This is a story of Jonathan Weissman, a.k.a. Underdog, during one of the more negative periods of his life. It contains graphic language and content.
It itches, and there’s no way to _fucking scratch it_.
In despair, caused by the burning sensation in my legs and the rest of my limbs, I cringe inward, hoping to break free of my restraints and curl into the ball my body wants to shelter itself in. The straps hold tight, however, and I’m thrown back against the linen sheets again. I feel no warmth from them and the blanket over me, mainly because they’re chilled by the sweat soaked into them by now. I continue to lay seething, waiting until I have enough strength to continue my futile struggle for freedom.
Inside, I know the end result of my next attempt, though my body won’t listen to this logic. I have no more strength — no legendary powers, not even the abilities of a normal dawg anymore in force. Angrily, trying to blame the horrible burning on something other than my own limbs, I arch my head sideways and upward to stare at the IV bag suspended from a metal pole beside my bed.
Fuck them and their stupid drug.
A replacement, they said, for my Underdog pill. Why? Because they couldn’t hold me here otherwise, of course. They tried to take me off the pill entirely, but my withdrawal made even the chief doctor cringe, and this new formula supposedly contained enough of my pill— in liquid form — to keep me alive. Some of my powers returned with it, which led my mind to the second IV bag.
Yes, fuck _that_ one. The sedative I was constantly on. Because they know what I can do, how much more powerful I am then their shithead musclemen orderlies —
My mind stops the thought, cut off by the pain I can no longer ignore. No wonder — the bags are almost empty. Must be time for my medication soon. My body jerks up again, despite my feeble mind’s protest of the futility of the attempt. Besides, my wrists are beginning to chafe where I’m secured down. At least it gets my mind off the burning, if only for a little while.
My ears are still functioning, though, and I of course pick up the gentle beeping — indicating someone had inserted their pass key on the other side of the door and had been accepted. This was followed by the familiar sound of the heavy latch electronically switching off, and the only sound not associated with technology wasthat of the creaking of that heavy metal door as it swung open. After all, I had been here for so long, and who would be in to oil it?
It’s Scenirio. The mid-thirties, clean-cut, tall doctor. He isn’t Leitch, at least, with his sneering mouth and white hair, but he’s bad enough. And he’s too fucking obedient to the wishes of Hudson, in my opinion.
Without looking or speaking to me, ignoring my ragged breathing, he checks the IV bags, and replaces them. It’s to my surprise, though, when he produces a hypo.
“This is your lucky day, Jonathan,” he spoke with no feeling in his voice. Not like Leitch — Leitch would have been smiling cruelly. “You have a visitor.
I blink, then settle back, “Med –”
“Not a med student, no. Though you are _quite_ a case study, I’m afraid the amount of … students we let in last year made General Hudson a bit … nervous.” He slides the needle under my skin, and I wonder what concoction it is last time.
The formula goes straight to my brain. The burning pain lessens, thank G-d, or probably I just can’t feel it anymore, because I feel my senses drifting from me. This makes me upset — I’d rather be aware and in pain than in a suspended, helpless state. I feel myself grow dizzy, and … separated from the scene around me, with the doctor and the IV. This is not a separation I long for, because it isn’t a natural one. I don’t like being forced emotionally into something. My view begins to dull, and my muscles relax. Scenirio sees this, and feels safe enough to place my glasses over my eyes so I can at least see my visitor more clearly.
My visitor? My confused, dogged mind reels. If it’s not a medical student, than it has to be — _fuck_! Realization hits me, “I don’ wan’ t’see her.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You could use a little distraction from seething, Jonathan.”
I shut my eyes and moan, mashing the back of my head into the pillow, knowing under the effects of the new drug I probably won’t be able to lift it off again in a few seconds. Before I can gather enough strength for a protest, he excuses himself and I can hear him shuffle out. The sound of heels against the floor indicates to presence of a new person, who I don’t look up to see.
Several moments pass before my desire to open my eyes overwhelms me, and I look up almost accusingly at the she-dawg as she tiredly — and somewhat uncomfortably — adjusts her pocketbook on the shoulder of her trench coat and asks, “How are you?”
It takes even more time for me to piece words together, in my stage, “Why do you keep … comin’ ba’ t’see me?” I’m nearly incomprehensible, my speech slurred by the drug, and it makes me feel embarrassed for some reason. But the tone I’m attempting to use is not a pleading one as much as an angered one.
I gave up pleading a year ago.
“Doctor’s orders,” Polly admits, because she knows I wouldn’t have bought any kind of lie she would have supplied.
“Di’ ‘e get them fro’ Hudson?”
I grunt, turning my head away from her in frustration, “So thi’ is how he’s tryin’ t’kill me?”
“He’s not trying to kill you.”
This was a lie. I had also figured this out a year ago. The government had figured it was perhaps safer to kill me than try to keep me behind bars, but they had to do it slowly enough to make it look like a natural death. The process of allowing my body to waste away involved the drugs I was given through this IV, but there was a mental factor as well.
When I was first brought to the asylum, I was desperate to see Polly. G-d damnit, she was my angel in my true hell. She was the only one who would look at me in any way other than coldly when I cried out to be released, and to escape.
It took me a while to realize the look she was giving me was not compassion, and that my pleas were as helpless with her as they were Scenirio and Leitch. I got more sympathy from the med students. It look longer for me to figure out why she ignored me when I begged her to slip me my Underdog pill when the doctors weren’t looking, or to untie me, or pull my IV out for just a few minutes.
She was afraid of me.
I was not the Underdog she knew — or _wanted_ to know. I was not the naive youth of a dawg who used to save her from the clutches of gangsters and mad scientists. I was unreliable, unstable, and insane. I swore like a sailor, responded negatively to most forms of interaction with others, and would attack people without reason or cause (or so my medical forms said…). I was just some crazy dawg who should be locked up and ignored until I lived out my days, and her being forced to connect me with her personal super hero was a painful experience for her.
She wanted nothing to do with me.
So why did she come back? Did the government pay her or something? I grow angry, just at this concept, “Wha’ do they pay you?”
“T’come here,” I try to sit straighter, but I’m under the full effect of the drug now. Good for her, because otherwise I would have been struggling against my restrains again, trying to claw at her or something. But my anger is suppressed for the most part — at least externally.
She does not answer.
It hurts more than anything, more than the burning sensations in my limbs or the needle going in, or even the sound when the door shuts behind the last visitor as they leave for the day and I’m left in my white room under the cold, wet sheets.
Deep inside, something grows to replace the hole filled with my love for her. I realize subconsciously that it’s anger, but Scenirio’s drug has done its dirty work. I _can’t_ get infuriated, like my system cries out to do. This is why it pains me to see her so much, why it is so stressful on my system. This is why Hudson does it.
My G-d, she is so beautiful.
Rage bundles up inside me, aimed this time at myself. I’m in an asylum, strapped to a bed, heavily drugged and captive to a general who wants to be rid of me. And all I can fucking thing about is how much I want the she-dawg who leave me here. All I want to do is rid myself if any feelings I have for her, ending the desire. I swallow and begin my catharsis.
It doesn’t work.
“If there’s nothing else …”
Of course there’s something fucking else! But I’ll never bring myself to say it, and I hate myself for thinking the dirty thought. G-d damnit, am I fucked up.
“No,” I’m amazed I am able to bring myself to say this.
Polly Purebred turns to leave, and I let her do it gratefully.
G-d, get her out of here. I don’t want to look at her anymore, confused by the three emotions playing in my head — rage towards her, love towards her, and rage at myself for the latter of the first two emotions. It’s enough to leave my already-tired mind exhausted, and I feel myself drifting off into a fitful sleep.
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