“I thought that we were special” – The last words the visitors heard.
The country’s asylums were each going to have their own ‘Open Day’, that idea, from ‘Barabbas Management Consultancy’, out-sourcing contract winners for America’s mental health services. The Hill had decided – “The image of ‘He’s Mental!’ needed a makeover”, so step up to the plate, ‘Barabbas’. Their usual area of concentration, the Government’s Secret Service, space race engineering labs, spy network, law enforcement, one of the largest grocery store chains in the USA, and some Californian vineyards, but the new Board of Barabbas wanted ‘diversification in portfolio’, so, as the footnote in their yearly financial report stated, ‘We now have all the hidden mental embarrassments to milk for profit.’
Barabbas had a meeting, ‘How best to improve the image of ‘Crazy?!’ They had 1,115,263 interned ‘Head Cases!’ at their disposal, so the golden idea of ‘Open Day at the Asylum’ was born. The mechanics, locals could spend a day on the asylum wards, spend the day with varying degrees of ‘Loop-the-Loop! Have a sit-down with a psychopath, a sociopath, it’d all be positive, life changing for everyone.
Wall Street reported, ‘Mental Asylums: The New Growth Industry’. Barabbas had investigated further, discovered the ‘growth’ was consequential, from the birth pains of 2,100 AD. It was the right time for Barabbas to thrive. Barabbas believed in this, hoped for this, it was the time for a cataclysmic abyss, ‘War’, ‘rumours of War’. Barabbas estimated the PTSD fall-out alone would add thousands to their already extensive client list, millions into their bank account.
Barabbas decided to run a pilot scheme, chose an asylum in Seattle. ‘Open Day at the Asylum’ opened for business on a sunny July morning. There wasn’t much of a queue, despite it being a Saturday, but there were a few takers for the ‘Merry House Criminally Insane Experience’, the interested consisted of retired Socialists, men who looked like Freud, some Goths. In they all went, one by one, the smell of stale food, bleach and chlorine putting none of them off. They all made their way to the Asylum’s Day Room, it was there you could pick off the best inmates. The retired Socialists went that way, gave out a happy ‘Hello!’ to a transvestite serial killer, the Freud look-a-likes went the other way, ganged-up on a mother who used to have a large family before she ate them, the Goths went another way completely, ignored the patients completely, just took photos of themselves in empty restraint rooms.
There was nothing special about this day, except for the lack of retired Socialists, men who looked liked Freud, Goths, none of them making their way home when the Barabbas Management Consultancy Seattle-based ‘Open Day at the Asylum’ came to an end
*(A shorter version of this was written for another Blog site, but they didn’t want it ?)