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Zombie Breakfast

I looked at the pieces of the smashed camera on the sidewalk. As shocked as I was that I had done that, I was more afraid of what I might do next. I wondered how fast I would have to go to be able to drive off a pier into the river, like in the movies. I wondered if there was even a pier in the area where I could do that. So I got into my car and drove.

I didn't know where I was going until I got there. I didn't even know that I knew exactly where it was until I saw the sign. I pulled into the parking lot and walked to the main entrance. I was still wearing the camera strap. I told the lady at the front desk that I thought I was going crazy and might do something crazy, and could I stay here for now?

She asked for my health insurance card, which she put into the little machine with a form that I had to sign on the bottom. A few minutes later, I was sharing my angst with a nurse, who then brought me to my room, where I was to just try to relax and wait for a doctor to see me. I didn't wait very long, and after a short interview, the doctor instructed the nurse to give me two little green pills. I slept very well that night.

Not long after I awoke, I was ushered to breakfast in the dining hall. I was a bit taken aback by this - I had never been in a hospital where you didn't eat in your room, and I really wasn't in a mood to be around a lot of people. That turned out not to be a problem at all. The first sign was the way they shuffled to their seats without any indication that they were aware of the presence of others. The second was that their eyeballs didn't move.

The clincher was the green slop. When my bowl was put in front of me, I eyed it suspiciously, not quite sure for a minute if I was supposed to eat it or wait for someone to bring newspaper for a papier-mâché project. I looked around and saw the others methodically dipping their plastic spoons into the bowl and depositing the substance in their mouths. I dipped my own spoon and slowly brought it to my face. It had no smell at all; I wasn't sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing, so I cautiously put the tip of the spoon to my mouth.

I had never known that tastelessness could taste so bad. I was rather hungry, so I tried my best to eat it, but two spoonfuls was all I could take. When I looked up to see that many of the others had finished their bowl and were lining up for seconds, as lifelessly as they had earlier walked in, that's when I knew for sure.

A little while after I got back to my room, a nurse came in to escort me to a room where I was to wait for a doctor. When he came in, I was surprised to see that it was the same doctor I had seen elsewhere several years earlier, when he had told me that he could give me something that would work much better after I had taken a bottle of Anacin. He didn't recognize me, and I didn't mention our earlier meeting.

He asked me how I was feeling, and why I had come there the previous evening, and I told him about the girl and my father's camera and my thoughts about driving into the river and my seemingly unintentional itinerary that brought me to the hospital. After we chatted a bit, he looked at his watch and asked me if I would rather sign myself in until I was better, or leave. I thought of my breakfast companions, and imagined seeing them again at lunch.

"I feel much better, doctor. I'd like to go home now."


Miss Melicious said...

whew...close one. A few days of that you would've been a Zombie too...lining up for seconds of glop.

Anonymous said...

Soylent green is people, you know.

Cayman said...

Good thing there isn't a 72 hour holding requirement there. Three days of that might have led to permanent residency.

Dave said...

That was surreal yet awesome to read. Superb writing, Legs.