Diapers in The Castle by Matt Carlson

It smelled. Really bad too. Gelledge quickly opened the window as he climbed down the stairs to the first floor. Someone, or rather one of the Life Assistant replacements had once again NOT taken the used diapers down to the cave/ trash area. He reached under the stairwell and grabbed an aerosol can marked ‘BIO Air Scent Lavender’ and sprayed the offending black plastic bag which sat on the cat’s enclosed cat litter tray. Gelledge imagined correctly that Ninja, the calico cat probably didn’t care for that bag on her litter tray house anymore than he did, having to smell it. He knew that dogs had one hundred times the sense of smell more than humans, and so he wondered what the ratio was for cats.

It was one of those days to try and stay focused while hell was being raised at the Chateau  La Reine Blanche. Patches was always screaming, or refusing something or displaying her unhappiness, which was constant. It was her home, it was her disease too and she made everybody pay for it. That is to say, that her frustrations and anger were such that everything was an excuse for being mean. It made her feel better somehow.

The long line of Life Assistants: Algerian, African, Romanian, Bulgarian, as well as other 3rd world countries, succeeded one after the other. They were all incompetent of course, as none of them had any experience upon arriving at the castle with Patches They were cheap labor. They had no idea that hundreds had gone before them, all replaced or who had quit. They all hated the bitchy white woman in her wheel chair, though they did feel sorry for her sometimes. When their employer, a company called Planitnow hired them, it seemed exciting knowing that they would actually be working in a castle, in the center of Paris, near the Goblins. They told all their friends and families. But the bubble of fantasy popped fast enough as the rude, dictator of the apartment known as the ‘Galleries’ started telling them what to do on their first day. Of course, there was only one at a time and for one shift at a time too, usually for a few hours – but sometimes  for the entire day. Patches required full time help as she could only use her right hand and unfortunately, her vocal chords. So she had at least three different ‘slaves’ at her service. Mostly all paid by social security.

“No, not there, it goes on the left.” The tall, large, sweet spoken older woman with glasses and skin ‘black-as-night’  hesitated. Should she put the plate in the other cabinet – or just on the left in this one? Patches could not explain herself clearly about anything so following her orders was tough. One usually wanted to just do the task as quickly as possible and at one’s own volition, but Patches wouldn’t have it. “No, no, not there,” she continued in her pigeon sounding French. “It goes on the left, on the left, LEFT, LEFT!!!!Oh, fuck, fuck fuck…!” She now screamed. Her brain short circuited when she wanted to make complete sentences. Frustration leaked in like greasy car oil, dispersing itself in her cerebral pathways. The poor woman was so surprised she dropped the plate ; it crashed to the ground.

Now the real fun would begin as Patches would dictate every movement to the woman in order to clean it up:

” Take the broom and the dust pan – no the other one, it’s in the corner”, and… “don’t throw it in THAT trash, it’s the other one- under the table!” Then, “You”ll have to move that small table, then bend down – no, not like that, not there…! You have to separate the pieces from the rest..” Then, “Move me please…turn my chair so I can see better – you missed a piece…”….”I’m thirsty, wa… wa…water please!”…Thirty seconds later, “Toilet!” She would announce. “Take me to the toilet. Hurry, hurry, it’s an emergency! i can’t wait! Oh, shit, shit, SHIT!….” Anguished by the stress and the volume of the words, the assistant began rushing to get to Patches. But what was there to do? She was in a wheel chair! How was she going to get her onto the toilet? Precipitating, she bumped the wheel chair into everything, the wall, the table, a door…Patches began screaming once again, ‘Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck:”…Now Patches would begin to explain about the “People Lifter” called Tony for short. It was a strange metal device, automatic, that lifted a person up so that you could transfer them into another place, like toilet, bed, another chair and so on. But you had to belt her up, tighten it, make sure Patches feet were in a stable position and get her to hold onto the bar in front of her. Once up in a secure position thanks to Tony’s mechanical abilities, you had to wheel her over to the toilet, pull her pants down and do everything in reverse!….The long day had started. They had made it to the white throne too late – now pants, plastic covering and diapers had to be changed!

Being Patches assistant was as if you no longer had control of your own body (if you let her, that is), Patches wanted to control it (your body) for you. Her body was now useless, it peed and pooped, it consumed food… but it didn’t work properly anymore. The brain, the muscles, the nerves, the cells were degrading… Crazy with anger, she wanted to manipulate  your physical actions. It made people very mad and they simply flipped out; most of them having no idea of what her illness was… But then conversations were a two way street. Patches didn’t care about them, she only wanted what they could do for her. The assistants weren’t stupid either, they sensed the anger, the perverseness from the shriveled woman with a C formed body, in a wheelchair, her twig like arms from branches of a forgotten tree. They hung there static, waiting.

Gelledge had told her off immediately the first time when she had attempted to do dictate his body –  It’s why he no longer helped out, unless there was an emergency of some sort.

“That’s enough Patches. I am doing this – this is my body and my task. Stop telling me what to do – that’s enough. You want to do it? Then come over here and do it. If you can’t, be quiet and let me do it.  I will not tolerate being ordered around, so stop immediately.” The tone had been set. Patches knew that she would not be able to get away with anything with Gelledge.

One morning, no one came to get Patches up. She sent a text message to Gelledge asking him to help her. He went downstairs and into her bedroom. With a dry mouth and disheveled look, she got it out that she needed someone to get her up. Now Gelledge had witnessed her morning ritual more than once – knowing that never in a million years would he follow it and if he tried to, he would probably kill her in the process.

“Okay look Patches, Since you have no one this morning, I will get you up. BUT, hear this: I will do it my way and no other. I will not be rubbing your feet, getting you your meds, fixing an elaborate meal – you’ll have what I have – I’ll put you on the toilet, get you into some clean clothes too. That’s it;  take it or leave it.” Patches frantically began pushing on her telephone screen, a look of panic on her face. Gelledge giggled inside, he had her number. Still he felt sorry for her…

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