A Home for Monsters - Chapter 5CHAPTER FIVE - Abelle, the Mystery
“Abelle? Chick with her arms wrapped up? Yeah, I know about her. Why?” Reggie cocks an eyebrow and grins, “What, you got a big old hard-on for this girl or something?”
“No, I’m just curious.” Benjamin pushes his fruit cup across the table and Reggie snatches it up, reaching across the table to grab Benjamin’s spoon. “What do you know about her?”
“I heard a couple of the nurses talking about it last week. Crazy shit, man. When do you think she showed up at Green Oaks?”
“I don’t know, like three weeks ago?”
“Wrong! I’m sorry your answer must be in the form of a question.”
“What? Reggie, what the fuck are you talking about?”
“Jeopardy. Are you telling me you’ve never seen Jeopardy?!”
For a moment, Benjamin wonders if reaching across the table and strangling Reggie with his bare hands would get him out of Green Oaks and
A Home for Monsters - Chapter 4CHAPTER FOUR - Small Group
“Normally, I have clothes on.”
In a small, windowless room, the walls are overcrowded with inspirational posters. Ben and nine other patients are circled up in cushioned chairs.
Parker, one of the counselors, sits cross-legged with a clipboard on his lap. He says, “Go ahead, Joseph, it’s okay. We’re all just here to talk… and listen.”
Joseph is in his late thirties. Tall, thin, droopy faced and balding, he twists and fidgets with the cord of his bathrobe. With his head tilted upward, his eyes search the ceiling and florescent lights as he talks, never quite looking anyone full in the face. His voice is thin and unsure. “Sometimes I don’t have clothes on, though. You know, naked. That always makes it feel worse. Makes it hard to go to asleep.”
In the same air of pity and concern that makes Ben’s insides squirm, Parker says, “Dreams can be the culmination of our fears, our subconscious thou
A Home for Monsters - Chapter 3CHAPTER THREE
Every morning, at 7:30 am, the fluorescents flicker to life all over the ward and you can hear the orderlies move down the halls, one dorm room at a time. They hit light switches in each room and say things like “Alright, you got 15 minutes! Rise and shine, ladies, it’s time to get up!” or “Let’s go, gentlemen. It’s a beautiful day! Up and at’em! ” and like something out of a zombie flick, the depressed, the manic, the delusional-they all come filtering out, staggering, bleary eyed and grimacing. Down the hallway and towards the commons area, they shuffle in their hospital socks, arms pulled in close to keep warm against the frigid AC of the institution. Many of them are waking up from the death-like state of medicated sleep, incoherent as they make their way to the usual haunts; a table by the window or a chair next to the radio. A rocking chair or a spot near the nurse’s station.
After arriving, it usually only takes
A Home for Monsters - Chapter 2CHAPTER 2 – A Counseling Session
“Benjamin, why are you here?”
Even looking down at the space of tile between his socks, Ben can feel that psychiatric gaze, like a mask of sympathy hiding the cold, rational thought process behind it.
“You must have some idea. What are your thoughts?”
These professionals are all the same. They ask questions the way a surgeon cuts through skin and tissue to find a tumor. They’d dig and prod and drain until the objective was met, the vein cauterized, or the tumor removed. But unlike those surgeons, psychiatrists have a façade to maintain. Concern, pity, endearment-all of these, just part of the act. And this act is too familiar to Ben. It makes him queasy. If scientists were expected to give a shit about the lab rats, this is how the lab rats would feel.
Dr. Lutz says, “Benjamin, I asked you a question. Why do you think you’re here?”
Still looking down, Ben shifts in his cushioned chair and says,