#296 Reprisal


#296 Reprisal

I wanted to get rid of my wife and not give her a dime. I wracked my brain, did a little research, and found an easy solution.  In 1960, I only had to say she was insane and they accepted my word. Two men wearing white jackets came to take her away. Her piercing shrieks and valiant struggles were wasted on them. They wrapped her in a canvas jacket and injected drugs that paralyzed her brain.

While locked up, she tried to fight back, her world filled with fantasies of freedom.  “I don’t belong here,” she’d often scream. “I don’t belong in a place where others see their world in figurative form.”

Protesting to those in charge caused her to lose part of her brain by being stuck through her eye with a thin lobotomy needle. That taught her to obey. Many years later the government discovered a drug and declared they could open all the doors of asylums across the land. They sent all the inmates out. Some had been institutionalized their entire lives and now they had to face the unsympathetic world and fend for themselves.

Many ended up standing on a corner, shunned by most but preyed upon by others who saw their vacant looks. Before they let her out, my conscience was clear.

Out of sight, out of mind was true for me. But when I began to see those helpless people mingling on street corners in almost every city I went to, I began to think. My wife didn’t know what to do or where to go. I no longer know what she looks like, yet from almost every bag lady I pass in most cities, I see her with her vacant, lobotomized eyes staring at me. I began to think that maybe what I did wasn’t so easy after all.

If only the asylums hadn’t dumped those in need on city streets, I would still think what I did was an easy thing to do.


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