(OPB News, Los Angeles) – Since first opening its doors in 1995, the Pasadena Psychiatric Institute has established a sterling reputation far and wide.
To the neighboring locals it is affectionately known as “The Oasis” for its lush and meticulously landscaped twelve acre estate; but in the the field of psychiatry, for the better part of two decades it has been the destination for sufferers of mental illness seeking peace and tranquility.
“You know,” said managing Director Dr. Howard Greenspan, “when a brochure for a mental hospital looks more like the vacation pamphlets you see in travel agencies, it’s usually a pretty good indication that when you do leave, you’re going to feel pretty recharged.
“During my ten years as Director,” Greenspan continued, “I have tried my best to give our patients everything they require to find their center. Yes, the grounds are beautiful, and yes, our resources are many; but pride of place, for me, has always been my phenomenal, handpicked staff.”
At this, Dr. Greenspan paused and frowned, no doubt searching for just the right words.
“I suppose that’s why I feel like such a fool after hiring…Scott.”
Greenspan went on to explain that when, just four months earlier, he interviewed Scott Dancy, 27, a former cartoonist and recent nursing graduate, everything seemed “pretty above board.”
“I’ll admit it, I was duped,” said Greenspan. “He was polite, well-groomed, and all of his references checked out. He seemed like the ideal candidate, so I hired him on the spot. At the time, it didn’t even strike me as odd when he specifically requested to work in our Obsessive-Compulsive wing. Scott may no longer work here, but…his ‘work’ here? We’re still trying to undo it.”
Dancy, now two weeks into his unemployment, agreed to meet up with the OPB at a local arcade, where he affably spoke to this reporter while playing the classic title, Yars’ Revenge.
“I’ll be honest, I really enjoyed working at the Institute,” said Dancy, his eyes never straying from the flashing monitor. “And you know, despite our differences, Dr. Greenspan is actually a really cool—AWW, YOU MOTHERFUCKER! Goddamn space goblin in the hut got me with the circular saw blade again! I can’t play this anymore.”
Eventually, when Scott managed to calm down after losing that final quarter, he began to open up.
“Yes, I obviously feel pretty bad about what I did,” said Dancy between sips of Coke. “If I had only been a little less obvious in my approach and slow-played it a little better, maybe I’d still be there? It truly was the best job I’ve ever had.”
The former nurse went on to explain how calculating he had been in earning the trust of the doctors and other staff members:
“From day one, the mission was pretty simple: I had to be ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ from the moment I clocked in till the moment I clocked out. I smiled, I agreed to take people’s unwanted shifts, complimented ‘how awesome’ every single new haircut and colouring job looked, no matter how hideous. The ladies in particular really dig that stuff. I’m telling you, after only a week in the OCD ward, I was already the ‘golden boy’!”
Dancy went on to explain that by executing his ruse in this way, when he finally allowed “his antics” to bubble to the surface, he would always be given the benefit of the doubt. Once he was able to infiltrate the PPI’s inner circle, Scott said the “real fun” began.
Much like the retro arcade games around us, his eyes were now lit with excitement.
“Oh my God dude,” he began, “you are going to love this! Okay, so, OCD ward, right? ‘No big deal,’ you’re probably thinking. Well, right from the start, every day I’d walk in there with a fresh box of Nerds. You know, the little candies? I’d be eating them constantly, and even when I wasn’t, they’d be in my pocket, rattling around in there. I even earned the nickname ‘Maraca,’ which I pretended to enjoy. Everyone was all, ‘You really like those things, don’t you Scott?’ and was I was like, ‘Awrrfff! Oh yeah, dair the bwwest! Nom-nom!’
“After a couple of weeks of that, I suddenly became a ‘total klutz’ with the things, and I’d purposely spill them all over the place. Like, just about every day. Always in front of the patients and always just before lights-out. Whenever I chose to unload, I’d say something innocent like, ‘Whups-a-daisy!’ or, ‘Aww, Mr. Butterfingers over here!’ and that would usually alleviate any suspicion. I’d then watch with great amusement as they scattered in their thousands and the whole floor went apeshit in an effort to pick up every…single…one of them. It was hilarious!”
It was only when the conversation turned to the incident that led to his dismissal that Dancy’s demeanor became somewhat downtrodden.
“Yeah, I foolishly pushed the envelope with that one,” he began. “When I brought in the ant farm and cheerily introduced my ‘new friends’ to the staff, most of them found it to be pretty charming. Doc Greenspan though, smart guy that he is, was like, ‘I dunno Scott…you remember what happened with your candy, don’t you?’ But I played him like a fiddle and was like, ‘But I’ve been good lately and stuff!’ Totally won him over! Or so I thought. How was I supposed to know he had installed a camera on the floor on one of my days off?”
Scott looked away. The flash in his eyes had vanished.
“If only I hadn’t spiked the ant farm on the floor, you know? That was way too confident. I swear, when they played the footage back during my ‘exit interview’ as they called it, I was reminded of Kurt Cobain at the end of one of his shows as I watched. You know, gleefully fucking shit up? As security was escorting me out though, I pulled one more out of my sleeve when I yelled down the corridor, ‘Don’t worry, guys! I’m sure they got every last one of them before they had the time to lay eggs!’ Ha ha! Do you know what a chorus of screams sounds like? I do!”
Scott is still somewhat-actively seeking employment.