"What do you mean he’s 'incommunicado'? This is an emergency!"
heard about the fire. We think you father did, too. Since last night he’s been
totally withdrawn, talks to no one but himself. I’m fairly sure a phone
call—even one from you..."
Cut off by a resounding
Doctor Grant gives vent to a consternated snort; his patient's so-called progress more aptly labeled
relapse—Tardive Dyskinesia, coupled with trauma,
having greased the slide toward madness—is hardly an endorsement for 'remedies' he prescribed. How to re-establish a therapeutic dialogue?
walked into our room?
Stuy-Rem’s right eye joins his left in counterfeiting sleep.
I hear noise.
Can we sing?
To drown him
♫ I went to the
The birds and
beasts were there
The big baboon
by the light
of the moon
Was combing his
auburn hair ♫
is he? ‘Fraid so. Anything new, anything interesting? Possibly. Oh? He’s
espousing a theory. Some trendy drug therapy perhaps, a pharmaceutical cocktail
that just came onto the market—side-effect-free, of course, except for the
piddling two percent that develop gills and fancy themselves amphibians? No; he
may be onto something. Grant? Fat chance; the man’s imagination is criminally
Chimera. I beg your pardon? He’s positing a suspicion that we might be a
chimera. As in body of a goat, tail of a serpent, head of a lion? As in housing
tissues of diverse genetic constitution. Really. What, pray tell, could have
prompted No-Great-Shakes Grant to postulate such a novelty? Shall we tune in and
Well, I’d rather you summarize; he may falter if we show him genuine
Opening his eyes—a droll expression (between grimaces) spreading across his face—Stuy-Rem
guardedly attends the words of his psychiatrist.
I’d have to run
tests, naturally, but if borne out, the twin you’ve always—intuited (?)—may have
In our mother’s
womb, I take it; an egg that split in two? No; two separate eggs. Fraternal not
identical? Explaining, if he’s right, the double DNA; mine from the twin who
died. Mine from the twin who lived? Ours from the combination. Which took place?
Drollery turned to derision, Stuy-Rem re-submerges.
♫ The monkey,
he got drunk,
And fell on the
sneezed and fell
on his knees
And that was
end of the monk
Preoccupied, heretofore, with how
Suzette must be maintained (how to mix her compounds,
how to regulate her system, how to run her apparatus) Rockefeller finds
himself at a loss, a near total loss, once taking her out of
context—laboratory to living room a stultifying leap for cataleptic house guest
and hapless host alike, the latter utterly
ill-equipped to meet even simple needs, from nutrition to respiration (she might
starve, might again cease to breathe) causing him to rue the
very impulse that first got him involved. Lust, admittedly. The irresistible
prospect of sex with a perfect stranger: perfect in complexion, in
compliance, in anonymity—albeit brainless, helpless, disabled, and randomly
unresponsive. If only she were physically flawed, as well, her lack of
personality might suppress his ardor, but every inch of Suzette is a sensual
incitation, no matter she be a shadow of some
enigmatic self... a human being in any case... in
his care... in his home, the home of Rockefeller's childhood (bereft, for as long as he
remembers, of any female personage: no wet-nurse, nanny, or babysitter having ever
crossed Willeston Quay’s threshold; and though Rem had placed his son, perforce, under
others' supervision (delivering him and retrieving him to and from
various accommodations) home had been reserved for the two of
them exclusively; friends (what few they boasted) were entertained off site;
isolation (tacit or explicit) was the status quo enforced; thus seeing this
stretched out on the parlor couch wrapped loosely in a plastic drop cloth is a shock
on several levels:
Rem would disapprove
Fell had doubts himself
about committing improprieties
home was not the place for
Stirring within her impromptu sheathe, Suzette shows signs of life,
rising from her stupor to a state of pseudo-consciousness. "Eyes wide shut" might
best describe the cast of her
facade—beautiful though it be in unblemished splendor, innocent
vulnerability, enthralling opalescence, like pristine snow where
not a single footprint mars the picture-perfect surfaces, swells and
hollows sculpted into will-'o-the-wisp-like drifts, forms enticing contact
tentative yet obsessive, Rockefeller aching with unrequited passion .
was it unrequited? When yielding to temptation had he inexcusably sinned, violated, taken craven
advantage of a poor defenseless creature whose anatomy sans an intellect could
do nothing but submit, endure his unsolicited fondling shy of reciprocity,
neither gooseflesh raised nor nipples roused implying acquiescence, pleasure
pathetically one-sided, hers estranged from his? If only he could mend what Rem
had disconnected, reach perchance
to teach Suzette’s sequestered wits, render null and void his father's
techno-alchemy, then, and only then, would conscience lose its sting.