So I got zapped by a Tooninator and turned into a living cartoon, and, for some strange reason, I did not turn real again after the requisite ten minutes of being forced to live out a Warner Brothers featurette. Seeing as how I could no longer properly interact with the real world (and our super-genius is "trying" to jimmy a big !@#$ door down at the South Pole, and can't be here to help me) it was decided that it's "best" if I go to the Bridgewater Institute in scenic Hoboken, where they can help me with my "Animation Sickness."
In other words, they sent me to same place they sent the Cartoon All-Stars, back when our reality decided it'd had enough of them using their madcap physics inside of it. The Toon Ghetto, in other words.
Possibly one of the worst places I have ever been, son. And yours truly has been in and around some very awful institutions. Like that prison camp in Korea, the Ice Palace, and Tokyo Disneyland.
Hell, even the Louve was better than this place. If you were going to film scout a place to shoot some horrible, camera-jerk fright movie where people were fighting for their lives inside a haunted mental hospital, you couldn't do any better than Bridgewater.
The place actually was a lunatic asylum, back in the 19th century, and home to some of the most barbaric "treatment" methods ever devised. Example: they used to pack loonies into tight rooms in the basement for days at a time, without showers, access to the outhouse, or proper feeding, in order to "resocialize" the patients.
That the "resocializing" usually caused the expiration of five or more patients each attempt was beneath their notice. Omelets and eggs, they said, in their quaint, 19th century kind of way.
I hear Hoboken practically had a party when they finally shut the !@#$hole down. But no one could figure out what to do with it, other than try and turn it into a real hospital (failed due to haunting), and then a museum (ditto).
It was then the stately home of a very eccentric occultist who liked being surrounded by ghosts as he did his work. They say that every day he looked a little more pale and a little less there, even to the point where daylight shone right through him.
One day his servants found his clothes flopped in front of his desk, as though he'd just slipped them off and vanished. They took this as permission to raid his safe, take their final paychecks, and run like !@#$.
That was 1978. Five years and one professional technological exorcism later, the building was snatched up by the government on behalf of the Cartoon All Stars. It was staffed by a number caregivers (mostly psychologists, nurses, and doctors), and twice that number of out of work prison guards, all there to make sure the patients didn't try and escape.
These days it's three times the guards to caregivers. That's because the inmates are constantly trying to escape, given their sorry plight and the outright sadism of the guards, which creates a vicious cycle of infraction, punishment, and retaliation.
When I got in, some poor bear with an afro was being clubbed in the courtyard. He'd tried to go over the wall, crying that the television was still out there, somewhere. They could fix it if they just tried. If they just believed.
I don't know which was sadder, the blank looks on his fellow patients' faces, or the fact that the tooninated guards were clearly enjoying this. I didn't get a chance to see any more, though, as I was quickly whisked away in advance of a "brewing riot" that clearly was not going to come anytime this millennium.
Cut to the medical wing, where I got a test or two, performed by one of the toons who actually has something approaching a medical degree. When I made the mistake of telling him I used to watch his show, back in the day, he gave me some excellent advice:
"Shut the !@#$ up with that !@#$ if you want to live, buddy," he hissed, quietly: "This ain't no fan club, and it ain't even a petting zoo. We don't want to be reminded of what we had. We want to be free. And we ain't getting it."
Then he jabbed me in the ass with a very large, very cartoony syringe full of black stuff. I asked what it was for. He shrugged and said "I never know. Might be handy later."
After getting a criss-cross bandage across my butt, they waltzed me down an endless hall and into my room, which was not a cell, but had the horrible feeling of being in one. The window was bricked over, and the door could only be locked from the outside. A naked bulb flickered in the ceiling, and was being used as a singles bar for flies.
Furniture-wise, I had a bed with no sheets, a desk with no chair, and a bookshelf that had cartoon copies of the Bible (courtesy of the Gideons) and Atlas Shrugged (Courtesy of Rappin Ronnie). The Bible'd been gone over with a pen and a florid imagination, so, after a while I took to reading that for laughs.
I needed them. The screaming and crying at night was awful. It would start at one end of the hall and make its way down, one room at a time, with occasional counterpoints from cranky toons telling people to shut the !@#$ up with that !@#$ing noise.
(The ghost of Doctor Boswell Chase walking down the halls did not help, either. Every time he whispered by, mumbling arcane formulas under his breath, he made the temperature drop and the lights flicker. It did get the moaners to shut up for a minute, though. Small favors and all that.)
It took me a few hours and a few suppressed homicidal impulses, but I finally realized that, given my situation, I had an unfair advantage. My bag of tricks around my belt had been Toonified along with me, which meant that I probably had everything I didn't need in the field in them.
So, after a few minutes of frenzied searching, and coming up with every useless gadget under the Sun, I found that I did, indeed, have a pair of earmuffs in there. They were the size of pillows, and miraculously blocked out all concieveable noises.
Relived, I closed my eye and made a line of Zs all night long, hoping that I might wake up in better circumstances. But a bang on the door at 7 in the AM revealed me to still be a Toon.
(SPYGOD is listening to Prison Sex (Tool) and drinking even more Midori)