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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Drama · #982456
A man in an institution plays upon the emotions of the doctors supervising him.
**Michael Valentine Smith and Tender Branson are characters from two religion based novels by Robert Heinlen (Stranger in a Strange Land) and Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor). Both highly recommended.**

Laying here at night, I wonder, do I look like a killer to you? If you were to see my hulking form walking down the street, would you cross to the other side? Would my unruly nest of black hair lead you to believe that I am crazy? Would you look at my face and see innocence and misunderstanding? Would my puppy dog brown eyes make you relax? Would my soft smile give you comfort? It's something to ponder.

The facility in which I have called home, for these last six months, is kept at a teeth chattering sixty degrees. The cracked tile covering the floor offers very little protection from the pulsing chill which burns up through my socks. The concrete halls tend to produce the most eerie echoes, bouncing from wall to wall. They tend to bore into your temple and wake you from even the deepest of sleep.

I do hate the cold, but I have begrudgingly gotten used to it. It is amazing what you get used to.

The room in which I spend a vast majority of my time is small and sparsely furnished. The bed I sleep on is a twin and way too small for my near seven foot frame. The mattress is thin and covered with threadbare sheets and a lone moth eaten blanket. The pillow barely offers any comfort even when bent double. The legs are bolted to the floor with a combination of age and rust.

There is also a tiny desk and chair. They are also bolted to the floor making it, because of my size, impossible for me to sit. The walls are covered with a thin padding that has faded to a yellowing off-white. The ceiling is chipped and in spots what appears to be Styrofoam is peaking through. For all I know it could be asbestos not Styrofoam.

The lone window in the room is thick, reinforced and covered with a metal grating. You would think that I find it annoying here, but I do not. I have drawn a measure of comfort from my surroundings. Does that say something about me?

Why do I stay here, you ask? Why do I receive my meals from a slot in the door three times a day? They come on plastic trays, with plastic cups, plastic bowls and plastic utensils. Perhaps, I have no choice in the matter. Maybe it has been decided by authority other than mine, not higher, but other than mine that it would be safer for all concerned if my immense frame and uncontrollable personality be kept here. Not that I consider myself a danger, but just maybe, I can see their point. Or perhaps I am here of my own volition. Something to consider.

My most recent meal of warm milk, fruit cup, soggy peas and Salisbury steak in half-congealed gravy sits mostly eaten on my desk when I hear them coming for me down the hall. I cannot help but smile as their footsteps become louder, their nervousness is almost becoming an aroma that I can smell.

The tray door slides open, not to retrieve my lunch, but to slip in my shackles. Speaking in slow one syllable words, they tell me to put the shackles on my wrists and ankles. Because of the size of my wrists leg shackles are used for both my wrists and ankles.

A key turns in the lock and the metal door opens slowly. They enter the door scared, with shock sticks at the ready in their hands. They sent four this time. One of the guys hands off his stick and moves forward to check the chains making sure that they are secure. He tries to hide his fear, but the stink of it comes off of him in waves.

Shacking with nerves, he checks the chains. As he straightens himself I quickly scratch my nose. He jumps back from me tripping over the desk chair. Quickly he picks himself off of the floor and he tries to push me toward the door. I move forward at my own pace.

The hallway is painted in two shades of green, light above dark. It is amazing to me how these institutions, which thrive on the mental instabilities of others, fall so easy into the fallacy that such muted shades bring about certain emotions. If you were to ask them why such colors were used they would undoubtedly quote a study which shows that these color are more likely to introduce calmer emotions among mentally unstable people. Of course, for every study they produce, with time I could produce another study showing the opposite. For example, a German scientist, in one of the lesser know internment camps during World War II, produced a study that showed these same color produced effects of nausea and fear in detainees.

With each door we pass I can hear the muffled cries and whimpers of my compatriots. It is these sounds which calm me, not the muted hues some study says should. As I shuffle and jingle along, making a racket akin to a cartoon ghost, I breathe in deeply feeling replenished by their pain, fear and confusion.

At the end of the doorway there stands a wooden door, where every other door is painted green. I have often wondered why this is, perhaps I shall ask. There are two more guards standing on either side of the door. They open the door as I grow near and I am led to a lone chair facing a long table. They place me into the chair with a little more force than necessary. I smile.

The table is long enough to sit five chairs along the side furthest away from me and before each chair there sits a few folders. I can only assume that those files contain what pertinent information they think they have on me. Of course somewhere in those files will contain the IQ test which shows my score in the low forties. Like I said, they will believe in almost any fallacy here.

There are two trays sitting on the table, each with pitchers of water and glasses. The water looks good and cold. From here I can see tiny beads of perspiration on the pitcher. Suddenly, I realize how thirsty I am.

The guards produce a length of chain from a nearby closet and it is latched from my wrists to a ring set in the floor. You have to commend them on their efforts to afford the coming doctors every ounce of safety. Yet, another fallacy. Still, I do applaud them like a drooling low forties IQ having idiot. It makes them nervous and I laugh as they quickly leave the room. On the outside I am laughing, but the smile is skin deep.

The door opens again and the five-person board of doctors enter, their faces all showing the same bored expression and condescending smile. These little get-together's always go the same way. You see, they believe me to be an idiot so I act the part. They ask the same questions over and over. I drool instead of answering. Or I laugh. Or I look around lost and confused. Then it's on to the peg tests and either I can't put the right piece in the right hole or I do and cheer like a blithering fool. After an hour, I am unceremoniously escorted back to my room.

They sit in the same order as always. Not a single one of them opens my file, they just produce little micro recorders. They always figure to put notes to paper later. They huddle together looking like a poor man's picture of the last supper. As always they seem to be arguing the merits of continuing these meetings. How they fail to take care of such conversations, before they get here never ceases to amaze me. I watch them slack jawed like the idiot they believe me to be.

Dr. Clark sits at one end tapping her fist into her hand trying valiantly to get her point across. She is talking in that grating sandpaper helium high voice of hers looking as ugly as I have ever seen her. The tan suit she is wearing looks like it was pulled from the defect rack Her peach shirt is ill fitting and stretched tighter across her stomach than her chest. Her head seems to merge with her shoulders giving her an appearance like a brown skinned toad. Dark brown moles cover her cheeks and her lips appear stretched and elongated. The make-up she wears looks like it was applied by a drunk sailor transvestite.

It is fitting that she is on one end, while Dr. Sisken is on the other, for they are polar opposites. The shirt she is wearing is two shades lighter blue than that of her pantsuit. Her outfits always look as if they are made for her body and hers alone. Her face looks like something that a master sculpture would only dream of creating and she wears little if any make-up. When you hear her soft, yet commanding voice you begin to doubt that she has gotten by just on her looks, though I am sure that they did not hurt her. Still she sits patient, waiting her chance to speak.

It has been said that my voice sounds like the bastard child of Ted Levine and James Earl Jones. I watch them for a few more moments before I clear my throat. And you could have heard a pin drop, as Tommy stopped and locked the door. The doctors freeze and look at me with shock painted on the faces of one and all. This, should be fun.

"While you are discussing the merits, or lack there of, from our little get-together. Perhaps you should also banter about the ramifications of everything you know about me, or my case as it were, being a complete fallacy." I clear my throat again softly, "But before you continue, could I trouble you for a glass of water? You see, I have rarely found the occasion for speech lately and my throat is somewhat dry and scratchy."

Almost as one mind they straighten in their seats and snap on their recorders. The only noise in the room is the faint whirl of their machines. I have to smile because they seem so confused on how to continue.

Once more I clear my throat. "Some water, please? I feel as if I might have a lot to say and water may make it easier for me to continue."

"Yes, yes of course." Dr. Carl laughs nervously. "In a moment. You see, you seem to have us at a disadvantage here. It seems that your file is a bit incorrect and I must say I find it confusing. Could you answer a few questions for us first?"

Look at him sitting there thinking he can string me along without getting me a glass of water. You know, I ask for so little.

Dr. Carl is small and sickly looking with ears the size of radar dishes. If you close your eyes and imagine the perfect momma's boy his face would appear. Supposedly he is in charge of these meetings, but he rarely is. Too submissive it would seem.

"I see no harm in that. As long as it does not take too long." I smile.

Look at him sitting there all smug like the cat that ate the canary. Like he has accomplished some great task.

"You may begin when you are ready, Dr. Carl."

My, my, my, did you see how fast that smugness disappeared. It would seem that the good doctor is uncomfortable with the fact that I know his name.

"Why yes, of course. Would you like to state your name, age and date of birth for us?"

"My name is Eddye, that's E-D-D-Y-E, no middle name just the initial H, last name Ward. I was born on August 26th and I forget the year. As far as I can guess I am at least thirty-six years of age."

Emotionless I watch as they flip through my file and find even their most simple assumptions totally wrong.

Dr. Lee pushes his glasses up on his nose and steeples his hands before him. "Well, ah yes, well Mr. Ward would you like to..."

"You can call me Eddye, if you wish. Never Edward, but Eddye is fine."

Dr. Lee looks like one of the cliche doctors from television. He wears a sweater vest, is thickly bearded and has Coke bottle glasses that sit perched on the tip of his nose. He always speaks in slow measured tones as if what he has to say holds great importance, but of course it rarely does.

"I am sure that would be fine. Well, ah, Mr. Ward where were you born?"

Rolling a link of chain between my fingers I sit up straighter and look at them from face to face for a few moments. Look at them, all expectant as if I will give them some great revelation.

"Well sir, I would rather not get into that right at the moment." They sit growing nervous before me as I take a deep breath and let it out slowly between clenched teeth. "This would go a lot smoother if you would stop trying to patronize me, to placate your own nervousness over what is in your report and what I state now as truth by just doing one simple thing. Get me the fucking glass of water I asked for!"

Dr. Sisken flinches as if I have drawn back to hit her. Tears of fear rim her eyes and I cannot help but wonder if she is strong enough for this and if she is not how far can I push her before she breaks. If I could make her flee from the room in tears that would be something most refreshing. I wonder how far into my tale of woe and misery should I wait until I try to reach for that ripe sweetness.

Dr. Effers places a hand on Dr. Sisken's arm. "C-c-c-calm down M-m-maria. I c-c-c-can feel you shaking through the t-t-t-able." he whispers to her.

Dr. Effers rarely speaks because he has a speech impe-impe-impe-impe problem. So he always wears a look on his face, as if he is in constant observation of his surroundings. White hair is spreading along his temples and he is almost always clenching an unlit pipe between his too perfect teeth.

The momma's boy clears his throat trying to regain some form of control over the proceedings. "Now Eddye, was that really necessary?"

I lean forward hands on my knees smiling with anger filled eyes.

"Yes, it was necessary because you are not treating me with any respect. Where is my water? And who the fuck said you could call me Eddye?!"

"We will get you some water, Mr. Ward. Let's just, calm down." Dr. Lee smiles to me.

Pushing his glasses up on his nose he eases away from the table and opens the door. He speaks quietly to one of the guards and returns to the table.

"We are having a tray brought in with your own water pitcher. Will that be acceptable, Mr. Ward?" he says and I get the feeling that he is talking more as a benefit for his fellow doctors than for me.

"That is all I asked for, thank you. Please call me Eddye."

An orderly enters with my water and the tray is brought near my chair. He is quick to pour a glass of water and retreat. The first glass goes down freezing my throat. As I refill the glass, I notice something amusing, if only to me. The fear and nervousness in the room, much like the echoes in the hallway, calm me. Dr. Sisken's reactions are bringing about in me an almost sexual excitement. Maybe it is not a revelation as much as a memory of days long past.

"I believe I am ready to continue doctors." I smile to offer them an olive branch.

Looking at them I can tell they do not know exactly where to move next. They are so nervous the five of them; the toad, the professor, the milksop, the intellectual, and the beauty queen. Not that I really want to, I will help them along.

"In answer to your question I was born in a small Virginia town called Nassawadox. I was born to itinerant sharecroppers."

I pause to laugh at my joke. Then I remember that the easiest fallacy to believe, is the one sprinkled with spatterings of truth. "Sorry about that, sometimes I cannot help but make little jokes."

"My parents were former hippies turned farmers. They died when I was just into my teenage years."

"If I may, how did you lose them?" Dr. Carl asks more than a little nervous.

Did he just interupt me?

"If it is all the same to you, I would rather not discuss them at the moment."

"Why yes, of course." It appears the milksop is trying to gain some semblance of control. We cannot have that.

Fear and nervousness, how does it feel to you? To me, it is like that electric, static feeling in the air after a lightning discharge. Tingly and abuzz. It leaves a taste in my mouth much like copper, or blood.

"Perhaps you c-c-could share with us h-h-how you c-c-came to be in your c-c-current state?" Dr. Effers asks.

There is something about this gentleman that I find myself liking. What is it, I cannot discern, for he has done nothing different from the other doctors at the table save offer comfort to a frightened colleague? I resist the urge to make fun of him.

"I am in here to save myself, from the world."

They look at each other, more than a little confused. Dr. Effers sits back in his chair, pipe held tight between his perfect teeth. I do not like the look in his eyes. I try to think back to when he comforted Dr. Sisken, did his eyes have the same look then? Did they hold the same comfort that his body offered?

"Would you like to e-e-elaborate?" he asks.

My fingernails are kept almost painfully short, right down to the quick. While I do not particularly like them that short, I do like the dull thudding sound they make as the drum against the water pitcher. Pulling my hand back I rub my thumb and fingers together, spreading the moisture from the sweating glass. The doctors wait patiently.

"We are on an evolutionary track filled with devolutionist thinking. The world has become an affront to the ideals of our forefathers. Atrocities committed in the name of science, politics, or religion are treated as commonplace, everyday occurrences. Wars are fought on the whims of idiots, over nothing more than fossil fuels. Soldiers are forced to die for beliefs not their own. They are brainwashed into believing it is patriotic and the right thing to do for democracy.

"The world has become a place filled with hypocrisy. It is almost better to be the portrayer than the victimized. It is okay to murder for freedom from oppression, but not to murder for freedom from fear. When there really is not that much of a difference.

"To steal in politics is divine; to steal to live is evil. To butcher someone on television is acceptable, flash a breast and you are near castrated. Sex is something dirty and forbidden, but here take this pill so you can have a harder erection. Lesbianism is a phase, homosexuality is a sin. Child pornography in a nice frame is art, on a computer it's depraved.

"The world has become a walking fallacy. We should help feed the starving of the world, except when they are in our own backyard. We should provide affordable housing, but not for those that really need it. We should offer better job training, just not to the poor. Education should be cheaper, oh but not for the average joe. Cheaper medical care? Sorry, thanks for playing.

"Parenting is provided by teachers, bus drivers, siblings, and television. Everyone except the parents. The children who cannot keep up in school are labeled with learning disabilities and placed on addictive substances to control imaginary ailments. Teachers don't care, because supposedly at thirty-five thousand dollars a year for nine months work they are underpaid. Parents are too tired to care, because the day of having one working parent is long gone. God forbid, you are a single parent worrying about making ends meet and needing government assistance, that you are not allowed to have, because you work to better yourself instead of staying home pushing out babies like an Easy-Bake oven.

"Kids are poisoned by video games, MTV and internet pornography into a pasty-faced stupor of ignorance. They wouldn't know a book if you beat them in the face with it, until every bone shattered. They talk in a broken slang filled language that they can barely understand. Guys walk around with hats at odd angles on their heads and pants hanging off their asses showing faded underwear to the world. Girls seem to offer sex as a right of passage and a greeting. They have to wear thongs because their shorts and skirts are short enough to tell what religion they pratice. The backs of their shorts offer advertisements like the side of the Good-Year blimp at the Super Bowl; Sweet Meat, Nice Ride, Pretty Girl, Baby Love. They pass themselves around as sexual favors like cookies passed around at the cafeteria table.

"I came here to protect myself from the world, before I have enough and destroy it."

My hands hurt. I look down to find them twisted among the chains connecting me to the floor. I free my fingers and I laugh as I reach for my glass of water. It is still ice cold, it feels good in my hand as I empty the glass.

"Mr. Ward?!" Dr. Effers almost yells.

Has he been calling me? Looking over at him, I almost smile. Can he tell I am uncomfortable? I lost it for a bit there. Uncontrollable anger, perpetual rage.

"If you were not here, how w-w-would you destroy the world?"

Taking my time I refill my glass. I need to calm myself and regain control. I was wrong. I don't think I like this Dr. Effers. He is trying to take my control.

"Through religion, of course."

The water is still freezing cold, just as I am. I am in control here, but they are Jack's nervous doctors.

"Religion is the true bane of the world, and it's greatest fallacy. Really, how can you believe a book filled with discrepancies over scientific fact? The Bible is a book written by few to control the thoughts and actions of many.

"Bible, Koran, or New York Times, whatever your religion is based on, they are all used by people for their own means. Verses are bent and twisted so their interpretations can be used to mean anything and fit every occasion. It seems any idiot can make a religion. Scientology, Kabala. Why can't I?

"Tell me Dr. Effers would you be Jubal to my Valentine Micheal Smith? Or Maria, would you be Chastity to my Tender Branson?"

Dr. Sisken looks shocked at my use of her fist name. I smile.

"Religion is an excuse for everything. Life and death. Politics and martyrdom. So if religion could be used to rule the world? Why could it not be used to destroy it?

"Starting your own religion cannot be, but so hard. All you need is a strong belief and the right verses to bend, that would draw people in. Most of the world is filled with lemmings looking for the next big thing to follow. Offer to help them lose weight, only when they donate money. Offer to make them rich, after they make you rich first. Lure in a few famous people, a Tom Cruise, a Madonna, and make it well publicized. Just add orange juice and instant Napalm. Package it, slap a sticker on it's ass and away we go.

"Don't you see, through religion you gain power? The more lemmings you control the more power you gain. Power to do miraculous things. Walk on water, water into wine, bread that never ends, fish ever multiplying, seas parting . . . "

Pregnant pause for effect. "You could even perform resurrections."

"And why would you want such power?" Dr. Clark asks her voice tinged with anger.

"I could sacrifice myself and bring about my resurrection as a testament to my own divinity. After that I could resurrect the love of my life." I finish quietly.

"How did she die?" Dr. Sisken inquires.

Silence fills the room for a moment. Then I speak, my words barely audible. "I killed her."

The water is still ice cold, just as I am. The room is mine to control. I look at them and unfocus my eyes and I get the reaction I want. A lone tear slides down my cheek.

Like a tear in a fairy tale hitting the ground and changing the world, my tear is magical. As it trails down my cheek I can see the doctors before me soften and fill with compassion. Forget that I just told them that I killed my girlfriend. It was the tear that griped them like the fantastical lone gunman. It is easier to believe the tear means sorrow just as it is easier to believe in a lone gunman. Let's face it, no one really likes a conspiracy.

My fingers creep up to wipe away the moisture from my face. Pulling my hand away, I stare at it as if I am surprised at it's wetness.

Dr. Sisken inches forward, licking her lips and intertwining her delicate fingers. "Mr. Ward, what exactly happened to your girlfriend?"

When I was little, my uncle told me when we were fishing that the slight vibration you feel coming up through the line was the fish nibbling at the bait. Now, when you feel that tingle, you have to jerk your line to hook the fish. If you don't do it fast enough, you lose your bait and your fish.

For a moment I stare down at my hands and watch as my fingers twist themselves up in the chain. Then my vision blurs and I slowly look Dr. Sisken deep into her green eyes.

My line is vibrating. Hello, little fishes.

"I think I need a few moments alone." I watch them as I take in a deep, sad breath.

Dr. Clark leans forward shaking her head violently. "Oh no, absolutely not. That is totally not possible. We have procedures."

"Dr. Clark," Dr. Sisken interrupts, "We can give Mr. Ward a few moments alone I'm sure. There are guards posted just outside the door."

Demurely she slides from the table and leads the others outside.

I yank my line and look, I caught myself a fish.

Imagine that.

© Copyright 2005 Solitary Man (edyhdrawde at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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