Two of the most interesting weeks of my life was spent in an insane asylum. My parents had colluded with a magistrate and police to get me there. On the way I bribed the cops to stop for me to buy a bottle of wine which I downed. The cops embodied everything I love about blacks and were nonplussed by the admissions sister crapping on them for bringing me there in such a state. At first I was booked into a ward where the patients had some freedom to move about and where my companions were not all that crazy (not normal, to be clear, but not totally fucking batshit either). I was withdrawing from heroin and with my phone call I tired to manipulate my friend into bringing me some when he came to visit with my parents. As any sane person would, he mollified me over the phone but didn’t come with the goods when I saw him. This was enough to put me into a suicidal mood. I took the belt of my state issued gown and went to the toilets to hang myself. Halfway through the process some of my fellow inmates “rescued” me and the loony bin version of bouncers were called in. These two “beef boys” flanked me and urged me to be calm down and watch TV with them. As I was sitting there the withdrawals and frustration got the better of me and I suddenly smashed my fist into what looked like a window (but turned out to be perspex – so I just fucked up my hand). This was enough for beef boys. One grabbed me and twisted my arm round my back in a very painful way. From my Judo experience I knew he could snap it easily from that position. The other one proceeded to strip me of my pajamas while both of them dragged me out of the ward and down a corridor. I was stark naked by the time they got me to the padded isolation cell. There they chucked me in and locked the door. It was dark and there was a single soiled mattress on the floor. I lay there naked but still wanting to die. To my surprise there was a wooden plank with rusted nails in it next to the mattress. Only later did I realize that this device was there as a kind of lightning conductor for patients who wanted to self harm. The jagged edges of the wood and the nails provided just enough material to hurt yourself (causing real pain) but without the risk of killing or seriously injuring. You could get it out of your system. And I did this – trying to slash my wrists with the broken plank – but all I could achieve was disproportionate amount of pain for the effort I’d put in. After a couple of hours a shrink came in, looked at my naked body and my vacant, staring eyes and ordered a certain injection (that actually helped with the withdrawals). When I was released after half a day I was given pajamas again (but no gown this time) and was taken to another ward. This one was clearly different from the first in that the security was much stricter. Here I was locked up with a bunch of real crazies in a room not much larger than 10 x 10 meters. Almost everyone walked in a circle continuously and asked every other person for a cigarette. There must have been about 35 or us – all classified as or suspected of being criminally insane. There were rapists and murderers…but most of all there were Jesus’s. It seemed that every 3rd person had a messianic complex. Every now and again a patient would freak out, perhaps tear his clothes off while wailing something incomprehensible, then the “staff” would come in and slap him around a bit until he had calmed down (sometimes it required some solid punches and even kicks when he lay on the ground). It worked like a charm. I was like a fish in water with all the crazy fuckers around me to chat to and study. I focused my inquiries on the white patients/inmates because the black ones were a already one step removed from me culturally and could mostly not speak English or my native tongue (except for asking for cigarettes of course!). I was well off in the cigarette department, my parents having left me with a carton. Thus the “staff” came every hour to offer me one of my smokes knowing that they could bum one for themselves too. We slept in a lice and flea infested dormitory and one of the guys warned me not to take the sleeping tablets the shrink prescribed as it would make me susceptible to rape. I wasn’t worried. These people didn’t scare me. They were broken, that’s all. I became friendly with a pretty white boy who was lost and longed only for his grandmother’s cookies. I could never quite understand why he was in the lock up ward. I convinced him that I was of royal descent (and it took virtually no effort). A colored guy – the prison gang type – calling himself Machiavelli befriended me in the hope that when we got out my “rich” family would give him one of our old cars. He had a huge cross tattooed on his chest and was quick to invoke the name of our Good Lord. My stay was as interesting as it was boring and when I had the first appointment with a psychiatrist she irritably recommended my immediate release because she could see how my parents had abused the state mental system to get their naughty, druggy kid back on the rails. I was released the next day to the astonishment of the staff and my fellow patients, some of whom had been in there in that room for more than 5 years.