earl hated everything about this place.
"Oh, and this one I made a few weeks ago for Lars' birthday," Steven informed her. "But I thought he might not like it, so I started over."
Well, almost everything.
Crouching, but careful not to touch the floor with anything but her shoes, she nodded patiently along as Steven showed her the "art gallery." In reality, they were drawings, smeared by filth, that had been tucked in the margins of a newspaper he kept beside his… cot. Pearl refused to call the tatters of medical tape and gaze a bed.
On the newspaper, the printed ink was almost completely faded with age. Several hand and fingerprints were visible above the layer of oil that stuck to everything, and the drawings were just barely visible. It was hard to tell if they were old or if the ink had been distorted by the grime, but in either event, it was difficult to tell what she was looking at.
Turning the paper, as if it might reveal some hidden information, Steven continued his explanation.
"I tried to draw him in a big rocket, 'cause he said he wanted to go to space someday, but his head was too big. And plus, I put a lot more stars in the one I gave him!"
He turned towards her with the proudest grin on his face, and Pearl smiled politely and nodded, keeping her lips sealed.
She could not stress this enough: she hated this.
She hated the way he said things like that so normally. She hated that Steven's friend had been here to celebrate a birthday, and she hated that this little boy's kind spirit was trapped within these wretched walls. She hated the fact that, even after being in here for perhaps a half-hour, she could not shake the stomach-churning sense of sickness in the air, or that the small scurry of an occasional rat would chime in her ears like nails on a chalkboard. And there was another sound - the sound of Mr. Smiley crying openly in the hallway, and Amethyst trying to console him; she hated that too. She hated that the hospital had done this to them.
Pearl was a Tommy1. She knew it, and her past with Rose had been some of the happiest memories in her entire life. Men were rough; all sharp-edges and cold glares - that was okay, just, not for her. To Pearl , there was nothing more beautiful than the soft curves of a woman's body, all the warmth and affection she could dream of wrapped up in a single form. It was simple and inviting. Love had lifted her up, given her a purpose, a career, and memories she would cherish forever.
Harold Smiley's own affliction had given him a life of servility, guilt, and self-loathing. If she and Rose hadn't been more careful, either, or both of them, could have ended up just like this.
How could anyone live like this?
"Oh and look, look at this one! I like this one 'cause Lapis helped me draw it - see, this is us," he pointed to a two blobs, one smaller and one larger, that were connected around the middle. She guessed they were holding hands.
Surprised with herself, wetness sprang to her eyes, and she had to fight to keep the tears from betraying her strong demonstration of confidence before. Steven seemed so normal - if not too happy for his own good. Why was he here? The words on his wrist band taunted her: unknown. Was there even a reason? If you asked her an hour ago, she would have assured that only people with real conditions end up institutionalized; now, she felt like she wasn't sure of anything anymore.
Almost every child loves to draw, and Steven was no different, and that was reflected by his scratchy little creations. Now his mad-scribbling earlier made sense - many of the drawings were faint, scratched rather than inked onto the pages. Beside the spot where Steven laid his head were all manners of pens, dried and likely already well-beyond their use by the time they made it to him.
His drawings were the happiest thing in this place, and even those had been tarnished by the hospital's willful negligence.
"Steven?" Pearl said, voice gravely. She cleared her throat when dark eyes looked up at her, wide and unassuming. He was sprawled out on his stomach, like he'd been on the beach when he started to draw, supporting his upper body weight with his elbows.
"Can I ask you a question?"
He propped himself up a little more, setting the newspaper down. "Sure!"
"You seem… happy." Pearl started slowly, and Steven giggled as if to emphasize the point.
Her lip twitched, but she couldn't smile. "I wanted to know… I suppose, if you were to ever leave the ward here… would you want that?"
Steven's brow furrowed, and he turned his attention to the paper in front of him again.
"Leave? But we aren't allowed to leave." He thought for another moment. "I mean, sometimes I sneak outside and play in the ocean but I get in trouble if I get caught."
In her most unaffected voice, Pearl replied, "Well, that's true. But just pretending. Would you want that, if you could?"
His scowl deepened, and his sudden honesty both surprised and deeply troubled her.
"I don't know. It's sorta scary to think about."
Pearl promised herself at that moment to show some restraint when she visited the doctors; she was about one heartbreaking comment away from strangling each and every one of them.
The clipped note of shoes on tile told her Amethyst was approaching from behind her, and Pearl glanced over her shoulder to see a world-weary expression settle on her friend's face.
"It's alright to be scared sometimes, ya know," Amethyst said, apparently having overheard their conversation. "It gives us the opportunity to try to overcome it, and that's pretty cool."
Pearl raised a brow. "Has this venture turned you philosophical?"
"No, that's Sapphire's job," she said with her usual snark.
"Sapphire's not a - you know what?" Pearl pushed herself up using her thighs as leverage. "Nevermind. Did Harold…?"
Amethyst looked at the ceiling, appearing thoughtful. "He said he would come with, but I actually think his idea is better. He said to let him go ahead and get people out of most of the rooms, just incase." She leaned forward slightly, dropping her voice. "Doesn't want to get people's hopes up just yet, I imagine."
A grimace found its way to Pearl's face. "No, I can't say I blame him… Okay. Steven... I have a big favor to ask of you."
He turned his head slightly, looking between her and Amethyst. "Oh, really?"
"Yes," she gave a weak chuckle. "You were such a wonderful tour guide, showing us through the ward here and your room. And so many pictures!" She gestured at the papers, and his cheeks pinked.
"What I would really love is a full tour, though. What do you say? Can you show us around the rest of the building?"
He practically leapt up. "Really?! You wanna see more?"
Amethyst laughed openly, and it didn't sound as forced as Pearl's own congeniality.
"Uh, duh! You live here, so the rest of this place must be hep.2"
Pearl could have sworn he was about ready to start running down the halls in his haste to show them around, but once he was fully upright, Pearl and Amethyst gasped.
Steven's legs gave out beneath him, and he went sprawling into another pile of… another patient's cot.
"Ugghh," he whined immediately, pushing up with his arms. "Not now."
Pearl was already on the ground beside him, germs be damned. "Steven, Steven are you okay?! What happened?"
He frowned down his torso, trying and failing to pick himself up. Pearl realized his cheeks were fiery red.
"What's going on?" Amethyst demanded, her own panic clear in her tone. "Should I get someone?"
"N-no," Steven sighed, flopping back onto the floor. "'M fine…"
Pearl narrowed her eyes, but Amethyst beat her to it. "You're sprawled on the floor. You sure about that?"
Steven turned his head away from them, and feeling like the wind had been knocked out of her, Pearl realized he was trying not to cry.
"'M fine! Just… won't move… right now." Sniffling, he said in a small voice, "Just happens somedays. Sorry."
"Sorry?" Pearl repeated, deadpanned. "You don't have to be sorry for anything."
"But the tour!" He cried, turning back to face her with red eyes to match his complexion. "I-I'm sorry! I didn't m-mean to…"
"Shh, hey now, that's okay." Pearl placed a hand on his forearm, and she was relieved to see his shoulders relax slightly. "It's… not your fault. We'll just get, uh, maybe Mr. -" she was looking to Amethyst, eyes hopefully portraying help me I have no idea what I'm doing!
She seemed to get the message. Well, a message, just not quite the right one.
"Pearl will carry you! You can just point us where to go!" She blurted immediately, and in a fluid movement, the zone leader had scooped him off the ground and shoved him into Pearl's arms. Both she and Steven seemed so surprised by the change that neither of them said anything for several moments, but Pearl just shrugged and tried to smile to assure him that it was fine.
He wiped his nose on his stained, spotted pink t-shirt. "I'm s-sorry…"
"That's okay. I don't mind," she said, ironically shooting a glare in her friends' direction. "If you're still up for showing us around, I'd love to see the rest of your home."
"O-okay. Yeah. The hallway, and then go that way," he pointed to the right, a bit of the color in his cheeks faded to pale skin. Pearl watched as he cracked a small smile.
"Then let's go," she tried to sound chipper, rather than horrified, to be embarking on this journey. A silly part of her brain tried to find a silver-lining, or bothered to be hopeful - maybe just the living quarters were bad? Maybe the other rooms were better? Maybe Steven and Harold happened to share a particularly terrible room, and the other ones were world-better?
Oh, was she going to be disappointed.
Halfway through the "tour," which had turned into more of a waking nightmare in Pearl's mind, she decided to stop look for silver-linings. She could really only tolerate so much.
One of the first rooms Steven led them to was another sleeping quarters for the men's ward, and this one appeared to be in much the same condition. There was one person here, a teenager, but he was in the corner speaking only to himself.
"Hi, Sour Cream," Steven waved from Pearl's arms, but the sickly-thin boy merely glanced up with frantic, unseeing eyes, before looking away again. Nothing he was saying sounded intelligible, though Amethyst mentioned quietly it sounded like he was asking for his mother.
They left that room rather quickly; Pearl felt like she was somehow invading on the patients space just by standing there while he barely held himself together. Steven commented on his behavior as they were pointed to the next room.
"Mus' be one of his bad days," he said sadly. "Some days are better."
Amethyst sped up their pace after that.
Steven showed them the children's play room, where a few broken or ripped things were strewn about a small room. In the corner, a child's toy-chest had been turned into a wooden cage, uneven bars lining the sides. Their guide remarked on how he "hated that box," and explained that the metal shackles inside also made his arms itch.
Pearl had to keep Amethyst from destroying it outright when Steven said that, though she was half-tempted to do so herself.
The first two floors seemed to be the more "recreational" of the wards, designed to rather house or entertain the patients. When they reached the third floor - the fourth floor was never apparently built, though it appeared to have been planned, judging by a staircase that led to nothing - Steven was much less enthusiastic about showing them around.
"Um, these are… where the tear-apay a stuff is…" His eyes lowered, and Pearl felt him grip her shirt with tiny fists. "Pearl…?"
She craned her neck to look down at him.
"I don' wanna play anymore," he said with a small voice. "Can we go back… oh, maybe, draw again?"
Swallowing the lump in her throat, that was consequently starting to choke her, Pearl forced another smile.
"Let's just go for a little longer, okay? You're doing so great - and Amethyst and I will be here with you the whole time."
Steven's hands tightened even more on her shirt, but he nodded and said, "O-okay, then, um, go through the doors over there. They're mostly the same so we can skip a few…"
Pearl did as he bid, entering the first door on the right side of the hallway. There were four or five more similar doors that extended into the blackness along the wall, but seeing as the only light followed after them from the floor below, she was eager to opt for the one closest to the light source.
Upon entering, Pearl's brow furrowed; she didn't quite know what she was looking at. She wasn't sure what to expect, but she at least figured it would be… bigger.
There was a small window on the right wall, allowing enough light for her to make sense of the space. Amethyst fumbled around for a moment and found a light, but flicking the switch did nothing.
"We don't have power on inspection days," Steven commented matter-of-factly, but his voice had an edge to it that Pearl did not care for.
The room was surprisingly cramped, probably no more than 250 square feet, with a large work table with an array of gadgets sprawled across the surface occupying about half the space alone. Beside the table was the first real-and-proper bed Pearl had seen in the entire building, though the sheets - which were probably once crisp white - had yellowed, with large splotches of orange in odd places. It was narrow-wooden frame, probably just tall enough for Amethyst; Pearl's own legs would have dangled laughably over the end.
The engineer in her guided her steps towards the table, sweeping an investigative eye over all the bizarre tools.
In an attempt to get Steven to stop shaking, she sort of 'fluffed him' in her arms and prodded gently, "So, what is this room used for, Steven?"
He played with the collar of his shirt, and his voice was almost inaudible.
"Umm, the doctors usually stand over here," Steven said, sort of waving around where he and Pearl now stood. "And I get in the bed, and the b-blue people put this warm goo on my head and give me a thingy to bite down on. It tastes like cardboard, I hate it."
Pearl could tell Steven was glaring over her shoulder now, and she half-expected someone to come bursting in the room to do just as he described. Subconsciously, she held him a little tighter.
"I-I'm not sure what it is but there's this really loud buzzing, like whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, that starts up and it gets louder, and, umm, and when it's, um, really really loud, it ummm, the doctor… h-he brings over these sticks and…"
Steven began breathing more heavily, and a horrible knot twisted in Pearl's stomach; maybe she and Amethyst were pushing him too hard. Maybe this was a bad idea.
She never had the opportunity to stop him before the next part spilled out, a panicked jumble of words and dry heaving.
"A-a-and the doctors always… they always say 't-this will hurt just a little bit' and they t-tell me it's okay and that it w-wi-will be quick but it feels like I have to wait forever and I just get really… s-sick. Everything is just… dark and I can't remember stuff. But it gives me a really bad headache a-and the blue peo-people are always there after and it scares me a lot 'cause I don't even k-know where I am after it's over and it's - it's -"
"O-okay, bud, that's okay, you don't have to explain anymore," Amethyst said hurriedly, coming up to them and waving her hands. Steven had begun to suck in air so quickly, it sounded like he was beginning to choke; Pearl hadn't the first clue how to help besides just continue to hold him, trying to make her grip both soft and firm at the same time.
"I-I'm sorry," he cried in earnest, burying his head into Pearl's shoulder. "I'm sorry - I'm sorry!"
"Shhh, hey, hey now, that's okay," Pearl said, and Amethyst jerked her thumb towards the door so she all but sprinted back into the hallway. "It's better now, see? We're not in there anymore. It'll be okay, I promise."
Amethyst was only a step behind them, and she shut the door to the therapy room with a sharp snap.
"Well… that could've gone better," she stated plainly, reclaiming her spot beside Pearl and trying to judge Steven's condition. "But you did a great job, Ste-man. Can I call you that?"
The nickname must've caught his attention, because the crying halted momentarily and he blinked a few times slowly. A river of snot was clinging from his face (and, much to Pearl's chagrin, to her nice button-down shirt), but he seemed to calm down slightly.
"S-Ste-man?" He repeated.
"Yeah," Amethyst put her hands behind her head, acting the perfect amount of casual that Pearl could not even try to emulate. "You know, since you're the man of this place, showin' us around and junk. Figured the name suited you."
Steven sniffled and wiped a hand on his face, only to transfer the snot to his oversized shirt. "I-I guess… yeah, you can call me that."
Pearl thought she detected just the hint of a smile in his tone, but it was hard to tell from the way he was angled in her arms.
"So what's Ste-man think about finishing our tour? There's probably only a couple more rooms, right?"
"Mmm…" he considered the offer quietly. A slight limpness fell into the cradle of her shoulder, and she realized Steven was started to relax. It was sort of nice, holding him - she was glad she wasn't being completely useless when it came to his mood.
"Okay. There's other stuff but inside my house there's just really the bath rooms."
"Er," Amethyst scratched her chin. "I mean, I think we can skip the bathroom, I don't have to go - are there other places on this -"
"No," Steven interrupted. "Bath room. Not bathroom. This is way bigger, and um, " He pointed around the left wall, where Pearl could just see a curve in the hallway. "It's got like special tubs and stuff."
"Sure, whatever you say," she said, unconcerned with the details. If it was a room they could visit to sooner get out of this place, Pearl had no issue speeding things up.
Without waiting for a response, she began to follow the path to the left, swallowing her fears and trying desperately to block out the scurrying sound of unwelcome life that rattled along the walls.
After a moment's fumbling, as this part of the ward was pitched entirely in darkness, Amethyst managed to find the door to the so-called "bath room." Naturally, a room for bathing was held within, but it was much darker than Pearl had expected - and that was saying something, given that the only light she'd encountered so far in the building had filtered between iron bars that lined the sparse windows.
There were no windows here.
She dropped her voice to a hush out of instinct, unsure what to make of the vast black room - a few crescents of shapes and silhouettes managed their way to her vision, but even so, she could only just make out the outline of Amethyst beside her.
"Steven, what is this place?"
"I told you," he whispered back. "The bath room. I think we might be the only ones here."
"Oh!" Amethyst chirped suddenly, and Pearl was, for the first time, glad the lights were out; she flinched so violently she nearly dropped Steven.
"I almost forgot - hah! Ding!"
A brilliant stream of yellow light poured into the darkness, a droplet of sunshine breaking through the bleakness. Amethyst's face illuminated at odd angles, and Pearl followed the trail with her eyes to see a handheld flashlight, tucked beneath her friend's chin.
"Brought my flashlight from the office. Boom. Talk about being on the stick3, am I right?"
"Oh," Pearl breathed, needing a few moments for her eyes to adjust. Steven's own head was only a few inches away, and she watched him blink through the sudden light.
He glowered towards one half of the room, separated by a thin sheet that hung from the ceiling. From the years of use, it was almost peeling off the rings that secured it, but it managed to hold.
"Over there's the t-tubs, and these are for the… uh, blankets. I guess they call 'em packs but I always heard Mr. Smiley call 'em blankets so that's what I call it." Steven pointed towards a set of four beds, in two rows of two.
Pearl tried to catch Amethyst's eye, but she was looking around with the flashlight, inspecting documents and tools strewn around two tables on the opposite wall.
Cracking a weak smile, Pearl strolled casually towards the beds. "So what are the blankets like?"
His head lowered, apparently finding her shoes very interesting at the moment.
"They're sticky. I don't like them. First they wrap you up really really tight and it's f-freezing -" he paused, shivering, and Pearl wondered what memory had come back to haunt him. "A-and they're wet so you feel like sucked down into the bed, you know? And, and then you get really hot after a long time, like stepping on the sand when it's really sunny, but then it just gets hotter and I hate that part the most. Cause I can't tell… if I'm sweaty and that's why I'm sticky or if it's just the stupid blankets… And they don't even let you get up to go pee! I-I peed the packs once," Steven admitted with a haunting tone, and Pearl thought she could see his cheeks pink in the low-lighting.
"They got r-real mad at me, so they made me sit there for a really, really long time. Sometimes, sometimes it's not so bad, but I get put in the b-blankets and tubs more than Jeff, and it's not fair."
Pearl was quiet for several seconds, unsure how to respond to this information. Steven had started shaking again, but he was managing not to cry and for that she was deeply thankful. The irony was sitting there, like a six bullets waiting to be loaded into the chamber of a revolver, asking her to acknowledge it, to test it's truth. A child was her only beacon of strength right now, and if he started to fall apart, she was sure she wouldn't be far behind. If Amethyst hadn't pulled him out of his crying earlier, Pearl wasn't sure what would have happened.
Just in time with the thought crossing her mind, Amethyst cleared her throat gently behind them. "Well… thanks for the info, Ste-man. Good thing there's no, uh, stuff like that going on right now. Right? There's a-a good reason I hate hospitals, haha… hah."
Pearl turned and watched the color drain her friend's face; whatever expression she had been wearing must've been concerning.
A voice nearby croaked, and Pearl was startled to realize it was her own. "So… Why don't you tell us about the tubs? Then we can get out of here, doesn't that sound nice, Steven?"
Nodding, Steven said, "Umm, okay… they're behind that thing." He pointed towards the sheet that had caught Pearl's eye earlier, so she and Amethyst began to slowly approach. The curtain was tattered and visibly deteriorating in some spots, and Amethyst was careful when she drew it back.
A mirror to the other side of the room, there were two rows of two clawfoot bathtubs. Each of these had a small chair beside the far ends, presumably where patients would lie their heads. The outside of the tubs were, much like everything else in this building, worn and in need of a deep clean (though honestly, Pearl considered burning the place down to be a better option than actually subjecting some poor cleaning crew to scrubbing the impressive layer of grime that covered every surface). Inside, however, they were in fairly okay condition, and given that they were vessels designed to hold water, she had to assume that kept them at least moderately clean.
"Here's where we get burned," Steven said simply.
"The water is always super hot, like really hot. And they make me wear that weird thingy," he pointed towards a previously unnoticed pseudo-turnequit-turned-jacket that had been tossed aside in a heap. "And they tell me to try not to be loud cause it'll wake up Mr. Smiley or Ron or whoever but I usually c-can't help it. I try but I can't not cause it hurts so b-bad."
"You can't not… stay quiet?" Amethyst repeated with a scowl, sounding confused. "Just, like, you tell them that it's too hot…?"
Timidly, Steven shook his head and receded back slightly into Pearl's grip. "N-no, I… I mean like… I s-scream e-even though I know they tell me not to… cause I always misbehave. That's what the b-blue people say, and then Mr. Smiley and Uncle Andy tell me it won't be as bad if I just listen to them but I can't and I h-hate it! And - and Lapis got in trouble once for getting me out and they were so mean to her for that and it's just not fair!"
Just barely, Steven managed to choke down the sob by sucking in a few frantic breaths, but the message was clear. Within these walls, there was no treatment and no therapy.
Within these walls, there was torture.
A crushing sense of undeniability began to flood the room, and Pearl felt like she'd been the one swaddled in wet rags. Something about the familiar turned sinister, something about a child's blanket being turned into a restraint, something about Steven's tiny, shaking hands… There was something about this room that was like water rushing in her lungs, or a buzzing that filled her brain, blotting out reason and hope.
Unexpectedly, almost grumpily, Steven tagged on, "They started putting me in the sleep rooms more since I can't stay quiet... and those aren't as bad, but I never know what we're gonna do each day."
Amethyst's voice had a strained quality to it. "A sleep room? Like your bedroom?"
"Nuh-uh," he said with a little squirm, and Pearl realized he was trying to face her. "Pearl, can we um, go back outside now? W-we are done with the tour in here, right?"
She stared blankly for several seconds, eventually nudged back into awareness by Amethyst.
"R-Right! And you did a great job, such a great job. I'm very proud of you."
As soon as she said the words, Pearl flushed with embarrassment; that was such an inappropriate remark, but she was simply grabbing at whatever words she could muster that didn't sound like curses or threats of violence to the owners of this establishment.
Steven took the compliment in stride though, and he straightened slightly. "R-Really? It was good?"
"Uh, yeah." Her friend clicked her tongue. "It was awesome. Way to go, Ste-man!"
They had re-entered the hallway at this point, and slowly, Pearl trailed behind Amethyst as she led them back towards the lit part of the third floor. She felt like she'd aged about ten-years since they ascended the staircase, and with a grim reminder of the afternoon sun streaming up from the floor below, Pearl remembered that this day was only just getting started.
Glancing to her left, however, Pearl realized Steven was sporting a huge smile once again. Apparently, her and Amethyst's praise had more of an effect that she realized, and it took a bit of the edge off to see his eyes twinkle.
"Steven, where are the sleeping rooms you mentioned? They aren't on this floor, are they?"
He frowned, before trying to snap his fingers (his coordination wasn't quite there yet, so his fingers just clumsily slipped past each other).
"Oh. Well… um, maybe we can't go there… It's in the big building, the one around the cliff, you know? I'm not supposed to go outside," he reminded them nervously.
Pearl pursed her lips, sharing a look with Amethyst.
"Oh no, I think now is the perfect time to go to that building, Steven. I want to have a word with some of the doctors there." Despite herself, Pearl felt herself grin at the stunned look on his face.
"Don't worry, they won't hurt - just like here, Amethyst and I will stay by your side every second, okay? ...And, we have some other friends there who I think would be very interested to hear what you've told us. They'd be even happier to have a tour, I think."
Stars popped into his eyes, and excitement seemed to chase away his fears for the moment.
"Really?! More friends?" He sang, and Amethyst already began to descend the steps.
"Oh yes," Pearl nodded astutely. "We have three friends there - well, two friends and an acquaintance, I suppose, but I think you'll like them."
"Ah-quan-tance?" He tried to say, but ending only furrowing his brow in frustration.
"Ah," Pearl said.
Steven repeated her. "Ah."
"Cuquain?" It sounded like he was trying to say crane, but with a hopelessly cute lisp. Pearl sighed.
"Qua-ean," she said with emphasis.
"Good. Ah - quain - tance."
"Ah - cuqain - tence."
"Mmm… very close. Well done, Steven."
At that, he giggled, the sound chasing away any reminders of scalding bath water or freezing towels or rats or tears.
They'd returned to the first floor, and it seemed so much less offensive the second time around. Amethyst shot her a look over her shoulder - a brow-raised, knowing-smirk kind of look - and Pearl didn't know what to make of it. She jotted down a mental note to ask her when they eventually parted ways with Steven.
Hmm. She switched the arms holding him, propping him on her right hip this time. Pearl figured it would be a while longer until they had to say goodbye.
Historical accuracy notes:
-Lunatic asylums and/or state hospitals that treated psychiatric patients in the 1920s-1950s were often extremely overcrowded, and especially by children. The fact that Steven and Jeff are the only male children who make appearances in this story (though some others will be referred to by name) is for plot convenience, and so I do not have to invent a million OCs to push the story forward. Keep in mind that most wards like this would be spilling over with children.
-Many patients, particularly male (child or adult) would be fully naked due to lack of funding to provide proper clothing to patients. There will be some instances in the story where this fact is glossed over to avoid being repetitive, and so Steven isn't just naked the entire story. That would be... weird.
1 A 1940s/1950s slang term for a lesbian.
2 A 1950s term for "cool" or "happening."
3 A 1940s/1950s slang phrase for being prepared and/or having one's self pulled together. Here, Amethyst uses it as a pun.