A Mind is a Terribly Easy Thing to Waste

Bess called me and said she was suicidal. I went and got her and took her to the hospital. It was the 4th of July. I always have lousy 4ths . . . something bad always happens . . . it’s an ungodly bad day for me. It’d be no big deal to spend it in a hospital. I knew it’d be a day trip because I have been where Bess was and they take their sweet time processing you and getting you into a psyche facility. I‘m sure it ain’t their fault . . . shortage of space in the wards you know . . . filled to capacity! Wam ding doodle! Everyone’s becoming a nut job in this insane society . . . this ridiculous gig . . . so the beds are full and the suicide either needs to get the job done or slosh through the misery of lying in a hospital for hours waiting to get in and get some meds in them to soften the misery. And one can only pray it ain’t gonna be Thorozine . . . no . . . one banks their sanity on a nice Librium haze . . . or maybe some Ativan . . . something to make it all ok for a while.
Some piss pot, poor, poofter filled hospitals won’t give you nothing until you are checked in at the ward . . . and that’s downright cruel. Others give you something . . . but it’s just a drop compared to the misery. You need a gallon of little white pills . . . and yet they give you a pittance. No one can really understand the misery of the whole she-bop-shenellibang unless it’s happening to you. But some places start you on a nice smacker of Ativan . . . straight from the needle . . . and these places are fine . . . and you almost . . . no! You do! You start to enjoy the whole fiasco.
So it was the 4th . . . and my gal had come over from the city to see me . . . but she’d have to wait. It was going to be a long day. When I went to get Bess she was making herself up . . . yeah! Really! Trying to get pretty. Loonies don’t think logically . . . and Bess’s noodle was fried. She wanted to look her best to go in to the hospital suicidal . . . and that’s what the damned woman was up to. Unbelievable the delusion that was going on.
Not that she could do much to make her ugly mug presentable. Bess ain’t no looker. No quite the contrary . . . she had a puss that’d make the phantom of the opera blush . . . ‘twould scare the hair off a boar hog! Besides her multitude of mental health problems, Bess is also a hoarder. I cleaned a space off the only chair that had a presentable appearance in her tiny place and sat down to wait. Women can’t get nowhere fast when they are doing up their faces. And a hoarder can’t get hardly anywhere at all because once they do up their faces they got to finish packing . . . and a hoarder is never finished packing. There is always something else they are sure they will need.
I sat down and I waited. Goddamned it was hot in her apartment! Rumsie, the fattest of her cats, looked like a beached whale. He was a smoldering puss! All that fat and fur . . . he’d had enough of trying to get comfortable . . . smart cat! Resigning himself to his lot! Fi Fo Fum is the sweet little lady cat. She’s a friendly sort.t . . . always one to come a chatterin’ . . . give you her little opinion on things . . . let you know how things stood. And the third cat, Tim, was as fat as Rumsie . . . but he had super long legs . . . strange looking fellow . . . like Tweedle Dee . . . or his better half Tweedle Dum . . . skinny long legs and one hell of a paunch. He didn’t like me . . . never had . . . he came around to give me a look-see though . . . express his contempt . . . to let me know just what a charlatan I was . . . a grande phony . . . useless as a tick on a hound dog! More useless than that. Smart cat! Smarter than his owner . . . he could read me and see what a bastard lay inside my benevolent appearing exterior.
These were the three I’d be looking after while Bess was in the psyche facility. I’d already agreed. I didn’t need any more responsibility in my life . . . but one does what one has to do. I had enough sorrow and enough misery on my plate without this . . . but what else could be done? You look after your pals right? Even if they are fat, ugly and crazy.
It was just so goddamned hot in that apartment though! That was getting me down. My fat head was swelling from the heat . . . getting fatter by the second. I slowly got into the state of a whimpering weeping willow when Bess finally presented herself in all her painted up glory . . . with a half dozen suitcases . . . for what would probably end up being a 4 day stay at the ward.
They got us into a room pretty fast down there at “urgent care.” I was surprised. People hadn’t started blowing their fingers off yet I surmised . . . we were early enough . . . we got right in . . . a nice little private room . . . no pop pop crackle fingers gone yet. 4th of July mayhem! We’d beaten it . . . no eyes hanging out of the old socket from a bottle rocket . . . not yet at least. No gore or burns! I was hoping not to have to see any of that . . . I was content to just sit in that little room and wait with Bess. She wanted me there . . . and that’s fine . . . a person on a bummer in their noggin needs an advocate. I’ve gone on in to the bonker hole nuttier than a chink college student on test day and couldn’t talk right to beat the band (whatever the hell that means . . . I have no clue . . . but I like to think of bands being beaten . . . the poofterish gobble wobs!) . . . I’d babble and bedazzle with my flim flam flummoxed attempt to communicate my pain . . . and I pretty much got . . . no! Not pretty much! No! The pig fuckers! Not pretty much . . . I got totally bopped down to zero by those savages! Treated like a vile slug! They thought I was looking for a fix! Hell it was on my file! One time! Years ago! And I was marked for life! “Intravenous drug user!” It was an overdose! But it destroyed any chance of me being treated like a human down at the urgent care! The shit-baggers! I’m bitter . . . being in pain like that . . . mental agony . . . I’m talking about the trips when I’d lost my sanity . . . nothing to do with any drug abuse . . . my poor noodle really needing some compassion . . . . but to be just tossed out . . . “a dope fiend eh? On your bike!” One time after a good smattering of contempt, I almost jumped in front of a car on my way home. Little they’d care! I’d needed an advocate . . . someone who wasn’t stummering, stammering, and blammering. “yup – wup – hip – hup! Out you go dope fiend!”
Now Bess was sort of a dope fiend. Suboxone was pretty prevalent in her daily grind. “Fibromyalgia,” she said. Sure . . . sure . . . I believed her . . . really! Don’t look at me like that gentle reader! I believed her . . . but . . . well . . . that was an awful strong prescription for a case of the old fybro. But I wasn’t one to judge . . . as you’ll soon find out . . . no . . . not me! Let her pop ‘em.
It was sort of a bummer though. Not too bad, but sort a . . . and it was because of the Ativan. Bess was on the bed . . . I was sitting in the corner trying to keep up a conversation. It was tedious. But why so bummed? Well, beloved reader, they’d given Bess a nice dose of Ativan . . . but none for me. It just ain’t right. Sure there are things like laws, morals, responsibility, and policy . . . but fuck all that weak shit! I spit on morals, and what’s right, and policy! Give the poor fella that has to sit there for hours some pills too! It’s the human thing to do. And hell! It was the 4th of July! Why not a six pack of Pabst too?! I’d pay the bill! I know they’d ream me. I’d be paying foreign beer prices for domestic . . . . I’d be paying baseball stadium prices for moose piss! But I’d be ok with that. Hospitals ream you . . . I understand that that’s the way it goes . . . but let’s lighten up! Let’s all get happy! Drop the lawsuits and the policies and let everyone in the vicinity of a hospital get fucked up. A fully stocked bar in every patients room! A pill dispenser too! Takes credit cards! Slide in and remove! Choose your poison! No questions asked! Aspirin! Valium! P.C.P!
I was on a bummer all right . . . and this was just the beginning. The social worker had interviewed Bess (and me a little bit), and gone off to find a spot in one of our overcrowded psyche wards. Too many lunatics! What irked me was that no one ever came in to give us a little peak into how things stood. What was still more irksome was listening to a flock of doctors and nurses out there that had nothing to do but shoot their gobs off about stupid shit and fuck around. Waiting for the burn victims to pour in I guess. But when you are on a bummer (and I was the only one on a bummer now . . . Bess was in Ativan bliss), and you are just supposed to be with your gal on a 4th of July, it’d been nice if a nurse would of poked her mug in every hour or so to tell us where we stood . . . how things were going.
I decided to go out to the giggling gaggle of nurses and docs to ask about it all. Jesus! What a stink eye I got! You’d think I’d just asked them for shot of morphine! “Who the hell was I?” “Some sort of trouble maker certainly!” “An impertinent bastard!” That’s what I saw in their eyes. Then this goddamned uppity broad nurse says to me, in a stern voice as if she were addressing a hydro encephalic hoodlum child, “Chuck is trying to find your friend a bed! He’s doing his best! You’ll just have to be patient!” Well, “fuck you too, nurse snappy puss!” What I should have said went unsaid, and my belief that a person is a person in a hospital and has a right to ask a goddamned question was shot down and so I slunk back to my room . . . chastised. Back to my little chair in my little corner . . . God what a drag!
Hours later (hooray hoop whoop!), a bed was found. It was in the next hospital over! Ha ha! 20 feet away! Just a push shove and Bess a bed was now in a ward . . . and I finally got to go home to my gal.
But this was just the beginning of my week long adventure of Bess being locked away. Bess has been in the mental health system all her life. Literally! At the age of two she was in a car that got creamed on the highway and she suffered serious brain damage. Nothing had been right since. 40 years later! Soft in the head! Her apartment, since she was a hoarder and never got rid of anything, had decades of pill bottles in it . . . filled, empty, partially filled . . . old and new. It was a regular pharmacy. And I like pharmacies! I like to do a little sampling of all the goods. See where they’d take me! I had no computer access so most of the time I didn’t know what the hell I was taking. I’d just pop a few pills from a bottle and see where I went. I spent most of the week in that apartment, with them three cats, going up, down, and sideways . . . sometimes turning into a tongue chewing babbling idiot . . . sometimes bouncing zing zong about the apartment. And the cats watched in awe.
What made it all the more weird was that Bess would call every day because she still needed something. Half a dozen suitcases filled with her shit and she still needed something! The first night the pillows and blankets weren’t right there at the ward . . . so the next day, after popping a handful of her Adderall with a mix of Pregabalin, I headed down to the hospital to chat with her and bring her a pillow and blanket. I remember I was dressed real suave that day, and I think this nurse had her eye on me. She was awful kittenish. But . . . hell . . . well . . . maybe it wasn’t an amorous eye . . . maybe it was a watchful one . . . as if, “Jesus, this guy belongs in here too.”
I won’t go all soppy poofterish on the beauty of how nice it is to leave a place when the poor other bastards can’t. But that’s freedom! And I don’t mind going to psyche wards if can leave at will. I actually enjoy it.
I’d return to Bess’s condo and my three pussy cats, and I’d get more twisted and the next day a call would come from Bess. I was on pills that I had no idea what they were . . . by now I had a system and a color code for what pills took me up . . . which pills took me down . . . and which pills took me to the moon. I’d mix the uppers and the downers to hit “just right.” Simple, non-pill poppers, think uppers cancel downers and vice-versa . . . no . . . they work on different plains, giving you an even keel on a higher plain . . . an even better “even” than anything reality can supply . . . and, of course, it has nothing to do with a spiritual plain . . . just a “high” higher plain.
But the calls kept coming. The next day Bess needed detergent because she was allergic to that used at the ward. Off I went with the new detergent. The next day she needed her lipstick case . . . which when found had 57 lipstick tubes . . . a hoarders lipstick treasure . . . some had to date back 20 years. And the pills were being a popped and the calls kept coming! The next one? Oh . . . they weren’t giving her enough Suboxone at the ward! Would I bring some? And would I be extra sneaky about it? Make sure none of the staff knew. Sure! I slipped them to her as we had a nice chat about how they’d decided she was still to suicidal to come home and wouldn’t I care for the cats just a few more days.
Tim, Fi Fo Fum, and Rumsie got their tuna, cat food and pets . . . when they let me . . . and I continued my experimentations . . . in that weird apartment . . . overflowing with decades of stuff that Bess just wouldn’t get rid of. There was only one clear spot in the entire apartment . . . one chair available to sit in. Again, like in the urgent care, I was relegated to a tiny chair in the tiny corner.
Like all things, insanity must come to its end. Bopped up on bop pills I picked up Bess at the ward when they’d discharged her. There she was with 7 more bottles of pills to add to her collection. So ends my story dear reader . . . two fuzz brains returning to a jungle of an apartment. I left Bess to drool in her corner on her only chair . . . my pockets filled with different pills so I could keep experimenting when I got home. But let’s not leave you my sweet reader on such a note of such whackadoodle pillsomania. Judge me as a fiend you might beloved peruser . . . and your judgments are justified. But let’s look in to the future just a bit and see what became of me and my vileness. It ended! Yes dear reader . . . I found sanity . . . today I am clean and sober. Don’t touch the stuff! Amends have been made . . . and now I regularly take that nut case Bess to the psyche ward and do right
by her, Tim, Rumsie, and Fi Fo Fum. It’s just so damned hard to find those cats in the stacks of a hoarder’s treasures, so I can make sure they get their Friskies and pets.

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