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Saturday, February 5, 2011

American Nut Job

A short story that may be partially true, or all true, or not true at all...you decide.

Some people swore that the house was haunted. I heard voices; that’s for sure, but I never saw anything. As a matter of fact there was nothing out of the ordinary in my Grandma’s house except for the voices. And when I hear the banshee, it reminds me of the smell of blood-stained leather... a sort of tangy raw stench.

Soon I'll be surrounded by the scent again. Wrists and ankles encased, pants lowered to expose a small square of skin just wide enough to accept a 2 inch needle. It will happen the same as always, a behavioral mystery I find half controls me. Only half I say because if I really think about it I control at least half... maybe all... of my pseudo-scheduled visit to the psychiatric ER.

You see, I'm an official American nut job. That's what they call me behind the sound-proof glass where the nurses eat drink and be merry.  My grand entrance is anticipated as it is about 6 to10 days after the first of the month that my social security disability check is used up. Not for rent, food, clothes...but for an 8 ball, a bundle, a pint, a quart, a carton. 

I hope they don't put me in a room with a demented grandpa again. Now those are the real crazy people. You can't really blame them when they go commando and start choking you. If anyone ever tells me I've got that Alzheimer’s, I'm doing like that lady in the paper did.

She was only 65. I say only because these days women live till like 85 or something. So she finds out from some bone-headed Indian doctor that she's got the dementia. Well things are pretty much over at that point. It starts with losing your car keys and ends with you shitting yourself and screaming racial slurs at the nurse.

So I liked this lady's idea. She hears the news from the doctor...it’s confirmed, she’s got the Alzheimer’s. So she waits till dark, puts on her nightgown, brushes her teeth, says goodnight, and walks to the highway. She waits...then with all the courage and bravery of a marine she runs.  Her bare feet defiant to the rocks and litter on the side of the road. Her nightgown billowing like the American flag proudly moving in the wind.  She faces the oncoming traffic like superman and steps in front of a truck that cannot break in time.

Old people have guts. "Pass me that pipe," my buddy says. He yells it again and I forgot about the old lady for a minute. "Oh yeah dude, here you go." This month our motel room is on the top floor. That's not good. People below us complain about the noise. I might be heading to the ER tonight if we get kicked out.

I like the ambulance ride. I tell the same story every ride. You know, the story about the haunted house. How ever since I was in that haunted house I’ve been hearing voices...ghost voices I’m sure. But the doctor’s say its “auditory hallucinations.” And they keep giving me a shot of some kind of medicine to “make the voices go away.” And the voices do go away, so I don’t know if there were ghosts or not now. And I don’t know what’s real or not now.

That medicine...that stinging, stabbing, shot did something to me. It changed me. Nothing was ever the same again after that.