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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Flight of the Dodo - 10. Chapter 10

I was startled awake by a noise I slightly recognized. After I opened my eyes, I saw that I wasn’t in the same room I had been at County General. I was in a room with four other beds and there were patients in those beds. Next to me was a man about E3’s age who needed a shave and had a big bandage on his head. Straight across from me there was younger man who had his left leg hanging from a framework of metal posts, bars, and ropes. His lower leg and foot were in a cast. Next to him there was a very old man who appeared to be asleep and had a thing in his mouth that was helping him breathe. There was a heart monitor on a shelf above his head that was beeping. That was the noise that woke me.

“Hey, good mornin’, boy, welcome to Ward 11 East,” the man next to me said. “Where you hale from?”

“Are you asking where I live?” I asked.

“Uh, yeah.”

“Oh, I live in Olympic Manor in North Park, Washington.”

“Oh, yeah, the ol’ Olympic. That was quite a course in its day.”

“Course? What do you mean by that?”

“Golf course, boy, golf links, eighteen tees, eighteen fairways, and eighteen greens with little flags flyin’ in the breeze. I was only a caddy way back then and I cried real tears after they told me the golf course was closing so those damned houses could be put up. Damned poor use of a great golf course. I bet your daddy plays golf at, let me think, Olympic Manor means you might have some money, but where would Daddy tee off on a Wednesday afternoon? My guess is, um, is, uh, Seattle Golf Club out in The Highlands. Right, boy?”

“I’m sorry, but E3 doesn’t play golf because he lost his left hand at Iwo Jima. E3 plays handball and squash at the Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle. Also, E3 plays tennis at the Seattle Tennis Club on Lake Washington in Seattle.”

“You’re just a treasure trove of information, boy, aren’t you?”

“I can’t agree with you because I didn’t understand what you called me. I’ll require more information if you expect me to answer you correctly.”

“You know, boy, you talk weird like. Did you go to school here in the U.S.A. or are you some kind of immigrant?”

“I’m an American because I was born here, but E1 immigrated from Norway in the late nineteenth century. Also, I have been to school. I attended Meadow Point Elementary School, Captain David Nyberg Junior High, North Park High School, and Louis Bergman Alternative High School in North Park, Washington.”

“A Norsky, huh, but you don’t have a trace of their lingo. I take it Daddy don’t speak Norsky, right?”

“I refuse to speak to you further because it is obvious you don’t like people of Norwegian descent.”

I turned away from that man and stared at the ceiling.

“Troy, I guess he told you,” said the young man across from me.

“Yeah, just like a Norsky,” said the man next to me. “Fucking fish heads aren’t worth shit, if you ask me, Davy boy.”

“I thought fish heads was Chinamen.”

“Nah, them Norskies was the original fish heads. That’s all them Norskies do is fish. You ever see one of them purse seiners haul up a net full of salmon? Damned waste of good fish.”

“Well, well, sounds like everybody’s awake that counts,” a man in whites said as he walked into the room.

“Jack, why you put this Norsky boy in here with us normal folk?” Troy asked.

“Mr. Skinner, you’re about as normal as a used plug of chewing tobacco floating in a spittoon,” Jack said. He picked up the clipboard at the end of my bed and looked at it. “Now, uh, Edvard, welcome to Northern State Hospital medical unit. I see you’ve met our resident grouch. Don’t mind him, he talks a stream of shit, but he’s harmless. So, let’s see, you’ve sliced your wrists. Ooh, not good. Do you need to use the toilet?”

“Yes, sir,” I said, “but, I believe I have a catheter.”

“Nope, not here, you need the toilet? You get your ass out of your bed and go through that door. That’s where we keep the utilities. Now, you will notice you are not strapped to your bed, so you might as well go while I’m here. Go on, get yourself out of your bed and skedaddle.”

I didn’t know what skedaddle meant, but I had to use the toilet. I pulled back the bedcovers and saw that I was wearing some kind of pajamas. I saw the bandages on my wrists. Then my body told me I was wasting time, something was going to happen soon, and if I didn’t get to the toilet, it was going to occur on the way.

I came out of the toilet and saw that Mr. Troy Skinner wasn’t in his bed. That man named Jack was no longer in the room. I returned to my bed and got back under the bedcovers.

“So you’re from North Park,” Davy said. “I was born and raised in North Park, up on the west side of Foundry Ridge in a big house with a view of the Sound. Of course, I didn’t go to any of their public schools. After my early years at The Lake School, I was sent back east to Windlass Academy to finish out my education. Unfortunately, Daddy-o had a massive MI and kicked the bucket. Bimbo of the year took her chunk of the money and flew back to LA. I had a trust fund, but I couldn’t touch it for personal use until I was twenty-five or a college graduate. Oh, it paid my daily expenses, within reason or rather according to the trustee who was a royal pain in the butt, plus my tuition at a private school less expensive than Windlass. I ended up in this cheap ass school in the middle of nowhere Shropshire County, England. The damned train didn’t even stop there. I had to take a bus to this burg five miles from the school. The place was so far out in the sticks there was no taxi service. I called the school and some yoyo told me they didn’t have a car that could come and get me. I asked them how I was supposed to get there and that yoyo told me to ask Mr. Kent down at the garage to bring me or, if he wasn’t available, to walk, as it was quite a nice bucolic jaunt that I might enjoy. Luckily for me, Mr. Kent was amiable and only charged me twenty pounds to haul my ass and luggage out to that so-called school.”

“Complaining about your miserable education again, Davy?” a man in whites said.

“Just making conversation.”

“Sounded mighty one sided to me.”

“Yeah, what do you know? You’re just an orderly. You’re not even a psych aide.”

“Now, now, don’t be getting personal. Now, let’s see who of the members of this ward is Edvard Oscar Pedersen? It’s not Mr. Steve Polk. And it’s not Mr. David Fischer. And Mr. Troy Skinner is spending some time down in physical therapy. So that must be you, my young man.”

The orderly came over to my bed with a wheelchair and said, “Okay, Edvard, out of the bed and into the chair. I’ve got here a piece of paper saying you have an appointment with Dr. Levinson. Did you enjoy your breakfast, Mr. Pedersen?”

“I haven’t eaten today,” I said.

“He’s speaking the truth there, Peter,” Davy said. “Eddie woke up after breakfast had been served. You might say he is possibly a bit hungry, not that you probably give a damn.”

“Is this true that you haven’t eaten?” Peter the orderly asked.

“No, sir, I haven’t eaten as I said earlier,” I said as I got out of the bed and sat down on the wheelchair.

“Shit! Well, I got to take you to your appointment, but I’ll certainly give Dr. Levinson a piece of my mind. Still haven’t figured out who’s running this shit show, but whoever it is don’t know shit about taking care of patients. Oh, well, let’s get you settled in the chair and we’ll be on our way.”

“Eddie, have fun at your appointment,” Davy said. “I sure wish I could get out of my bed.”

“You’ll get your time, Davy, you just have to be patient,” Peter said.

“Yeah, I’ll be the patient patient. What fun!”

“Eddie, don’t you be minding poor Davy,” Peter said. “If he hadn’t stepped in front of that kiddie train at the county fair, he’d be down at the young adult ward where he belongs.”

After that Peter didn’t say anything until he turned a corner and stopped at a door. He knocked on it with his right hand knuckles and then opened the door. He pushed me inside and up to a desk where a man with long gray hair that was styled in an afro. He was wearing a blue suit jacket over a red, orange, and yellow tie-dyed shirt and was sitting on the other side of the desk. I couldn’t see his pants so I didn’t know if he was wearing any, but then I realized that was a crazy thought, which I wasn’t supposed to have.

“Thank you, Peter, please come back in fifty minutes unless I ring for you know what,” the man said.

With that Peter left me and went out the door shutting it behind him.

“Well, let’s see, Edvard Oscar Pedersen, lately of North Park, Washington,” the man said. “I’m Dr. Levinson, I’ll be your psychiatrist of record while you are with us here a Northern State Hospital. I see here on your record you spent thirty-six days at our associated facility, commonly referred to as Western State Hospital. I see that was for diagnostic purposes, but they simply confirmed your previous diagnosis of early-onset schizophrenia. Now, you’re with us because you attempted an early exit from your unfortunate life. Let me see your hands.”

I held my hands up.

“Wiggle your fingers and thumbs.”

I tried to do that and the fingers and thumb on my right hand almost moved normally, but they barely moved on my left hand. Plus, both wrists hurt very much.

“I assume by your expression you are experiencing a certain degree of pain. Yes?”

“Yes, sir, my wrists,” I said.

“Well, we’ll have our staff neurologist check you out. Plus, our staff orthopedist will determine what sort of physical therapy you’ll require. But you’re here with me to delve into that head of yours. Now, what was your reason for trying to cut off your hands?”

“At six o’clock in the morning of Monday, August 18, I left home to go to the Seventh Heaven Hotel at Sixth Avenue and Yesler Way in downtown Seattle for my eight o’clock appointment at the personnel office. E3 arranged with Mr. Rabie Ibrahim, the owner of the Seventh Heaven Hotel, for me to be employed to help set up and taken down tables and chairs for conferences at the hotel.”

“Wait a minute, you don’t have to be so specific. All I want is the why of your attempted suicide.”

“I don’t understand. I was explaining why. You see at the personnel office the woman gave me two papers to fill out with a pen. I don’t usually use a pen because I often make mistakes. My mind doesn’t work like normal people. I’m what is called abnormal. I know that because I looked up that word because Larry Mark said I was abnormal on my first day of sixth grade at Captain David Nyberg Junior High School.”

“Yes, but why did you attempt suicide?”

“I’m trying to explain what occurred.”

“Can you explain without giving me a lot of extraneous information?”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what that word extraneous means. So I might not be able to give you the answer you want without giving you a lot of extraneous information. I’m sorry you are unhappy with me, but I don’t know what else I can do. I’m trying to explain why I tried to commit suicide, but I don’t know how to explain why I tried to commit suicide in manner you request. If you will define extraneous for me, maybe then I can give you the information you desire.”

“Have you always been so talkative?”

“What do you mean by talkative?”

“I don’t see your education detailed here in your record. Did you graduate from high school?”

“No. I attended North Park High School for my freshman, sophomore, and junior years, but for my senior year I was transferred to Louis Bergman Alternative High School because of my poor scholastic performance at North Park High School. I was in County General Hospital after having a meltdown at Volunteer Park in Seattle as I was being arrested for trying to prostitute myself in what is called a tearoom, I asked E3 if I could stop going to Louis Bergman Alternative High School because I was going to fail all my classes because I’m such a dope about everything. I don’t like being dumb. I also don’t like being crazy. That is why I wanted to go down to our Lutheran church to talk to Pastor Olsen about where I’d go after I committed suicide because I had heard that people who committed suicide don’t go to Heaven.”

“Wait, wait, we’re getting off track again. So this isn’t the first time you tried to commit suicide, right?”

“No, that first time was what Dr. Kaiser, my psychiatrist, called suicide ideation because I didn’t actually attempt to commit suicide. I was only thinking about it and that is why I wanted to go down to our Lutheran—”

“Wait, wait, I’ll accept it was only suicide ideation. I certainly don’t need to know why you felt you had to go speak to your pastor. But you did say you are tired of being mentally ill. That is correct?”

“Yes. You see it is very hard being as crazy as I’m. I don’t think like other people and if I do try to think like people expect me to, it always comes out wrong. I don’t like being like this. It is hard.”

“Uh, huh, well, I think we’re going to have to work on determining your correct state of mind. But, in the meantime, I still need to know why you tried to commit suicide this time. Can you just say why without telling me a story?”

“I don’t know if I can do that. You see my mind works in straight lines. One thing leads to another thing. Unless I go through the story and relate all the facts that I know, I can’t get to the end where the information you want may exist. As I said, I don’t think like other people.”

“Okay, let’s see, you went to the personnel office at the Seventh Heaven Hotel at Sixth Avenue and Yesler Way in downtown Seattle. The woman there gave you two papers to fill out with a pen, but didn’t want to use a pen. What’s next?”

“I asked for a pencil with an eraser, but the woman told me I had to use the pen. Therefore, I had to go very slow so I didn’t make a mistake and have to ask for a new piece of paper. The woman already told me she didn’t like Norskies because we spell our names wrong. The paper asked if I had a high school diploma, but I don’t have a high school diploma that I know of, so I left that blank. The paper asked if I had a GED, but I don’t know what a GED is so I left that blank. On the other side of the paper and on the front of the second page I was to enter my prior employment, but I have no employment history so I left that blank. At the bottom of the second page I was to sign my name, which I did. Then it asked for today’s date like MM/DD/YY. Since I didn’t know what that meant, I didn’t enter today’s date. I told the woman I was done and she was upset because I took too long to enter the information. Then she saw that I had not entered the information about my high school diploma or GED. She asked why and I told her I didn’t graduate from high school and I didn’t know what a GED was so I didn’t enter that information. She saw that I didn’t have an employment history. She told me I wasn’t qualified for employment at the Seventh Heaven Hotel and told me to leave the premises or she would call the police. Not wanting to be arrested again, I left the Seventh Heaven Hotel and went home. After I got home, Syl asked me why I wasn’t at the hotel. Syl asked me if I had missed my bus. I told Syl I didn’t miss my bus and I told Syl that the woman at the Seventh Heaven Hotel said I wasn’t qualified to work at the Seventh Heaven Hotel. Then Syl got angry and Syl said a swear word. I didn’t know why Syl was mad at me and I said I was sorry I didn’t get the job. Then Syl said she was going to call E3 and find out why I didn’t get the job. I told her, again, I was sorry she was mad at me because I didn’t get the job. I went to my bedroom to think about things. After a while Syl came to my bedroom and asked if I wanted lunch. I told her that I wasn’t hungry because I was sorry I didn’t get the job at the hotel and I was sorry she was mad at me for not getting the job at the hotel. She came over to my bed and said she wasn’t mad at me because I didn’t get the job at the hotel, but, since Syl doesn’t like me, I didn’t believe her. Then the telephone started to ring and she left. I went to the door to shut it because Syl had not done it as she was supposed to. I stood at the door and I could hear her yelling and swearing. We are not allowed to swear. Even though Syl said she wasn’t mad at me for not getting the job at the hotel, I knew she was only saying that so I wouldn’t feel as if I had done something wrong. I shut my door, but I didn’t go back to the bed. Then I got an idea about how to solve the problem with me not getting the job at the hotel and making Syl so mad at me that she was swearing at E3. I went out of my bedroom and walked down the hall. I saw Syl facing away from me and talking loudly on the telephone. She was swearing so much I couldn’t help feeling bad that I didn’t get that job at the hotel. I tried to be as quiet as I could as I walked into the kitchen. I went to the knife rack and removed the chef’s knife. I went to the counter, laid my left hand upside down on the counter, and then I cut my wrist with the chef’s knife. I started to cry. It hurt very much, but I had to do the same thing with my right wrist. I tried to cut my right wrist as I had my left wrist, but my left hand would barely work and I couldn’t make as deep a cut on my right wrist as I did on my left wrist. I was crying hard as I put the chef’s knife down, but it fell on the floor. I turned to go to my bedroom, but Syl came into the kitchen and saw what I had done. Syl asked why I had done what I had, but I was crying too hard to talk. Then she called me a stupid dodo. She is always calling me a stupid dodo. Syl did first aid and called for an ambulance.”



“Nothing, it’s just an expression. So you felt you were a problem in the family and felt the only solution was to kill yourself.”

“Yes, and I’ll do it again because I now know I’m no longer welcome in the family. Syl doesn’t like me because she always calls me a stupid, ignorant dodo. It’s obvious E3 doesn’t like me because his friend Mr. Rabie Ibrahim didn’t check with the personnel office at the Seventh Heaven Hotel and that woman wouldn’t hire me. I can’t put up with this. I have to go away.”

Copyright © 2021 CarlHoliday; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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6 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter 

Always thankful for a comment, no matter how short it is.

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13 hours ago, NimirRaj said:

All I can say is...damn poor kid. 

Thanks for your comment. This is definitely a low point for Ed.

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