Scranton Lives Matter! Ch. 21

Scribbling notes in red pen on a yellow legal pad to keep up with the judge’s hallucinations, the psychiatrist grimaced.

Your visions don’t seem to be going away any time soon, she said.

Lackawanna County President Judge Stanley “Stash” Dombroski giggled.

You’re a tulip. I’m a mint julip, he said.

Yes, your honor, life’s a flower garden of sorts, the doctor said. And the Kentucky Derby is a wonderful event I once attended as a young woman.

Dombroski yelled.

And they’re off!

Up like a shot and racing from the couch before she could say Seabiscuit, the judge broke into a full gallop around the therapy room. Reacting like the versatile college volleyball player she once was, the doctor immediately gave chase.

My money’s on him, said a long-time third-floor psychiatric unit patient looking up from his jigsaw puzzle. A buddy playing an imaginary piano pointed at the doctor.

Put me down for twenty on the old gray mare, the piano player said.

The judge whinnied.

Your honor, please, the doctor said.

With the other patients cheering him on, Dombroski crossed the imaginary finish line and fell back onto the couch breathing loudly through his nostrils, exhausted but victorious. The judge collapsed beside him, deeply pondering his case.

Do you have a history of seeing things?

Dombroski got agitated.

Do you have a history of your nose melting off your face? Because that’s what happening right now and you better catch that big old beak of yours you old witch before you can’t smell the roses anymore, the judge said.

Unflappable, the doctor probed deeper.

Is it possible somebody slipped you something? Like maybe dropped a mickey in your drink? After all, you are a law and order judge and some people might not like some of your rulings.

The judge’s eyes widened.

 Look! Look! A Polish falcon’s perched on top of the coffee maker.

A figment of your imagination, the doctor said.

That bird just flipped me the bird.

Now, now, your honor.

Goddammit, he did.

What’s the falcon doing now?

Singing in Polish.

Can you make out the lyrics?

Let’s name the baby kielbasy.

The doctor checked her watch.

OK, time’s up.

Back in her office the doctor took a call.

I see, she said.

The voice on the other end of the line explained some of Judge Dombroski’s predicament.

I see, the doctor said.

Then she hung up.

Returning to the treatment room, she set up chairs for group therapy. The judge took his seat quietly humming a polka. Taking a seat beside the judge, the doctor gave him an injection of supercharged Thorazine plus and a gallon jug of orange juice.

Drink this, she said.

The doctor leaned in to whisper in Judge Dombroski’s ear.

A strange man called to tell me he sabotaged you with LSD more potent than anything Timothy Leary ever cooked up. He said he’s part of a guerrilla environmental army fighting to save Scranton. He said you better get ready for more happy hallucinations, that everybody better get ready for more happy hallucinations. I have to call the Scranton police anti-terrorist tactical team. The cops won’t be happy.

The judge started to get groggy.

Now turning her attention to the group she spoke in soothing tones.

We must always be honest with each other, she said.

No one in the group spoke.

Would you like to begin, Stanley?

The judge seemed befuddled.

Where am I?

Safe among friends, the doctor said.

The unhinged piano player tightly folded his arms across his chest before blurting out his feelings.

I don’t care if he won the Kentucky Derby or not, he’s still a horse’s ass to me, he said.