When going to college, I, like most of my friends, was broke. I tried job after job to meet the financial needs of my drinking habits, entertainment expenses and of course, rent. But I could never find a job that I liked, it was either too boring, didn't pay enough..blah, blah, blah.
One day, my friend told me of a job where you would care for mentally handicapped people who were discharged from the local mental hospital a while ago. I had relatively no experience with these types of people, but I was willing to take on anything at that point. The position that I was hired for was an overnight shift. Basically, I would stay up all night, watch for emergencies with the clients and help them to the bathroom and get them up in the mornings. Pretty easy work. I could even do my homework there.
One night I was sitting in the kitchen studying for an exam and I fell asleep at the table. I must have been sleeping pretty hard core, but I do know that I heard someone shuffling down the hall to the bathroom, stop by the kitchen, stare at me and then continue on their way. I woke myself up and groggily stood, then made my way to the bathroom to check on the client. I was in a pretty good daze, but I remember stopping at the bathroom door and peering in. It was dark but I could see the shape of a man sitting on the toilet rocking back and forth. I cleared my throat and asked the 'man' if he needed any help. As I asked the question he looked up at me and gave me the spookiest stare. I will never forget it, cold, vacant and slightly insane. He was drooling and I could see that he was missing teeth through his lunatic grin. I stared back at him and was horrified to realize that I didn't recognize him. There are only 5 residents in a house and this man was definitely not one of them. I backed away from the door and started to shake and became cold. The man dropped his gaze and continued to rock back and forth on the toilet. I turned and started down the hall to the bedrooms, turning on every light on my way down. I checked every room on that floor and everyone was in their beds, sound asleep. There was one guy who slept downstairs, but I just KNEW that he'd be in bed fast asleep.
As I passed the bathroom I forced myself to look in, and and sure enough...the toilet was empty, there was no proof that anyone had been in there. I raced downstairs practically in tears from my fright, only to find that client was fast asleep, tucked into bed the same way I had left him four hours earlier.
By this time I am freaking out and ready to call it quits and just leave. But I stuck out my shift, with every light on in the house and the television blaring.
In the morning I told my supervisor what had happened and I saw her face go white and she looked as I had felt that night. She told me to explain what he looked like and when I did, she went to the bookshelves and pulled out a huge folder. In the folder was the past history and medical files of a man named 'John' who had lived there, but died of intestinal problems the year before. He apparently was a rocker..especially on the toilet. The past staff had problems getting him off the toilet in the middle of the night because he liked it there. As I looked at the picture next to the medical files I recognized the same smile...toothless, drooling and slightly insane.
I wish I could say that I quit that job, but hey, the money was great....I just switched to a daytime shift.