The damned light was burning through my eyelids, just like the last time. I was probably still alive.
No reason to give it away just yet. I tried to stay still, avoid “treatment” as long as possible. Maybe, pull all the tubes out and make the stairs. They were at the end of the hall with the windows, on the left.
I heard my door bang open, tried not to move.
“Morning Sunshine!” announced the bitch. I knew her voice, the big-assed blonde who put me in restraints the last time I was here.
“Cut the shit, Honey. You’ve got some new electrodes on your head that tell me when you are awake”, she said pleasantly enough.
Eyes still closed, I rasped, “You didn’t shave my hair? I’ll be really pissed.” I was suddenly very thirsty, and my throat hurt like hell. Come to think of it, both of my wrists burned.
Damn, I was in restraints again.
The bored shrink-of-the-week decided to start with me. As usual, I was the only hot chick in the group. Never fails.
“Cheyanne, this is your fourth time here. Can you share with us why it’s not working? I mean, what is missing?”
“How much are they paying you?” That got his attention. He sat up primly and put his hands on his knees. Gay as a lord. He swallowed, a bit rattled.
“That doesn’t matter. I’m not the one with bandaged wrists.”
Clearly, He was new to this job. Jeremy would have never given me an opening like that.
“That’s ‘cause you are too chickenshit to open your eyes. It’s all a game out there and the fix is in. Does your momma know you’re gay?”
“Damn, girl!,” said the black guy sitting next to him. A biker looking dude across the table smiled and nodded. Lots of snickers and grins around.
The shrink studied his clipboard and said, “Well, I guess I can check the ‘hostility’ box. Now, which of you is Ronald?”
I always expected his glasses to fall off the left side of his face. I mean, that lens is like, five times thicker than the one on his right.
He was tired, “Miss Webb, what do you want to accomplish here?”
“You’re the only psychiatrist on staff here, right?”
“That is not what I asked.”
I asked, “Doesn’t it piss you off, having to deal with all these weaselly wannabe counselors?”
He replied, “One of these days, you know, you’re going to get it right. That’s what pisses me off.”
“Yeah, Doc, I’m one of those things ‘you cannot control’. Best you accept it.”
He was persistent, “Miss Webb, what do you want to accomplish here?”
“I want out of here. I’m cured! Really!”
“Out of here’ meaning this facility, or ‘out of here’ meaning this planet?”
“Dr. Rinehart, have I ever lied to you?”
“Not that I know of, Miss Webb. But your repeated visits scream of a failure to engage.”
“What would you like to engage in, doctor?”, I love screwing with pompous assholes, but he wasn’t cooperating.
“Understanding what you hate.”
“Let’s just agree that bus is gone. Missed it, end of story. But you are sweet, so earnest.”
“Well, I’m legally obligated to hold you here another two days. If you are interested in living, I’d love to discuss it”, he actually sounded sincere.
“Maybe, next time,” I can be such a bitch.
“Maybe, but for now, please take it easy on Val- this is his first job in the field.”
I wandered out into the Day Room. The usual gang was there, but they had different faces again. Biker boy was sitting on the window sill, my preferred perch when visiting this zoo. It was time to fix that. I strode over in full bitch mode. He didn’t seem to notice.
“Razor Girl! Good to see you.”
“You’re in my place!”, usually that’s enough to get the job done.
“Yeah, that’s what they tell me”, he smiled and slid over, “Now there’s room for both of us.”
“But that’s my place.”
“Still is,” he said, “hop on up.”
I don’t know why, maybe the smile, maybe something new, but I hopped on up. He arched his eyebrows and gave me a conniving look, “So, come here often?”
I don’t laugh much. It was a good afternoon.
The day was winding down when I asked James why he was in the zoo. He rolled up his sleeves and we compared bandages. “When did you try?” I asked.
“Wednesday night, maybe Thursday morning. It was late.”
“Wow,” I said, “me too.”
“Love is in the air, Molly.”
“My name ain’t ‘Molly’”, I said.
“Sure, it is. You’re Red Molly and me, I’m James Avery.”
“You are strange,” I said.
I snuck out of the ward that night and found him awake, like he was waiting for me. We went into the men’s can and did it, standing up. He was not shy.
After group therapy the next morning, we were sitting on the window sill again.
“I’m out of here tomorrow after breakfast,” I said, “How about you?”
“You got some place to go?” I asked.
“Not anymore,” he said.
“What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking carjacking, robbery and a drive down to Myrtle Beach. Maybe even a murder, what are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking,” I said, “you are making me wet.”
The next morning, we walked out the gate hand in hand, each carrying a Manilla folder full of instructions, resources and AA halls. I wasn’t worried this time.
No, this time would be different.
Warrington Williams: Retired engineer, Wild-Eyed Moderate, Failed hermit/rockstar hoping to publish the Great American Novel before I slip into senility.