Psychiatric Wards are filled with people who dabbled in the Occult...- THE EXORCIST, WILLIAM PETER BLATTY
Ready or not/Here I come- READY OR NOT, THE DELFONICS
My mind has been a bit muddled since I auto-suggestively passed out during the US Extended Cut of Kubrick's "The Shining" at the BFI a couple of weeks ago. I'm currently writing this on a battered A5 pad that is covered in words that may have meant something to me when I wrote them, but now seem like the ramblings of a schizoid split personality. I'm on the train to Beckenham Junction to give a tenner to Dr Ian Carstairs, who, like me, sees themselves as a professional psychiatric patient. Like me, he doesn't own a credit card, and since he's already booked his ticket for "The Shining" at the BFI on Sunday he's heading up to Embankment later to score me a seat. If something frightens me, I do it until I no longer feel that fear. I'm letting Kubrick into my head once again. Sitting opposite me, trying to ignore my thoughtful gaze (hey, I'm writing and I could be writing about him, which I am) is a twenty something professional wearing state of the art Dr Dre headphones and reading a copy of The Guardian dressed in a cheap but fashionable suit. Earlier today I was at a mate's house, who used to sell his body for alcohol. He detoxes for a month or two then gets back on it. Last night he interviewed me on camera, and then I passed out, and he made a drunken video of himself asking himself questions he would never dare to do were he in company and/or sober. I've been trying to hype up David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" to whoever I can, but my mate found it boring. I guess it's that rare beast, the sort of major studio release that can only appeal to people who read for pleasure. Above my seat is an NSPCC advert warning that 75,000 children will be on the streets this Christmas.
"Is that your therapist face then?" I asked my therapist, feeling uneasy since she'd just asked me about my father and I had told her that when his mother died of cancer the day before my seventh birthday I still went out for a party at FunWorld and he told mum that he didn't think I cared.
"I was seven," I told my therapist. "I didn't know anything. Seven year olds don't understand anything."
"Are you comfortable talking about this?" That face again.
"Do you have something you want to tell me? A theory?"
She put on her therapist face again. I looked up at the clock. Forty minutes left. I started to imagine what she would look like naked.
Being totally transparent (Post-Empire is the fashionable phrase) then being on an acute psychiatric ward is like being on acid. They never get any more ordered, and they never, ever make any sense of any kind. You can act as normal, sane and ordered as you want, but you don't matter in there, and the only way out is to blag it to the psychiatrist, who holds all of the cards. Admitting bisexuality is a good one, or admitting some dark sexual abuse in your past, bullying at school, some delicious little trauma that you spin to satiate their innate and vicious optimism. I've just been told I can't fire my care worker. By my care worker. Who has just turned up on my doorstep to drive me to Blue Leaves House to receive my depot injection of Olanzapine, which slows down my thinking and helps me ingratiate easier into the wide and wonderful world.
"So I can't fire you?"
I'm struggling here. "So, are you a Reichian? Probably not. A Jungian? Or are you a Freud man?"
My care worker smiles. "Freud, Andrew. Freud."
I sigh. "Did you know that the word 'Columbine' is on phone predictive text?"
I'm wearing a red and brown striped top with two hundred pound Osiris sunglasses on talking to a psychiatric nurse called Fulden ("pronounced Ful-Dan") who is a pretty young thing from Turkey with a streak of pure malice that she manages to disguise from her family, I'm assuming, since she obviously feels some kind of horror at her status in this world, like they all do.
"So," she says. "What's your name?"
"You haven't heard of me? I'm famous on Pynchon Ward."
"Well," she says, "not that famous, I've never heard of you."
"So is this a problem with your training then?" I smile, adjusting my sunglasses. She can't help but feel exposed, and shoots me an awkward smile straight out of "Misery" that explains her position: You don't understand what pain is, Mister Man...
"Andrew!" I turn, and see Holly smiling at me with a look of sheer delight.
"I was just asking Fulden if she could define irony, Holly," I say, standing up.
"The injection is ready and waiting for you, I'm so glad you're being mature about all this."
I wish I had a gun. Although my debut novel "Smoking Is Cool", which was totally misread by everybody who read it, was written quickly in order that I would never have to murder a psychiatric nurse. I stand up, and Fulden looks orgasmic since she knows they're about to inject me. They live for this, these skanky farm girls who seek male weakness like a shark seeks human blood. The injection is administered into the buttock of your choice. It always hurts, but what's worse is the knowledge that everybody but you finds it utterly hilarious. I'm led into the medical room. Sarah, the head matron of Pynchon Ward has the injection laid out.
"Do you want to watch my YouTube video?" I ask.
"Andrew," Holly says, and I can almost see her salivate. The internet is filled with hidden sites that advertise the needle fetish of these lost souls.
"So, which side, Andrew?" Sarah asks, closing the door. Sarah is tall and plain, with greasy skin and bad dress sense. They would be lesbians if they didn't enjoy dominating men so much. I adjust my sunglasses, feeling the sheer pointlessness of any words.
"You're killing me with kindness," I sigh, "right side." I undo my belt, slide my trousers down.
"Sharp scratch!" The needle catches a nerve and they take longer than usual to withdraw the needle. Anybody can get sectioned. For anything. At any time.
"Fuckit," I grimace, and Holly pats my arse and says:
"Don't swear, Andrew," she chides, and I turn round, in a brief moment of excruciating pain.
"You don't know why you enjoy this, do you Holly?"
"I'm helping you, Andrew. You're so talented!"
I do up my belt, feeling worn and used.
"It's a sex thing, Holly," I say, taking off my sunglasses. "That's all this is. It's a sex thing for you."