A preview to the upcoming book,
“It’s not my fault. Sacrifice & Survival.”
Catch her upcoming release, Summer 2014
Slaughtered Straight Jackets
There was an officer on either side of my cuffed arms as I made my way into the treatment facility. Once inside I was escorted through a dimly lit hallway and into an eerily white room. In the center of the room was a heavy woman wearing a dingy white coat. The jacket had a pocket located on the upper left side of her chest and I could see the top of the pen resting inside. Below the pocket was an old faded name tag, it read, “Becky.” She was seated in one of two chairs in front of a cluttered desk. One of the officers ushered me into the remaining chair and released my arms from the cuffs they were secured in. The other officer sat my bag of belongings she was carrying onto the desk. I watched through blurry contact lens’, covered with remnants of the mascara I had cried off as both officers exited the room, slamming the heavy door shut behind them.
“Asterisk Five?” Becky asked me.
I nodded at the recognition of my own name.
I watched her as she opened up a file on her desk and peered inside, reading the contents.
“You are here to get help for your alcohol addiction. It says here that you have been becoming regularly abusive in your home and have been physically attacking your mother, father and younger siblings.”
“That’s not true,” I said in between tears. “My mom made it up. All of it,” I pleaded.
The woman just nodded without making eye contact with me, obvious that she wasn’t looking for a fight.
“We are going to be running some tests to determine your mental status, to see if perhaps there is any medication that we can prescribe to help you” she continued.
“There’s nothing wrong with me, it’s her! She’s crazy!” I pleaded.
“Asterisk, the first step to treatment is admittance. If you can’t take responsibility for your own actions then how can you even begin to work past them?” she asked calmly. “Your mother cares about you a great deal otherwise she wouldn’t have tried to get you the help you so desperately need. Parents who don’t care about their children ignore their issues and let them continue on their paths of destruction. Early intervention is the key to long term recovery. Please, just promise me you will try to make the most for your time here,” she begged.
With my head down, I had no choice but solemnly to nod.
“Empty out your bag,” she instructed.
I picked it up and began removing my items piece by piece, setting articles of clothing onto my lap.
“No honey, I need you to dump the contents out onto my desk and then turn the bag inside out.”
I obliged her instructions and watched as she took a few of my items and placed them in side the waste receptacle on the floor. In went the razor I used to shave my legs and a pair of fingernail scissors. Next went a pair of tweezers. She had me remove the buttons I proudly displayed, with the logos of my favorite bands, from the outside of my bag and I watched as she threw those away too.
“Not that one!” I yelled out. “It was a gift from Leo.”
“Who?” she asked.
“You will have to ask him to get you another. We can’t have any sharp objects in this facility.
Once my things had been thoroughly examined and the “dangerous” pieces confiscated she asked me to take off my clothes.
I looked at her a bit uneasy.
“I don’t feel comfortable…”
“It’s procedure,” Becky explained.
Slowly I undressed myself by feel, keeping my eyes securely scrunched shut embarrassed to be standing naked. No one had ever seen me nude before and the insecurities from my self prescribed and non-existent weight problem made me sick to my stomach. After what seemed like an eternity, I was finally allowed to re dress, except for my shoes. Those were taken from me and placed inside a small locker.
“If my shoes can be held in a locker, why can’t my buttons be placed there too?” I asked.
“It’s against procedure,” she explained.
“But I…” I tried to protest but Becky was quick to cut me off.
“If I break the rules for you I would have to break them for everyone,” she lectured.
I let out a sigh of defeat.
“Pick up your bag and follow me,” she directed. “I’m going to show you to your room.”
I followed the nurse through the long corridor. We reached a turn and I could hear a boy screaming. A few feet later, we were passing by a large room that I later found out to be the common area. The screaming grew louder as we approached and I looked in to see a brunette boy about ten years old on the floor flailing his limbs. There was a male nurse on top of him attempting to inject him with a large needle attached to an even larger syringe.
“Stop! Stop!” the boy screamed. “Leave me alone! I fucking hate you! Stop!”
Becky turned around, noting my fear, “That’s little Billy, he has a lot of emotional problems. He fits almost every day, you will get used to it,” she promised.
I continued to follow Becky until she stopped next to a bedroom door. “These will be your accommodations,” she said as she opened it. I peered inside to see an almost empty room. The walls were plain except for a piece of peeling white wall paper in the far corner. It was filled with just two small beds and two tiny sets of drawers. The first bed had a stuffed animal on top of it, the other was nothing but a plain mattress.
“Your roommate’s name is Tonya. She is in therapy right now but you will meet her at dinner. I want you to put your things away and someone will be by shortly to escort you in for psychiatric testing. I will make sure to have your bed made up by the time you get back,” she promised.
I watched as she began to close the door behind me, pulling out a key. “I will be locking your door behind me but don’t fret, you can earn privileges here. In a few days if you don’t try to run off, we can start leaving it unlocked as so you can walk to your meetings unescorted.
Once Becky was gone, I plopped down onto my empty bed and began sobbing. A few minutes later, I sucked up my tears and opened up my bag. If I was going to be stuck here for a while, I might as well try to make the most of it. I reached inside and pulled out a pair of jeans. Something fell out of the pocket and hit the floor. I bent down to see the pink handle of a lady shave razor! Hallelujah! I wouldn’t have to succumb to hairy legs and pits while I was here after all!
I needed a place to hide it and started scanning the room. Just then the door handle began to turn. Quickly, I shoved the razor back into my bag, under an article of clothing. In walked a plump girl about my age being escorted by a nurse I didn’t yet recognize.
“Sit down, Tonya!” the nurse ordered. “You need to stay in here until you can calm down and are willing to participate in group work!”
“Dr. Pessler is a dick! He’s singling me out! He’s a pervert!”
“Dr. Pessler is a nice man and a qualified psychiatrist. You need to work on your communication skills,” The nurse lectured.
Both of them noticed me at roughly the same time.
“Hey ya!” Tonya said. Her expression completely flipped and she welcomed me with a wide grin as the nurse exited the room. “Are you my new roomie? What’s your name?”
“Asterisk,” I said.
“What are you in for, Asterisk?” she questioneded me.
“My mom is a crazy bitch. She framed me,” I said.
“Mine too!” Tonya replied. “How long are they gonna keep ya?”
“I don’t know. They haven’t said.”
“They must not have evaluated you yet then,” she concluded.
“No, not yet. Someone is supposed to come and get me any time.”
“Make sure to tell them you hear voices. I told them I heard voices and now they give me some really good drugs! Anyway, I’m going to grab a shower. See you later!” she said as she entered our small, shared bathroom.
Once I heard the door lock behind her, I did a scan around the room. I figured if I was going to hang onto my razor I had better come up with a secure hiding spot. I noticed a heating vent on the floor and reached down to see if it would budge. The screen came right off without any fight. I must not have been the first person to concoct such a scheme. I placed my possession right inside and closed the screen in front of it, shielding it from view. Then I dumped out the remainder of my bag out and hung up what I could of my clothes.
I had no sooner unpacked then the door to the bedroom opened once more. It was the same nurse whom had escorted Tonya in a few minutes prior.
“Asterisk Five,” she said to me, “Please come with me, it’s time for your evaluation.”
Once to the private therapy room, I was given an oral screening.
“Have you ever tried to commit suicide?” The nurse asked.
“No,” I replied. “Well I took a lot of Tylenol once…”
“Have you ever had visions of killing someone?”
Even though I was currently fantasizing about my mother’s demise I figured I had better say no.
“Do you hear voices?”
Even though the drug cocktail that Tonya had talked earlier about sounded like a good idea I figured I had better be honest if I wanted to get out of there fairly soon.
“Do you sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between right and wrong?”
The questions went on for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, I was released and escorted to the dining room. I took a seat next to Tonya and Billy, the boy who had been throwing a fit earlier. A nurse was walking around with little cups of pills and handing them out one by one to each of the child patients. A cup was placed in front of Tonya then another in front of Billy. I waited to see what I would be given, but nothing came. I raised my hand in the air and waited for the nurse to approach me.
“I didn’t get any medicine,” I finally said when he made his way to my area.
“You weren’t prescribed any,” he stated.
“I don’t understand, if I’m locked up in the looney bin, don’t I need to be on medication?” I asked.
“I can’t answer that. You will have to speak to your therapist personally.”
“If don’t need medication I’m obviously not crazy, right?” I asked as tears began streaming down my face.
“You can talk to your therapist tomorrow,” he stated once more.
My tears turned into a full blown sob session.
“Can I be excused, please?” I begged. “I really just want to go to bed.”
“I will have someone escort you back to your room in a few minutes,” he promised as he began to walk away.
Once I was back to my room, I cried myself to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke to a loud shuffle. The sun had barely come up as I opened my eyes. I was having a hard time seeing through my tear swollen lids and had to continually blink to get my vision to focus. My body jumped when I heard the screaming.
“FUCK YOU! I hate you all! I want to die! I want out of here!”
Tonya was on her bed shouting. Three nurses were struggling to get her into a straight jacket.
“NOOOOO! I hate you! I want to die! I want to die!”
I could see one of the nurses holding another one of those giant syringes in an attempt to medicate my roommate.
Along the wall, I noticed a splatter of dark red. It was blood, Tonya’s blood. That’s when the severity of the situation finally clicked. I looked over to the heating vent to see that it was wide open.
Tonya had my razor in her hand. She had removed the blades from the plastic covering and had used them to slice her arms open.
Even though she was just a young girl, maybe 14, she was overweight and extremely strong. Even with three adults trying to contain her, I watched as her arm as it swung up. She was still gripping the razor. I saw the blade of the razor catch hold of the skin of one of their faces.
The force from Tonya’s meaty limb was enough to severely sever off a portion of the nurse’s cheek. I watched helplessly as the free’d chunk of muscle hit the floor.
I began shaking in terror and pulled my blanket up over my head praying for the event to soon be over. A second later, the syringe pierced through Tonya’s flesh and her body went limp.
“How did she sneak this razor blade in here?” I heard one of them ask.
Quietly, I sat in shame.
I never saw Tonya again, but that’s another story.