Dec 11, 2019


Protective custody.


The Officers

Malcolm was brought into the hospital by three police officers. Each was told explicitly, “do not leave this man unattended. You are not permitted to leave until he is contained.”

It was nearly midnight, and nearing the end of their shift. The officers were annoyed to learn that the hospital was understaffed, and that they couldn’t process Malcolm immediately. Begrudgingly, they moved him to a back room, alone, while they waited for a nurse to fetch him.

Two of the officers stepped out of the room, while the third - a black man - stayed behind.

After 30 minutes, Malcolm’s arms were aching from the handcuffs. “Is there any way we can take these off? You’ve already searched me, and clearly I’m not violent.”

“Can’t. Sorry. It’s protocol.”

“Hmm. Alright. I understand,” Malcolm responded.

“Don’t worry. You’ll be out of here in no time. You’re not like all the other people we bring in here.”

“I know. This whole thing is a big misunderstanding.” Malcolm would go on to explain the situation to the officer.

“That’s crazy, man. What is the website you mentioned?”,” Malcolm replied.

“Just a moment,” the officer said. “I need to step out of the room.”

He proceeded to join the other two officers in the hallway. Under his breath, Malcolm thought that he heard the officer give the website to the other two officers. No doubt, they wanted to investigate the claims themselves.

After a minute of the three perusing the site on their phones, one of them laughed audibly. “What is this? A world-wide power outage? This is ridiculous. This man doesn’t belong here.”

Malcolm smiled, content with the knowledge that he wasn’t alone.

After a few more minutes, the black officer returned to the room.

“I’m sure you’ll be out of here by morning,” the officer reaffirmed. “These kinds of situations are tough.”

“I understand. I’m not upset at you guys. Police have a bad reputation in this day and age, but I know that you’re just doing your job.”

“Thanks. I wish more people realized that.”

“It must be tough,” Malcolm replied, “putting your life on the line every day. I know that officers aren’t paid very well. And then you have the prison system that doesn’t even rehabilitate people. You have a mental health system that just medicates people, then kicks them back onto the streets. It’s no wonder so many people turn to a life of crime. This world wasn’t built for us.”

“That’s so true. It’s so rare to meet someone who recognizes this.”

The officer would go on to talk about his struggles. He talked about his family, and how difficult it was to keep food on the table. He talked about the mental health issues associated with the mass incarceration of his peers. He talked about the constant state of fear that he lives in, and how he’s adopted a hard external persona to prove to the world that he’s strong. Clearly, he just wanted to be heard.

“Man, I just don’t know if I could do it,” Malcolm responded. “I disagree with so many of our laws. I just don’t know if I could spend my career enforcing things that I don’t agree with. I respect the hell out of what you’re doing though.”

“Thanks,” he responded, turning thoughtfully back to the T.V. on the wall. A few moments later - after 3 hours sitting in this room, in handcuffs - a nurse came for Malcolm.

“Time to go,” the officer said. “Good luck out there. You’re going to be fine.”

“Thanks,” Malcolm responded.


Malcolm’s restraints were removed, and he (along with several others) were brought into a small room for processing. On the wall hung another T.V., blaring the evening news. It broadcast nothing but death, destruction, and fighting.

“In what world is this appropriate for the mentally-ill?” Malcolm wondered, shocked.

He didn’t have long to ponder the question before he was given a small mountain of paperwork to fill-out. Malcolm had never filled out so much paperwork in his life.

“In what world is it okay for us to place the burden of this paperwork upon the mentally-ill, committing them both financially and legally to the system? These people need help - and YOUR first thought is to squeeze money out of us?”

Malcolm was stewing, but he filled-out the paperwork regardless. He was horrified to find that he would be spending $800/night to stay here.

“We’d better be eating off gold-plated tables,” Malcolm said out-loud. A couple of people laughed. It was then that Malcolm noticed The Doomsayer curled under a blanket at the corner of the room. She reminded him of Monica, The Addict.

“Hey - is your name Monica, by any chance?” Malcolm asked.

“It’s Angela,” she replied.

“Oh, okay. You reminded me of someone I know.”

Finishing his paperwork, Malcolm turned his attention to the T.V. After a few moments, he received an unexpected signal from The Dave:

The news had turned to viewer comments, and one in particular struck a chord with Malcolm:

I hope you enjoy your time off.

While you’re relaxing in there, everyone out here is focused on the impeachment.


Malcolm smirked. He recognized that signature. This was a message for us, affirmed by the outro to commercials - where we were greeted with the hook from Tame Impala’s - “The Less I Know the Better”.

This calmed Malcolm’s nerves. He was being protected. In this instance, the less he knew the better.

It wasn’t long before Malcolm was called into the examination office. A doctor greeting him from an iPad. After a 3 minute analysis, Malcolm was committed to the hospital.

Malcolm was stripped naked, and searched thoroughly for contraband. Then, he was guided to bed (which was 4-feet from a dirty, smelly toilet), where he was told to go to bed. Despite the conditions, Malcolm drifted quickly to sleep. It was nearly 4am, and he had been in processing for over 6 hours.

Malcolm would get just 3 hours of sleep before being awoken at 7am.


data.stats.symptoms [
  - annoyance
  - empathy


Nothing’s gradual. This whole thing happened overnight

And instant change is cruel. Like a throat grab

It’s so nonsensical. From quiet and weak to good at ball

Man, I went out in front. Too easily persuaded

I would have followed through had you not crashed me

And from there, who knows? The way you left - the way you go

— from Toehider - “Wolf Week”