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Things Aren't What They Seem


Geraldine Cook Davis

The entrance to Butler Psychiatric Hospital proclaims, "Butler Campus."  Now, who wasn't thinking with a straight head here? For goodness sake, the bunch of us are here because we're fruitloops who can't find our boxes, not because we're earning credits towards a degree.

So, I decide to take a walk "off campus," only I carry a day pass. The pass, scrambled letters admitting me to the outside world, gets flashed at a new nurse, preoccupied with an intern. Should I find success, I'll write myself another.

I dress in watercolour yellows, a cheerful choice, don't you think? The  yellow pants, yellow knit top, and a swirl of yellow hues on a jaunty scarf  scream, "This chick wants an escapade."

Charlie ignores me, so intent is he on directing traffic. His facial features frozen, he stands perfectly erect, the anal retentive guy that he is, while his arms gesture traffic to the left, the right, to halt, to go. There would be a hell of a pile-up if he stood anywhere near the road.

Giving directions is a way for Charlie to exert his manhood, since his wife verbally snipped him off eons ago. I know. We're in the same group  sessions. Supposedly, this is why the doc gives Charlie daily passes, except  on Sundays when he goes home to "the wife." Snip. Snip. I can imagine the  traffic load my pal imagines he controls on Mondays.

But, today is my day, and I catch the sight of a blue Oldsmobile at a red light. The bumper sticker reads, IF YOU ARE A FRIEND OF JESUS, YOU ARE A FRIEND OF MINE. I scramble into the passenger's side to hear a man's voice bellow, "What the - - - ?"

"Hi, friend." I greet him.

"Get out of my - - -"

"Now, now, friend." I dust off a business card that a Jehovah's Witness  once gave me. It reads, "Jesus is love."

The man pulls his car to the curb. The stout fellow squeezes out of his seat, opens my door, manhandles my arm, and screams, "Lady, you ought to be  locked up," as he ejects me onto the sidewalk.

Overcome by giggles, I stagger to a lovely porch, sporting inviting, white wicker furniture and a cheerful "WELCOME" mat in front of the door. I sit in a rocker, thinking that things aren't what they seem, as I invite whomever I please to join me for a cozy front porch chat.

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