“Asylum – XIII: Visitor Days at the Asylum” / A Memorable Fancy #375

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

     The desperate sameness and seemness and seamless texture of our lives is occasionally broken by visitors from the city: do-gooders, do-badders, and those who don’t know the difference. For example, the health inspector comes by every three months and closets himself with Doctor Wolfe and selected flunkies. I never see him actually inspect anything, but after a time he smiles and nods as he takes his leave. Next week, the old health certificate on the wall is ceremoniously removed and a new one appears, with an expiration date that some of the freakiest patients believe is their own expiration date, the sell-by for those of us shelved here with the rest of the merchandise.

     And then the Trustees, a bunch of suits who seem entirely too trusting. We’re dressed up and trotted out for them. We’ve practiced being especially sane on those days but Doctor knows we’ll always flub it, ensuring his further job security. One rather large Trustee-ess hands out candy, apparently not laced with anything more deadly than sugar and trans-fats. After they leave we use the candy as a kind of coinage, because after all they’re emblematic of Trust; we trade them like baseball cards.

     Every Sunday the missionary hymn-singers arrive with sparkling eyes and wide smiles, giving us hugs as if they cared about us, but we know they’re really just conning us for our souls, ready to feed them to the ever-hungry god if we give in to them. I feel the spirit hovering over their shoulders, coaxing them into missing a hymn-note here and there as evidence of sincerity, and coaching their deadly words.

     And our families visit again, but less said about that the better. At least for now. Some of us don’t have families, which is surely a great blessing from above.

[to be continued …]


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Terence Kuch’s speculative fiction novels * may be purchased directly from the publishers or 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, and a murder..

 00 Seventh Effect front cover small image

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