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|A Sign Of The Times (standard:drama, 18277 words)|
|Author: Reid Laurence||Added: Dec 16 2008||Views/Reads: 1606/970||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A psychological drama, A Sign Of The Times is a story about a man who sees his life not so much through the eyes of a hero, but as one who must keep pace in a world he could never, and will never connect with. In the end, he seems to lose out and win all|
Introduction “I just decided... I wanna paint'in too Ray. Course, not like the one you got on yer wall now. Not a picture a some broad.” “You mean,” replied Raymond, startled by the brazen request of the prisoner in the cell next to him, not knowing exactly how to answer. Hoping to remain elusive and neutral as a deterrent to the violence that erupted every now and then, Raymond Mort cleared his throat and innocently tried to clarify his neighbors appeal... “You mean the picture I painted of Vicky, my girlfriend? Do you like it?” “Yeah, sure, I like it. I like it just fine. It's just not exactly what I had in mind though, you know? I was think'in more like... a picture a me. You know, like what rich people got in their houses an stuff. Like a picture a the old man maybe, hang'in in one a those rooms where they got maybe a fireplace like, an some books an junk. You get my drift? You know what I mean? Can you do that?” “You mean,” returned Raymond meekly, as his outward appearance would imply. “You want me to paint your portrait? Is that what you want?” “That's it buddy, now your talk'in. That's exactly what I want. I want a nice big picture a me, but like, not in these here clothes. Someth'in better. A suit maybe. Yeah,” continued the outspoken, slightly built man, whose vision of himself as the anti-Christ had motivated him to one especially insane day. A day in which he tried desperately to stab a Catholic Priest to death, but whose effort was thwarted by several quick thinking worshippers. “That'll work. A nice look'in suit. Someth'in ta make me look extinguished an all. Whaddaya think?” “I think I can do it,” answered Raymond, whose talent for rendering people had improved considerably with time and effort - a change that had taken place in Raymond, but was not necessarily for the better. “But it'll have to wait till tomorrow. The lights go out pretty soon, an we better be in bed when Officer Johnson takes role call.” “I guess,” replied Mr. Marco Pollo stubbornly, but obviously bothered by Raymond's strict adherence to the rules at the psychiatric prison in southern Illinois. “But first chance we get, I want you should start. You get me?” “Sure Marco, I get you,” said Raymond, but then began mumbling quietly and feebly to himself as he usually did when he was left alone, answering to the self-manufactured voices of relationships that had literally gone dead due to his own advanced mental problems and lack of any rational self control. “Okay, but don't forget, first thing. An quit mumbl'in would'ya, it's driv'in me crazy. I gotta get some sleep.” But Raymond only turned his head to the opposite wall and kept his voice to a low whisper. Unable to comply with his neighbor's request and helpless to stop the voices he heard which kept him company, especially through long dark nights, when the prison lights turned completely off and every prisoner was left alone to his own dark – sometimes unimaginable - thoughts. Raymond's neighbor on his opposite side was not usually as rambunctious as Marco. A young man in his early twenties, he was a victim of manic depression who had – every now and then – a temper tantrum that lived on in the likes of a sleeping volcano. The problem was, naturally, when it erupted it spewed years of childhood conflict for miles around and prosecutors thought that the best thing they could do for all the world was to put him in a cell next to Raymond and Marco where he at least could be watched; given medication and confined – unable to hurt himself or others around him. For any army reservist, they thought, crazy enough to steal a sixty ton military tank and aim to crush everything in it's path must have more then just a bad case of nerves and when it came time for him to plead his case, he easily won his spot in psychiatric prison, a more subdued jail in which one might rehabilitate with the help of staff and the right doses of Thorozine. And as rosy fingered dawn arrived to show herself, slowly casting the first rays of morning light on the bars of Raymond's cell, Franklin Steinberg rubbed his eyes; adjusted himself in his prison uniform and politely said, “good morning,” to his friend next door. “Good morning Franklin,” replied a well meaning Raymond, always willing to start the day with an easy going manner and benevolent display of friendship, especially in observance of Franklin's recent compulsion to mash things. “How did you sleep last night,” he added, never knowing what awful perception Franklin might have to offer that day. “Alright, I guess. If it weren't for all the people screaming. That's how I usually wake up, anyway... ta people screaming.” “Now, I wonder what would bring that on?” questioned Raymond, as Officer Johnson prepared to go home for the day, opened all the cell doors in Raymond's block and greeted his replacement with a mundane, ‘good morning'. “The war, I Click here to read the rest of this story (1466 more lines)
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