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You never know what to expect with Winny, so when I found him cross-legged on the floor with his eyes closed, I was not surprised when he said he was contacting spirits from beyond the grave. I laughed and asked him what they were saying. He just shrugged.
Now that was unusual. But then again, everything was unusual about Winny. His eyes were the most perplexing mix of blue and green, with a tinge of gold around the pupils, and his chestnut hair was constantly in disarray. He wore mismatched socks and sometimes talked in third person, but I loved him all the more for it. And then there were the strange comments that came seemingly out of nowhere that made perfect sense if you didn’t think too hard about it.
One day we went for a walk. It was a nice summer day and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The perfect day for spy satellites to do their sneaky spy stuff, as Winny says. Winny was wearing a tinfoil hat. “So the spy satellites can’t brain-scan me.” That was his explanation. He offered me one, but I politely declined.
“Ah, so you’re one of those people who have nothing to hide. Winny thinks Ren needs more excitement,” he said, bordering on philosophical.
“And what do you have to hide?” I teased.
“Treasonous plans to overthrow the government,” he said simply, as if he were making a comment on the nice weather we were having, as if he believed it was completely true. And the way he talked, it was hard not to believe it too.
When I came back later he was still in the lotus position. “Can you please tell me what they’re saying?” I asked. He never went this long without talking.
His brow furrowed, “They want you to go away…You’re breaking Winny’s concentration.”
“Well, you can tell them that I’m not going anywhere.”
“They’re telling Winny to hurt you…”
“Winny snap out of it!“ I grabbed Winny by the shoulders and shook him as hard as I could.
“Now what was that for?” he asked groggily, as if he’d just woken up. “Ren is acting strange today.”
~ ~ ~
Winny wasn’t in school today, but that didn’t bother me. He was probably in his basement hiding from the spy satellites since his mom took away his tinfoil hat. She just doesn’t understand him like I do.
‘Renee Stewart, to guidance.’ The secretary’s nasally voice came over the intercom like a sonic boom. I grabbed the pass and went down the hall, taking my time, thinking someone had put my name in the rat-box as a joke.
The guidance councilor was extremely thin and birdlike, and wore a constant, unchanging expression of sympathy that I imagine she wore even at home.
“Renee, do you know why you’re here?” she asked from behind her neat, uncluttered desk. I noticed it was completely bare of photographs.
“I was kinda hoping you would tell me that.”
“This is about your friend Winston…”
“Winny,” I mumbled.
“I call him Winny.”
“Mhm, and has ‘Winny’ been acting…strange lately?”
When hasn’t he? “He’s different.”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but your friend has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, he’s staying in the psychiatric ward at the CMC.
~ ~ ~
I didn’t care what that bird-lady said, my Winny wasn’t psycho.
~ ~ ~
Did you know that hospitals don’t have any metal detectors in them. They don’t want people’s pace makers to go on the blink. Besides, nobody expects any trouble in hospitals. So I went right in through the door with my duffel bag, totally unnoticed. I headed down to the Psych Ward. The secretary said Winny had been asking for me, so they let me right through without even bothering to check my bag. Room 617, she said.
~ ~ ~
“Ren! Winny’s been expecting you!” Winny said, sitting up in his bed with is arms around his knees.
“Listen Winny, keep it down. I’m gonna bust you outta here,” I whispered.
“Shh!” What kind of drugs are they giving you?
“Okay,” Winny whispered, putting a finger to his lips. I heard footsteps in the hall, and ducked into the room’s small closet.
“Winston, is there someone in the room with you?” The doctor asked.
“She just left,” Winny said, now rocking back and forth, with a silly grin on his face as if he knew something the doctor didn’t, thinking this whole thing was a game. And maybe it was (Escape the loony bin, tee hee hee). The doctor looked at him like he was totally out of his gourd, but that was just how Winny acted when he was happy, which was pretty much all the time, not to mention that whatever drugs they were giving him made him stranger than usual. “She’s coming back tomorrow,” he continued, “We’re gonna plot world domination.” No doubt the doctor thought “She” was another of the nonexistent voices in Winny’s head instead of a very real person hiding in the closet with a crowbar.
“Uh huh, and how does that make you feel?”
“Interesting.“ The doctor scribbled down something on his clipboard and left the room. I came out of the closet and went to the window with my duffel bag.
“Ren! Is it tomorrow already?”
“I said shh!”
I jimmied open the window with a crowbar and found, to my surprise, that there were no bars outside the window. I guess I didn’t need my blow torch after all. Winny and I hopped out of the window. (Lucky for us, it was the first floor.) I handed him some fresh clothes I had packed, and turned away while he dressed, then we vanished into the night, Winny’s hospital gown flapping in the breeze, high up in the trees.
Soon the police will send the dogs out to look for us, and helicopters, but we’ll deal with that as it comes. For now the only thing left to do is run…and plot world domination. Besides, Winny thinks Ren needs more excitement in her life. Ren thinks so too.