Everybody's gonna move their feet
Everybody's gonna leave their seat
You gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City
For Leland Loomis, every day was getting to be the same old, same old.
He’d get up. They’d hustle him into the medication line. He’d wait, and chat with the others.
There was Allison. She had been cutting herself when they’d brought her in. Dave swore up and down that the world was going to end in ’08, and why the hell didn’t anybody believe him?! Time was a-wastin’! Lakeisha was a real dish, a honey. But she heard voices, and those voices had convinced her to strangle her newborn baby. He stayed away from Lakeisha, although he figured he wouldn’t mind if, you know, she wanted to do the nasty in the broom closet.
But he wasn’t near any of them in the line. Instead, he was near Ogden – nobody really knew Ogden’s name, except he had had a bus ticket on him when he’d been brought in, and the ticket was to go from Ogden, Utah to Detroit. In 1976.
His other line-mate was Phyllis, who claimed to be from Titan and was the only one who seemed to believe him. Of course Phyllis was nuts – everybody there was, Leland figured – but at least she was nice. It was a pity about her being nearly seventy. Then again, the broom closet was kinda dark.
He shuffled along and sighed. Would this be the day that someone with more mental capacity than Phyllis would actually give some credence to what he had witnessed back in ’04? He retied the sash on his ratty old maroon-colored bathrobe.
A new doctor was touring the facility. “What have we here?” he asked. He was an older fellow, British and thin, with a face that was mostly nose. A name tag on his white coat said Morgan.
“I’m sane, Doc,” Leland said to him.
“And you are?”
“Leland Loomis. I live and work on Carpenter Street.”
“Ah, hmm, yes, I read your chart,” said Morgan, “It was a year ago – you were brought in by the police, talking about, let’s see, what was it again?”
“There were lizard people. And there was a quiet veggie chick and a guy with a ray gun. Really!”
“How very curious. Mister Loomis, you do realize that your ravings made it so that you could be sent here, and not to the State Penitentiary? Are you, perhaps, pretending to persist in your delusions in order to continue residing here?” He waved a hand, almost magnanimously. “We have such fine amenities here.” His sweeping gesture encompassed the medication table where there were male nurses distributing the goodies, and even Lakeisha, who was in Dave’s face a little too much and talking about something to do with Hollywood calling. “If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that you were faking it. After all, I don’t imagine there are such delights to be had in the State Pen.”
“I’m not faking it. And Christ on a cracker, man, I am not nutso! It’s real!”
“Then if you are not insane, Mister Loomis, you should be on trial for kidnapping and murder, right? Remember all those people from the Blood Bank? Instead, you were found incompetent to stand trial. Now, there are only two ways things can be. One is the status quo ante. You stay here, secure in your delusions. The other is that you are found competent and you stand trial. There’s plenty of evidence against you, I understand. They’d have you dead to rights. So then you’d head to the State Pen where the lovely Phyllis does not reside, and you can trade thorazine for a shiv. There is no middle ground – no way whereby your, uh, observations can be found to be true. You will not be set free and have a medal pinned to your chest. Which do you prefer, here or the penitentiary, sir?”
Leland had gotten to the front of the line. “Loomis, Leland,” he said to a male nurse, showing the plastic hospital bracelet that was around his wrist. The bar code on the bracelet was scanned. He was given a shallow paper cup with a solitary orange tablet in it. Imprinted on the tablet was SKF T79, just like it always had.
He shuffled over to the second line, which was for water. That line was considerably shorter. Another male nurse handed him a second paper cup – this one was a tiny bit less shallow. The nurse watched closely as Leland showed him the orange pill being put on his tongue and then the water being swallowed. Then Leland opened his mouth as the nurse looked in with a small penlight. “Okay, you’re good to go,” said the nurse.
The medication hadn’t quite kicked in – that didn’t happen immediately. Leland went over to Morgan. “This is the only choice that makes any sense, Doc.” He was near Phyllis and put an arm around her. “Will ya excuse me and my girl now?”
“Yes, yes, of course,” said Morgan. Before he left for the day, he went over the patients’ charts again, and lingered on that of one Leland Loomis. “Lizard people, eh? It must have been rather frightening. No wonder you’d prefer retreating into a medicated haze.”
You gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City