"There was a time when darkies ran free. They thought they ran the world!" William's grandfather interrupted himself by coughing loudly into his own soup. "But things changed. Those darkies know their place these days." The old man dribbled food onto a white plastic bib. It had a picture of a rooster on it.
"They sure do, sir." William took a damp rag and rubbed spit from the old man's chin. Martin, the large black orderly in charge of the senior's ward walked over.
"Is everything all right over here Will?" he asked.
"He's just a little excited today. That's all." William responded watching for a reaction from the old man. Martin nodded and smiled and went to check on another family.
William's grandfather leaned in close to William's ear after Martin had gone. "And that one's the worst of the lot." The harsh wet whisper made William jump and he scratched himself on the old man's stubble.
"Of course he is Grandpa." William agreed to prevent an argument. "It's time for bed."
William wheeled his grandfather back to the small room where the old man slept. He carried him into the bathroom and removed the old man's soiled shirt and pants. An embarrassingly full adult diaper was peeled away and discarded. A warm wet towel wiped a wrinkled grandfather clean before William rediapered him for bed.
"All your PJ's are dirty Grandpa, you'll have to sleep in your robe tonight."
"Dirty!" the old man spat, "You get that darkie in here and you thrash him. He's been sneaking in here, making things dirty. No good, lazy...He should be doing the washing. He's been slacking in his duties!"
"Don't worry Grandpa, I'll take care of it." William carried his withered patriarch to bed, settled him, and tucked him in. Then he gathered all the soiled garments he could find, wrapped them together in a stained bedsheet, and went to find Martin.
"Martin?" William found him in the TV lounge. "I need the key to the laundry room. My grandfather..."
"No problem Will." Martin unclipped a key from an impressive array attached to a large key ring hooked onto his belt. "Just find me when you're done. How's the old man holding up?"
"He's alright. He just forgets himself sometimes." William shifted the dirty weight in his arms to accept the key. "Some of what he says...He forgets where he is."
"That's all right Will. We'll take care of him."
"Thanks." William slipped the key into his pocket. He had much to do before the old man woke up.