By Nicole Cater
I was getting checked in during a shift change. This was very aggravating as it meant I had to sit in a waiting room for an hour. Considering I was on the verge of snapping someone’s neck or just tapping an artery, it really wasn’t an ideal situation. But it turned out to be a lucky one. Because Barb, about 65-ish, toothless and with crazy pop-out-of-her-skull eyes took advantage of the shift change to go streaking on the Quad. Well, there was no Quad, but I hear there was plenty of streaking. No one wants to see Barb naked. Men on Death Row who haven’t seen a woman in years would be blinded by the site of her bare flesh. It’s not so much that the lights are on, but nobody’s home, it’s more like the house got repossessed and someone forgot to turn off the electricity. In any event, by the time I am being admitted, Barb has at least been covered with a robe. But she is also standing at the admitting room window staring at me as if her life depended on it. It may have. With her, you never really could tell. But helloooooo creeper!
I never fully got a grasp on what Barb’s diagnosis was. My best guess was lobotomy. Most times, she just sat quietly and made hand gestures like she was doing complicated mathematics in her head. And then she would randomly say weird stuff, like “fruit salad” or “my lunch is retarded” when no one was talking to her. Or she would just lay her head down on the table and clap. But here’s the interesting thing. Everyone just ignored her! The nurses, the counselors, the other patients, we all acted like she was just part of the scenery, like some very exotic parrot kept on the floor as a pet. I’m as guilty as the rest, but really, not top-notch healthcare there.
And then there was Roger. Who I’m pretty sure was from another planet. I know two things about Roger’s home planet. 1) The alien’s from there that try and pass as people suffer from Parkinson’s-like symptoms. 2) They have shower fetishes. As in they think they shower frequently, but they don’t. Being newly hatched from his pod, Roger had to be constantly reminded of his name by a gentle tap while saying it, similar to a clicker with a dog. He clearly had not studied his English well enough on his trip, also, since he could not answer a direct question to save his life. The nurses did make an attempt to care for him for at least a day, but after that, they abandoned him to the kindness of the rest of us messed up earthlings. We did our best, but you can only feed meatloaf to an alien for so long before the funktastic fumes begin to overwhelm you and you have to take an illegal smoke break.
Roger did do his best to hide his body odor by trying to convince people he was actually in the shower at that moment. And then he would steal his roommate’s clothes. The nurses, on that side of the invisible line, in their caring and compassionate way, advised Clayton, his roommate, to get his clothes back. During an earnest heart to heart with Clayton, I advised him to consider them lost, or burn them upon return.
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This is our new Wicked Short Stories page with submissions from various Authors. Please look for bio-snippets about the Author at the bottom of the various pieces. Enjoy!