I Was a Teenage Zombie


Johnny has a problem. Well, at least that’s what they tell me. Maybe I do. Maybe I have a few problems. I can’t remember the last time my life made any sense. I’m like a character in a bad short story, and there’s some no-talent asshole plotting various ways for me to fuck up. I’ve lost myself. I’ve lost control. I’ve lost. All I have is my pride and whatever dignity I can salvage from the train wreck of bad decisions called my life. Oh yeah, and a high grade-point average, a foul vocabulary, and too much honesty for one goddamn person.

I’m so honest it’s disgusting.

I can’t lie to save my life (unless you’re my mom, or a pig, or a school administrator). I never learned how to lie. You would think I would have, the way my father shovels shit out of his mouth. Even if I could lie convincingly, I always think that the person I am lying to knows I’m lying, like I have some sort of infallible tell that everyone knows. I can’t tell lies to make people feel better. They see right through me.

I’m a walking cliché—an archetype of teenage hypocrisy. This kid I used to hang out with, Troy Casey, he told me, “Everybody thinks they are special. I used to think I was special—that I was different or unique. But you know what I learned? No one is fuckin’ special. You just gotta do your shit, and fuck bitches.” All he does is play Texas Hold ‘Em and work out. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t had sex in like a year. Still, he’s probably right.

It all starts in the suburbs.

Of course it would. It’s fucking obvious.

Middle America: my dad’s a lazy, middle-class intellectual, and my mom’s always pilled up. Here in Anytown, USA, everyone is wrapped up in their own little insignificant worlds. But so am I, and so are you, and everyone only cares about themself in the end. Everyone’s happy. No one is happy. Everyone’s full of shit. There are scummy streets, gated communities, strip malls, liquor stores, fast food, slow learners, emo whiners, preppy douches, white supremacists, black people, and pills. Lots of pills.

All I hear about is my potential, my ability, my intelligence. I can’t be that smart–I’ve been arrested, I do drugs, drive drunk, not to mention I’m in a fucking mental institution. Smart kids aren’t supposed to have this shit happen to them, are they? I’ll do any drug once (or twice). It’s almost as though I’m at war with my brain, an epic struggle to prove all of those who thought so highly of me wrong.

So did I mention I was in a mental institution? Due to the Baker-Act Law, a law that allows cops or parents to send fucked up people to a mental institution due to moments, or days, or seconds, of instability, my current residence is Quiet Meadows Hospital (it’s never quiet, and there are no meadows). Mostly it’s for people who try to kill themselves, but there are a few crazies like me, who for a night (or a lifetime) just snap.

I was riding high one night. Blacked out and white faced. It was pretty standard fare—some weed, a couple Xanax, a few Vicodin, and lots of liquor. I was giving it to some skank in the bathroom of a high school party. A sweaty incoherent blob, I lifted her onto the sink. She was wearing a jean skirt and no underwear. I buried my face in her chest. This black haired goddess, her smooth legs wrapped around my hips and guided me inside her—it’s funny what some girls will fuck when you offer them drugs.

The next thing I remember I’m getting maced by some pigs in my driveway.

*          *          *

I’m sitting in the rec room. I’m always in the rec room. It’s where us “patients” come to escape the blandness of our cells. The four walls are each painted a different happy color: sky blue, piss yellow, puke green, and orange…orange. There’s a big two way mirror on the sky blue wall. They are always watching us, making sure we don’t try to kill ourselves. The T.V. gets basic channels, the free shit. Four hard PVC tables with uncomfortable benches connected to them sit in the middle of the room. None of the windows open. They are all barred up. Everything is suicide proof. Rounded corners, plastic beds. They even made me take the string that tightened my basketball shorts out. My roommate, Josh, is sitting next to me. He is a tall, gangly fellow. His face has a look of quiet desperation. Sometimes he looks at me, almost longingly, when he thinks I’m not paying attention. He voluntarily came here for a marijuana addiction. Can you believe that? What a loser.

*          *          *

A week or so after I arrived in this hell hole, during “down time” (they lock us in our rooms for three hours) my roommate decided that now would be a good time to probe my sexual curiosity.

“So, what do you want to do?” he asked, innocently enough.

“I don’t know man, what can we do?” I stated more than asked. I shifted in my uncomfortable, hard plastic bed. A piece of foam imitates a mattress. I pulled my sheets up over my shoulders. It was unbearably cold. There really was nothing to do. Our rooms were white and boring, the beds were blue, the sheets were also white. The tile was grimy, the walls were dirty. There are things people had written, messages from another time, another life. “Get me the fuck outta here” read one. Another read “305 fo lyfe.” I looked at Josh and saw that dumb look again.

“You want me to suck your dick?” he said.

“What?”

“I can suck your dick if you want.”

He said this as though it was a completely normal offer. Like we were in Ancient Greece and guys just walked around blowing each other all day. I stood up, puffed out my chest and clenched my fists to show that I was very angry, as men are apt to do when they feel insecure. I yelled at him, called him a faggot, told him that would never happen and to never ask me anything like that ever again, or I would fight him. Thirty very awkward minutes later, while trying to sleep, I heard a ruffling coming from his side of the room. I looked over and saw him turned to his side, facing the wall, one hand moving violently back and forth near his groin. He was fucking jacking off. That sick fuck, he belongs here. At least I had the decency to jack off in the shower.

And that’s who I was destined to spend my nights and down time with everyday until one of us got released. Beautiful.

*          *          *

As a minor who is Baker-Acted, one of the things they have you do is a “family session”. This involves bringing your family into a nice, homey room. There’s a couch, a rocking chair and a bookshelf full of self-help books and random garbage. My favorite was You: The Person Inside. So your mom and dad come, and you all sit in this room and have a little group therapy session. The day of the “examination” was nerve wrecking. I hadn’t seen my parents for two weeks. I was told this would help determine how long I needed to stay here. We talked about what went wrong, and what would we do to make things better.

“He’s living with you when he gets out of here, he can’t be around here anymore,” my mother asserts herself. After what happened she wants to let me know I am no longer welcome in her home.

“Yes, dear, I have already made arrangements for him to live with me,” my father complacently agrees. After all, what choice does he have? We dove into all kinds of psychoanalytical bullshit. My father rarely spends time with me, my mother is insane, I just made a one-time mistake, and I won’t ever steal my mom’s pills, crash my car, and try to fight three cops ever again. I gave them what they wanted to hear. My mom broke down, and blamed herself. This made me cry. And we all held each other and cried. Nothing was solved.

*          *          *

Minutes and hours and days melt into each other. Each day we are woken up early so that they could take our vitals, you know, to make sure none of us succeeded in ending our lives. I had to talk to doctors, go to group sessions with my new “friends”, play ping pong, eat, down time, eat, T.V., sleep. The food was surprisingly good. It’s probably the only thing about the entire goddamn place I can classify as good. Everything else ranges from fuck to shit. As days passed people were discharged, and people were admitted. Most of the new people who arrived were girls who had tried to kill themselves. Girls who tried to end their life over trivial things: their boyfriend broke up with them, mommy is a crazy bitch, they have no control over anything. I just wanted to get up and slap them when they talked about why they wanted to die. I never understood suicide. What’s the point? Life is all we got. No matter how much it sucks, it’s still better than being dead. There is no god, and even if there is, he doesn’t give a shit. This is a sad realization, if you ever come to it. Maybe that’s why I do so many drugs. Maybe I should be more religious.

There was this one crazy ass girl with a cocaine addiction, who had a relapse. Her parents threatened to send her to rehab. Determined to never go back to rehab she decided to slit her wrists and hope for the best. It’s too bad she didn’t just die.

*          *          *

The interesting thing about where I now reside is that there is supposed to be two wards for teenagers: acute, for people like me who are only supposed to be there until they are deemed safe to go back into the world, and residential. Residential is for mentally handicapped and unstable people, people who have to live in this hospital for all or most of their lives. However, there were only two residential patients and about seven or eight acute patients. Whoever is in charge of this operation decided they should share the same floor, and let a complete floor stay vacant. Manny “Fresh” was one of the retarded kids. He was hilarious, and yet imposing. He was burly hulk, stocky, and a mix of probably African American and Hispanic. During a meal, he would go to every single person once he finished his food and asked, “Um, are you g-g-going to eat that,” his outstretched arm pointing to whatever he desired, to the point where sometimes he would lose concentration and allow his hand to actually fall into what he was pointing at. This made him laugh. He was a real nice guy, that Manny. He was always polite, but he did have a temper. If you made him mad, he’d make this face, a face like he was going to kill you. I tried not to give Manny a reason to make that face.

*          *          *

This one girl, she never said anything, except for a crazy outburst here or there, like “Sometimes, the night calls to me” or “No! Don’t touch me there!” She had been in the acute ward for over six months now. I pitied her. She was cute, in an insane kind of way. I wanted to fuck her. I mean how hard could it be to fuck a crazy girl. She reminds me of that girl from the movie The Breakfast Club, the weird one. She has short hair that stumbles over her face. Her eyes never stay in one place for two long.

Sometimes, outpatients would come in for group therapy. One guy, a good-looking idiot, sat close to her. I could see him slide his hand up her thigh. She seemed to enjoy this. However, our group therapist also saw this, and scolded them, threatening that if they repeat their actions from the last time, they would never see each other again. Apparently she snuck him into her room. The counselor walked in on them, his cock in the back of her throat.

I wanted it to be me.

Soon, I wanted to fuck every girl here. It wasn’t fair, mixing the boys with the girls. Being in a place where your only sexual release is a quick tug in the shower or some gay roommate trying to suck you off, even your grandma would look nice to me.

And so I ate up the doctors’ bullshit (and their delicious food), their group therapy, workshops, new and old crazies, whatever it took to get me out. I am not like them, and I refuse to be compared to them anymore. But the doctors didn’t agree. Something about me not talking treatment seriously. They said I was faking it. That I was lying.

All I want is a Xanax and a cigarette.

All I want is to get laid.

All I want is to go home.

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6 Responses to “I Was a Teenage Zombie”

  1. Oh Johnny, Johnny, I think you have too much time when you are bored…but this was a most creative write.

    BTW, all those colors on the walls are not happy colors…only the yellow is. Orange will drive you to more madness or hungry.

    I think your mom would be giving you a good whippin for all the dirty stuff you say…and wash out your mouf with soap!! 🙂

  2. JazzehTheSpazzeh.xo Says:

    That was definitely a fine piece of writing.

    “All I want is a Xanax and a cigarette.

    All I want is to get laid.

    All I want is to go home.”

    Perfect. I freaking love this so much you have no idea! D:

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