Chapter 2 - Completely Wigged Out.
<~> Daphne's POV <~>
I fucking hate this place so much. I can't believe that Craig Taylor is so cheep that he'd let his son stay in such a run down flea trap. That man - and I use the term loosely since every single thing he's done in the past few years indicates that he's not even human - should be forced to come spend just one day here and see how he likes it. I bet he couldn't stand it here for more than ten minutes.
The smell alone would make any normal person faint. I understand the difficulties of dealing with the type of patients they house here, but that's no excuse. The entire building stinks like stale urine, mold and dirty feet, all overlaid with a thin veneer of Pine Scented Antiseptic spray. One time I even threatened to report the place to the state licensing board after I saw an untreated bedsore on the patient in the bed next to Justin's. Really, if this is the best Craig can do for his only son, then I think Justin would be better off being abandoned to State care. It could hardly be worse.
But, regardless of what I think about this place, I still keep coming back for Justin. If anybody needs a friend it's that poor boy. So, as long as Justin's here I'll keep coming back. I can just dab a little bit of Ben Gay under my nose to mask the stench, square my shoulders bravely and ignore the high risk of encountering the type of flesh eating MRSA's that probably populate every square inch of this dump. It's what a best friend does.
That doesn't make it any easier to see the shell of a person which is all that's left of my friend, Justin Taylor. Day after day he just sits there, lost inside himself. It physically hurts me to look at him sometimes. Justin was always just so full of life, you know. Even when everything in his life seemed to be going to shit - when his dad kicked him out, he was being terrorized on a daily basis by the bullies at school and the love of his life was being a total ass to him - Justin still managed to find something to be hopeful about. He was a fucking inspiration to me back in the day.
Of course, that was before Chris Hobbs took a baseball bat to Justin's head the night of our Prom.
Hobbs claimed that he was provoked. That seeing Justin and Brian dancing that night so outraged his sense of morality that he lost control of himself. Yeah, I'll believe that as soon as he can explain why the fuck he brought a baseball bat with him in the limo his parents hired for the night to drive him and his buddies to the dance. But, whatever Hobbs' real motivation was, that one swing of the bat that cracked Justin's skull was only the start of the nightmare. I don't think even Hobbs knew his actions would be so thoroughly devastating.
No matter how much I love Justin, even I've sometimes wondered if death might not have been more merciful.
"Hey, Jus," I say, trying but failing to make my voice sound breezy and happy. "How's my favorite blond boy?"
I guess I needn't bother trying to sound cheerful. I don't think it matters to Justin. He's almost completely catatonic these days. He hasn't acknowledged my presence for more than a year now. The last time he even spoke to me was when they painted the ward where he lives - now it's a pale pastel blue rather than an ugly dirty white, not that it's much of an improvement. Justin's only comment then was that, "blue is the new white." I didn't know if he was joking or not so I didn't say anything. And that's the last time I heard his voice. For all I know it's the last words he'll ever speak.
Fucking famous last words, huh?
Since then, Justin simply sits where he's put. Or, he stands where he's put if there's no place to sit. Or, he lies down in bed if he's put there. On his own he does nothing. It's like life is too much effort but fighting life isn't worth the effort either. Now, the kid who always stood up for himself and others, who refused to back down or accept the uncomfortable role society tried to force on him, just does whatever he's told and never ever complains.
While I visit I chat about anything that comes to mind. He's so fucking silent it freaks me out. I have to keep babbling just to fill the room with noise or I might end up in the bed next to him.
I also do what I can to tidy him and his area up while I'm there. I usually bring along a hairbrush, a packet of wet wipes, nail clippers, some hand lotion and Chapstick. They've let his hair grow ridiculously long, which would be fine except that nobody ever helps him brush it. So I brush Justin's hair, pull it back into a pony tail, wash his hands and face and clip his nails while I tell him about my classes, my college friends and anything else that pops into my brain. Every time I visit, he always flinches a bit the first time I touch him, but by the end of my stay, it's like he's leaning into my touch, reveling in the contact. I wish I had confidence that someone else does these small things for him when I'm not here. I wish I could manage to visit more often.
I wish Justin would snap out of this and just get better all ready.
<~> Brian's POV <~>
"No. No. No. This isn't right," I try AGAIN to explain to Letran that he's not following the schedule. It's Friday afternoon. Friday afternoon is supposed to be group therapy, then television time, then pizza for dinner. That's always been what we do on Friday. I don't like things to change. I don't deal well with change these days.
But today, fucking Letran won't let me go to the therapy room. He says my therapy session has been cancelled. I ask him if Dr. Fields had authorized this, and Letran just laughs at me. I mean it's not like I enjoy group therapy or anything - actually I hate it and think it's beyond useless - but, that doesn't mean he can just go around changing the schedule like that, willy nilly, without warning me.
I never liked Letran anyway. I think he's been watching me at night while I'm sleeping. I've tried to catch him at it, but he's just too fucking fast. Now that I think about it, maybe he's got that fat woman in the next room helping him. She probably warns him when I'm waiting to catch him out. That's got to be why I've never been able to catch him. I don't like the fucking fat lady either.
"Willy nilly. Willy nilly. Willy nilly. What the fuck does that mean, anyway," I ask when Letran comes back into my room hours and hours later.
"I got no fucking idea, man. It's just something you white folks say. Nobody I know says shit like like," Letran advises as he opens up my closet and starts rifling through my clothing without permission.
"Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop touching the merchandise. I'm not interested! Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off," I scream, trying ineffectually to pull the asshole away from my stuff.
"Mr. Kinney, you need to back off and let me do my job, man," Letran insists, crossing his arms, his biceps bulging at me intimidatingly, while he looks down at me like I'm a buzzing fly he longs to slap.
"Why are you messing with my stuff," I demand, standing up to him and his fucking bulgy muscles. "Get your paws away, away, away!"
"I got to get your shit packed so they can move you, so you need to back off. You hear me? Do I need to call Cece and have you sedated, Mr. Kinney," the little bitch asks, when I try one more time to push him away from my closet.
"I'm not moving, so don't fucking paw at my shit," I persist, ignoring for the moment his threat to call in Cece and her syringe of silence. "Shit. Shit. Shit."
"Yes, Mr. Kinney, you ARE moving and I need to get your stuff packed. Otherwise, they'll just ship you off to the new madhouse without your shit. I really couldn't give a fuck either way. But somehow I don't think you'd be happy strutting your stuff around buck naked at The Banks."
"Well, the fuck you know," I shoot back lamely. "I fucking love strutting around buck naked."
And, just to prove my point - why, I have no idea, but it seemed fucking important at the time - I immediately shove off my pants and tear off my shirt, then walk out of there naked as the day I was born, except of course for my comfy warm wool socks and slippers since the floors in this place are freezing.
The last thing I remember that afternoon is sitting in The Lounge in my all together watching 'The View' and ignoring Mrs. Levinson's outraged shrieking while Cece and Letran stalk towards me. The syringe of silence is dripping beads of thick white liquid from its tip, and strangely reminds me of a well primed cock, as the pair nears. I do not deign to favor the louts with my attention any further. In fact, I manage not to even flinch when the needle bites into the tender skin of my hip. At that moment, I'm pretty sure I made my point.
Some time much later, I realize the errors of my thinking. I wake up into a pitch dark nothingness, completely disoriented and helpless. I don't think this place has anything to do with the point I was trying to make.
<~> Justin's POV <~>
It's been so fucking noisy all day today. I vaguely wonder what's going on that's engendering all this noise. Not that I care enough to bother. I guess I could have turned my head to the side and looked to see what or who was making the noise. But I didn't. What's the point?
I think I remember Daphne coming for a visit earlier. Was that today? Maybe it was another day and I just forgot until now. I wonder if Daphne noticed all the noise, too.
Sometime later, when I wasn't paying attention, the room went from daylight to darkness. It must be night time. I notice that I'm in my pajamas and lying down on my bed. Yes, that means it's night. I guess I should be sleeping now.
I promptly shut my eyes, because that's what you're supposed to do at night time, right? I'm in the process of shutting out the daytime thoughts in order to try and sleep - although I don't actually sleep anymore per se, I don't think, I just think about different things at night - when I hear more noises.
That's not exactly unusual around here. There's always some level of noise no matter what time of day or night it is. There are lots of other patients sleeping in the beds around me. They make lots of noises all night long. Sometimes they talk to themselves. Sometimes they scream. I try not to listen - it's rude. It has nothing to do with me anyway.
But there's something about this particular voice that forces me to listen. The owner of the voice is calling for help. He - I think it's definitely a 'he' - doesn't like the dark. He's confused and scared and is calling for help.
It's not like this is the first time this has happened. Like I said, there's always lots of screaming and talking, especially at night, but I never listen. So, why does this voice seem to matter so much to me?
The sound of the voice causes swirls of brown and gold and green color to light up the inside of my brain. These are nice, comforting colors. It's been a long time since I remember any colors other than white or pale blue.
Even though the voice sounds upset, it doesn't scare me. There's something about this voice that makes me feel safer than I've felt in a very long time. If I could, I'd try to help the person who's calling out for help. I don't remember ever thinking about doing that before. Then the noises abruptly stop.
I think I'll maybe actually sleep tonight.
<~> Brian's POV <~>
'Nyctophobia - Fear of darkness'. 'Somniphobia - Fear of sleep.' Is there a name for the fear of waking up in the dark in the middle of the night, not knowing where the fuck you are and finding yourself tied to the damn bed, because that's what I'm fucking experiencing right now.
"Hello? Hello? I know there's someone there. I can fucking hear you, assholes! Answer me!" I can hear noises all around me but I can't fucking see anything. The only light I can detect at all is coming from a tiny strip of radiance several meters away somewhere below the level on which I'm lying. It's not enough to illuminate anything around me. All it does is incite more fear because I don't know what's behind the fucking light.
But I can still hear noises all around me. The noise of people. Hundreds and hundreds of people surrounding me in the darkness. They're breathing on me, infecting me with their diseases. There's so many of them.
'Agoraphobia- Fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places like markets'.
I can't breathe. It's too fucking crowded in here. I have to get away. I have to get out of here.
Someone's yelling out for help but nobody answers. All around me now there's screaming and people yelling for help. I'm yelling too but I don't think anyone can hear me through all the others.
Fuck! It's got to be him. How has he found me after all this time? They must be working for him. It was Letran! He's been working with Hobbs all this time. I won't be able to escape this time. I won't be able to stop him.
*crack* I hear the sickening noise of a baseball bat beating against flesh and bone. There's so much blood. Too much fucking blood. I can't stop the bleeding. I'm going to lose Him. I can't save Him. I'm useless. I'm nothing. I can't stop it and I know I've failed again.
Then suddenly, the tiny strip of light explodes into a huge blinding white panel of illumination. There are blobs of shape moving towards me, swimming through the light. I can hear their voices but I don't think they're speaking any recognizable language. I wonder briefly if they are here to help me or hurt me. It seems irrelevant though. After a sharp pinch to my skin, they all start to fly off towards the heavens, floating around my head in circles and singing, their lovely words drifting down around me like warm snowflakes.
"Aliens. Aliens? No. No, not aliens. Angels? St. Joan's angels? Avenging angels we have heard on high. Retribution against the sinners. Fuck that. So, not angels either. Angels or angles? Isosceles Angels? *hehehe* Obtuse Angels?" *hehehe* Right angle angels?"
"Good morning, Brian," my stream of consciousness fun is interrupted by this annoyingly smiley face perched atop a thoroughly nondescript female form. "I'm Lily, one of the day attendants here at The Banks. I understand that you didn't have a very good time here your first night. I'm really sorry to hear that, but I'm sure things will look better once we get you out of these restraints. How does that sound to you?"
"That sounds just peachy, Lily," I say, flashing the woman my most obsequious grin. "The only problem is that you're about an hour too fucking late. I ready pissed all over myself because NOBODY would come help me! Now get me the fuck out of these things so I can get cleaned up and go to my god damned room!" I'm not sure if she can tell by the tone of my voice, but I'm really fucking pissed off here.
"Now, Brian. I really do not appreciate being spoken to like that. I understand that you're rather upset this morning, but since I just got here ten minutes ago, I don't think it's fair for you to take out all your anger at me. Do you?" The woman is too saccharin sweet and much too reasonable and isn't helping me get less pissed off, but she does have a mischievous little grin. Maybe she's not as goody two-shoes as she seems at first glance. "How about we both take a deep breath and start over. And this time, Brian, I'd suggest you act a little more polite towards the lady who's holding the keys to those restraints you're in."
Lovely Lily laughs, but not in a laughing AT you kind of way - it's more of a laughing WITH you at the ridiculousness of the situation kind of laugh. I can tell she's a feisty one. Hmmm? I might actually like Lovely Lily. Well, only if she gets me out of these straps and shows me the way to the showers before anyone fucking sees me like this. I'm crazy but that doesn't mean I don't have SOME fucking standards.
I nod at the woman to indicate my compliance with her suggestions and she proceeds to remove the leather restraints, padded wrist cuffs and ankle cuffs that have been holding me to this fucking bed for far too long. I'll have to have a chat with Lovely Lily about this facility's bondage rules. I do not remember establishing a safe word with anyone here and I refuse to participate if they don't follow at least that one very basic rule. But, I'm not going to deal with that whole can of tuna fish until I've showered and changed.
I'm a little stiff after lying in one place like that for too long and I wobble a little as I start to get up. Lovely Lily steadies my elbow and guides me down the hall to the bathroom facilities. They aren't very clean. I've been in other bath houses that are far less grungy than this. But again, I'm focused on what I have to do and I'll just have to address all these other concerns with the management at a later time.
When I'm finally clean again, I wrap a towel around my waist and wander back out into the hall. For some reason I can't remember where the damn locker room is. I really need to find my clothes and get the hell out of here. I think I've got a meeting I need to get to this morning. Or maybe I'm late for a presentation to a new client? I'm not sure, but I do know it's high time to get out of this place.
"Ah, Lily," I'm happy to see my friend from earlier. "Can you please show me the way to the locker room and help me locate my clothing. Oh, and can you call me a cab, too? My head is killing me - I must have had way too much to drink last night. Just to be on the safe side I better not drive. I'll just send someone to pick up my car later."
"Oh, Brian, you're a real card aren't you dear. I can tell you and me are going to have some fun around here," Lovely Lily smiles that snarky little smile at me as we walk together down the hall. I do like her little laugh. I guess she's okay, for a girl and all.
Lily must not have understood what I needed though. Instead of leading me to the lost locker room, she takes me back to that smelly room where I woke up. I can see there are at least six beds in here, with absolutely no privacy between stations, and the bed I'd been using earlier hasn't even been cleaned up yet. This is unacceptable. Brian Kinney never puts up with substandard service. I'm afraid I'm going to have to talk to Lily's manager.
I try to calmly explain this all to Ms. Lily, but somehow I'm failing to convey the problem here with the requisite urgency it requires. Lily is bustling about the room, barely listening to me, while she attends to several of the other occupants. She's NOT getting a tip from me if she keeps up this behavior.
"Stop. Stop. Stop," I finally lose my temper and move around till I'm standing in front of Ms. Lily, blocking her from moving further away. "I want my clothes!" I demand - first things first.
Shaking her head at me in a condescending manner, Lily leads me to the series of cabinets lining the far wall. On the front of one long cupboard built into the wall is a dry-erase board with my name scrawled across it in barely legible handwriting. Next to the long cupboard is a set of drawers, also built in. Above the top drawer is a kind of ledge or tabletop area with an old, stained and cracked mirror permanently affixed on the wall of the tiny nook. Maybe I misunderstood Little Lily, but I think she's trying to explain that these are my drawers and my closet.
"Fine. That's okay down here in the locker room, I suppose, but where the hell is my room? It better be a lot nicer and much cleaner or I'll have to report you to the hotel manager," I tell her haughtily.
"See? What did I tell you. We are going to have some fun," Lily is laughing again. "Sugar, THIS IS your room. That," she points to the uncomfortable hospital type bed-contraption where I woke up, which is still adorned in the soiled sheets, "is your bed. This is your closet and drawers. Any clothes they sent over from your prior facility have already been stowed inside. Now, what part of this are you not following, Brian?"
"But, who are all these other people? I don't like other people . . . Where's my old room? This isn't MY room. This isn't my room," tiny tendrils of unpleasant doubt are starting to send themselves winding inside my skin and I'm not sure I like it here anymore.
"This is your new room, Honey," Lily explains patiently. "Your old room is gone. They've probably already given it to someone else."
"Why? Why? Why? Why would they take away my room," I ask, already afraid of the answer. "This isn't fair. It isn't right, you know. I'm Brian Fucking Kinney. I'm, I'm, I'm the Stud of Liberty Avenue. I'm important . . . I don't think I'm supposed to be here. I don't think . . . Does Mikey know about this? Mikey wouldn't take my room away from me? Would he? Is he mad at me? Mad. Mad. Mad. I've been Bad. Bad. Bad."
"Brian. Brian, sweetie, look at me," Lily leads me over to a ratty, torn and battered leather chair that's sitting next to the bed she told me was mine. She gently helps me sit down, then she kneels beside the chair and holds my hand. "I understand that you're very confused this morning. It sounds to me like this is a big change for you and maybe you weren't properly prepared for everything. But, it's going to be alright, okay? You just need to calm down and take things one step at a time."
"Now, first of all, you need to get dressed. Can you do that for me? Go find some clothes you like in your cupboards and get yourself dressed. I've got a couple other residents I need to help while you're doing that, okay. After I've got everybody up and dressed, I'll show you the way to the dinning room and we'll get you some breakfast. Then you need to meet with one of the staff doctors to see about your meds. I'm sure that once you get some food and we make sure your meds are right, you'll feel much better."
"Meds. Beds. Ted's. Ted's. Yes, Ted. Ted will help me. He'll fix this. When he comes to see me on Wednesday he can fix this. Okay. I can wait until Ted gets here. When will it be Wednesday again?"
"Soon enough, Brian. Soon enough," Lily tells me and then moves away towards another bed that still has a lump of person hiding under its covers.
I turn around and rifle through my drawers until I find a nice pair of well worn but still decent blue jeans and a long sleeved tee. It looks like Letran didn't fuck all my clothes and shit up after all. I even find my stash of extra-comfy wool socks and my slippers. I do feel better after I get dressed. I'm still confused, but I know I can hold out a couple of days. Ted will fix this. I hope.
I sit on the old chair, trying hard not to overthink things while I wait for Lovely Lily to gather her other charges so we can all go to breakfast.