Nuthouse – Part One

Lucy was chronically depressed – like fifty percent of the population – so even if I didn’t particularly like her, I waved and smiled to her every morning before sitting in my cubicle. She never reciprocated, of course. On bad days, her frown deepened and she cranked up her radio. She listened to the most popular channel so no one complained; the endless stream of fairy tales was supposed to cheer everyone up. It drove me nuts.
Well… nutser.
Some coworkers had a bet going on about when I would lose my job. Very few thought I would manage to control my crisis before that. Schizophrenia had a way to make you socially awkward faster than any other non-homicidal illness.
“Hey Mad!” Colin tapped his organizer repeatedly on the top of the partition. He had obviously been watching out for my arrival. “I need you to run an errand for me.”
The tapping was beginning to draw attention. I stood and steadied Colin’s hand. “You’re out of meds.”
He nodded repeatedly until I grabbed his chin to stop it. “I gotta prep for a meeting with Marvin. He can’t see me like this. What if anger management hasn’t worked out yet?”
“It’s fine, Colin.” I fished an anti-anxiety ball in the top drawer of my desk and closed his hand around it. “Squeeze the hell of this until I get back, okay?”
He resumed his hyperactive nodding. I stopped it again, and then headed back out. The receptionist stopped fiddling with her files when I called the elevator.
“Coffee run?” It sounded like the perfect excuse to hide Colin’s little problem so I nodded. Dana reached for her wallet. “Any chance you could bring me a tall vanilla and nut back?”
I noticed the empty cup tossed in the garbage. Combined with the cleanliness of her desk and the impeccable make-up, I deduced she was currently in a manic phase. She would probably organized a couple of happy hours in the coming weeks.
“You’re awesome Madison.”
“Don’t mention it.”
The door of the elevator closed in front of me, preventing any artificial discussions to smother my peace of mind. Monday mornings were always particularly stuffy at the office. Everyone used the DIM – Damned It’s Monday – excuse to give some leash to their problems.
Except for the workaholics who annoyed everyone with their unnatural cheeriness.
I didn’t have to walk far to get both what I needed; Starbucks had signed a partnership with pharmaceuticals three years ago and everyone was grateful for it. The anti-anxiety section bustled with customers but the shelf that threw hyperactivity into the mix wasn’t crowded. I picked Colin’s drug and shopped my way to a refill for my own cabinet.
I fell in line with my pills, waiting to order coffee and pay for the whole thing. Cell phone conversation buzzed around me, barely obscuring the radio’s broadcast of the current number one on every billboard: “Tale of an Awkward Girl”.
I hated that story. Mostly because I identified with it so well.
In an attempt to blot out the nosy voice of the narrator, my brain turned onto itself, all thoughts focused on introspection. I only realized I was doing it once it was too late.
The ringing of a crisis filled my consciousness.

Nuthouse – Part Two >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

4 responses to “Nuthouse – Part One

  • ralfast

    Well done! I didn’t know how you were going to pull this off, but the result speaks for itself.

    I love how everyone has a condition yet somehow remains “functional”.

  • mish

    OMG a bunch of loony-tunes under one roof ? A recipe for disaster , that’s for sure . And it seems like each one is conveniently forgetting the fact that , or is oblivious to the fact that , he/she is just as “nutty” as the next one ? I wonder who’s gonna crack first ?

  • Helen

    Ah they all have some condition that they need to hide… it will be interesting to see how this develops and how the cope with each other.

  • Jenn

    Loved it! You always come up with such unique worlds. Everyone has something they are working to fix huh? Can’t wait to see how it plays out.

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