Jim: Certified Window Diver
I wrote this when I was 18 staring out the window in a abnormal psychology class. The character here (and one other) have haunted me for years. I keep trying to get the whole story down... but it keeps changing... damn these life experiences.
"Hello Jim, I'm Dr. Forester." Jon Forester said in his soft psychologist's voice as he extended his hand to Jim, his new patient diagnosed with manic depression with delusional disorder.
"Where is that bitch Nurse Ratchet?" Jim yelled with hostility to at the good doctor. But his facial expression soon went from rage to calmness and the two orderlies left his side and walked lout the door. "Actually Doc, it's good to see a new face in here." Jim exclaimed as he shook Dr. Forester's hand. Now Jim has the kind of voice that always has a touch of sarcasm, so one can never be quite sure if he is being sincere when he says something like that.
Not sure if he's being mocked, Dr. Forester decides to move on. "So Jim, do you know why you're in here?"
"I'll be Frank… not Jim, with you Doc, because you look like a fine gentleman." Dr. Forester was getting thoroughly annoyed with Jim's sincere sarcasm. "I have... always had this incredible urge to hurl myself through the nearest window. And for the past..." Jim looks down at his right wrist to check an imaginary watch "Oh...five to six years I've been doing just that. This beautiful state of Illinois has decided that constitutes insanity. So Doc, here I am!"
"Jim, could you elaborate on your window diving problem?" Forester asked trying not to sound totally not amused with Jim's antics.
"You see Doc, It's not like I have the urge to go through a window. It's like I've got this constant need to get away from where ever I am. I feel like, I just know there has to be someplace better than where I am, and I always feel that way. And sometimes when I need to leave… the conventional method of through a door is just too damn slow. When I want to get out, I want to get out. And I'm going to go the quickest way possible." Jim pauses and breathes in a deep breath. "It is not that I am claustrophobic, it is just that I'm completely bored with every place on earth."
To Dr. Forester Jim appeared ready to blast off into outer space. “My favorite Martian is about to take off.” Forester thought. He'd been dealing with crazies all his life but this guy had the eyes of a wild dog staring down prey. Jim's feet shuffled back and forth and his hands were clenched to the handles of the chair. A slight but quick and steady shake was running through Jim's body as though he was going through some sort of withdrawal and lost control of his body. Forester debated in his head about calling in the orderlies, because he wasn't finding Jim annoying or funny any more he was just getting down right scared. Just as Forester expected Jim to rip off his face and reveal some hideous monster underneath, Jim's tremor died down. Spasms of it ran through Jim occasionally reminding Dr. Forester just how excitable this guy was.
"You don't need to get all worked up today Jim." the doctor said sweetly. "I'm just trying to get to know all my new patients here today. But you intrigue me. So tell me about the first time you dove." Jon was surprised with his ability to maintain his composer with these lunatics. But then again Dr. Forester was self-obsessed.
"Well Doc, I was sitting in friend of mine's college dorm room about five years ago. I was in my junior year of college. We were talking about some Generation X bullshit. A few people were drinking..."
"Were you drinking?" Jon interrupted.
"How dare you accuse me of something like that." Jim said in his best southern bell imitation. "Actually Doc, I wasn't. So could we putty-please get back to my story?"
"Well, now, I wasn't paying much attention to the conversation, it was something I had argued a thousand times. My mind began to wander, and then it happened as if it were a reflex. I was up and sprinting toward the window. I leapt up onto a chair and used it to catapult myself through the window. I heard the chair fly backwards and hit a wall, then a rush of air hit my face, and then I hit the ground. The odd thing is that the whole time although I never felt in control, I did feel panicked a bit. I didn't think it was exactly what I should be doing, but it felt as though my limbs had just decided that they were going to go outside for some fresh air." Jim chuckled, "Lucky it was only a second floor room, the higher ones hurt like a bitch." Dr. Forester didn't seem to find this very funny.
"Hell Doc, everyone should be doing what I'm doing." Jim's tone has a way of escalating up in excitement. First he begins to talk, and then the words come faster and faster, louder and louder, until he's screaming utter nonsense. "I've tried nearly every fucking drug on the face of the planet. Tried everything from speed to depressants to anti-depressants, to psychedelics, to some liquid a chemist in Mexico made in his garage and told me "This will really fuck you up." Jim leapt out of his chair and was pacing back and forth in the office. "But nothing I tell you, absolutely nothing, will give you a greater high or make you feel more elated than diving directly through a plate glass window into the cool night air. Getting where you want to go Doc, and getting there fast is incredible. Jim was sweating... sweating excitement.
"Jim...Jim! Please come back over here and sit down." Jim slowly started to walk back to his chair and Dr. Forester asked, "Have you ever considered your self a depressed person?"
Jim didn't notice the question; he was staring out the window blankly. "Hmmmm?"
"Have you ever considered yourself a depressed person Jim?"
A smile slowly formed on Jim's face and Forester's hand slowly reached toward the call button. "Hell No, Doc!" Jim declared. "Don't get me wrong Doc, before I was declared psychotic and a danger to myself and others I was pretty damn unhappy. I was lazy, relationship never worked out, and I was always bored. But nooooow I'm free. Free to do what I want any old time. I'm proud to be and American where at least I know I'm free. I am woman hear me roar!!!!!"
The orderlies always acted quickly at the Mist Institution for Psychological Disease. They were used to Jim's excitable character, and they were very understanding to his plight. The orderlies, at least, thought he was funny. But they knew what they had to do to the poor guy. They put him into his room. Then they locked the door to Jim's white room... white windowless room.