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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Misha the Schizophrenic Saves the World

Misha knew the samurai wasn’t real; he knew this because Oblixa created a connection in his mind that he had been born without.

The unicorn wasn’t real either, but Misha knew its name was Table, just as he knew the samurai was Blue.

Oblixa didn’t cure schizophrenia, but it made things more manageable.

Hallucinations that once would have dominated a schizophrenic’s life, leaving him or her to guess at what was real and what was not, were suddenly decipherable from reality. They didn’t go away, but to people like Misha, they all but wore shining neon signs reading I AM NOT REAL.

Misha’s friend Dominic sometimes hallucinated uncontrollable loose bowels. The sensation of befouling his underwear was still there, but he no longer had to go check his pants every time his malfunctioning brain said, hey, you, you’ve shat yerself.

Misha stood on the street corner waiting for the light to change and tried not to watch Blue attempt to climb onto Table’s back.

As far as he knew, he was one of the few schizophrenics whose hallucinations played well with one another.

Pi was a Slurpee with human eyes and the feet of a mountain lion.

Sometimes people Misha knew, or wished he had known, made appearances.

A girl he had wanted to talk to in the twelfth grade but had been too shy to open conversation with; a deceased cousin he missed every day; the occasional celebrity (when Angelina Jolie showed up in his bedroom, Misha sometimes wished he was not taking Oblixa).

The do not walk sign began flashing a white stick figure. Misha moved with a small horde of other people across the city street. Blue the samurai rode Table the unicorn into traffic with a challenging yell.

Pi sighed and blinked his human eyes, blue Slurpee slushing in his domed head, as he plodded after the rampaging unicorn and samurai.

Pi was the mediator, the peace maker, the long-suffering older sibling of Misha’s hallucinations.

An alien landed in the middle of traffic. Cars swerved to avoid it. Misha blinked. This was new.

Like his other hallucinations, the alien was surrounded by a faint nimbus of light, translated by his brain as this is not real.

A woman grabbed Misha’s arm, screaming, pointing to the street where the hallucinatory alien was climbing from its ruined craft. Misha glanced at her with a frown. Her grip felt real. Her head was not surrounded by the light of this is not real. But she was screaming and pointing at the alien as though it existed.

Misha looked around. Quite a few people were screaming at the alien as though it existed.

But the slight glow around the alien, what Oblixa patients called the aura, was undeniable.

The damn thing was a hallucination.

But everyone saw it.

Panicked people ran in droves away from the amphibious looking alien in the street. Cars crashed to avoid it.

Two, three, four more craft landed amongst the crowds and in the street, touching down with more grace than the first creature. From each, a tentacled monstrosity with frog-like eyes emerged; each surrounded with an Oblixa aura.

Misha was an island of stillness amidst an ocean of human chaos.

Across the street, he spied a woman standing with similarly paralyzed confusion.

They looked at each other and shrugged.

Between hallucinatory eruptions of fire a steam from presumably broken imaginary pipes beneath the street, the woman crossed over to Misha’s side.


Misha nodded. “Unicorn, Table. Samurai, Blue. A Slurpee named Pi.”

She stood beside him, watching the aura’d aliens chase people up street signs and light poles. “Cat, Thirteen. Bipedal turkey, Six. The letter B.” She frowned at the chaos around them. “What is going on?”

“Haven’t the foggiest.” He watched Blue chase after an alien, Table charging another landing spaceship. “Gas leak? Bio-terrorism?”

“Look there,” the woman said. “Do you see that alien with the breathing apparatus?”

Misha followed her pointing finger. He nodded. “What’s it running from? It seems scared as hell.”

She shook her head in wonder. “It’s running from Thirteen.”

“Your cat hallucination?”

She nodded, befuddled.

Misha pointed to an alien firing its weapon. “Do you see that one, the one shooting the orange bubble bomb things?”

The woman nodded.

“What’s it shooting at?”

She shrugged. “Nothing, as far as I can tell.”

“Hmm. Looks to me like it’s shooting at my unicorn, Table. And that one there, using the manhole cover as a shield?”

She nodded. “Yes?”

“It’s fighting my samurai, Blue.”

“Our hallucinations are fighting the mass hallucinations.”

“Looks that way.”

“What the hell is going on here?”

“I don’t know.” Misha watched Pi stab an imaginary alien with his straw. Blue foaming fruit-flavored slush poured out of the alien’s back where the straw skewered it. Something caught Misha’s attention. “Look. Over there. Sitting at the café.”

“I see him,” the woman nodded. “No aura.”

“No aura,” Misha agreed. “He’s real.”

“Let’s smack him in the head with something.” She picked up a bowling ball someone had dropped while fleeing the aliens.

“Too hard. Here.” Misha handed her a plate from a café table as they walked past the outdoor dining area. He held a salad bowl in his hands, and together they walked towards the person half-hiding at one of the tables. The man’s back was towards them. He never saw them coming as, one at a time, Misha, the woman, and all their hallucinations smacked him in the head.

The device in his lap clattered to the ground.

Blue gave Pi a high-five. Pi drank himself after toasting Misha.

Thirteen, Six, and the Letter B hugged each other.

A few thousand people were staring around in complete confusion as a couple dozen pissed off aliens vanished into thin air.

Misha shook his head. “No wonder people think we’re nuts.”

“We’re not nuts,” the woman said, taking his hand. “In a world gone mad, we’re the sane ones.”

Pi was nodding, as much as a giant Slurpee was able to nod.


“Delighted,” the woman smiled at Misha.

Together they walked into the café, leaving the city to sort out its own problems. God and their psychiatrists knew, schizophrenics had enough difficulties without dealing with sane people’s craziness.

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