The window is closed. I closed it. It’s not that I don’t want anyone to climb in. Or shout in. I do. I’m gregarious and handsome. Except for my nose, which is crooked and slightly too big for my face. Back to the window though; I’d love nothing more than for someone to climb in. Climb right in and, say, offer me sex with no kind of guilt or weirdness. Weirdness in the sex would be fine, I mean, weird noises or weird requests, that would be great. Weird is subjective anyway. I’m talking about emotional weirdness, expectations, which I don’t want. And I won’t get it, not with the window closed.
There is no door. Not anymore. Not after people abused the door privilege. Not me though. When rules are explained to me, I always understand them. I have a very good sense of understanding the nature and intent of rules, even if I don’t agree with them, or find them unfair, or both. But someone, Lonny I think, abused the door privilege on account of having to shit and not wanting to shit in his room, like everyone does from time to time. I have. I don’t like it. But I know the rules, and the rules say you must shit during your allotted shit time. I like Lonny, but I blame him. Everyone blames Lonny and, to be honest, I don’t think he’s going to make it.
I’m thinking about opening the window. With the window open, I might hear something interesting. Sometimes, with the window open, I hear Maybelle touching herself. She’s very enthusiastic about it, and sometimes I get to thinking she does it for my benefit. I know this isn’t the case, because she’s very cozy with Yanni, very cozy, but I let myself think it anyway. Maybelle smells like flowers and this aroma offsets a large gash she has on her forehead. She got the gash from ramming her head into a sort of vent they installed to replace the doors. The vent slats retract when we leave our rooms, then close again once we’re back inside. And they’re quite sharp on the edges. Maybelle is another one, like me, who respected the door privileges. Always, as far as I know. Even I took it hard and had to employ some faculties I didn’t know I had in order to see the situation as anything less than tragic. Maybelle, well, she blew a gasket. But she still touches herself, and with her window open. Thank you, Maybelle.
I heard whispering from my open window. It sounded conspiratorial in nature. But then again, whispering always does, unless it’s sexy whispering, which I like. I think this whispering, which sounded like four or five different whispers, was about assassinating Lonny. I didn’t hear the word “assassinate” or “kill” or “stab” or “Lonny” or “murder,” but there was a calm in their breathy whispers that startled me. The most likely intent of an assassination attempt on Lonny would be to try to reinstate door privileges. But I’ve got bad news for the would-be assassins. Nothing’s going to bring back doors. Nothing. Anyway, their thinking is all wrong. Cutting the throat of the culprit might impress them, but it won’t make them soften their policies. When things go away, they don’t come back. New things appear, but most likely those new things won’t be anything good, like door privileges. Those days, the days of relaxed door privileges, I’m sorry to say, are long gone.
While we were all tied together with the rubber tube and doused with talcum powder this morning, I got into it pretty good with Yanni. He started in again with his peace be with you routine. I can’t stand it, because here I am, with quite a lot of thoughts and sentiments, quite a wide range of thoughts and sentiments, and there’s Yanni with his very narrow range of crap. Here is the extent of his arsenal of crap:
1. Peace be with you (the classic).
2. The soul has no walls (go on go on please more).
3. Old fires cannot burn a changed mind (whatever that means).
4. Our nature is nature (wow).
5. We are all creators and destroyers alike, brother (the “brother” kills me).
6. I flow into you through everyone (I… can’t even…).
And when he’s on a roll, he mixes and matches. I have to admit, I don’t mind the tight rubber tube and talcum if only because of the off chance of ending up next to Maybelle and breathing in her mix of lavender and orchid with a hint of cinnamon. Once they tied it off so tight, Siddhartha was suffocating and coughing up stomach acid. Maybelle was screaming in my ear for what seemed like an hour. My knee was situated between her thighs but I didn’t take advantage. I simply closed my eyes, taking in her shrill voice, and imagined great ancient birds gliding over a smoking volcano, screeching, sending mating calls to alert each other of their hot loins. But this morning I was stuck between Lou and Yanni.
“Yanni, please move your stupid skinny elbow off my ribs.”
“The soul has no walls.”
“I’ll kill you in your sleep.”
“We are all creators and destroyers alike, brother.”
“Just move your stupid elbow.”
“Our nature is to flow through everyone.”
“I’ll drink your blood and eat your face. How’s that?”
“Peace be with you.”
I guess I bit him harder than I needed to, but the up-side was hearing Maybelle’s glorious scream again, even if it was rooted in disgust regarding my actions.
I woke up today five hours after my usual wake-up time, which is 7:00. There was a steam-like gas in the room, and actually, it’s still here. I vomited in my sleep, which, I guess, woke me up at noon. The gas smelled like sulfur and even had a yellow tint to it. I grabbed my hair and out came a clump. Clump! I imagine the gas has something to do with this hair problem. Also of concern is the fact that I can’t see. Wait, that’s not entirely true. I can see a triangle of white in a field of black. This white triangle fades and returns, sometimes turning a muted shade of blue, call it cadet blue, or denim. After watching the triangle fade and morph a thousand or so times, I felt sad and a little worried about whether or not I’d regain my normal vision, which is 20/20. Then, after feeling sad and worried for a few hours, I realized that my aural sense had heightened when Maybelle began touching herself with the window closed. She was barely making any noise for some reason, but I was able to hear almost every action and reaction voiced at all. I found that it was much more enjoyable, these very quiet moans and sighs, than her usual gusto filled grunts and ecstatic screams. And I couldn’t see of course, which added a certain element of mystery, which I liked.
I’m so proud of Bradleby. I was beginning to wonder if he’d ever calm down enough for them to remove his protective vest. I’d really given up on him understanding that if he’d just stop kicking and spitting, there’d be a good chance they’d free his arms and take the plugs out his nostrils. After his feeding today, which he sat through like a real trooper, Bradleby got his arm/hand privileges back. He’s quite articulate, and a uniquely gifted storyteller once you get him to stop hocking lugies, the kind that stick and hang like a perfect tear drops. The story he told today about his brother’s rise to the throne of his own kingdom had all the components. My favorite detail was when his brother, King Farkus, stabbed himself in the back fearing, with good reason as it turns out, an impending coup planned by himself. Bradleby might kill Lonny though. He’s the shrewdest and least affected person here, in a way, a very important way. That way is logic. He still has it and uses it. I know that he knows that killing Lonny won’t bring back door privileges. Only Lou would believe something like that. But Bradleby might kill Lonny anyway, because it’s wise to keep them guessing, second-guessing, keep them a little nervous about executing their next move. And perhaps it would act as a brutal and effective deterrent against someone like Lou or Tania from blowing whatever privileges we have left, which are none at the moment. I mean, should we get some. But I want Lonny to live.
Over the loud speaker yesterday, they announced a series of numbers. For hours the numbers came one after another, positive and negative integers. The last time this happened, I tried for quite a long time to detect a pattern, discern some kind of meaning. I copied the numbers on the back of the weekly menu until my hand cramped up so bad I couldn’t write anymore.
“What do them numbers add up to?” Lou asked me.
“More of the same.”
“How come you gotta be like that when I was just asking a question huh?
How come you’re always in such a bad mood?”
Lou should remember that the last time the cascade of numbers came falling out of the loudspeaker, a fellow by the name of Chip, who had a lights-out 15 foot jump shot, that is, when we still had a hoop, that is, when we still went outside for short intervals, yes, and this Chip fellow, who only broke one guideline, a minor one at that, eating Tania’s Salisbury steak, well Lou, he showed up the next day wrapped in a blanket, bald and unable to stop blinking. Now he’s in the structure over across the highway with the mice and the ditch diggers.
Today I woke to the pitter-patter of raindrops on my window and discovered my vision had returned, although I’m positive it’s no longer 20/20. In fact, it’s like looking through thick, dirty plastic wrap. But it’s a vast improvement over that God-forsaken triangle. Through my blurry eyes, the rain looks like tiny particles zooming around under a microscope and I feel trapped in yet another way.
They installed a tile floor in my room yesterday. All the other rooms too, according to Tania. They left about half of the white tiles from before. In place of the other half of the white tiles, they positioned an equal number of blue, yellow, and purple tiles. And one red tile. They left a scroll with a black ribbon around it lying next to the window. I didn’t bother to read it because I’ve been very upset about that sulfur based gas. And my hair. And the fact that I smell like my own vomit. And I miss seeing faces and objects in focus. And because Lonny is dead. And because Lou and Siddhartha are missing. So I didn’t read the scroll. And I wasn’t all that surprised when I stepped on a yellow tile and received a vicious electric shock. While I was muttering on the ground in the fetal position, some saliva accidentally spilled out of my mouth and made contact with a blue tile. Let me tell you, friend, that yellow tile was nothing compared to the blue tile. Needless to say, I haven’t gone near the purple tiles. And there is no way in man’s hell I’m even looking at that single red tile.
At our monthly dental filing, I saw Maybelle biting Yanni while they were waiting in line. And not the same way I bit him, but the bite of true love, which they say even fools can see. I tell myself, “I’m no fool,” but I know I also have a way of convincing myself of things that are less than true. I don’t like having this ability, if you want to call it that, but I make no apologies for coping any way I can with a constantly breaking heart. Maybe Bradleby will kill Yanni.
I found some drawings in the relaxation/isolation chamber today. I don’t know who left them there, but they are Siddhartha’s drawings. I’ve been hearing about these drawings for quite a long time, about his ability to capture the essence of people and objects. Tania in particular, who professes to having an artistic soul, raves about Siddhartha’s use of shading. Maybe I wasn’t relaxed or isolated enough, but they just looked like random lines to me, which made me feel torn between anger and disappointment and sympathy. I’ve always said about Siddhartha, “well, at least he has his drawings,” but I realize now I said that based on hearsay. I feel pretty naïve for having trusted Tania’s opinion to tell the truth. She’s about the most useless person here. No wonder Siddhartha urinates on himself out of choice. Now he’s missing.
I read the scroll finally, thinking it would be a sort of key or legend referring to the colored tiles. Or maybe an official apology about the necessity of having to use the sulfur based gas. Or an explanation for Lonny’s dead status, or Lou and Siddhartha’s missing status. But it was only an invitation to a mandatory luncheon on Thursday in the newly installed recreation room. Supposedly there’s a game resembling ping-pong, but without paddles or a ball. It’s a terrible shame about Lonny, even though some would say he had it coming. But I can tell you without hesitation that there is no one, in my mind anyway, that would be better than Lonny to have around for this new recreation room. He had a great competitive spirit, and a real sense of sportsmanship, even if he did blow it with the door privileges. I think everyone makes mistakes and should be allowed more leeway than to be executed.
The luncheon is over now. It was me, Maybelle, Tania, Bradleby, and Yanni. Lou, Siddhartha, and Lonny were there, but it was just their corpses embalmed in glass cases behind the “ping-pong” table. They looked remarkably lifelike, mostly because they stood vertically in their cases. I said hello to Maybelle, and took in her intoxicating aroma for as long as I could without being too obvious. She whispered in my ear that she and Yanni had found a way out through the vent-like opening that used to be the door. I chuckled, took my portion of ham over to the futon, and set up a TV tray in front of the aquarium. The aquarium, which is the centerpiece of the recreation room, has two goldfish, a treasure chest, and a scuba diver. The goldfish, which I’ve named Lonny and Siddhartha, seem to encapsulate the spirits, respectively, of their namesakes. I smiled at Lonny the Goldfish, and vomited from the ham.
I woke up this morning at 7:00, my normal wake-up time, but to more gas. This gas had a blue tint and seemed, to my lungs anyway, like a million tiny razorblades. I looked down at the floor, and, to my surprise, the entire floor was now colored tile with a single white tile next to the window. It was disheartening to know that no matter where I stepped when I got out of my cot that I would receive another electric shock. I don’t tend to be one of those people who spring right up, fit as a fiddle, as they say. I’m a little sleepy for the first half hour or so, and the last thing I want to contend with is a jolt like that on top of the lung slicing quality of breathing in the new blue gas. Luckily, I guess, the tiles closest to my cot are yellow, and not red or purple, which is something. I gather from this new tile placement that Maybelle and Yanni might have actually escaped. I hope they are happy.