Session 4

Posted on July 7, 2015. Filed under: dissociative identity disorder, schizophrenia |

Doctor Donald’s black eye shone at me across the Formica. It fair lit up the room. His eye. Not the Formica. And I felt, in the oppressive gloom of the interview room’s four tight walls, that I’d tumbled into a terse parody of some 1940s’ American detective novel. Hammett. Chandler. Pulp fiction. But I was no Spade or Marlowe. Something wasn’t quite right in this crazy place. That something was probably me.

“Harry’s got it in for you,” Doc leaned forward in his seat, dissipating the healthy space between us.

I stayed where I was. I would’ve leaned away, but had nowhere to lean. So I stayed there. Stuck. Him gumming up the decorous distance. Me wondering how close he’d have to come before his other eye went black.

“What’d you do to him?”

“Nothing,” I lied. “How’s your mother?”

“Not talking to me…”

“What’d you do?”

“Nothing,” he lied.

His one good eye watched my face. He wanted me to ask again. Ask again: What did he do to her? Like I gave a rat crap.

“She’s only happy when she’s got someone to rail against,” he mused, still watching.

“Rail back, once in a while. Let the old bag know where she stands,” I was talking – but I wasn’t listening to myself: an increasingly sweaty brain had defaulted to raddled old clichés. It’d be what he expected. He’d be comforted, reassured. “Tell her her life is just as worthy as yours; a vicarious existence bemoaning your simple faux pas and minor indiscretions is only a reflection of herself in you.”

“What…?” far from reassured, the one good eye squinted at me, perplexed. God knows why. He’s an intelligent man.

“She wishes she was you. Hates it that she’s not. And’ll take it out on you until the day she…”

“You’re calling my mother an ‘old bag’?” he interrupted, astounded. God knows why. She is an old bag.

I remembered my latexed fingers touching the side of the dead girl’s pale cherry pink bloom – and wondered why I’d touched her there. Her left breast.

And the door flew open.

Doc and I simultaneously looked to it: Battered battleship grey bottom half, picked-apart pastel blue top half… the corridor loomed there: morbidly watching us. Watching us, watching it. It didn’t move. Neither did we.

And the silence suddenly shot us through us all.

“Un ange passant…” the doctor murmured. And the man rose up a thousand-fold in my surprised estimation.

An angel passes.

“I’m sorry.” I heard myself speak.

Doc closed his eyes and turned back to me. Only the good eye finally opened up.

“I didn’t mean to… hurt you,” I murmured.

He paused before,

“Nor me, you.”

And suddenly I really did feel sorry for blacking his eye. And I felt sorry, too, for being sorry. But I honestly hadn’t meant to hurt him. So I sat by and watched his forefinger wend uneasily across the tabletop to touch the back of my hand. And, naturally, what with a compromising situation to be had, that’s when Harry had to pass by the open doorway and see us there: Doc and I might as well’ve been French kissing.

My belly cramped.

Real pain. Deep. Dark. Inside of me.

Harry.

There he was. Stood in the doorway; ignoring Doctor Donald’s hurriedly retracted finger; weighing up whether he should speak to me. Or not.

“Hey.” I sounded feeble. Sorry. Guilty.

“Why were you at the Nursing Home?” Harry spoke, at last.

“Who told you I was at the Nursing Home?”

Beck. Never could keep his trap shut.

“DS Young.”

Oh.

“Visiting.”

“You’re lying,” Harry could be pretty blunt.

Doc’s thick eyebrows twitched with intrigue: he surreptitiously glanced my way, relishing the moment, awaiting an outburst of outraged response, perhaps.

“You know me better than that,” I muttered blandly.

Harry paused, probably thinking ‘turns out I don’t know you at all’ – but he’d never say so. Then, to the doctor, indicating me, Harry asked,

“Are you going to press charges?”

Doc dragged his good eye off of me and strained instead at Harry. Harry jerked his head toward the interview room directly across the lonely corridor: So Doc upped and duly disappeared with Harry behind another barricade – and the ache, the drag, the pain deep down in my belly, gently curved me toward the table… where I waited, hands hunched between my knees, forehead resting against the cool blue Formica… until I smelled smoke. Cigarette smoke.

Upon the periphery, somewhere to the back of me, somewhere to the right, cigarette smoke drifted…

And there she was.

A woman.

Sat on a chair.

Micro skirt. Macro shoes. All sleek dark-bobbed; made up all pale. She was petite. So petite. And Chinese.

I bi-located to the door. Somehow: I was sat at the desk… then, I was there: a half split moment later, maybe the exact same moment; in shock, there in the open doorway – as slack-jawed as a Shady Pines’ patron, gaping at the crossed-legged lady studiously examining the bright end of her cigarette – before she looked up at me… and smiled.

I had to say something. Anything…

“She did it with her stick,” she said.

I stared at her blankly. She was talking to me.

“The crazy old lady,” she went on. “She tripped you up with the hook end of her walking stick. Stronger than she looks.”

“I never saw you come in…” was all I could muster.

“You saw. You just didn’t notice.”

“You weren’t…” I was confused, “…here.”

“I’m here now.”

“You were here already?”

“Nope.”

“Didn’t I see you?”

“You wouldn’t have if I wasn’t here.”

“But didn’t I see you?” I struggled.

“Apparently not.”

“Didn’t he – Doc – see you?”

“He’ll never see me.”

“Who are you?”

“It’ll come to you. Look, Corpse Lady, the sooner you tell him, the sooner this whole ‘thing’ will be over. Well, not over – it’ll never be that. But you can start getting on with it again.”

“Getting on with what?”

“Life. Idiot.”

Wonderment compounded.

And confounded.

“Who are you?”

“You’re too preoccupied with death.” She threw both hands up, cigarette still in one, to intimate something big and horrible, “‘Death!'”

“How did you get in here?”

“Talk to him.” Suddenly adding, “Harry – before you ask.”

“Why?”

“Why d’you think?”

I took a moment: I was actually going to answer this woman’s question,

“To appease my guilt?”

She gracefully rose and smiled at me; then sashayed right past me whirling on her fuck-me/fuck-you-too heels out into the corridor,

“Not your guilt…” she fully faced me – sadness darkening her perfectly symmetrical face, “Your grief.”

And she was gone. Away up the corridor, somehow. And there I was: suddenly facing Harry opening up the door opposite for Doc. And Harry paused, recoiling almost, at my unexpected proximity.

He thought I’d been listening at the door.

But he’d never say so.

“You’re lucky your police associates aren’t inclined to indict the hired help,” he said instead.

So Doc was an associate now, and I was the hired help.

“I would never’ve said a thing,” Doc explained pleasantly, “But the new DS actually saw you hit me and felt he had to mention it because we were on the job.” He grinned bashfully.

In his dreams.

“The police job,” he clarified to Harry – but Harry, ignoring him, glanced to a spot on the wall above my head – then glanced away again up the – empty – corridor,

“Is there anything you want to tell me?” he asked of me.

And time and flesh and breath fell still and silent.

So much I needed to tell. I couldn’t let it out. I couldn’t get it out.

And the rare stillness: the uncommon, unnatural moment; the confusion the silence leaves us with; worse than being strangers, worse than being alone: Harry’s essence closed up to me… and drifted away.

“Am I under arrest?” I blurted to stop it drifting, to drag it back.

“What would you be under arrest for?”

“Doc’s eye.”

Doc grinned again – but nobody took any notice: he, like Near-Aways, melted beyond our ken – and Harry and I, no matter how long or short our inevitably transient acquaintance… were left with little comfort.

I was afraid to be alone.

But he needed to be.

And he found a new spot to stare at,

“What were you doing at the Home? DS Young presumed you were there as part of the investigation. You and I know that’s not the case.”

“People still tell me what’s happening, y’know. Just because you’re not talking to me doesn’t mean other people aren’t…”

“So who’s still talking to you?” Christ, he’s mean. “Which people, specifically?” he rubbed it in. “We’ve kept this very quiet…”

“You can’t keep murder quiet.”

“Who says it’s murder?”

I stared at him – but he pulled out his wallet and started to flick through it,

“Had you been there before?”

“Where?”

A flash of anger drove him to glare at me momentarily – then away again, quickly.

“No,” I said.

“Still lying…” he murmured, rifling through the receipts, cash and credit cards.

“I’ve never lied to you…”

“You’re lying right now.”

“You think I had something to do with it? You think I stripped her naked, did her in and shoved her out the window?”

“She was naked before she was ‘done in’?”

I paused before,

“Maybe.”

“Why’s that?”

“Why’s that?” Doc piped up, reminding us he was there. “Who’d let you get ’em starkers in a place like that? If you fancied a quickie – and it’d have to be a quickie, that place is a hive of activity all hours of the day and night – you wouldn’t risk taking all your clothes off…”

Harry looked at him sternly.

“What?” Doc looked backed at him, puzzled.

“The murderer,” I advised Doc, “- if she was murdered – would’ve taken a whole lot longer to strip her post mortem than if she was to strip herself pre mortem.”

Dead bodies are really, really heavy.

And uncooperative.

Doc tended not to think things through. And suddenly feigned pain in his blackened eye. But there was no need to feel embarrassed. I didn’t care. And Harry: Harry thinks everyone’s an idiot.

“So…” Harry pulled a business card out of his wallet and gave it a cursory once over, “say I believe you somehow got wind of the thing and raced over for a butcher’s… how come you’d been there before?”

“I never said I’d been there before.”

“But you have been.”

I turned to Doc,

“D’you reckon I have to answer that question?”

“Nope.” Doc put his serious face on. If the wind turned his face’d stay that way: inane.

I looked back to Harry,

“Am I under arrest?”

“Answer the question.”

“You’ll think I’m lying.”

“I’ll know whether you’re lying or not.”

“You’re psychic all of a sudden?”

Harry wouldn’t rise,

“No,” he said slowly. “I know the truth. And I just want to know whether you’re being straight with me.”

I glanced up the corridor – and remembered the Chinese lady with the shoes.

Suddenly I wanted to go after her.

“Did you know the girl?” But Harry wouldn’t let me.

“Of course not. And it’s a pretty big leap from ‘whether I’d been in the building before’ to ‘did I know the victim’…”

“Did you?”

“No. And don’t tell me I’m lying about it.”

Harry held the business card up toward me. It read:

‘Dr Morana Blue. Psychiatry & Criminal Psychology.’

I stared at it.

It was my business card.

Harry slowly stuck it in my direction – forcing me to take it from him as, indicating the card, he smoothly re-pocketed his wallet,

“We found one of those in the pocket of the dead girl’s uniform.”

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now I’m really scared

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