“Hello, my name’s Patsy,” I spoke, mostly to the floor.
“Hello, Patsy”, disembodied voices echoed back at me from the circle I sat in. I refused to look up…there was no point.
“Did you have anything else to tell us today, Patsy? Why you’re here, maybe?” The cool, soft voice of Dr. Tellman (yeah, irony there, am I right?) cut through the gloom of the purposely-dimmed room from my right. She kept us in a semi-darkened state to “free our inhibitions and allow us to speak easier”, or something like that.
“I’m here because the State thinks I’m nuts, that’s why I’m here, Dr. Tellman”.
“And what did you say to them to give them that impression, Patsy?” Still, with that same easy, coaxing voice. God! She could sell milk to cows, which would be difficult, because of the whole lack of communic-
“Oh, sorry, Doc, woolgathering. I told the State’s doc the truth, is all. And he marked up my sheet like a game of tic-tac-toe. Next thing I know, here I am with the rest of the Cranks, Tanks & Yanks.”
Creaks, whines and rustling met with that statement, & I knew I touched nerves, and got some of them curious.
Off to me left, I heard
“Whatzat? Whatchoo said? Cranks, Tanks & Yanks? Zat some kind of insult or sumpthin?”
“No, not an insult, Tommy, it’s just my own way of describing this place. You see…Cranks are real crazies, through no fault of their own. Something’s wrong upstairs, & they can’t help it. I feel bad for them.
Tanks are the ones gone crazy because of drugs, alcohol, or both. They did it to themselves, so they get no sympathy from me.
And Yanks, well…those are the poor ones that been through hell so bad, abuse, war, rape, you name it, they’ve suffered & seen it, and they can’t contain it inside their brains by themselves. They get yanked all over by others, put through torture so horrible, ain’t no one should have to go through that shit, specially not alone.”
“And where would you put yourself in that labeling system, Patsy?” Dr. Tellman attempted to get us back on track, but I could hear in her voice that I had her interest.
“Nowhere, Dr. Tellman. I’m not in any of those categories, because I’m not crazy. But the truth sounds an awful lot like crazy, these days, so I might as well have a vacation, hmm?”
I could hear her pen scritching against her clipboard as she wrote notes, quick & efficient, just like her. If I concentrated, I could probably envision her wrinkling her nose as her ash-blonde hair fell over her eyes while she wrote, and her tucking it neatly back behind her ear, sliding her pen atop her ear to wait for the next thought.
“And what is this ‘crazy truth’, Patsy?”
“Well, that I’m a Reaper, and that I’m a living dead girl.”