood up and paced around the room. That was when he noticed what was written on theclipboard.
Patient: Vivian Charlotte Dumas
Unconscious since July 18, 1999. Hit by truck causing brain to shut down.
Current state: Unconscious. Calls out for a person by the name of Isaac in her sleep.
Woke up September 7, 2001, slipped back into coma September 8, 2001 at 8:15 PM.
Brain shut down damage may be permanent.
September 19, 2000
Isaac looked up from the computer screen at the sound of Zac’s voice.
"Just a thought, whatever happened to Vivian?" he asked curiously.
Isaac frowned. "I don’t know." he said slowly.
"I mean did she move away or what, did she die?" he asked.
"That’s something I’ve always wondered, I don’t know. Who is John Galt?" Isaac said perplexed.
Zac shrugged. "We never did hold a funeral for her, and well I don’t know. Who is John Galt?"
Taylor shot his head up from his bed. "Why do you guys keep saying that?" he asked suspiciously.
Zac and Isaac turned towards her. "Ask what?" they said at the same time.
"Ask who is John Galt? You both said it." he said.
Isaac and Zac looked at each other and shrugged. "I don’t know. Well you kept saying that every time you didn’t know the answer to something, so I guess it’s just rubbed off on us." Zac suggested.
Taylor nodded. "Yeah, whatever."
"Well what about you?" Isaac asked.
Taylor looked confused. "What about me?" he asked.
"Vivian, what do you think happened to her." Isaac repeated.
Taylor shrugged. "Who knows, I’m pretty sure she isn’t dead, otherwise we would of found out and there would of been a funeral, it’s a pity her parents moved away." he said his voice full of remorse.
The other two nodded in agreement. "Yeah poor Vivian." Zac said.
October 19, 2001
"She didn’t die?"
"How long has she been in a coma?"
"About two years."
"Will she ever wake up?"
"I’m sorry I can’t answer that Mr. Hanson."
"Who is John Galt?"
"Guys, guys please give Dr. Sherman some air please!"
The three of them stopped firing questions at the doctor at the command of their father’s voice.
It had been a month. Taylor had told them about his ‘discovery’. They had been shocked, surprised, and happy.
Everything was back to normal. The band had recently announced that they would be heading back to the recording studios early next year to record a new album.
They had found out that their long time best friend was not dead but in the mental ward of a hospital.
And Isaac had finally gotten his neck brace off.
And now the entire family knew about Michael, his son.
However Kathy and Isaac had not made up. Yet. He had promised that he would talk to her as soon as possible. Once he got the guts that is. Otherwise their parents would have to have a ‘talk’ with the two.
Taylor watched in amusement as Isaac and Zac kneeled by her bed and talked to her in some hope that maybe she could hear them. Everything was going to be okay. For the time being that is. Nobody knew what would hold for Hanson in the future. Nobody knew what the future would hold for Taylor Hanson.
October 20, 2001 3:02 AM
"Yes, yes I understand, yes we’re on our way, thank you goodbye." Taylor walked into the kitchen straining his eyes in the harshness of the light at 3:00 in the morning.
"Mom, what’s going on?" he asked sleepily.
Diana looked up, her eyes red, tears flowing freely down her cheeks.
"Taylor, honey Vivian_" she started.
(no, no, No, No, NO, NO SHE’S NOT DEAD!)
Taylor shook his head a panicked look on his face.
(Please don’t say she died)
"She woke up."
October 20, 2001 3:30 AM
Taylor stared at the person in front of him.
He was in a state of shock.
She was awake.
Vivian blinked staring straight ahead. Not once did she ever acknowledge the fact that they were in the room. Not once did she open her mouth to speak. Not once.
"Why isn’t she talking?" asked Zachary.
The doctor turned around a grim look on his face.
"Well let me explain. When she was hit by the car she fell in a coma. She has some sort of amnesia. Because of the accident parts of her brain shut down to save her." he explained.
They stared at him their mouths agape. "So she can’t talk?" Isaac sputtered.
Dr. Sherman shook his head. "No, she doesn’t remember either who she is either."
"Will she ever recover?" Taylor spoke up.
Dr. Sherman got a sad look on his face. "I can’t tell, from what I know it’s a fifty-fifty chance." He said.
"A fifty-fifty chance of what?" Taylor asked.
"Whether she will live, or die, whether she will recover or not, or if she should stay an invalid for the rest of her life."
His mouth turned dry, his tongue sandpaper when he heard those words.
He looked into her eyes.
Nothing. Hollow, empty vacant eyes. Why did that sound so familiar? Who is John Galt?
He quickly looked around the room. Isaac, Zac, Mom, Dr. Sherman, Dad, Vivian, Taylor_
(What the hell?)
Taylor’s eyes widened as his eyes connected with his reflection in the mirror. The face was one that belonged to a coward. A liar, a thief, an ex-junkie, a puppet, but most of all the face of a boy the world once knew as Taylor Hanson. The goody-goody boy with the angelic face and the amazing voice. The one with all the screaming girls. That Taylor Hanson was sweet and kind who never had a girlfriend, who would never drink, or do drugs.
That Taylor had died the moment he became famous.
The Taylor Hanson he saw lied in interviews, did drugs constantly, and had fans stalk him. That Taylor put a burden on his family. That Taylor didn’t exist anymore either.
Now he didn’t know who he was. He was stranger to himself.
A stranger who knew too many secrets and lies. A stranger who was manipulated by fame and society like a puppet.
(Who am I?)
He saw Vivian look up at him with her vacant eyes.
(Who are you?)
He swore he could almost see the sides of her mouth curl up in a smile.
(Who is John Galt?)
An evil smile.
(Who is Taylor Hanson?)
A smile that said "I-told-you-so"
(WHO IS JOHN GALT?)
Taylor suddenly ran out of the room. He didn’t hear his family calling after him.
He ran and ran until he reached the hospitals gift shop. He headed straight towards where the books were sold.
Hastily he picked up a book and flipped to the end.
(Who is John Galt? WhoisJohnGalt?WhoisJohnGalt?WhoisJohnGalt?)
Taylor looked up at the sound of his father’s voice.
"Taylor, come on we’re leaving." he said.
Taylor looked down at the book reluctantly and sighed. He put the book down.
"Okay." he said and walked away with his father.
He wondered if maybe Vivian was living in another world. A world different from his and everybody else.
Maybe in her world he didn’t even exist.
He just hoped some day she would return to the real world.
Inside the gift shop the book Atlas Shrugged laid on it’s shelf opened to the last page.
"The road is cleared," said Galt. "We are going back to the world."
He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.