(Part 1 of I Wanna Be Sedated)
The smell of burnt rubber still lingered in the air and Jackson suppressed a well-earned chuckle. The Warden would be furious, especially having been called in from home, but there was a certain pride that accompanied her anger like a shiny badge on Jackson’s pride-swollen chest. The more outraged she was, the shinier the medal.
The cause of this disturbance happened during the night’s bingo game which had been more than usually peaceful. Jackson was still a little sulky from his last botched escape attempt and Charlie was well medicated (at the Wardens request) and so was much more docile and less mischievous. Aside from the occasional outbreak from Janine or fight between Grant and Chesley there had been almost no activity worth mentioning at the Home until that night.
Bingo night was a particularly special torture. No one had anything better to do so it seemed a good idea as any to stave off the boredom but since whatever unlucky attendant was being punished with the responsibility of officiating the game usually had a magazine open and called out a number whenever they felt it was too long since the last time they had done so. It was slow enough to make even Nodding Oscar (who was known for being a little slow) a little antsy and Jackson was beginning to feel a little of the old disquiet set in although he would have preferred to sulk. Charlie was so baked, or medicated or whatever you want to call it, the game was keeping his attention
Normally these things were buzzing with restlessness: Janine’s discontented murmurings would usually be punctuated by shrieks of horror at her bingo chips being mismatched, Grant and Chesley would be sparing and Charlie would be up to no good. Tonight, however Janine was bedridden (most likely in some grasp at attention), Grant and Chesley had been separated and Charlie was content to practice tricks with his zippo and play the game in peace.
“B” the attendant paused before releasing the second half “twenty-four”.
Charlie slowly and sedately moved a chip on Jackson’s card, the latter having lost interest in the game entirely and was doing his best to keep a sullen face when his body was being charged like a battery with restlessness. In the absence of Charlie getting into some sort of trouble Jackson felt a vacuum because instead of perpetually planning mischief his partner in crime was contentedly mischiefless.
The silence and peace was eerie unnatural and dissonant. The calm and lethargic call of the next letters burst the reservoir of static in Jackson and after a second to calculate, he slipped his hand into Charlie’s pocket and with a fluid motion snapped the lighter on and tossed it perfectly underneath the bored attendants’ still and statuesque feet.
Within a minute, amongst the smell of burning rubber and the screams of the attendant Jackson was at peace again in the midst of the chaos although it was him, not Charlie that induced it.