George Zancola

Another Planet

The woman opposite me shook her head. She looked at me as if pained by my presence. I stared at her only. I was trying to make her head spin on her neck, like Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist. Hoping for success with this application of my mind’s power, I increased the unseen pressures on her neck.

I was unsure of where I was, or who sat before me. The woman didn’t have a name. She was referred to as the ‘doctor’. The scene outside the window of her small, cramped office was quiet and peaceful, a world apart from the bustle of the city.

Outside her building a bright red neon sign blared ‘The Admitting Department’. Through the barred windows of her office, I could see a full moon. My friends dropped me off at the building with the neon sign. Later in life, I determined that they were not my friends.

“Go!” they said. “Go inside, Andrew!”

This was the consequence of incessantly asking my so called friends for orange juice, and directions to another planet, the one of my birth place. They started it. They made me thirsty, given all the salted munchies. They kept asking me, “Are you from another planet?” I fancied the idea of it.

“Go!” they said. “They can help you here.”

They’d rarely been so encouraging.

The person whose neck I was trying to twist fell silent. She looked at me intently, as if in amazement. She stopped asking why I wanted to go to another planet. She stopped asking me about the orange juice. I thought it was none of her business, anyway.

I had defeated her. Her head was about to spin away.

She rallied, and asked one last question.

“Do you hear voices?”

I snapped.

“Of course, I do!”

She became very excited. She leaned towards me. She asked another question.

“What are the voices saying to you?”

I shrugged. I said I didn’t know. I told her that I couldn’t understand what they were saying. They were speaking in their native language. I didn’t tell her that part. The voices I heard belonged to two night cleaners who had stopped to talk outside her office door. I didn’t mention that, either.

She stood, and walked briskly to her bookshelf. This part of the story is often disputed. She found a book with a yellow and black cover that was entitled ‘Medication For Dummies’. I conclude my story here. She leafed through the pages of this book, and muttered her first “Ah-ha!”

And I realized I had found that other planet.

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About the Author

George is a writer of poetry and short stories about the psychiatric experience. His work has appeared in Humber Literary Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and the Nothing Without Us anthology. His chapbook of poetry, A Big Wheel Went Up A Hill, was published last year by Secret Handshake Press. He is currently working on a volume of short stories, as well as a novel. He lives and works in Toronto.