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by Chloe Lucero
Monday, Sep. 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Special Thanks to everyone who contributed. This would not have been possible without you.
"And It's, just a box of crap, left by tweakers in their truck.
I clean it every morning but it keeps on showing up."
"The Death of the American Dream"-
All rights reserved. Copyright 2011, 2012 Chloe Lucero
Metal blasted from Maddy's boombox, some song about a man who had come to kill a chicken. While Maddy carved a circle A into his arm. They said he was suicidal, but he wasn't convinced. He merely though of himself as passionate. The phone rang from somewhere downstairs and he heard his mother go into a apoplectic fit; "This is my house! My phone! No! no, no I will not!" He knew it was his friend Ramsey. No one else from school had dared calling anymore. Maddy quickly wrapped his arm and put on long sleeves and a long coat despite it being August. He reached under his bed and his hand felt through a hole in the mattress for a gun locker. He unlocked the black steel box, about the size of a large novel, where a teak handled nickle plated 1911 semi-auto .45 rested. Even though he knew better it was loaded. He holstered it grabbing a backpack. and bolted down the stairs. the radio was still on.
Maddy had just turned 18 last month but he had loved handling that pistol for the past 6 years. His buddy had given it to him as a birthday present from his Dad's massive collection of small and exotic arms. For some reason his dad left him most of it. Ramsey had become Maddy's best friend the day he moved from his old neighborhood when his parents split. Ramsey's parents weren't officially divorced but had been living apart for about as long. Ramsey had an older sister and Mom, and lived way out in the country, their property backing up literally to old wagon ruts. The original End of the Oregon Trail. What some folks might think of as "rednecks" we never saw it that way.
Hell, with Air Conditioning, Satellite TV, and big Trucks I just thought of ourselves as lucky. Room to shoot, room to breathe. If this wasn't rich we didn't want to know.
Maddy got to the bottom of the stairs, his mom racing around the corner to meet him at the door. "Oh No! You're not going anywhere!" she grabbed his arms and he struggled free which knocked her almost to the floor. She was psychotic, as far as he was concerned. People would tease him but he just shrugged, It wasn't funny when you had to live with it. This had really bothered Maddy he didn't want people to think he was pushing old ladies around, but he had grown to twice her size. He was tired of these confrontations. He opened the door while she tried to bat and claw at him. She kept him since he was eight lie a prisoner, or a bad pet. He knew he wasn't coming back.
With no0one behind him he walked three blocks to the bus stop and waited.
He pulled out a tape player and words drifted into his ears (until the bus showed up.)
"Here pig piggy pig pig pig."
County fair pig calls set to emotive metal.
When it finally arrived he paid the fair thereof, and the bus lurched forward.
It stopped, picked up more passengers, lurched forward, leaving some behind, and continued in this way until a woman about Maddy's age got on.
She was wearing an olive green army field jacket, Vietnam era, combat boots, and a pleated mini-skirt. Maddy tried no to stare, but couldn't help to smile.
She looked familiar but Maddy couldn't place it. She Had bright pink hair with a purple highlight and aviator shades. She came and sat next to him.
"Fuck-Yeah, Fuck-Yeah" Maddy thought
"You can't fuck-yeah, your own fuck-yeah." The woman said
Apparently Maddy hadn't thought it.
"I just did."
He wondered what they would look like together naked.
The bus lurched again and Maddy stiffened up in his seat as the bus vibrated down the road.
"Hey" he croaked, trying not to overdo it.
"Nice cassette deck, you should visit the future sometime though." She smiled "It's nice here."
"Oh yeah it's . . um" his enthusiasm died as soon as it had started when he saw by the look on her face she was being sarcastic.
Her eyebrows raised. "I'm Maddy" he said changing the subject to something he could work with.
"Nice to meet you" She put her hand out, on archaic custom for a girl with pink hair; he thought but he wasn't about to leave her hanging.
Maddy stretched his arm out and she turned her palm into a first. They bumped knuckles and she pulled away her flattened, out stretched hand and made a whoosh sound like it had turned in to a spaceship "psshewee!"
"Wait, where did you go to school?" Maddy inquired.
All of a sudden the smile dropped from her face, "Why." she stared at him.
"Did you go to Vineyard?"
"Yeah, then Llewling and Rex Putnam."
"How do you know my name?"
"Dude! It's me! Frank Daryl!"
"Holy shit!" Caitlyn punched him in the arm, hard.
"I thought you said your name was Maddy, What the fuck?"
"No one calls me that anymore"
"Nevermind, we have to hang out! I haven't seen you in years! How have you been? What are you up to right now?"
Maddy and Caitlyn were born a few days apart around Halloween and had grown up together until heir parents split and Maddy's mom took him, and his brother and moved away. He had gone from horse-property to a subdivision and it killed him a little inside. A lot actually.
"I was headed to my Grandpa Joe's. I mean, he's not my actual Grandpa but he's like a Grandpa to me. He lives at the halfway house in Flipsville"
Maddy had lived here his whole life and still had a hard time accepting there was actually a town called Flipsville. But it seemed appropriate.
"I've actually been kind of shitty." Maddy admitted. "I was headed to my friend Ramsey's place. We were going to go strap crushed Whistlin' Willy's to cans of hairspray and blow them up.
"I know it's stupid but..."
"Whatever." Caitlyn replied coolly. The bus lurched forward again and a man came to sit next to Caitlyn. She stared at him and left her bag on the bench next to her.
"Please make room for other passengers or get off my bus" the driver coughed on the intercom. Caitlyn reluctantly moved her bag & the man grinned.
Caitlyn promised everyone she would get married to Maddy someday. He wasn't old enough to understand at the time but she was his Best Friend, and if that's what she wanted to do it was fine with him.
"Are you seeing anyone right now?" Maddy asked.
"There's actually this guy I'm twitterpated with right now."
Maddy decided she was being coy. Wishful thinking.
"Oh yeah? What's he like?"
Maddy felt smooth as shit.
"Oh we hooked up at my bro's wedding last month but he's known my family for years."
Maddy felt like shit.
The guy was sort of staring at Caitlyn occasionally only looking up to leer at Maddy for a moment.
Caitlyn mad-dogged him "What do you want?"
"You know you want it little girl." The man grinned.
Caitlyns trigger. She bolted up and a folding 6in. knife appeared from seemingly out of no-where in her hand and at the creeper's throat.
Maddy thought of the pistol he didn't have a concealed carry permit for. Maddy thought of summers Caitlyn fed him sweet-peas through their fence. Maddy thought of his. . .
"You crazy Bitch!" The man managed to punch her and her face was bleeding. Without thinking Maddy socked the guy and now his face was bleeding. The bus lurched to a dead-stop and the driver phoned the cops while people just watched like it was a TV show. Some of them grinned calmly while the old ladies made remarks to each other.
Maddy grabbed Caitlyns hand and they pushed the doors open and ran into the street.
"Fuck! fuck. Fuck."
"What?! I didn't do anything. That piece of shit was lucky I'm already on probation or I would have killed him. Fuck you!" Caitlyn pulled away.
"No!" Maddy pleaded. "This. I just got it."
Maddy unclipped his holster and tossed it into a trashcan hoping to come back for it, when the donut-disco rounded the corner.
"Fuck." Caitlyn said.
Maddy and Caitlyn sat against a hurricane fence while cops ran ID's and interviewed their new stars.
"Any warrants, Weapons, knives we should know about?"
Caitlyn forfeited her blade, while another cop searched Maddy. He was glad he wouldn't receive a weapons charge as well.
"No, Not that I know about." Maddy choked.
"Says here in my computer your missing. Apparently someone decided to file a missing persons report on you. Can you tell me why someone would do that?"
"What?! No, actually I don't." Maddy was genuinely surprised.
"Well my computer tells me you're suicidal, whats going on under your sleeves there?"
"Fuck." again Maddy muttered darkly.
"So, what happened today Kate?" A female officer asked. Caitlyn apparently was on a first name basis with the cops. "Aren't you lucky. You get to bring a friend with you today." "bite it" she said
The male officer chuckled to his cohort "Just a family tradition eh Marge?"
The other officer didn't respond.
They were put in the back of the squad car and driven around to three different hospitals until the officers found one with open beds.
Because Maddy was now a suicide case, and Caitlyn already apparently had a history they were both taken to the County Hospital instead of jail. Yay.
Dressed in scrubs, and playing with coloring books Caitlyn was asking some-guy to tell her a story. "He's the best." She confided to Maddy. All the patients were relatively unique. Maddy wondered what his particular 'talent' was.
There were two phones freely available to the patients. The sad thing was nobody in there had anybody they could really call.
If they did, have someone in their lives they probably wouldn't be there in the first place.
One man was explaining to nobody, in particular how the band The Roaches were really time travelers who went into the future, without their bass player. Came back and made an album about the experience. However when they got there seeing as how their bassist Rob had been dead for 500 years they were a little weepy about the whole thing, but whatever. "Hey do you know the rule of gravity?" The man pulling the phone from his ear asked Maddy.
"Uh, 9.6 meter's a second or something I think" the man went back to the phone. "You know outside the bubble time is the engine"
"Oh my god" Maddy thought. It was his first time in the nut-house.
"Yes tell us a story William." A. . . girl asked too.
Her name was Sal. She had no boobs and shaved her head and was roommates with a loopy biker guy who was covered with tattoo's. "Why are you here" Maddy asked his peep. "I live with my grandma, she gets real mad I won't wear dresses or grow my hair long. I shaved it to piss her off and she freaked out and put me here." She was only 17 and seemed more normal than anyone until medication time.
Her roommate chipped up. "Back in my day we did whatever we could get our hands on. Drugs were just Drugs. We were just happy we were getting high. Nowadays all you kids are drug snobs. 'Oh it's rat-poison'."
"Shut up Roger" Caitlyn snarled
"Tell us the story William, Tell us." A woman with red hair pleaded.
"Feisty little bitch ain't she?" Roger looking at Maddy
"Roger." Caitlyn whined.
-The Dreamtime/Ship of Fools-
"Kali's husband was persecuted over and over by demons in what seemed like an endless cycle. Kali felt powerless in the waking world, but in the Dreamtime she was unstoppable. She dreamt herself as a raging Goddess with power at her whim. She freely traveled at any point in the past by looking into herself. But even when she conquered the demons the cycle repeated endlessly. So she would dream herself into the underworld in an endless attempt to save her husband. She started seeing a monk and meditated for answers. One day an answer came to her. The only way out of the loop was to purge her consciousness, To break the spell.
One day she took a magic coin with her into the Dreamworld.
She had manifested it for her dream out of a song she learned as a child.
It multiplied every-time it was lent, and boarded a ship for the river Styx. Once, eons ago she had cheated the ferryman, Charon, when her husband died. Paying with a counterfeit. This had angered the gods and damned her husband. "What is the difference?" she justified, he is Dead and only a superstitious primitive would believe such "kribble -krabble".
Upon arriving she paid the fair, this time however with the magic penny. Then using the magic of the Dreamtime awoke herself to the living world. Satisfied the spell was broken, the bill paid she contented herself to live out her life as a mortal, the cycle broken. Her husband freed. However a strange thing was happening in the living world. Chaos began to reign on Earth. That night she resolved to return to the underworld. To find out why.
But upon her arrival there was no-one to greet her. Charon's boat had been over taken by laughing damned. All there were doomed. But apparently some more than others. Those on the ship were safe so long as it kept floating. And in Sheol time stopped. Nothing ever rotted, including the boat. Very odd she thought. Even the devil entertains. The scene
when she arrived at the river was chaos. Charon was nowhere to be seen. Lost souls were piled over the shores of Sheol falling into the river and being devoured by Ammit, a half-crocodile, half-dog beast. Many were piled so high as to be atop an immortal mass of writhing souls scratching at the cavernous roof. The faintest glimmer of light was beginning to break through into the next world.
Just as she prepared to exit she heard unusual screams of pain, deep guttural, terrifying howls. As she turned to see where the commotion was coming from she saw the devil hunched over on his knees with a naked pierced man, shouting "Bite it you scum! Fuck!"
William casually stretched like a cat until he could stretch no more.
"That's enough! That's enough" the shift nurse shouted in the most soothing possible tone she could muster. Some of the patients were growing agitated by Williams shouting. He become engrossed in the story.
"It's time for medication." Three large men, looked like off-duty, moonlighting cops assisted the nurses. Two elderly women with an evil streak an inch wide, and a mile deep, measured out doses into tiny paper cups of Haldol, Respitol, Fuckitol, powerful 'anti'-psychotic medications that seemed to only make the patients crazier by orders of magnitude were handed out. "Don't you want some Caitlyn? They'll help you calm down." seeing what it did to the other patients Caitlyn declined. Within 40 minutes most become catatonic or fixated on scratching moles off and wetted themselves, which made it necessary to put them in their rooms afterward where it was all yellowed stained PVC and linoleum and locked doors that smelled like quat.
"I already feel perfectly calm, but thank you." Smiling her best LA smile at the nurse. The older woman seemed both gravely offended an annoyed "Are you sure dear? They are perfectly safe." she stated authoritatively with a sort of grandmotherly guilt trip. Drug free class of 2000? More like free drugs for the class of 2000. Caitlyn thought.
"Yes, thank you." Caitlyn continued. "Very well, you will have to discuss this with the Doctor tomorrow and I will need to make notes about it in your file."
By the time they were booked they'd missed dinner. Maddy had never been in a ward before but apparently Caitlyn was a regular.
"We can get snacks in a little bit, juice, popcorn, Sanka."
"Fuck yeah, I'm starving. What's Sanka? Isn't it that instant coffee from the 80's?" "Not really, they won't let us have caffeine or smoke anymore, it makes the patients too riled up" Caitlyn said.
"Shit, I'd kill for a smoke right now." "Shh! Be careful what you say , these people don't get jokes in here. People would fight over cigarettes and gamble so they stopped, besides we aren't allowed to have matches."
"You want to watch TV? The little Foxes is on next."
The flying Salzburg was on, a 60's sitcom about a Brazilian doctor.
"Until 9. Then it's lights out."
Cat sat down on a shitty armchair and Maddy scooted close to her.
“So what’s up with your family? “ Maddy asked.
“Remember when I used to have trouble sleeping when we didn’t have slumber parties?” Caitlyn said.
“Yeah. It was weird how our parents split us up. I didn’t get it until we were older. “
“No, it was my Dad.”
“He was keeping me up.”
Caitlyn’s family had forsaken her at 12 when she begged them for help from her fathers exploitations. “No-one had believed me. They all said I was a bad-child. Just as he had always claimed and merely demanding attention. At least that is how they acted. When I began throwing fits, crying seemingly at random in public, running away, “acting crazy” My aunt who seem so nice was all ‘Pity, poor thing must be schizophrenic’ very authoritatively with a sort of detached, phoney care. ‘Must have got it from her mother. Never know what will bring it out. Poor Charles (her father) never had a chance, it didn’t exhibit until some years after their marriage. When they start to makeup stories you know they’ve really gone.’”
Caitlyns life would have been absolutely fabulous if it weren’t for her “terrors” as her family called it. Her father was a VP at a huge American auto-firm. Not oil-prince wealthy, but ‘well’ none-the-less. At first it was private hospitals but Cat ran until the stories could not be heard. The lies not repeated to oh-so-caring Doctors, fresh out of school who only had the best intentions and the newest medications. Until she was homeless, forgotten, free. When the nurse laid the guilt trip on Cat not only did she shrug it off with the grace of a water-bound Duck. It made her a little angry. She knew the look, the guilt, the expectations, were only a cold trap.
A cheerfully creepy mural was painted behind the locking TV cabinet. Bright greens and blues, with a smiling sun and tree, something you might see in a nursery actually brightened Cats disposition. She wad been to jails and this was, she hated to admit, slightly better.
It was lights out in 15 minutes and being in the ward sort of let Caitlyn feel like a kid again. In both good and bad ways. The care contrasted with the coercion. At least it had a sense of familiarity to it.
"Okay you two. Lights out in ten, lets go."
Maddy shrugged and did his best to smile at Caitlyn while he turned to leave not saying anything.
She went up to the nurses station which was a sort of bank tellers like window in a horse shoe shape, all pink Formica and Plexiglass. The nurses job when not handing out meds was primarily taking notes, observing and commenting on the lives of the patients. You were watched 24/7, except in the shower. In person, or camera. it was the sort of thing that could get to a person if they let it.
Cat tapped on the glass and a male night nurse opened the window. "Yes Kate?" He said with disarming calm.
"Could I have a radio? To listen to? It helps me sleep. I like to listen to Ghost." Sure Kate, you may check one out."
Caitlyn twisted the dial until the familiar sound of Heart Spells Ghost radio came on backed by Bolivian pan pipes. The topic was Alien abductions.
Sodium Halide bulbs from the parking lot cast a orange pall through the windows on everything in the room. It didn't help her sleep. She liked to pretend the bumper music had special messages just for her. That's why they called her crazy. But she didn't feel crazy. Just lonely. And maybe a little hungry.
During the commercial break the host station broke through with an announcement. "We have just received word there was a shooting inside the White House. No word yet on weather there are any injuries. We will update you as soon as we continue to learn more about this shocking development."
Caitlyn drifted off to sleep and had a strange dream. They were picking up trash off the Redwood Highway when a blonde woman beckoned them up a dirt road into the forest. When they got there people were loading inside a bus with Bob & Rita Marley. They were evacuating a forest fire. They drove to a strange house for safety, near the river, but it had become swollen, the house would soon be swept away by the rising waters. Caitlyn's room was upstairs. It had two secret rooms one of them was an office, and a trap door in the floor, A bed was placed over the hole, and with the pull of a cord the sleeper would tumble into a basement with another hole, a manhole, or submarine type cover, which led to a dank scary bomb-shelter for a 100 year war. The thought of it, sent shivers down Caitlyns spine. The nice old man was telling them he was sorry "don't worry about me." it was Joe from the halfway house. They had to go. Downstairs a woman told them to stay things seemed calm, but the house was Dead. It felt wrong somehow. As they were leaving Caitlyn looked up at her friends from a hole in the ground. She couldn't move and her friends couldn't hear her. They were getting ready to leave. Just then she was back in her childhood neighborhood, at night. The porches lit up and were decorated. It was Halloween, little goblins roamed the streets knocking on empty doors. She looked for shelter, she found the house, but it was different. It was an ancient hotel, from the 1800's. A long carpeted staircase led to a series of bizarre rooms each numbered with rickety ancient doors. She went to hers and a woman greeted her. A witch. Up the stairs, the top floor, a nearly vacant room with a few posters, peeling paint, old rotten wooden floors. A mattress and a sleeping bag. An ashtray on the floor. It was Austin, her first, best, goth friend "Hi" he smiled, a train rumbled past the window. It looked like it would go straight into the apartment. But turned at the last minute. "We don't pay rent. It is condemned as unsafe: but its fine. "
Caitlyn felt the floor boards buckle and crack underneath her.
She woke up drenched in sweat. All she could remember was two kids, angels, in the bushes pleading with her "don't go back."
She went to find Maddy. It was 6am and breakfast would be served very soon.
The next morning Maddy went to find Cat, and when she began to tell him about the bus, the rooms, Bob & Rita he looked like a kid at Christmas the way his eyes lit up "I HAD THE SAME DREAM TOO."
They both decided not to tell anyone else. They were trying to get out after all.
They walked down the hall to find all the other patients eating canned peaches and Rice Puff cereal. A nurse brought a very shy woman who would hardly make eye contact and moved like she was in restraints up to the table where Maddy had just sat down.
"Why don't you sit with these two people Amy? They're very nice people."
Sal's roommate, looking more and more like a 4ft tall cartoon cowboy asked Maddy how he was doing "Great, besides, if I tell them any different they'll never let me out of here"
"Oh I can go anytime I want" Wyoming Will said
"Anytime things out there get a little much I just take a, break."
"Uh-huh" Maddy wondered what it would be like to want to be here, the thought scared him.
A well dressed young man in his early 30's approached the table with a clipboard and a lanyard with a Backstage pass to the fruit factory. Obviously The Doctor.
"So Caitlyn I heard you refused meds again this morning. You know everybody here is really concerned about you. We want to see you get well but if you keep refusing treatment I don't see how that's going to happen .Can you tell me how you plan to get well without treatment?"
Caitlyn's blood started to boil but she did her best to hide it. Adding anger issues to her chart notes wouldn't help her get out any sooner. The only way out was to be perfectly cheerful and obedient, no matter what they threw at you. Re-education the Soviets called it.
"I," as Caitlyn struggled for words an older red headed woman probably in her late 40's rushed The Doctor. "Please please, I can't read my writing I need something else. I don't like the Haldol It's making me blind." "Ok Sharon, we'll discuss this at another time, I'm helping other patients right now, can't you see that?" "But I can't see, the Haldol. . ."
"Ok Sharon, let's come sit down, we can talk about this another time." A nurse came and pulled the woman away to sit her with another lady whos' emotional development seemed to stop at about 11".
The red haired woman words became a stream of muted gibberish and she started quietly sobbing.
"Who is this Caitlyn? A new friend?"
"Um." Caitlyn smiled.
"It's good to make friends isn't it. What's your name young man?" The doctor looked at his charts pretending not to know. Maddy wasn't sure if he should shake his hand or punch him. Fortunately the Doctor resumed speaking before Maddy had to choose.
"And how are you today Maddy? Any thoughts of suicide? Or harming yourself?" Maddy felt like he was in second grade. It didn't matter how he felt. He knew there was only one right answer to this question. "No" Maddy said plainly.
"We have a new treatment if you two are interested. The Government wants us to open up new research into Lysergic Acid trials. If things go well you two could be out of here and back to your regular lives within days."
We pushed hard and got a research license. Now this is a big deal, you could be almost like Hero's for your country. Would you like that?"
Caitlyn smiled "Now I know we've talked about this before Caitlyn but I'd like Maddy to answer for himself."
Maddy had tried acid once in high school, well twice sort of. The first time it was just torn up notebook paper.
"How is that supposed to help?"
Maddy was suspicious, if he hadn't already known the hippies at his school thought it was so cool he would have been flat against it.
Well, it has an opposite effect on the brain receptors compared with typical psychotic, I mean, anti-psychotic meds. We think that by working through the brains dysfunction rather than resisting it we can radically shorten treatment time. By years even."
"Years?" Maddy said.
"Yes, you know once you're in here it's not like a regular sentence Maddy. You stay until you are well, however long that takes. If I make a recommendation to the Judge on Monday you could be free that afternoon.
Maddy did not know this. He knew his temper and the slightest upset could cause him to be put in restraints and forcibly medicated. He looked at Caitlyn and she nodded "Yes."
"OK" Maddy whispered.
"What's that?" said the Doc
"YES." said Maddy.
"Okay great. I'll have the nurses get the consent forms for you to sign and we can proceed this afternoon."
The Doctor made some notes with a purple novelty pen. Obviously a drug company give-away.
It said "Bund-Family Laboratories" on it.
Sunlight was pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the food-room. It looked like any typical office break-room except it was filled with lunatics. Right. To think he could have been out on the streets looking to buy a ticket, to "the show." and he just got VIP seats.
An orderly made notes about how much each patient ate as Maddy turned in his tray. A poison red apple untouched. The TV was black this morning.
"What happened to the cruise this weekend Doc? If they were paying me to go on vacation I wouldn't need this job! Teehee" The older, black orderly was making jokes
"Too much work James. Duty calls"
"That's some work ethic you got Doc. I guess that's why you the Doctor."
"Sure thing James, have a good one."
"You too Doctor. Thank you Sir."
Cat and Maddy Walked back to the TV room. The Little Foxes, a cartoon about a family of thieving dogs that lived in a vineyard was on DVD. Maddy grabbed the remote and turned up the volume. All the cables for broadcast TV were disconnected this morning.
On the screen one of the foxes was wearing a bumble bee costume and scooping up baby bumble bee's. The show was too messed up to exist. But there it was, on TV.
Maddy whispered to Caitlyn "What the fuck just happened?"
"You'll see" Caitlyn tried to control her smile. Maddy had to keep from smiling too, feeling like he'd just gotten away with something but didn't know what.
"Medication" One of the nurses called out.
One brought by a stack of consent forms and privacy statements for Maddy to fill out. "Dr. Robert Chenault said you've changed your mind about treatment. I'm glad your committed to getting well Frank."
It bothered Maddy to hear that name but he allowed it.
"We need you to sign some things Mr. Daryl. Caitlyn: since you've done this before we don't need your consent."
Caitlyn looked for Roger and when the two locked eyes Roger began screaming about ammonia and pissed himself. IT took two of the nurses to calm the other patients who began hooting back to their rooms while the orderlies lifted Roger from the ground. "Don't you smell it? It's killing us!"
When Maddy looked next to him for Caitlyn she was just sitting back down.
There were no Cameras in the Med Closet. Ostensibly because patients were never allowed in there, but it seemed like a lapse in institutional procedure to Maddy.
One of the orderlies came from behind the station and quickly locked the med room door. Only about 10 seconds or less had passed by Maddy's estimation.
Caitlyn scratched herself.
"Oh Roger. When he starts screaming about ammonia you know the days been had."
"Dude. What did you just do?"
"Shhh." Caityln smiled "Finish your paperwork."
Caitlyn resumed watching cartoons as if nothing had happened.
Maddy had no choice but to continue his paperwork as Caitlyn ignored him.
After a short while one of the nurses said "Are you two ready for the trials?"
She, the elderly nurse and two large orderlies followed us down into a basement I was surprised existed.
The door, a nondescript beige number opened into a stairwell with a fire exit opposite the stairs. Maddy leaned against it casually, it was locked. Probably by magnets. He recognized it was the same style as those used in his middle school. Only the alarm would get the magnets turned off, Closing all the fire-doors; or in this case unlocking them.
As they started down the steps Maddy felt terrified. He felt like it was an execution. Not a treatment. Yes Sir. A big can of Ego-cide. Coming right up.
The nurse got a text. "Two vials unaccounted for. Do you know WTF?"
Maddy read over her shoulder. "Fuck Cait" he thought. She's been found out. "Excuse me, I have to go deal with something upstairs."
The orderlies will show you to your rooms. I will be back shortly so that we may began."
The orderlies unlocked two small white rooms with little barred windows looking out into a plain hallway. Each room had a red IBM Selectric typewriter, a microphone and a bed with a stainless steel toilet next to it. No sink though.
"The microphones will start recording when the trial begins. Feel free to say whatever comes to mind. You won't be judged negatively for anything you say. It is just an experiment and we want to observe you in a 'natural' form. The test will last approximately 8 hours from the time you begin. Good luck."
"Good luck?" Maddy whispered.
The orderlies walked out of the hall and up the steps locking the door behind them. "What the fuck." Before he could finish his half-baked thought Caitlyn interrupted "The President was shot last night."
"What! Are you serious?"
"Well they said there was a shooting, I don't know."
"Here look" Caitlyn showed Maddy a vial that was clearly marked LSD-25 NowDouse Labs.
"Shit dude. The nurse, that's where she went, the text said 'two vials missing'. Ugh. You fucked us!"
"Calm down Maddy. I only took one. Do you think I'm stupid?"
"Maddy laughed, "Wait are you?. . "
"The mad-doser? No, I'm not MAD. I forgive you Maddy, just don't do it again." She palmed the vial off to him, it was sticky and warm.
Just then the lock to the hallway rattled, and Maddy slipped the small glass vial about an inch tall with a little black plastic screw cap in the bun of his pony-tail. "Okay, are we ready to begin?" the nurse said, all smiles.
"Yes." Said Maddy ever the picture of calm, cool and collected.
"But I have a question, If I may?"
"Go ahead Mr. Daryl" Maddy cringed again.
"What are the typewriters for?"
"They think given enough time and medicine we'll produce the complete works of Zen Zee Zee" Caitlyn responded before the nurse had a chance.
"Who?" Maddy said.
"I don't know who that is Caitlyn.They used to be offices for the night interns. I guess no one ever removed them." She handed Maddy and Caitlyn each a Dixie cup with green kool-aid and put about four drops in each one, from a vial she delivered on a cart via dumbwaiter.
"I hate flying cargo-class but if it gets us out of here..." Caitlyn spouted off.
Maddy looked at Caitlyn before they were split-up.
"Are you kidding? the service here is horrible. I can't even get a sandwich."
"Okay." The nurse said trying not to hear.
Then in a turn of character just before she locked the doors on each of them, respectively. "You know what they say. Buy the ticket..."
Maddy climbed onto the bed and the sheets rank of bleach.
Probably within about 30 minutes, Maddy had guessed since there was no clock in the room; he begin to suffocate. He felt like he was suffocating and then he realized he didn't NEED to breathe. He tried not holding his breath, but not breathing either. He just sat there and felt no urge to take in air. He knew it must be about supper time but he did not want to eat. There was a cricket somewhere in the room. He could hear it. He decided to try breathing again. It was the most powerful sensation. In through the nose, deep, hold it, and out, slowly through the mouth. Vedic technique he'd picked up in a yoga class. He felt the whole universe pause with his breaths and expand again. Expand as far as he could inhale. "That's why we smoke." He thought. He must not make a very interesting patient he thought. All the action is in my head. "IN, hold it. Steady-OUT." It's just like smoking pot, in deep, hold it, out, slowly. With no drugs (well pot anyway) he felt himself get high with every breath. Maddy - was - trippin'. His thoughts became jumbled, yet connected, like Bookface contacts, all linked in strange unexpected ways.
He tried to lay still, but his body was aching . He wanted to run. But there was nowhere to go. Not here, not now.
His brain felt like it was on fire or had been soaked in mouthwash. In a good way. Tingley and minty fresh. Germ free.
He inhaled again and thought of the cricket. Every-time this thoughts even glanced at the thing it stopped. "Fucking - that's weird." Maddy thought . He was scared to hear his voice. Any words he said would not feel like his.
"Seriously, how the fuck" the cricket went silent, Maddy focused on his breaths and tried to empty his mind.
It didn't work. He thought of Caitlyn. Well tried, any thoughts of him, her, their childhood, her boyfriend, all made Maddy confused and seasick. Like a word-find of thoughts. Breath, IN-OUT. Apparently sex was acceptable. It consumed his mind. The thoughts of sex with Caitlyn, but he found no joy in it. Like, bad porno. The cricket resumed briefly until Maddy turned his attention towards it. "Weird. . . " Maddy started to feel god-like. Not god exactly, but a certain magical quality seemed to possess him. He felt omnipotent. If only briefly his will, became the will of the universe, with the instant of thoughts. He remembered bible school. "In the beginning there was the word, and the word was with god, and god was the word." The damn cricket started again only to stop. Maddy felt like he had to learn instantly to control this new power or the world itself could collapse with a thought. Maddy tried not to let fear enter his mind. Cool baby. Be cool. Cleared mind. IN-OUT. His brow trickled with drops of sweat. They rolled out onto his arm. And, if he was really crazy he would have thought he could make them roll any direction with just a thought. As if the droplets were iron filings and his mind a magnet. He remembered his schools motto "mind moves mass" Go Platipi! He grinned.
His mind raced with thoughts. He saw monkey people looking at him: a family. The foxes, aliens, blonde aliens, testing DNA on them and then breeding with no, fucking them. It was wrong, somehow he knew. The nurse, faces, EYES; they knew all of them they were all in on it. The Doctor, the Nurse, she had stolen the other vial. The Doctor knew too. He was in on it! They were all crazy! Fucking-Bonkers! Insane, and now he knew too. This Whole Western World was all just a very twisted group, gone to the Higher-Ups. They had no fear of past, present or death. All just a game but with 'real' consequences, those twisted fucks he also remembered The Doctors words. "Now jo-jo" wait. what? "Suicide?"
Things flashed faster until his mortal brain could no longer keep up.
The President, the shooting, the doctors, the nurse all a game, all knew. John Lennon. He also knew if he said anything they would keep him here forever. Or worse. That's what they did, and they were all in on it. They would come for you, they were all in it together. But GOD! GOD Yes Jesus Christ alive is GOD! The Devil! Hate, Fear! Violence! Chaos, pay-offs and silence. It was too familiar. His mom. The lies , the bribes, the deadly persecuted, silence.
Caitlyn. It was as they say a Devils bargain. Things started slowing down. His body ached now more than ever. His kidneys hurt. How much had they given him? He focused his eyes and forgot about his breathing. He looked at the circle A on his arm. Fuck those Nazi's he thought. Then he said it aloud with much confidence and not a shake in his voice. And clear as a bell in a tower. "Fuck those Nazi's. I quit" the only words he said aloud. Just then a face looked through the windows. A loud metal clang rang out. He tried to clear his mind of the strange and terrifying visions he just had. The orderly unlocked the door but did not enter. There were two palm prints on the window. He remembered the cricket. "What about that fucking cricket thought?"
Maddy shook his head and tried not to grin. The nurse came in. "We like it when you smile" she said with the warmth of a mother. But it rang hollow like a cracked bell. The typewriter had mysteriously disappeared. He decided not to mention it to the nurse. He was afraid someone would call him crazy.
The nurse came through the door, and brought in a tray w/ an apple, a milk box, and some cold cereal. Maddy wasn't hungry but needed a shower badly.
Suddenly the whole place exploded. Caitlyn grabbed Maddys arm as the nurse and orderlies rushed up the stairs. Caitlyn pushed against the fire door which opened into blinding sunlight.
They rushed outside while the nurse and orderlies had forgotten all about them racing towards the frantic jabbering in the ward.
What had happened? Maddy had no time to dwell on these things as ash rose behind them breaking up the once blinding light and Maddy choked on it as they ran through the parking lot, dotted with oaks, towards a waiting commuter train 100 yards away.
"The Death of the American Dream"-
All rights reserved. Copyright 2011, 2012 Chloe Lucero
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