By Mark David Blum, Esq.
(DISCLAIMER: what follows is fiction, folks. i had a vision, had to write it down. my muse made me do it. remember, it is NOT real).
I wish I could stop screaming. It would be nice to stop the endless bloodcurdling up-from-the-toes screaming at the top of my lungs pausing occasionally long enough to reload oxygen; it is hard to keep it up hour after hour as I have been doing for God knows how long. Mouth agape, eyes big as cueballs, sweat draining from every pore. I cant stop it all. The voices in my head tell me to push forward. “Louder”, they say. “Harder”, they demand. “You will be free”, they taunt. Let me tell ya; the pain, the stress, the energy required would kill a normal man.
But I am not a normal man. Remember, I am here in this bed screaming like an idiot. The chaos and misery being dumped upon those who are around me and trying their best to help me is unfair. I can sympathize for I was once a normal person. But that was another day in another time. Today, I live in a world where my mind doesn’t care anymore and just let go. All social convention, normalcy, senses of pride and self, empathy for others – gone. I am completely aware of my surrounding and the impact my behavior is having upon those tasked with being within earshot. I just don’t give a shit. So I scream.
I cant remember now how long it has been since my mouth opened up the first time birthing what has now become obvious evidence that I have blown a fuse. It started as a big dog type growl, my breathing got deeper and more pronounced. I huffed and puffed, stared that bastard in the mirror right in the eye, and started screaming. No words were contained in the explosion. Just noise came out; white noise. Black noise. Noise to some was eardrum busting offensive and others, just a long drawn out fingers across a chalkboard. They took me away and brought me to this special room in the hospital where I have screamed ever since.
Yeah, I do stop screaming every now and then. I am not Superman, after all. My lungs and body need some rest. Hopefully I get to rest when that nurse person comes in and from nothing more than her own frustration, stabs with me a needle full of ‘shut the fuck up’ and I drift off into sleepybye time. Sometimes I just stop and lay there staring at the door daring someone time to enter. Resting is about letting my throat and body rest for another round of screaming.
These restraints on my hands and feet are cutting into me like a bandsaw. No, they are soft and cuddly as sex toys but firm and unrelenting as a dominatrix’s leash. I am not going anywhere. My name isn’t Sarah Connor. Make no mistake however, I feel their resistance, their determination to hold me in place. Apparently nobody wants me getting out of bed again and walking into another patient’s room and screaming wildly in their face. That is a big no no and it really pissed people off.
So I lay here and scream. It feels so good to be able to scream. Haven’t you ever wanted to let loose one of those pull out your hair screaming fits? I know I am not alone in this world. Others have to feel this way. I did; many times. But I sucked it up and choked it down. It would appear the emergency brake failed and now I just scream.
Can I stop? Probably. But why bother? Screaming feels good. It helps me on so many levels. Demons rush out of my lungs with every lengthy full throated expulsion; only to rush back in when I inhale. My demons are mine for life. They will never leave. A lifetime I devoted in exorcising them was destroyed when I just couldn’t take it anymore. My demons not only set up home inside me, but invited their friends and have been partying for years. They never shut up. They never stop the banging and dancing around in my head. They yell stupid shit. They even found my hidden box of life experiences and constantly sit around with popcorn and beer and watch re-runs of my life’s most painful and horrific moments. Day after day, night after night, year after year, I have been listening and living with the racket in my head and pretending it wasn’t bothering me. It was and one day I snapped and screamed.
Today they brought back a new film, one long since buried and completely forgotten. I was a young teenager and a man would call. He knew when I was home alone. All I can remember is a calm reassuring voice. What scared me was that he knew so much about me, could tell me anything about my life and who was in it. He constantly asked me about girls and erections and wanted me to touch myself for him and talk about it on the phone. That was usually my breaking point and I would slam the phone down. (kids today have no idea how good that feels; to slam a phone to disconnect a call). One time I let him talk me a little further than I should; but I was a stupid kid unknowingly being victimized and I did touch myself – for a little bit, then stopped, and slammed down the phone. These calls went on for years. Why am I seeing the movie suddenly today? A triple feature? Cool. Film #2: I was hitchhiking and somewhere along the route, I noticed the driver was masturbating while he drove. I was 14 and got the fuck out of the car. The final reel was a tale of me being about 17 with this girl in a foreign land at an outdoor café and we were both pretty loaded and these two guys talked us into coming into their clothing store, led us into the back where there was this dentist, gynecological exam like take sorta table like thing and wanted her and me to fuck so these two guys can film it. They offered her all kinds of clothes. We got the hell out of there. I haven’t thought about those incidents in decades. And you want to know why I scream.
These demons; they really hate me. I wish they would just stop and go away.
The color white is starting to annoy me. Everything around me is white. The walls are white, the floor is white. Bedding, towels, paperwork, everything not steel/aluminum grey is white. The door of course is institutional beige like color. The bars on the door window and the mesh in front of the window are painted green. Green is supposed to make me relaxed and happy. It aint working. The endless white is giving me snow blindness.
You know what I am going do? Stop screaming for a minute. When I do, within a couple of minutes, someone’s face usually peers in front of the door window. Do they think I died – screamed myself to death? Maybe they think I am doing something to harm myself or otherwise up to no good. They always check and I always return the favor with a loud wideeyed scream. Welcome to my hell.
It is more fun when they come in the room. Since they catherized me with all the finesse and gentility of a fat plumber working a plunger, I don’t have to be freed from bed for pee breaks. Other than the fact that it really hurts and is very uncomfortable, being catherized is a real nice way to spend the day laying in bed; screaming or not. Drink all you want, or like me, have endless bags of saline solution pouring into your veins, and never have to get up to go to the bathroom. That’s the life.
Of course, taking a crap is a whole nuther story. Since I choose when that happens but they really hate coming in here, it is a battle of wills. Right now, I cease fire long enough to shout ‘CRAP’ and someone dutifully comes in with a bedpan and gets to wipe my ass. “Aren’t you glad you went to college?”, I giggle to myself before I start my screaming again to chase them out of the room.
I hate people in my room. Still, I get hungry and have to eat so I shut up when I know its’ meal time. I can smell the day’s slop bucket when it hits the floor. If I don’t stop screaming, they do me last. Who is playing whom, wonder I. Then there are the clean up and operations people. I scream at them but bless their souls, they just ignore me, do their jobs quickly and get out.
The nurses too come in and try to get me to cooperate. What’s funny is that they haven’t figured out why I am quiet for some and an asshole screamer to others. It’s the perfume and the line of muscle down the side of their neck where it hits the shoulder. Next to the butt, the side of the neck is the sexiest part of a woman. If there is a nice one to see, not hidden by hair, I stare at that muscle and remember days when at the point of maximum pleasure, I would sink my teeth into that section of flesh up to the point of breaking the skin. Blood pressure – off the charts. Pulse – racing. Breathing – shallow and strained. As if it would be anything else having been laying here for seems like months, screaming. You try it. See how easy it aint.
It is too bad the doctors wont come in. Either the nurses have me drugged when the doctors get there and all I do is stare at them behind glazed eyes while all I experience is every inhale and exhale. I am not listening to a word they are saying. The note me as non responsive in their trusty malpractice files and get on to the next carcass. A few times, a shrink poked his head in and asked if I wanted to talk. I was like all “fuck yeah, please let me unload on you” but all that came out of my mouth was another in the endless playlist of my screams. Too bad that doctor wouldn’t come in further. I could have given him an earful – if he got past the decibel level.
The screaming has been going on since I was a kid. It has been in my head as I have grown and lived a life and raised a family and managed a career. There has always been this endless screaming. To now hear it vocalized, to be put to music (because scream though I might, I do note the pattern and flow and rhythmic movement to the sounds), is actually an analgesic. It stops pain. I have reached my pain tolerance level and so I scream.
Screaming is natural to me. There has always been screaming in my life. My grandparents screamed at each other and me. My parents screamed at each other and me. Bosses screamed at me. Coaches screamed. My kids screamed at me. The only person who never screamed was my wife and that is because she has heard me scream and doesn’t want to go there. Me, I screamed at everybody. I always believed, probably based on how I was raised, that you screamed to let the anger and frustration out so you didn’t let it eat you inside. In reality, the screaming was nothing more than foreplay in a long process of mindfucking which started with screaming and ended up with people withholding love and friendship because of a squabble.
But dysfunction being dysfunction and family patterns working as they do, every one of us fills a role. The role that became mine was the role of the target of the screams. Everybody would scream at me no matter what I did or didn’t do. They screamed at me. I yelled back. Such went the first 17 years of my life. Insanity and dysfunction do not just run in my family. We are the case model for every ailment referenced in DSM VI. Open that book to a random page and every symptom and diagnosis can be pinned on one or more of my family members. They are paranoid, bipolar, schizophrenic, arrogant, and suffer drug addiction, racism, classism, narcissism, and every other ism diagnosable (and probably some not yet identified). Insanity was my normal for most of my life.
Today, however I am here and I scream.