The Last Weekend

Dr. Adolf Wahlmann (left), chief physician, an...

Dr. Adolf Wahlmann (left), chief physician, and Karl Willig (right), assistant male nurse at the Hadamar Institute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Baton...

Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. Original caption: “Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me. I was two months in bed sore from the whipping. My master come after I was whipped; he discharged the overseer. The very words of poor Peter, taken as he sat for his picture.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my nervous system stops blowing fuses from being tasered I find myself in a room with a guy that looks like he’s going through DTs.  I’ve never seen anyone in DTs but this just seems to fit better than psychosis or hallucinogens.  Sometimes he just lies there with a glassy look in his eyes, his sheet soaked in sweat that is running off him.  Every few seconds a tremor shakes him all over.  A large drop works its way down his nose and onto his lip and off his chin.  He has on nothing but a pair of briefs, which is a disgrace.  It’s cold in here.  Why doesn’t somebody come in and sedate him?

I shiver and try to stay warm.  I have on the clothes I had when I was tasered but it’s colder in here than it was outside.  IDK how long I’ve been here but there are bars on the windows and a narrow window on the door, which is stoutly locked.  Outside most of the color in the trees is gone and a wind ruffles the brownish leaves and sends them shuttling to the ground.  An iron sky adumbrating an Indiana winter.  If I’m still in Indiana.  IDK what kind of place this is.

Hey, you!  I say to the man in briefs.


How many did you have last night?

Just one, he says as his sweating accelerates.

Just one what?

Just one beer, he says.

A male nurse comes in and, ignoring me, sticks a needle in the man and almost as soon he passes out.

How long has he been in here?  I ask the epicene male nurse.  Why hasn’t he been sedated before?

Cause we’re sadists, honey, the nurse says, fluttering his lashes.

I go over and pull the sheet up over the prostrate man so he wont catch pneumonia.

What is this place?  I say to the nurse.

A drunk tank.

I wasn’t drunk.  I was tasered.

We take all kinds, he says briskly.  I’ve got your Valium here.  You get a pill, not a shot.  Unless you’d like to drop em for me.

Don’t want a pill, I say.  I want out.

You don’t get what you want here.  Take the pill, sweetie.

Reluctantly I take the Valium and jowl it and drink the cup of water and when he is gone I hide the pill in my pants pocket in case I ever need it.  I soon find that I am incommunicado, even when they let me into the day room.  I bitch and bitch for a phone but am ignored.  It appears that this is a “public service” place.  A very basic, no-frills one that the county contracts out for, in another saintly gesture at small government.  Although the county could do this at half the cost, this way everybody’s buddy gets a contract and everybody a kickback.  But that’s not the chilling part.

Fantastic as it sounds, this place uses involuntary servitude for public works projects like the one on the road where I was tasered and kidnapped.  They simply kidnap the indigent and use them for labor and no one is the wiser that the guys on the roadside in blue are slaves, not prisoners.  No due process, no recourse.  Just slave labor.  The blue is to distinguish them from the orange of prisoners so they will get tasered instead of shot when they try to escape.  And if there is a stink when one of them dies the county can throw up its hands and say they had no idea…after all, it’s a contract service, not a public one.  And if criminal charges are ever filed against anyone they get a slap on the wrist in the form of a fine and no new contracts for six whole months.  Certainly not Kidnapping or Negligent Homicide.  Let’s hear it for small government.  Bronx cheer.

But my own plight is grave.  As far as they are concerned I’m one of the forgotten people no one cares about.  The fact that I have family that could come get me out is something they don’t want to know.   And I see that if I don’t want to spend my life here I have to get to a phone even if I have to escape to do it.




Culvert-O-Rama (Photo credit: OsceolaPhotos)

Lot's Wife - medieval stained glass detail, Ca...

Lot’s Wife – medieval stained glass detail, Canterbury Cathedral (Photo credit: chrisjohnbeckett)

I haven’t run far when the bomb explodes.  It slams me to the ground and busts my nose.  Most of the concussion goes over my head.  Pieces of culvert shatter and scatter everywhere.  There’s no sign of Ace, the bomb maker.  RIP, Ace.  I have a bad combination of weed tripping and a concussion and lack comprehension of much.  I walk off and through gathering crowds that seem impaired. Among refugees stumbling on like the damned on the plains of Gomorrah.  Malefic things stirring underfoot, foulness rising from the culverts and drains.  Uneasy sleeper you will live to see the city of your birth pulled down to the last stone.

I know I am still tripping when an Arab rides up on a horse and thanks me for saving his life.  He must be the one that would have died if Ace had his way.

May Allah grant you mercy all your days, he says, and rides off.

By God I am so tired of tripping.  I want to come down.

On a chilly night I flop down in the woods just out of sight of the highway.  The stars are out and blazing in the velour sky and I am sound asleep as soon as I lie down.  When I wake my head is finally clear.  It’s midmorning, judging by the sun.  An apparition in blue is shaking me.  I am annoyed because I have been dreaming of being in heaven and of being relieved of the tribulations of this mortal coil.

Hey, you, the apparition says.  Wake up!

Is this heaven?  I say, yawning.

No sir.  This is Indiana.

Why am I not surprised.  Go away!

You have to come with me, he says.

You aint the law, I say.

I can get the law if you force me to, he says.  You wouldn’t want that.

Oh, very well, I say, bored.  If I must.

You must.

Just who RU, sonnyboy?  And BTW what’s that blue sweatsuit for?  It really looks faggy, I snicker.

He looks hurt.  He says, You’ll have to wear one.

Is that the new uniform for the chain gang?

They don’t have a chaingang anymore.

That’s super.  But…just who TFRU, anyway?

I’m in treatment, he says with mixed pride, shame, and disdain.

What does that have to do with me?

You’ll see, he says.  Talk to this man.

A man in white asks me my name and I tell him.

You smell like whiskey, he says, wrinkling his nose.

I had a drink yesterday, I say doubtfully.

Just one?  Or twenty-one?  I think you need help.

Not as much as you do, I say.  See ya.

I turn to go and that’s when he hits me with a Taser.


The Simpleton

Culvert along the Towpath in the Cuyahoga Vall...

Culvert along the Towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Photo credit: Cuyahoga jco)

After Hermes and Elsie have driven off I walk this road and horizons change.  I am so vulnerable I think I had better leave the road.   After a while I enter a culvert deep in the woods.  I don’t like the idea because there could be some psycho in there on his way to murdering a bunch of people and he might start with me.  I look back and see that the only way to keep walking is to go right into it.  I don’t want to waste two hours backtracking, which is what it would take.

Of course there’s someone in here.  He’s giggling and snorting and playing with something that looks like a car muffler.

Hidy, he says as he looks up briefly.

There is a little whiskey in the bottle in front of him.  He is very drunk.

Hello, Ace, I say.  What you got there?

A bomb, he says evenly.

Right, I say evenly.

No, really.

Really?  What you doing with a bomb?

Gonna kill me a Muslim, he says.



What did Muslims ever do to you?

He shrugs his shoulders.

Did you ever know a Muslim?  I say.  There aren’t many around here.

They’s sand niggers, he says.  They got a funny colorin, like reddish black.

You sure you wouldn’t blow up a black man instead?

Oh, I wouldn’t do that.

But you’ve never seen a Muslim.

No but it don’t matter.  The sheriff back home never did till one day he was looking for vagrants.  They was a whole family o’ sand niggers in town and he put em in jail till he could find somebody with darker skin.

That doesn’t make any sense,  I say.  In addition to being drunk, I think he is simple.  And for that, all the more dangerous.

What’s in the bomb? I say.

They’s dynamite.  Ye just light it when ye see a Muslim and thow it.  Man, he says, stretching, I’m plumb give out.  Hey, I think I’ll take a little nap.  Watch this here bomb, will ye?

Glad to, Ace, I say.

He is soon snoring drunkenly.  I pick up the whiskey bottle and drain it.  Then I frisk him for matches, light one, and apply it to the fuse.  Then I put the bomb on his chest and run like hell.


English: Four young pet rats.

English: Four young pet rats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

people breeding or how rats view us?

people breeding or how rats view us? (Photo credit: Ken Kindoku 菌毒)

When people tell rat stories the rats are always legendary.  It’s always a vicious rat the size of a dog.  Yet rats are infrequently seen.  They’re heard in the walls, indelible half fictions scuttling across the rooftops in the moon.  Big-ass rats with rat brown fur.  Rats in sewers and demolition sites and grain silos, a furtive rustling in the flung garbage of empty lots.

When I was nine I saw the dead rat, wet and lying next to a garbage can in the alley.  I studied the limp body and was disappointed in the size; I thought it should be bigger.  I never saw another till I lived in Baltimore years later.  Wherever humans go rats follow.  Where rats go cats follow.  Thank God for cats.

There have been noises in the walls lately.  On early AM the cat chases the noise in the walls and knocks over an old VHS tape.  This evening we have gone to a concert I don’t want to go to.  The second she turns on the light there is this rat.  The rat goes right up the wall, a hellacious big rat that makes a whistling noise as it runs.  She picks up something and charges after the rat as I stand there feeling sorry for it.

The rat runs down the other side of the wall and zips into the bathroom like a bug, only quicker and she goes right after it.  She turns on the bathroom light and goes in.  I feel neglected but stay where I am.  This night has deteriorated into a rat hunt.

I’m standing as far from the bathroom door as I can.  I have the front door open for the rat to go out if it will.  She is battling the rat in the bathroom and I hear the rat’s whistle.  She sticks her head out the bathroom door and says, I am killing this fucking rat twice and it keeps coming back.

Then she goes back into the bathroom and resumes.  I can hear the rat running across the shower stall.  Ever hear a rat run across porcelain?    Finally the rat squeezes through a vent in the wall.

On an October evening I sit on the back stoop of the farmhouse under a full harvest moon.  A cute little mouse at the lip of the window well writhes and I know it is full of the rat poison she has put out.  The mouse moves in slow circles with one leg back.  Then it shivers and goes taut and extends its rear legs and dies.  Sorry little brother but I didn’t do it.

This is enough for me and I go back in the house.

Elsie and Hermes

Borden's Elsie the Cow

Borden’s Elsie the Cow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Greek large Hermes head stamp, Athens...

English: Greek large Hermes head stamp, Athens issue, Scott Cat. no. 20 (1862-1867). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Elsie (Photo credit: voteprime)

The trouble with smoking strange weed is that you never know if you’ll end up tripping.  A half an hour after I got out of the car full of freaks I shared a joint with I am so far gone I have no idea where I am.  I’m only able to stay on the shoulder and off the road with great effort.  Finally I get a ride.  The Greek god Hermes looks me up and down and gestures brusquely with his head.

Let’s go, Hermes says.

In the front passenger’s seat I try not to stare.  Hermes has a silver helmet with these little wings on it humming and buzzing like a hummingbird’s.  Bigger ones on his ankles that bellow an angry buzz like a thousand wasps.

Hermes gets in my face in a most disagreeable way.  He snarls and spits, Well, did you get a good look?

Leave him alone, Neal, says a shrill voice from the back seat.

I had no idea it was back there, whatever it is.  I’m almost afraid to look, but I do.  It’s Elsie the cow.  Don’t worry, Elsie says.  We’re all friends here.

Neal Hermes says SHUT UP at Elsie.

Don’t scare the boy, Elsie moos.  He’s tripping.

WHAT?  The hysterical Neal-Hermes shouts.  RU a doper, boy?

I’m no such thing, I protest.

Neal-Hermes slams on the brakes and comes to a complete stop.  Then he leans over and gives Elsie mouth-to-mouth.  Her four chambered stomach regurgitates nutrients of the gods and Neal-Hermes swallows them and licks himself all over.

GET OUT!  He bellows at me.

I say to Elsie, You have the most demure little moo.

She primps and bats big cartoon lashes and says, Why, thank you, dear.

GET OUT OR I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!  Neal-Hermes screams.

I need no such encouragement.  This is just too strange.  I get out.

Don’t scratch the metaphor, Elsie moos me.  It leaves an ugly scab.

The car pulls off.


Fayetteville 9: Conclusion

English: picture of ed gein

English: picture of ed gein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mind is never quite the same after the fake rape accusation.  I live like an animal in the woods, just ahead of starvation.  I hallucinate elves and giant toads taking siestas in the soffits of trees and bracken.  I squat on the rich, murky earth with a rotten blanket around my shoulders.  I break a wild mushroom in half in my palsied hands, frangible and mauve brown.  I’ve forgotten i’m hungry.

Once in the full light of day I see an elf come out of the woods and go down the trail half agog and worried of aspect.  I sit in the moss and rest.  The woods look too green for the season.  I decide I need to be shot full of antipsychotics and walk out of the woods but hunting season has started and I freak because I hear the shots and I think they are shooting at me.

When I cross a creek I see that I am very near Fayetteville.

I cross a highway and go into the fields beyond, stumbling over clods in a newly turned swale and come to a river.  The woods along it are hung with trash and papers from the water, trees plastered with silt and jetsam in the branches high against the sky.

As I near Fayetteville the roosters are up and crowing.   Perhaps there is some freshness in the trees and fields ahead, some relief from the obscurity of night.  Everywhere across the awakening land they call and answer.  Now as then, this country as in others.

I rest for a moment on the side of the road.  A yellow church bus comes into view.  I scuttle into the roadside weeds and scrunch there waiting.  The bus is all lit up and at the window next to the last seat in the rear a small boy is looking out the window, his nose puttied up against the glass.  There’s nothing to see but he looks anyway.  He looks at me and I look back.  Then the bus clatters around the curve and into forever.  When I try to remember where I’ve seen the boy before I realize with a start that the boy looks just like me.  It gives me the creeps.  I try to shake the image of the face in the glass but it will not go away.  As I go down the valley nighthawks rise from the dust in the road with wild wings and red eyes.

An ugly magenta dawn is breaking when I present myself at the Fayette County Hospital Desk.  The nightshift nurse finds me leaning against the counter.  Me, a weedshaped human swaddled in overalls and covered in red mud.

I’m supposed to be here, I say.

I am never indicted for any crime but sent to the state hospital and placed in a cage next door to a demented man who thinks he’s Ed Gein.  He used to steal corpses from the cemetery and lop off the top of the skull and use it to eat soup out of.  From time to time when they take us out for an airing I see him but have nothing to say to a crazy man and besides, the crazy man had long ago fallen silent from the magnitude of his crimes.

I am not old but I am getting sick.  They say something is wrong with my heart and I am in the hospital for a while and then on the medical unit of the state hospital in restraints and I cannot write in restraints.  When they take me out of restraints I am too sick to lift my head up and I know the end is coming soon.  And that I no longer care.

the end

Fayetteville 8

English: Olive Tree from Greece, Sithonia Бълг...

English: Olive Tree from Greece, Sithonia Български: Маслиново дърво от Ситония, Гърция (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I climb in the back seat of the constable’s car, still tripping, and the constable/minotaur drives off.  A heavy screen mesh separates me from the front seat.  As though the car is used for hauling mad dogs and Englishmen.

I want to talk to you, the minotaur moos.  He stops the car and comes around and opens the door for me and opens the passenger seat and moos, Get in here.

I sit in the passenger seat beside the minotaur.  He stinks of the slaughterhouse and of the carrion he has feasted on with his kind while someone plays a flute under an olive tree on a sunny hillside.  He wipes a big clot of guts off his mouth.  He moos, Let me tell you something.

Yes, I say.

I have to remind myself i’m tripping on weed and not losing my mind.

He reaches down and taps my knee with his front hoof.  Then he moos at me, You, my friend, are a 24-carat bastard.   That’s your problem.  Not a lot of people are sympathetic.  Now I’m going to do you a favor.  You have any money?

The minotaur flicks its tail in front of me and it’s all I can do not to stare.


That’s what I thought, he moos.  Now I’m going to do you a favor.  I’m buying you a bus ticket and driving your stinkin ass back to the bus station and wait until you are on the bus.   Do you want to know why?

No, I say, bored.  It’s hard to understand a minotaur enunciating words and I wonder how it does that without a hyoid bone.

I hear you’re a smart boy, it moos.

I don’t care.

Because the father of the daughter whose life you ruined happens to be a man I like and respect, it moos.  And I’d like to see him have some peace of mind.

I am struggling not to laugh.  It’s hard to take a lawman seriously when all he can do is moo.  Now he groans and struggles to chew his insistent cud.

He’ll be happier in his mind if you’re just gone.  He might even forget there’s a lowlife like you although I doubt it, he smacks.

The minotaur snuffles and saws his head sideways and almost gores me with a horn as he chews cud that rushes into his mouth fresh from a four chambered stomach.  His eyes close as he struggles to swallow.  He lets go a bellowing moo and falls silent until we reach the bus station.  Then he rummages in a wallet as a gigantic moth flies a crippled flight away and the beast moos in aggravation and digs harder with its hoof and jams money in my face.  He moos, I want you to go as far in any direction as you want.  Don’t come back here.  Moooo!