1. Screams permeate the room. You try to decipher which one is the loudest, but they keep climbing to higher decibels. You are forced to cover your ears to preserve your own sanity.

2. Crumbs of food are being picked off the tiles and directed to salivating mouths. You try to prevent these mouths from fulfilling their mischievous deed. God knows what vile things the once-edible detritus touched on these disease-ridden floors.

3. Someone performs a weird sequence of tribal dance halfway in their chair and the aisle. It looks like something from a carnival act, only the performer devoured cotton candy and washed it down with a jug of whiskey beforehand.

4. During moments of quiet, someone spouts random gibberish, as if speaking in tongues. This startles you. You look at this person who seems not to acknowledge their own interjection.

5. You hear soft crying. You approach the sniffling person and ask what’s the matter. They say, “Nothing.” Mere seconds later that person is interacting jovially with a colleague.

6. An inhuman cough sputters from somewhere. You gaze out towards the back of the room, but silence follows. You are a detective trying to pinpoint the epicenter of a brand new strain of whooping cough. It sounds again. Did it come from the right or left? You catch the others’ eyes. They each look at you then quickly look away, everyone in on some hacking conspiracy.

7. You now hear a squeak coming from a chair. Someone is wiggling in their seat. Like the cough, it starts and stops, starts and stops. Unlike the cough, you find the culprit, who looks up, smiles at you, and proceeds to stop the squeaking. It resumes later, only from a different chair.

8. You will discover strange occult-like markings on the wall that were not there the day before. You clean them off. They will reappear over the course of a week.

9. Someone will have a question they want you to help them answer. You will approach them. You ask how you can assist. They will say, “Nevermind. I already answered it myself,” while grinning maniacally.

10. Everyone is hungry all the time. You tell them it is not time for snack break; they will have to wait. They accept this, only to forget two minutes later and reaffirm their appetite to you.

11. Randomly a body will collide into you, either at a determined sprint or aloof walk. You will check to see if the other person is okay. They will nod vaguely, resuming their determined/aloof course.

12. Crumbs found on the floor will also turn into weapons and be hurled through the air. Not at you, but at each other. Miniature food fights will erupt. Accidentally, you get hit in the eye with an unidentified, several-weeks-old piece of what you think is hardened cheese. You may now have pink eye, but you will refer to it as cheese eye. You don’t know what sort of infection it is, only that it makes your eye puffy and sting for days.

13. Chanting will occur. You will think you are in some ritualistic cult of subhuman, anarchic Satan worshippers. The chants follow irregular atonal patterns and are reactionary. Some who are quiet will suddenly burst in and join the others, like a boardwalk casino act featuring a cast of rabid hyenas.

14. Someone will accidentally hurt someone else. You have a talk with those involved. The person who did the hurting apologizes. The other accepts the apology and then apologizes too. What for, you do not know. You do not understand. Pretty soon, everyone around you starts apologizing to each other. You are stuck on a merry-go-round with guilt-ridden perpetrators who desperately want to be forgiven for their heinous crimes. This is now, among other cacophonies, a piece of the daily medley to your life.

15. You will receive miniscule handwritten notes on tiny scraps of paper, the writing barely legible. They will say things like “You are the best!,” “Good job,” and “Hello.” One keeps appearing more frequently, however, that reads, “Let us out.”

19th Century Asylum: 1-15
Modern Daycare: 1-15