Sin… Mad Mick…

Do you think ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’ are the same thing?

Are they hand in hand, wandering down Asylum Avenue, seeing dragons and butterflies in the cloud shapes – Nature’s own Rorschach test? Are they like tomarto and tomayto, you say ‘potato’ and I say ‘spud’? Or are they everso slightly not the same? Reaching out to each other with their fingers barely touching, desperately wanting to be one but each being a slightly twisted version of the other?

I think it’s the latter. I think they’re a shade apart, like white and ivory or magnolia and cream. And I don’t think they want to be together. Crazy and Insane stare daggers at each other over the back garden fence, with their only desperation being the desire to be in opposite corners of a ring waiting for the bell to tell them to fightfightfight.

There’s a patient. We don’t see much of him as he tends to either be in Room 101 or in his own cell. He prefers solitude. Silence is his friend. Michael is his name, and Mad is his game – one he plays very well. Mad Mick has been here longer than anybody else. He’s a Founding Father, a legend in the world of weird. The fact that he looks and acts like the secret love child of Back to the Future’s Doc Brown and Crocodile Dundee helps label him as a touch… touched. That he built his own tank – the army kind not the fishy kind – throws a hint of tapped into the mix.

When the police came to ask what the big boxy thing with the long turret and camouflage paint (though if it was camouflaged, how did they see it?) was doing parked in Tesco car park, he told them it helps in traffic jams. When they wanted him to sit in their car to have a ‘chat’, he pulled a knife his father Mr. Dundee would have gone weak at the knees at out from the back of his jeans. He tried to tell them he was simply removing it because he didn’t want to do himself an injury when he sat down. Besides, it might damage the upholstery in the car seat, let alone the upholstery in his boxer shorts.

The two officers didn’t quite see things like that. He had a knife which, phallically speaking, made them both feel inadequate and he held the keys to what looked like a baby Challenger. And he saw nothing wrong with that.

His knife was confiscated, his tank was impounded, and his collection of guns, ammunition and blades was met with astonishment – not least because most of it dated from the war. Which one? All of them!

Eventually Mad Mick ended up in the care of Dr. Connors. And that was the last the world saw of him. He was deemed clinically insane and a danger to himself and everyone he came into contact with. And you know what? A bigger load of bananas I have yet to hear.

People confuse insane with crazy. They mix eccentric with lunatic. That Mad Mick wasn’t the brightest bulb in the flowerbed wasn’t in question. That he was insane and would chop out your liver with a flick of the wrist most definitely was. You see, Mad Mick liked a knife that was better endowed than he was. He liked his World War II pistols and his Spanish Civil War helmets. And he liked to go shopping in a tank. But he would also give you his last Rolo – if packets of Rolo were allowed, which they weren’t because the last thing Connors needed was a patient on a sugar rush or shoving a sweet were the sun daren’t ever venture enough to shine. I’m a nice guy (ignoring the deaths), but he had me beat, and he didn’t need Mr. Switchblade to help him do it.

To be honest, I’m not surprised Michael’s best buddies were the silence and the solitude. In a world where odd was ordinary, he was extraordinary. He didn’t fit in amongst the damaged souls that wandered the halls of the asylum – patients and staff alike. He was out of phase with us common folk. He didn’t see things the same way. He saw beyond the horizon, where the world hides from view. And now he hides from the world.

Mad Mick is crazy, just a little bit. But he’s not insane.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *