Working Title: All Face – Session Four

Short one that’ll need a lot of work when it’s time for editing (…like the rest of it.) Session five will be posted Monday.

            “I watched it,” Neill said. “Is that why you’re like this now?”

“You mean, was I that traumatized? I’m not that fragile, doc.”

“The way you ‘turned off’ was…”

“I’m always like this when I don’t have my face.”

“Oh.” That lent credence to the theory put forth by one of the previous doctors of multiple consciousness, but he hadn’t heard of any that were triggered in such a manner. “Can you explain that a little more?”

The patient looked up, almost contemplative. “No. Not like this.” He looked at Neill. “I’ve cooperated, doc. How about a trade? My name for my face.” There was an odd switch in emphasis there, like the two ‘mys’ didn’t refer to the same people.

“I would still have to get it authorized.”

“You’ll try?”

“Alright.” Neill paused. “Do you know about multiple consciousness disorder?”

“Yes. I’m not.”

“There’s a form called ‘median’-“

“Are you the same at work as at home?”

It was a common sort of argument against a singlet being median. “No.”

“Me neither. It’s just stronger. This is…” The ‘s’ was held a moment as he thought ‘…my travelling form.”

“Do you hear voices?”

“Sometimes. Just memories.” A hint of a smile. “Are there any other stereotypes of insanity you want to trot out?”

“Are you saying you’re not crazy?”

“I don’t know, doc. I’m not a psychiatrist. I don’t think I am, but that doesn’t mean anything, does it?”

“Why did you kill those people?”

The patient’s tongue flicked against his lip. “You’ll have to ask me when I have my face.”

“Why’s that?”

“I can’t tell you without. I don’t know.” His eyebrows puckered a second. “They were bad or I wouldn’t have done it.”

Neill wrote down ‘disconnect from his own actions.’

“Do you remember what you did?”

“Yes. But like an old movie. No sound, no color.”

“Have you ever taken drugs?”

A flicker of amusement. “Only the ones forced on me.” He was on half a dozen things, prescribed by the previous doctor. Neill hadn’t touched them.

“Do they bother you?”

“They… make the day jump.”

He hadn’t heard it put like that before, but could guess what he meant. “The time goes slow sometimes and speeds along others, you mean?”

“Yes.”

“Anything else?”

“I’m sleepy a lot. It’ss… odd.”

“Odd, how?”

“I have a sleep schedule. It’s odd to not stick to it.”

“You’re not used to getting sleepy? What if you stay up late?” [he should ask about insomnia]

“I don’t.”

“Never? Why not?”

“I stick to my schedule.”

“What if you’re busy?”

“I’m not.”

That sounded almost robot-like again. Something occurred to Neill.

“Your crimes occurred all times of the day and night.”

“Yes. Were you including when I have my face in your questions.”

“Yes, of course.”

“You should have said, doc.” He closed his eyes. “I don’t like being sleepy.”

Neill wasn’t sure if he was quiet or asleep. “John?”

“Yes.” He opened his eyes. “He’s never taken drugs. He doesn’t sleep much, just when he needs to.”

“’He’?”

“It’s easier to separate myself.” Monotone again.

“Is that how you think about it?”

“I don’t often. I don’t usually use pronouns.”

“But you separate yourself like you are now from when you’re wearing make-up?”

A flicker of a frown. “Do you separate yourself from you as a doctor and you otherwise? Or you analyze people all the time?”

That was a bad habit Neill fought. “That’s not the same.”

“Why not? Everyone compartmentalizes themselves somehow.”

“Most people don’t refer to it.”

“You asked, doc.” He closed his eyes again. “You didn’t like calling me ‘John.’”

“I prefer to call people by their names.”

“Hmm.” A pause. “Ostanes.”

“What?”

“O-sta-nes. That’s my name.”

“Oh. Thank you.”

“Hmm.” He was relaxed. “I don’t like being sleepy.”

“The drugs are meant to help you.”

“How precisely? I don’t even know what I’m taking.”

“Multi-vitamins, apriprazole, risperdone, ziprasidone, and bupropion.”

“I’m not depressed. Or psychotic.”

“You know what they’re for?”

“People talk. I listen.” He opened his eyes slowly. “You don’t have my file in front of you. You must have a good memory.”

“I guess. You act depressed.”

“No. I don’t act like anything, so people assume.”

“But you understand how the way you act can make people think that?”

“I suppose. The drugs don’t make me feel any different.”

“I see.”

It was a little odd to talk to the patient – Ostanes – like a normal patient, even if he still spoke in a monotone. He needed to find out if Ostanes was his first or last name.

The chime sounded.

“Out of time, doc. See you next week.”

Neill presented his case to the head doctor. He didn’t expect to get approved after only a month with the patient. He’d taken Ostanes off everything but bupropion – a general use anti-depressant – and the multi-vitamin – he didn’t trust the cafeteria to provide complete nutrition.

“If I can get one session a week with him with the make-up and one without-“ he explained.

“No, no, I can see where you’re going with this, Neill.” He was looking over the proposed layout of the meetings. “This is well thought out. I see no problem with it, but the doctor’s board has to approve it.”

“Alright.”

“I can’t see it being denied. Two or three weeks probably.”

“Alright.”

 

2 thoughts on “Working Title: All Face – Session Four”

  1. What motivates Neill? Why is this inmate so important? What’s the general atmosphere of the prison? What’s the outside world like? What is all this in aid of?

  2. Hi! I know you! How are you doing?

    I tried to cover the first two in the first couple of chapters, in general. (Specifically: From chapter 1: “Neill had no expectation of better results, but it was his job after all, and despite the number of years, still his calling.” and Chapter 2: “Neill found himself interested more in one aspect of it: why? Why the unresponsiveness, the lack of emotion, the monotone?”

    The third will have to get cleared up in rewrite, although I hint at it. The last two should get answered in later chapters, especially in the last half (which I’m not sure I’m going to post, because in general it seems like a bad idea to put the entire novel out there before you’re sure if you want to publish it).

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