Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Suicide Is Painless"

The television in the rec room was playing an old episode of M*A*S*H. Kevin listened as the voices from the TV sang how the game of life is hard to play and how we're gonna lose it anyway. M*A*S*H was one of those shows that they were allowed to watch at Ashford. They weren't allowed to watch the news - the doctors said that would be too upsetting. But an old show about the Korean War, where the theme song told people how delightful killing yourself was, no, that wasn't upsetting at all.

Kevin once asked Doctor Morgan about that and the good doctor had explained how the program looked and sounded old, so the residents knew that it wasn't really happening now. And because it wasn't happening now, it couldn't affect them, couldn't hurt them. The news had current events, events that could affect them. "And the theme song?" Kevin asked.

"They don't really listen to the lyrics," Doctor Morgan said. "They just like looking at the pictures. I think you're the only one here who actually knows what the song is about."

"And you aren't worried about me?"

"Not at all," Doctor Morgan placed one hand on Kevin's shoulder. "I'm proud of you, Kevin. I'm proud of all that you've accomplished."

Technically, the doctors weren't supposed to touch the patients, but Kevin didn't mind. He liked Doctor Morgan. Doctor Morgan was his psychiatrist a few years ago and Kevin had told him all about what happened: about the hallucinations, about his family and how they died, about how he kept seeing them even after they were cremated. That's why he was at Ashford. He had voluntarily checked himself in.

And then one day Doctor Morgan had stopped being his psychiatrist. No one told him why. All they said was that Doctor Morgan had gone away and he would be getting a new psychiatrist. They even gave him some medication to help, but he didn't like it. It make him sick.

So he was so happy when Doctor Morgan returned. Doctor Morgan said that technically he wasn't Kevin's psychiatrist, but he still advised Kevin on stuff. Like on how to fake taking his medication. Like on how to pick locks. Like what to do when the guards were distracted. "I was trying to help you, Kevin," he said, "but they wouldn't let me. Once they're out of the way, I can start helping you again."

So Kevin did what Doctor Morgan asked and cut the other doctors' throats and watched as they bled out on the floor. It reminded him of the day his family died, the feeling of the razor in his hand, but back then it was his grandmother (dead of a heart attack three years before) who was telling him how everything would be okay, how they were only hallucinations, they weren't his real family at all.

Kevin walked back to the rec room and sat down in front of the television. Another episode of M*A*S*H came on. The theme song started playing. Kevin held onto a pair of scissors and really listened to the lyrics.

suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please

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