13 “Don’t touch me!” Cecilia’s voice bounced off the white walls and tiled floors of the Perpetual Help psych ward, rattling the grimy windows. Her plea echoed down the hall reaching Agnes, who was grabbing frantically at her locked door and banging on her window shouting Cecilia’s name. Completely in vain.
“I said, hands off,” Cecilia demanded once again.
“You’re insane,” the burly male recovery nurse said, laughing off her request and shackling her right wrist to the dirty hospital bed.
“Wow. You should’ve been a goddam detective,” CeCe said. “If you haven’t noticed, we’re all mad here.” She struggled, ripping her hospital gown. With one arm strapped to the bed, she swung blindly at the nurse.
“Calm down, bitch,” he shouted, grabbing for her sinewy arm. His hands were large and calloused. More like a construction worker’s paw, or a hit man’s.
“Not much of a bedside manner you have there,” she snapped, gathering all the saliva in her mouth that she could before spitting it in his face. She thrust her free elbow swiftly into the soft part of his throat and brought him to his knees. He gasped for breath, and his dignity, and eventually for his consciousness. “I hit like a bitch too, don’t I?”
He pulled at the alarm on the wall next to him, signaling for help as he collapsed at her feet. The sight of the beefy health aide struggling like that satisfied her immensely. She looked down at him and laughed.
“Help,” Cecilia mocked. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” She paused. “They should have gotten a chick nurse to do this job. Oh, that’s right. They did.”
An orderly came running down the corridor, his rubber soles squeaking on the newly waxed floor, arriving within seconds of the distress call.
“Grab her,” the nurse demanded hoarsely, rubbing at his sore and reddened neck. The orderly was stunned at the sight of her—one arm fastened to the bed, with her legs and free arm swinging wildly. No one would have guessed she was semi-dazed from the cocktail of meds she was forced to take that morning. Cecilia stared him down and could tell he was shell-shocked at the sight of her—whether it was because of her reputation, which she was used to now, or her current state. The orderly stood there, watching her flail like a live butterfly with its wings pinned to a mounting board. He looked like a scared little boy drafted to do a man’s job.
“Come on, Billy. Do it . . . now,” the nurse urged.
“Bill . . .” Cecilia muttered, her mind suddenly drifting a million miles away to her murdered mentor.
“You want to get out of here, don’t you?” Billy asked her, trying to stabilize her.
“Don’t you worry. I’ll get out, one way or another, even if it’s in a box,” she said. “Come with?”
The nurse made it to his feet, still a little wobbly, and leaned on the bed to steady himself. He reached for a leather strap affixed to the bottom of the bed and tied one of her legs down.
“Aren’t we going to administer the anesthesia now?” Billy asked out of breath, finding the sight of her so helpless unsettling.
“She’s not getting anesthesia. Orders from upstairs. This bitch is going old school.” The nurse pulled a decades-old rubber mouth bit out of the stainless-steel drawer. It was deformed from overuse and reeked o“Intriguing premise, fiery dialogue, and digs about celebrity-obsessed culture that moves at the speed of Twitter…”