Hoopie sat on the cold bare floor gazing intently through the green
painted chain link fencing that covered the only window in his stark
cell. Outside a steady rain that had been falling all morning had
transformed the usually sunny courtyard three floors below into
a depressing vacant lot. An age worn pigeon nervously strutted back
and forth on the rain soaked windowsill, occasionally flapping his
wings to shed the fine water droplets that had beaded up on the
oily coating of his molting feathers.
"They knew," Hoopie shouted at the bird.
The winged messenger cocked his head and winked one tiny black eye
at him as if to tell Hoopie he understood the seriousness of his
"They knew all along," said Hoopie.
The pigeon fluttered his wings even harder, sending a shower of
mist against the cloudy windowpane. Hoopie rose to his knees, wrapped
his severely nail bitten fingers around the green mesh then pushed
his weary face closer to the window, his breath coming in short
puffs, fogging the window.
"You do understand."
The pigeon smiled at him then hopped to the edge of the windowsill.
He peered down at the courtyard then turned his head completely
around to give Hoopie another wink from his cold black eye. Still
looking back, he spread his wings to catch the updraft that was
rocketing up the side of the hundred and twenty-year-old Victorian
style brick building know as the Rosemont Insane Asylum.
The rain began to fall in sheets as the bird soared higher above
the courtyard. Hoopie could hear the bird laughing at him.
"It's a conspiracy!" he screamed after the bird, unable
to drown out the pounding of the rain against his window.
Hoopie released the wire fencing and sat back on the floor. Swaying
from side to side, he focused his attention on the rivulets of water
that were racing helter-skelter down her clouded window.
"You're crazy," he said to the water.
Doctor Ken Harrison peered through the slot in Hoopie's door, watching
and taking mental notes while Doctor Cynthia LaSalle waited for
"How long has he been like this?" asked Doctor Harrison.
"They brought him in three weeks ago
his wife found him
sitting in front of the computer one morning - he was talking to
he wasn't in a chat room by any chance was he?"
"As a matter of fact he was, but it wasn't the kind you can
actually talk in," said Doctor LaSalle.
"What kind of chat room was it?"
"A political one I believe, let me check his chart
it was called News Garden."
"Aha! That explains it," said Doctor Harrison.
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