Two Bit Hack: Part 6

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The Machine

Doctor Stoner came around once each month to check on a select handful of patients of which I was one. Each visit was the same, he would ask a few questions, compliment on how well we were doing, write prescriptions and tell us we'd be going home soon. Hell, for all any of us knew he could have been a hologram playing the same loop month after month.

As for going home, those of us who saw Dr Stoner referred to him as Dr Stonewall. Any patient who was assigned to Dr Stonewall was up against a stone wall when it came to getting a visa to leave Asylumland. Of the dozen or so patients who were assigned Dr Stoner, none ever left the asylum. Other patients assigned to other shrinks came and went usually in just a few weeks, months at the most, but patients assigned to Dr James B Stoner never walked outside the borders of Asylumland.

One day while walking the grounds I came upon a small Honda motorcycle parked in an alcove beside the building. It looked as if it had been abandoned, tires low, weather-beaten and covered in dust and leaves. But the keys were in it and the tank almost full of gas so I decided to see if it might start.

Of course it wouldn't, the battery was too low from sitting up to spin the electric starter or even spark the coils on the tiny twin cylinder engine when kicking the engine over but the lights on the instrument console still lit up so there was hope. I raised the seat, found the standard issue Honda tool kit and removed the battery.

I took the battery back to my room and hid it there knowing it might be a few days before I could get the means to charge it-- a battery from one of the asylum ambulances and two pieces of copper wire. In the meantime I went back to the Honda, cleaned, filed and set the points and plugs, and removed the float bowls from the carbs so I could blow out the jets and adjust the float heights.

After the battery was charged I smuggled the ambulance battery back into the ambulance hoping they hadn't noticed it missing as keeping a charged battery on a motorcycle I couldn't ride on a daily basis would require me to continually go back to the well. Maybe, with a little luck I could manage to steal a wall wart from someone's office machine and use that as a battery charger via the one electrical outlet in my room but until then "borrowing" ambulance batteries would have to do.

If nothing else, being locked away in an asylum teaches you patience. At home I would have had the Honda running in just hours. In Asylumland it took over a month to get everything worked out and in its place. For example: the next step required that I wait a week for just the right careless orderly to come back to work after their shifts finally rotated back around.

I knew I couldn't crank a motorcycle so close to the building without attracting attention and pushing it across the grounds in broad daylight would attract every bit as much attention. So I decided to stay outside until after dark then push the motorcycle across the grounds into the wooded area near the wall where during the day the noise of the trucks traveling along the highway on the outside of the wall would mask at least some of the noise of test firing and tuning the motorcycle engine. Wouldn't you know the temperature dropped down into the 30s that night causing me to almost freeze. But being cold kept me awake so I wasn't late for breakfast.

A few weeks later I went out only to find the keys were missing from the Honda. It only took a few days before rumors got back to me that one of the inmates, a guy who called himself, Freebird, had a motorcycle for sale for 100 bucks. That was okay as I still had the battery but just to be sure I broke off some pencil erasers and jammed them into the spark-plug caps before putting the caps back on the spark-plugs. It was never going to start.

It only took a few more days before someone ripped-off the battery from my room and soon after that we learned that Thor had paid Freebird the 100 bucks he was asking for the motorcycle. Even with keys, the battery and The Brain's help, Thor never managed to get the Honda to fire even one time. After a day of futile efforts a very angry Thor returned demanding Freebird return his money. "Hey Freebird," Thor shouted, "the Honda won't start."

"It started just fine for me," Freebird lied. "Are you sure you know how to ride motorcycles?"

"I know how to ride motorcycles just fine," Thor demanded. "Now give me my money back!"

"I sold you a perfectly running Honda," Freebird shouted. "I ain't giving you shit!"

Ten minutes later Freebird was in the back of an ambulance en-route to the nearest emergency room never to be seen in Asylumland again and Thor was under heavy sedation in a straightjacket headed for one of the wings those of us in the general population all hoped to avoid. We never saw Thor again either. The Brain would be the acting president at least until an election could be arranged or until the real government-- the institution management-- broke up our little charade.

I spotted the Honda keys on the floor, picked them up, put them in my pocket and returned to my room. As long as everyone thought the Honda could not not made to run it remained safe.

Continue To Part 7: Pecking Orders