Godless Monkey will be away on a photo expedition of Mexico, Central America and Columbia from March 19th to April 20th. I’m running some of my old stories in my absence for your enjoyment.
Arriving at 10 A.M. for his briefing with the hospital director, Dr. Frankle was in high spirits, looking forward to a break in his routine. The director, Dr. Stevens, greeted him in the lobby and they went to his office. Dr. Stevens was all business.
“Dr. Frankle, I’ve spoken with the family, and while I understand their concerns I want to make it clear that Marvin Howard is still in need of constant care. His state is little changed since he came to us several years ago. He dissociates frequently at random intervals and can be quite unpredictable.”
Dr. Frankle nodded. “Yes, I’ve reviewed his file. I’m sure you’re doing all you can for him; I’m only here to put the family’s minds at rest. I’d like to take him out to lunch and interview him. I’ll bring him right back afterwards. Would that suit you, Dr. Stevens?”
“It is the family’s wish, and while it’s a bit unusual I want them to know Marvin is receiving excellent care, so go right ahead, Dr. Frankle. I’ll have an orderly take you to Marvin’s room. He’s expecting you. I suggest you converse with him for a while and put him at ease before you leave. Please remember to sign out at the desk before the two of you leave. It’s been a pleasure to meet you.”
Dr. Frankle could tell Dr. Stevens had misgivings about the whole thing, but he assured him it would all be fine and proceeded upstairs with the orderly. The orderly made introductions and Dr. Frankle suggested they move to the day room to talk. When they got there he found Marvin much different than he expected.
“So, Marvin, do you understand why I’m here? Has your family advised you about our outing?”
Marvin smiled. “Oh yes, Dr. Frankle. I’m very happy to have this opportunity. I haven’t been off the grounds since I got here, and I do feel it would benefit me to go into town. Thank you so much.”
Dr. Frankle was starting to wonder if maybe the family had a point. “Well, good Marvin. Would you tell me a little about your routine here at the hospital?”
The formalities went well and Dr. Frankle decided after half an hour of small talk it was time to go into town, so they went downstairs and signed out and then headed into the business district to find a cafe where they could have lunch in relative peace and quiet.
Wanting to get as much out of the interview as he could, Dr. Frankle asked questions about Marvin’s upbringing under the guise of making polite conversation. Marvin was forthcoming and seemed delighted by all the sights and sounds he encountered on the drive. Dr. Frankle was reminded of a child on a school field trip.
Pulling into a multi-level parking lot in the central district, they made their way up the levels in search of an empty spot. Finding one, Dr. Frankle parked the car and turned to say something to Marvin when he felt a sharp pain shoot down his left arm. He clutched his chest and pitched forward onto the steering wheel gasping for breath. After a moment he slumped and remained motionless.
Marvin gazed calmly at the doctor, then stared straight ahead for a few seconds. His face went blank and he sat motionless. Abruptly, he reached for Dr. Frankle’s wrist and felt for a pulse. Finding none, he opened the car door and got out. Straightening his jacket, he closed the door and looked about.
“I have business to attend to,” he stated matter-of-factly, and headed for the elevator.
Part 3 Tomorrow…