Masks Not of Our Own Choosing

“Mr Gorbachev, tear off that mask!” came the shrill cry across the day room.

Dennis sighed and shrugged, repeating his mantra in his head, “They’re mentally ill. Getting mad at them would be like getting mad at a child.”

It didn’t help much as he collected the remnants of Mrs. Abernatch’s lunch from the floor. For the millionth time he considered going to see a dermatologist about removing the port wine stain on his forehead. For the millionth time he concluded that his medical insurance wouldn’t cover it. Thus he stood, portly and balding, bracing himself for another day as Gorbachev.

There were worse fates. He looked across at the medication nurse, Linda, also known as Big Bird, just because she was so tall and a little sallow. Then there was Kevin “Abe Lincoln” Jenkins the janitor, but he seemed to like it, even memorized the Ghettysburg Address last year.

Dennis could only sigh, though a thought occurred to him that brightened his mood a bit. He could learn Russian, make a game of it.

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