The following short story is based on characters created and/or copyrighted by Glenn Eichler, Susie Lewis Lynn, and MTV. All other characters were created and copyrighted by Roland Lowery.

The author gives full permission to distribute this work freely, as long as no alterations are made and the exchange of monetary units is not involved. Any questions, comments, suggestions, or complaints should be sent to esn1g(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you.


"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness.
Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you."
-Rita Mae Brown


Not So Slow
by Roland 'Jim' Lowery

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I am not slow.

I flick the switch up, then I flip it down so I can flick it up again. This time, I have to do it right, or something bad will happen.

The switch flips up, the lights come on, and it is right this time. I know because I can feel it in my fingertips. If it had not flipped right, I would have felt it all along the whorls and curves on the pads, intruding on the tissues underneath like a virus trying to spread through my body starting at the extremities.

But I do not feel that, so it is okay. It is going to be okay.

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I am not slow.

The room is sharp, clinical. I have taken great care in the construction of this room. Everything in it is perfectly aligned, just like it is supposed to be. A place for every thing and every thing in its place and a place for every thing and every thing in its place and a place for every thing.

The lights, which I have finally managed to turn on properly, slowly flare to life. They are very bright, my lights. They wash everything out with their stark fluorescent glare. That is the way I like it. I like colors, lots and lots of colors, but lots and lots and lots and lots of colors do not belong here. Not in this room.

Only two colors predominate this space. Blue and grey. Grey and blue.

I like blue.

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I am not slow.

The grey steel table sits under a blue cloth sits under grey steel tools sit under the transparent air sits under the blueish lights sit under the grey concrete ceiling sit under the blue sky. It is a sequence that I can appreciate.

I like it when there is symmetry. I like it when things are in order. I like it when there is symmetry.

Every thing in its place and a place for every thing and every thing in

No.

No time for that.

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I am not slow.

The door is locked behind me. I know because I locked it myself and then double checked it and then triple checked it. It is locked. I know it is locked. It cannot be unlocked.

Can it?

No, it cannot. It is locked. I locked it myself.

It is necessary to lock the door. I have had trouble concerning this before, and so it must always remained locked. I only unlock it when I need to get in or out. When I actually am in or out, it must remain locked. Too many bad things happen if I do not lock it.

I walk over to the other table.

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I am not slow.

The other table is my favorite table. It sits directly in the center of the room, and it is grey steel sits under a blue cloth sits under something else. The something else is the reason why this is my favorite table, as it is the something else that is the whole point of having this room. Without the something else, the room, like myself, would be bereft of purpose.

I take a few moments to wonder if that would mean we would cease to be, my room and I. I shake off the thought as it is irrelevant. If I allow irrelevant thoughts to occupy me, I may never leave the room. I will be too busy thinking about all the things I try so hard not to think about. All the bizarre ideas that come to me unbidden, all the things that worry me for no good reason, all the things that worry me for very good reason.

I worry a lot when I do not focus. I must focus, so I focus on the something else on the table.

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I am not slow.

The something else is the only color that that isn't blue or grey in my room. I have heard that the color is white, and I have heard that the color is pink, and I have heard that the color is what it is.

I like that last one. I call the color that when I call the color.

I call the color flesh.

I am not slow.
I am not slow.
I AM NOT SLOW.

The anger comes. They all look down on me. They all think I am stupid. They all think I am slow.

I

AM

NOT

SLOW.

I am different from them. I think about other things. I learned a long time ago not to tell them the things I think about. I learned a long time ago that they pay too much attention to the things I say when I tell them the things I think about. Then the doctors come. Like that Dr. Manson.

I do not like Dr. Manson. She thinks I am slow.

So I stopped saying things that I think about. Still too much attention. Not the fake pretty pretty oh you are so cute can we go out this Saturday kind of attention. I like that attention. It is the oh you do not talk much you must be some kind of anti-social freak kind of attention.

I do not like that attention. It also brings the doctors.

And so I start to say the things I say slowly. I say it as if I am not smart. I say it like this, and people began to believe that the reason I do not talk much is because I am not smart. Because I am slow.

But I am not.

She thinks I am slow, the something else on the table.

I am tired of something else thinking I am slow, so I brought something else here to the room where I have brought so many other something elses.

I pick up one of the grey tools on the blue cloth on the grey table and now there is a fourth color in my room.

I call the color red.

I am not slow.

END

Roland 'Jim' Lowery
esn1g(at)yahoo(dot)com

March 6, 2010