A banker, businessman and the mayor of town N. wakes up and finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings. He sees a white ceiling and padded walls, his heart suddenly fills with anxious presentiment.
"Where am I? What’s happened to me?"
In the next moment the gaunt face of a man hangs over him.
"Who are you?" asks the Mayor.
The pale face comes closer and whispers "Elvis is my name, Elvis Presley."
The Mayor sees insane eyes staring down at him and a terrible guess, like an electric shock, explodes in his mind: I am in a psycho ward.
He tries to get up but finds he is strapped to the bed. A voice sounding like his own rambles, “Why am I here? What happened last night? I was drinking in the hotel with some girl....” And that’s where it ended. He could remember nothing more.
Elvis sits on the edge of the Mayor’s bed, holding a match box full of pills. "These are dangerous," began Elvis. "It’s the pills that kill you. Don't take them. I put mine under my tongue. I never swallow. Dangerous things, these little pills."
The door opens and a grey haired doctor enters, accompanied by a nurse.
"How do you feel?" the doctor asks the Mayor without taking a look at the medical chart.
"I can't remember anything."
"Don't try, your brain needs a rest."
Again, the Mayor tries to rise from his bed, but thick leather straps hold him down.
"Doctor, neither my body nor my brain need rest. I am in absolutely normal condition and I must go to work. I run a big company."
"There are over two-hundred patients in this hospital. Every one of them believes he is normal."
"Doctor, I demand to be released and that you explain what is going on here! I am an important person, the mayor in my town. I am rich and powerful and I have influential friends ..."
"Marvelous," interrupted the doctor. "If you are important then you are in the right place. You have already met Elvis Presley. We also have Julius Caesar, Napoleon and many other prominent people. Welcome to our community of the rich and famous, and shut up! You are not in your town now. You are in a medical facility. No one cares about your delusions."
The Mayor voice get louder, beads of perspiration appear on his forehead, he tries to object but no one listens. The doctor gives instructions to the nurse, "Triple of Galoperidol for the patient plus all the usual shots. Double coffee for me, black with no sugar."
Then they leave. As the door closes behind them, for the first time in his life the Mayor feels utterly impotent and powerless, as though snatched up by some beast and thrown into a place where no money, no lawyers, no friends can help.
"Hey, Elvis, are you here?" The pale face appears overhead. "What is Galoperidol?"
"It is very dangerous. It makes you want to cry. I never had a triple, but with a double you feel like standing, but if you stand you want to sit, then if you sit you want to lie down, and if you lie down then you want to stand up..."
The mayor looked at Elvis and wondered who this man was in his previous life. His unshaven face has features of intelligence. Maybe he is a writer. Maybe a dissident stuck here since the Soviet days. Or maybe some banker who got dumped here only a few months ago. This thought sends a shiver through the Mayor’s skin.
The nurse rushes back into the ward with a small tray that carries a row of filled syringes. She holds up one and shoots a small squirt into the air. Without a word, she moves toward the Mayor
"You will not use psychotropic drugs on me! I demand to speak to the head physician..." He continues to struggle and rant, but the mayors bonds render him powerless to resist.
"You just spoke with the head physician," she answers as she begins the first of his injections. “This will help. It grants you peace. You’ll never be disturbed by opinions again.”
As the heat from the Galoperidol scurries through the Mayor's body, questions knock inside his head. Who put me here? He wonders who would do this. Who would love for him to end up in a mental institution? Then a long scroll of names unrolls in his mind. Will I be found? Someone will search. Will I ever go home? Will I remember who I am?
When the drug reaches his brain it hits like meat falling into a hot frying pan. The Mayor shudders and feels his thoughts, his body, and even the universe tumble randomly. He sees Elvis sitting on the ceiling, holding the match box.
"Pills are dangerous," says Elvis and throws one at the Mayor. "Don't take them. I put them under my tongue to hide them. Very dangerous things, these little pills."
“So … this is insanity,” the Mayor whispers as he slips into unconsciousness.