The silence is menacing in the all-white room. I look around, white paint hides the blemishes of past paintings. It’s suffocating in here. A lone ceiling fan, the paddles made from fake wood, stirs the same air around the room. My nostrils tingle. The overpowering smell of bleach is intrusive. I sit in an aluminum chair and count the outlines of concrete brick. I make it to forty when the door swings open and a bald man, wearing squared off glasses, walks into the room. He sits behind an all-metal desk and flicks on the lamp.
“How are you today, Wiley?” His beady, green eyes bore into me, like a hawk watching a field mouse from high on his perch of pine. I look at the floor and shrug.
“I feel lost.” His green eyes never waver. The lens on his glasses are smudged. He pulls them off and wipes at them with a grey handkerchief.
“I don’t know how to Dr. Walker. I am stuck somewhere between apathy and righteous rage.” Sweat beads on my forehead, a sense of foreboding creeps in. “Crap. I’ve shared too much.” Dr. Walker puts his glasses on. His thin lips form a singular, hard line.
“What has you in such a tizzy this morning? Is it family issues? Are you having trouble sleeping?”He stares at me, intently trying to gauge my responses by my facial expressions. I stand and walk to a potted plant in the corner of the squared room.
“Then why are you stuck between apathy and righteous rage? Something has triggered this visit.” I touch the plant. It’s plastic. “Like the people who run this country. There is nothing real anymore.” I can feel his beady, green eyes on my back and the knowledge of it makes my insides quiver.
“I don’t know where I fit in. It was a mistake to come here.” He motions to the chair and beckons for me to sit. I don’t move. Me and the fake plant occupy the corner.
“There is nothing wrong with feeling like an outcast. All people experience it. War has made you leery of human interaction. It’s normal to feel out of place after seeing what you’ve seen.”
I sit on the floor. Me and the potted plant is rooted to the foundation. My face itches, I rub it. The long hairs of my beard hurt. I stare at the empty walls. “At least they aren’t on fire like the homes and businesses of the recent riots.” Down the hall a scream rings out. Instinctively, I flinch.
“Are you upset about the recent riots?” My neck itches, I rub it. I interlace my fingers. Sweat drips into my eyes, and I begin to rock.
“Where did we go wrong? Was it the lowering of the standards of conduct in a polite society? Did it have to do with interfering with the discipline practices of the family?” I mutter and rock.
“I can’t hear you,” Walker says. He walks over and sits on the floor next to me. “I am here to help you. You can trust me.” I stop rocking. The presence of Walker is infringing upon my peace. “Go away,” I mutter. “He thinks you’re crazy.” I scoot across the floor and put my back to the wall. My chin hidden behind my knees; I stare at Walker like a mongoose stares at a snake. “He has beady eyes. Reptilian! He is a reptile.” As I rock, I watch. Finally, Walker stands to his feet and looks at his watch. “Would you like to schedule another appointment?”
I watch as the reptilian, human caricature sits behind the metal desk and pulls out an appointment book. “He is one of them.” I shake my head, sweat is flung from my hair.
“No. No appointments. I have to go.” I leap to my feet and rush from the room. “Don’t look at anybody. Nothing is real. Everyone is cold-blooded. Reptilian!” Hurriedly, I rush out of the intrusive environment. I gasp for a breath of clean air. The warm sunshine lights on my shoulder. People mill about me, I look around. I am trapped on a planet full of snakes, where nothing is real.
In the quiet of my mind, I hear a snap.