Spending time in an adolescence rehab facility will give you stories for a lifetime. It’s like summer camp for fuck ups and future felons.(They should have put that on the brochure and I wouldn’t have gone kicking and screaming.) Taking a bunch of rebellious drug addicted teens and removing their only source of happiness, leads to giggles of the strangest variety. The place I was sent was an extra special type of bat shit crazy. It was a converted dude ranch. The place was built to resemble an Old West town. Trippy shit. We had horses, the whole nine. Almost all of us were city kids detoxing on a Tombstone set for clowns.
Phillip was the new kid, full of life and not a shred of innocence, although, you couldn’t tell it by his looks. A curly headed, pasty white 14 year old just trying to make a name for himself. He stood about 6’2″ and weighed close to 250. He was big for his age.
“I’ll eat this locker for a bump.”
I can’t say I knew Phillip well. Phillip didn’t last long enough for us to get a good grip on what made him tick. If I had to guess, I’d say Tetris and date raping himself randomly.
We knew Phil had a temper, he’d get worked up and get sent off to the Lock Treatment Unit or LTU. The LTU was a shed of sorts with massive metal doors that took 1000 lbs of pressure to open once they were locked. The building had four parts. Two housing units with three sleeping areas each, a holding area, and a middle section that was plexiglass and held a staff member. You had your clothes taken away and replaced with white scrubs. It was demoralizing in a “Hey, this is what I’d look like in Huntsville!” kind of way. I’m pretty sure that was the point. Phil was on his own kind of high. He seemed to enjoy the place. I hated it. Once, I was there for about five days and by the end of it I was stark raving mad. Nothing made any sense. The only thing I had been allowed to do was read the AA books and stare at pink walls.
The LTU is where the genesis of this story really begins. Phil had been sent there, yet again, for God knows what. We all knew who was in the LTU at any given moment, even though it was outside of our boundaries. All of the staff had walkie talkies, and as soon as someone was put in, we’d hear it over the radios. Phillip couldn’t have been in the LTU for more than an hour when an S.O.S type of call went out over the radios. “Phillip has escaped the LTU! All staff! Phillip has escaped the LTU!”. At the time, I was having my lunch in the cafe. The cafe was on the main strip of our little Deadwood type of hell. It had massive windows overlooking the main courtyard. All of us future winners looked at each other in amusement because to our knowledge this was the first breakout of the LTU. We had all tried, only to be beaten into submission by hard plastic and strong magnets. Turns out, the main LTU door had been left slightly open and Phillip carpe diemed that shit.
A minute or two passes and we pretty much went back to eating because young drug addicts and short attention spans are the ying & yang of bleak futures. To our shock we hear a loud thud emanating from the front of the cafe, by the windows. I whip my head around to see Phillip in his underwear, with the largest grin I had ever seen. He had thrown his large body onto the glass, face smushed into it, arms in the air, and a beaming pride that I imagine any prison break participant would give a stamp of approval. Within a few seconds, we see a male staff member try to tackle poor Phillip but he bounced off and Phillip kept running. We ran to the window to see the whole staff chasing Phil in his tighty whities. It took about five grown men to subdue the man child. Phil was smiling the whole way down.
“Where’s your God now?”
Phil was transferred to a local mental hospital and we never saw or heard from him again.