“Asylum – III: Time for Meds” / A Memorable Fancy #330

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]

Tiny bustling, faint noise loud as gongs: time for meds here in the asylum’s infamous (to us) Ward H. The keepers want us to come of our own accord, but they will herd the stragglers sure enough with words we know but only they own. When the keepers are gone we whisper these magic words to each other; we tinkle them like amulets.

We line up silently now, hands in front, eyes downcast. The keepers are quietly pleased. There’s no point making pleasantries: there is no insignificant speech – or silence. Everything counts. Everything is noted. Everything is reported.

My pills are differently colored today: one blue, two buff. It is usually two blue, one buff. Sometimes it is one blue, one buff, one ochre or puce. They don’t give us red pills, not here. Some of the patients would freak out at the sight of a pill so angry, so definite, so unforgiving of any attempt to call it a calmer color.

So we have pills the color of birds’ eggs. Inside us they hatch; babies of obedience are born. We smile, we go for walks on the grounds without running away or sitting down and refusing to move, we don’t try to rip out our hair by the roots – usually. It is all quite beautiful outside, but inside there are epic struggles against the birds and finally they are expelled and we are birdless for the rest of the day; then maybe we have at our hair, or someone else’s.

I’m at the head of the line. One of the keepers smiles at me, not in a friendly way, says “Good morning.” That means swallow the shit and move along. Here’s a cup of water to wash it down. Nobody suspects what’s in the cup, because the keepers don’t care if you drink it or not. But either way, there’s a note in your chart saying you used the little pleated paper cup to wash down your blue and buff, or you didn’t.

[to be continued …]

<END> … See www.terencekuch.net for a profile of the author, publications, reviews, etc. His speculative fiction novels * may be purchased in paperback or Kindle formats via his Amazon author page, www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch

Review copies are available from the author at terencekuch /a/t/ ymail.com for:

    *The Seventh Effect: a thriller from Melange Publications about a new kind of bioterrorist plot against the USA.

    *See/Saw: a literary adventure from Ink Smith Publications about implanting memories – then the North Koreans figure out how to do it.

 00 SeeSaw front cover small image



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  4. I wonder…is this a prison, a hospital, or grade school?

    • terencekuch says:

      As the post says, this takes place in Bad Shepherd mental hospital. In later episodes it will become clear that Diane was sent there by a court, and so she can indeed consider Bad Shepherd to be her prison. An episode will outline the history of Bad Shepherd, leading readers to surmise (correctly) that this is actually Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, of which I have first-hand experience.

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