The Man In The White Coat

There are days, most days really, when I wish I had followed in my father’s footsteps and joined the police force. Forget that I can’t hit a shooting target from five feet away, ignore the fact that when I was at my physical peak (the summer between grades four and five) I could barely run from the couch to the fridge without chest pains.

No matter how bad it got, at least I wouldn’t have had to deal with these crazies six days a week.

Oh, sure, the politically correct term is mentally ill, or sane challenged, or whatever those tree hugging ninnies set their minds to this month. But facts are facts, and the residents of The Burckhardt Institute are out of their head, Looney Tunes, more loco than a steam engine, certifiable nutbars.

I should know: I’m the one that signed their certificates.

The diplomas and degrees on the wall behind me will tell you that my name is Simon Angel Escobar, but everyone here just calls me Doc Esco. My father was a second generation immigrant from Cuba, my mother died from the effort of pushing me into this world and I have no real knowledge of her. I’m sure there’s plenty of deep psychobabble to describe what effect that had on me but I prefer not to think about it. I have spent the last twenty years of my life working in the Institute, rising to second-in-command to the Director, and I think I might be beginning to crack.

But like I was saying before, most days I really would rather be anywhere else than in this depressing building hidden in the pine trees on the edge of town. Sometimes the feeling hits me over the head at the same time as my alarm clock starts screaming at me at five am and I just lie there contemplating sui… never mind that. Other days it doesn’t settle in until I arrive to find my office door has been decorated with images of sword-wielding unicorns and headless babies. Drawn by a patient that got loose in the night. Using his or her own feces as a paint supply.

At least I hope its their own. I try not to think too much about that either.

I would have retired years ago if this job didn’t pay minimum wage and… alright, the pay is okay. It’s just not enough for me to retire in the lifestyle of my choosing. Specifically: on a remote beach in the Caribbean with a staff of twenty to serve my every whim. Yes, every single last one of my whims.

Yes, even that one.

Anyway. So I’m stuck here for a while longer. But I’ve recently decided that the status quo has got to go, if you’re willing to indulge my poetic side for a moment. I knew I couldn’t carry on like this for much longer or I would end up sitting on the other side of this fine, antique desk and some other jerk in a white coat would be asking me whether I prefer my medicine in grape or strawberry.

Nuts to that, I say.

I’ve decided to write a book detailing a unique little experiment I’ve cooked up. I figure it will just take one visit with Oprah and Aruba here I come. The only problem was finding the right patient to carry out the testing on. Certainly none of the current lunatics would do, they’re all too far gone for my needs. I’ll admit that after six months of searching I was starting to get worried that I would be forced into retirement before the right candidate came along.

But then came the day that I met Connor Steely, a walking, talking dollar sign if there ever was one, and I swear that I could smell the salty sea air on the air conditioned breeze in my office.

The End

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