Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside
Crazy Parfait With A Wrench
By the time I returned from the bathroom, Danica and Marie had remade the beds, mine included. B and goon had returned to their posts and we gathered for a group hug. I thanked them for taking care of the mess goon had made of mine. For a change, we all settled in with grins on our faces and slept straight through until rounds.
It had been quite a night and I knew that goon and B would be scrutinizing every move I made. The trick was to outlast them; to wait until they no longer suspected that I was up to something, and then attack when they were no longer expecting it.
I was the last one to the breakfast table and the girls smiled up at me. We talked amicably over lukewarm French toast while watching Helen try not to gag on sugarless syrup.
“I’ve been diabetic for a long time, but could never get used to sugarless food.”
I winced visibly and offered her my condolences,
“It’s bad enough to have to tolerate this shit hole with barely edible food. If I was you, I wouldn’t make it,” I said, peering at my breakfast with revulsion.
Helen grinned, stabbing a square with her fork as a man entered the community room. We looked to each other and shrugged. None of us had seen him before.
He stopped next to big B and called for Marie. I watched the stranger intently as Marie approached him. He spoke to her briefly but her face was ashen upon her return.
“Who was that,” I asked, trying to sound unconcerned.
“In-house psych guy,” she said nervously.
“What did he want,” I queried further.
“Twelve-thirty meeting – the inner sanctum,” she replied.
I sat back from my rubbery French Toast and pondered her answer.
In-house Psychiatrist? What the hell am I going to do about this? I need a distraction; a diversion that will pull his focus away from the four of us. Apparently goon and big B called in the all-seeing, all-knowing eye last night. Well, I guess he’ll have to eat crazy parfait too.
I just knew this would throw a wrench into the works, so I cautioned the girls, whispering, “If he prescribes anything for you, pretend to accept it but don’t take anything!”
They nodded their agreement.
I leaned forward and touched everyone’s fingers to mine indicating that we meet tonight.
Psych guy returned a moment later and called my name as he scanned the room.
“Emmaline Mason,” he said loudly, “Emmaline?”
Without as much as turning around or a glance up, I raised my hand and answered stiffly, “Present!”
“In my office at one-thirty,” He ordered stiffly.
I leapt from my seat into full salute, standing at attention in mock-soldier style, I shot back, “Yes, sir!”
He shot a wry grin at me replying, “At ease, soldier.”
In that moment of exchange, I wanted to convey to him, I’m going to make your job as miserable as I possibly can, you talking head!
In the next, he conveyed, Bring it! It’s on!
I knew I had my work cut out for me. In truth, I was worried our plans would be shot to hell, but I also knew my sisters wouldn’t give me up. I picked up my tray and dumped my rubber toast in the garbage to goon’s dismay,
“That’s all,” she asked, as she check-marked a list of foods I’d declined to eat.
“Yep,” I replied with disdain, “Rubber disagrees with my digestion.”
I left goon sputtering and stepped outside, moving to the furthest table; the one where I had recruited Marie, I sat waiting pensively.
Marie emerged from psych guy’s office and made her way around the long table to join me. Before I could say a word, she whispered, “Name, rank, serial number and dog-tags, mother’s maiden name, father’s middle name, bank account numbers and what will your epitaph say?”
I turned stricken eyes to her and she smiled, snickering under her breath,
“The expected nuisances, nothing more.”
I was relieved to find he hadn’t asked about war games and sighed heavily.
I headed toward the inner sanctum with trepidation and rebellious angst. I approached the office, stopped, and glanced inside.
“Psych guy noted my presence and said, “Good afternoon. Emmaline?”
I took a seat in a chair that had cushions. Already, I knew I would probably be coming here a lot. At the very least, I wanted to be comfortable while psych guy busied himself with prying questions and attempted diagnoses.
“So Emmaline,” he began.
“Emmaline,” I asked, cutting him off sharply.
“You are Emmaline Mason. Correct?”
“No,” I said straight-faced.
“No? Well, who are you,” he asked.
“I am Hippolyta, Amazonian Queen,” I said with gusto, while adopting a more regal posture.
“Well hello, Hippolyta,” he rallied enthusiastically, “You’ve come a long way. It’s good of you to join me. I am honored to have you in my office today!”
I know what you’re doing asshole, and it won’t work!
I sat silently, leaving the first move up to him. He smiled politely across the desk pretending to believe me. I diverted my eyes to focus on the wall just past his right ear as we sized each other up.
I realized he was wondering how long it would take to break me, and both of us knew I would try to break out of here before I’d let that happen.
I’ve got more stamina than you do Mr. Wrench with a Prescription pad!
“So where’s your magic girdle,” he inquired with feigned innocence.
I turned to bore holes through his forehead, saying, “Plebeians confiscated it. I will see it returned or my father will destroy them,” and screwed my face into a look of disgust.
“Ohhhh… your father,” he said, already forming his next question, “Who is he?”
“You do not know Ares, the god of war,” I asked indignantly.
“Oh yes, of course, Ares. God of war… and he’s your dad,” he shot the question back semi-conspiratorially.
“Enough,” I shouted with my arm extended with a hand up to block his face, “I will hear no more of your placating nonsense. All the land knows of my father!”
“You’re right,” he said, stifling a yawn, “So how is old pop these days?”
“He is presently in route to storm the gates, kill the plebeians, and return the girdle that signifies my authority as queen,” I said, in a tone of underlying threat.
“I see,” he said flatly, “and he’s coming from?”
I rolled my eyes and spat, “Dolt! He comes from Mount Olympus and will arrive in a fortnight! Father will stop at nothing to indemnify my honor!”
Psych guy groaned softly, raking his fingers through his hair, “Okay, Emmaline, ahem, I mean Hippolyta, our time is up today. I want to see you again tomorrow.”
“Not if father gets here first,” I countered.
“Well yes, of course,” he replied, “I’d hate to interrupt a war for the queen’s honor but, barring that, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I opened the door to go and psych guy said softly, “Good day, Emmaline.”
I ignored him and made a beeline for the restroom. Having caught Marie’s eye, she entered just behind me.
“So,” she questioned, “What did you talk about?”
I couldn’t suppress a wicked smile and simply said, “We had a little talk about Greek mythology.”
“Huh?” Marie looked entirely confused but relieved as well, though she had spread the word to Danica and Helen in case I needed help. All of us were exhausted from waiting and worrying.
“It’s fine. It’s okay. I’m leading him a merry chase down the primrose path and all ‘round Robin Hood’s barn,” I giggled.
When lights out finally arrived, we gathered long enough for me to explain that it’s best to lay low and not try anything until we figure out why psych guy had suddenly arrived on the scene, and to give goon and big B time to forget the preceding night.