The Very Bad Day
"You have betrayed me!" Willie hollered. Jumping to his feet, he backhanded his friend across the face and was infuriated when the big man did not fall down bleeding. He searched briefly but could not locate a cane, so the patient beat on Stanley with his fists.
"Containment crew to CR: STAT," was heard on the loudspeaker.
"Ya like to hit yourself all the time—here, let me do it for ya!" Willie yelled.
Stanley withdrew, whimpering in confusion as Leroi grabbed his assailant from behind, pinning his arms back. "Somebody's going to ITA."
"Traitorous cur!" Willie yelled, flailing furiously.
Steve reached to pick up the patient's legs, but Willie swung back and, with the hard leather toe of his ankle boot, kicked him squarely in the nuts. The aide's mouth flew open to scream, but no sound emerged. He grabbed his crotch, collapsed to his knees and fell sideways to the floor.
Bug Eyes was howling like a wild dog, doing Olympic somersaults on the couch, as Leroi picked up Willie and hauled him away.
"Unhand me, you filthy shit-kicker!" The crazy inmate continued to kick furiously.
"What the hell was all that about?"
"I'm a vampire; I do not have to justify myself to you. You will learn your place, boy!"
The large black man stopped short and threw Willie against the wall, pinning him there with an enormous hand splayed across his chest.
"You will stop that trash coming out of your mouth right now. You got a problem with Steve? I don't blame you; go ahead and handle it. But you don't beat on another patient, especially when he's the only friend you got." Leroi looked him in the eye and spoke with unmistakable sincerity. "And if you disrespect me again, I will whup your ass. Hear me, boy?"
"You c-can't do that; it's against the rules and you'll get fired."
"For you, Psycho, I could sell tickets."
Willie squirmed under the powerful aide's grip. When he was disgruntled, the master would bash him against the wall like that, grab his arms and sink razor-sharp fangs into his neck. Steal his life force until the servant dropped to the floor.
"Get offa me, you blood-sucking freak!" Willie yelled, tugging at the orderly's arm. Then he spat in Leroi's face.
Psycho was tossed into a padded room, landing on the springy white canvas floor. Leroi followed and proceeded to confiscate the offender's fine leather boots.
"What are ya doin'? You can't take my shoes."
"You used them as a weapon, so now you lose them. Those are the rules."
Leroi left the room and bolted it.
"Hey, you're not gonna close that, are ya?" The patient darted to the door, standing on tiptoe to see out the little sliding peephole. "There's n-no light in here."
"Because there's nothing to look at, bad ass." He slid the viewer shut.
It was pitch dark inside the Isolation Therapy Area, except for a tiny green light on the ceiling security camera. A loony could thrash and jump all around and it wouldn't matter; he'd just bounce off the wall and land on the soft padded floor. But Willie was shagged out after his tirade and sat in the middle of the room.
"Uh, hello? Where's my candle? I'm pretty sure it says on my chart that I get a candle," the patient called out. There was no response. "Okay, I'm repentant now. I remembered that word, Barnabas." Silence. Darkness. Willie laid down and took a nap.
Willie and Jason were in Hong Kong, drunk off their asses. They danced in the middle of a parade, eating Cantonese pizza and swinging bottles of Too Soo Brew. It was nighttime, but the street was so brightly lit, you couldn't tell, and they could barely speak over the din: music, all kinds of percussion instruments and noise makers, cheering, laughter, fireworks.
The young man lost his balance and sat down in the middle of the street, swilling his drink.
"No, no," The Irishman pulled Willie to his feet. "Not there. You'll be run over by a dragon."
"Let's get some women. The most talented ladies in the world!"
"You can have whatever you want. It's your birthday."
"It is? Hot damn! I wanna 'nother beer." The boy shoved the food into his jacket pocket. "I'm gonna save this for Stanley."
Just then two stone-faced police constables approached the pair. Without explanation, they apprehended Willie, each taking an arm, and carted him away.
"Hey, lemme go; I didn't do nothin'. Jason, help me!"
"You obstructed the dragon," his companion called after him. "I'll see ya when ya get out!"
"Don't forget to give my pizza to Stanley. He loves pizza!"
He glanced at the law officers on either side. They were, in fact, the vampire and the doctor.
"Barnabas? Julia? Ya finally came." Neither escort looked at him or spoke. "Is somethin' the matter? Where we goin'?"
Before he could protest, Willie was taken into a dark alley, wherein the clamor from street festivity disappeared with the light.
Willie was jarred to consciousness when the ITA door swung open and blinding overhead lights switched on. The young man couldn't remember where he was or how long he had been there. Perhaps he was just waking up after that last binge, but he didn't feel drunk, just disoriented.
Steve limped into the room carrying a chair and a three-foot long piece of inch-thick rubber tubing coiled in his hand. Without comment, the orderly slammed the door and stood on the chair in order to reach the security camera, which he switched off. Then he shoved the chair under the doorknob and approached the errant patient.
"You little son of a bitch," he sneered. "I'm not going to walk straight for a week…so neither are you."
The first blow struck Willie on the leg. He scrambled to the nearest corner and crouched into a ball. Always minimize the target; keep the face and hands out of harm's way. When the hose came down on his back, Willie almost laughed. Did he think that was painful? Obviously he never lived with a vampire. Okay, the next one was painful. He hunkered further into the corner.
"Go ahead and yell, the walls are sound proof," Steve said, swinging his arm back. "I want to hear you scream."
"That'll be next."
Again Willie wished he was still a vampire. He wished he still had the shotgun, or his switchblade, or a broomstick handle. He wished Barnabas was there to protect him. No way would the master allow this evildoer to treat him like that. Steve's bloody head would be hanging on the front door of the Old House.
The orderly grabbed Willie's hair and yanked the young man out of the corner.
"Enough playing around. Time to get serious."
Willie lunged for the man's ankles, bringing him down face first. The patient did a quick roll out of the way, grabbed the flying hose and sprang to his feet.
"Okay, let's get serious," Willie replied, swinging the hose over his head like a lasso. He could still fight like a street rat. Those moves stayed with a person like muscle memory
The first strike took the orderly by surprise when it burned across his cheek. The second stung Steve's fingers as tried to reach for it. Willie laughed at the loser's ineptitude. Face and hands, got to keep them out of the way. Eventually, Steve secured a grasp on the rubber tube and yanked it forward, bringing Willie with it. He seized the boy by the shirt, who responded by punching him in the throat.
The two grappled for the discarded hose and seemed to be playing tug o' war with it when the door crashed open, which sent the chair flying. Leroi rushed in and wretched the tube from their clutches.
"Not on my shift, you mother.” Leroi grabbed his coworker, pulling him aside. "What the hell is wrong with you? You want to lose your job right now, when your girlfriend's pregnant again?"
"Rubber hose won't leave a mark," Steve replied, panting. "No one will know."
"I'm a helpless mental patient, and he hit me," Willie whined. "I'm tellin'."
"Shut up," the black man pulled him up off the floor. "This stays in here. Now get out, and no more trouble from you, understand?" Without further ado, he pushed Psycho out the door.
He had lost a sock at some point during the struggle. Willie rubbed a stinging shoulder as he wandered down the hallway to the Common Room where a sad-faced Stanley was sitting by the door with his suitcase. Fat Boy looked apprehensive as his roommate approached and sat next to him. No one spoke for several minutes.
"I'm sorry I hit ya," Willie said at length. "That was a dick thing to do. I was mad 'cause you're leavin' and I'm not. If it makes ya feel any better, Steve just beat the crap outta me. Or tried to."
"That's because you're not supposed to kick staff members, especially not down there."
"Yeah, I know, but I did it anyway. If Leroi hadn't busted it up, I prob'ly woulda killed the jerk. I destroyed a vampire once, ya know. Well, Maggie helped a little."
Stan nodded in approval. He never questioned his buddy's casual comments about ghosts and monsters. "I'm sorry I upset you. I wasn't thinking."
"Don't be stupid. You can't hurt me; ya think I never been left alone before?"
The big guy took a deep, calming breath, resisting the urge to cry and hit himself. "This will be a difficult transition for—for both of us—but I hope we can stay in touch. Most likely I won't be able to visit because they took away my driver's license."
"Great, we'll be like pen-pals," Willie replied sardonically. "And who decided you were better all the sudden? I thought ya hadda go through A Ward before ya could get discharged."
"They wanted to transfer me there a few months ago, but I turned them down."
"Ya did?" Stanley shrugged. "Ya shouldn't a' done that. If that was me, I woulda dumped you like dead mouse."
"No, you wouldn't." They sat quietly for a moment. "Your turn will come soon, then you'll go home too." Fat Boy reached over to hug his friend.
"Don't touch me." Willie pulled away.
The two young men observed Mrs. Mendelssohn enter and sign in at the front desk. "That's my mother," Stanley said.
Willie stood abruptly. "Yeah, well, go then. Have a nice life." He started to leave.
"I'm going to miss you!" Stan called after him.
Willie sighed, somewhat impatiently, and returned to his friend with an extended arm. "Fine, now ya can hold it. There, ya happy?" The two shook hands. "Like my old boss used t' say, may good fortune attend your endeavors, which means if you’re not smart, at least be lucky."
Willie pulled his hand back and, without a backward glance, walked away as swiftly as he could.