January 05, 2008
A tale from the cuckoo's nest
Originally published June 3, 2003
When I was wheeled on a gurney down a series of corridors to the hospital equivalent of the "Group 'W' Bench," (if you've never listened to "Alice's Restaurant," I wasted that nice simile), the first thing I saw was a large, elderly man strapped to a chair in the hallway with the kind of belts industrial haulers use to anchor a steam turbine on the trailer of a flatbed truck. He was, literally, drooling into his lap. The nurse pushing the gurney had to maneuver around him and said, "That one has issues."
"That one" was Judge Robert Hodges, as I learned the next day. He really WAS a judge, once upon a time, but now he suffered from a combination of dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. He was about 6' 4" tall when he wasn't stooping like an old man, and he had a head full of silver hair, pale, mottled skin and a vacant look in his eyes.
He also had a temper like a wolverine with its ass on fire and a vocabulary of profanity that impressed even me. He had "issues," all right. He was senile, hostile, insane, profane, mean, obscene and a piss-bottle throwing, shit his diaper and threaten to kill the nurses trying to wipe his ass nutball.
He was my roommate for the next three days.
He didn't sleep much. At night, the staff strapped him into bed with the same kind of belts they used on the chair in the hallway, and The Judge would moan and cuss. All night long.
He started out with simple "UUUHHHHHHHH!!!" noises, which I have used myself a few times during a spectacular orgasm. Then he moved on to "ARRRGGGHHHH!!!" sounds, which I didn't like. After that, he began to cuss.
His cussing was disjointed, because he never could string together a logical sequence of profanity. He went, "Sonofabitch! Shit! Bastard! Sonofashit! UUUUHHHHH!" He did it all night long, too. I realized on my first night there that I wasn't going to enjoy sharing a room with this guy.
The Judge kinda ruled the roost when it came to being the biggest nutball in the place, because he had style. But on my third day there, fierce competition arrived. He was a black man, somewhere between the age of 50 and 500. I couldn't be any more precise, because he was almost as large as The Judge and obviously had done a lot of physical work in his life, because he was muscled, with calloused hands.
I first saw him when he walked up to the phone in what I called "The Psycho Activity Room," lifted the receiver and stuck it into a styrofoam coffee cup. "Hang up the phone!" he demanded. Then, he pulled down his pants and pissed all over the floor. I knew that I was seeing a contender for The Judge's crown.
That night, he woke me up about 4:00 AM screaming, "GET OUT MY HOUSE!" I heard the nurses attempting to explain that he wasn't in his house, that he was in a cuckoo's nest hospital, but he wasn't buying that story. "GET OUT MY HOUSE!!" he repeated. "I'VE GOT A GUN!! I'LL BUST YOUR GUTS!!"
This screaming went on for a while until it finally became loud enough to wake The Judge, who actually had been asleep for about two hours that night.
"UUUUHHHH! UUUHHHH!" moaned The Judge.
"GET OUT MY HOUSE!" came the reply.
"SONOFABITCH!" responded The Judge.
"GODDAM! I'LL BUST YOUR GUTS!" yelled the contender.
"SHIT! BASTARD! SONOFASHIT!" offered The Judge.
This exchange lasted at least fifteen minutes until some male orderlies, armed with additional straps, hauled both men out into the hallway and belted them into chairs while the nurses shot their butts full of wookie-juice. They ended up with heads lolling and puddles of piss forming under their chairs.
The Judge was transferred somewhere else the next day. The new Champion had claimed his belt.
The big black guy shuffled up to me the next day and started pawing at my lunch as I was attempting to eat in the Psycho Activity Room. "GET OUT MY HOUSE!!! I'LL BUST YOUR GUTS!!! I yelled at him. He went away.
My brother was there at the time and he almost freaked. I explained, "When in Rome...."
(By the way, I am NOT writing this entry from recollection. I kept a journal from the second day I was there. I had to use a felt-tip pen and they wouldn't give me my reading glasses, but I wrote this shit down as it happened.)
All content © Rob Smith