59
 

"Doctor Martin Grant, what a pleasant surprise. I understand to get sprung from this establishment I’ll need an attorney. N’cest pas?"

Remington, having cross-examined Nurse Somerset on the finer points of his 'tacit incarceration,' has determined he was committed, i.e. certified by two law enforcement officers called to the scene of his inopportune mental breakdown—details of which are logged in his chart hence jogging his drug-dulled memory.

"Cured we may never be, Doc; whereas liberated might yet be possible."

(Provided we keep quiet about our work—if we haven’t blabbed already—and mum’s the word about Suzette, not to mention you-know-who—our sex-crazed younger self—lobbying, as no doubt he is, to have us cooped up indefinitely—which could be the case—justifying his filial—clone-drone—devotion with do-gooder delusions about playing Henry Higgins to My Fair Lady—our Fair Lady—conspiring with this shrink—to deprive us of...)

"Free will is the issue. Each of us, inalienably endowed with the capacity for wrong and right, cannot be responsible unless we have that choice—the reinstatement of which, I’m sure you agree, is a therapist’s prime objective. But how a patient demonstrates he is capable, after actions to the contrary, is a sort of Gordian knot. Are you with me so far?"

(Grant looks skeptical, if you ask—I didn’t ask you; I’m asking him—and based on his expression, I’d take another tack; or stick to the legal argument; think threat; do we constitute a danger to ourselves or to society?)

"Removing these restraints might be a good place to start."

"Do you recall the circumstances that...?"

"Made them necessary? I do, indeed. Dinner. I was dining alone, as is my wont, at Bastille; perhaps you know it?"

"The Maitre D’ reports that you insisted the table be set for two."

"Quite right. My son was due in town that very evening; I was expecting him to join me."

(Why fib? He has a comprehensive account of—merely sucker punch; watch; a feint.)

Doctor Grant remains expressionless.

"Very good, Doc; you nary betrayed a blink at my bald-faced lie. I wanted the second place setting to indulge my second self."

(Now you’ve done it. Why not sign us up for good old-fashioned electric shock therapy?)

"Quiet."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I talk to myself, Dr. Grant. Have done, for as long as I can remember. Normally it’s discreet. Unfortunately, at that restaurant, it got out of hand. Worrisome, I admit; I rarely lose control."

(That impressed him, sure enough—this will prove how much.)

"Which I’m eager to display; if you’ll do the honors?"

Remington raises his wrists to the limits of their tethers. Dr. Grant reflects a moment, then obliges, releasing all four cuff-lets on respective wrists and ankles. Remington, quick as a stick-up, lifts emancipated fingers and gives his itchy scalp an overdue scratch.

"Ahhh! If only you could appreciate how long I’ve longed to do that!"

Dr. Grant, disguising a flinch at the patient’s sudden movement, coughs into his fist, then pretends to clear his throat.

"This 'second self,' Mr. Falk. Tell me more about... him?"

"Shrewd of you to inquire. I’ve never questioned my alter-ego’s gender. Yes, he’s a him. In fact, we two are brothers, as in Siamese twins."

(Careful, Stuy. Don’t go off the deep end. We’re trying to show we’re sane not convince him to the contrary.)

"You realize, Mr. Falk, that..."

"R is a total fantasy?"

("R?" “R!?” Since when...?)

"Will you butt out and let me handle this?"

"Was that R?"

"Was who R, Doc?"

"The person you just admonished."

Remington cocks his head, distends his cheek with his tongue, pins his chin to his chest, and regards the Doctor warily.

"It was. It is. Always has and ever will be, world without end, Amen."

"Meaning?"

"He and I are synonymous, co-dependent, and forever inseparable—irrespective an earlier BOTCHED attempt."

(Stuy, you’re losing it.)

"At one time you were joined?"

"In my mind, Dr. Grant, in my creative imagination. Realistically speaking, the scars do not exist."

"Yet you still see them?"

"Let’s just say I harbor hallucinations that still mark the spot."

"Where? Show me."

(Stuy!)

"Relax."

Remington pulls up his smock to expose the site of 'carnage,' gazing with detachment at the mangled crimps of flesh, perfectly aware that the Doctor does not see them.

"How would you describe the area?"

"Nothing untoward. Clean as a whistle, actually; somewhat pasty; seems I’ve lost my tan."

"I take it, then, you’re aware that...?"

"My illusion is delusional? Incontestably. I’m merely trying to explain that my... 'lapse' let’s call it, my fall from grace, my short-lived nervous breakdown was a temporary deviation from an odd but lucid norm. Harmless, I might add. I did thrash about, but I launched no physical attacks upon sundry onlookers. I believe my only 'crime' was a lack of proper decorum."

"Brought on by what, do you suppose?"

"Something not to be repeated."

"And over which you are confident...?"

"I can exercise control? Absolutely! Have I gesticulated wildly since my limbs have been unbound; have I frothed at the mouth or ranted and raved incoherently? Sedation notwithstanding, I believe I’ve proved my point."

"As you said, Mr. Falk, it’s 'a good place to start.' The test will come when you are asked, as I ask you now, to abide these rude restraints, allowing me, if you would, to slip them back on."

(Run for it!—what; and spoil my plodding progress? Patience, "R," if patients you would have us cease to be.)

BACK

NEXT