Saturday, April 14, 2007

Inside the outside

Here's a story for the second ingredient. Madness. Enjoy, my fine feathered friends...enjoy.


Inside the Outside


"I told you," Ted said and walked over to the coffee table.

"I'm perfectly sane."

Bill stepped into the living room. Ted had been his best friend since the first grade. But Ted hasn't quite been on the mark lately.

"I know people who'd say different, buddy." Bill said. He took a seat in Ted's recliner.

Ted whirled around.

"Who?" He asked.

Bill shrugged.

"Your wife. She's worried about you."

Ted let go a breath and rolled his eyes.

"What do I care what she thinks. Stupid woman. You know I had to take over cleaning the house because she's too lazy to do it?"

"I heard." Bill said and stood from the recliner. All at once he was scared. The room felt as though the walls themselves were alive, and wanting crush him, needing to. And yeah, he heard. Ted had taken over cleaning the house because ehe barely realized he was married anymore.

He shuddered and moved toward his friend. Ted's wife, Ellen, had asked him to come and talk with Ted; to have a sit down, as it were. Well, by the looks they won't be sitting down anytime soon. Well, save for that brief touch and go on the recliner, of course. The problem with Ted now days, was that he had become compulsive, when earlier in his life he was quite satisfied with things. There were other things too. Ted had begun to scratch wildly at the back of his right ear a lot, like he was doing now. He also talked to himself, even in company. So far the old boy hasn't done that yet. There were more tics and peculiar behavior, of course, but nothing of consequence.

Bill sighed and said.

"Ted, man, let's take a walk or something. Get some fresh air. What do ya say?"

"No." ted said immediately and then-

"Kiddies heads on stakes where devils leave their rakes."

Bill stood, his breath suddenly dying in hias throat. Here was Ted talking to himself. Bill decided to let it go. Christ he needed to get out of this house. HE felt like he couldn't bretahe at all.

"Blood drippin, drippin, down the slippin hill." Ted said, his eyes wide and fixed on Bill.

Ted took a step closer to Bill. Bill retreated a step. Ted caught up. Shit.

"Hey, Ted. Give me some air huh?" Bill said nervously.

"Yellowed fork tongues in the mouths of infants and rogues." Ted said and suddenly rushed at Bill.

Bill, shocked to see this sort of behavior, even from Ted, who has been losing his mind ever since his daughter drowned in the bathtub under his watch, side stepped and saw his old friend stumble passed.

Ted stopped, turned, his eyes wider. Terror leaped up and bit into Bill's gut. He winced.

"Kill the interloper that wields the water of logic!" Ted shrieked and lunged for Bill again.

Bill dodged his friend easily. Ted had never been very good on his feet. Ted collided with the coffee table, flew over top and landed on the floor. He made a giggling sound and shot to his feet. HE scratched frantically at the back of his right ear. Then he roared and came at Bill again.

"Ted for Christ sake!" Bill shouted and dodged Ted again. But this time Ted wheeled around unexpectidly and caught Bill on the jaw with a hard hook.

Bill saw stars for a moment and then Ted rammed into him. They both went to the floor, Ted screaming something about cookies in the dark will make all the dogs fart. Bill shoved Ted off him, sat up, and punched his friend hard in the chin. Ted's eyes rolled up to reveal only the whites, and then he collapsed to the floor. Out cold.

Bill got to his feet, shuddered and went to the cordless phone hung in its cradle on the wall. He dialed 911. He told the dispatcher what the problem was and she said there would be a unit there in ten minutes. Must be a slow day.

As Bill waited for the police to arrive to haul his friend away, he sat int eh relciner, watching Ted as he slept. He shook his head. Such good person. Why is it always the good ones? Bill didn't know. And soon he heard a car pull into Ted's driveway. The police. And from the police station, poor Ted will go to the mental hospital over in Independence.

Bill got up from the recliner, took one last look at his best friend, and went to the front door to let the police officer in.

The End

8 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I had a sudden image at the end of Bill starting to scratch behind his ear. I'm reading a pretty good book now by Katherine Ramsland on Forensic Psychology. It talks a lot about psychology and mental states and how writers can use them. Good stuff.

Lucas Pederson said...

Thanks Charles. I'll check into that book. I could have probably made the story better if I did have it. Maybe I'll re-write it when I get that book. Thanks again!

Travis said...

I kind of got the feeling that Ted might be the one manifesting the outrageousness of mental illness, but that Bill might also be a bit touched.

The way you describe Bill wanting to get out of the house - that gave me a little bit of the heebies.

etain_lavena said...

I studied Psychology(sjuut don't tell anybody), for me mental instability is a very fine line, and everybody experiences it for brief moments in their lives. Everybody's ability to cope differs. It was a good story, I think to write about mental illness it is best to sometimes stick to one illness. True ppl get symptoms of different mental illnesses, but there is always one distinct one. I guess you could have left out the obsessive compulsiveness.....but still one awesome piece.
(Always google what you want to say....I think you wanted the guy to have Skitzo, right?)

Kate S said...

Yikes. Ted reminds me of my brother's ex-mother-in-law. Scary.

Lucas Pederson said...

Travis, thanks buddy! And yes, perhaps Bill was touched too. Madness is infectious, after all. I leave the thought to you to ponder over.
Etain, thanks a million!!! I didn't do any studying for the piece, just dove right in and let the story lead me through it. AS I mentioned before, I might take a gander at the book by Katherine Ramsland, Charles suggested, and re-write this story, maybe even make it longer. Yeah, schizo wasn't exactly what I was aiming for, but it sort of turned out that way. I just wanted the guy to go nutty bars, and really didn't think of the different illnesses out there. Thanks again for setting me straight Etain. Later.
Kate, yikes is right. Better watch that woman closely. She starts scratching the back of her ear wildly, you better grab a baseball bat to knock her out before she begins her rampage. :-) Just kidding. I'm glad the story scared you a little. I hoped it would frighten at least one of my feathered friends. Thanks again!

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