Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Most Attractive Men


Part 25 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

What do I find attractive? Depends on the day and the eyes I wake up with. But attractive or not, everything's off limits till we boldly go after it. Rubber stamp a court order, barge in, this is a take-down, a shakedown. And the rules are on our side. It's a bad time to be a perp. Even if I only imagine myself doing something criminal or psychotic I know how they'll take me down. That's a good perspective to have. And that the two ends of every life are birth and death.

Attractive? Sure, my mind goes there. I mentioned kindergarten teachers before; they've got it goin' on, even as I consciously wonder, "Who do you think you're fooling? It's been done to death." Then there's tougher gals, making the two extremes, innocent and guilty. We just covered all-night waitresses. And there's everyone else, of every tribe and nation. I used to see those pictures of naked ladies from other tribes and a bone in their nose and not get it. I get it now. The guys there are desperate.

So we're looking at the balance between the absolute innocent and the absolute wanton. And there's a lot to that — it’s in the myths, the mommy that babies you and the mother who guts and fillets you. I hope waitresses will forgive the jab, but next time I’m in your joint how about a grin for the road and not the blunt end of a frown? You could've killed me in the crib but you didn't.

Sure, accused men, even the psychotic, are attractive, the center of their own nucleus and gravity. Who doesn't know that? The law swarms them, never to their liking. Even if the accusation isn't immediately clear, round up the usual suspects and we'll sort it out. In the picture Josef K acts like he doesn't know why he's under arrest. When the evidence is everywhere. He can't contain it. Everywhere he goes he's clearly seen, bad behavior massively askew and guilt pouring everywhere through the cracks. He could've just died in the opening scene rather than stringing us along and gumming up the works. Dispatch him quickly and give us the rest of the day off.

But if we must work, let's work... Get on with the important mission of spotting the guilty, the confused, the infirm. Frankly, it’s all I can do not to tackle and arrest people simply for their own good. You see them a mile away and what they’re up to. You know where they go and you know what they do there. There's no reason to hide behind niceties, it's disgusting. And if I know that much, there's no denial of the rest. We started out with enough to go on, pal. Let’s get you some help, if you'll submit before it's too late. And if it takes pouring money into another ambulance or two -- I'd love to have a vacation instead -- so be it. Every little bit helps.

You all have something you can do to speed things along: Don't hide in the shadows. Surrender immediately, confess. We're not going away. We're going to get you hook or crook. But you'll be fine. What exactly are you trying to protect? What you've got's no good; let's make it better. You know me. I'm against all wanton feeling up, all invasiveness. It never happens. Don't listen to anyone. I'll cuddle you like you were my own family jewels.
-----
Photo from movie "The Trial," starring Anthony Perkins. From the novel by Franz Kafka.

Friday, May 24, 2019

I Am A Proud Cog


Part 24 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

Have you ever foolishly worried that you're "merely" a cog in a machine? Or are you rightfully proud that as an appropriate match to other cogs the machine runs smoothly? When your long life is finished, will they put your citizen name on the tombstone (boring!) or a nice glorious stylized clip art cog to identify your valued life?

I used to think I was something other than a cog, because really I hadn't given much thought to it. I was 18 and in my first job, but having raging hormones I wanted to go see my matching girl person for a date. But the boss instead wanted me to work overtime. So he came in and shared with me the facts of life. These facts didn’t involve wasting time worrying about sex, but instead me being a cog in a well-oiled machine. I learned that if a cog doesn’t stay put and do its job, it's replaced. Naturally I took that as a new insight, and since I always want to be helpful, I stayed. Even now I can imagine that wise man in his office -- he's long since passed on to the great machine in the sky -- and I still feel privileged that from his lips I learned that great lesson.

Life would be a lot easier if we could cast off all flesh and blood and literally be metal cogs and strong machines, joyfully going at it, no evil hormones to interrupt us. We would pause and submit to on-site mechanics, not waste time going to the doctor. It would be of the greatest value to work 24 hours a day. And our arms would be programmed to reach for the exact medicine we need. I don't always know what to take. The only medical knowledge I have are bandages. Which are tough to choke down, but if you can manage it they're great for a sore throat. If they could only be engineered to cure everything, from headaches to broken bones...

But as things stand, we still need a doctor for everything else. Jock itch, syphilis, Italian breath. The doctor actually helped me with Italian breath. Put hot sauce on a bandage and wrap it around your tongue and replace it every couple months. And avoid Italian food. And I guess there's other medicines we’ve managed to wrestle out of the doctor’s hold: cough drops, triple antibiotic, and fungus spray. Everything else is off limits. With the Psycho Squad, I can't even commit a guy to the psych hospital and throw away the key without a doctor's OK. It tempts me sometimes to blow my top, but I tell myself that there is social wisdom in it. A higher-up cog decided, so that's good enough for me.

Just to come full circle on my triple antibiotic story, I tried healing an itch on my arm with triple antibiotic, with a consult with the doctor. After a few days I thought it was cured so I quit applying it. But it came roaring back. So I ganged up on it, applying the cream several times a day for a couple weeks, till -- yucky! -- my skin was glowing and sagging. Ultimately it worked and that's good. Wrestling psychos into ambulances is a lot easier with two arms.

Just to close it out on my old boss. The last time I saw him was in 1984 at a political debate of the presidential candidates. Beloved Mr. Cog in the flesh! But I didn’t go over and visit with him because I still didn't quite feel worthy. I still had in my mind the original shame of wanting to visit a girl instead of working. This was before I had the Psycho Squad franchise or I certainly would've shared with him my place in the world. And maybe checked his mental health to keep him going. Good health is important, from one cog to another. Do your part and you will fulfill your destiny!

Please, seriously, do your part faithfully. Reading time is now over. Back to work.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

No Pocus, No Hocus

 
Part 23 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

I seriously thought I would make a love connection with Doris the Matching Tie Waitress, but it wasn't to be. Something came between us in what might've been our moment. It didn’t take long for the coffee to cool off and the same went for her. Some like it hot, some like it cold. Who we kiddin'? No one likes it cold. Except her. Although in fairness, she's probably been burned more than once. And maybe she thought I was too eager and a danger to her physical health. I totally understand, since that’s my own normal standard of thinking. Whatever, there was no love connection.

And so I tramped out into cold slumped like a lost puppy, but with a Psycho Squad call to deal with, a group of guys considered off the beam. You never know when these calls are going to erupt. As far as I know, they were as mentally healthy as horses just minutes before. And whether there was a mysterious quivering in the cosmic cloth or just some persistent problem of Monkey See Monkey Do, Birds of a Feather Flocking, or Communal Delusion aka the Jonestown Syndrome, they all went whack in perfect synch.

Was it a massive coincidence? Well, they were all looking for love connections at a gentlemen's club, according to the sworn statements of several more satisfied guys. Which I’ve seen a thousand times. Guys get so stoved up and desperate for affection, and this is especially pronounced at gentlemen’s clubs. Then once rejected their eyes glaze over and they act out in negative ways. It’s rooted in their desires and years and years of rejection, fears, misplaced optimism, etc. Group think is a biggie in men’s breeding genes, and, yes, it edges close to the psycho range.

It’d be great to pool our knowledge of gentlemen’s clubs. I’m not saying I know a lot, about average, but I never put it on my resume. Guys, you need to remember, those gals are pros! They’ve been around the block more times than teenagers on a Friday night. But you look down and see your single solitary self and think you’re God’s gift to women. Maybe you are, but that doesn't impress the pros. They’ve got your number, they milk it for what it's worth, and that’s as far as the service goes.

So I showed up at the Fox's Tail Club, found the group of glassy-eyed Romeos about like you'd expect — one had kicked the jukebox and ended the fun for everyone — and took them in for a while. The worst four I told to sit up straight in the back of the ambulance. The way we handle these guys is scare them straight the best we can. Do they have wives? Do they have jobs? Are they elected officials? We point out the consequences of bad behavior. Throw in an aspirin-flavored placebo and it instantly heals what might’ve been a full blown psycho meltdown.

Then hand them a few tissues and send ‘em behind the building. The same way you purge a good drunk, the body’s normal way of ejecting booze out the mouth, is similar to handling gentlemen’s club rejects. And profitable. I charge $5 a tissue and because they were bad boys they never complain.

Which brings me back to my own rejection from waitress Doris: Dear Doris, darling Doris! I need the hocus pocus... I need the magic back... Because no pocus, no hocus! But, baby, the last word's mine! And I’ll be back to normal any minute now...

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Coming On Hot To Cold Doris


Part 22 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

Everyone in the Psycho Squad biz knows the 72-year war, presently the average lifespan of our species, a long time to have psychotic problems. But to the person with it — who knows? — it might fly by in a flash. They don’t know. They're just lurching from one crisis to another, more or less oblivious: It's someone else's problem.

So, for me, yes, I have plenty to do. But I also have 72 years, a good chunk of time. I can afford to kick back a few minutes, take a snack — coffee, tea, or me — the work will still be waiting when I get done. I pulled into one of those all night eats joints where the food’s hot and maybe the waitresses. Me and romance, though, not always a good combo. The Psycho Squad stuff doesn't go away: If there's a problem, you act on it now, no time to wait, no time like the present.

That was the scene I met at this all night place. With a waitress I’d tangled with before, but not in the way I’d like. 'Your thicket or mine, let's tangle... We're both stoved up and hot, instant on, a bad way to be when there's no feast to be had.' Reminds me of the old Westinghouse we used to cook with: Don’t turn it on till it’s time, the thing sparks into action right now. That’s what sparked in me when I saw Doris -- "Doris," her beautiful name tripped off her tag to the tip of my tongue, a goddess conjuring as if by magic coffee, sausage, and more sausage. I thought, "No need to check the state of play, I'm a man." But I warned myself, "Easy, boy, down! Stay cool till we're invited!"

Yeah, but these damned joints will break your heart every time. It's the same old story. There’s not an innocent bird in the place. I scoured the scene. Every one of them's been around the block so many times they’ve carved ruts. Street savvy. They know their way around a guy. They should, they’ve met enough creeps to last a lifetime. Once they had the git-up and go, now they’ve turned the corner. And bedded down in the paddock and taken their oats.

That's right, a few years in the waitress biz is all it takes. And who can blame 'em? Ridden hard, put away wet one too many times. And I bet she's got a dozen cross-eyed brats in foster homes up and down the tri-state corridor. Little bastards maybe showing up wanting her tip money, the old guilt trip. Yeah, I could see it in her eyes. No wild oats for her. Just looking for the straightaway home. That’s good for the jockey in her mind, not what's in my jockeys. I mentioned instant on, this was instant off.

But I laughed it off and gave her a wink as if to say, "You old kidder!" But she was impossible to break with the Night Shift Syndrome. I sat there then quiet like, simmering, trying to ignore her. A little more cream for my coffee? And she kept up a brisk pace, playing the mind game of making me drink as fast as possible and get the hell out. But psycho tricks are always on my side; the game had shifted, and in this game I had her right where I wanted her: She’s gonna give me coffee refills from now till doomsday! I would not be forced out...

So I sat there three hours — it was a grudge match and I had nothing better to do. When, damn it to hell, there had to be a Psycho Squad call about 5 in the morning! Some twerp with a God complex dangling from the water tower. And He was holding two hostages, possibly the Son and Spirit, with rusty nails held to both their throats. Huh? I couldn't stew over theology, I had to ascend and get going.

Just then, seeing my dilemma, Doris backed against the counter and started playing with herself, mocking me. I laid it on her real square, the bad news in one painful body slam: “Save it, baby, the coffee was cold, but hotter than you...”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Danny, Spud, Tipsy, and Cannibal



Part 21 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

My life’s really been a rich tapestry of doing good and offering help. I've offered a hand up. But then when that hand's been bitten, I've had to kick ass. These are the signs of a good life well-lived.

So here I stand, somebody. A modest man. But in certain ways, a big man, the head kahuna. I’m not just a grunt worker with the Psycho Squad, like Al and Ted, employees outside the scope of this series. I'm a happy entrepreneur, running the Squad, working on this blog, and sitting around shooting the breeze according to the highest standards. There's been moments when I tried to be a people person. One thing, a few years ago I broadened the blog staff: One broad, Myra Kula Electra, and four jailbirds from the local prison release program.

The four also had a looser connection with the Psycho Squad’s main work, but they were so far gone there was no improvement. I tried to help them but it turned out to be more of a disaster than anything. And the grunt work they shared did no good for the blog or anything else. Which taught me that it simply doesn’t pay to be a do-gooder. The average guy already knows that and would've never had anything to do with SOBs like Dashing Danny Whrfr*, Spud Tuber, Stanley “Tipsy” White, and Cannibal. It's all in the past now, but one thing still rankles me; I must’ve loaned each one of these bastards $15 or more over the years and not one of them ever paid me back. They’re completely irresponsible, the lot of them.

But there was something I got out of their worthless hides, and that's the sad experience of being with them. When you’re in the Psycho Squad business everything you do adds up. Some things give me greater compassion, like when I see the kindness of kindergarten teachers, usually cute, often single. They're always the ones that don’t realize how hot they are; they’re great with other people’s kids, what could they be with hers and mine? Then I face reality and let it pass without a word. And use my so-called compassion on equally hopeless pursuits, which brings us full circle back to these release farm rejects...

So I got a little payoff for the misfortune of dealing with Danny, Spud, Tipsy, and Cannibal. I had ‘em close to me over a period of weeks or months; I think it was weeks but felt like months. Was I pissed off at them at the time? Of course I was, because, speaking of hot dates, I had my eye on prize-winning reporter Myra Kula Electra, and then every one of these psycho bastards slept with her at the Fourth of July festivities!

Looking back on it, I recall Myra had ulterior motives and was just as guilty. It took a lot of unreformed sex drive to put her so fast on her back, and in sync with a lovely municipal fireworks display; they really went all out. But her real goal was to undercut me. The four guys were the ones I was most disappointed in: If your actual home is a reform facility you ought to be able to point to some actual progress.

But like I said, there was a payoff, the lesson I learned from the whole affair and how I’ve applied it to day to day operations with the Psycho Squad. Which is this, Never trust any of these guys! I am suspicious of everything that moves and I sleep with my eyes wide open. So when I’m around the most hardened cases my eyes are strictly like manufactured homes, double-wides.

*That’s right, Whrfr. Danny had foreign forebears. Who would ashamed of him if they only knew what their pathetic genes cursed the world with.

Monday, May 20, 2019

What The—! Seriously, What The—!



Part 20 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

Most jobs are like the work of the Psycho Squad. You do it enough and you get it down to a science. Even easier when it's supposed to be a science, gauging the behavior of folks and psychological tinkering when they inevitably screw up. Which means a lot of variables. Like eating a BLT, your gut has three distinct food groups to digest and bread's the ringer. It's so complicated a lot of people don't survive and eat something else next time. And poker comes to mind, holding, folding, bluffing, complaining, distracting each other, underhanded dealing, and secret signals. It's a tough game and I've got the scars to prove it.

With psychos you have to look for every edge. Forget BLTs, their lives are a smorgasbord of food groups no one likes. They're sick and they can make you sick if you're not careful. And they don't give a squat. They hide, they lie, they deceive. You've got to stay ahead of them. Think of yourself dealing with mental flamethrowers and you'll stay ahead. People tell me they’d like to do what I do, run the Psycho Squad or work for it, and I laugh like a bowlful of jelly. Because it helps to think like a psycho without being one. And that’s tough to maintain. I was so into it one day they mistook me for the case, tossed me in the clink and threw away the key. I was steaming, because it took an hour and a half to grind a new one.

So the people are a terror. But you don't want to focus on that all the time. The average guy has a good side and an evil side. Like the lady in the picture. Someone called me on her for having a good and evil self. Which turned out the exact opposite of what you’d think. The mirror side of her was what I'd call the real side and the young beholding side was the mirror image. Like in a hall of mirrors. Lots of reflections of yourself from many different angles. I used to do that with a mirror so I could comb the back of my head. Then it got to the point where I went bald on the front so I gave up on the back. I run my fingers through it now and haven’t seen it in years. I don’t know what it looks like. According to my fingers, there’s something there, but what, I don’t know and no one ever tells me. It's sort of crusty. There's a Psycho Squad lesson in there somewhere.

Maybe you're always looking for ways to identify whether you have a psychosis and related states. Here's some pointers: If no one acts like anything’s wrong with you, you're probably OK. Or they might be faking it until they’re safely out of your presence, then they’ll organize and invade. The best way to know if you’re about to be picked up is this: Wait long enough and if no one shows up, you weren’t about to be picked up. But remember, if you’re going to be picked up, they never just show up; they're organizing. Hang out, chill, and if someone kicks in the door, that'll be your first clue.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Better Health Begins At Home


Part 19 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

For a lot of the guys we deal with, the Psycho Squad is the best friend they have. And their so-called friends, the guys on the block, are their worst enemy. But try to convince them of that. They still turn and run. They always seem to think we're somehow the enemy. So we're bobbing and weaving, avoiding angry fists ourselves as we chase them up one alley and down another. You always hear these are mean streets, the alleys are no picnic either.

Then later I walk the hospital halls and see a lot of injuries, which is terrible. Mostly for our reputation. Because a lot of misinformed people think we have something to do with it. When we certainly don't. We play by the book, our only mission to help unfortunate souls and return them back as productive members of society. It's right there in black and white in our literature, and, frankly, my arm's getting sore lifting it to swear that we're clean. But that's a fact!

We might need to get some extra PR on this thing. One, it'd be a good way to keep the liability insurance guys happy and the rates lower. Maybe send our guys out with big foam gloves and hands, like in the stands at football games. A few huge pointing foam gloves and the public would have a better idea about us. They might even associate us with the football team, always known for playing clean. The rooms are padded, but the rooms aren't seen by the public very often. We might need to look into padding for the ambulances, the uniforms, everything. And rename the business Kid Gloves Psycho Squad, anything to keep our reputation.

How hard is it to believe that most of these characters -- several have a terrible sneer and gargle glass -- might run with the wrong crowd? You see it first thing when you're on a run. Most of the time I even leave a guy with the ambulance so we'll have tires when we get back! And of course windows, seats, a steering wheel, whatever we might need to keep a functioning unit. Then some of these neighborhoods are so tough, a gang of guys could pick up and move your ambulance just to set it in illegal parking. And that's mean. And to think these are some of the same guys I used to give butterscotch candy to as kids. This is the thanks I get? Hardly anyone just wants to be friends anymore.

Anyway, a perp might be pretty badly mangled by the time he's in the psych hospital. But I'm assuming they know the rules of their neighborhood: Don't look at someone else's girlfriend. Don't look at someone else's boyfriend. Don't mess with another guy's dog. Don't get in the way when they're dismantling a firetruck or Psycho Squad ambulance. Don't steal candy. Stop on the red, cross on the green, watch both ways in traffic, don't litter. I actually lost a friend a few years ago, knifed right in the heart. He'd unfortunately committed the trifecta of sins: Looked at someone's girlfriend, petted a guy's dog, and crossed on the red. But it's been a few years now and most of us have forgotten him.

So our job is hard enough just getting these crazies to the hospital, there's no way we want to extend our little visits by roughing them up. We're like everyone else: We want to cut every corner we can to get things done faster, not prolong the agony of being with these guys. And the only way to do that -- when the natives are cooperating -- is to bring 'em in clean and ship 'em out clean. Any trouble along the way means more paperwork, more explanations, and higher insurance. Plus dirty looks from nurses, definitely something we try to avoid...

Saturday, May 18, 2019

I'm Hungry, Lock Me Up


Part 18 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

Sometimes I want to know more about my readers. So consider these questions and if you want to tell me about them. I wouldn’t mind an avalanche of responses, millions of replies, requiring a bank of highly paid good-looking secretaries.

What kind of appetite do you have? Are you extremely hungry, totally hungry, or as hungry as anyone ever? After you’ve had even the slightest food, are you totally satisfied, always satisfied, or both totally and always satisfied? Do you hope satisfaction goes away very quickly, very very quickly, or never arrives so you can constantly eat? Do you know the purpose of eating, the purpose of consuming food, and why we eat? Are you embarrassed about normal digestion processes and do you realize that the mere act of eating anything is a blatant admission that you eventually poop? Or do you wantonly go, instantly digesting, even if you've taken nothing more than a tiny pickle?

I’ll tell you what’s normal: What I do. Generally I have three meals a day, which we used to call breakfast, num num, and dinner. Now, with everyone TV-crazy these meals are called morning cartoons, num num cartoons, and evening cartoons. People are TV-happy, cartoon happy, and sitting there with huge bags of fast food, gobbling it down, and throwing the bags across the room at each other! Dogs forage through the mess and never go out to do their business, so it’s a pit. But they're mostly satisfied. As are the flies streaming through the cracks in the house, making a cesspool of filth everywhere. The people who live there are terrible people, saying mean things to each other in a mean way, “Gimme the remote, you shit!”

Anyway, back to my normal home, I shoot for breakfast, lunch, dinner. All done responsibly, in good order. Toast, bacon, cereal, sandwich, baked potato, and maybe something light for dinner. I still take the dog out — she's not shy about going — and I get some exercise along the way, then watch TV within limits. Something to make me laugh, perhaps. Other times, something serious so I’m well-informed, but I scrupulously avoid all news! I remember watching the news just a few years ago and not losing my num num, but I guess it's my age...

I’m just going to say what I always think and let the chips fall where they may: When it comes to normal, I'm about it. And even with the Psycho Squad work — which could jade anyone — I keep my equilibrium, more than any man's entitled to, taking my half out of the middle. Because I need a clear head when dealing with people that don’t. These bastards will jump you in a heartbeat and when they do I lose my num num.

There's one case I remember fondly, Stub's his name. Stub wanted to be taken in because he'd had a hunger for food since he was a teenager. And remembered that the detention center had the best food ever. And it probably did, so he got hooked on it. But when we released him he’d act out again and be recommitted. The way we handled Stub was with great creativity and mercy. We swung by the thrift store and bought him a cheap discarded cookbook. He didn’t know such knowledge existed, so he was thrilled! And now he has his own food truck across town. But he's still a psycho, never opens for business, just stays there cooking and eating oatmeal.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Never Enough Room Or Time


No. 17 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

I believe the guy had a reasonable complaint -- "Never Enough Room, Never Enough Time!" -- and I’m not always so generous with guys seized up in psychotic hallucinations. But those are true words. With the irony being, he's wasting my time and I'd rather be somewhere else. The clock's working against me, because I have a lot of things to do. And time is money! But he keeps on shouting and struggling against his helpers, "Time ... Room ... Time ... Room!"

But who can't agree with him? It’s certainly reasonable. But if it’s just something you're shouting to be shouting, it’s unreasonable, and we sit here bogged down at his side. And even if I'm making money, I could be making more money if he'd just cooperate, settle down, and be normal. "We're on the same page, pal, fighting for the same thing!"

Because, really, who among us has enough time? And room? I’ve been room-challenged lots of times. Maybe the garage is too small to hold all my stuff. I’ve shopped for garages and it's a lot of work taking everything you want to keep in the garage to a place where they sell garages. And if it doesn't fit, you have to pack it up again and go to the next place. And as for time? Maybe I had all the time in the world before I wasted it shopping for garages. They need a better way to buy yard buildings.

But here I sit, and I won't have time or money if the rantings of this lunatic are allowed to continue! How could he have such a reasonable point without a reasonable attitude? Therein is the conundrum (mental dishevelment) and the glory (social lenience for involuntary craziness). I had to think, This guy will never be happier than he is right this minute. Go out on top, dude! But look at him, whacked out without reserve, without sense, and if he keeps it up, at some point we'll have to bring it to a sad end. The more lives he messes with, the less patience we have. This just makes us look bad. For society will collapse and fall if the helpers can't end things with some reasonable dispatch!

That's a great reason to be as normal as you can. Because they'll literally threaten you a hundred times with bodily injury but never pull the trigger if it looks like you're progressing toward the goal. But if you're merely out of it, all hope is lost and you're going down. So it's for your own good, even if you're screaming bloody murder, to let some sentience break through. Failing that, give him a hypo, tame him down, put him on a stretcher, and get him out of here!

Let the crowd diminish. "Nothing more to see, folks, let's shuffle off the mortal coil." And get him to the padded cell. That'll put the damper on his fun. And by then -- it's our hope -- he'll be off on a different mental thing, hopefully chasing easier butterflies within his personal mental miasma, and as harmlessly as possible. But it's always better hidden from public fascination, the meds lined up in order, something for the attendants to while away their time doling out.

Is it crazy to think there's never enough time, never enough room? I hope not, because I think the same thing on a daily basis. Time, obviously, there's only now. And if the attendants are indeed doing their thing, that now's a lot more rewarding. And as for room, sure, if I'm bunched up with this guy, and he's trying to fight a dozen guys at once, we're going to run out of room. Just be reasonable, psycho friend ... there, there, asleep in the holding room, now you've got all the room you need!

With time for a quick nap for the rest of us.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

All This God's Dream


No. 16 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

In my life as Psycho Squad head, maybe you know how it goes, keep your nose to the grindstone long enough -- being one of the few normal people able to do it -- and you’re Mr. Know-it-All. You’ve seen it all, done it all, you've drawn lessons that serve as patterns for dealing with future cases. Like being a doctor. The average doctor is bored, on an average day taking one of five or six courses of action — X-rays, MRI, colonoscopy, med changes, insulin, adult diapers, cough drops, etc. Anyone could be a doctor. It’s really too bad it's so regulated.

But I guess I shouldn’t say that. I have my own Psycho Squad team, incidentally without any formal training, mostly my own theories, experience, and stick-to-it-tiveness, but that doesn’t mean I want everyone else as competition, taking bread out of my mouth. Find another gig, deadbeats! We could always use another thrift store or gas station, better yet, BBQ joint. Do that and leave this grassy field to me. And just to scare you off more definitely: The other day I had a bastard bite my finger, hurt like a SOB, and it was my fingering finger...

Be that as it may, I also met a very nice guy who blessed me in a church run. You know, a church run. I had this idea that I could get some good business posting on church bulletin boards: “Having a bad God trip? Call us, etc.” You'd be surprised at how many calls I got, but generally it’s not as dangerous as other runs since they’re already in the groove, well-grounded in habits of morality; basically they’re not carrying knives and guns. When I show up at a church, I'm 99% safe.

This goes back some years. One night they called and I arrived. Their study group had a guy cornered and wouldn't let him out because he seemed to be a danger to himself and others. Naturally, they have a strong sense of what’s true and what’s false, and maintain it regularly. But this guy — Jesus something — blew their minds with the theory that all existence right down to themselves and their group is merely God dreaming.

The Psycho Squad took him in, voluntarily — sedative darts were topped off in case of trouble — and he was sitting by my desk. He explained his thinking on the point that everything is God’s dream. I thought, That’s a new one. But it stayed with me. I've thought it over, counting my thoughts on both hands. Which were soon tied in knots and I had to shake them out. But, listen, scientists say the universe has been around 15 billion years since the Big Bang. Jesus' theory was that's equivalent to a single second in God's Dream. If everything takes place in that single second, God could wake up and have breakfast a trillion years from now! Or momentarily. What happens then? Maybe nothing, maybe instant death... 

I guess it doesn't make much difference. We go on the same. Anything that happens, the good, we enjoy. Anything that’s bad, chalk it up to a bad catnap years ago. Ancient history, what’s there to worry about? So here’s the mystery: God sat in a chair, let's say, had a two minute snooze, and dreamt the vast period we’re still in. Two minutes. Then later that night, just guessing, God got a full night’s sleep. So future generations can look forward to a lot of craziness. And that's good for my bottom line. The Psycho Squad stays busy now, but then we'll go completely whack when we hit the full heart of darkness!

Bring it on. Tomorrow's always brighter than last night.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Annual Psycho Squad Training


Part 15 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

If you’ve ever had one of these jobs with real responsibility, where there's a bunch of higher authorities to answer to, you know the painful requirements of periodically demonstrating continued competence. It's all very official and extremely annoying. During those dark times of my life, I wish I’d settled for more generic grunt work, like mucking out horse stalls with a clothespin on my nose. No one shows up demanding you prove you can still handle a shovel.

For all the good things about the Psycho Squad business, there is, unfortunately — dammit to a christless hell — a lot of red tape, up the wazoo. What do you know, buddy, and how fast can you spit it out? What is your take-down protocol? Is kicking in the nuts still forbidden or finally state-sanctioned? What is our ultimate goal? What are the four R’s of Respect? They haven’t changed, folks! 1) Keep it REAL, 2) RESPOND to the situation, 3) aRREST every temptation to lash out, and 4) REPORT all problems with your own behavior and violations of the code. Probably the less said about 4 the better. But there's surely been at least one guy in recorded history who's reported ... whatever. We haven't met him that we know of.

Well, of course that's terrible stuff, but there's something even worse, which seems to be common with bureaucracy everywhere and officialdom in general, and that's the requirement to be certified, then recertified. This is a racket for somebody. Getting certified is of course a one time thing, but being recertified lasts forever. It looms out there regular as a heart attack on your 70th birthday. They're just waiting for you to have a bad day so they can take away your livelihood and allow an untrustworthy psychotic population (and I’m lumping in those who haven’t yet run amok) to live free and do their worst.

One of my early recerts was with a guy who knew the drill, and he let us skate by, giving us the answers to fill in, and he kept it very cursory as to the tests. I’ve written about the first time I got a driver’s license at 16 and how lucky I was. The stern, strict guy who was a terror to all just happened to be on vacation that day. I didn’t know it and showed up and took the easiest driver’s test in history. That’s the way I want recertification to be. Don’t make it a memory test. Everyone knows every actual case is possibly uncharted territory. You sink or swim by your wits, not by memorizing the 4 R’s.

That's not to say we don’t do it. Sure, we do it. We're willing to go through the motions and even doll it up to look more arcane and mysterious than it really is! “This time you be the perp and I’ll be the guy with the black cat loincloth and spear. I'll blindfold you and chain this 100 pound weight to your foot, representing your limited mentality, then chase you to hell and back before taking you down, metaphorically speaking, maintaining respect for your boundaries, essential humanity, etc."

Look, folks, I always pass. It's not like I'm not qualified. And with my declining memory from getting older, I sometimes do think of the 4 R's. But I also think of the 3 L's of taking a leak, 1) Look down, 2) Linger, 3) Let go. Any trick in the book if that's what it takes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

They Blew Up Outer Space


No. 14 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

At this point it’s only science fiction. And if I and the Psycho Squad have anything to say about it, that’s the way it’ll stay. They don't call me Kibosh for nothing. But, friends, even I might need your help. There have been few other catastrophes affect me this deeply, the terrible feeling that all things could be wiped out in my lifetime. I used to play at the city dump, bashing in the screens of old TVs and shooting rats with a bow and arrow. The town shut the whole thing down and told us to get the hell out. This is like that, traumatic.

So here it is, this dreaded limbo of threats and negotiations with every eye on space. Just thank your lucky stars nothing's happened yet. And I hope to hang an alien that’s how it stays. But the threat is real, and actually has every indication of not being aliens but our own species. It's ridiculous, Earthlings that far off the beam?! Haven’t they learned at some point in their pathetic lives “Live and let live”? Anyone that far off the beam, where are their values?

Certainly we must not put anything past them. One, a destructive urge like that is pathological. With my training, I should know; I aced the Destructive Urges test, not because I’m destructive — I’m not — I’m so anti-destructive I could spit. Complete destruction is never called for, with perhaps the sole exception of destroying anyone who would dare attempt it. Only then are destructive urges warranted. Because there can be no tolerance. We must declare it the highest priority and seal the deal for our existence, the planets, the stars, etc., with no mercy for those who'd threaten the system, our system, solar, stellar, or whatever.

Just thinking of someone like that, so far gone... I'll expound on it. What a craven urge! These are psychos that should not be helped, only destroyed. And no one will hold me back! Unless — and this is theoretical — they could be somehow captured and brought to justice, the sternest judgment, perhaps the death penalty or dealt with therapeutically. But let's say the situation is literally as portrayed above, where they’ve already destroyed the stars and half the sun. They themselves would need to be blown out of space. We would have to act preemptively, long before they unleashed more chaos than we could sweep up.

The Psycho Squad will never advocate for anyone that far gone. Maybe, yes, theoretically we’re sworn to help. But that far gone? No! That's beyond the pale, no hope. Just write them off. If they'd cause that much misery, that much destruction, they’re gone, history, out of here. I don’t shock easily — I like easy days, and fatalities per se don't bother me — but this level of wickedness, these depths of depravity sap the last of my tolerance. It's gone in a heartbeat.

First, though, and I hope this puts things in a more optimistic light, there seems to be some bluster at hand. We don't know how many stars there are precisely, but it's in the billions. And they’re pretty far scattered. No one could destroy all the stars except Nature itself if they all just collapsed on each other. And whether it’d be possible to destroy half the sun, I also don't know that for sure. It sounds far fetched. It'd have to be a perfect hit to destroy half, a payload right down the shute, boom! Instant half of a black hole. 

So there's some hope. But any psychos that attempt such a thing — whether humans in space or some other scurrilous alien breed — need to be dispatched. The local chapter of the Psycho Squad, for which I speak authoritatively, decries all such threats, plans, and deeds. We offer only censure and condemnation to the perpetrators.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Dick Meander Family


Part 13 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

If you're from around here, you're no doubt acquainted with the Dick Meander family. Maybe you don't know them well but you know them at least in passing. Once you've seen them go by -- a tangled ball of humanity, chaos and turmoil tumbling down the street, up alleys and down, through yards, kicking up dust, taking out complete fence rows and weaker trees and who knows what all -- they're hard to forget. I lost a maple tree a few years back.

No one does family squabbles any better or worse than the Meanders. Not to rub it in, but remember the main shelter house at the park that burnt a few years ago? That was during their family reunion. Of course family reunions are never good, but that was one for the books. Not only was the shelter house history, but they burnt a path from there to the interstate because their idiot baby happened to be smoking during the fight.

I actually went to school (9th grade) near the Meander place. But back in those days they were respectable. No one saw the future when Dick married Doris and started having kids. We always think of parents ruining the future for their kids, but with them it was the kids who were the bad influence. Danny was in 9th grade with me, famously kicked out of English class, with the teacher totally shaken, going to her desk for a downer. I never saw Danny again, but his family wasn’t so fortunate. They never recovered.

Ever since, if there's a cloud of dust, a tornado sighting, or any sort of disturbance in the atmosphere, even the slightest register on the Richter scale, you have to see what the Meanders are up to before sounding the alarm. And they simply don't care. They might be watching TV or maybe they're sitting around smoking or polishing pool cues or mowing the yard, when a fight breaks out and they're off, rolling across fields, yards, burning a path, every fight a fight for the ages.

In Psycho Squad work, I've had to waste a lot of time on the pesky requirements of continuing education. But some of it's been better than usual, like when we learn how the surrounding environment is a determining factor in the making of well-rounded psychos. The fact that the Meanders’ home place is right at the edge of town influenced their whole history. In previous generations, they might have gone toward the country and avoided a bad reputation. They’d just be despoiling the wild or killing an occasional cow. But as it is -- these being bolder times, morals are very loose, reputations unguarded -- they came right through town, like they were rubbing our faces in it: ‘We’re here, get used to it, gimme a light, let's unzip our pants and see what sparks...’

And the Psycho Squad has cleaned up the Meanders’ messes for years. I’ve written letters on their behalf pleading for mercy and it’s been granted. But we’re way past that now; everyone's so much more interested in their own property values and expenses than mercy. We tried medicating them, but they’ve developed a tolerance for everything but the hardest drugs. And harder drugs just make them mean, so it's all in vain.

My own personal take on it: I hate getting calls about the Meanders. But I tell myself, it's all billable! Bread and butter. Good for the bottom line. Might pay off my second ambulance early. I just have to watch what I'm doing; I lost a vehicle to them once in passing. Now we treat them like any other storm in nature, hunker down till they pass and pray to the Dreaming God above that we'll get them on the downside.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Bad Behavior: Devils & Warthogs


Part 12 of 30 -- Psycho Squad

Raising well-behaved adorable kids is one of the hardest things you can do. Especially these days when every kid tries to consciously out-psycho the next. I’m glad I haven’t got legitimate prospects if for no other reason than that. It’s a thankless task; were I in the market I’d take myself out and join a monastery. Or convent, depending how I swung. Still, the temptation is a bad habit to break, although lots easier with age.

So, fortunately, it’s a one-sided love affair for me these days when it comes to mating. Because everyone's understandably scared by an old man approaching the age of death. Which helps save my underlying vigor; I’m not at loose ends, not wasting my substance, but using it for the inner vigor, killing people with kindness and the force of ideas, not just looks. Any residual frustration I have, I invest it into corralling psychos and getting them help. I get a lot of laughs with some of the nurses, handling my cases with exaggerated kids' gloves. Like bloody murder just waiting to happen.

But, really, the best advice you can give another guy is, "Look before you leap, brother." And spell it out as clearly as you can without being a bore. Because sometime before that point you've already said too much. You have to just release them and know they'll misbehave, they must learn. These days are a lot looser, of course, which clearly makes things worse for them. Because at some level love partners actually want romance and restraint, not your bare-ass business dangling and bobbing and straining in their face. 

I won’t bore you with the language of romance. But if you don't get it, you're doomed to a life of skags, runny-nose cross-eyed kids, fights, divorce, estrangement, a bad reputation, and of course a persistent itch. You'll be tossing in bed, trying to sleep, but knowing you're not the only life-form in your body, and that's a huge mental weight. Itch leads to inflammation, which leads to burning, which leads to various back alley doctors, which leads to payday loans, stolen cars, and sleeping in a dumpster. With one eye open and a gun. Friends, before any of that happens, grow up, find a sweet girl and give her candy, meet the parents, take an interest in civic affairs, and be responsible.

I don’t envy anyone these days, kids or parents. Sometimes the parents are only about half grown up themselves. And the kids aren’t thought charming unless they’re in juvenile hall. There’s a whole different vibe these days, behavior up the wazoo, out the you know what (ass). Not happy unless they're underfoot, smarting off, flipping off their betters, opposed to morality, slandering the spirits above, spouting lies, burning flags, doing drugs in church, taking knees at football games, sleeping around, having kids out of wedlock younger than themselves, and putting up absolutely no fight in the fierce war against good values and basic primate sense.

What would I do with kids and their terrible behavior these days? First, arrest the parents. And once the bad influence was subdued, they’d have a better chance in an orphanage of growing up normal. That is to say, as far as doing the right thing, I’m not sure they really stand a chance. It can be tough to get in an orphanage. But get them there! Surround them with devils to tempt them but enormous warthogs to hold them back! And when they turn 18, they're a better person!

Moms and dads, love your kids, if it’s not too inconvenient. Or I will be over with the Psycho Squad, billing you for an expensive ambulance ride, more money for me and a lot more grief for you.