by Todd Langley
Publisher - Createspace
Pages - 172 pages
This darkly humorous and delightfully unpredictable yarn unravels over the course of one strange day in West Texas when Sara, a young rehab inmate, attempts to complete her destiny to become the most powerful representative of God’s will on Earth.
However, before anything as grandiose as this divine blessing can take place she must deal with a host of lunatics whose lives are suddenly interwoven with her own. She will encounter a disturbed orderly, a repressed psychiatrist, a crazed janitor who has been struck by lightening, and a psychotic killer bent on spiritual remuneration.
Fortunately, not all the crazy characters she meets on her journey of ascension will be an obstacle. Her fellow inmates will grow into lifelong friends and provide her with their own assortment of hijinks. In addition, she will be graced by a kind grandmother who takes her on a magical yet bizarre ride she will never forget.
In the end, the slates of all these lunatics will be wiped clean for good or ill, and the fate of the world will hang in the balance.
What are you thinking, shithead?
The man stroked his long gray beard and leaned back on the wooden stump upon which he sat. He relaxed against the wall of the cave where he had resided for most of his long life.
Do you know what I’m thinking?
Coyote sat up. She stared back at the man. She had never really liked him all that much either. It had been oceans of time since she had found him wandering lost and confused in the desert. She’d known immediately that he was the next chosen one, albeit by mistake, so she had tried to offer him some companionship to ease the effects of that error. However, had she known he would turn out to be a misogynistic, self hating masturbator content to brood in this cave she would have left him to bake until crispy brown in the brutal desert sun. She marveled at the fact that he would spend a whole day spanking it and the whole night asking his half baked idea of a god for forgiveness. In her opinion he was a sad sack of a man, riddled by guilt from an ideology that forbade him to be human. What a waste of time.
Thankfully, he had recently become suicidal. This pleased Coyote greatly, though she knew his power would have to pass to another when his time finally came.
The man studied her closely. Coyote’s amber eyes peered whimsically into his sallow dark orbs. Lost in her gaze the man’s hand absently drifted from his beard to his crotch, where he cupped his nards in an unconscious act of self preservation. He sat there blankly holding his jewels for some time before he collected another cognitive thought.
It makes no difference either way what you think or what I think. I’m done.
The man rose to his feet. The shadows of the cave’s depths merged into darkness behind him as he strode to the entrance. He looked down from atop his mesa at an endless desert sparsely garnished with cobalt sage. He raised his hands into the air. In the sky above, storm clouds formed into thundery clusters crackling with electricity.
Slowly, the dark clouds grew into a wall many miles long and drifted lazily across the sage prairie.
Sara was a melancholy girl with eyes like moons that peered deeply wherever they shined. Sometimes too deeply.
Those eyes now bore into a large shatter proof window with twitchy intensity. Her hands were clenched in white knuckled fists, and her breath came hard and fast as she repeated her mantra.
“The glass is water and I’m going though it.”
Over and over again she said these words with hushed fervor. Two other inmates, Shay and Kylee, watched her from across the room, quietly hoping Sara would do the impossible. The rest of the rehab inmates took little or no notice. It had been fun at first, but now they knew what to expect.
Sara rose to her feet, and her voice took on a shrill tone as her chanting climaxed.
“The glass is water and I’m going through it!”
She hurled her petite sixteen year old frame at the window. In almost cartoonish fashion she bounced off the Plexiglas and fell to the floor in a failed heap. A thin line of blood trickled from her nose and dripped onto the linoleum of the rec room floor. Sara lay there like a stone and looked longingly at the endless desert outside the window.
Heather, the Senior Counselor, approached her and kindly held out a tissue.
“You need to have another talk with Dr. Krittenbrink.”
Sara sighed and sat up, her curly brown hair a tangle atop her head. She took the tissue, wiped her nose and stared at the blood a moment before getting to her feet. Seeing the Doctor again was the last thing she wanted to do, but she told herself she wouldn’t be in here much longer either way.
The Center for Christ’s Healing Touch was a privately owned and operated rehabilitation clinic for juvenile women. It was inconveniently located between the towns of Odessa and McKinleyville in a scorched West Texas wasteland. Most of the young women it treated were sent there involuntarily by their ultra conservative families. It wasn’t a real rehab as much as it was a tough love home for teens. Some, like Sara, were not even drug addicts. They had been caught participating in the kind of youthful experimentation most of us escape from unscathed, but instead of receiving guidance from their parents they were immediately sent here for reprogramming. It’s just how some rich families handled things. They couldn’t have their daughters tarnishing their reputations or ruining their chances at marrying a Senator. And quite frankly, they were accustomed to throwing money at the private sector to handle much of the dirty work of child rearing anyway.
The Center was discrete and effective despite its pretentious name. Most of the young women never returned or were promoted to asylums where they were unfairly diagnosed with the latest disorder and given a steady supply of legally sanctioned drugs to help them cope with the imposition on their reality.
To Dr. Krittenbrink it was all part of the healing process. As head of staff at the Center he enacted his authority with ample gusto. In his view he was not just a doctor, he was also a guardian angel sent to protect these troubled young minds. He was liked by most of the staff, and the inmates under his care generally spoke well of him. He considered himself to be stern but fair.
Sara despised the scrawny little peckerhead from the moment she first saw him. She hated him from the graying hair at his temples all the way down to his perfectly waxed shoes. She had no real reason for feeling this way about him. Since she’d met him he had been completely professional, more than polite, and had an admittedly affable nature. But underneath that polished exterior she sensed a hypocritical and depraved little Napoleon who would do anything to maintain the power he had over everyone within these walls.
As she now sat opposite him, she prepared herself for his shallow inquiries into her clockworks and imagined slapping the condescending smirk off of his face.
“Sara, you’ve only been here three days. This habit of yours is quickly becoming a problem.”
She looked at him like he was an ingrown toenail. Even his voice made her skin crawl. Dr. Krittenbrink couldn’t help but flinch from the extremity of her sudden awkward stare.
“I’m going to prescribe ten milligrams of Ativan a day to help you stay calm. There’s no need for this kind of anxiety. In time and with the Lord’s help you won’t need them, but for the moment I feel it’s the best measure. You’ll start on them today after breakfast.”
Sara couldn’t believe it.
“You’re going to put me on drugs?”
“Medication,” corrected the good doctor.
They locked eyes, and she had the urge to grasp his mind. She had done it once before, not to him but to her own mother.
Sara was still frightened by the ability and unsure exactly how to use it.
She looked away, and her mind instead went once more to the Plexiglas window in the rec room.
Crazy John’s alarm clock went off. It had the same volume and tone of a garbage truck backing up. It was so loud in John’s small bedroom it increasingly rattled the one small window with every steady, piercing beep.
John sat up, accustomed to the din, and stopped the alarm with a haggard hand. He yawned like a wounded animal and ran his other hand across his worn face.
He hated mornings, especially mornings when he had to get up to go to his suck ass job. It was a constant process to remind himself he was lucky to even have a job in this bullshit economy, and it didn’t matter if he was just a janitor. It wasn’t the most uplifting mental memo, but it sufficed to get him out of bed and on to another day. For a man who was known as Crazy John it was as good a start as any.
John stumbled into the kitchen of his one bedroom trailer house. His counter top was littered with dirty dishes, empty energy drink bottles, and cats.
Lots of cats.
Three sat huddled on the counter top amidst the refuse. Two were on top of the fridge. One sat on the stove and one the windowsill. All in all he had about thirty of the critters lingering about at any given time. John loved his cats, but he must have loved them in the way a shepherd loves his sheep, for he often ate them. He especially liked them battered and fried, just like chicken.
He’d developed a taste for them while passing through Southeast Asia when he was in the military, and despite the risks of whetting his appetite at home in such a drastically different culture he had decided to farm the animals. At first he had collected them from pounds and rescue shelters, but when the proprietors had begun to suspect John’s motives (he poked them like melons and made comments like “Too skinny” or “You’re a plump one”) he had to begin raising his own. In the long run it was the better choice. Through years of selective breeding he now had a population of hearty stock that was content to laze about until the reaper came a knocking. Of course none of the neighbors minded much because there were no neighbors to speak of. John’s trailer stood on a desolate patch of land five miles from the nearest paved road and almost twenty to the nearest town. His nearest neighbor lived on a similar plot of dirt a mile away and was even more reclusive than himself. Besides that, everyone around knew he was crazy anyway.
The closest imitation of civilization was a town called McKinleyville, and everyone there called him Crazy John plain to his face. The rumors of his appetites were far less extreme than many of the other stories about him that circulated the populace. Such is the way of small towns. The falsehoods they generate for their outcasts are often more offensive than any acts actually committed by the accused to begin with. It didn’t help that John was never afraid to say what was on his mind. His viewpoints did little to quell any speculations about his personal life. He constantly let it be known that he was a veteran who now suffered from PTSD. He also claimed to talk to animals and aliens. The former was at least corroborated by the occasional dog walker that happened on John’s path and witnessed his eerie way of coaxing submissive behavior from even the most aggressive canine. To boot, he knew just about every conspiracy theory ever written or quietly whispered in the dead of night. Worst of all he would bring up politics or religion in almost any conversation no matter how casual or brief. For example, here’s a recent nugget from an accidental bump with another patron inside the local gas station.
“Excuse me,” said the patron.
John replied, “You’re excused but not that goddamned Obama. That no good son of a bitch is ruinin’ this country with his Godless ways, and we’re all suckin’ his big black New World Order cock. I for one don’t much care for the taste.”
Fortunately for John the socio political climate of West Texas didn’t exactly disagree with that viewpoint. What many outsiders didn’t realize is that the majority of rural conservatives distrusted pretty much every politician regardless of whether it happened to be a Democrat or a Republican. John often told people in his tactful way that the only real difference in politics was that no God fearing country folk would vote for a Democrat as long as they killed babies and supported queers. He may have been right about that considering he hadn’t encountered many arguments to the contrary.
Presently, John opened the fridge and snagged a carton of milk. He scratched one of the cats behind the ears a bit before turning and scouring the countertop for his pills. He found the current supply, popped the top, and downed a few with a quick gulp of milk. He saw the clock and realized he was running almost five minutes behind schedule. He hastily returned the carton to the fridge, slammed the door, and made his way to the coffee pot hiding in the corner. He had a rigid routine. His doctor said it was good for him.