Tinfoil poisoning.

Today was Mental Health Hearings day. According to Texas law, anybody who’s been unwillingly committed to the State Home for the Half-A-Bubble-Off-Plumb has to be brought before a magistrate every so often to see if their stay needs to be extended or cut short.

One would tend to think that this sort of thing would be held at a facility dedicated to dealing with the … idiosyncracies … of those whom we gently refer to as: “Crazier than a [deleted]house rat, Sheriff.”

One would be wrong.

Yes. First floor. Back hall of the County Courthouse. Mixed in amongst the couples getting married, the couples getting divorced, Family Court, Juvenile Court and the occasional navigationally-impaired pedestrian, we had a solid handful of folks that even the kindest, most sympathetic person on God’s Green Earth would have to describe as “flat barking bugnuts” — and their minders.

Sometimes it’s a wee bit difficult trying to distinguish those doing the minding from those being minded, I’m here to tell you.

I’m pretty sure that the Chief Keeper of the Primate House of any urban zoo has days like this.

Anyhoo, Conspiracy theorists in the wild can be fun, if you’re a cop.

Long time ago we had this gentleman whose mental wiring maybe wasn’t quite up to code occupying a trailer in a village north of town, the walls of which he had lined with fine-gauge copper mesh.

Once in a while, the Cthulu Advance Landing Force, or whoever, would stumble across his hide-out, and he’d wake up his neighbors running around the old homestead at three in the morning carrying one of those million-candle-power searchlights and a Benelli M121.

Being the night deputy, I’d scoot out there, step around the protective designs laid out in bricks in the front yard, feed a Twinkie to his Rottweiler and tell the gentleman to knock it off.

Then we’d wind up searching the boonies until he was certain that whomever was after him had missed him again and he’d go back to bed.

Small towns being what they are, some bored bozo hauled off and started the rumour that I was a retired CIA assassin.

They did this on occasion, usually after a Bond-a-Thon on cable TeeVee. Some smartass would always wind up saying, “Hey, the ‘Dog has a little bit of a furrin’ accent, and he wears one of them shoulder holster thingies — I wonder if he’s a secret agent!”


Anyhoo, our occasionally mildly bewildered gentleman apparently showed up at the S.O. sometime shortly after that little rumour got to going around for the umpteenth time and handed the Sheriff a hand-written FOIA form demanding: 1)my ‘secret file’, 2) a DNA sample, and 3)my family history.

Then he sent me a registered letter, informing me that the village (and his trailer) had been nationalized, and it was a high felony for Agents of Change to enter his zone.

I spent the next day parked down the street, watching his trailer through a Viewmaster and occasionally (furtively) whispering into my watch.

Him and his dog packed up and left town that night.

It’s the little things.


Meditations on pacifists
"Salad isn't food. Salad is what food eats."

9 thoughts on “Tinfoil poisoning.”

  1. What’s it like working for the CIA? Did you get to ding anybody?

    This story is priceless. I can just see someone starting the rumor, in the name of fun, then throwing a little gasoline on the fire just as it’s dying down.

    And then you have to stake out the house with a viewfinder? Great job!

  2. And I never worked for the CIA between April 1966 and June 1972. Just ask them.

  3. Viewmaster. A Viewmaster? One of those little toy thingies that views the round paper film holders?

  4. Good story, Dog. Wish you would quit with the all italic, however. It’s hard to read.

  5. Wow! Doing that sorta thing here would get you a week of unpaid vacation. If they learned about it.

    That was a big disapointment in CJ class, that we couldn’t mess with the signal 3 crowd.

  6. Don’t know what part of Texas you are in, but we used to do it right out of HCPC (Harris County Psych Center). Judge Scanlan had a court and all the goodies set up in the place for commitment hearings, etc.

    Much better than mixing directly with the crackheads and hookers.

  7. The State Home for the Half-A-Bubble-Off-Plumb

    I can’t stop laughing. Omigosh.

  8. My dad was unwittingly assigned as a ‘keeper’ by Judge Scanlan a time or two. My mom was assigned to mind her sister for a while when I was in school. Came home on break to find her hiding all the silverware in my bed. She found out I worked at a radio station and we had to up the dosage and commit her soon after. “Yes Aunt M, I’m the voices you are hearing.”

  9. Well, OK. Main Lady is a licensed clinical psychologist, and one time she had a client who was in the halfway house and still hearing voices at night. He didn’t hear them much during the day, only generally at night. So they fool with his doseage, try this, try that. No dice, so it looks as though Happy Harry is going to return to the basket factory. Then Main Lady finds the truth.

    It seems that a few of the other clients have taken to sneaking out at night, and have arranged a little club house in the crawl space under the house. Right directly under Harry’s room.

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