Me, Myself, and Insanity
by Hasan Abood
The first thing you want to know about me
is my name. I can tell you the name my parents gave me when I was born and that's John. But heck, I don't like the name. Never
did and never will. I call myself the soldier. Why?? Now, that's a good question. You see, I love war movies. And when I see
the main guy die in the movie, I picture myself being the hero who gets shot or something. That's not only the reason; in
1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait—the bastard Saddam Hussein. He loved trouble. So, in 1990, Canada was one of the countries
that went against Iraq. They wanted peace, eh? Anyways, the Prime Minister Brian something—I can't remember his last
name—he sent destroyers to the Middle East. He didn't like what Saddam Hussein was doing. Neither did I. Then again,
war was the only solution to the damn problem. Kuwait has lots of oil, a very important reason for the US to stop Saddam Hussein
from invading it. My daddy signed up for the war. No, he didn't die there, the Middle East. But, when he came back, he was
like all sick. I was nine years old at that time and I was scared. He had this Gulf War syndrome. And he was acting all weird—INSANE!
I didn't know what was going on, but now I know. I know why he held his gun on his forehead and pulled the trigger. The pain
was just too much. I always think of my dad as a martyr—yes, why the hell not? I mean he fought in the war and all,
but committing suicide was just not IT. Damn it! I can't talk about my dad anymore. My eyes are tearing right now. NO! FUCK!
Let's change the subject.
Let's talk about my brother Erik. NO! It's another sad subject. Whenever I mention him,
I remember him and daddy. A year after daddy killed himself—1993. I was like 10 years old. And he was 12. I know he
was two years older than me. My mama told me that once. So that night, Erik just left the house. Why did he run away? I don't
know. Neither does mama know. If I ever meet him again, the first question I'd ask him would be, "Why did you run away?" But,
I think that he couldn't handle the fact that daddy is dead. We were all sad, but I guess you can say that Erik loved daddy
a lot. Yes, he did. And that's because daddy loved Erik a lot, too. Damn death! Why do people have to die? Why should there
be death from the first place? I hate it—DEATH! It separates the loved ones from you.
So, mama and I lived all
alone for the next few years. The house was quiet and depressing. The walls were filled with pictures of daddy and Erik. I
hate it. YES! I hate it. Mama wouldn't talk to me. All she would is sit on her rocking chair in the living room and look at
pictures of daddy and Erik. She would cry. Sometimes, I would leave the house and walk outside for fresh air. The house would
just make me sick sometimes.
At school, people would respect me because of my father and how he fought bravely. I'd
tell them, "Thanks!" But when I think about it, daddy didn't do much. Yes, he volunteered for the war. But, he was like some
kind of fierce warrior. I wish I asked him if he killed any Iraqi soldiers. That would've been cool if he did. But, I don't
think he did. Who knows? What if he did? Oh well! He's dead and is resting in his grave.
I visited his grave several
times. I went with mama. To be honest, it wasn't a pleasant experience. I was sick to my stomach. Mama would kneel down and
cry on daddy's grave. I would glance around at the gravestones and a shiver would crawl down my spine. Laugh as much as you
want but I'm scared of cemeteries.
I remember when I was 16, I had a big birthday with lots of people—Mama only!
Look, it may sound funny, but it's not. I always wanted a big birthday party, but hey, I never did. Never will. Mama made
me this birthday cake, which was half burnt, and it didn't even have any icing on it. She didn't buy my any present because
she was short on my money. I didn't care about a stupid little present. I knew mama was working her ass off to put food on
the table. She was like 40 years old. I think she was too old to work.
And the years went by. Not so fast. They were
damn slow and depressing. Living with mama in the same house was killing me. Anyways, let's talk about the war. The war? Yes,
there was a goddamn war. You know, not once did I think that Canada was going to be invaded. Not once. But it did—in
I must say that it was horrible. I’ve never
thought that the day would come when I’d be standing and watching men fight for their country. Joining the war was my
dream. Like I said before, I always want to be a soldier. War is cool, in my opinion. But, I never thought how cruel it could
be. I was 18 years old when I decided to fight Canada. I reunited with some old friends in the war. But sadly, most of them
were killed there by the enemies—The Invaders. Who would have thought that such a peaceful country would be invaded?
I sure as hell didn't. The Canadians and the Invaders were fighting for years and years, and the Invaders always won. But
in the last war, they didn’t. The war began at dawn. And the soldiers were all ready from both countries. The location
where we fought was in Ottawa. When the word “Fire” was heard, my heart stopped beating for a half second before
the soldiers from both sides started dying. A familiar face was caught with my eyes. I wanted to know who he was. But my mind
was too weak to remember that someone. I successfully shot two soldiers. I reloaded my rifle, and was about to pull the trigger,
but I stopped. I noticed that the rifle was aimed at that familiar person. My best friend, Zachary turned his eyes to me.
He wondered why I stopped from pulling the trigger. I didn’t give him an answer, and I shot that familiar person. After
the war had ended, the Canadian soldiers and I celebrated our victory. Before all of the soldiers returned home, I wanted
to know who the familiar face was. And I wish I didn’t. I closed my eyes and reopened them. And then, I found myself
home. I must say, I wasn't excited to be home. I don't think anyone, with the exception of mama, would survive in my house
for one single day. It was just so quiet and depressing. The entire house would smell like death and that's just sick.
when I returned home, I rang the doorbell. Mama answered the door. She was holding a cane and she looked really old. Maybe
it was just me. When she saw me, a smile broke upon her face.
“Welcome back, my son!” she whispered
I kissed her hand just because I felt like it and
I hugged her. I was gentle with her; I didn't want to break her bones or anything. I was like ten times stronger than her.
“I missed you, mama!” I actually meant
what I said.
Tears filled her eyes as she said, “I’m
glad you’re home safely.”
I went inside the house and mama locked the door.
“Thank you, God! Thank you for bringing my
son home,” mama whispered not so softly. I heard what she was whispered.
I sniffed and I smelled roasted chicken. Now, I
love roasted chicken. I like all kinds of meat, but I prefer roasted chicken. Why? Don't ask me. I don't know why I love roasted
chicken, but I just do. It tastes great, that's for sure.
“Mama, I’m hungry,” I said. “Is
that roasted chicken I smell?”
I stood still, with a neutral expression on my
face. You could say that I wasn't feeling well. But, then again, I just came back from a war, which was disturbing and brutal.
Seeing dead people wasn't something nice. It was scary.
She stared at me and said, “What’s
wrong with you? You look sick.”
I look sick? Yes, I was sick, but of course, I
said, “I’m not sick, Mama." Tears formed on my eyes. I wish I died in the war than having to live. I wouldn't
feel sorry for the ones that are dead. At least, they're resting in their graves. They didn't have to suffer as much.
heavily mama placed her hand on my forehead.
“Nothing. I TOLD YOU I’M HUNGRY. CAN’T
YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?” I lost it. I didn't feel like talking. I was hungry as hell. And I wanted some goddamn roasted
She nodded nervously. Tears filled her eyes as
she ambled, with the cane, toward the kitchen. I felt bad all of the sudden. I don't know why, but I did. I hurt her feelings,
I know, but she should've understood the fact that I just came back from a damn war. I breathed heavily.
“Is the war over, Son?” she asked,
from the kitchen. I was in the living room, standing still. I didn't answer her question. She should have known the goddamn
answer, but she probably didn't. Then again, I wouldn't blame her. I wasn't sure myself if the war over. Was it??? Yes, we
won. NO! We won! Holy fuck! WE WON!
“I missed you!" she said.
Sure she did! She probably was with daddy and Erik
the whole time, staring at their pictures and crying. I'm sure she was worried about me once a while, but I was all she got,
and she SHOULD worry about me. Did she really? Who knows? Maybe. Maybe not.
All of a sudden, my body was shivering.
I breathed heavily. My shivering became more intense. Mama walked up to me. She had an expression on her face—I wasn't
sure if she was worried or shocked.
“What’s wrong with you?"
A cry of pain escaped my throat. I was in pain.
Tears rolled down mama's cheeks as she said, “What’s
I collapsed to the floor and blacked out. Well,
I didn't exactly black out. I just shut my eyes and I had a vision of the damn war:
The violence! The blood! The victims!
The enemies! The victory! Winning the war wasn’t everything. I would never forget my friends who were murdered by the
enemies. I would never forget the familiar face that belonged to someone, who was special to me.
It was crazy shite!
When I opened my eyes again, a gasp escaped my mouth. I breathed heavily.
“What happened, Son?”
“I—I…” My voice trailed
off. I didn't know what the hell to say. I was silent. Completely silent.
“Are you okay?”
I stood up on my feet and yelled, “NO! I’M
NOT OKAY, MAMA. I’M NOT!” Tears filled my eyes. I felt like falling off a cliff or something. I felt like committing
suicide. I HATED it. I HATED my life.
“Why are you acting strange? What happened
there?" Acting strange? What the fuck was she talking about? How the hell was I acting strange? I returned from a goddamn
war! I had to act strange for the first few days. So, did I act strange? I guess I sort of did, but I don't know. My actions
were strange, through her eyes!
So, I took a deep breath and said, “It was a horrible war! I—never thought
in my life that one day I’d be standing and watching men fight for their land, for their freedom. I—I always wanted
to join the war, Mama. I wanted to be just like daddy. You know that. You do! But I never thought how brutal it could be.
I wish I didn’t join the war.”
“I understand war is horrible!"
"NO! You don't fuckin' understand!"
"No! Don't tell me what to do!"
I didn't feel like being told what to do at that
time. When I saw the angry expression on her face, I decided to continue on the story.
“I saw some of my pals there, like Zachary,
Martin and John. But, they all died!"
Tears filled my eyes. But then again I shouldn't
have felt sorry for them. They're all resting now.
“I wish I was the one that got shot. At least
I wouldn’t have suffered.”
“Don’t say that, Son! Who would take
care of me? Only you can. If you died in the war, I would’ve killed myself from sadness.” Sure she would! No,
she would! I know she would! She wouldn't have anybody to take care of her.
“Don’t say that!" I felt sorry for
her. I really did. And then, I cried on her shoulders.
My heart stopped beating for a moment before the
gunshots were heard. As dead bodies collapsed to the ground, I glanced in horror. And then, I caught the sight of the familiar
face. Who was he? I didn’t know. I glanced to my right and screamed when my friend, Martin collapsed to the ground.
Blood gushed out of his chest.
“Martin! Don’t die, man! I’m
here with you. Stay awake. Don’t die!”
He closed his eyes slowly. I cried as I stared at his lifeless body.
I stood up, reloaded my rifle and shot an enemy,
and another one. And then, I saw the familiar face again. Staring at him, I aimed my rifle on him! He aimed his rifle on me.
We were staring at each other. I was about to pull the trigger, but I stopped. My friend Zachary turned and looked at me.
“Shoot him, man!”
With a deep breath, I pulled—the—trigger.
And the war had ended. Yes, Canada had won the war. We celebrated our victory, even though my heart wasn’t joyful.
Before we went home, I wanted to know who the familiar face was. And I wish I didn’t because the familiar face was of…
“What did you say, Son?”
I opened my eyes and removed my head from my mama's
“I killed Erik! I shot him!”
I felt like flames of hell burnt my heart. I couldn't
“What are you talking about?” asked
“I killed Erik. I killed the brother I always
wondered where he went. When I saw him, I felt like I knew him. I felt like I was looking at myself.”
Tears filled her eyes.
“Your brother didn’t run away. He was
“No! I thought he ran away,” I said.
Kidnapped? What the fuck? Is this for real? Is
my ear actually hearing this? Fuck! No! NO!! Goddamn it! No!
“No! I lied to you and said that he ran away,
but the truth is that he was kidnapped. You were a young boy at that time, so I didn’t want to scare you.”
"Young boy? I was ten years old mama!"
"That's a young age! You were a kid still!"
Tears of flame streamed down my eyes. I wanted
to shoot myself.
“YOU LIED TO ME! YOU LIED TO ME!"
“Calm down, dear son! Calm down!”
“DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN!”
She struggled as she stood and walked toward the
“I’ll make you a lemonade to calm you
Lemonade? Fuck that! I didn't want a damn lemonade.
I wanted my brother—Erik!
“I don’t need a damn lemonade to calm
down, Mama!” I said, as I followed her to the kitchen. The next thing was crazy. Pure insanity. I grabbed a knife, which
lay on the table, and held it tight.
“Son, please take a deep breath and calm
“I WON’T CALM DOWN!”
I raised the knife and pierced mama's chest.
Red blood rushed out from the stab wound.
Mama collapsed to the floor. She struggled for
“W—h—y?” she whispered.
I dropped the knife on the floor and stared silently
at mama. A shiver went down to my spine as mama struggled for breaths.
Mama raised her hand and dropped it. Her body lay
on the floor…lifeless!
Winning the war wasn’t everything.
the fuck did I do? Damn it! Why? Was it because the war had a big effect on me? Why? I don't know why I killed my mama. You
could say that it was a moment of anger. I didn't know what to do next. I stood still in front of the body. I was shivering
like crazy. You could say that I was scared to death. And then, I heard it—the doorbell. Who the hell could come to
my house at such a time? I walked to the door and answered it. To my surprise, it was our family friend, officer Johnstone.
Of all days and times, he came today! Why? I wanted to ask him. But—but, tears filled my eyes. I went on my knees and
held the Johnstone's hand and kissed it continuously as I said, "Officer! You must help me! I killed my mama!" It's like they
say, "Nobody gets away with murder!"
I'm sure you know what happened to me next. Well,
if you don't, then I'll tell you. I spent the next few years in the mental asylum. I had my own personal cell. How exciting!
The people there were nice. They let me walk around in the asylum park sometimes. And the food was good. On Sundays, we had
chicken, but not roasted, just boiled. It was good since it was chicken!
Am I crazy? Yes. Anyone who kills their mother
is crazy. But, now that I think about it, I wish I hadn't done it. I wish I controlled my emotions. But, it's too late now.
my story will be famous enough to the point where it would interest a moviemaker or something. That'd be cool! A movie about
me! Wow! Anyways, If I were the moviemaker or producer or something, I'd call it: Me, Myself, and Insanity.
Copyright Hasan Abood 2004
Hasan Abood was born in Baghdad, Iraq. At the age of 11, he moved to
British Columbia, Canada. he started writing at the age of 12. Currently, he is working on a novel and a screenplay, which
he hopes that it would be turned into a big Hollywood film!
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