Blue. I didn’t get it. Blue. They told me that it was a color, and I didn’t get that either. The concept of color was completely lost to me during rehabilitation. Blue, they said, was a primary color along with red and yellow. All other colors were a combination of one or more of these primaries. Then, there were the spectrums of light that allowed me to see the colors, which I managed to remember by memorizing ROY G. BIV.
They showed me a picture of three birds. By process of elimination, I knew which one was the blue one. The others were yellow and red. They showed me a picture of a group of children- roughly 24 of them. They were all wearing raincoats. 23 of the raincoats were not blue. One was. I asked why the child would want to be different. They said that he didn’t. I asked them if the child knew that he was standing out from the crowd. They said that I was a) over thinking the picture and b) missing the point of the exercise. The point, they explained, was blue. From blue, the concept of color would begin to make sense to me again. They went on about it so much that it made me think of the blind. There were operations that allowed the blind to see- or so they told me.
I asked them if blind people ever understood the concept of color. They said yes, eventually. But some, they said, were frightened by sight. Colors were the least of their problems. Faces, light, birds, and the world in general- these things could all be quite frightening to someone that had never seen them. Babies must be afraid, I said. Babies don’t understand fear they said, but I knew that that wasn’t completely true.
One day, they showed me the picture of a bird. Either a raven or a crow- but it was black. I knew black. And from black, it all came back to me.
I understood color again.
They said that if I wanted to, I could keep a journal. This is what I doing now. The doctor said that it would help during my re-education. He promised me that no one but me would ever see it so I could write my true feelings inside. I knew that he was trying to assure me, but if I wrote something they didn’t like they could just wipe my memory and start all over again and I’d never know. I’d have to start writing all over again. They doctor assured me that trust was a major part of re-education, so I’ll just write everything down. If my memory goes away I’ll never know anyway.
The doctor gave me a little yellow book and a piece of charcoal. He says that a pen or pencil would be too dangerous at this point.
Today I asked the doctor how long I’d been here, and he told me I’d been here for 15 years. He said that he was surprised that I hadn’t asked him earlier. He laughed when I said that I hadn’t thought about it. He said that My initial brain wipe had taken only two hours and that my re-education had been going on since then. I didn’t remember any of it because my brain was too full of more important things. He said that a baby doesn’t remember learning to walk but he can remember to walk because it becomes a reflex. He said that I had progressed quickly, quicker than usual, but I wouldn’t remember simple things like learning to walk or talking or colors. But complex concepts like right and wrong would be constant. I think he’s wrong though because I remember learning blue- and I know that I don’t like it.
The doctor told me that I was ready to learn about the tubes. As it turns out, 80% of my time was spent inside of a large metal tube. The doctor took me into the white room to show me the tubes. It is about 10 feet tall and about 4 feet in diameter and in front there is a door that slides open like an elevator door. The tube is supported by two huge metal arms that hang down from the ceiling so that the tube never touches the ground. There are stairs all along the floor so that you can walk inside once it lowers. When you walk inside, the tube is raised up on the arms until its horizontal (I saw this happen to one that wasn’t mine). It raises about 200 feet above the floor and then rolls onto giant metal tracks through a big hole in the wall and out of sight. There had to be at least 150 tubes raising and lowering in the white room, and at least 200 more rolling around on the metal tracks overhead.
The doctor said that the tube that was lowering in front of us was mine. It had the numbers 7734 etched above the door. The doctor said that I was at a point where I didn’t have to spend so much time inside. Instead of the 20 hours a day I’d been inside for the last 13 years, I’d only be spending 2 hours a day inside, and I’d be getting a regular cell.
While one of the tubes was lowering on the arms, something must have gone wrong. Sirens began to sound and lights flashed. It all happened very quickly. A smaller arm came down and attached itself to the tube and then there were screams of pain and agony from inside. I remembered that I’d heard screams like that before. Black smoke began to pour from the vest at the top of the tube then, just as fast, the smoke was all sucked away through vents in the ceiling of the white room. The smell- that of burned man- lingered. It immediately registered that I’d smelled this before- Many times.
The men in white rushed over to the tube and stated taking reading from the small screens at its base. The doctor asked how witnessing this made me feel. I told him that I felt like I’d just seen someone burned to death. He nodded and smiled, which I found odd, and told me that it had been an escape attempt.
The door to my tube opened and I stepped inside.
The doctor sat me down at a table, and on the table was a mask. He asked if I remembered it. I said no. was it mine, I asked. He said that it was. It was black, like a hood, and there was a skull on front. I wore that, I asked. Yeas, he said. I wore it and did terrible things. He asked if I remember the things. I said no. I asked him if he wanted me to remember. He said yes. If the things I’d done were so bad, then why would he want me to remember them? He said that it was part of my rehabilitation. Making me forget things was never the goal. Making me realize that the things I’d done were bad was part of my punishment. Making me feel guilty about doing these things was part of my punishment. Making me never WANT to do them again was the goal of my rehabilitation. He left me alone with the mask and told me to think about it.
I got my cell today. It’s no different from the cells upstate where I had a bed a sink and a commode. There is a little shelf where I keep my journal. It looks lonely, though. I have to find more things to keep on my shelf.I get 30 minutes in the yard a day. It’s a 40x40 grass covered spot surrounded by wall that must be at least 100 feet tall. There are guards at the top. You can’t see them, but sometimes they peak over the top or you can catch a glimpse of their rifle barrels. I’m sure they’re there because some of the guys in here can fly. I know this has to be true because as I was walking around the yard and enjoying the bit of nature that I was allowed I suddenly became very aware that I could clear those walls quite easily if I wanted to.