The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path
I won't tell you his real name. There's a chance that after all these years, he still reads this journal. Changing his name won't stop him from recognizing himself, but it's a small courtesy I make because...actually, I have no idea why. Anyway, for the sake of keeping up the appearance of protecting innocence, we'll call him Dave.
Dave didn't have a job. In fact, he rarely got up from his chair. He had no reason to, because everybody he lived with would drop their own activities at a moment's notice to fetch him a soda. Or to run down the block to grab him a Big Mac. Or to keep him company while he took a bath (though that privilege fell almost exclusively to his wife).
My first few visits, I laughed at how everyone waited on him hand and foot, letting him walk all over them because he refused to stand on his own two feet long enough to walk across the house to the kitchen. My heart bled especially for his kids, of which there were three, his handy little slave girls.
I swore that I would never fetch him anything. He was a grown man, for fuck's sake. Why did everyone treat him like royalty?
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more
A few months in, he finally asked me. "Hey Jess, will you grab me a soda?"
I snorted. "You have two hands," I said.
Dave chuckled a bit, then turned around in his chair. "What did you say to me?"
"I said, 'You have two hands.' Get it yourself."
"Just get me a fucking soda, Jess."
He called my bluff. He knew I was afraid of him. He knew I wanted to keep him on an even keel.
You re-arrange me 'till I'm sane
I'd seem him lose it once.
Dinner time. He'd been served a burger with shredded cheese on it.
"What the fuck is this?" He'd asked.
"It's a burger," his unlucky servant (whose identity I genuinely would like to protect, so I will call Mike), explained.
"This cheese is moldy," Dave complained.
"It's not moldy, it's shredded cheese. It's just dusty from the bag."
"It's moldy, I'm not going to eat it. You got the wrong fucking cheese."
Mike took in a deep breath and said what we all thought, but never dared to voice:
"Well, maybe next time you can go to the store and get your own damn cheese."
In an instant, Dave's hands circled Mike's throat. Finally on his feet for once, Dave stood, roaring, clawing, screaming, punching. Mike defended himself best he could, but Dave was a big guy, and not just in girth from sitting at his computer desk all day. Dave's wife threw herself between the two of them, but Dave kept swinging at Mike, over and over and over again, no trace of sanity left in his face. He'd become all lunatic.
I ran to the girls and pulled them upstairs to their room. I put on Jimmy Neutron, sitting with them while they huddled together, crying in fear.
"You know that's not really your father," I said to them, knowing the whole time I told the lie for his sake. For their sake. For my sake.
After, Dave would joke with Mike about how he just said the wrong thing, about how Mike knew better, and wasn't the whole thing an amusing misunderstanding?
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me
So I got him his Dr. Pepper. And I fetched him his dinner. I picked up his coffee. I became part of the system.
And while I lived there, it made all perfect sense, somehow.
"That's just Dave," we'd explain to visitors, chuckling to ourselves about how they just didn't understand us. Our special little club. As if waiting on Dave were some secret handshake that only the initiated could perform. Some sort of honor instead of a degradation of our humanity. You just don't understand because you're not one of us.
You shout and no one seems to hear
It took three years to leave. And the leaving took every ounce of emotional strength I had within me.
"I have no idea what sort of 'thing' you've turned into," Dave had shouted as I'd walked out the door for the last time.
It's called a person, Dave. A sane, healthy, self-respecting person.
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon
The italicized bits are lyrics from the song "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse" by Pink Floyd.
This has been an entry for LJ Idol. My take on this week's topic was inspired by this article originally linked by lrig_rorrim in the work room.
You can read entries from the other participants here.