HOUSE OF CARDS
THE CURSE OF ALPHONSO
Our main character’s Father was assassinated 3 years previous. He has quit school and endured brutality. He had made up his mind to run away for the 50th time. but this time he would leave the state of New York. To do so at 11 years of age in 1964 he asks his 8 year old brother to tag along. he promises to take him to the WORLDS FAIR IN FLUSHING QUEENS if he goes along. they go to the fair and then wind up on the mountains of Pennsylvania’s POCONO mountains where local law enforcement are informed by kids that NY two mobsters on the lame are holed up in a shuttered until the season opens resort. they raid the place enmass with guns drawn to discover an 11 year old and an 8 year old. the police get in touch with NY Police whom call a mobster whom contacts other mobsters in whom soon drive the mother to p/u her kids. but social workers from welfare pick up rock and he is at the mercy of a 1964 “mental health system where the youngest child is 16! Our young runaway discovers he has entered the Straight Jackets Of Purgetory …..
Chapter Five:Straight Jackets Of Purgetory
Harry, The joy of leaving the cold and hunger of those mountains did not last long…
The ride back from Pennsylvania was terrible to say the least. Joe was repeatedly informed of the fact that everything that could go wrong in the entire universe was caused by his “vacation.” He soon realized that his journey was a disaster and being home with its security, warm bed, and caring, loving, family, was better than fending for himself. He made a commitment to take care of his problems in other less drastic ways. But life plays its strange and sometimes cruel games. For some reason he could not fathom, the police, namely Ball Buster and Jolly Green Giant, were determined to press a vengeance of unknown reason on him. They called the Department of Social Services and pushed to have him taken from his mother–under a guise of psychiatric evaluation. Social workers appeared on their doorstep with orders to take him to Belview Hospital and its psychiatric ward for “several days of examination.”
Three women and two men whom came for him were like an army of determined storm troopers. He fought them tooth and nail until they overpowered him, placed him in a straight jacket, and injected him with a substance that turned his world into a woozy, placid, serene dream. Bing…Bang…Boom… He was on his way. His mother, screaming and crying, was left on the doorstep with his siblings — who added to the chorus of tears. Thus began one of the most horrible experiences of his life…
Everything was neat and white: the shiny, clean, ambulance with sirens blaring; the starched and pressed uniforms worn by the attendants; the straight jacket they roughly and violently put him in; the sheets on the stretcher they used to transport him. When they pulled up to a silent, massive, white tomb of a building with small, dark, almost black windows, he thought he had entered a world of the colorless afterlife…tranquil, imposing, and permanent.
Doors opened and he entered a warm, austere, brightly lit, immense room with floors, waxed and polished, reflecting spotless white walls and white lights which hung from a clean white ceiling. Another shot and he drifted off to sleep. His last thoughts… ‘Where am I? Who am I? This must be a dream… complete with silent, white, moving figures…’
“Ah! No! Please!”
“Get the #$%@#%$!” Bang.. Boom…Crash!
“What the #$@%….”
“Leave me alone! No–no– Help!”
Crash! Scuffle….”Hit ‘im with the sticker!” Crash, bang, boom…
The commotion woke him with a start. The white gleaming thoughts he had must have been a dream…
…Joe was lying in a bed covered by a dirty gray blanket in an institutional green painted dormitory, its walls covered with the stains of brutality, it’s floors dulled by the constant traversing of wild eye, mumbling figures, some semi clothed, some entirely naked. Windows, covered with bright red metal gratings–as if on fire–completed his immediate thought pattern…. Was he in Hell?
As his vision and hearing returned to normal, he found the cause of the violent commotion which began his awakening. Off in the corner of the dorm, three demonic creatures, two black, one white, with needle in hand, were molesting a man. In Joe’s drug induced nightmare they became three appalling apparitions .
“Oh! God! Where am I? Father can you hear me? Why…why am he here? I must have deserved this–I must have! What did I do? Where are you…why did you leave?” He wanted his mother…he wanted to be home!
“Home! Home! Home”…
The next thing he knew he was fighting with two orderlies.
“Get his arm, get his $#%@^%$ arm…”
“Get your hands off me… leave me alone!” He screamed as an orderly attempted to inject something into his arm.
Joe was screaming out loud about home as two orderlies attempted to calm him down. Having witnessed the MOLESTATION just minutes before, he was petrified that he too would soon be in the same “position.” Totally berserk, he fought an obstinate and savage battle!
Out of the bed, kicking, biting, clawing, cursing, Joe was an enraged, beastly, Tanzanian Devil. It finally took four full grown men to grab hold of him long enough to inject him.
He awoke for the second time in twenty four hours totally naked in a frigid, bare cell. He had nothing but a cold, hard, puke-stained floor on which to rest. His immediate thought: he had been molested and would soon be again. Like a terrified rat in a box-like trap, sensing he is in danger, he scurried to and fro trying desperately to find a place to hide both his fear and his nakedness. But, like the rat, trapped and confused, there were none. This reaction only confirmed to an ever watchful orderly that he was truly emotionally disturbed–which translated into insanity.
Was it a dream, the white on white on white, or did he pass into an afterlife where gentle, white robed angels, seated in billowy, soft white clouds of heaven, judged, admonished, and then vanquished him to place called Purgatory? The madness, confusion, and horror seemed identical to what was taught by black robed, straightforward nuns in catechism. Here he would remain, he was convinced, lamenting, despairing, while enduring horrors that even man could not invent to torment man. Purgatory was not death… Death was Hell… And Hell was a permanent place of suffering. Once you arrived in Hell you were doomed for eternity with no hope of rescue. In Purgatory, on the other hand, one could be forgiven and reinstated to that white, warm, beautiful place called Heaven. Like the tranquil, protecting forest that he had come to cherish and desire, Heaven was a place of serenity. One would live forever among their ancestors as white clothed angels in harmony and peace. There he would see his fa… ‘Oh! No!’ He thought to himself, ‘Was father here? Was he roaming this vile, rabid, vermin infested house of horrors? Was he one of the semi-damned! Begging, moaning, perpetrating? Oh! God! Let it not be so!’ He prayed, not for his forgiveness, but for fathers.
He prayed, not to God, the Virgin Mary, St.James, Paul or Peter, but to those still among the living; still residing in heaven’s waiting room: Earth.
“Please light candles for father’s soul…” He prayed out loud, “…and if you have an extra dime, light one for me. Say prayers, for we are here
“Please light candles for father’s soul…” He prayed out loud, “…and if you have an extra dime, light one for me. Say prayers, for we are here among the damned…waiting, suffering, missing! Can you hear me? Please, pray for them!”
As he prayed he realized he was not floundering in a repulsive nightmare. The repugnant, sickening feelings that were boiling in his stomach, the visions bursting forth with sound and color, the rancid odors that permeated to his very soul, convinced him that he had truly arrived at Hell’s waiting room! He began to plead for his own soul. He begged God to give him a second chance!
He recanted all his sins, praying: “I will never run away again – I will stop throwing the pastabazool out the window – I will eat the oatmeal…even three days a week and not flush it down the toilet bowl! Please, I promise, I promise…” He cried out loud. He beseeched God to deliver him, safely, soundly, and untouched to his home and family. “I will not think wrong thoughts of mother, even when she yells and slaps me. I will not give Connie a hard time. I will not steal any more… Nor skip school.” Profusely, thunderously, he recited Hail Marys’, Oh Gods’, and Our Fathers’ until his voice, raw, hoarse, and on fire, gave out…
No angels, swords of justice and truth in hand, crushing, smiting, defeating, routing these mercenaries of the devils harvest ever appeared. No sudden light, delivering warmth and benevolence upon his forsaken, terrified soul burst within his cell. He was dropped into this world of madness… Entombed forever — naked, cold, filthy, hungry: a Dante’s Inferno…. winterized and real! Never again would he see Angela’s beautiful smile, never again would he hear his mother’s voice in compassion — or even in reprimand. The only angels that appeared were those dressed in dirty, white smocks, with needles in hand to further crush, smite, defeat, and route… his soul…
He awoke again without an idea of the time, which day it was, or what had happened. Until, for the third time, he saw the green, slime-covered walls, and steel door with its barred glass window framing an ever-present callous, smirking, perverse attendant. Feeling the cold, dirt encrusted floor on which he lay, he knew there was something worse than dirt floors or grey jail bunks on which to sleep.When a paper plate appeared through a small trap door with a sloppy, mucous-looking substance purported to be food, he made a commitment: if God gave him a second chance, he would never again complain about, nor refuse a meal.
Then… screaming… shouting souls… lost and afflicted with pain, agony, and misery, echoed through the odious, obscene corridors of this forsaken place. They seemed to end in his lonely, cold cell… festering… terrorizing… and further tormenting his aching soul. He immediately ceased praying and shuddered at the thought that crossed his mind: “I am in Hell. Oh, man. I am in #$@%$#@ Hell….not Purgatory!”
Hell was not a place where demons, dressed in long tailed red nakedness, roasted lamenting sorrowful souls over huge open pits of intense, molten fires for all eternity. Hell in fact was icy cold, where demons dressed in dirty white cloaks of hate roasted the imprisoned bodies and minds of the damned in a fire of torment: not external, not visual, but internal, constant, burning…. over-powering the mind… eventually changing, twisting, converting each and every soul into replicas of themselves. ‘It now made sense…’ He thought to himself, ‘…where the apprentices of Mephistopheles came from…..’
Eventually, after enough torture, the damned would in fact become willing subordinates of Lucifer: evil, black hearted, delighting in their contemptuous, villainous occupation… further recruiting souls through actual defilement and depravation–not fear, intimidation and hope! By the time you reached Hell, fear, intimidation, and hope were dropped from the vocabulary of the damned. Even though you spoke, thought, and dreamt these words, in the hope that by doing so you could improve your predicament, it had no basis what so ever. There is no intimidation, fear, or hope in Hell….there is no reason nor need for these mortal, living words. Only physical and mental punishment, continual, without interruption, until having had the personal entertainment of your pain, Lucifer’s ever-present army presses on until you are converted, without your knowledge, into a facsimile of the horrid living dead. You are an appendage of the devil’s sinful, wicked, heinous, corrupt, and immoral soul; perpetuating debauchery, depravity, and inequity… furthering the outrageous and malevolent atrocities that are synonymous with the word Hell. All semblance of who you were, or might have been, are forever erased…. Including all memory of decency, loyalty , virtue, morality, goodness, love, compassion, and kindness…
‘Did he deserve such punishment? Could anyone really deserve this? It was not human! It’s… Hell! Yes! That’s what it is! Hell!’ He wanted to cry but knew he could not show his emotions in such a manner so he flew into a furious and uncontrollable rage.
From that moment on, whenever he felt an emotion that would bare his inner-self and show weakness, he would throw a tantrum; he’d hit someone; cause a fight or change the situation by starting an argument. Using fear and intimidation he would hide behind a paper wall.. thin…ready to tear at the slightest breeze–boasting of accomplishments, endeavors, real or imagined, before anyone could decipher his own fears and intimidation. Loudly, boldly, he would create in a split of a split second, a personality, complete with mannerisms, ways, and ideals to meet the prescribed circumstance. He became a living, breathing, human-reptilian creature…. A chameleon of change jumping in and out of identities as one changes into various outfits before picking the “right” one to wear to an important occasion.
The consequences of this behavior would become both an asset as well as a detriment to his character development — to his very existence. Success and failure would be his constant companion, with success, like a rocket, taking off in fantastic, phenomenal, leaping bounds… then failure as the rocket sputters, the enormous amount of energy it took to lift off exhausted–its landing pad an ocean of trouble!
Sitting in his cell feeling sorry, lonely, with fear tearing at his soul, Joe heard the abrupt creaking of the door as it swung on its hinges. Three orderlies gathered ’round the doorway taunting, laughing, and generally harassing him, as a fourth stepped through the doorway and placed a can on the floor in which he was supposed to perform his bodily functions. It was his mistake! Joe exploded with the orderly receiving the brunt of his pent-up and displaced emotions. As Joe attacked him with all of his strength, yelling, spitting, clawing, he hit him with the can of refuse… urine and all. Then he threw the plate of slime they called food right in his face. Standing over the prostate man, he declared his rights as a man of respect and stormed the door.
The respect he received was another wrestling experience between him and the remaining enraged, screaming soldiers of the devil’s brigade. Their weapon of choice, the stainless steel dagger of the sleep, found it’s mark–sending him drifting… floating… into a cold, semi-conscious state of suspended animation.
After many days of this “treatment” by the welcome committee, he was weak and mentally defeated. It wasn’t until someone finally realized he was sick, that he had a case of pneumonia, was a doctor summoned to treat him. He was given another shot of tranquilizer, sent to the infirmary… and prescribed shock treatment.
No ink blots, no questions, no nothing.
He awoke on a stretcher. Arms, legs, and torso restrained by large leather straps with huge silver buckles locking them down. A strap was being placed across his brow and around the bed, thoroughly immobilizing him. Then, while an attendant shaved parts of his head in little round circles, another brushed a Vaseline-type substance on each cleared area. It felt weird… he asked what they were doing.
“Don’t worry, it’s just a test… It will be over in a few minutes.”
Small wires, with disc-like objects, were placed at both temples and each shaved location. A piece of leather covered wood placed between his teeth. He was told to relax…..
Zap!… the current of electricity shot through his body.
Dazed… trying to gather thoughts… fuzzy images… blurry vision.
“Wait… …uh… listen… ah… stop… please… you ca…” Zap!…
“Fath… Moth… …ah… phew… just wait a min…” Zap!
Steady buzzing, buzzing, buz… buz… buz… Zap!…
Simian creatures… Scrambling… Climbing about… Screaming… Ranting and raving… Urinating… Using curled, clutching hands… Devouring their repast… off crud-infested floors…
The appalling nightmare returned, in full bloom and intensity, tearing, wrenching, cannibalizing his very mind. He was nearly into the midst of a seizure when the face of an Angel appeared: beautiful, kind, with flowing golden hair and crystal blue eyes. She blocked out the vile, evil specter that was consuming his life and very soul. The Angel spoke in a harmonious, melodic, trusting voice as she lightly grasped his arm: “Someone made a drastic mistake… you’re not supposed to be in here. You just lie there young fellow. Just bear with me for a while and everything will be all right.” The words seemed to float along a music bar, prompting him to sing along!
Golden Angel promptly and sharply ordered several attendants to transfer Joe to B-wing with the other children as she wiped the sweat from his brow.
When she touched him, waves of compassion coursed through his body.
Joe’s prayers had been answered… His Angel appeared and was delivering him to heaven! Hope, happiness, and relief had arrived in the form of a living Angel in a clean white smock, giving orders which were implemented with such haste time was not taken to remove him from his bed: They just moved the entire bed with him in it to the West wing of the hospital and into an infirmary — full of bright joyous colors, clean, white sheeted beds, and happy kids his own age…
A rapid recovery had Joe asking everyone for the name of the lady with the blonde hair.
“Excuse me…” He said to the lady that brought meals to their dorm. “Where is the lady with the blonde hair that sent me here?”
“I do not know any lady with blonde hair, you just eat all of your lunch, O.K.?”
“Doctor, who is that lady with the blonde hair and blue eyes?” He asked.
“There is no blonde hair, blue eyed nurse or doctor on staff that I know of.” He said as he reviewed his chart.
Finally he just flat out asked how he had arrived in the dorm.
“But then how did I get here.” He asked
“You were supposed to be here.” Was all he said.
Harry, an unbelievable amount of time had evaporated. The hours Joe had computed were in fact days, the days weeks, weeks equaled months. The round spots on his head, marks and bruises on his body, and total weakness were proof of his experience. During those days of torment his mother had been making futile, desperate attempts to free him. She was not allowed to visit him–the pretext: “It would be better for him if you didn’t.” She called everyone, including their priest, but for some reason his several days of examination became three months of torment.
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