Monday, April 11, 2011
I is for Ink Blots
Today is I-Day for the A-Z Challenge! I've kind of been goofing around with this challenge so far, but I've decided to dedicate a few of the days to more episodes of Happy Acres. For those of you new to my blog, Happy Acres is an ongoing episodic story involving patients at a mental institution. You can catch up with the rest of the episodes at the Happy Acres Episodes link above. I'll try to keep these A-Z Challenge episodes shorter, but sometimes the characters get away from me.
We all sat in the common room dutifully waiting for Dr. Rutherford to make his grand entrance for our group session. We knew he liked to be fashionably late, and he never fooled us with his excuses. For some reason he thought it added to his air of authority when in reality he probably needed group as much as we did.
Artie cleared his throat. "This is my first group session, what can I expect?"
"Well," I said. "Doc likes to ease into sessions, like we're just sitting around chatting."
"Like we's homies," T-Bone said.
Artie shot T-Bone a wary look, still uncomfortable with Bill's puppet alter-ego.
"Mostly, he starts off with how pretties the weather is outside. Like for today he will say, 'oh how lovely is the April day, 'tis warm and rain is falling freshly and the blooms are blooming and the birdies atweeting and all is right with the world,'" Mia said, a frown forming as she spoke.
"Which is fine for him," Simon said, "because he can leave here and enjoy it."
"But it's maybe the teensiest bit discouraging for us," Mia said in her little sad voice. "I admit, it makes the zombies sad."
I reached across the couch and gave her hand a squeeze. No one said anything, the moment extending as we tried to remember what it felt like to enjoy spring in the real world.
"I have an idea!" Tessa said, perking up. "Let's tell stories while we wait!"
"What kind of stories?" I asked.
"Well," Artie started. "I'd be interested to know how each of you came to be at Happy Acres."
"Zimbabwe," Bill said, all gloom and doom.
We all squirmed a bit in our seats. That question came a little too close to being therapeutic.
"I don't know about that, Artie," I said. "Can't we maybe talk about our favorite foods or something?"
"No!" Tessa said, jumping up from her seat and twirling amid a shower of sparkly glitter before settling between me and Mia. "I think it's a perfect idea. And whoever tells their story the best gets a prize!"
"What prize?" Bill asked.
"How about extra outside time?" Simon asked. "We can each donate five minutes of our outside time to the winner."
"Yay! That's a fabsies idea!" Mia said.
"Em?" Tessa asked. "Will you play?"
I groaned. Sharing wasn't something I liked to do. "Fine," I said finally.
Tessa clapped and glitter drifted to the floor. "So, who'll go first?"
If there had been crickets in the common room, they would have been chirping in the silence. Finally, I heaved a deep and pained sigh. "I'll go first," I said, as if volunteering to test the electric chair.