Culture

Mad, and mistaken to be mad. A short story, adopted from the book: The ORIGINAL JAMAICAN Patois: Words, Phrases and Short Stories’

Written by Laxleyval Sagasta

Two preteen boys, Lon and Ted, were next-door neighbors.  They were the closest of friends. They did everything together. They even had slight resemblances of each other, of which, no one could explain, but they didn’t mind and were on many instances mistaken for twins by people who did not know them.

Both boys were avid fans of Western style movies and comic books. Sometimes they dressed themselves as the characters and played the parts of Cowboy and Indian.

One hot summer day they were in an open field near to their houses playing one of their favorite Cowboy and Indians game. Lon was playing the part of Cowboy and Ted was playing the part of Indian. They reached the part where Lon was the cow-boy who’s’ gun ran out of bullets and he was being chased by Ted, the Indian with a spear. Something snapped in Lon’s head and he got delirious. He attempted to impale his friend with his spear. Ted narrowly escaped death. Lon was taken to the hospital where he remained in that condition for several weeks.

When he regained consciousness, he was not his usual self and the doctors recommended that he should be kept in a controlled environment, because unpredictably his illness could escalate, and he could become a danger to himself and anyone around him. He was admitted to the asylum. Over a four year period of therapy and different medications, he was evaluated and determined to be well enough to go home.

On Lon’s return home he and Ted were just like old times, although both sets of parents watched them as closely as possible for any sign of Lon returning to insanity.

One day Lon was outside his house waiting for Ted to come out and play. While he was waiting, he used a machete to sharpen a piece of stick that was about four feet long to look like a spear.

When Ted came out to play Lon held up his spear and told him to run. Ted feared for his life and ran as fast as he could through the open field that was their playground. He was almost out of breath when he fell. He thought that, that would have been the end of his life. To his surprise, Lon helped him to his feet, gave him the spear and told him that it was his turn to chase him.

Ted was reluctant to chase his friend with a spear, but Lon reminded him that that was how they have always played the game. Knowing how delicate Lon’s brain was, Ted obliged and started to chase him. The chase had just started when both sets of parents emerged from their houses and noticed one boy chasing the other with the sharpened stick. They called out to Ted, but apparently he did not hear. One of the fathers ran and grabbed him from behind, threw him to the ground and tied him up with his belt. Ted tried in vain to tell them that it was just a game. Even Lon told them so, but they paid him no mind.

The police arrived and immediately put Ted into a straitjacket, and took him to the asylum.

His parents visited him every day, but the only thing they got from him was; ‘I am not mad’.

The asylum staff tried to give him medications which he would put into his mouth and held under his tongue only to spit out as soon as they turned their backs. He purposely would not respond to any therapy.

His parents had a meeting with the doctors to discuss his condition and while they were in the doctor’s office Ted was waiting in an adjoining room. He put his ear to the closed door and listened intently to the conversation. What he heard from the doctor was, “Your son has presented me with the biggest problem I had ever faced in this facility. From the day he was admitted here his condition has been immeasurable. As it is, we do not know if he is coming or going. Medicines have no effect and his only utterance is ‘Mi noh mad’. ‘I am not mad’. We would like to release him, but only if we see change from a bad behavior to good.”

With that information, Ted embarked on a plan to show the administration what they needed to see so that he could be released.

There was an insane man in the unit who was also a known sex offender. He had no room-mate. Everyone was afraid of him. Ted went to the warden and asked to be the man’s room-mate. His first request was denied, because of concerns for his safety, but he insisted day after day until his wish was granted.

It was near curfew time that he was ushered into the room. He sat in one corner and the insane man into another corner. When the lights were turned off for the night, Ted sat on the toilet, and in the dark he daubed his own feces all over himself and then went to bed. He had not laid down a full minute before the man made his move on him. When the mad man discovered that Ted’s naked body was covered in feces, he hollered for the guards.

Tek mi out yah,” he said. “Tek mi out yah. Dis bwauy is mad. Tek mi out yah.”

“Take me out of here. Take me out of here. This boy is mad. Take me out of here.”

The mad man was removed and Ted washed himself off and went to sleep.

The next day words reached the doctor of the occurrence and he ordered solitary confinement for Ted. After two or three days Ted asked to see the doctor and was taken in restraint to the office. The doctor was very surprised how intelligent Ted was. They talked about politics, about religion and just about everything else. The laughter of the doctor was heard outside of the office as Ted told him of the behavior of the inmates and wardens of the facility.

The two conversed and joked for hours until finally Ted told the doctor the whole story of how he got admitted to the asylum. That evening the doctor drove Ted to his parents and apologized whole-heartedly for his admittance and detention.

Note: The end justified the means.

About the Author
Laxleyval Sagasta is a freelance mixed genre writer from Jamaica. His books are on sale at leading booksellers; online and in stores. Like him on fb. Laxleyval Sagasta or Laxleyval LLC. Visit his page SAGASTABOOKS.COM. Join his book club and receive free books. Contact by Email [email protected]

About the author

Laxleyval Sagasta