This wing of the ward is full of evil twins. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it. Simon Kelson, 36 was sitting in the back of a co-worker’s car while they drove to a conference across town. During their brief foray on the freeway, he decided to test an hypothesis. Cramped in the middle seat, he relaxed all his groin muscles, then unzipped his pants and sprayed urine back and forth. The initial fountain hit the ceiling, but then waved onto the driver, passenger, and those sat on either side of him, with the lion’s share running down his arm. There was much yelling, but his hypothesis was proven correct as the driver stayed calm enough to pull the car over without incident.
His co-workers were not amused, had him arrested for sexual harassment, but he claimed innocence of the entire matter. It didn’t help that the district manager who ran the conference took their tardiness as a snub and didn’t buy the story either. Simon invoked the evil-twin clause because hey, he always assumed he worked solely with evil twins.
Loreen Meusburger, 42 in the women’s ward has a long and prosperous resume in customer service and marketing for department stores. She was found arguing, with great eloquence and public support, for attempting to walk out of a distant store wearing five coats and six hats, three pairs of shoes, and four pairs of gloves, all with the price tags still on them. She knew it was against policy to directly accuse a customer of stealing. She showed up to her trial with a shaved head claiming to be her evil twin, doing the first good deed of her career, standing in place for Mrs. Meusburger. She couldn’t believe that people would mistake the woman in the store for her, despite the matching fingerprints and DNA signature.
A third curious case is Julian Barlow. Facing company layoffs, he offered to reduce his own position and salary to part-time so that they wouldn’t have to fire any of the younger employees who had promised longevity with the company. He remained modest in the face of such praise and decided to pursue cooking classes in his spare time. Upon completion of the introductory safety material regarding cleaning agents, he somehow procured a can of compressed sulfur dioxide, along with some scrubbing bubbles.
A silence fell over the class as he set up his station. A quizzical expression formed on the face of the instructor as Julian’s eyes widened along with a buck-toothed grin.
“Uh, Mr. . .?” was all the instructor had time for.
Julian rushed over to the boxes of produce to be distributed among the class and sprayed the gas and bubbles along them proclaiming, “tee-wee-wee-wee!”
Standing in shock, no one was moved to action until he ran out into the actual store. The trail of sulfur made people gag. He made it to the produce section and halfway round the bakery parading his demented laugh behind him like a flag. He was knocked on the floor by a rolling pin and the can of compressed sulfur dioxide fell against a rack, puncturing its side and sending it across the store like a missile. It arced above several aisles and initially no one could see it land in the deli where it ricocheted among the slicers and ovens, breaking a glass door and igniting in a ball of volcanic flame.
Julian Barlow continued to spray scrubbing bubbles into the face of anyone who tried to stop him and he ran out the front door right into the arms of the first arriving policemen. Assault of an officer nearly quadrupled his sentence.
He at first claimed to be the Tee-Wee twin, a specter that had accosted Julian since childhood, but the real Julian has yet to appear back at work and is no longer welcome in any cooking class.
- - -
They play a game on the evil-twin ward called ‘Devil’s Advocate’. How therapeutic is it? Hard to say. A few sharper psychiatrists caught onto it and even got an inmate to admit that there was method to the madness. It takes the form of ‘mock-readjustment.’
DOCTOR: And what first went through your mind, when your wife brought up divorce?
INMATE #1: I felt it coming a long time and there was, I suppose, an inward sigh of relief, so I said ‘I understand. I wish things had been different, but if this is what you want, I pledge to make it as easy as possible on us.’
The doctor examines some notes.
DOCTOR: So I uh, have it here that maybe the first part of that is correct. There was a period of respectful silence, but during this period, your were uh, defecating in your pants, and you ground it into the carpet, then proceeded to act like a baby, refusing to do any task for yourself until you had to be hospitalized for dehydration, where you continued to ‘act’ like a baby, but in private, stole prescription drugs for your children to sell at school and they bought themselves . . .
INMATE #1: You meant back then? I’m sorry, I was under the impression that you wanted my first impression in this moment, rather than reliving something old hat. I thought I was here to learn new patterns. Once I get out, me and my good-twin will be such an unstoppable force of benevolence that you’ll be fired for keeping me here so long. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be cross with you just then.
Another example . . .
INMATE #2: Starting a garden, and then teaching the basics of growing flowers. At first, just pretty things, and then adding vegetables, things you can use, is the doorway to the most basic understanding of how the universe works. I’d love to see that enstated here.
DOCTOR: May we stick to the exorcism you performed on your neighbor’s party?
INMATE #2: We do have a wildfire problem, but it’s only a problem because people live there. Wildfires are good for the forests, good for the soil.
DOCTOR: It started with a burned mattress imprinted with a human shape upon it in their yard.
INMATE #2: A terribly distressed individual, that you have yet to catch, might I add.
DOCTOR: The next weekend, during their ‘usual row’ as you put it, you stood outside in a sheet and anointed the house with -
INMATE #2: Holy water -
DOCTOR: Gasoline, at which point, you had already barricaded their front door -
INMATE #2: It is sad, how little people notice the natural wonders around them when occupied in their own drama.
DOCTOR: - nineteen people died that night.
INMATE #2: So many trees were planted. I’m sorry, what were we talking about? I understand there’s tragedy in the world, doctor, and that you see a good deal of it. But have you ever considered spending time with me in my garden?
DOCTOR: It is a rather nice day -
INMATE #2: Let’s talk outside.
DOCTOR: I don’t really see the harm . . .
Joline Gaddis had always claimed that her evil twin was still out there, but she would use this opportunity to do good in the institution. On the day in question, she was found hoeing dirt in the back yard, saying that Dr. Carl Long, her assigned psychiatrist, had given her permission. He has yet to be found. The prison system credits Ms. Gaddis for not escaping through the open back door upon which hung Dr. Long’s lab coat.