Germ Free




"Once Upon a time ( as all truly great stories start, just ask any kid ) there lived a family as happy as can be. There was a mommy, and a daddy, and 2 children named Billy and Sarah." I see Dr. Greene arch his brow at me. He does not appreciate my sense of humor. I think the fact that he is void of ANY humor, very sad. Sheesh, what good is living, if you're afraid to live? And isn't laughter that best part of life? Dr. Greene is damn close to being a zombie in my opinion. 

"Tell me about your childhood," he intones in that barritone voice of his, as if he hasn't repeated that question endless of times. I tried to tell him, my childhood was NORMAL, so normal as to be boring. But, would he believe me? Nope. Not good enough, he wants me to parade out monsters. Surely, I had been molested by one parent or the other? Abused? Abducted by aliens? SOMETHING. Nope, sorry, Dr. Greene. I can tell he is very disappointed in me. He starts using those million dollar terms of his; I'm 'repressing', and 'in denial of certain rudimental facts'. Uh-huh. Sure. Ok, Doc, what you WANT really, is a story.

You want, dark and sinister, you want something you can label, and define, and then you'll stamp me with a 'cured' label. Well, how the hell can you cure someone who isn't sick? 

Of course, I don't say any of this out loud. Just in my head. If I were to say it out loud, they'd pump me full of more of their happy juice and pills. You do not challenge authority in this place. You give them what they want, and in return, they leave you alone. Let me tell you, I often think I am the only saine person here, and that includes the staff. Right now, I am on thin ice because I don't participate enough in group. Group...what a laugh. It isn't therapy really, just a listen-to-us -whine-and-bitch-in-an-orderly-fashionathon. 

I mean, yeah some of those folks have real problems, and if talking about it helps them to get a grip, then I'm all for it. But, I'm not like them. Take Tina for example, she offed her two kids. Suffocated them while they slept. Why? Because they snored too loud and she just knew they were helping aliens to track her with those snores.

Now, that is plain crazy. I'm nothing like her. 

Then there's Louisa, and Louis, the twins. They are very pale, with ebony hair. They drained their parents' blood and drank it, because they're vampires. C'mon get real! Vampires?! They're sick! Of 'group' those three are probably the sainest. 

Dr. Greene, stares at me, waiting. I gnaw at what should have been my finger nail, but since my hands are all wrapped up, I get bandage instead . The clock ticks and tocks away our time. Dr. Greene clears his throat. It reminds me of a bullfrog's 'gr-umpffffff' and I giggle. Then, I recall the seriousness of the situation, and will myself not to laugh. Poor Dr. Greene, he wouldn't like being compared to a frog.

"Alright," he says, " tell me about your bedroom back home."

"My bedroom?"

"Yes. Where you slept. Tell me about that."

"Well, it had four walls, a ceiling and a floor," I begin.

"What color were the walls?" 


"The ceiling?"

"Black. Floor was too. Everything in it was black."

"Why was everything black? Did your parents choose that color?"

"Oh, no. I did. I like black, you can see dust and stuff easier on it. So you can keep cleaner and kill germs better."

"And germs are bad?"

"Yes! Very bad. They can KILL you! And the worst thing about them? Is their so tiny you can't even see them with your eyes. So you really have to be careful, and wash everything in boiling water. And use lots of soap."

"I see...did your parents teach you that?"

"Uh huh. Mom and Dad are very, very clean. What's that word Nurse Hilleran used? Oh yeah, fastidious."

I sit up straight in the chair. I hope Dr. Greene is impressed with my use of such a big word. Even at 13, I know his approval of me is important. 

"Tell me about your brother Billy."

"Billy? He's a sweet kid. He'll be 3 soon."

"Do you ever watch Billy for your parents?"

"Yeah, sure. Boy, it was hard to convince them that I was old enough to. I was really surprised when they finally agreed."

"Tell me about the night, they let you watch Billy, Sarah." I watch Dr. Greene lean back in his leather chair, and play with his pipe. Funny, he never lights it, just sucks on the stem, like its a pacifier or something. 

"Well, they almost didn't go out because Billy had a cold. Leaving me and Billy with all those germs could have been very dangerous. Still after Mom gave him some medicine , they decided we'd be ok for a few hours. So they went out to a movie.

Mom looked so pretty, all dressed up. Her and Dad hadn't been out in a long time.

Everything was ok, then Billy started sneezing! He sneezed all over me! I could feel those awful germs all over me, and I knew they had to be just climbing all over poor Billy."

"What did you do then, Sarah?"

" I needed to clean up all those germs. Kill them before they could kill us. So I ran him a hot bath. I put in Lots of Mr. Bubble. Billy loves Mr. Bubble, and his favorite rubber ducky. But..." I pause trying to remember. Dr. Greene tells me to go on.

"Billy didn't want to get in the tub. Every time, I try to put him in he starts screaming, 'HOT! HOT!' and squirming. I was scared I'd drop him. Finally, I just plunked him in and held him there. He was screaming, "HOT !" and crying. I was telling him how it had to be hot to kill the germs while, I scrubbed him with a brush. Let me tell you, that wasn't easy, with him crying and trying to climb out, I had to scrub really hard, and fast. "

The timer goes off , signaling our time is up. Dr, Greene smiles and tells me that we've made some head way. Headway? Geeze, bathing my little brother. How boring can you get?

As the orderly starts to lead me to my room, I over hear the nurse say, "Isn't that the girl who boiled her brother alive?" I wonder who she is talking about? Oh, well... like I said I'm the only saine one here.


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