FIRST DAY OF (prison) UNIVERSITY; part two

  As I left you, dear reader, upon the arrival of the mysterious doctor of psychiatry, known only as “The Shadow Man” in this locked ward of the prison I had been unwittingly admitted to under the false assumption that it was actually a university where I was supposed to attain my doctorate of law degree.  I had been rudely awoken to the realization that instead, I was now about to become no more than a hapless victim of deeply classified, covert, government funded clinical research programme into behavior modification techniques involving highly unethical pharmaceutical experimentation upon human subjects. I was back to being a mere prisoner, my hopes of becoming a lawyer dashed to the ground, as the sickening realities of my situation were thrust in my face. I was trapped in The Shadow Man’s private psychiatric hospital, to be subjected to the sadistic whims of the maniac attorney “Wrongful Death” Rowan, and my head swam as I began to fathom the seriousness of this situation. Through all my panic and confusion; I was immediately struck with the unsettling feeling, upon first laying eyes on the diabolical doctor at the center of this nightmare; that somehow, somewhere, we had met before…but where???

A Familiar Face?
   My new friend and “lab partner” Mickey “The Rat” noticed my attention riveted on the doctor and jabbed me in the ribs. Chuckling nervously he whispered into my ear; “He’s a real mystery; that one, eh?” stating the obvious through broken rotten teeth.

  Mickey didn’t so much to have a way with words as he seemed to have his way with them. “Nobody seems to know anything about him; even me, ol’ Mickey, and I got the goods one everyone in here! That right there’s gotta tell you something right away. If Mickey The Rat don’t know who you’ve done and what you’ve been doin', then I don’t know what the what!”

  A high pitched laugh began to escape at his mouth like so much halitosis before it was stifled by a grave morsel of information he had been chewing on up until now, where he wasjust about  ready to spit it out as an addendum, “There is one thing though…” he paused and looked around to make sure no one was eavesdropping, “They say, and this is just a rumor, but it’s been corroborated by more than a couple of my sources, and I got it on good information…that before he came here, the doctor was down in Argentina, carrying on in the same manner, only using orphan children as his guinea pigs, and when the locals caught wind of his twisted brand of psychiatry they ran his ass outta town.” Micky smiles and winks. “Word on the street is that the whole dirty plot was funded by some real Sick-o pervert from up here who bank rolled the entire operation with a cashed in insurance policy that he signed over to old Shadows over there, and basically gave him carte blanche to rain all manner of brain injury and real actual wrongful death upon those poor orphaned children, all under the guise of legitimate clinical research of pharmaceutical therapy!” Mick raises an eyebrow, “That’s the real culprit in those crimes, the doctor is just a stooge really, that’s how he got away so easy, the guy they really want, the man they really want to find and bring to justice, is this real mystery man; the guy who paid for the whole fiasco.” Again starting to giggle, “I wouldn’t wanna be that dude when they figure out who he is! No insurance policy in the world could protect that miserable dog when they catch him, and they will; believe me, they will my friend.”

Angry Mob
   I’m struck by inertia as the words pass before me and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. What Mickey is saying, the nagging feeling that I have known the doctor before, experimental psychiatry involving clinical research on orphans in Argentina, the insurance policy that funded the whole thing… it all comes into focus and the truth begins to dawn on me. The Shadow Man is Doctor Medjuck! My attorney’s brother! He has gone from neurosurgery to experimental psychiatry, from treating brain injury with surgery, to causing it with pharmaceutical “therapy”, and now I was a prisoner in his very own private psychiatric hospital. My bowels churned and I thought I might be sick.

  I continued to stare at Doctor Medjuc’s face. He had obviously had extensive plastic surgery done to try and conceal his identity, and it was good enough to fool me at first, but you could still recognize his eyes; the way they seemed to spin in opposite directions, and the way he constantly drooled, there was no changing that. The work he had done on his face was certainly extensive enough for him to escape prosecution for his crimes and gain admission to the administration of the private psychiatric hospital I now called home, but no plastic surgery could change the blackness of his heart nor the depravity of his intentions. I wondered what I should do, since he was sure to recognize me, and when he did that was surely to spell my doom, and as I caught him begin to look up from his clip board to survey the room, I quickly averted my gaze.

  When I looked up he was staring right at me. That same stare I had seen, all those months ago in my lawyer’s office; piercing, heartless and cold. Our eyes locked; mine frozen in fear, his burning a hole right through me. I shook with fear, certainly my demise was to be imminent, when suddenly, and much to my great surprise, he seemed to ignore me altogether, passing me by to check briefly the other brain-dead inpatients around the room, counting heads and taking brief notes, until satisfied with his quick survey of the ward, gave a courteous signal to one of his nurses who wheeled out a medicine cart, as the monstrous Shadow Man receded from the space behind a locked door beside a large mirrored one-way window, behind which, hidden, he could observe what was to begin.

Medication Time!
   Now I was really confused. Why was the doctor ignoring me? It was impossible to tell what was going on in his mind at the best of times, but now, with his face so distorted by extensive plastic surgery, and with everything else that was piling into my poor spinning mind, I simply didn’t know what to think anymore. Of course, there was old Mickey, the Rat, right there beside me with his running commentary, not so much informing me of the facts as fanning the fires of my increasing paranoia.

  “You better fasten your seat belt fella, the fun's about to begin..tee-hee.” Mickey whinnies like a sick pony. “Now you’re going to see what the clinical research that they like to call “psychiatry” in here is really all about.” He rubs his hands together, “I hope you like your pharmaceuticals in large doses, my friend, because you are about to get your fill.” At which point The Rat leans back in his plastic chair, almost satisfied at the situation.

   The second nurse, the one not manning the medication trolley, reads out two numbers from her clip board, and wordlessly two inmates reluctantly rise and walk to the center of the ward room. The men take seats opposite and grimly acknowledge each other, quietly awaiting their signal to begin. Mickey finds this pause a perfect time to resume his play-by-play description of the events as they are unfolding.

  “You see what they’re doing pal? It’s really quite advanced stuff, we’re part of some ground-breaking shit here buddy.” I don’t follow, but he continues, “What we have here is a first in the area of penal-system based psychiatry, quite revolutionary, and pretty exciting to be part of, if you can get past the whole human rights abuses part. We’re all lucky really, this is progressive stuff.”

  I turn and look at him in disbelief. How could he think this was going to be OK? He’s got my full attention, I want him to explain. He complies…

  “What you are seeing before you is at the vanguard of Transactional Analysis and Psychiatric Pharmaceutical Therapy, it’s so advanced, they don’t even have a name for it yet, but it works something like this…You see those two guys? Well they are going to cross consult each other on the root of their psychiatric problems…”
  Cutting Mickey short, the one nurse holds up a stopwatch and shouts “Start!” whereupon the first inmate asks the other “Tell me why you are in here.” To which the other begins to tell his story. It’s the usual stuff, broken home, poverty, high school dropout, got in with the wrong guys…that sort of thing. Eventually his story leads to where he stuck up a grocery store at knife point to pay off a gambling debt, resulting in his sentencing of 5 years for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Fair enough I’m thinking, not really shocking or sinister at all considering where we are, but as soon as he concludes his tale, the nurse shouts “Time!” clicks her stop watch, writes briefly on her clipboard, then holding the watch aloft again shouts “Start!”

  Now it is inmate number two’s turn. His story is a little different but not much, the same hard luck story of misspent youth leading to a life of crime and eventually the big-house where he sits now. BOOM! Like she anticipated his ending the nurse shouts “TIME!” again and both men sink a little in their seats, this part of the therapy done with for now.

  Mickey has another update for me. “OK, this is where it gets interesting. You noticed how they both are trading the role of ‘psychologist’ and ‘patient’, taking turns like that? Well, what happens next is what makes it really unique.” He stops here and turns, as do all eyes in the room, to “Wrongful Death” Rowan, who has sat silent like a statue at the far end of the room. I had briefly forgotten about him amidst the confusion of the events as they unfolded before me. He might as well had been comatose, in fact I had assumed he was incapacitated by some sort of pharmaceutical induced brain injury, as he had remained inert, immovable as a part of the building itself until now, when suddenly, at the center of the attention to all present, he slowly raised his head and spoke through his manacled torpor…  

  “# 32-098!” Wrongful Death calls, the number of the first inmate of the two in question. "You seem to have mother-issues, and latent schizo-affective disorder." He decrees,“590 mg Clozapine, 743 mg Bromo-benzodifuranyl-isopopylamine, 330 mg Tryptizol, 450 mg Haloperidol, 2000 mg Desoxypipradrol intravenous,  with 45 mg of Nyquil and 7 squares of chocolate Exlax administered orally.” To which the nurse at the medicine trolley compounded these prescriptions then waited for the maniac attorney to speak again.

  “# 887-23” (the second inmate-patient) "Obvious borderline personality disorder marked by narcissistic tendencies!" Followed in quick succession with “4000 mg 2C-D-NBOMe, 4000mg again, fluphenazine, 2200mg N-Ethyl-L-glutamine, and throw in a dash of morning glory seed extract for good measure. Intravenous!” To which the nurse sub sequentially prepares a second hypodermic. Mickey has a moment to fill me in on the details here. Both men have been prescribed, by Wrongful Death Rowan, dangerous psychopath and convicted  killer, a potent, high-dosage admixture of psychiatric pharmaceuticals (mostly neuroleptic anti-psychotics) combined with even higher dosages of extremely powerful unclassifiable designer drugs of the psychedelic variety. Basically, what appears to be happening in this experiment here, is a sort of self-guided inmate led, pharmaceutical behavior-modification therapy, involving inmate diagnosing inmate and the very worst offender as acting physician.

    When the nurse was finished preparing the needles she put them carefully aside and reached into a larger padlocked red drawer in the meds-wagon, and produced an over sized plastic vile marked clearly “PT-141, BIMT-17 COMPOUND” then she took each horse-sized hypodermic, which were both only half full with the other meds, and topped each up to fullness with this secret added ingredient.

  “Do you wanna know what that is?” Mickey’s tempting me to ask, “Well, I’ll tell you.” Not missing a beat “That stuff in there- that’s the experiment in a nutshell. The first combination of drugs old Wrongful over there thought up, sure, that’s gonna knock anyone on their diapers, natch, but that PT-141 and BIMT-17 combo…Whee doggy, that’s the rocket fuel gonna send you to the moon brutha! Do you know what that is???”

  I’m looking at him in horror. I don’t want to know, but I must. He tells me. “PT-141…Bremelanotide, BIMT-17…Flibanserin!” Gibberish to me, the Rat knows it and is toying with me… “It’s female Viagra! PT-141 is female Viagra, and BIMT-17 is another type of female Viagra! They mix that bad-trip cocktail of psychiatric and psychedelic drugs with an elephant’s dosage of two kinds of female Viagra! It's female Viagra...IN STEREO!!! And both those fools have to inject it!” He’s turning red, wheezing and laughing. He actually thinks it is funny.

  Before I can even compute what I have just been told, the nurse carries the two giant syringes over to the two inmates sitting in the center of our circle and hand one to each man. The cons, resigned to their fate, briefly look apologetically at each other while rolling up their sleeves, lightly brofist each other like doomed men on the gallows, then without a word each stabs the other in the central vein of their respective forearms, simultaneously emptying the contents of each brimming hypodermic into the bloodstream of the other.

Experimental Pharmaceutical Treatment
  There’s a second or two after they remove the needles where they look at each other with morbid dread and fearful anticipation. The nurse carefully snatches the syringes out of their absent-minded hands, and to my side Mickey the Rat is jumping in his seat with glee.

  Then the drugs start to take effect. Inmate #32-098 is the first to react. He seems violently stricken with terror. He looks as though he is seeing things, attackers, monstrous, all-consuming hallucinations. His whole body suddenly lurches backwards, hurling him over his chair and to the floor. He’s rigid with fear at the invisible horrors consuming him. Physically paralyzed, his body still in the seated position, arms bent at the elbows as if still gripping his chair, he lies on his back, legs still bent at the knees,  frozen in rictus, mouth open and eyes wild in a frozen, silent  scream.

"Harsh Tokes"

  Inmate #887-23 has a markedly different reaction to his markedly different pharmaceutical concoction. His eyes glaze over, then roll back into his skull. He sags, the slumps, then as though he had a hundred tons of imaginary telephone books dropped upon him, he falls face down on the floor. But it’s not over yet. There’s some tremors, and a whinnying sound like Shemp Howard makes in the 3 Stooges movies. Then his body starts to curl and coil like a snake. He writhes into a seated position and flips onto his back, having seizure after seizure until his body, flopping around the room like a fish in the bottom of a boat. He actually makes quite a lot of progress like this, each spastic flop sends him yards across the room until finally, his contorted thrashing finds him wedged behind a chesterfield, where he thrashes futilely once or twice before he passes out stuck and for good.

"Lights Out!"
  It’s quite a show, and I’m not the only one who is taken aback. Most of the inmates look like they are about to be sick. The two victims are left to lay where they have fallen and the nurses exit through the same door that the doctor had passed earlier. I can’t believe what I had just seen. There were so many things to take in in the space of one afternoon. The doctor had returned like a bad penny, with gruesome, disfiguring plastic surgery. My insurance policy cashed in and spent funding atrocities south of the border, and now, here he was again, conducting this sick clinical research in his own private psychiatric hospital within the prison. The rampant abuse of dangerous pharmaceuticals in the name of psychiatry, and Wrongful Death Rowan calling the shots, prescribing inhuman dosages of brain injury causing cocktails of deadly drugs…I was struck dumb! Leaving, of course, an opening for my talkative little friend Mickey to pipe in. “Ya know…were lucky really.” I’m stupefied, what could he mean; I slowly turn towards him, my mouth hanging open. “It’s not every con gets access to this sort of all-you-can-eat buffet of drugs, fresh clean works every time too!” He’s leaning back contemplating the bounty of it all. He folds his hands behind his head and crosses his legs. “No sir-ee, not too bad at all. Just you wait till tomorrow when it’ll be our turn, you’ll see.” He winks at me again “The drugs are superb, A-1, absolutely top-drawer, were gonna have ourselves a grand old time.” righting his chair to punctuate his speech. He folds his arms and leans in for one last word. “Don’t you worry one bit, it’ll be like a walk in the park my friend.” Then as he pauses to consider what he just said, he’s moved to make one disclaimer, “that is, once you get used to the female Viagra…”


  I was so excited from the good news that I received in my last report, that I rose from my bed an hour early to eagerly prepare for my move to Unit J. This would be the start of my fresh new academic career, and the promise of finally being able to attain my Doctorate of Law and enter into the world of a legitimate, fully-accredited legal professional  was so close I could taste it. I was convinced that being allowed to attend university inside the prison and graduating with a law degree would enable me to clear my good name once and for all, and I felt I had been granted an iron-clad insurance policy with unlimited liability against further criminal convictions and subsequent future incarceration. For the first time since I was locked up, I felt my legal situation was not entirely hopeless. Eager with anticipation, I paced my cell in the predawn darkness and waited for the guards to usher me to my new digs and, ultimately, my path towards freedom.

Bright & Early

   Two nasty looking screws arrived at my cell at the proscribed hour of 4:30 am and escorted me out of the cell-block, flanking me as I was marched through passages and corridors, and admitted through automatic steel doors, as the first rays of the new day crept across the sleeping jail. I was in an exceptionally good mood and almost skipped along, so it barely registered that I might have some cause to worry when I noticed a large sign identifying the unit we arrived at and which would be my new home for the duration of my studies.

A "Bad Sign"

   It maybe seemed a little odd, but not entirely unbelievable that the prison could hold its PhD programs and college courses in the same unit used as its own private psychiatric hospital. In fact, I imagined that it could serve a very useful dual purpose for those inmates studying for a psychology degree, as they could benefit from observing the activities of every doctor, and have unlimited access to all manner of clinical studies. Of course I was not intent on becoming a doctor. What I needed was a law degree, for I wanted to become a lawyer and finally clear up the legal mess I was in.

  We passed by wards and hospital rooms where various scholarly looking activities were taking place. Professors and inmates were engaged in all manner of intriguing scientific procedures. There appeared to be a lot of clinical studies taking place, and by the looks of it this jail-house university was quite progressive. There were rooms in which a doctor administered pharmaceutical treatment to patients who looked as though they were suffering from brain injury, and other rooms where caged men were being shown how to play the guitar. In another, a student with a bandage on his head was playing the guitar himself while a doctor studied a machine that was connected to the player’s head by wires. One room had a sort of “role playing” exercise going on, possibly the “Theater Arts” department? It was one of the strangest colleges I had ever seen.

Progressive Educational Techniques
Scientific Research
Experimental Theater?

   Finally, my impromptu tour of the facilities was over as we arrived at our destination. Although it was not quite what I had imagined, being without desks or books, the classroom I was assigned to was large and well lit, and I could see that I was to share it with many fellow students, all keen to learn the legal profession.

The Student Body

   The guards shoved me into the large room and locked the door behind me. Looking around, nobody seemed to notice my arrival. They all sat silently, abject, most staring at the floor or the space in front of them vacantly, so I found an empty seat and took it. I suppose that classes were about to begin, and everyone was simply showing decorum and waiting patiently for the teacher to arrive. Still, it was eerie how quiet everyone was. Suddenly I heard a noise coming from beside me.

  “Pssst…Hey buddy!” The student directly seated at my right begged my attention. “Hey! You’re the new guy!” He whispered loudly.

  Not wanting to be rude, but also trying to observe the golden rule of all classrooms (silence) I merely smiled at him, nodded and politely acknowledged his presence.

  That was enough for him to latch on to me like a dirty shirt. He pulled his plastic chair right up close to my side and began talking so rapidly, and with such instant familiarity that I was convinced the poor fellow must be suffering some sort of brain injury and was not entirely in full command of his facilities. The crazed look on his face told me he was most likely being treated with some sort of powerful pharmaceutical therapy. I was beginning to regret having to sit beside this guy, he seemed like the type of student who was a constant distraction to those around him and would probably prove to be a liability as far as my studies were to be concerned. Still, despite my polite efforts to ignore him, he persisted.

  “Hey man,” He went on, “You’re new, you better stick close to me.” He said as he sort of hid himself behind my shoulder. “I been here 2 weeks, and brother, this aint like anything you’ve ever seen inside” He was looking all around, tense and paranoiac. “They make us partner up in here, and you’re gonna be my new partner, so just listen to me and I’ll help you out, ok?”

  Obviously he was to be my “lab partner” for projects and assignments, so I decided I had better cut him a little slack, but before I could politely ask his name he interrupted me again.

  “I’m Mickey, Mickey the Rat they call me, but I never rat! Get it! I ain't no snitch! They just call me that because I’m all quick and nervous-like, and because I know everything about everybody. Everything! I got the goods on every con and screw in the joint, and I can help you out. A lot, see? Information is power in here and I got the information. You just stick by Old Mickey and you’ll see. I’m like a walking, talking insurance policy.”

Mickey The Rat
  I wasn’t exactly sure what he was getting at, but he continued at his rapid-fire pace anyway. “I’ll let you in on what’s going on in here, and I’ll show you who the major players are. You’ll get to know the ropes and we can help each other out. You watch my back and I’ll watch yours, OK buddy?”

  I nodded warily. This guy was obviously nuts, how dangerous could studying at college and attaining a legal degree be? However, I did not need him neurotically pestering me the whole time and being a liability as far as my graduating was concerned, so I just sat and listened as he hid behind my shoulder and pointed out some of the other inmates, all while he continued to hiss into my ear. He reached a boney, nicotine-stained finger between his face and mine and aimed it past my nose at a stoic figure who sat at the center of the room. The man was fully restrained with shackles on his wrists and ankles and seemed to be a million miles away in some private aura of darkness and gloom.

   “That’s the main guy you gotta watch out for.” Mickey says, his finger now picking nervously at the collar of my uniform. “That person holds all the cards.” A glimmer of rage passes through my new friend. “You know who that is don’t you?”

  I don’t know who the man is. He most certainly looks menacing, but I have no clue as to his legal identity, so I say as much. “No, who is he?” I ask.

  Mickey has a small tremor and straightens up a little. “Why, that’s none other than Ronald ‘Wrongful Death’ Rowan, the ‘psychopath’s psychopath’! And he’s the top dog in here!”

   Now I knew who he was talking about. In the criminal and legal worlds “Wrongful Death” Rowan was a giant of a man, if you could even call him a man, for his crimes had made him barely human in most people’s eyes. There was no crime he hadn’t reveled in, no atrocity he hadn’t enacted; in fact, they had to invent new perversions to put names to the indignities he had exacted upon his countless victims. He also had a high flying career as a high priced attorney; a well-respected Member of the Bar and Star Prosecutor until his nefarious activities were found out and he was sentenced to 50 consecutive life terms without any possibility of parole. His typical M.O. was to simply murder whoever may be the defendant in whichever legal claims he was representing on behalf of the plaintiff, chalking the whole thing up to “wrongful death”, and then bringing counter-suit. A certified genius and criminal mastermind, this lawyer's heinous acts went undetected for years. Also he was physically imposing, and struck fear into all who encountered him. "Wrongful Death" Rowan was a scourge upon society, the bane of the penal system, and now, according to my new friend, the person in charge of my university education!

"Wrongful Death" Rowan

  “This is outrageous!” I protested, “They can’t let ‘Wrongful Death’ Rowan be in charge, he’s a maniac. It would be the worst liability ever for the prison, no insurance policy could cover the threat this monster poses! How can it be?”

  Mickey corrects me, I’ve got it slightly wrong, “Oh, he’s not the boss, see? He’s more of a liaison. The boss would be “The Shadow Man”, the Doctor. That's who’s really in charge of this show. ‘Wrongful Death’ is just his henchman. But mark my words, with the doctor pulling the strings, and that psycho over there doing his dirty work, we’re all pretty much between the devil and the deep blue sea.” He laughs cynically, a little, at this characterization, despite the ominous gravity of the situation as it is revealed to me.

  I’m still in shock, I can’t believe it. “What sort of university is this?” I beg, “A mad doctor you never see, and a psycho-killer maniac leading our studies, is that even legal? How can it be allowed?”

  Mickey is looking at me, ashamed of my stupidity, “I don’t know what they told you bro, but this ain't no university. If you thought you was going to college, you are mistaken my friend. This is nothing of the sort.” He’s shaking his head and moving away from me. “I hate to have to inform you, but what you have got yourself into is something completely different than all that, son.”

  Then he goes on to explain to me that I am now entered into a top-secret and highly experimental government funded clinical research program, and what I initially took to be a university, is in reality nothing more than the Doctor’s twisted research into behavioral psychology, his own private psychiatric hospital where deranged clinical studies and pharmaceutical experimentation could be performed on a limitless supply of captive human guinea pigs.

  I gulped loudly, as I realized that now; forcible psychiatry and heavy pharmaceutical therapy was to be my fate.

  But who was this Doctor, known only as “The Shadow Man” to the wasted souls, in this locked ward of the damned, and what was to become of my shining career at law school , my precious law degree? Before I could venture this question, a door at the far end of the ward opened and a white coated physician followed by two mean looking nurses entered.
   The inmates of this private psychiatric hospital, most of whom appeared vacant and lifeless until then, suddenly began to shift uncomfortably in their seats at his arrival, and a wave of anguish visibly spread across the hoard. This sinister doctor of psychiatry was obviously “The Shadow Man” and I studied him intently as he moved across the large room. He was aloof... emotionless, a walking enigma, yet somehow, I felt I knew this man. I was sure I had seen that face before…

 To Be Continued...