Excerpt from Fear of Milk, a novel from the "Bellevue" section

         I'm in the bathroom now and I'm risking a lot smoking this cigarette while Nurse T is on duty. I really need to relax. My legs are shaking, not from the fear but from the medication. I've split a match, a skill to stretch out limited supplies. The cigarette is lit and the smoke is tumbling toward the vent. I like to watch it twirl toward freedom. I want to do that though suicide is on my record which reinforces what Dr. Ronald has said about me. The past haunts me here, the drugs, the alcohol, the depressions. I made the mistake of being honest when I first came. I thought they would help me. That was a big mistake. I now hear her steps and the inevitable is coming. There are no locks on the bathroom doors, and I see the handle turning.

         She's here.

         I'm finally out of the haze and dinner is in a few minutes. I've been lying here drooling and staring at the ceiling for the past four hours. That shot was heavy duty. Around my bed are the few things I came in with. They're strewn everywhere, my street clothes, a towel, a comb, an empty pack of cigarettes. Bits of tobacco are sprinkled over them. She had found one pack. I only remember her slapping on the latex gloves as she started her search. Another nurse had already administered the shot, a long needle they like to wave in front of you before plunging it into your bare thigh, the blue pajama pants pulled part way down. It was a lesson shot. I was to learn a lesson. I refuse to learn. They would win then. You have to sacrifice.

[John Penn/writing][Matty Jankowski/drawing]

Fear of Milk
Needled video of Matty
Russian Prison Tattoos, images courtesy Matty Jankowski of Body Archive

© copyright Thin Ice Press 2007
© copyright John Penn 1999, 2007
© copyright Matty Jankowski 1999, 2007