January 06, 2008
More tales from the cuckoo's nest
Originally published June 4, 2003
Whoever the reigning King of the Crazies might be, he had a damn fine court around him. First, was Jerry, a black man with no front teeth who walked with an odd, hopping limp so that he made ta-THUMP, ta-THUMP noises everythere he went, which was usually into his bathroom to flush the toilet, over and over again.
He would start that, the nurses would yell, "Jerry, STOP THAT!" and Jerry would reply, "Okay," and keep right on flushing the toilet over and over again. They finally called a maintenance guy to cut off the water in his room to make him stop. They turned the water back on only if he laid a steaming pile in the commode, and then only long enough to flush it.
When Jerry couldn't flush his toilet over and over, he found other things to do. I was watching TV in the Psycho Activity Center when he came ta-THUMPing into the room. He marched all around the place until he found a plastic bottle of spray disinfectant on the counter near the sink in the PAC. He very carefully unscrewed the top, pissed in the bottle, and very carefully screwed the top back on again. Then, he put the bottle back where he found it and ta-THUMPed away, probably to try to flush his toilet again.
I vowed then never to eat in that room again.
Second, was my new roommate after The Judge went away. I never learned the guy's name, so I just called him Demento. He came in riding a wheelchair about 9:30 at night with wrist and leg restraints tying him to the chair. He was wearing knee-length blue socks with no shoes and I noticed all sorts of strange bulges in those socks. At first, I thought that his legs were deformed. Later, I saw some kind of rectangular box protruding from a hole in one sock and realized that he had stuff stashed in there.
The first time I saw him eat a meal (in the room we shared, because I DID NOT eat off a table in the Psycho Activity Center after seeing Flushing Jerry piss in the disinfectant) I watched Demento stuff a knife, a fork, a plastic cup, a straw and a half-eaten biscuit into his socks. He was an interesting one.
He was a moaner, too. He showed me his ability to outdo The Judge about 3:00 in the morning his second night there.
"OOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!" A pause. "OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!" I listened to about ten minutes of that shit and got pissed off.
"OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!" I moaned, as loudly as I could, hoping to shut him up.
"AYEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" he screamed. Obviously, I had chosen the wrong tactic here.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" I yelled.
"YABBADABBAYABBADABBAWHOOOO!" he replied.
I got out of bed and walked to the nurse's station to find someone in charge. No one was there. Great. Wondering if I would be caught if I smothered that crazy bastard with his own pillow, I went back to my room.
Demento was out of his bed, too. He wandered into the bathroom, took a wiz in the trash can (yes, the TRASH CAN) and went shuffling out into the hallway. I hoped that he would stay gone and I could get some sleep, but I should have known better.
I heard a nurse talking to him, then a shriek, accompanied by "Don't you swing at me! I'm not going to mess with you! I'll call SECURITY!"
A few moments later, Demento re-entered the room in the grip of two burly orderlies with a nurse right behind them.
"Stick something in his mouth," I suggested helpfully.
"Oh, we're gonna stick him, all right," the nurse replied. The rest of the conversation went something like this:
"Hold him down!"
"Goddamn it, he's trying to bite"
"Stick him! In the big muscle! Stick him in the thigh!"
"Sonofabitch! Get his feet!"
They finally got him stuck and shortly thereafter he started giggling like an idiot for a moment, then started singing, "Fucked-up, fucked-up, fucked-up" over and over again.
"I see why you wanted to stick something in his mouth," one of the orderlies said as they left the room. Demento went to blissfull sleep after a while.
And he slept all the way until 11:00 the next night, whereupon he woke up full of piss and vinegar again.
The new adventure began with him going, "OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!"
All content © Rob Smith