Chapter 8 - Fun in The Funny Farm.
<~> Brian's POV <~>
Let me just state for the record that boredom is the enemy of the mentally challenged!
When I'm bored, my imagination tends to run away with me. That's when the really crazy thoughts start to encroach. As long as I'm kept busy, I mostly can keep the really wild stuff under control, but when I have too much time on my hands things tend to go a little off.
Take right now, for instance. I am soooooooooo fucking bored right now. My Hal is napping. Lily said I had to leave him be and let him rest. She said that I can't expect the change in his meds to work overnight and until then My Hal will continue to be sleepy. I'm supposed to leave him alone and let him rest. I'm supposed to wait patiently until he gets better. I hate waiting for shit!
So while I wait I'm sitting on my own bed next to him and watching My Hal sleep. He's so beautiful when he's asleep. He's always beautiful, of course, but he's somehow extra beautiful when he's sleeping. He's so peaceful and serene while he naps. I really like looking at him and watching him breathe, listening to the little sounds he makes as he dreams.
Unfortunately, no matter how much I like watching My Hal sleep, it's not really enough to keep my mind occupied. I tried to read a book for a while, but that interferes with my Hal watching. I can't go anywhere or do anything noisy. I can't even babble like I'd normally do to entertain myself. I'm bored, you see.
So, as I sit and watch my beautiful Hal, I'm also doodling with a pen on a pad of those little yellow sticky notes the nurses use sometimes when they're making notes in the patients' files. There happened to be a stray package of them sitting on a table in the lounge the other day, so I absconded with them. I've been playing with them off and on ever since.
At first I'm just scratching out little random geometric shapes, but that doesn't hold my attention for long. Then I try drawing little pictures, but I'm really not much of an artist. I was always better with words than images. So, I switch to words for my art.
'My Hal' I write on a fresh sticky note. Of course sticky notes are sticky for a reason - you're supposed to stick them on things. I stick mine on My Hal's chest. Yes, that's appropriate.
Just then, a pesky beam of sunlight sneaks through the blinds that Lily pulled down so the room would be darker while My Hal napped. It's like just one sharp cylinder of focused light, and guess where it's focused? On My Hal of course. The light loves him. He always seems to soak up all the light around. Sometimes it's like he radiates the light back at you. So, it makes sense that this light just naturally wants to go to him.
I watch as the light is drawn inescapably towards his beauty. It creeps up the side of the pillow. It slowly moves across his cheek. Then, before I know it, that fucking beam of light is kissing My Hal's perfectly kissable lips.
I am instantly, insanely jealous!
How dare that ray of light kiss My Hal! He's mine! All mine! Nobody gets to kiss him, especially on his perfect lips. I scribble the word 'Mine!' on another sticky note and then stick it on My Hal's mouth so that it's between the beam of light and those sweet lips.
Like a desperate trick on a Friday night at Babylon, though, Mr. Ray is not deterred. He inches his way up My Hal's sleeping face and tries to kiss his cute little button of a nose! No way am I going to allow that. 'My Cute Nose!' goes on the next sticky which I use to protect the nose from the light.
The annoying Mr. Ray disdainfully turns next to My Hal's gorgeous slumbering eyes. It's like that ray is trying to pry open the eyelids so it can see the refreshing pools of blue underneath. 'My Big Blue Eyes!' - I scrawl on two more stickies and use them to protect the perfect hidden eyes.
And, well, after that I have to kind of admit I went a little overboard. See, that stupid Mr. Ray just wouldn't leave My Hal alone. It kept creeping along trying to kiss my boy without my permission. Instead of waiting around to see where Mr. Ray would try to strike next, I decided to take some preemptive measures. Writing 'MINE!' on sticky note after sticky note, I plastered them pretty much all over My Hal so that no part of him was left for Mr. Ray.
"I win. I win. I win. He's mine, mine, mine. Take that you lecherous Mr. Ray! Hah! My Hal! My Hal! MINE!" I leap off the bed, jumping and crowing my triumph over the usurping light.
Which is when Lily just happens to come in and sees me dancing around like a crazy man while My Hal is wallpapered with little yellow sticky notes that state he's 'MINE!'
Lily was only very slightly amused. She made me leave the room. As I am reluctantly shuffling out, I see her taking all the sticky notes off my sleeping Hal. And worst of all, I can still see that Mr. Ray hiding over in the corner of the room. Now I'm angry and jealous.
Which is why, as I said before, I think boredom is not my friend.
<~> Daphne's POV <~>
I've given myself a few days since I spoke to Emmett and I think I've cooled off a bit. I'm now 65% sure that I could be in a room with Jennifer Taylor and not commit bodily mayhem upon her person. But that doesn't mean I've forgiven the bitch.
I also haven't figured out exactly what I should do with this new information. I admit that I was so irate over Jennifer's betrayal, that I actually forgot to ask Emmett about where Brian is these days. He did say Brian had been in and out of hospitals following his OD, but that was years ago. I can't imagine he'd still be there, let alone in a place like The Banks? But, Justin did say 'Brian' last time I visited him.
Could it be possible? Could Brian Kinney really be the mysterious friend that Lily told me was taking care of Justin? How? How could that be? I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around what would equate to the biggest fucking coincidence ever in the history of the universe. About half the time I convince myself I'm just making it all up and maybe I'm the one in need of psychiatric care?
But even if I'm right, and by some twist of fate, Brian and Justin really have somehow wound up together in the same institution, what the fuck good does that do? If Brian really is bad enough to be housed there, he's in no shape to do anything to really help Justin, is he? I mean, it's great that someone's making sure Justin isn't being neglected, but that alone isn't likely to get me back my best friend.
What I really wish is that I'm dead wrong. I hope that I just misheard Lily and Justin say that name. Because, if I'm wrong, then that means Brian Kinney might still be able to help me help Justin. Maybe. Or maybe not. It might be too late for Justin.
But if anyone could help Justin, it would be Brian.
Now I just have to screw up my courage to call Emmett back and ask him. I've been procrastinating because I don't want to hear the bad news that I was right and Brian's now as fucked up as Justin. I'm just not sure I'm ready to have my last shred of hope for my best friend dashed like that.
<~> Brian's POV <~>
Why the fuck am I nervous? I've already lost all my marbles and I'm shut away in this fucking hole. Everyone already knows I'm crazy. Nobody expects me to act sane or be able to handle difficult situations. That's pretty much the worst that could ever happen to someone, right?
So why should it matter to me that Ted's supposed to be bringing Emmett to visit today?
If I'm honest with myself it's because I really don't want him to think I'm totally, over-the-top bonkers, even if I maybe am. See, Ted's already assured me that he thinks I'd be okay to see Gus. I'm not so sure of that myself. So, I'm kind of waiting to get Em's opinion. Em's always been a wee bit out there himself - let's face it, in his more flaming moments he's probably way more scary than me, right? So, if I'm now too scary crazy for even Emmett to handle, there's no way I could ever dare to try and see Gus.
Yeah, way to go, Kinney. Stress yourself out before they even get here, why don't ya? That's a sure fire way to trigger a psychotic break. I'm so fucked. Why did I ask Ted to bring Em today? What am I, fucking crazy?
In utter desperation I give over my frantic pacing and I throw myself down on the bed next to My Hal. I'm ready to give up. Admit I simply can't do this. Offer my preemptive surrender and avoid the humiliating battle. Why even try?
Which is when the miracle happens. My Hal, the poster boy for catatonic depression, the kid who hasn't been capable of any independent action in fuck knows how long, reaches out his hand for mine. He isn't looking at me. The rest of his body is completely still and silent just like always. But still, he grabs my hand and squeezes it reassuringly.
Which is all the incentive I need to get over myself and get my ass down to the lounge to wait for my visitors. I jubilantly kiss My Hal's perfectly pink lips, hop off the bed, straighten my clothes and march down the hall with renewed confidence.
Aren't supportive hallucinations the best?
Ten minutes later I'm sitting on the disgusting smelly couch in the lounge, wearing My Hal's funny green glasses just for the hell of it, when Ted and Emmett finally arrive. Ted, as always, looks like an accountant. The man next to him though looks like he just fell off a Pride float! He's dressed in his trademark tangerine pleather pants, a see-through hot pink mesh top, and high heeled pink leather boots. He’s also wearing too much eyeliner for the middle of the afternoon and is that body glitter? It's definitely GOT to be Emmett. Either that or I'm getting REALLY good with my hallucinations!
Fuck! What a sight to make your eyes sore!
I get up slowly off my couch, standing with my legs spread a bit for effect, and cross my arms with a gruff look on my face - underneath the funny glasses, at least, I'm trying to be gruff. "Emmett Honeycutt? I've been looking for YOU!" I playfully wag my eyebrows above the rims of the crazy glasses. "It looks like you just barely made it in time, too. They've got the bed right next to mine all ready and waiting. First thing tomorrow morning, you're scheduled for extreme fashion therapy," I say in my best stuffy psychiatrist voice.
Both Em and Ted look at me with worried frowns, wondering if I think I'm serious. I can only hold out a few seconds though before I erupt with laughter, smiling again and throwing myself into the big nelly bottom's arms for a huge hug.
"Gotcha, Emmy Lou!" I tease and then everybody's laughing together and happy and I think everything's going to be just fine!
It's a fabulous visit, actually. Ted’s usual stories are spiced up by Emmett’s peculiar take on the world. Plus, Em knows far more tasty gossip than Ted, so I get a much bigger picture of the outside with his added perspective. I'd really forgotten how thoroughly entertaining Emmett was - although I'll never tell him that.
"Gus, Gus, Gus!" I demand, unable to completely disregard all my little OCD rituals even to impress Emmett.
"Gus is fine," Ted intones with the required response, making me giggle. "He's busy making thanksgiving crafts in preschool. He sent you this," Ted smirks as he hands me a lovely painting of a turkey made from Gus' very own handprint.
It's my very first craft project from my son. And yes, I realize I'm at risk of losing my 'Stud of the Month' membership card for this, but I'm so touched I think I might cry. Good thing nobody in here knows I'm supposed to be a Super Stud.
"I want you to know, honey, that you even beat out Grandma Debbie for that masterpiece," Em informs me. "We were over there for dinner the other night when Gus gave it to Deb. But then later, when Gus overheard us talking about visiting you, he demanded that you get the picture since you couldn't come join the family for Thanksgiving this year. Gus said his turkey could keep you company. He was going to make another one for Debbie."
Shit, now I'm crying and officially an honorary lesbian. "Thank you, Gus. Gus. Gus. My Sonny Boy, Gus. Just don't tell him I made a fuss. Muss. Wuss."
I can't let them see me like this though, so I quickly dry my eyes and forge on ahead. "Gus. Gus. Gus. Now Mikey. Mikey. Mikey."
"Michael is okay," Ted starts off, but is rapidly interrupted.
"He may be okay, and while he is one of my oldest friends, I still think he acted like a total ass towards you the other day, Teddy. Michael can be so close minded sometimes. Hell, if he weren't gay, he probably become a republican," Em rants, immediately causing me to wonder what the hell brought this on.
"It's really nothing, Bri," Ted says while giving Em the 'shut the fuck up already', glare.
"It's not 'nothing', Teddy," Em plows on either ignoring the warning or just being intentionally obtuse. "All Teddy said was that it might be nice for Gus to come visit you someday, Brian. It's not like he said it had to be right away or anything. But, after the turkey thing and all, Gus WAS asking about you. Michael had no right to butt in like that and just attack you for merely making the suggestion, Ted. It just doesn't seem right . . ."
At that point everyone falls silent. Ted and Emmett seem embarrassed for bringing up the issue. I really have no say in the matter, so I say nothing. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what my best friend was saying about me and about why he didn't think I should get to see my son.
Moving on to a new topic . . . "Gus. Mikey. Ted and Emmett. Ted and Emmett. Ted and Emmett."
"Ted is fine," Ted says with a laugh.
"And Emmett is fine, too!" Em chimes in, well coached by Ted.
We all chuckle. It clears the air. I even relax a bit while the two tell me a few of the latest events in their lives. When it's Em's turn, he proudly gets up and formally presents me with a giant orange melamine bowl, full to the brim with the most delicious looking oranges I've ever seen.
"Yes! Orange. Orange. Orange! My Hal will love this, Em, Em, Em!" I thank him sincerely, my enthusiasm showing through as my speech becomes more erratic. "Orange and yellow and green and turkey's and pictures! No more blue, blue, blue!" Then I remember my own big news, for which I still need to thank my friend. "Oh, and Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted. You did it Ted. Because of you they fixed his meds. The meds are getting out of his head. And once the blue is gone, too, My Hal won't be blue. And I won't be too!"
So we pause then for a little more oohing and ahhing over the pretty orange bowl with congratulations all round for our success with fixing My Hal's meds problem. Then we proceed on to Deb and Vic. They, happily, are fine. And finally we move to Lindsey and Mel. Which, unfortunately, is NOT fine.
"Lindsey and Mel. Lindsey and Mel. Lindsey and Mel. Does all go well with Lindsey and Mel?"
"Lindsey's being a cunt, if you ask me," Emmett asserts. "Do you remember that annoying little French guy she was going to marry a few years back, Brian? Well, the smelly little snob is back, can you believe it? And Lindsey's threatening to marry him again. When will that girl learn? We've all tried and tried to talk her out of it, but she's been just impossible since that affair with the artist a little while back. And now, on top of everything, she's saying that she plans to move to Paris with Gui as soon as they work out the immigration stuff? I think she's just trying to shock everyone, but what if she really goes through with it this time?"
"And what about Gus, Gus, Gus?" I ask, the anger in my voice evident.
"Nothing's been decided yet, Brian," Ted tries to reassure me. "I think that Emmett's right and Lindz is just stirring up trouble for no real reason. I don't think she's serious."
"Stupid bitch. Fuck her itch," I mumble to myself, the stress of the moment not helping at all with the clanging. "And where the hell is fucking Mel?"
"I haven't heard from Mel in a couple weeks Brian," Ted confesses.
"Fuck this, we had a deal. Deal. Deal . . ."
'Time's up Kinney,' I think. 'Your extended vacation in Lalaland is over. Either you get your shit together soon or it's bye, bye, bye, Gus, Gus, Gus.'
"Ted," I say, without any of my usual tics or tremors, "tell Lindsey to get her fucking ass up here to see me. And, Mel, too!"
<~> Justin’s POV <~>
Something feels off today.
That might not seem like a momentous statement to the average person, but in my existence it's really saying something. See, most of the time I don't really feel anything at all. If I do, it's usually just immediate bodily sensations - like I'm cold or hungry or tired. I long ago stopped worrying about what was going on outside myself in the world around me. So, the fact that I'm even noticing that there's something wrong in my environment seems strange. But that's really the only way I can explain what I'm perceiving.
I don't know how to describe what exactly I'm feeling: nervous, antsy, unsettled? I've become such a stranger to this type of sensation that I don't have the right words readily on hand anymore. And what's causing my unrest is an even bigger mystery. As far as I can tell I'm not in any physical danger. I'm not hurt. I'm not cold or hungry or tired. I just feel like there's something wrong. Something missing.
It's like trying to prove the existence of something by its mere absence.
But, whatever it is, these feelings have disrupted the cottony cocoon that normally envelops me and I don't much care for the experience.
It isn't until later that I finally figure out what's wrong. It's dark outside and I notice someone has turned on the big fluorescent overhead lights in the room where I sleep. I'm sitting in the chair next to my bed, just like I always do, waiting for someone to tell me it's time to go to sleep.
I wait. I wait. I wait. I'm used to waiting but for some reason I feel like this waiting is going on for longer than it should. I'm feeling tired now. I know it's time to go to sleep but no one has come for me yet.
Finally, when that odd antsy feeling inside me has built up to the point that I almost think I need to do something about it, Lily arrives. Lily guides me out of the chair and takes me down the hall to the bathroom. Lily tells me to use the toilet, which I do, and then washes my face and hands and puts toothpaste on my toothbrush, directing me to brush. When I'm done with that, she leads me back to my room, sits me down on the edge of the bed and cursorily runs the hairbrush through my hair.
That's when it hits me. I realize what's missing. It's Brian.
Since Brian has been here, nighttime has become a comforting ritual for both of us. Brian helps me do everything Lily just did, but then he sits me on the bed and talks to me while he brushes my hair. Brian tells me stories about Gus. He tells me gossip about the other patients. He tells me what we'll be doing tomorrow. It may not seem like I'm listening, but I've heard it all nonetheless. I've become accustomed to it.
That's what's missing tonight. Brian is missing. I know that Brian not being here means something is definitely wrong. It's so confusing, though, because I still don't know how or why it came to be that Brian suddenly appeared in this place. So how can I be sure his disappearance is unwarranted? I don't know how, but I just do. I know that he wouldn't leave me again. Somehow I just know.
This revelation doesn't mean I know what to do about my lack of Brian, either. It's been so fucking long since I cared enough about anything. I almost don't remember how to actually do something without another person guiding me through the action. But whether I want to or not, I find I do care about why Brian isn't around and I want to do something about it.
I turn my head to the side and actually look at my surroundings for once. There's an older grey headed man in the bed to my right - he looks like he's already asleep. That's no help. Then I look at the bed to my left. There's a form huddled there under the blankets, too. A much more familiar form.
With a gargantuan effort, I will myself to get off the bed and stand up. My sights are set on that lonely looking shape a seemingly impossible distance away. I really want to be there.
Somehow, it suddenly seems possible.
Before I've had time to wonder at my sheer audacity, I've walked the five steps over to the other bed, pulled back the covers and crawled in next to the shaking man in the bed. I wrap my arms around him. I feel like whatever has been wrong all afternoon is better now.
"My Hal," Brian says, his voice sounding sad and defeated as he rolls towards me. "My Hal. I need you, My Hal. I need you tonight. My Hal. Hal. Hal."
Our bodies fit together so well. It's comforting to me to have Brian's body next to mine. All the tension of the day seems to melt away. And eventually, My Brian quiets, too. Then we both sleep.