To Take the Edge Off

Click the pic for the original challenge. Written for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write

Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack. She’s so infuriating. Clickety-clack. Through the day and into the night. Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack. Clickety-clickety-clack-clack-clack.

I’m not crazy. I don’t know why they stuck me in here with her, brain-dead Mary the vegetable and her incessant clicking and clacking. Each sharp tap of her fingernails is like needles in my skull, stabbing and stabbing at my brain.

“Just make her stop,” I beg.

They give me pills.

I’m not crazy. I watch her in her bed and I want to stab her like she stabs me. All day long, she’s tapping with her fingers clickety-clacking with her fingers all day long, all day long. She’s the crazy one. She’s like a lizard in a terrarium, trying to escape when no one’s looking. Clickety-clack, her nails against the glass. I’m listening, Mary.

Nurse Lisa says I need to be more understanding. She says Mary can’t ever leave her bed to see the outside world. She just wants to touch it. Click. Touch it. Clack. Nurse Lisa doesn’t have to listen to the clicking and the clacking and the clacking and clicking.

They won’t let me have anything sharp anymore.

They give me pills.

They won’t let me have anything sharp because I stabbed that stupid Mr. Fishbourne for his insufferable typing. I’m not crazy. I only stabbed him a few times. Just once for every letter in that book he claimed he was writing. Tit for tat. That’s what my mother always taught me. Tit for tat. Clickety-clack. He couldn’t even spell it. So I stabbed him. O-N-C-E-U-P-O-N-A-clickety-clack-clickety-clack. Mr. Fishbourne doesn’t type anymore. They won’t let me have anything sharp.

You tell me who’s crazy. They put me in here with Mary. She’s the crazy one. Crazier than Mr. Fishbourne who couldn’t spell. Mary never says a word. She never looks my way, even when I scream at her. All she does is clickety-clack, clickety-clack. Pathetic in her bed, with her arms stretched out, trying to reach a world she can’t ever see. Clickety-clack.

I haven’t slept since they put me here.

They give me pills.

Every day, Mary the vegetable won’t eat. She won’t drink. Nurse Lisa is so pathetic. She sits there on Mary’s bed trying to show her how to eat. How to drink. Every day. Pathetic. Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack.

I’m not crazy. It hurts. Oh my God, it hurts. I’m tired of hurting. That’s not crazy. It’s not supposed to hurt. I watch Nurse Lisa being pathetic, and I hate her. I hate her so much. She doesn’t care about how much it hurts me. She only cares about Mary the vegetable. The clickety-clacking vegetable. She sits there, so pathetic, eating the vegetable’s food, drinking the vegetable’s juice.

Nurse Lisa wears her pen on a chain around her neck.

They give me pills.

© 2014 Anne Schilde

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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18 Responses to To Take the Edge Off

  1. joetwo says:

    That is chilling Anne, Phenomenally good writing. The repetition of those few key phrases echoes the deranged muttering of those slipping into madness. You know I’m not one for effusiveness but this is one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read here. Don’t take this the wrong way but you write madness very well.
    Permission to reblog?

  2. joetwo says:

    Reblogged this on joe2poetry and commented:
    I don’t often reblog but this is an excellent piece by a truely talented writer

  3. Thanks to JoeTwo, this piece of writing came to my attention. I am glad that it did because it is fantastic. It is very tight; not a single word extra or out of place. The repetition really acts to heighten the manic energy of this story. You have coupled moments of gentleness and humanity with moments of danger in such a way that both are logicaly able to happen simultaneously. Brilliant!

  4. Ermilia says:

    This is amazing, like Joe said. You write madness really well. I loved this line, ‘I’m not crazy. I only stabbed him a few times.’ Brilliant. I just love reading your stories. This could be an amazing start to a novel.
    – Ermisenda

  5. Anna says:

    This is wonderful, and I really hope that you know this. It made me feel sad, connected, angry, but above all pretty freaking goshdarned understood. I need to stop drinking so much Kopparberg in the bath, although sometimes it’s the numbness that feels the nicest.

    You are incredible.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      I’m really glad. I hope it showed a hint of your influence, and I intentionally left out the words “window” and “pain” precisely because I remembered you once did. 🙂

      • Anna says:

        The fact you would even want to hint towards me flatters me beyond words. You’ve always been one of my absolute favourite writers, so you must forgive me if I am a little star-struck. Honestly, nowadays I don’t know what to write about, or even if I do have an inkling, it’s like I’m not sure how to do it anymore.

        You are my first pit-stop when I log onto WP, and you alone keep me connected into the world of fiction, and non-fiction, and magic, and everything. Never stop being you ❤

      • Anne Schilde says:

        Stories get moody too. They will come pouring out again when they’re ready, whether you like it or not.

  6. bloomnpsycho says:

    I work in a long-term care environment. Things have improved since I started, back in 1988, but to this day they will put completely incompatible people together: one who is completely lucid but physically in poor health and one whose mind is gone but they’re strong as an ox. This one poor woman was put in with a lady who would come over to her and say “what are you doing in my husband’s bed, you hussy?” I often wonder what the people who run these places are thinking–or not.

  7. inthumysea says:

    Most stories I read with repetition are usually corny. This was awesome!

  8. Aileen says:

    This story is so neatly condensed its absolutely perfect and the repetition makes the madness appear so real. I love it 🙂

    • Anne Schilde says:

      I’m really glad you liked it!

      It’s a tricky bit to purposefully annoy the reader and get away with it. You have to convince them that it’s the character who is annoying when it’s really your writing. You’d never know it, but Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Bells was my inspiration for using repetition to convey madness.

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