The police were all over the building, I walked over like any curious tenant expecting to see something interesting and most often finding something common and benign. But I winced back when I saw her face, it was powder white flesh, with little red bumps, a figure cutting straight into the wooden floor, long and slender aimlessness, her eyes were semi closed, fused to some forbidden sight that they had witnessed. I lost track of the crowd around me, I hung around her like a pearl necklace, trying to make something happen, I could not cross the police line, I could only watch, I wanted her to wake up and look my way, I saw her do it, only she didn’t, she couldn’t, her life force seemed gone. Then a paramedic remarks, “she has a heart beat. she is breathing.” They rushed her out of the place and so as fast as the specter arouse before us she was gone; the neighbors all talked about the supposed happenings, she had fainted, she had been raped, she had fallen down the steps, the woman that I saw was suffering something more startling, her face had fixed on something demonic, on something beyond the stairs, beyond a rape, but what I asked myself?
I walked into my chambers, brought myself the usual hot apple tea, there is no good reason why I like it, and I sat in my overly sumptuous bed, it is my habit to live under great comfort as an antidote for every day. My bed is tall and large, it could easily fit four, I sleep alone, have for at least twenty years, I am not an atheist of love, nor platonic nor an eunuch, I am a man fraught with unyielding uncertainty that the terrors of love and friendship far out-yield all their pleasures, I abstain from such company. The folk in the building say, “Good morning Mr. Solemly,” “Good evening Mr. Solemly” and “Good day Mr Solemly” but they know better than to ask me for cookies and tea or to invite me to join them to discuss the trapping mutterings of the goings in our apartment complex.
By most standards my wealth is mediocre, I own a small consultancy firm, we are mostly hired out as assistance to other grander scale projects, or to fill in when one of those giant systems architect’s can’t escape from one of his perks. We do ok financially, we had lager dreams once past, where we would build a semi-global empire, and fu fu our way through life, but the natural malice inherent within our own and our partners and customers dismembered the entire ideal. I stayed behind to collect the bone fragments and create the cozy but cold business that we have today. I mostly work the conceptual aspect of our projects and I let others manage the day to day operations and customer relationships. It all suits me fine, I am respected for my knowledge, which incidentally I don’t treasure, and so it is that I can manage without having much interference.
And so when I walked into the lobby of the apartments today, and see this woman, striking as she was a pose of indefatigable attention, and why not say it, I was moved in a different direction, it wasn’t that I was curious about her, it was that I felt a kinship, there she was molested into an uncomfortable situation, an audience full around her, she the center of all attentions and indiscretions, no one seemed to care that the dress was revealing her, that her face was powder white, she was in this lonely apparition of uncomplicated antics, she was all alone like me with my solitary pomposity.
It is a jewel you see to see another and to recognize them, as one would one’s self, if one is perhaps capable of knowing such. Here was my apple tea, red as my blankets, red as my carpets, all defined to say everything is in here, the red floods and keeps everything out, except perhaps the occasional trim, and suffice it to say that that woman had entered into my chamber. I could tell, not from direct observation, she wasn’t here obviously, she was at Hope General Hospital, named such because a rich town man had himself such last name and dolled out for the name. But that is where she was, and here I am attached to my newspaper, as is my habit to read anything that is not a book or a textbook or anything that isn’t educational, I am a reader of everything contemporary though I myself live in a time capsule of I am not sure which era, if such existed or has yet to exist, but the world swirls around me like all those magnificent castles that allow dragons and princesses to fly around them, and then the enchantment dies and someone adds heating and it just gets all grand from there, only the castle soon becomes judged more for its endurance than from any other vice. And so my very, very upstairs neighbor was at Hope General and I was here, in my room trying to read the paper, and she kept on intruding.
I saw her standing, sitting, talking to me, though a bit stiff but talking to me, it is hard to wrinkle a person when you haven’t gotten to know them, and so here she was, being intrusive but silent and this because I didn’t know anything about her, we had passed each other at the door, and even as she pleased herself to occasionally say “hello,” I walked in and out past her because I didn’t want to wrinkle my life.
After a flurry of thoughts kept me awake all night, “what happened to her? Is she going to die? Why does she too live alone? What does she do?” And so on, I finally decided to accept my eternally denied presence at the morning croissant and coffee for our apartment living experience.
As I entered the lobby, everyone turned almost one by one to gawk at my presence, mustering the range of stilted emotions I nonchalantly, still in my sumptuous and much protective silk robe and pajamas, “hello, hello all,” this while throwing them the most endearing of smiles, my flaming white teeth cold from the experience.
All of these people are backdrops, it took me very little time to talk about the croissants not being very well made, the butter too wasn’t the best, we shared the fact that what we served in our own living rooms was better but here they were served for all. Mrs. Ansianita, the well traveled and read lady of much distinction, never stopped laughing with worldly charm; always belching out how much she had enjoyed her expansive life. Mr Rogoudirto, one of those rare precious gems, retired mafia, was all over Mrs. Simpson; we all knew it was harmless but he could bring himself to bare the cruel joke that followed him, a gone mad bullet had left him, shall we say penniless. And from afar our ever watchful landlady, she made us all out, or so she thought, for her I was probably a pervert of some sort, hidden in my little closet of an apartment; the rest of us were the cause of all her indigestions, always trying to keep us all happy we were her way of forgetting that her son had committed suicide from all the mommy love he had overdosed.
“It is such a pleasant surprise for you to garnish us with your presence Mr. Solemly, may I intrusively ask why?” Giggles sputtering benignly. “Oh Mrs. Ansianita a man needs a bit of fresh air once in a decade at least, (she utters her high confidence laugh, her mouth showing us all her lungs, she is a healthy one alright.) and perhaps the inadmissible truth is that for some strange reason my croissants weren’t delivered this morning.” Since anything I would say was merely to add benefit to her grandeur she immediately launched into my genuine interest. “And what was that all about the other day, Ms choreographed falling off the stairs in a daze, was she a crazed woman so much not to say, what was that all about Mr. Solemly?”
“I am afraid I have not been following the story, new tenants don’t register with me for years, so you might be more sure to enlighten me.”
She gets up close to me so as to tell me the biggest secret, only everyone can hear. “I heard all kinds of noises, bouncing off the walls, a party of some sort, she is a little senile, I always thought, you know they are transferring her to St Helen’s.”
My eyes showed aware restraint, St Helen’s was the insane asylum, the place where nutty people went, often I didn’t see a difference between St Helen’s and our apartment complex, we just supervised ourselves. “And why was that, why was she being transferred there?”
“Well isn’t it obvious she is nuts!” And we that abandon of a diagnosis Mrs. Ansianita left me for not being wise enough to make out the obvious.
I started to walk back to my room when the words caught me, “I see you are going to rescue that croissant from us.” “
A Senor Gonzales you have caught me with the loot.”
He got close to me to also tell me a secret, only he did justice to it with his tone and volume, “I know what happened to the senorita.”
In audible, “what?”
Only instead of answering el Senor Gonzales walked off, he suffered from a severe case of attention deficit disorder, I got a bit upset, and just walked back to my room.
The papers arrived and so I decided not to go into the office, I read instead, spend the day with the mystery tenant, figure things out. Front page, “Woman found in suspicious circumstances, no details given by police, moved to St Helen’s.” the article read on, “the police are not releasing names until more is known but the woman in question, she appears to have suffered from some mental lapse and or to have injured herself; she is being moved for supervision and mental evaluation. Dr Heldrec the chief psychiatrist comments, “she is currently traumatized but we are confident that she will talk to us and establish rapport with the rest of the world soon, it is not unusual for trauma of this sort to last a few days even weeks, but it rarely goes beyond that as long as proper treatment is applied. We are hopeful.”
Oh the antics of the brain masters, this was no conciliatory news, now I was more moved to participate, how could I help her, she obviously was not capable of talking or directing her senses, and these doctors would probably do a lobotomy or electric shock treatment or they would pour all those experimental drugs into her which are only allowed for use on mental incompetents. But how could I help her.
Indisposed I never made it into the office I waited for the paper instead, “An unidentified source from the police department has noted that the woman found in a catatonic state was indeed abused. Our source noted that she had marks throughout her body, including cigarette burns.” Police chief Randall Olsen refused to comment for this story, he noted that “snitches will only hurt the ongoing investigation” his own words. The article ended with “Nora Fadema, our investigative reporter will keep you posted as events unfolds in what could become, one of the most intriguing events since the disappearance of Carmelita Mae from the local brothel, never to be seen again.”
I had sat on my bed, my favorite place in the whole wide world for many years without much regret, but now I felt that I was bound to my apartment and to my room, and that I needed to get out; fortunately a knock at the door interrupted the violence which was being conjured by my thoughts.
On opening the door I saw a fat man, about five four, with plenty of flesh under his jaw, tiny eyes, and hair that kept neatly tucked into his head. His fingers were holding a notepad, a huge high school class ring was now only fit for his pinky. “You are Mr Solemly?” “I am he.” “I am police chief Randall Osman, this here is my assistant Mrs. Drake, she makes sure that I don’t forget to ask you all the questions, do you have a moment for us sir.”
“Sure come on in, sorry I am still in my robe but I haven’t mustered the energy to shower yet.”
“Oh yeah why is that?”
“Why is what?”
“Why is it that you haven’t gotten the energy to shower, (pointing at his watch) it is now noon?”
“oh that, oh no just laziness, I have days like that, days I don’t get up for the whole day, don’t you?”
Assistant Drake, a rather tall ugly woman, to awkwardly built for the runaway, had all the legs in the world, and that was the only part of her that spoke, she was silent, she took her pen and poked the Chief of Police, he nodded, a silent team, “Mr. Solemly you are the owner of the Chipcha consultancy firm correct.?”
“And you have lived in these apartments for 30 something years right?”
“You are a very stable man yes?”
“And for thirty years you hardly ever stepped out of this apartment to have brunch with your neighbors is that right?”
My head bobbing, my hands clasping each other, my eyes uninterestingly moving over those long legs. “Yes, I think that’s right.”
“Well then what was it that motivated you to meander down the hallway the day before yesterday, what was it Mr Solemly that caused you to break with your routine?”
“My croissants hadn’t arrived, I thought I would take some from the brunch room, it does belong to all the tenants, and since I’ve never taken my share over the years.”
“Well so you told Mrs. Ansianita that, and I am sure she believed your story Mr. Solemly but I am an old dog and I decided to check, and sure enough your croissants had been delivered promptly at 7am, just as they are everyday for you are one of pastry Chef Michaels preferred customers; he told us and I quote, “never deliver Messier Solemly’s croissants late, never.” And I must say we did leave him a bit distressed to imagine such calamity, isn’t that right Assistant Drake?” and with that his fat stubby hand clump over her thigh for assurance. And assistant Drake complied, “That’s right sir. Chef Michael was so disturbed that there might have been a late delivery, he immediately call for the delivery log, we were able to verify an entry by Tommy, the delivery boy, and next to it were the initials of acceptance of delivery, (she immediately takes a copy of the log, attached to a clipboard, shoves it under my face and proceeds,) “are these your initials Mr Solemly?”
I slacked my body down unto the chair, “Oh yes those are my initials how silly of me, I forgotten I received the croissants, probably felt into absent mindedness.”
“Well that can happen to any of us Mr. Solemly, even to a competent and highly respected meticulous and consistent man such as yourself; we’ve taken the liberty to confirm with your secretary that you are unlikely to forget things just as you are a miser when it comes to her salary.” And he laughs, and Assistant Drake laughs with him, and I join them.
“But there is just one thing Mr. Solemly, why, why is anyone doing this to you, why?”
“Doing what to me?”
“Saying that you are being more odd than you usually are?” “They are saying that you are actually taking the time to talk to other tenants, curiously asking about Ms Victoria Snead, for instance Senor Gonzales said you asked him about her.”
“Oh please what are you implying here, I have nothing to do with this, this Victoria Snead, I don’t even know her.”
“You know of her, you know her name, you asked at least two other tenants about her, and you are obviously reading the papers about her.”
We all stared at the papers on the coffee table, the articles about her were circled in red, as was my habit with anything that caught my interest.
“That is a habit of mine, I circle things, see, and with that I pulled out a bunch of magazines and showed him the red penned highlights, (smacking the article with my hand) see does this mean that I bombed a café in Paris, does this mean that I started Mad Cow Disease!”
I paused and breathed, Jones and Drake looked at each other as if to prove to each other that they had an open mind and could believe any given thing before reaching any given conclusions. Exasperated I noted, “let us have a bit of common sense here, ok, just a bit, ok.”
“Believe me Mr. Solemly we are there with you, we don’t know you, we don’t want you to be the man that did this to Victoria, we don’t want that, that is why we are asking the questions to flush you out in the first screening, ok.”
I a bit more relieved.
“Sorry, it is a bit of a dribble for you, I understand.”
“Now then one more question, were you indeed gawking at Ms. Victoria Snead while she laid there.”
He joined his hands together so as not to smack me, “gawking Mr. Solemly, in this case the act of looking at a catatonic woman with lust, with want, please don’t spend your time reacting to my questions, please just answer them, and thank you in advanced.”
“Well yes, (my hands moving somewhat obtusely,) I did walk into a situation what was I to do, that was what the scene called for, attention, call it gawking, I don’t know I was startled we are not used to bodies laying there in our lobby, this is a very organized and safe community.” I didn’t think I had finished answering, I didn’t think so, but I stopped. Both of them got up simultaneously.
“Well you have been of much help Mr. Solemly, sorry for any trouble we have caused you, and if you don’t mind we would like to keep in touch with you.”
Nervously I said, “Is the first screening done then.”
The schmuck turned winced his head, “we would like to keep in touch.”
Dr Heldrec was standing before a sitting erect, assisted by belts, Victoria Snead, a long slender frame, blond short hair, pale skin, she had ambulatory control, but it wasn’t voluntary. Her eyes were green, that was her more striking feature, the rest would have to be helped by highlighters, but for now her appearance was characterized by a monotone paleness throughout; aside from a perfectly long neck which could be overall an splendid setting for an emerald necklace on ice.
“Nurse,” Dr Heldrec was well known for not calling any of the nurses by name, he did not believe that Doctors should get personal with Nurses or with their patients, so in general he would use “the patient”, “the nurse” and thus the sterilization allowed him to cope with the severe cases which were the mark of his trait. “Nurse note that the patient has ambulatory functions, her organs are intact, she is digesting properly, there appears to be no internal damage, her condition is mental in nature, aside from some bruises throughout the patient’s body, which are probably explained by the fall from the stairs, though they are brought into suspicion by cigarette burns on her right shoulder blade, and three splattered on her belly.”
The nurse maintained silence, you did not talk to Dr Heldrec, he talk to you, that was that. As he eyed the woman before him, “Nurse her bio” “36 year old, 5 feet 11 inches, weighs 129 pounds, has no known profession, no medical history, the police are cataloging her apartment before we know more, no relatives have come forward.”
Dr Heldrec digs deep into his serene essence, he grabs the woman’s jaw, opens the mouth, places his forefinger into it and explores it, looks at Nurse, “no mucous,” strangely the Nurse feels guilty, jots down, “no mucous found.” The doctor feels the patient’s face, his fingers tactile matching the bone structure, then her arms, he feels the length of her arms, the patience shows no response, her eyes do remain open, they don’t appear to blink, though we know from the results of the examination that she has the capacity of sight.
The room remains cold, sterile white, the white lights add to it, the patient simply wearing a simple hospital garment with nothing underneath, does not shiver, neither the nurse nor the doctor seem to expect any reaction from this.
Dr Heldrec doesn’t discuss anything further here, he ends the review, and meets with Doctor Green, St Helen’s Director, and a man of some worldly repute. He had seen the patient earlier, he was a generalist in the sense that he followed more his intuition than any medical results, Dr Heldrec asked for his opinion and Green complied, “She is suffering an acute mental collapse, something siphoned out the anime from her neurons, she doesn’t seem to be firing them from any necessity nor does it seem that the external world is stimulating them; we can expect a catatonic condition for a month or two, I say leave her alone, keep on feeding her intravenously, don’t dope her, she isn’t going to come out of it if you do; keep her sleep as much as possible, that will be the best to do for now. Meanwhile see what we can find out about her history from the police.”
“There is something that I don’t like about this, it appears that she was burning herself, something made her self destructive, but what?”
“Oh old boy don’t fret over it, she doesn’t have to solve any great mysteries for us, this sort of self emulation occurs all the time, most of the time the world doesn’t know we are doing it, when we smoke, drink or seek reckless professions, it’s the same thing, actually a milder manifestation of self destructive tendencies than cigarette burns or tattoos there isn’t.”
“Well maybe you are right, maybe it is nothing, I will wait to talk to the police before I burden you with any conclusions.”
“Are we still on for bridge tonight?”
“Not tonight, I think I am going to finished that book of Cognitive Psychosis.”
“I knew you would coward-out, I will have to play on the internet instead.”
Minor smile “Suit yourself Doctor.”
The two left each other, leaving behind signs of distress in one and routine in the other.
Victoria Snead’s apartment was a reduced event for the police. A bed with cotton sheets and maniacal straightness throughout, a chair, her clothes strung about, no books, no paper for taking notes, no diary, no love poems, no books, the list of things missing from the standard apartment were baffling, the refrigerator was practically empty, clean almost, cheese slices, a can of chili, some bread and ham slices, and a glass-pitcher of water. Her closet was equally stark, three dresses, no pants anywhere in sight, just three dresses, four if you count the one that she was wearing the day that she was found. There were no pairs of shoes, one if you count the ones that were found along her that day; she was into solid simple colors, no myriad of anything, she wore hats, there were five hats, very modern and stylish head dress, indeed they were well kept, and that was all of that.
The rest of the apartment as noted by Assistant Drake, “a drab of place to live.” Well there was certainly nothing comfortable about the place, no couch, no tables, save for one by her bed, that one contained an alarmed clock, which had no battery, ringing had long gone. Police Chief Osman, “This dame doesn’t have a life, where is the phone, there isn’t even a phone, where does she work, doesn’t anyone care about her!”
That is when the door to the apartment opened, and two very well dress and finely made up dames walked in. Both in their thirties, equally endowed with sophistication, one a blond, the other a brunette, both wearing head dress, and both ornamented to the hilt, it was magnificent to see such a blatant attack upon austerity. The brunette uttered, “We care about her, and her name is Victoria, and we are her best friends in the whole world and where, where is she and what are you two doing in here.”
After the appropriate officialdom introductions, the dames introduced themselves, “I am Emily and this is Sylvia, we are two of the trio that is solely bringing back the hat to fashion!”
“Well, (said the chief) we are delighted to see you both, we have been needy of finding a friend of Victoria’s she has suffered,”
“Suffered what!” “Suffered what” (eyes glaring, palms to mouths, quivering howls)
Assistant Drake goes over to comfort the women, “We are sorry your friend Victoria has suffered a memory loss, apparently she fell, and had done some minor harm to herself, she is now at St Helen’s psychiatric ward.”
The two women looked at each other, leaned into one another, and “we must go see her, she must see us, right away.”
Putting civility aside Chief Olson noted that he would like ask them some questions, they looked at him as if he were nuts, and exclaimed accordingly “first we must see Victoria!!” and with that they rushed out leaving the Chief and his assistant in bewilderment land.
Dr Heldrec received the notice from the nurse. He received Victoria’s friends in his office. “Clearly she is no condition to see you right now, there is nothing to be done about it, she has had some sort of severe trauma we have her heavily sedated, she needs time for her senses to reach some kind of accord with the rest of her mind and body, and the best that we can all do for her, at least for now, is to wait it out.”
“Why that is insane Doctor, pardon me for saying it, but insane, why once she sees us she will recognize us instantly and progress much faster, you must let us see her.” It didn’t really matter which of the two spoke it was as if either were speaking, the expressions of one would follow the cadence of the other. “I would reinforce that Doctor Heldrec, you don’t know our friend, we have the ability to cure her, please let us try.”
“I am deeply sorry and I am just as gravely concern as you are about the well being of the patient but we are not going to jeopardize a well diagnose recovery path based on some amateurish assumption that does not take into consideration how trauma is treated, and how fatal it can be to disrupt gradual procedures that are known to work.”
“We will appeal this decision, we must speak to the head of this hospital.” As coincidence would have it, Dr Green was just on his way in.
“I am, I think, the head of this hospital, Dr Green a pleasure to make your acquaintances and how may I be of service to you ladies?”
“Well…” one uttered, “…you may put that pipe out, please sir.”
“Oh my lady I very much would like to that but I am afraid it is the only evidence that I am still the director of this fine institution, I authorize myself to smoke it against any other pretense of authority.”
“I suppose since Freud smoked one it must be institutional.”
“Your humor does not go unnoticed my kind dear, and now how may I be of service to you?”
“We demand to see Victoria immediately.”
“And you are?”
“We are her best friends in the whole wide world, we are like sisters, we are jointly reviving hat etiquette in the fashion world.”
“Oh that sounds very wonderful, and in reference to seeing her, what does her Doctor say about that.” Looking towards Dr Heldrec.
“Well as you must know my position is that under her current condition the patient can not been disturbed, anything done to alter her current condition is just going to undo the natural progression to some stability, I propose we don’t bend the rules for the sake of the patient.”
“Understanding your good intentions my ladies, (leaning into them) I think the good doctor is right, we do all want what is best for Victoria, it is best to wait out a normal transition into normalcy, (calming them with his hand gestures) sometimes patience is the best friend of recovery.”
“We do not feel that you two medics understand, we are not going to stop here just because you wont let us see Victoria, we will take this to the police chief, to the courts, we are not going to wait months while you sit here observing her, expecting miracles, when we know that if only she sees us she will instantly recover!”
And with that the two fine dames, rose in perfect unity and walked out resterilizing the hospital as they went.
Police Chief Olsen was a moderately stubborn man he was also into solving cases fast, he didn’t like an untidy case list, an open case was a case that needed to be closed, and so when the two dames arrived at his office, he was pleased to see them again and to hear their request. He immediately got on the phone to the top hierarchy at the hospital with the two bonnets listening before him.
“Listen here Doctor Green, I don’t want to tell you how to run your hospital of nuts and equally I don’t want you to tell me how to run my investigations, but it would be best that you let these ladies see their friend and that way we can awaken her and get to the bottom of what happen to her.”
Dr Green mildly responded, “I see Chief Olson, you are not going to tell me how to run my hospital as long as I don’t tell you how to run your investigations, and you need me to open this patients brain right now by cutting through it with her friends presence. Now why doesn’t that sound logical to me.”
“I aint no fool Doctor, all those titles you have don’t scare me, these two women were close friends, they can help us pry her memory open, and you are not giving us the opportunity to test this.”
“That is right, I am not giving you the opportunity to test this theory.”
“Why don’t you try to be reasonable, if it doesn’t work then what is the difference we will just keep on waiting as was the original plan.”
“Yes, I am sure it is that simple Chief, only I am charged with her care and responsibility and so I can not allow visits at this time. And so let us leave the good will of Doctor Heldrec to do the right thing. Meanwhile I bid you a good day sir.
Dr Green had some how concluded that the conversation had ended and properly hanged up the phone. However the lack of a mutual interpretation of that event led to some consternation at the other end.
“Why that son of bitch hanged up on me, he hanged up on me! He slammed the dumbfounded phone down. And yelled, “Drake! Drake! Get Harris, tell him I want access to the patient, I don’t give a damn what kind of legalize it requires!”
Drake was a little startled, “Can we do that? Can we force access to a patient?”
“Drake don’t just stand there pretty legs, get Harris to figure it out, that is why he gets paid more than you do.!” “Yes sir.”
And so the two starlets were happy as could be sensing that Olsen was a can do guy and he was going to pry open the gates of the hospitals.
Harris District Attorney called back, “Sure under certain conditions we can ask a judge to grant us a mandatory visit to the patient, under some supervision of course, but by the time I put the arguments together for such a violation of a Doctor’s right to guard the well being of his patient, the two months that he is asking you to wait would have come to pass. They don’t take transgression of these privileges lightly; and if something irreparable happens to the patient due to our actions you can bet the entire medical establishment will sue us.”
Olson probably didn’t understand or cared about much of all that, but he understood the implications of the words “sue us” doctors were as good at suing as they were at being sued, so he hanged up the phone, looked at the waiting ladies. “I think in times like this it is better to heed the advice of the legal experts, we are going to have to wait a couple of months before we do anything here.”
“But how can they keep us from her when she most needs us?” They both said it, really.
“You know I don’t like the law, (displaying some perplexing reflection) well I like the law but it is not always completely fair. We have to accept this.”
The two got up simultaneously, instantly windrowing all the fashion sense in the police department.
Mr Solemly was still absent from work, though it being his company affected little his chances of promotion, and so there he slaying the time pondering the face of a woman that has marvelously captivated him while seemingly dead and not while she was walking past him when fully alive.
He had been following the newspapers, radio and television intently listening, the patient, Victoria had gone off the airwaves, and now he didn’t know what to do. That is when he decided that the best to do was to snatch her from the mad house.
We could easily move to define what made him want to do this; anxiety, something that day he saw her clicked all the nerves that had hidden him, perhaps he had found a moment of honesty, there she was on the floor, all those prying eyes and yet she kept her speckle of a self defined in this finite point of space, something we don’t know what it was, and our thoughtful man had relinquished all practicality, he was now being governed by any laws, he was tucked into himself, he was now action at a distance, attraction mandating proximity.
It was not difficult for him to realize his intentions, the Helen’s mad house was not a high security ward, he was sure of that, neither was Victoria Snead a kind of criminal, she was being prevented from seeing visitors but this was merely preventive medicine. So it was that our man drove his Volvo to the funny farm. There he guessed approximately 20 rooms, that wasn’t that many, he had massive powers of deduction, he entered through a rear door, and there he picked one room after the other, he assured himself first that there were no security cameras, the guard in front could not see him, and the nurses on duty were watching the television, all in all things were calm.
He was methodically counting rooms, 11, 12, and some of these people didn’t look like they were healthy at all, he was spooked, he was used to neurotic behavior, his apartment complex was a flowering pot of it, but he wasn’t used to seeing it full blow disclosure like that, he was wondering why he was going to snatch the girl, he was insane perhaps or was he looking for trouble and adventure; he didn’t know, he needed to do it, he was not going back empty.
Room 17, was in a basement space that contained the last four rooms, it was obviously an area where isolation was an intended result, the small hallway contained all four rooms and was darkly lit, the lights within the rooms, were themselves intended to be left always on, sign read, “lights in rooms are to be left on at all times.” Obviously troubled patients could not be afforded the luxury of darkness. He checked once again around and surely it was safe, he peered slowly through the window, and got a good jolt!
Inside he saw Emily and Sylvia, both were smoking, the door was sealed shot so he could not hear anything, he himself did not know who they were, but he certainly thought these two strangers had foiled his plan. He slunk back down on the concrete door, almost forgetting to be on guard, feeling disappointment, when he noticed that it was easier to hear under the green door’s crevice.
“…and she looks good in this medical garment…” “the place fits her I think…” “she wouldn’t ever imagine that we would leave her alone here…” and then he heard a violent movement, and he rushed to the window, to see that they were slapping her, and pinching her, pulling her hair, and he could almost discern their voices, “girl you try to leave the sisters, you don’t leave the sisters.” Either one and both were talking, “it seems you could have come-around, and help us change the fashion world, there was no way we weren’t going to win, but you try to kill the hat trio, we don’t want you now though, it is too late, we will rescue hat fashion without you, but you have to burn…”
And trailing those punctuated speeches a cigarette was extinguished on her belly, and then another one, next to her wrist, however the girl was limp less, we know she could move but she didn’t move, the girls laughed, then helped each other to light another cigarette, “girl they wouldn’t let us come see you, we wouldn’t have it any other way, we weren’t going to let you rot in here, you nasty girl.” “yeah you took the plunge down the stairs, not nice, now see how dumb you look without us;” “girl you were smart, but you are not smart no more, and look at you all pale like that, all huddled in your own presence, your not making any fashion sense now.”
And they grabbed her and colored her lips, and begun to add a little mascara to her eyelashes, and liner to the eyes, and brightening powder to her cheeks, and the monstrosity was somehow beginning to look like them, but not really, and Solemly was watching and instead of helping her he was crying, crying like a baby, crying, his hands trembling, whining, his stomach and lungs both competing for air, leaving his brain starved, and he would lean and writher against the door to watch, again the lifelessness within, and he would gasp for more air, sputtering;
Inside, “girl you haven’t looked this good sense you left us,” again it was either or both talking, “we make you right.”
But Victoria must have gotten something from the visit, “hey we make a different chic, look at you move,” “our visit helped, she moved her hands,” indeed she was looking at her hands, “yikes, mama, what is happening here the girl is moving!” “See I told you we were good for her, damn doctor doesn’t know how fashion cures a girl, doctor doesn’t know ha baby.” Putting her hand to Victoria’s chin, again either, “baby you are certainly more lively now.” Kiss.
Perhaps it was the recognition that she had a hand that forced Victoria to use it but she smacked the pretty lady a good one, to which the other reacted with empathetic rage, and thought to attacked and it sooner became a mangled fight, that somehow arouse enough aggression in Solemly, he opened the door and slammed his way into the fray, and there they all slugged it out as well as they could tell who was whom, and soon the hospital night staff managed to join too; and it was hilariously frenetic as it seemed quite impossible that damage was being done to anyone but for much noise, until Dr Heldrec rang the alarm bell!
“Now everyone stay put! Stay put! You are all to stay put! And it didn’t take long for Dr Green to arrive and for Police Chief Olsen and Mrs. Drake to arrive, and soon the whole thing became a nightmarish oil painting by Goya, the orderly state standing guard over the outlandish but fashionable weirdoes.
The entire group of buffoons from nurses to Mr. Solemly and including the patient were placed under house arrest. And the next day begun the investigation in earnest.
Sylvia and Emily fought a gallant defense. “We are the hat girls your honor, and this girl violated our hat etiquette.”
The judge was not as amused as the audience. “Your hat etiquette gives you the right to violate a person, to scare her for life with cigarette buts, to infringe upon her right to feel safe in her own apartment!!”
“Well your honor, when someone doesn’t follow your fashion sense don’t you put him in jail?” and they both went on without waiting for a response, “yeah, it is freaky how you can jail people because they don’t do how they are suppose to do and us you reprimand for that.”
The rhythm of the verse deployed by these ladies was insufficient to convince the judge. He did a wry stone musical depiction of the sentence, “and for casing bodily harm to citizen Victoria Snead and taking liberties in her presence not condoned by the civil code, you are to spend three years in prison without parole.”
The girls cringe at the thought, “Jail us, uniforms, we would have to wear uniforms! No your honor the horror, our hairdressers and our hats how would we care for them?”
“Ladies, I don’t think you are aware of the severity of your situation, however you are to cute to be declared insane, but let me clarify that you are both to go to jail, and sense when you are united it allows you to create unrealistic machinations, you are to serve your sentences in different penitentiaries.”
The hat ladies feinted and weren’t taken out of the court room, on stretchers and with handcuffs.
Mr. Solemly was released by the judge summarizing his situation as that of an “undeserving hero.”
The Sanitarium was told to pay damages to Ms Snead for allowing trespassers to abuse her, and the night watchman was fired.
Victoria recovered fully or perhaps, we don’t know, she was plainly normal, almost as happy without fashion as she was with it.
One day he went over to her apartment, she undid the door, and they watched each other for a while, walking around and through one another, and feeling an epic silence of silliness, until he came close to her, their palms joined, and their smiles kissed.
From then on they became inseparable and are currently living in his apartment, they lounge with the other tenants often, and he still can’t seem to get to the office. They have no children, and we are ok with that.