Some people want a new house, a new car, a phone, jewelry. to lose weight, win the lottery maybe... But if you lived in Asylumland you didn't want those things. If you lived in Asylumland the odds were good you just wanted to leave. For the weak the desire to leave was the greatest even if the means was the least.
One of the reasons we called our home Asylumland was because none of the residents knew its real name. Most everyone had asked staff members and security guards but as lax as they were about everything else, when it came to where we were or how we got there, nobody talked. If there was a single inmate who knew where we were or how he or she got there, he or she wasn't talking either. My story: shortly after I began submitting The Adventurers Of The Vegetable Stalker to publishers I went to bed one night and woke up in Asylumland. The others all said pretty much the same.
A new art teacher named Mr Lincoln started teaching us toll painting. Everyone was really excited at first but then at the end of the project, instead of letting us keep our little plaques, pots and statues, Mr Lincoln and the security guard, Bob, packed them all away and hauled them off. Mr Lincoln also insisted that all other work cease so that we could concentrate solely on toll painting and because he locked all the art supplies away in the supply closet when he was gone that meant production of Billy Bucks was at a standstill.
Shortly after that Bob announced that art classes were now mandatory whereas before only those persons who volunteered attended art therapy classes. It didn't take but a few weeks before Janice, GI Joe, myself and even confused little Irene began to suspect something was going on that shouldn't be happening inside the borders of Asylumland. "So is he selling this stuff?" Janice asked.
"Of course he is," Joe answered. "Notice how perfect he expects everything to be?"
"I have noticed that," Janice said. "He wants this stuff to look like the stuff you find in high dollar department stores like where I used to shop before my husband locked me away in here."
"So how much you think he's making?" Joe asked.
"Well," I answered, "I've no idea of his actual overhead but I can give you an idea of how much labor he's pocketing. Say there's 50 people in his classes times 4 hours a day at 8 bucks per hour and another 8 bucks per hour in benefits, taxes excreta. Times that 5 days a week that comes to $16 Thousand Dollars a week in real American Dollars, not Billy Bucks. Of course I could be off a bit doing the math in my head but he's still cleaning up big time."
"Holy shit!" Janice exclaimed.
"Ain't nothin' holy about it," Joe said, "That slaving bastard's got to be stopped."
"How do we know the institution isn't behind it?" Janice asked.
"We don't," I said, "but it still has to be stopped. Making slaves out of these people is wrong no matter who's behind it."
"Damn straight," Joe said, "I didn't fight overseas to come back to this shit. I'll kill those bastards myself."
Speaking of killing, while it had taken her a while to do it, Janice put together and coached a group of young women who decided to call themselves the Loon Squad. Other than Janice and the members of the squad, no one knew how many they numbered or exactly who they were. And while rumors of this new squad of female assassins floated about Asylumland, most of the men, including Rocco, took it all for a joke. After all, up until now Rocco and his thug buddies had continued their free reign with no one to keep them in check.
Angie remained a complete basket case. With no real rape counseling and only Janice to help her there wasn't much anyone could do. To make matters worse, Rocco taunted Angie every time he saw her and threatened to do her again. There was little doubt Angie was suicidal and because of that, Janice made sure she was watched 24/7. If only the institution could have been counted on to help.
More than a month had passed when one night several of the younger women, Floria among them, managed to get themselves invited into Rocco's room. Rocco was apparently already stoned for no sooner had they got inside when one of the girls volunteered to be tied up so Rocco and the rest of the girls could have their way with her. One by one they took their turns being tied up with Rocco no doubt having the time of his life. Eventually they convinced Rocco that to get the most out of the experience he should let them tie him up so they could have their way with him and of course the moron complied the first time out of the gate.
Flat on his back, mouth open, one of the girls dumped a bottle full of pills down his throat and they held his mouth shut forcing him to swallow them. Then, unable to scream out he watched in horror as one of the girls took a shiv and cut his dick and balls to ribbons!
After he passed out they cut up his chest, stomach and slashed his wrists placing the shiv in his own hand to make it look like suicide. Then they cleaned up all the evidence and went back to their rooms.
One of the other men woke everyone up early the next morning screaming and puking in the hall outside Rocco's room. He had gone to wake Rocco up and found him there still alive but barely. Rocco would live but his brain was completely fried, a vegetable-- the first casualty of the Loon Squad.
Law and order, however primitive, however crude, and however harsh, had finally been established in Asylumland. Angie and Floria stood smiling in the hallway, holding hands for the first time in more than a month, as paramedics carted Rocco out the door.