A Crazy Plan, Part 2

December 19, 2009

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He received his first disappointment when Banks told him that he would not be able to use his trusty ink pen. A pen could be a dangerous weapon in the hands of some of the residents. Gone, too, were spiral bound notebooks. Joe was dismayed by their replacements – crayons and composition books. Joe reminded himself that a competent professional could succeed with any tools.

Joe spoke with his good friend, Director Stanley Banks, nearly every day. One day Joe noticed that Banks always carried a red notebook with him.

“The associate director, Rogers, is a real snoop. I like to toy with him by pretending that this is some master record of my observations of all the residents at Lennox. Really, I just make up stuff, just to see if he slips up and mentions any of it in conversation. The stuff I’ve written about you is great,” laughed Banks.

A month after being committed to Lennox, Joe felt that he had become sufficiently institutionalized and had begun to learn about the various disorders that afflicted the other residents. He began to write. His novel would be a pseudo-biographical account detailing the daily struggles of mental illness. He decided that he rather enjoyed the look of the crayon writings – they gave the work a juvenile look. Perhaps Vic, the publisher, could retain that unique look and feel for a few small parts of the book.

Time passed quickly inside the walls of Lennox. Other than the near-daily visits from Banks and the monthly visits from Sascha, Joe was completely focused on his book. He spent nearly all his time either writing or interacting with other residents to gain further insights into mental illness. Over the course of a year, he filled the pages of dozens of composition books with his novel. The novel, he reflected, would likely have to be broken into two or three books, even after Vic edited it.

Near the end of his stay at Lennox, he was visited one day by Associate Director Rogers, rather than by his friend Banks. It wasn’t like Banks to take a day off, and Joe questioned the Rogers about Banks’ absence.

“Dr. Banks was involved in a traffic accident last night and remains in a coma. I have looked over Stanley’s notes on you, Joe. It seems that you will not be in our company much longer.”

Walker smiled. “It will be nice to be free once again – to walk in the park on beautiful spring nights …”

“I’m afraid you misunderstand, Mr. Walker. You will be leaving Lennox, but you will not be re-entering society. You are being transferred to the facility in Springfield.”

“No, no,” replied Walker. “This is a mistake. The story of the transfer was just a ruse to cover the fact that I was going to be released. I completely orchestrated a plan to have myself committed.”

“Oh, yes. Here it is,” Rogers said, leafing through pages in a notebook. “’Patient Walker believes himself to be a famous writer. He is under the delusion that he convinced his wife and myself to have him committed so that he could better research an upcoming book’”


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