Author Topic: Conversations from hell  (Read 18352 times)

P3nT4gR4m

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2010, 05:53:02 pm »
No.6: Lou Reed

When you're stuck in hell you spend a good percentage of your time feeling really fucking sorry for yourself but, every now and again, there's a moment of connection. Whether it's the heightened state of being that insanity brings or the drugs or a mixture of both it's the kind of connection that normal people will never experience and I would pity them for that if only I could convince myself that the experience was worth the price.

Fifteen years on and the jury is still out on that one.

Insanity is life with the volume turned up. Way up. Emotions are magnified to the n'th degree. You'll look out the window and see a sparrow with one leg and you'll cry for a week. Someone gives you a biscuit and you feel euphoria that heaven could never hope to match. Sanity filters emotion. It's either that or cease to exist.

The visitor dayroom was tiny. Like a cupboard with a window. Barely enough room for a couple of seats and a little round melamine table but there was a tape deck in there. The tannoy in the main dayroom was tuned to radio shit so, when visiting time was over, the music lovers (about seven or eight of us) would pile into that little space and argue over who's turn it was to choose the tape.

And that's where we found ourselves one afternoon, stereo turned down low, an impromptu group therapy session in progress, feeling real sorry for ourselves. Intimately. On a level forged in the fires of this god awful situation.

Moods come like waves in a psychiatric ward. Contagious. When you're up, for the most part, the whole ward is up. Likewise when things go down. Like today. The conversation became a vicious circle, a competition to see who could be more depressed than the next. Each statement lowering the mood, racing toward rock bottom, en masse. We were brothers and sisters in desperation, clinging to each other as our ship went down.

And that's when Lou Reed came on. On the decree of an unspoken consensus the volume was turned up as high as it could go and half a dozen voices joined in. "Just a perfect day, Drink Sangria in the park..." and for three and half minutes we were perfect, it was beautiful. The tears were rolling down our cheeks and, as we looked deep into each others eyes, we knew it would never be like this again.

Lou might have been singing about heroin and we might have been singing about insanity but the irony brought us together for that perfect moment and, after it faded, we all felt a bit better. Lifted. Lou understood us and we understood each other and that connection was enough. It was communion. A bond was formed that day, in that tiny room. It's a bond that has stayed with me ever since. I've never seen any of them again but it doesn't matter. We shared a perfect day.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 05:57:08 pm by P3nT4gR4m »
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2010, 12:09:07 am »
:mittens:

These are amazing Pent.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2010, 01:40:04 am »
Thanks man. Thought maybe I'd lost the plot with that last one? This is turning out to be a bit deeper than I'd originally planned. I guess catharsis can get messy.  :oops:
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2010, 03:08:22 am »
I would hear more of these.  They're not happy tales- someone found the right word- gravity.  So much of that.  Very compelling.


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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #34 on: June 05, 2010, 06:13:13 pm »
Thanks man. Thought maybe I'd lost the plot with that last one? This is turning out to be a bit deeper than I'd originally planned. I guess catharsis can get messy.  :oops:

Did not lose plot, it was a good read.

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2010, 03:36:41 am »

Brilliant writing, imo.  Frustrating, intimate and precise.  I'm going to send my gentfriend a link to this thread, if you don't mind, Pent.

Thanks! And sure - it's a public board - I aint trying to keep this shit secret or anything  :)

 :lol:  I forget this place is a fishbowl.  Good point.

That last was excellent, btw.  There's gravity, like Sigmatic said, but Lou Redd still left me smiling.  (Although the piece on Jimmy made me a blubbery snot-nose.  Which means, also awesome).  I hope you continue.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2010, 06:41:43 am »
Thanks man. Thought maybe I'd lost the plot with that last one? This is turning out to be a bit deeper than I'd originally planned. I guess catharsis can get messy.  :oops:

I've been to a residential treatment center for the better part of a year when I was a teenager so it's very familiar.

The group therapy, people in spite of being fucked up, highly controlled circumstances, etc. I also grew up with a criminally insane sibling with a particular brain abnormality.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2010, 12:32:36 pm »
This is repost but I'm putting it itt cos I think it might be part of his story...

No7: The redhead (false memory)

It was the middle of the night. I woke up in a room with two windows and a door. One of the windows looked out onto the dayroom which was cloaked in darkness at this hour, the window next to it looked into the staff office. How had I gotten here? Was it a ghost or a trick of my own mind? How could something that wasn't there appear so real? How could I ever trust my senses again after this betrayal? These thoughts and more were running through my mind as I lay there in the darkness, looking at the light in the office.

As best I could remember it had started three months before. The girl in the nightclub. Long flowing red hair, piercing, almost hypnotic blue eyes. I remembered her taste, her smell, the sound of her voice, the way her naked body felt next to mine, the way she fucked. Oh jesus yes I remembered the way she fucked.

Flashback: I was naked and masturbating, alone in a derelict building... no ... she was real. Surely someone had to have seen her? One of my friends? Were my friends real? If my mind hadn't snapped already then these thoughts would have done the trick. What the fuck had happened? I remembered the nightclub, pumping music, flashing lights, chemicals assaulting my central nervous system.

I'd seen her standing at the bar, gone over and said 'hi', lost myself in those eyes, that smile, her face. A phone number, hastily scrawled on my arm in eyeliner pencil. I'd called the next night, couldn't even remember her name. Just those eyes. "Hi. Remember me".

None of my friends had said anything to the contrary. Hope those sick bastards had a real good laugh on my tab. Surely they'd have drawn a line ... somewhere. Maybe when I took her out the first night? Or when I spent the first weekend at her place? Surely that was dangerous? I could have been anywhere for the love of fuck. When I moved in, then? They'd come to visit a couple of times and no one thought to say anything? They must have seen the state of me? Was there no compassion in their hearts? Were they even real?

Was anything real? I'd been alive for eighteen and a bit years. Had I hallucinated every fucking waking moment? How the hell was I ever supposed to know? For all I knew the bed I was presently lying in might not exist at all. This whole hospital, the people in it. Me.

I'd fallen in love with a ghost or a hallucination. I could remember when they'd found me, naked, huddled on the floor in a dingy decrepit corner of some building, scheduled for demolition. Nearby residents had phoned the police who'd subsequently kicked the door down and found me, filthy and malnourished. Three months I'd been there. I should have been dead. What had I been eating?

And the redhead? A figment of my imagination or, as I was beginning to suspect, some kind of ghost or vampire who lured young guys to their deaths by making the whole thing seem so real. The flat, the furnishings, the pets. She kept everything from rats to cats to dogs. Maybe they'd been real animals and I'd just incorporated them into my fantasies or she'd incorporated them into her mirage. Jesus, I'd been handling those rats, I probably had rabies by now!

I'd phoned her, dialled the smudged number from my arm and heard her, loud and clear, on the other end. We'd made a date, next friday night, met in the bus station in Falkirk. Friend of a friend had met me there too, just before she turned up, stood there chatting with me for 5 minutes. Had he seen her? No, he was gone before she got there.

We'd gone to my local, this chick was hot, I wanted to show her off. When you're eighteen bragging rights are damn near as important as the actual fucking itself. The usual crowd was in, friday nights would see most of us (maybe a hundred or so) splitting the night between two bars, waiting for the club to open. We'd ended up down there, Sat with my mates for a while before jumping onto the dance floor and doing something that much more closely resembled screwing than dancing in the traditional sense of the word.

Back to my place and late adolescent hormonal abundance kept us awake for another couple of frenetic hours. My folks woke me up in the morning to tell me they were going out but they never came into the bedroom, just knocked the door and shouted in. They never saw her. I'd walked her down to the bus stop, sucked face for a while and arranged to meet up next weekend.

None of it seemed weird. Only looking back did I get all those little hints, like the movie where the twist at the end has you pressing the rewind button and watching it all over again. She'd been a phantasm.

I'd moved in a couple of weeks later, as glad to be flying the nest at last as I was to be moving in with the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. This was where the "happy ever after" bit came in. Like, yeah, sure - eighteen years old you've done it all, right? But hey, I was young and in love and the world was just the happiest shiniest place ever imagined.

Then it started to get a bit peculiar...

There was a nagging feeling that something was going on beneath the surface. Something sinister, something not what it seemed. Who the hell was this woman, four years my senior, who sang to me in the dark with a voice like an angel? Who could touch my soul just by looking at me, those eyes, piercing, icy but, at the same time, warm and inviting. I started to think she wanted something from me. Was this the birth of insecurity? I became paranoid, conversations seemed loaded with almost hypnotic intent.

One night I was awoken to find the front door being kicked in and flashlights in my face. I took immediate stock of my surroundings. I was in a pile of clothes in a rotting corner of some boarded up room. One of the policemen shone his torch around the room, exposing decayed, fungus covered walls, a huge gaping hole in the ceiling and precious little else. Where the hell was I? Where was the girl? I could hear the other policeman, still shining his light in my face, asking me questions. The other guy was talking into the radio. I think I lost consciousness at this point.

They brought me here. I was injected with something and put in this room. Time passed, I couldn't tell how much, I drifted in and out of consciousness. At one point I heard the door opening and a woman in a nurses uniform asked me if I was awake. I mumbled an affirmation, she turned the light on and told me I had a visitor. She left the room and who should walk in but the redhead.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 10:03:13 am by P3nT4gR4m »
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2010, 01:45:01 pm »
Damn Pent. I think you are lucky to be alive.

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2010, 02:12:19 pm »
Damn Pent. I think you are lucky to be alive.

Dunno if that one was clear enough? The whole - found in a derelict building by the cops - thing is actually a false memory. What really happened was I met a redhead, moved in together and then promptly flipped my lid and got my ass committed. When I first got into hospital the above is how I actually remembered the events. Nowadays I can remember both that and what really happened. It's kinda fun - like I have two sets of memories from the same time.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2010, 02:13:41 pm »
No8: Little sister

I was relatively lucky in hell. My friends and family really rallied round and, except for a week or so where I wasn't allowed visitors, someone came to see me every day. I've never been able to adequately express to any of them just how much that meant to me. In a place where damn near everyone was batshit crazy people from outside were your one and only lifeline to the real world. Most of the time they'd just tell me boring bullshit about what had happened to whom and how so and so was "asking for me" but it really helped. Kept me connected, however tenuously, to a life beyond the confines of the hospital walls.

One day my younger sister turned up, with a big smile on her face and a personal stereo and some tapes for me. We spoke for hours. She told me all the latest family news and gossip and I told her about how much better I was getting and how I didn't think it'd be much longer before they let me out. I tried my best to keep things upbeat. She was still at school and in the middle of her exams and I didn't want to upset her with my bullshit. Truth be told, I really was feeling a lot better about everything by that point anyway.

Eventually the staff started doing the subtle shit they used to do that informs the visitors that it's time to leave. For all I hated those bastards at times, they really could be very sensitive when they wanted to be. They knew this was hard for everybody so, rather than just ringing a bell or making an announcement, they'd kinda start moving around, clearing up the teacups and the ashtrays and moving the tables around in preparation for mealtime. It was a quiet nod and a wink. Nobody got upset.

My sister caught the unspoken message and we said our goodbyes. I thanked her for coming and wished her luck with her exams and she turned around and gave me the weirdest look she's ever given me, before leaving through the security door, past the nurse station. The expression she'd had on her face puzzled me for a while but, as with a lot of things that happened during that blurry, confused period of my life, I soon forgot about it.

It was months after I'd been released when the reason was made clear to me. My girlfriend and I were talking, as we often did back then, about the stuff that had gone down while I was inside. "Something I've been meaning to ask you, " she said, "You remember that day I brought you the walkman and when I was leaving you said to me 'good luck with your exams'? Just what the fuck were you talking about?"
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2010, 02:40:13 pm »
No8: Little sister

I was relatively lucky in hell. My friends and family really rallied round and, except for a week or so where I wasn't allowed visitors, someone came to see me every day. I've never been able to adequately express to any of them just how much that meant to me. In a place where damn near everyone was batshit crazy people from outside were your one and only lifeline to the real world. Most of the time they'd just tell me boring bullshit about what had happened to whom and how so and so was "asking for me" but it really helped. Kept me connected, however tenuously, to a life beyond the confines of the hospital walls.

One day my younger sister turned up, with a big smile on her face and a personal stereo and some tapes for me. We spoke for hours. She told me all the latest family news and gossip and I told her about how much better I was getting and how I didn't think it'd be much longer before they let me out. I tried my best to keep things upbeat. She was still at school and in the middle of her exams and I didn't want to upset her with my bullshit. Truth be told, I really was feeling a lot better about everything by that point anyway.

Eventually the staff started doing the subtle shit they used to do that informs the visitors that it's time to leave. For all I hated those bastards at times, they really could be very sensitive when they wanted to be. They knew this was hard for everybody so, rather than just ringing a bell or making an announcement, they'd kinda start moving around, clearing up the teacups and the ashtrays and moving the tables around in preparation for mealtime. It was a quiet nod and a wink. Nobody got upset.

My sister caught the unspoken message and we said our goodbyes. I thanked her for coming and wished her luck with her exams and she turned around and gave me the weirdest look she's ever given me, before leaving through the security door, past the nurse station. The expression she'd had on her face puzzled me for a while but, as with a lot of things that happened during that blurry, confused period of my life, I soon forgot about it.

It was months after I'd been released when the reason was made clear to me. My girlfriend and I were talking, as we often did back then, about the stuff that had gone down while I was inside. "Something I've been meaning to ask you, " she said, "You remember that day I brought you the walkman and when I was leaving you said to me 'good luck with your exams'? Just what the fuck were you talking about?"


When I was younger I would have dreams about conversations with my friends in details. Normally a couple of days later those conversations would actually happen, in the exact detail I had dreamed them This scared the hell out of me and even I knew every word that was going to be said I never had the nerve to change anything. This story kind of reminds me of those dreams.

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2010, 12:54:29 pm »
No9: Paddy

Paddy was a taxi driver in a previous life. He was an alcoholic by the time I met him. As per usual the details of how he arrived in hell were sketchy; a mixture of trying not to think about it and being so fucked in the head you didn't quite remember it. Losing your mind aint like being drunk and losing a few hours or tripping out your skull for a few days. That shit's a holiday. Even the worst of the worst of my bad trips were kinda nice and soft and fluffy compared to what really going to hell was like.

Paddy was really in hell. He'd brought his ex wife in with him. Not in the flesh where she might have been manageable but in his head where she had free reign to run riot and torture his sorry ass constantly. It's hard to hide from a maelstrom of memories and regrets but Paddy had found a way. The view from the bottom of the bottle may have been cloudy but it was a lot more peaceful than the alternative according to paddy.

Anyway, whatever had landed Paddy in here with us had given him enough of a fright to make him seriously rethink his shit. Paddy was born again. Abstinence was his motto now. Unfortunately (for me) Paddy had come in with a half quarter of resin that he no longer wanted about his person and yours truly wasn't quite as committed as Paddy was to staying off the chemicals. So I helped him out in disposing of it and, as you might expect when someone in the throes of a psychotic episode chases down his meds with a mouthful of Morocco's finest, things got mighty fucked up and hazy for me for a few days, by which time Paddy was nowhere to be seen.

On regaining lucidity I learned from my fellow denizens that paddy had been given a cure for his booze fixation and been signed into the open ward next door. The open ward was our version of shangri-la. Being transferred to the open ward was better than a lottery win or maybe even being released. You could go outside whenever you felt like it. When you're stuck in a locked down cage, you can't even begin to describe how appealing that notion becomes. Paddy had been transferred from hell to heaven.

He'd made a few friends while he'd been here, myself included and he still hadn't reached the stage we all do, where you have to distance yourself from these kinds of acquaintances, before they drag you back down. He showed up as a visitor one day. He was looking much better; less grey. Less twitchy. Just kinda more stable all round. We sat around a table and drank coffee and chainsmoked and Paddy told us all about his magic bullet. The medication those nice people from the ward next door had given him cured his alcoholism one of two ways. Either he never touched a drop, ever again. Or it killed him. I never saw Paddy again but at least I knew he wouldn't be an alcoholic any more and that's a good thing, right?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 11:59:28 pm by Doktor Vitriol »
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2010, 12:23:47 pm »
No 10: Marshall

Being committed can be a shock to the system. everybody deals with it differently.

One morning the rest of the ward woke up. I still wasn't sleeping so I would just lie awake and freak out and wait for everyone else to get up. That was always the best part of my day, when another long dark night of spirit crushing solitude would pass and the dawn would deliver me to the company of my fellow lunatics once again.

The dawn delivered a surprise that morning. Marshall was a big guy, not a kick in the arse short of seven feet, built like a fucking yeti with unkempt hair and a matted beard which fell just short of managing to conceal the expression of simmering rage, painted on the face beneath.

Marshall was pacing up and down the length of the dayroom. It looked like he'd been that way since he arrived, presumably some time during the night. It didn't look like he intended to stop anytime soon either. It was disconcerting, this hairy giant stomping back and forward. We discussed his presence in whispers, over breakfast, as if we were afraid to draw his attention. That burning stare was best as it was - staring into space. Nobody wanted to feel it pointed in their direction.

Breakfast over and done the rest of us lunatics were fed our morning meds and then set about getting on with another tedious day in hell, desperately clawing our way through seconds that stretched to hours, punctuating the spaces between with cigarettes and anything else we could think of doing to take our minds off our incarceration.

A lot of the conversations centred around the big guy, pacing up and down, back and forth. It was a disconcerting phenomenon. Anyone who had to cross the space for whatever reason would wait until he'd passed then nip across behind him, rather than risk being ploughed into by the juggernaut. He didn't look like he'd stop. Much more likely he'd just march on, leaving your mangled wreckage in his wake.

The staff weren't any help. You'd ask about him and you'd get told the same thing, "Just leave him be." No shit Sherlock! I'm insane and even I'd worked that one out. The hours and the big guy marched on, in tandem. Lunch came and went. Dinner came and went. Supper came and went, followed by the meds trolley and the inevitable sleepless night ahead.

I lay in bed, listening for clues on what was happening down the corridor. I never heard anything. Either they left him to it or somehow got a dose of something sleep inducing into him and then carried him off to bed. When we got up the next morning, there he was. Still pacing.

By the third day curiosity had overcome self preservation. I decided I was going to attempt to communicate with the leviathan. Besides, at that point I was convinced I was immortal. What's the worst that could happen?

I approached the lumbering behemoth and fell into step. "Hi," I told him, "I'm Ross."

"Marshall." He replied.

"Is it okay if I walk along with you?"

"NO!"

He pointed that flaming gaze at me just long enough to convince me he sincerely meant that. I gave up and returned to my compadres with information. He spoke. He told me his name. I think he wants to be left alone..

Couple of days later and Marshall suddenly stopped walking. The ward went quiet. I think the general consensus was that, while the pacing was disturbing, just like the ticking of a time bomb, it was going to be worse when it stopped.

He stood there in the middle of the room for the longest time then slowly walked over and sat down next to me.

"Thanks." He said. And after that he was just another one of the walking damned.  
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 12:49:48 pm by P3nT4gR4m »
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Awful and Bent Behemothic Results of Last Night's Painful Squat.
High Altitude Haggis-Filled Sex Bucket From Beyond Time and Space.
Internet Monkey Person of Filthy and Immoral Pygmy-Porn Wart Contagion
Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2010, 02:49:02 pm »
So wait! Was he still angry? Was he friendly after that?

Dammit you can't leave a guy hanging like that!  :)