“Planes fly over us all the time. You’re worrying for nothing, Paranoid.”
“Something feels different. Dystopia can’t be stopped no matter how safe you feel in your ignorance. You best be wary, Depressive.”
“You’re here already! Welcome home,” said a beautiful, young woman as she rushed across the room. “I’m Larissa Elizabeth Arianna da Cunha, the Depressive. Call me Larissa, though. Or, Ellie. Or, Ari. Actually, I hate the name Larissa and the people who call me that. To keep things simple, call me the Depressive. Everyone does. Anyways, this lovely room is the Atrium. We’re told that this is the only place we’re supposed to hang out. We have table tennis, a billiards table, and a television that mostly plays static, but reruns of M*A*S*H air Wednesdays. We look forward to Wednesdays.”
“How’s it going, Depressive?” a prematurely balding man said as he walked by.
“Very good, thank you so much for asking. Going down to the cafeteria?”
“Of course. See you there. That was Frederick Johannes Buhl, the Twenty-First Century White Supremacist. He likes it when we call him that because of something that happened sometime in the past that got misconstrued and overblown. I don’t know much about history. I trust him, though. I have no reason not to.”
“Hashtag Jew Conspiracy,” the White Supremacist said as he exited the Atrium.
“He’s an acquired taste,” said the Depressive. “While we’re at it, let me introduce you to some of my friends.”
The Depressive walked towards the south end of the overtly small room, passing a Medication Take-Out Window and the aforementioned static television set, to a nineteen seventies something upholstered couch that held a handful of inmates. They were looking out a window to see their city lurking on the edge of destruction.
“This is Larry McMullan, the Obsessive Compulsor. Sandra Brown, the Paranoid. Clyde Fairbank Iwerks, the Narcotic. Mohammed Hussein, the Prophet. And, over there is my best friend, Deborah Wendell, the Dissociative: on Tuesdays she’s Mariah, Wednesday she’s Gloria, and she’s Jeremy on Fridays. Oh! I just realized that I never asked for your name. I’m so sorry. I get like this when I’m excited. It’s not everyday the Council sends us a Newbie. Oh! I should also mention that everyday at ten in the morning, we pick up our medication over there at that window. What’re you on? I’m on one hundred milligrams of Sertraline. Hi, Talia,” the Depressive’s seemingly happy demeanour disappeared as a woman wearing white walked to her.
“Hey, Larissa. You seem rather chipper today. Keep up with your medication, it’s obviously working. Giving the Newbie a tour of our fine establishment?”
“Good. There’s a lot to learn. Welcome home,” she said as she sauntered off.
“That’s Talia, the Diabetic Healer. We used to have more Healers, but you know. My favourite was Chris Massey, formerly known as the Hot Healer, now as the Conscripted. He made me feel special. Anyways, the White Supremacist is probably waiting for us in the cafeteria. Come on, I’ll show you. The Cook started growing his own food a few years ago when the war started. And, thanks to the Paranoid, we have enough canned food to last a lifetime. It’s like she knew the apocalypse was on the horizon…”
“Look,” said the Paranoid as another plane flew overhead.
A mushroom cloud loomed on the cusp of the cityscape. The White Supremacist rushed into the Atrium and froze at the window with his thumb pointed heavenward. He aimed his thumb at the cloud, and after a few tense moments of bated breaths, he sighed relief, pulled out the sandwich that he had stuffed in his pocket earlier, and continued to eat.
Everyone in the Atrium imitated the White Supremacist’s ease.
“What just happened?” said the Newbie.
“I don’t quite understand the science behind it, but I’m assuming that the White Supremacist couldn’t see the cloud past his thumb. That means that we’re too far away to be harmed by the fallout. We’re fine. Let’s go eat.”
“We’re fine? Don’t you have friends or family out there?”
“What did you see when you walked in this building?”
A quasi-picturesque version of what life used to be, painted with green grass, crisp leaves, and an intact building. St. Patrick’s Psychiatric Institute stood in the ashes of its neighbours: completely untouched by the hands of war. The Newbie looked out at the monochrome cityscape and the beige walls of the Atrium were no longer claustrophobic.
“Our friends and family all died when the war started. Anyone left alive won’t be for long. Inside here, we’re not on anyone’s hotlist. Who’d care enough about us to kill us?”
Born in the hands of an Irish maiden and a lumberjack, Jordy Wiens spent his entire 23 year life, with a two year stint in Toronto, in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Intrigued by the curiousness of his Northern Albertan home, Jordy has vowed to put Grande Prairie on the cultural map with original stories and plays. Currently, Jordy is working on transitioning his story, “The Unfortunate Happy” to a short play, that is proposed to premier at the Adult One-Act Festival held at the Grande Prairie Live Theatre at the end of April.