By an Idiot | Episode 2: Egg Salad


Good evening denizens of the asylum. I have barricaded myself in Dr. Agonson’s office, and though the orderlies will doubtless have their way in the end, they shall not stop tonight’s broadcast of By an Idiot. I am your idiot, the inequitable Mr. Clown.

Some of you may wonder how you are now hearing my voice, though a good number of you no longer wonder at the voices you do hear. The plain facts are that the good Dr. Agonson, upon consulting me in his private room—as an aside, I would be interested in my listeners’ views of our beloved benefactor, for a wide birth of opinions are aired regarding him—where was I? Yes, the doctor and I had a good, long chat, interrupted once when he pulled out of his desk a little microphone, and speaking into it, projected his voice to our whole assembled body. It was some announcement about the upcoming Memorial Day festivities.

Now it occurred to me, as clever as I am, that this ability, this system by which the entire asylum may be addressed, was being inadequately exploited. Just a moment.

Would you stop knocking at that door? You may disturb the broadcast!

I gave the situation a good deal of thought, and realizing another unexploited resource, namely my own articulate self, a solution came to me. I would share my wisdom with that body of hapless idiots—namely yourselves—who day in and day out, suffer with problems that a little practical advice might cure. Some of you may know me in that I have endeavored to help those less fortunate than myself by providing solid counsel where its need was most felt. I fear in this I have erred. You stop your ears, you avoid me. But none of that now. Now you have to listen.

A few days ago, after a regrettable incident where I must say everyone overreacted, while still in the grip of that strange, partially anathematized aftereffect of electroconvulsion, I was privy to one half of a conversation. In the adjacent safe room, an unnamed woman argued with her husband. I’m sure the husband found this agreeable, as I’m of the understanding that he was some hundred miles away in the neighboring state, and unlikely to hear her complaints. Still, I felt that, if I could regain the use of my mouth other than to dribble over my coat, I’d have been able to console the distracted woman.

To the point: I’d have had a story to relate that would have cleared the whole issue, would have soothed her addled nerves, would have given her hope. Yet, this story could serve more than her. The woman in the next cell complained adamantly about her husband’s behavior: out all night, cheating, wasting her money the whole while. In short she was poorly used by this man.

I knew of another woman who found herself in similar straits. Of a practical mind, dissatisfied with her husband’s tendency to come home, eat a taciturn dinner, and then leave, often spending the rest of the evening with a rival, she endeavored to rectify this by the poisoning of his meal. She started with a little, so little; a bit of rotten egg mixed into his salad kept him home for weeks.

But of course, this could not last forever. He would get better; he would return to the floosy. This lady was resourceful though, and after some reflecting, weighing the pros and cons, resolved upon a more permanent solution. So, coming to him in the throes of his illness, she gave him something to affect sleep. Quite effective, as he has been sleeping soundly since.

Ah, I think I see an arm coming through the door. That’s it for tonight. ‘Til we meet again, this has been Mr. Clown.


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