Everything was cancelled yesterday. Scrabble in the lobby. Paint your feelings in watercolor. Floor yoga in the gymnasium. My therapy session. I was rather looking forward to that. They even took away the mini tarts that have semi-fresh fruit on top.

If a patient dies, it’s business as usual, just another grey day in a grey matter world, someone’s world. But if employees die…well…we all know how the show runs here at Black Hall. They even had the audacity to decay in one of the new wings, Black West. Would they have perished in Black North, it would have been torn down and rebuilt. The North is where the kings and queens regale each other with stories of how they controlled one patient or manipulated another. Black West is for resident staff.

And we, the unique mob of madness, are caught in the middle of the torrent. A typhoon of “good intentions” and well-laid schemes to drive the pockets deeper down the whirlpool.

One orderly and one nurse were found just outside the staff lounge. Scratches on their faces. A bed sheet tied around their necks so that their noses kissed. Legs pushed upward, bent, as if they fell asleep and cuddled close for warmth. And before we were dragged away from the scene by other staff members appalled that us looky-loos would dare disrespect the air, I saw a small piece of flesh in the shape of a heart resting between them. But no blood elsewhere to be seen.

No drips or drops or smears or spatter or any remnant of any color near by.

Nothing lingering by waiting to be discovered like a shy, not so shy whore wanting attention. But…on the way through the glass doors that separated US from THEM, I saw Rhoda, the new Staff Director…smiling.


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