My third or fourth day in Runnells I met a woman named Gloria. Gloria was pretty fucking whacked, and it was easy to tell right from the jump.
She spent a lot of time sitting off by herself and watching people. For some reason, I found this rather interesting and started watching her. She would also slink around the floor following people around.
Once she started following me, I figured I should probably say something to her. "Hey lady, why are you following me around?" I asked her. "Aye Dios Mio" She replied. "You can see me?" "Um, yeah" I replied, while thinking "What the fuck?" "You're the only one who can see me. I'm invisible" she replied. "Are you God?"
Now, I know when something is going to turn out funny, so I immediately replied with " Why yes, yes I am" She dropped to her knees and started praying in Spanish. Unfortunately, from the MHA desk all they could see was her kneeling in front of me.
This did not go over well at all. "Mike, Gloria, what the hell are you doing?!" was yelled out as an MHA who's name escapes me at the moment came rushing over to us. "It's not what it looked like man" I said to him. "She was just praying because she thinks I'm God". The MHA rolled his eyes at me and sent me off to my room.
Over the next few days, I watched Gloria stalk her way around the wing, going in and out of people's rooms collecting various items, from clothing to pillows and deposit them in her room. She never fucked with any of my stuff; because I was "God", so I didn’t see any reason to tell the MHA's what was going on. In fact, I used Gloria's "invisibility" to my advantage.
For every night stinky Jamie would keep me awake with his babbling, I would tell Gloria there was stuff in the room of Jamie's that she needed to collect. The weird part is no one seemed to notice that their stuff was missing for about 2 weeks. Once people started complaining about missing stuff, the MHA's called everyone into the day room and asked if anyone knew anything about it.
Neither Gloria nor I said anything, and no one else knew what was going on, so they started room searches.
When they got to her room and opened the little closet, a giant pile of stolen crap came tumbling out.
"Gloria" Desmond said. "What the hell is this"? Gloria looked him straight in the eyes and said “You can't even see me, so how do you know it's me?" Desmond was taken back for a few seconds before he asked "I...can't see you?" "No, of course you can’t. I’m invisible" she replied. She turned and pointed at me and said "Only God can see me"
At this point I was like "oh shit, she's gonna tell him I told her to snag Jamie's crap". But she didn't. She was put on 1 on 1 for a few days while they upped her meds, and I noticed that I was being watched a little more closely from that point on.
Even though I was basically guilty of what they had in their minds, I certainly couldn't make things easy on my watchers.
At this point I still wasn't what you would call "better", so it made sense in my mind to fuck with them. I would hide out in the shower room when I knew they were doing a headcount, walk around the wing after lights out, all kinds of stupid shit. Once my new meds started to kick in and I started feeling better, I realized I was basically making their jobs hard for no reason. I did, after all, do what they had suspected. It turns out that they were waiting for me to come around and admit it once I was feeling better, as my case manager told me.
"It'll probably get you out of here a lot faster if you just cop to it" Ray told me. Ray was super social worker extraordinaire, I loved that guy. So I did. I walked right up to Desmond and told him " Hey man, I was kind of directing invisible Gloria to steal my smelly ass roommate's shit out of our room" I said. "We knew that already, but the fact you admitted it shows us you're getting better" he replied. About 3 weeks later I was discharged, with Ray's help.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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