Saturday Story

The Eyes of Madness

The doctors said he was dangerous to himself and others. The family was afraid of him so they filed commitment papers. They were afraid.

Just a year ago he tried to hurt his mother with a kitchen knife. Four months ago he hurt his brother with a piece of pipe. Three weeks ago he hurt his father with his fist and a bat.

So now the doctors said he was dangerous. After thirty-five years, in and out of the revolving door of the state mental institutions, they said he should stay in the hospital this time.

So the family called and requested the police stand by and wait until the ambulance arrived to transport him to the state hospital.

Being the junior officer, I had the blue and white vehicle with a cage between driver and “passenger.

We met the family a few blocks away and followed them to the house. They had all the papers, commitment order, state custody and all the rest. The sector sergeant checked them out; counter signed, and said we’d wait until the ambulance arrived.

I was young then, with only a few years on the street. I’d just follow the sergeants lead, watch and learn.

He was cooking when we got there.

First Mom and Dad tried to explain how this was all for his own good. He would be happier “there”.

As they were talking I got my first look at his eyes, they were the same eyes I’d seen in trapped animals. They darted from side to side looking for a way out. Looking for a place to run. Every third of fourth glance he would look at the dishes in the sink, there were several knives in there.

I moved slowly and managed to put myself in front of the sink and the trapped look becomes desperate and pained. There was a hint of betrayal in those eyes whenever he looked at his family.

The ambulance did not come. It turned out all of them were on calls and it could be two or three hours before one could be dispatched.  So the sergeant decides I should take him to the Hospital. The family would meet me there and do all the paperwork. I was just the cab driver.

As I put handcuffs on him, the looks turned from fear and betrayal to anger and planned vengeance. I truly hoped they would keep him in the hospital.

After the cuffs, we put him in the back of the patrol car, in the back seat with the cage around him, like a trapped animal.

It wasn’t a long drive, 20 or 30 minutes. Every time I looked into the rearview mirror, he was looking at me. The eyes never stopped.

They say the eyes are the window to a man’s soul and mind. For that drive I looked into eyes I would remember for many nightmares after.

For many nights when the darkness and sleep began to seep into my soul, I’d remember looking into the eyes of madness.

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