May 27, 2006

Letters From Lem #9

Filed under: Letters From Lem — Twin A @ 8:15 pm


Waters, the guy who tried to climb over the railing of the Empire State Building, was finally allowed to leave this morning. When they asked him to share his thoughts in the morning Community Meeting, he grinned and said, “Well, uh, I grew up watching Daffy Duck in Bellevue Hospital and now I’m out of here and y’all are still in the nuthouse.”

David W. left too, on a bus to New Hampshire carrying his ten trillion dollar blueprints in his pocket. A couple of other people are leaving after the three-day weekend, including me — they’ve finally given me a definite discharge date of Tuesday at 11 AM.

Felix and Shakeer got caught smoking cigarettes (they tried sneaking one in Shakeer’s shower.) We were all confined to the day room while they searched the rooms one by one. I witnessed the humiliating spectacle of Shakeer taking off his pants and standing bare-asses in the day room while the staff truned them inside out looking for smokes. Now Felix is stuck in his room indefinitely. I gave him chocolates from my care package and donuts that I bought from the Friday snack guy. He looked wretched.

The ward is messy, the staff seems tired and unfocused, already half out the door to their Memorial day Holiday. Keys jangle, nurses shake their heads.

Nasheeda is a relative new comer to the ward. “Geth the fuck out of my face, you fucking broke-down motherfucking New Jersey nigger!” she hollers at Carl. (Carl said he would play spades iwth her, then gleefully refused to play. Carl is a little unbalanced.)

There are two new additions to the ward today — both huge men with glazed expressions. One of them jostled me in the snack line, smelling of burnt garbage. The other just looks like he wants to hurt somebody.

Jerry Springer blares on TV. Patients wander in erratic patterns through the day room, into the hallway, with intense expressions on their faces. James, a deranged male patient, edges a seat close to Red. “It’s gonna be a long weekend, dude,” she growls to me under her breath. I grin and nod, knowing that I have just received the wall street forecast.

Sure enough, as soon as I walk out of the room, one of the new heavyset guys lunges for a total stranger, trying to choke him. He is removed. Five burly staffers descend on his room to give him an injection.

Then, lunch is served. For no good reason, Nasheeda starts to serenade us, toothlessly and tunelessly. “They call me Star,” she proclaims to a captive audience.

More to come,


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