I almost have another one finished so stay tuned. 8-) Would anyone like to collaborate with me on more K-PAX stories? If so write me at lhensley@mindspring.com and put K-PAX as the subject line.

K-PAX: The Orderlies First Meeting with prot.

By

Liz Hensley

The ambulance pulled up and the driver got out and swung open the door. As he did so he said, "You aren't going to have any trouble with this one." We were happy to hear that but we were still on guard. In our business we never know what to expect. We get every reaction from a patient cowering in the ambulance afraid to get out, to having them scream and pounce on us as the door is opened. Most of the time they just stand there apologetic, frightened, and uncertain about what they are supposed to do.

So the door was opened and there stood prot between Frank and John from Long Island.

Our new patient was holding a cardboard box full of his belonging. His eyes were behind shades. That made it hard for us to judge how wild eyed he was, and this made me a little nervous. But he smiled at us and said, "Hi there. I'm prot. Who are you?"

He didn't look scared or embarrassed. He didn't look apologetic and he didn't look hostile or suspicious. He was a welcome relief from what we usually get.

I told him, "I'm Roman Kowalski and this is Gunnar Jensen. Welcome to the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute.

Prot carefully hopped out of the ambulance and grinned at us, "You are wearing white coats. I really am being taken away ha ha. Oh well. I don't mind. It will make an interesting chapter in my report."

This made us suspicious that maybe prot was a malingerer or undercover from some newspaper and writing a report about he mental health care system.

I asked, "Who are you writing the report for?"

He said calmly, "The PLANET K-PAX." He said it as matter of factly as if he had just said, "I'm from the Times."

We were used to all manner of strange statements from our "clients" so Gunnar and I fielded this strange statement with a lot less surprise than most people would. "That's nice. Be sure to put in a good word for us."

Prot said, "Ok."

John said to us, "Take good care of prot for us. We are going to miss him ALOT. Frank nodded in agreement.

That was an unusual statement for John who didn't have a high regard for most patients. But John put his arms on prot's shoulder and said, "Good luck friend. This is a good hospital too. You will like it."

Our new patient nodded, "I am sure, but I am going to miss you beings." Hope you get another alien to replace me real soon!"

They laughed and our new patient grinned. He waved good by and turned towards us. He walked between us like he knew where he was supposed to be, which I suppose was true. He had been at Long Island Psychiatric Hospital for four months and thus had plenty of practice at being escorted by orderlies. What relieved us was he didn't seem to mind.

We started walking forward and he walked with us as calmly and as coordinated as could be. We didn't have to hang on to him at all.

We took him to Dr. Chakraborty. Prot was happy to go with us. We went in with him which was standard procedure. This was to protect the doctor, if necessary, though this time it wasn't.

He cooperated during the examination. In fact he seems to enjoy most of the testing except for the vision test and the blood test. He especially enjoyed the EKG.

He didn't want to take his shades off for the vision test but Dr. Chak insisted and prot finally relented. But it was obvious to us that the light of the room and the light from the oscilloscope was painful to him. Dr. Chakraborty's diagnosis was photo phobia. Prot's own explanation was his eyes were adapted to the dim light of his own planet.

Prot was putting his shades back on when we discovered prot was more then just your average alien patient. He stared at the one way mirror. "Who's that?

He asked, pointing at the glass.

"Who is who?" Dr. Chak asked gently. We all figured he was just hallucinating.

Prot pointed to the glass. "The tired looking guy with the yellow pad and the gray suit. He has the most puzzled expression on his face like he is trying to figure me out."

We all suddenly realized he was giving us a perfect description of Dr. Brewer. I glanced at the others and ducked out to check. Sure enough he was there.

Wide eyed I went back in. "He's there." I confirmed.

Chak exclaimed,"You can see through the glass prot!

How do you do that?"

Prot shrugged, "Easily. So, who is he?"

"Dr. Gene Brewer," I told him, "He's going to be your shrink.

Prot gave us that wide grin Dr B calls his Cheshire cat grin, "Great."

After that came the blood test. Prot wasn't too happy about it, because naturally, it hurt, but he was cooperative. Gunnar , Chak and I were actually a little disappointed, "Chak said, "Prot your blood is as red as our own."

Prot grinned ruefully, I am not Spock. "My blood is based on hemoglobin too, just like your own. I don't know if any copper blooded humanoids but then, its a big UNIVERSE. One never knows."

After the medical examinations we went to the elevators to take prot to Ward 2. As we got on, Naverro was getting off. He had a paper towel over his hand but even so his finger was bleeding terribly, and he looked like he was in a lot of pain. "What happened?" Gunner asked.

Naverro frowned. "Ed bit the tip of my finger off!"

Prot exclaimed, "Wow! You humans are so carnivorous you even eat each other!"

Naverro stared at prot.

Prot continued, "Well at least you don't have to worry about me. I'm a vegetarian."

Ed grinned weakly, "That's good. I wish the hospital were full of your kind."

As he walked off, prot asked, "You mean K-PAXIANS? I don't think I could get many of them to come!"

We got on the elevator and I pushed the button for ward 2, and we started down. Then halfway between 3 and 2 we stopped. As I found out later all the elevators in the world had stopped. Yes it was the great elevator stall of 1990. Later when we heard it had happened all over the world we questioned prot but he insisted he was innocent and was as puzzled as the rest of us. Later we had a patient for a short time who claimed he was responsible because he had gone back in time and kid napped the guy who invented the elevator, Otis, somebody or other. Who knows?

So one of my greatest nightmares happened. I was stuck in a stalled elevator with a mental patient.

A very calm mental patient. Prot took off his jacket, rolled it up and lay down, using it as a pillow. "Wake me up when it starts again." he said cheerfully.

Prot was calmer then we were but we at least were calmer than the inhabitants of the other car, as we found out later, which was occupied by two doctors. I won't say which ones except they weren't Dr. Brewer. They were hollering, "help" so loud we could hear them from our car. As for me, I just picked up the emergency phone and called security.

We were stuck, only about half an hour. The janitor rescued the other car's inhabitants first and then pried our elevator's doors open on 3 and ran a ladder down the emergency hatch. We climbed out, first Gunnar and then prot and then me.

When we emerged from the emergency hatch we were met by some of the residents of Ward 3. It couldn't be helped. Mental patients are as nosy and curious as anyone else. We were afraid our new patient would be alarmed by some of the behavior of Ward 3, so I quickly reassured him, "We are taking you to Ward 2, prot where people behave a lot more normally. It'll be all right."

Prot didn't look alarmed at all. He had his typical wide grin on his face. He quipped, "Humans acting normally? Wow! I will believe it only when I see it."

Prot started to walk around Ward 3. We looked at one another and shrugged. Prot had been so cooperative so far we decided to give him a little slack. We followed him, but not too closely .

He talked to several of the patients including one who had to be kept in an old fashioned strait jacket to keep him from harming himself. He was mostly mute but when he did speak he was mostly incoherent. Often he screamed for hours on end. He had been brought to us in restraints from the half way house where he had been doing relatively well. There he had taken a knife and tried to cut his stomach open. His primary diagnoses was severe autism but no one knew why he had suddenly decided to start harming himself.

Prot gazed at him, a concerned frown on his face. He said, "This being is screaming because his intestines are hurting him."

Gunnar nodded, "They should be. He shoved a knife in his stomach."

Prot shook his head, "No. Its because he has a bad ulcer. Since he can't tell anyone what it bothering him he tried to cut it out himself." Prot shuddered, "I'm sure glad I can speak!"

At that time we weren't aware of prot's ability to understand people and other beings, but after seeing what he could do with the one way mirror, I wasn't entirely unconvinced, so I made a mental note to talk to Dr . Chakraborty about checking the autist. Dr. Chakraborty, having seen what prot could do, took the suggestion seriously. Though it is usually hard to examine that severe an autist, this one was as cooperative as could be. He swallowed the barium without the slightest protest. Sure enough, he had a bad ulcer. It had almost cut his intestines in half!

Gunnar decided we had been on Ward 3 long enough. He took prot's arm and said gently, "Come on prot, it is time to go to your own ward.

Prot came along cheerfully, and we walked down the stairs to Ward 2.

After that we took prot to his room. We were used to having to comfort patients so we had a whole patter developed about how nice the rooms were. We used it on prot, seeing as our experience with cheerful, calm patients was limited. "See what a nice view it has?" You can see the Twin Towers from here."

Prot looked out the window. "Indeed we can. Man! Look at the size of them. You humans start building a building you don't know when to quit! And not one mind you, but two!"

We laughed at that. I asked, "Don't you have any tall buildings on your planet, what did you call it, K-Pics?"

Prot said, "K-PAX. No we don't. There are only 15 million of us. Every single one of us could fit in manhattan even if it didn't have tall buildings. He grinned at us, "Well thanks for the nice room with the nice view. I am sure I will like it here." Prot put his box on the bed. We could see it was full of note books.

After that we took prot out to the rec room and introduced him to the other patients. They took an interest in him immediately. I introduced them to prot, and prot introduced himself to them before I could do it. They were fascinated with him. We do get an occasional "alien" patent and they usually have interesting stories to tell, but not to the extent prot does. He is the alien patient of all alien patients. I don't wonder that the CIA ended up showing an interest in him. I believe him too!

We left prot with the other patients and with big grins of our own on our faces. We sensed even then that an extraordinary person had been placed among us. Later on I was among the first to believe that prot really was from K-PAX. We doubted this a little bit after Robert was left behind catatonic but we had no other way to explain Bess's disappearance at the same time. I suspected prot was something living inside of Robert and her. This made me a little scared, but prot is impossible to not like, and this was especially true after he came back and it became clear to us just how hard he was working to try and help Robert. Whatever prot is, alien or secondary persona, or whatever, prot is a good one. And all us orderlies are so happy to have known him.