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911: Looking Back

By Hoopie

Hoopie sat on the cold bare floor gazing intently through the green painted chain link fencing that covered the only window in his stark cell. Outside a steady rain that had been falling all morning had transformed the usually sunny courtyard three floors below into a depressing vacant lot. An age worn pigeon nervously strutted back and forth on the rain soaked windowsill, occasionally flapping his wings to shed the fine water droplets that had beaded up on the oily coating of his molting feathers.

"They knew," Hoopie shouted at the bird.

The winged messenger cocked his head and winked one tiny black eye at him as if to tell Hoopie he understood the seriousness of his allegation.

"They knew all along," said Hoopie.

The pigeon fluttered his wings even harder, sending a shower of mist against the cloudy windowpane. Hoopie rose to his knees, wrapped his severely nail bitten fingers around the green mesh then pushed his weary face closer to the window, his breath coming in short puffs, fogging the window.

"You do understand."

The pigeon smiled at him then hopped to the edge of the windowsill. He peered down at the courtyard then turned his head completely around to give Hoopie another wink from his cold black eye. Still looking back, he spread his wings to catch the updraft that was rocketing up the side of the hundred and twenty-year-old Victorian style brick building know as the Rosemont Insane Asylum.

The rain began to fall in sheets as the bird soared higher above the courtyard. Hoopie could hear the bird laughing at him.

"It's a conspiracy!" he screamed after the bird, unable to drown out the pounding of the rain against his window.

Hoopie released the wire fencing and sat back on the floor. Swaying from side to side, he focused his attention on the rivulets of water that were racing helter-skelter down her clouded window.

"You're crazy," he said to the water.


Doctor Ken Harrison peered through the slot in Hoopie's door, watching and taking mental notes while Doctor Cynthia LaSalle waited for his diagnosis.

"How long has he been like this?" asked Doctor Harrison.

"They brought him in three weeks ago…his wife found him sitting in front of the computer one morning - he was talking to it."

"I see…he wasn't in a chat room by any chance was he?"

"As a matter of fact he was, but it wasn't the kind you can actually talk in," said Doctor LaSalle.

"What kind of chat room was it?"

"A political one I believe, let me check his chart…yes, it was called News Garden."

"Aha! That explains it," said Doctor Harrison.


September, 2002

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