The Desire Card: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Within all of us we have desires, wants, needs and the hope of getting anything we want to improve our lives. Some will pay handsomely to get better service, higher standards of living, better hotel rooms, front row tickets to a game or a show or something that is do dear that a price cannot be placed on it but in life there is always a price to pay for everything. Harrison Stockton learns that life just hands you the deal you get so what do you do when the bottom falls out , you lose your job because your company has been downsized, your best friend is given your job and your wife seems estranged from you? You spent 20 years working for Sanford and Co. to be fired and given a severance pay to help for a while. But, the temptations in life are many and rare. When Harrison looks through the packet with his ex-boss, he’s made aware of something odd, a small card titled the Desire Card that allows him to ask for and get anything his heart desires of course for a price. Desires are things we all want so just how far will he go to get what he thinks will take away his pain from losing his job, finding someone what will bring him so kind of physical joy, learning that his life might be terminated because of his alcohol abuse.
A friend that moved to Mumbai and is now a doctor might be the answer when he learns he needs a liver transplant. A wife who is consumed with her job and charity work, a daughter who just wants to be the lead in a ballet production and son who wants to win his football games. Everyone wants something but will they take that step and override and overturn the competition or just lay dormant and pray for the best?
Enter Naelle who needs money for other reasons and is paid 1000 dollars to make him happy. But, when the time ends how does he wind up in the hospital with tubes, medicine and told he needs a liver transplant but his chances of getting one before his time is up is unknown. Nagesh his Indian doctor friend says he can perform the surgery in his private clinic in India for 150,000 dollars to be paid in increments including money from that to the donor. But, dealing with his wife Helene, who seems distance, angry and could care less and shows no empathy towards him, his children who have their own wants and a father-in law who dislikes him and knows his secrets of infidelity, going to Mumbai is more than just a ticket away from his family maybe a permanent escape. Using the excuse of possibly getting a new job, his family is more concerned with what he can bring back for them, the dinner he tried to make and their own selfish needs and wants.
Getting there was fine, but the result has yet to bet revealed and in the long run is what he did going to change anything?
The discussions related to India, the culture and the outlook that both sides have on life is quite interesting and yet disturbing to think that lives are expendable is disheartening. Listening to both Harrison and Nagesh talk with the family from India was sad, disheartening and the fact that children are expendable is really frightening. The lack of resources described and the fact that so many would allow their loved ones to donate an organ, on the black market for money to live and survive, brings to light this issue of organ donations through illegal means.
Added in Harrison does not seem to fully grasp or does not want to fully grasp the gravity of liver disease and compounds it by drinking more and even still cheating on his wife without barely giving her a thought except on brief moments when guilt or some guilt sets in.
The author depicts him as someone who wants it all, has money to pay for anything he wants and is no different than so many who use their wealth and power to get anything no matter how they must get it. While, although his friend lived in Mumbai, is he really any different or are his wants not the same but just in a different country where the means that you have might be less than in America, but the outcome is the same.
Author Lee Matthew Goldberg takes us inside India to see and learn firsthand what the people go through and how far they will go to have the simplest conveniences and at what expense.
Life often can blindside you as Harrison thinks he’s about to get his desire or transplant but instead learns the hard facts of a cold and cruel set up that lands him nowhere and without a heart and the money transferred gone. Just what happens to Nagesh and what he does next is out of pure desperation.
One more time he calls the number on the card and one more time he is scammed but this time the situation could affect the life of another person. Meeting who he thinks is his surgical team, the author creates the nurses and doctors as if they are actors in a movie and life and his life becomes one big movie.
Life takes different turns and the author teaches readers about the importance of honesty , love, greed, superficial relationships, deceptions, lies, disloyalties and research that someone needing an organ needs to do before agreeing the pay for something that might turn out like Harrison’s did. When the operation is about to take place and the cuts are made you won’t believe the result it is shocking and chilling. When Helene learns the truth, things take on a drastic turn.
An event would change the world for Harrison and the truth behind who is behind the death of someone, his encounter with muggers and the outcome of whether he gets the liver will shock his world and readers too. The surprise ending with a twist that you won’t expect lets you know that wants, needs, lusts, desires and hopes do not always mean happiness. A family that is distant from Harrison, children only concerned with their own needs, a wife who might want to move on and one man who might find himself all alone.
This is about control, forgiveness, power, fate, uncertainty and one man named Harrison what only wanted to be free and needed someone in his life but when you Desire something so badly and sell yourself to the notion that one phone call can get you anything you want, think twice before you pick up the phone and press send. Some fates and some desires make cost you a heavy price. Will Harrison ever be free?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine/MJ network