Mad as a hatter maybe, the room is riding rough swells, tossing me about like a hamster on a rudderless runaway treadmill. The gyroscope in the segway out of whack, me lurching toward the cell door, then tossed like a beanbag at the state fair against the padded wall. I try climbing the wall, grasping the little buttons that resemble the cloth covered buttons on my grandmother ‘Nerve’ Schell’s Victorian Chair. Why remember her other than the crack issue. Not crack cocaine, no drugs, never, unless they were administered forcefully, after she was admitted. Gone now, good and gone, but never crack cocaine. Obsessive Complulsive disorder, cracks, never step on a crack kind of obsessive compulsive. Always count the steps. If you lose track, or step on a crack, you must start over. No questions, no equivocation. Start over. Had to be the reason granddad “Slide” Schell disappeared. Right in the middle of their Egyptian tour, with his Knights of Columbus cronies. She was headed up King Ramses Pyramid for the third time. Couldn’t be talked out of it. When she came down “Slide” was gone. The tour bus waited for two hours, consulted Egyptian authorities, but the other Knights of Columbus who knew “Slide” and what he had put up with were sympathetic.
My wrists are bruising blue where nurse pinionator is drawing the straps too tight. “For your own protection,” she says. She has a name tag, but I let my eyes wander to the crack in the occipital ridge at the back of her head when she reaches across to cinch up the strap on my right wrist. I can read her thoughts as easily as if they were my own. She wonders why I won’t make eye contact with her. “Crazy Ass Coot, just brain dead” she mutters out loud just after I predicted she would. “Don’t know a damn thing I’m thinking,” I mutter back pre-parroting her next thought. She’s been on the ward just long enough to hear the rumors. “A mad one, that one,” or “weird shit lunatic.” She wasn’t a believer until now. My venture inside her brain cap has stunned her into a freeze frame and she hovers above me like an avenging angel, questions me with two smoldering gray stones, but I still won’t make eye contact. I can taste the garlic osmosing from her guppied mouth, saturating the air, permeating the tiles in the ceiling, the padding on the walls.. No more games, I drool a little, to get her away from me.
Three minutes twenty one seconds later. That’s the median time it takes to Houdini my way free of the straps.
I have all night to work on my project. Designer lightning bugs. Gene splicing is where it’s at.