K-PAX: Through Different Eyes
Dr. Chakraborty's Secret)
Dr. Chakraborty examined Robert Porter while Roman stood by. They were not expecting any trouble out of Robert or prot but it was standard hospital procedure for an orderly to stand by while a patient was being given a medical examination.
Dr. Chakraborty didn't need a thermometer to tell Robert was running a high fever. The sweat was pouring off his face and the air conditioning was not broken this time. His eyes had the glassy look of someone who was slightly out of it from fever.
Robert mumbled something.
Dr. Chakraborty couldn't hear it, "What did you say?" he asked.
Robert said clearer, "prot is in serious trouble. My gut is on fire and it's making prot dangerously uncomfortable."
Dr. Chakraborty said, "Easy Robert you are running a very high fever. It is making you a little delirious."
Weakly Robert shook his head, "No, prot is even sicker than I am. He has to get out of me until I'm over this! He has to!"
"Easy Robert!" "Your friend will be all right." Dr. Chakraborty knew the importance of humoring mental patients.
Robert shook his head; "No he won't be! Not unless he finds someone else to take him for a while. He really, really, REALLY needs to transfer!" I mean not permanently but until my gut quits tying itself in knots. He lives down there."
Dr. Chakraborty smiled soothingly, "Well, he'll be all right."
Robert stared at Chakraborty intently, "You are a vegetarian aren't you?"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "Ah yes, a Vegan actually. I don't even drink milk or eat eggs, which most Hindis do and I don't worship any of the Hindi gods. But I do follow the parts about harming no one. In New York it is impossible to get milk that has not been raised in factory farms or eggs that weren't produced the same way, so my family won't even eat eggs or milk."
"You take him." Robert said firmly.
Dr. Chakraborty stared at Robert.
"Robert grinned, "I know you don't believe me, but humor me. Bend down. Put your forehead up against my forehead."
Dr. Chakraborty shook his head. "I don't want to be catching the stomach flu from you. I'm the only staff member who has been missing it."
"Humor me!" Robert insisted. "He could transfer without being so close but it would be easier on him as he's not feeling so well right now either, due to my condition. Prot is your friend too, so humor me!" Robert looked like he was going to get agitated.
"Easy." Dr. Chakraborty said. He grinned at Roman who grinned back. They were used to the strange requests of mental patients but usually Robert was more rational than this. The shrugged at one another and just to keep Robert quiet he did what he was asked. He bent down and put his forehead on Robert's.
"How long do I have to do this?" He asked Robert gently
Robert grinned, "You can get up now. This was long enough. Here you take his glasses. You are going to need them."
Dr. Chakraborty stood back up again and took the sunglasses. "There now, are you satisfied?"
Robert gave Dr. Chakraborty a weak but loopy grin not much different from prot's Cheshire cat grins, "You don't believe me, but you WILL!"
Dr. Chakraborty said, "Yes, yes, I am going to be giving you a sedative now to help you rest. Be a good mental patient and swallow it please."
Robert nodded, "Of course. I would much rather have it orally believe you me!"
Robert took the medicine without protest, and even thanked them for it. He had a wise little smile on his face as he gently drifted off.
Dr. Chakraborty smiled ruefully at Roman. "I ought to tell Dr. Brewer that Robert isn't as convinced that prot is just one of his other personalities as Dr. Brewer thinks he thinks. Robert actually thinks an alien possesses him."
Roman grinned, "It must be voluntary. I don't see Robert panicking about it. So do you feel prot in your brain?"
Dr. Chakraborty shook his head, "No, I don't. I am kind of disappointed. There was always a small part of me that believed that prot really is an alien. Oh well."
Roman nodded in sympathy. "Me too."
It was a long day as always. Fortunately Robert Porter seemed to be the only patient to catch what had been up to then, an epidemic only the staff had suffered with. Robert/prot had spent more time with Dr. Brewer than most of the patients. That, no doubt had something to do with why he got sick but none of the other patients did.
Dr. Chakraborty had been just about the only staff member who had not caught the stomach flu. He knew why. It was because he was a tea drinker not a coffee drinker. Prot's statement that it was the filters in the coffee maker that were spreading the illness had proved true. No one had any idea how he knew it. That was just one of those little things about prot and Robert that made it hard to disbelieve that prot was an alien. What a shame that he didn't have him in his head now!"
He almost made it home at a decent hour! But just when he would have been leaving, two of the ward four residents got into a vicious fight and required deep sedation and many stitches. So it was going on eight before he finally made his way to the train. Dr. Chakraborty lived all the way in Greenwich Village so he had a long ride.
It was not until he felt an unusually strong stirring in his gut that he remembered he hadn't had time to stop for lunch. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out the Tupperware dish containing the food his wife had made for him. He picked up the spoon and was hungrily shoveling in a tasty morsel when he heard prot's cheerful, disembodied voice chortling from the back of his brain, "Emmmm! Spicy tofu! I haven't had that in six years!
"Prot!" Dr. Chakraborty said it out loud, and then looked around him fearfully. Sure enough people were staring.
An obese, middle-aged women who often rode the same train home asked, "Doctor, are you all right?"
Dr. Chakraborty was terrified but tried to maintain his composure. He suddenly understood completely what schizophrenics went through hearing voices and not wanting anyone to know. He stammered, "Ah, yes Mrs. Krankshaw I am very fine. I just had an unsettling thought about a patient."
She gave him a motherly look of concern; "Try not to take your work home with you, Doctor. Your family needs your full attention."
He swallowed and nodded, "I know that but sometimes it is not possible to avoid it. Some of the patients are, well they tend to haunt one!"
Inside of him he could see the cheerful alien grinning. Gently prot said, "I left you alone until now so as not to distract you from helping humans. "You don't have to talk out loud and draw attention to yourself. You can just think loud at me and I will hear it. That's how I'm talking to you. If robin and I talked externally we'd have been committed a long time ago."
Dr. Chakraborty tried it, "But, how am I talking with you at all!? Have I gone mad?"
Prot grinned, "Nope, just a little weird. Not unless alien possession counts as an insanity. I certainly won't make you do anything naughty. I'm harmless. You ought to know me well enough by now, for sure, you know! You could gag me with a spoon!"
Dr. Chakraborty found himself smiling at prot's atrocious attempt at California Valley Girl speak. He should have been frightened. He suspected prot was doing something else to his brain other than just inhabiting it, flooding it with natural opiates, endorphins perhaps? Internally Dr. Chakraborty asked, "prot if you are this soothing inside of a person, why did Robert Porter get so disturbed?"
"Doctor!" prot scolded him. "He lost his wife and daughter to a violent murderer who raped them first. You're human! How come you even need to ask that? What do you expect of me? I'm only a dremer. To fix that I'd have to be practically omnipotent and take over robert's brain in a way that would be very unethical as well as impossible. Because, believe me, if I could have got my little robin back on track again I would have done it, unethical or not!"
Prot said it with such force and pain Dr. Chakraborty knew his new passenger was telling the truth. He also knew prot loved Robert. It wasn't a puppet master relationship. Prot cared deeply for his host. He relaxed a little bit. Real alien or not, the being in his brain was the same gentle prot who had been willingly led into his examination room those seven long years ago, the same ingratiating "lunatic" who could see through two way mirrors and who allowed Gene to hypnotize him and who loved to eat.
Right on cue prot said, "Finish our meal for mercy's sake! The smell is making me ravenous!"
"Can you read my thoughts even when I'm only thinking them to myself?"
"Nope." prot said. "Or I wouldn't have needed gino to hypnotize robert to find out what happened to his family. I didn't even know. But I CAN read your tummy and its gurgling loud and clear! Plus I have my OWN needs!
The VOICE repeated, "It tastes so good too! Robert made an excellent choice lending me to you. Out of all the staff at mpi you are the only one whose diet I can tolerate. I look forward to your indian, vegetarian cooking."
Suddenly prot appeared to be sitting in the empty seat next to the Hindi doctor.
Dr. Chakraborty almost choked on his food. "Yikes! Prot you startled me! So is this how Robert sees and hears you when you aren't in dominant position?"
Prot nodded, "He was seven and a half years old before he figured out I was inside of him not beside him. Then he started to think he was crazy. It took a bit of explaining upon my point to get him to understand I was real but not visible to others. His mother just thought he had an imaginary friend like so many of your EARTH kids. He quit talking about me to others and his Mom just thought he had, "grown out of that stage." Little did she know that I was there off an on for years at every meal, every family gathering, every mother-son conversation, listening and watching and learning about EARTH Life."
"But if Robert hadn't wanted me I would have left. Do you understand that?"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded.
"And I will leave you too if you don't want me. I am not a body snatcher. I don't have to be. Enough beings in the UNIVERSE like having us around. Understand?"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, and then asked quietly, "But where would you go?"
Prot shrugged, "You and robert aren't the only vegetarians in the big apple. I may have to search awhile before I find a willing host but I can do it."
Dr. Chakraborty shook his head, "You are welcome to stay until Robert feels better."
Prot grinned broadly, "I knew I could. I am 375 years old, old enough to know how to pick em!"
Dr. Chakraborty stomach growled again and he started laughing. And prot grinned.
Prot actually shut up then and let the Doctor finish his meal. But the doctor did so with such intensity and enjoyment he knew the alien within was influencing him on a deep emotional level some way. But oh dear! How was he going to explain prot to his wife?"
"Can you hide yourself from my wife, Treya?" He asked hesitantly.
"Nada chance chuck." Prot grinned. "I've been cooped up too long inside of rob due to my having to play possum and all. Robert wants out of the hospital so I have to let you guys think I'm reintegrating into robert so you think he's cured and let us go!"
Dr. Chakraborty said, "But I KNOW about you now!"
"But you know I'm a real alien now. Having an alien in the brain ain't a mental illness so if you say anything at all, you'll put in a good word to gino to let us go free."
"Born free!" prot started singing internally, "free as the grass grows! Free as the wind blows so we can follow our dream!" Dr. Chakraborty suddenly realized prot couldn't carry a tune mentally either! Neither did he have any comprehension of how hard it would be to convince others that his new host hadn't just gone mad either! To prot, he was normal and the situation he was in was perfectly normal. Humans wouldn't see it that way.
He sighed. Hopefully Robert Porter's fever would break soon!
By the time he got home, his twin children, Mahu and Lali were sound asleep. In some ways this was a blessing. Dr. Chakraborty knew he was acting strangely, and the less people in his family he interacted with the less chance there was of that being noticed.
Despite his late lunch he tore into his dinner with gusto and asked for seconds and thirds. Inside his mind, Dr. Chakraborty could hear and feel and see prot urging him on. It soon became apparent to both of them that there just was no more physical space left in his stomach for a forth helping. Prot groaned in disappointment.
Treya beamed. "It has been a long time since you so appreciated my cooking, husband! It is so very good to see!"
Dr. Chakraborty grinned as enthusiastically as prot felt, and nodded, "It is seeming especially delicious tonight my Treya. I am so very tired though. Tonight will be an early bedtime."
"Oh no! That was not what he meant!
But there was no helping it. He had said it. He changed into his pajamas and climbed into bed. Prot was grinning, "Red silk jammies! How purty!" The doctor sighed. It was oh so apparent the problems of holding an alien in one's own brain were not the ones all the science fiction horror stories had warned of. Prot wasn't dangerous. He had no nefarious plans to take over the EARTH. He was just EXTEMELY annoying!
For of course they had absolutely NO privacy.
And after he had so complimented and appreciated her cooking, Treya was as horney as could be.
She snuggled into his arms and was obviously expecting him to "do" it. In the back of his mind the Indian doctor could hear prot laughing. What a time for the cheerful but usually laughless alien to get the giggles!
"Don't be doing that!" he pleaded.
"What do you expect me to do?"
Treya could feel her husband stiffen up. "What is being wrong tonight, Jasmine?" she asked.
"Jasmine!" said prot gleefully.
Dr. Chakraborty sighed.
"Dr. Brewer calls you. 'Chuck'."
"But that is not really my name. It is really Jasmine."
"Jasmine Tea is delicious!
"Prot, with you everything is being about food!"
"And with you humans everything is being about sex!
Dr. Chakraborty sighed in frustration. Unfortunately he did it out loud.
Treya gave him an angry look, "What is WRONG tonight? Am I not to your liking?"
Dr. Chakraborty shrugged helplessly, "No it is not that. I am being tired. It was quite a day, a very unsettling day and all I want to do is to be going to sleep now."
"This is not like you husband! It is usual that you are after me. Tonight it is that I am after you but you don't want me!"
Dr. Chakraborty sighed, "I must just be sleeping tonight dear. Maybe tomorrow. He did his best to pretend to fall asleep but he could sense his wife's frustrated looks right through his closed eyelids.
Prot said, "She knows you are not really asleep, you know."
"But what can I be doing? Prot I cannot be making love to my wife with you in side of me!"
"It's, oh darn it, prot. I sure hope Robert gets better quickly!"
Prot said, "I don't. That tofu was GOOD!"
Dr. Chakraborty growled.
Treya lay in the bed and looked at the ceiling fan and fumed.
Prot didn't want to sleep. He wanted to talk. "How did you get the first name of jasmine? As I understand it, humans don't have the custom of naming their outward plumbing type kids after flowers."
Dr, Chakraborty sighed, "It's a long story prot."
"I have lots and lots of that temporal stuff. Lets blow a bit. Tell me."
"I was named after my Aunt Jasmine. She was of a very high caste and very wealthy. But she was dying. All her money could not save her. But she believed in reincarnation, as do many of my people. She believed if someone in her family had her name, she would come back as that person. As it so happened I was conceived about the time she got notice her cancer was terminal. She promised my folks if they would name their baby after her she would leave her fortune to me to finance my education. They agreed, and they kept their word even though I was male and have been teased! And, sigh, sometimes I wonder if I really am just a continuation of her!"
Prot smiled, "If there is an afterlife and a God I am sure it is not so poor it has to recycle human operating systems like aluminum cans! So, jazzy you are your OWN being."
Dr. Chakraborty smiled at prot's new nickname for him. "I hope you are right my friend. I hate to be used goods."
Then at last, they were both asleep.
Next morning came way too early as it always did. They had to get up before daybreak to manage their schedule. That was fine with prot who didn't need much sleep and wouldn't need the glasses until sunrise but it was extremely hard on Dr. Chakraborty who had found it extremely hard to sleep with the chatty alien in his brain. He really wondered how Robert did it and began to have much more respect for any mental patient with internal voices. How did they function at all!?
Mahu and Lali were up and full of giggles and they knew right away their father was possessed.
Still in her footy pajamas Lali gazed up at her father with her beautiful, brown eyes with eyelashes so long they could be tied in knots. "Papa who is that funny person inside of you?"
Dr. Chakraborty was so sleep deprived he started to fall asleep with his chin in his coffee. Prot took the "top" position to keep his chin from getting dunked. So it was prot who answered Lali. "I'm not a person I'm a being." prot said.
Treya overheard. "Husband! What ever did you mean by that?"
Dr. Chakraborty took control and explained "AH! I'm not fully awake yet!"
She stared at him. So did the twins.
Mahu asked. "If the funny being inside of you is not a person, what is he?"
Dr. Chakraborty was not happy with the out loud answer. "I am a dremer from the PLANET K-PAX. Your father was kind enough to lend me a place to crash while my regular friend is recovering from a sickness that was making me uncomfortable too. He's a good being, your father. Now give him a hug." Prot put out his arms.
The twins rushed to do so as Treya stared at them with eyes wide and frightened as saucers.
"Jasmine! What's gotten in to you!"
Prot took dominant position and grinned his best loopy grin. "I have! I am prot from the PLANET K-PAX and I need to borrow your husband for a wee bit. I am sure you won't mind."
The doctor realized it was time to explain. He took control and turned to his wife, "Ah I did not know how to be telling you this, but ah, I think I mentioned once we have a patient at the hospital who calls himself, 'prot.' He claims he is an alien. Well, it turns out, he is right! And the human he is always living in, is being sick, and prot was getting sick too, so he jumped into me, and so now I have him until Robert is better, and that is why last night I did not want to make love to you. Sorry!"
Prot took over and cocked his head pleadingly, "I followed him home. Can he keep me?"
"Jasmine!" Now Treya was both frightened and angry. "Did I tell you, you could be bringing home an alien?"
"AH, no dear." Dr. Chakraborty stared at the floor.
But Lali and Mahu were delighted, "Oh Daddy! Just like on Star Trek!"
Jasmine nodded, "Yes, my little treasures, just like on Star Trek."
He turned to his wife. "He won't be hurting me. He won't be hurting you. He certainly won't be hurting our precious little ones. He will be going home to his own human just as soon as Robert is all better. In the mean time what could I do?" Dr. Chakraborty shrugged helplessly.
Treya grabbed the phone, "I'm calling the police!"
Dr Chakraborty stared at her, "And you will be reporting to them, what? An Alien in the brain of your husband? Do you think they will be believing you? And if they do, that this will be a good thing?"
She stood there holding the phone, realizing he was right and yet not knowing what to do.
He frowned, "And what will that knowledge do to my job? Or to MPI? Or to prot? Treya he is my friend as well as my patient! He is a good being. He really is. He hates Earth but he came back just to help his friend be feeling better and functioning better, and its working. He's working hard with Dr. Brewer to help his friend. He lets Dr. Brewer hypnotize him. He did not have to do that. He will not be hurting us and he needs our help now, just as his Robert needs his!"
She stared at her husband, "How do I even know he isn't making you say that?"
Inside him prot grinned ruefully, "She's got a point there jazzy. I'm stumped!"
Jasmine stared at his wife. "Faith." he said quietly.
"Faith!" she looked at him like he was crazy.
"Sometimes the Missionaries are right. Some things just have to be taken on faith. Yes, prot could be controlling my mind, making me say these things. I could really be inside screaming and struggling right now instead of it really being me doing the talking. But you have to be having faith it's really me and he is NOT forcing me to seem calm and say this."
Prot commented, "Well! Will wonders never cease! There really is a use for faith after all!'
"Yes, yes prot." Dr. Chakraborty said out loud so everyone could hear, "You too. You have faith in me, that I would not harm you, and I have faith in you that you will not harm me, and Treya, my beloved, you must be having faith that it is really me and prot does not always control me, not unless I let him."
"Or you are really sleep deprived and start to dunk your chin in your hoofa." prot added internally.
Dr. Chakraborty had a better idea. Words were not everything. He rushed to his wife and encircled her in his arms and gave her the biggest, hardest kiss he had ever given her.
She relaxed in his arms. Inside of him prot was chortling.
Dr. Chakraborty added, "And he is being DARN annoying! But he isn't a danger to Earth, or to us, or to our little ones, just to my sanity, and that will be temporary." He added internally, "soon as Robert is better!"
The kids said, "Can the funny man inside of you give US a hug?"
Jasmine sighed. He released his hold on his own body and it was prot who bent down and picked both kids up and swung them around, giving them a big hug-in-motion.
Dr Chakraborty took control again, "See dear? Our little ones were knowing he was there. But they are not afraid of him. From the beginning they see he is gentle and kind. He will not be hurting our family and he will enrich it. And we are very late for work!"
The next few minutes were pandemonium as the two adults rushed to dress the kids and get their own clothes and gear together. Prot could be no help but at least he stayed fairly silent, other than to remind his new host, "Don't forget your lunch! The bag! PLEASE!"
"Ah thanks!" He grabbed the paper bag in his teeth, grabbed his briefcase with his left hand and Lali with his Right. Mahu knew to hang onto his sister.
They rushed several blocks to the train. Prot was thoroughly enjoying himself. "Robin was right! I didn't remember how much fun it was to not be cooped up in the hospital!"
Dr. Chakraborty growled, "Well you are going back there today even if it is being inside of me!"
Prot internally nodded, "Yup. No sweat. I don't mind the place, jazzy. I love it actually. Everyone has been so good to my little robin and me, and compared with the rest of EARTH it is so PEACE full. But it is just seeing some scenery that isn't behind the ivy-covered walls of the back 40. And glory be, I get to ride a train again!"
It was a pleasant train ride. The kids were full of questions. As the sun rose Dr. Chakraborty put on prot's sunglasses so the alien would be able to take top position when he wanted to without his eyes being on fire.
Lali looked up at her father and prot and asked, "Tell me what it was like when you were a kid on your planet, Uncle prot."
Prot took control and gave her one of his best loopy grins, "Kiddo I would love to. Want to hear about the time I got sprayed by a mot?"
"What's a mot?" Mahu asked.
Prot explained, "it's like a big old skunk except it stinks worse and it isn't anywhere near as friendly. I think they got that way to keep the aps from stepping on them and playing with them. Our aps get mischievous sometimes."
From the nondominant position Jasmine asked, What's an ap?
Prot added, "Your father wants to know what an ap is. An ap is like a small elephant about the size of a big, big horse, like those one's your policemen ride."
Somberly Lali nodded. "Yes Uncle prot tell us about the mots."
"And the aps too." Mahu added.
Prot had the center stage as he usually did, and as usual he was good at it. " Well kids this is your lucky day! As a matter of fact this little story does involve an ap too. An ap named pooty." Now we dremers don't get raised by our ma's and pa's, but by everyone, so she was as much what you would think of as a mother to me as my real mother, more in fact. I learned to walk hanging on to her warm, soft fur."
"How did she get the name pooty?" Mahu asked.
Prot grinned, "Because even by ap standards she pooted a lot."
"What's a poot?"
Prot put his/Jasmine's hands to his mouth and made a Bronx cheer.
The kids giggled and inside of them, Jasmine did too.
Prot continued, "So I was just a little dremer at that time, oh, I couldn't be," (he stared at the ceiling of the train), "more'n 40 years old. That's like a two and half year old to you guys. I was walking pretty good by then, and starting to walk long distances to get food and find adventure. I found more than I wanted that time. I saw this wondDERfull, brand new animal, and I just had to run up to it and cuddle it. After all every other being I had ever met always wanted to cuddle. I went up to it and.."
Prot wrinkled his nose, "I got sprayed good! Or more accurately, I got sprayed BAAAAAD!"
Lali gave him a sympathetic look but Mahu giggled.
Prot frowned at Mahu and patted Lali on her shoulder, then continued. "I was sobbing like my little dremer heart was going to come right out of my mouth and fall on the ground. I had never in my entire life been met by a hostile action. Not ever. There is so little hostility on K-PAX."
Lali looked at him, "No one ever scolded you?"
Prot nodded, "No one ever was mad at me for any thing, or ever told me to go to school, or stuck a needle in me." Internally he glared at Dr. Chakraborty.
No shots!" Mahu and Lali said it together. Then Mahu added, "Can we move to K-PAX with you?"
Prot sighed, "Not this trip kids. You will have to be more grownup first, because if I took you EARTH kids away from your mamas and your papas, you'd be too sad, even if EARTH does have shots and violence and meanies, which K-PAX mostly doesn't."
Internally Jasmine felt himself relax a little more. It actually was in the back of his mind somewhere that his children might be some of the ones prot would take with him to K-PAX among the 100 he had promised could go.
Prot continued, "So there I was smelling worse than I had ever smelled in my life. I started sobbing and then pooty came to my rescue.
She came and picked me up by one leg which is calming to dremer kids. We've been picked up that way for millions and millions of years, not just by the aps but also by older dremers on those rare occasions when they feel the need to interact with us.
She took me to a yort tree. It was blossoming and it had fruit on it. That's the way our trees are. We don't have winter, spring summer and fall as you do because we have more than one SUN, so our trees fruit and flower and produce seed all at the same time, pretty much depending on their moods."
Inwardly Jasmine asked, "Do plants on K-PAX have moods?"
Internally prot answered, "Yes, as yours are suspected of having. Even eating vegan is not as harmless as we would like. But we are trapped. We have to eat something."
Outwardly he said, "So pooty dropped me under the yort tree, and grabbed fruit off the tree with her trunk and squeezed the sweet, smelling juice all over me. It made me smell a whole lot better, real quick. And the tree didn't mind either, because after pooty squeezed the fruit juice all over me, she ate them. So wherever she pooped, the pits, which are the seeds would come out in the manure and they had a good chance of growing into baby yort trees because the little trees would have the manure to eat when they needed it. Trees like that when you can do that for them."
Just then Dr. Chakraborty said, "Sorry kids. I have to take control. Here's our stop."
"Darn!" said Mahu.
The Indian father said, "Do not be being upset my little treasures. Prot finished that story and you'll most likely be talking to him tonight before I tuck you in."
That cheered them up. They grabbed their lunches and their coats and Lali grabbed her stuffed doll and off they went with their father and alien to the preschool.
Walking back without them to re-board the train, prot said, "They sure are cute! Young'uns!. I wonder why anything not fully grown is cute."
Jasmine nodded internally, "Even blue whale babies which are the size of this train car, and bigger. Even they are cute!'
Prot grinned, "On PLANET POMB, a baby blue whale would seem mighty puny. On that world the smallest life form they have is ten times bigger than a full grown blue whale."
Dr. Chakraborty gazed out the window of the train as if he were looking at the World Trade Center. Actually he was gazing inward at his passenger. "What do they look like, prot?"
Prot grinned, "Like your dinosaurs, except much bigger. On that world, no big, big rock took them out and they were able to continue to evolve. And they have brightly colored feathers. So did your dinosaurs."
Internally Jazzy nodded, "It was a fortunate thing that meteor took the dinosaurs out here, or where would we be?'
Prot frowned, "How do you know the next big big rock won't take YOU guys out?"
Jasmine shuttered, "prot do what you said you would. Take some of us to your PLANET?"
"I am mostly taking nonhumans, Jazzy.
The Indian doctor shrugged, "I don't blame you. But I know you are taking Robert and Giselle if they don't change their minds. Won't that be enough? That's Adam and Eve right there. It will only take two."
Prot shook his head, "That's a pretty tight genetic bottleneck."
"But it's happened before with other Earth creatures and they survived."
Prot nodded, "the seals for instance. They are almost genetic clones of one another. Your domestic white mice also have a common ancestor, as do you humans already. Yes, it will be enough but a lot of genetic diversity will be lost. Jazzy, I can't take everyone! Sorry. I don't begin to know what to do about your whales, which started this train of thought in the first place. I suggest you beings clean up your act. You are going to have to solve your OWN problems."
At that point the train's brakes squealed.
Speaking of trains! Dr. Chakraborty chuckled, "We are at our destination.
It was a short, brisk, autumn walk to MPI. Dr. Chakraborty remembered to take off prot's sunglasses and hide them safely out of sight in his pocket. That would keep the alien from going topside unless he kept his eyes shut and would also stop a thousand, puzzled questions.
Roman met them inside. He asked, "Hiya Doc. Any sign of prot?"
Dr., Chakraborty gave him a slightly terrified look and quickly nodded. "Keep it quiet but yes he is inside of me, and he is being a chatterbox!"
Roman started laughing, "I always KNEW he was real! Hey prot, old buddy, can you hear me?"
Prot started to take dominant position but Dr. Chakraborty was pleased to find he could stop him simply by forcing his eyes open, and said to everyone. "Don't! The last thing I will be needing for rumors to be getting out I am acting like you!"
Roman stared at him, "having a little difficulty?"
Yes. He wanted to greet you himself but I stopped him. I don't need to end up being a patient here!' We have to be keeping this quiet! All THREE of us!"
Roman nodded and internally prot did too.
Roman swallowed and nodded.
That morning a young lady was dropped off at MPI by angry parents. She was almost too young to be admitted but she had just turned 18. She was red eyed from crying, a classic case of depression, or so Dr. Chakraborty thought.
The problem turned out to be severe sleep deprivation. She gazed around the clinic with obvious fear. It was rational fear. Most people are uncomfortable around mental patients and in mental hospitals and MPI was definitely that.
Dr. Chakraborty looked at her gently, "Young lady can you tell me what is bothering you? A psychiatrist will talk to you later also, but maybe I can help, first.
She said, "Doctor my trouble is sleep deprivation. I am trying to get an education. But it's hard because my throat and sinuses stay inflamed and swollen from the tobacco smoke in school. They smoke in the hallways at college and I have to walk through it to get to my classes and it gets all over me and I am in trouble the rest of the day from that. Then I go home from school and my Mother will not clean up the house! We have mold and mild and cockroaches, and cat feces and piles of rotting papers and spoiled food all over the place. So I can't breath there either. So I can't sleep at night. My breathing keeps stopping on me when I try to relax. It's called sleep apnea and I've been reading about it but some of the doctors I tried to get help from hadn't even heard of it so no one believes me. It's been much worse since my breasts grew. They weigh so much! I tried to get help at a sleep clinic, but I wasn't allergic to the sleep clinic. In fact I slept better there than I have ever slept in my entire life, so they would not believe me either and they told me allergies are psychosomatic! She frowned. My father loved that. He wants me to quit fussing about the mess because its all supposed to be in my head!"
Dr. Chakraborty shook his head, "Mary Lou, Freud wasn't right about everything. In fact he was wrong about a lot of things! I read the other day that bone marrow recipients develop the same allergies as their donors, and that is without them knowing what their donors allergies are. The problem is in the immune system, not in people's heads! But we don't know what to do about it yet. Why don't your parents clean up?"
She was almost in tears. "My father says that's my mother's job and she will when she gets in the mood. But the house has been like that my whole life. She has NEVER been in the mood! And my mother says she loves the trash and the garbage more than she loves me. When I try to clean up she gets really angry, and then I'm in trouble with my father for 'upsetting my mother!"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "I see that you are being in severe trouble, and it is not mental illness but sleep depravation can soon cause severe clinical depression because stress damages the hippocampus. And I do not know what we will be doing with you. The patients here are allowed to smoke and many of the doctors and nurses also smoke. It is a big conundrum."
She started crying in earnest then. "What are you going to do with me? Lock me up with wall-to-wall chain smokers? I'll be so sleep deprived I WILL go nuts. I'll never get out! It only takes one whiff of smoke to give me breathing problems for hours!'
Dr. Chakraborty swallowed, "And we have many here like that too. Schizophrenics and bipolars seem to chain smoke all the time and drug abusers abuse and are addicted to nicotine too. We should not let them, perhaps. It is as much a drug addiction as heroin or cocaine and just as dangerous, and yet we let them do it. This is because it's legal."
She sobbed, "Legal doesn't make it right. They are hurting themselves and me and others like me! "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH ME?"
Dr. Chakraborty shuddered, "Easy! We cannot be putting you in the wards that is for sure. You will have to stay here in the infirmary until we can figure out what to do, but your parents sound like they have problems, especially your mother. She has hoarding type OCD and your father is delusional if he cannot see she needs help too. I am so sorry! This happens quite often. It is often the sanest one in the family who is the troublemaker because they want the family problem solved instead of ignored, and so THEY end up here. We are trained to watch for that and not commit the wrong person. "You Americans have a saying, and you are an example of it. 'The squeakiest wheel getting the grease.' It does so, even if it is not really the most stuck. Your parents are much sicker than you are, but they have the power to send you here. What a conundrum! But somehow young lady we will find you a place with clean air so you can sleep and be mentally healthy again! But it is indeed being a puzzle. We can't send you back to your parents and you are too old for the social workers to call this child abuse even though it is abuse. We shall have to figure something out. In the mean time I will not let them smoke in here, and we have beds here so I guess this will be your room while you are here. And you will have some company. That is Robert Porter over in that bed. He is in here because he has the stomach flu and an alien. Both are almost gone.
Inside prot started chuckling. "That's a great conversation starter, jazzy!"
Inwardly Jasmine nodded.
Mary Lou's eyes grew wide, "He is a real crazy person and you are leaving me in here with him?"
He shook his head, "It will be very fine. There will always be an orderly here too. That is Roman Kowalski."
She nodded, "I know. I asked him his name when he escorted me here."
Dr. Chakraborty added, "All the patients on wards 1 and 2 are the harmless and well behaved ones. The disruptive ones and the ones who cannot take care of their personal needs are on 3 and the dangerous ones are locked up securely on 4.
Inwardly prot added, "And the really dan GERus ones are on 5. Those are the ones that have the right to drug you and put you in restraints."
"Inwardly Dr. Chakraborty said, "Shush."
The new patient looked dubious. "But he is really crazy! He has a hallucination that is an alien?"
Dr. Chakraborty said, "No. prot is not a hallucination. He is a real being who thinks he is an alien."
Inwardly prot was hooting, "Liar, liar pants on fire!" and started all out laughing.
Somehow the possessed Human managed to ignore his passenger, "Robert Porter has multiple personality disorder. His second personality calls himself, 'prot' and thinks he is from the PLANET K-PAX. He is a very nice being wherever he is from. Maybe you will get to meet him if he manifests in Robert Porter again. Robert Porter is almost cured. So you might not get to meet him."
Mary Lou frowned, "That would be a shame. I might as well have some fun while I am here and meeting someone who thinks he has an alien in him would be a whole lot more fun if I got to meet the alien too."
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "I think when Robert Porter is over his stomach flu prot will manifest himself again in Robert Porter just for you. He is very kind." Inwardly he caste a questioning gaze at prot.
Internally prot said, "Of course."
She said, "It is REALLY crazy to think one has an alien living inside of him!"
Prot said internally, "Present company excepted."
Mary Lou added, "But I admit he must not ever have to be lonely. It might be fun to be that kind of crazy. But really! That is ever weird!"
Dr. Chakraborty said, "Well young lady this IS a mental hospital! Go talk to him. You will find him a very nice fellow. You have to have friends, even here, ESPECIALLY here!"
"He added, "Now I will go and explain what is going on with you to your psychiatrist. Feel safe. Roman won't let anything happen to you and Robert Porter would not hurt you anyway."
Internally prot said, "You don't know that jazzy. You have never eaten his cooking. Also, he snores."
Dr. Chakraborty said, "I see Robert is awake. I will introduce you. Robert, this is Mary Lou Summers. She is allergic to tobacco smoke and has other allergies and messy parents. So she is very sleep deprived and her parents don't believe her about things and have dumped her on us. I already told her about prot and that he is dormant in you right now."
Robert grinned and his eye contact said it all, "But you did not tell him WHERE prot really is." Then Robert Porter turned to Mary Lou and grinned as he said, "pleased to meet you. If your parents won't even believe you are bothered by tobacco smoke I hope they NEVER meet prot and me."
Wide eyed, Mary Lou nodded.
Robert assured her, "prot will not bother you and I will not either. If I did, Roman would drag me off to a rubber room and put a coat on me that fastened in the back. I know how to get out of them, but I still would not like the experience." He looked up at Dr. Chakraborty and winked. Jasmine knew whom he was really winking at.
Robert turned to Mary Lou and said, "Mary Lou, I had a classmate in first grade that did not make it to second grade. They kept failing her and then they finally expelled her. Her nose was always running. She would nod off in class. She did it so much she could not learn, and she was very cranky, and started arguments and fights. I guess because she was tired and cranky. They started calling her a troublemaker and retarded but I think she was just sleep-deprived all the time. Maybe you have the same problem."
Mary Lou nodded, "I am very tried and cranky most of the time. I don't have friends because of it so I'm lonely too. I am about ready for a place like this, if it were smoke free, which is isn't. There is nowhere for me to go! That is my problem. I'm not crazy. The world is for allowing addicts to harm others all over the place with their addiction."
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "You are being very correct. You are not being delusional at all. It is the world that is being crazy. And I don't know what we can do to help you. But we will be figuring out something."
Dr. Chakraborty left the infirmary and spoke internally to prot as they headed for the elevator. "Darn it, prot! The only place patients are not allowed to smoke is ward 4 and we can't be putting such a harmless patient up there with the violent ones! And we can't even be putting her up in that empty office on what the patients call ward five, our office level, because Dr. Thornton smokes!"
Prot suggested, "Maybe he could refrain. This might even pressure him to quit."
Internally Dr. Chakraborty said, "There is being no chance, prot. He is a fervent Freudian and his idol smoked, smoked himself right into the grave!"
Prot frowned, "It's a ri DICK cou lous PLANET where the mental patients are saner than the shrinks!"
Dr, Chakraborty nodded as they were getting in the elevator and that got him puzzled look from orderly Navarro who was coming in the other direction. Dr. Chakraborty looked at him, shrugged and said, "Rough day." Then continued walking.
As they got off the elevator on 5 Dr. Chakraborty said, "She sounds like she has sleep apnea all right. But it is not known to be in anyone but middle aged, over weight males. They are so fat their breathing cuts off when they relax just as she said. But she is a young female and not fat."
Prot asked, "Have you looked for it in anyone but middle-aged, overweight males? Females, kids and teens have bodies too."
Dr. Chakraborty internally shook his head, "No prot we have not. It is a new condition we have just discovered and middle aged, overweight males are the only ones we've checked for it so far."
Prot asked, "Then what makes you think it's just a problem of overweight middle-aged males?"
Dr. Chakraborty internally shrugged and shook his head, "But Mary Lou is not even overweight."
Prot said, "I have ways of sensing that you do not. I can tell her sinuses and throats are inflamed to the point where it would be giving her all-the time breathing difficulties and I know you observed the milk producers on her chest. She's right about em!" They must weight ten pounds apiece, or more. She must not be getting much sleep at all."
Dr. Chakraborty internally shook his head, "But prot that is NORMAL w eight.
"Weight is weight. She did say it started when she reached puberty. That is when those things grow on you humans. And because of all the hormones you humans put in the flesh you devour, and the baby-juice you steal from lactating furry beings, many of you are messed up. So her mammary glands may be bigger than they are supposed to be. Imagine trying to sleep with eQUIVElent of four, five-pound bags of flour on your chest. Just the weight would wear me out even without the breathing and sleeping difficulties they cause. Then add to that the continually stopped up nose and inflamed throat. She's in trouble all right and no wonder. She's dog tired and bunny-rabbit frazzled!"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "I see your point. But I don't know what to do to help her, not with western medicine anyway. There is a herb in my country that could help her with her breathing, but I have no way to be getting any."
Internally prot nodded, "I think I know the one, and I have a way for us to get it. Can you get me some batteries?"
Dr. Chakraborty felt a chill go up his spine, "You are going to mirror beam us to India?"
Prot grinned, "Sure, why not?"
"I'm scared of the idea, prot!"
"Ah jazzy get your courage up. After all its something your aunt would never have done. It ought to prove to you, you're YOU!" And prot laughed. Internally he was much more of a laugher than he was externally.
Dr Chakraborty said, "All right, we'll go, but not for that reason. It is to be helping her."
Prot knew he was telling the truth.
Dr. Brewer had no suggestions to make about what to do with their new patient. "Keep her in the infirmary I guess, like you said. Maybe we can put her up at the hotel across the street."
Dr. Chakraborty shuddered, "The hotel will not be liking that we start exporting patients into their facility!"
Dr. Brewer nodded and shrugged, and then added, "But she's not mentally ill, not yet. She's just sleep deprived and we can stop her from going mentally ill if we can help her. It is her parents with the problem. I will go explain the situation to the manager."
Dr. Chakraborty said, "It will not be doing her much good. They smoke in hotels too."
Dr. Brewer groaned and hit his forehead with his open palm, "She ought to move to K-PAX!"
Inwardly prot cheered, "That's the answer gino! There is hope for you yet! I'll definitely have to take her!
Dr. Chakraborty nodded at them both.
Dr Chakraborty took a long lunch hour and went to a hole in the wall store that had a bit of everything. He put on prot's sunglasses and the gentle alien took over his body again. "Sorry pal," he explained, "But I have to be in control to do this. I can't begin to teach you how to do it in a short enough period of time even if I dared!"
Dr Chakraborty understood.
The beam-in was painless, seemingly instantaneous and amazingly non-scary. Letting prot have control of his body long enough to do it was worse.
It was so wonderful seeing his country again! Dr. Chakraborty smiled and inhaled deeply smelling the smells of home, the plants, the flowers, and the trees, even the dust. Nothing smells like India but India! The Ganges river ran through a lush valley that would have been perfect except it was wall to wall with thousands of people bathing in the river, trying to wash their sins away. Prot wrinkled his nose. He didn't like the smell Dr. Chakraborty had longed to smell again with all his heart!
Prot asked, "Why are all those people getting wet?
Jasmine explained, "It is to purify them."
Prot frowned, "I think washing in that will make them dirtier than when they went in!"
Dr Chakraborty nodded, "Physically maybe but they think it cleanses their souls."
"Hmmmf! Prot said. "I don't feel like a bath today. Lets just go find that herb."
It was fun walking along the dusty path amongst the tropical flowers and trees. Dr Chakraborty was both so joyful to be home but also a little scared someone he knew in his home country would see him and how would he explain what he was doing or how he got here? But in a country of over 600,000, people, what were the odds?
Prot was the first to spot the herb but there was a problem.
A cow was eating it.
They stood there and considered the situation. Dr. Chakraborty explained, "In my culture cows are treated with great respect, prot."
Prot said, "In my culture ALL beings are treated with great respect, but I will politely ask her to move."
He took control of the body and made some gentle, lowing sounds. The cow stared at him, startled that a "human" could speak her language. But she sauntered off as requested. Prot gave Dr Chakraborty control again and he picked the herb.
Then prot took control and beamed them back to MPI.
They landed in the bathroom, in a stall, in the toilet.
"Yuck!" prot said,
Dr Chakraborty pulled their leg out of the toilet and teased his passenger, "Are you sure this is an improvement on the Ganges?" He forgot himself and spoke out loud.
Dr. Brewer happened to be in the next stall. He overheard Dr. Chakraborty apparently talking to himself. After they came out of the stall, Gene asked, "Chuck are you all-right? And what's that in your pockets? Grass? And why are you wearing prot's sunglasses?"
Embarrassed, the Hindi doctor said, "AH yes, Gene, quite all right. I just had something on my mind! It's an herb. No, it's not marijuana! It's something from India I want to try with the new patient with the bad allergies."
"But why the sunglasses?"
"I have a head ache and Robert lent them to me!"
"I thought you said you were, 'quite alright'."
"I meant I am except for having a headache!"
Gene Brewer said, "You haven't been yourself all day. You've been very introspective and even absent-minded, and now you are talking to yourself and wearing prot's sunglasses. And you never had headaches before! Is everything all right at home?"
Dr Chakraborty thought of how prot was messing up his home life and his love life, but there was no way he was going to explain to a fellow psychiatrist an alien was living inside of him, even if it was their mutual friend and patient! "Oh no Gene. I'm fine. Really. Everything is fine!" He left the stall and Gene noticed that his friend's pants leg was wet. His mouth dropped open.
"What were you doing? Standing in the toilet?!"
It was not helping that prot was internally making his Cheshire cat grin.
Dr Chakraborty said, "OH no, I got it wet from the sink. I was washing off a stain."
AH one of the patients threw up. "It's that darn stomach flu. They are not being all over it."
Dr Chakraborty hoped that his fellow doctor would not ask which one.
What a blessing. He did not. He just said, "I am sure glad I only deal with the messy stuff in their heads! I wouldn't have your job for anything."
Dr Chakraborty nodded in agreement, "It does have its draw backs." Just then his beeper went off. Saved by the bell! he thought to himself and rushed away.
That night going home Jasmine realized he was starving for fruit. He could see oranges and bananas in his brain. He could taste them! He was BURNING with desire for them more than he had ever wanted anything in his life!
He stared out the window of the train at the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Internally he said, "Prot I know its you making me crave fruit so. Shame on you! I thought you would not be making me do anything involuntarily. This craving for fruit that you are putting in me is being beyond my control. It is not voluntary. I must have fruit NOW! Stop it."
Internally prot gave Dr. Chakraborty an embarrassed grin. "Ah sorry, jasmine. It's not voluntary in moi. That behavior in us dremers goes back to our ancient non-sentient days. We worms would take a host and because we feed off our host's blood sugar, the host's need for it is doubled, sometimes even tripled and quadrupled. So our worm brains programmed the host to crave yorts and sippas and other K-PAXian fruit. Our need is still there, so survival of the fittest kept this trait in us. I can't prevent making you crave fruit the way I can avoid making you do other things. It's too deep inside me and too old. It would be like you not farting. Your gut is an older brain than the one in your skull. It will make you fart whether you desire to, or not, and whether it is socially acceptable, or not. You can't help farting. And we dremers can't help making our hosts crave what gives us fuel to live. Sorry."
Dr. Chakraborty nodded. He understood. Then he grinned, "Hey prot! You are a blood sugar vampire!"
Internally prot made a wry grin and sighed. He nodded, "Guilty as charged. Even we dremers are prisoners of our biology."
Soothingly Jasmine said, "Well one thing New York is being famous for, is we have plenty of people who sell fruit from carts. I know there is usually one at our stop."
Internally prot grinned.
And there was.
Three bananas, an orange and two pears later, the craving finally dissipated. Jasmine and his internal friend felt calm and peaceful. The walk back to the apartment was one of the most blissful and joyous experiences of the young Hindi doctor's life. It was as if for a few moments the world was all fine and peaceful!
Internally prot said, "It's aMAZing what a full belly and a well fed brain will make one think, ay jasmine?"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "That and family and friends who love us."
Internally prot nodded, "I guess you could say our hosts are our family. On K-PAX love did not develop to keep parents from devouring their young'uns. On K-PAX love developed to keep dremers happy with their hosts and their hosts happy with their dremers. The dremers who were the most successful at surviving were the ones who can love the most, because that way their hosts are happier. I am in you. You are my host now. I cannot help but love you intensely. That is hardwired in to me. And humans and other EARTH beings are starved for love. It is a TER rib ble shame there are so few of us and so many, many of you! We could help you so much! But alas, we are too few and I am the only one interested in EARTH. You will have to solve your own problems."
They were walking past a church.
Dr. Chakraborty gazed at it, "and said, "I wonder if you are the only being here like you?"
Internally prot shrugged, "I plead the fifth."
The next morning Treya came into the kitchen and found prot holding a knife.
Her eyes grew wide as the proverbial saucers. "What are you doing?!" she exclaimed.
Prot stared at her a bit bewildered. Then in dawned on him why she was upset. He grinned a toothy grin, "I am going to take this knife and STAB…this peanut butter and make myself a sandwich."
It was Treya's turn to look bewildered.
Prot cocked his head, "What did you EXPECT me to do with it?"
Treya's face reddened. "I don't know…I thought….. I really don't know!"
Prot grinned at her, "I know my way around a knife, in the kitchen that is. Would you like me to cook supper tonight? I'm a vegan too. I could introduce you to some Japanese dishes I learned to prepare when I was over there."
Treya brightened, "That would be lovely. Letting Jasmine, or that is you, do the cooking for a change. I'll be going to bed early, and be SLEEPING."
Inwardly Dr. Chakraborty groaned. Apparently his wife had not yet forgiven him for the night before's lack of romance. He popped out and said, "Treya this is me. I understand fully that you are still being mad about this that has happened to us. But Robert's fever was 2 degrees lower today and he said he was not quite as nauseous. I am sure soon he will be feeling better and we can have our privacy back again, and then…"
Internally prot gave a Bronx cheer, "If its successful jazzy you have to name it, 'prot,' boy or girl."
Dr. Chakraborty made a face.
Treya glared, "Now what?"
Dr. Chakraborty said, "It is nothing, dear. My passenger is being very annoying. Any more like that and I'll be calling immigration and reporting an illegal alien!"
Inwardly prot grinned his usual Cheshire cat grin, "And they'd haul YOU off to MPI, dear doctor."
Inwardly Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "True my alien friend. They might do that. So you be keeping quiet and still when we are out in public. "
Prot nodded. "Understood mi amigo. Lets make that sandwich and head for the hospital. I want to be near robin even if I can't be in him."
On the way to the train, Dr. Chakraborty scolded prot. "You should not have done that?"
"Held a knife in the kitchen."
"And how am I to make a peanut butter sandwich? With your fingers? I could do that. But it would be kind of messy."
Dr. Chakraborty sighed, "My wife is being very on edge. She is not sure I have not just gone insane and she does not know if it will be gone soon or very permanent. She is being scared. Try being understanding."
Prot nodded, "But tonight if I cook, I will have to cut up stuff, you know. It's not like I have a ray gun like those awful creatures on twilight zone last night. It's either a knife or I gnaw the stuff in two."
Dr. Chakraborty grinned, "I think tonight Treya will be expecting you to handle a knife. It was just a surprise this morning."
Prot shrugged, "I will try not to surprise her in the future. Tomorrow morning I will have cereal with soy milk and she can be frightened by my fancy moves with a spoon instead."
At MPI Dr, Chakraborty no sooner walked in the gate when Roman came running up to them both. If he hadn't been in such great shape physically he would have been out of breath.
The orderly exclaimed, "Benny is up on the roof and he is going to jump! Dr Brewer is up there now but I can tell he IS going to jump and nothing Dr. B says is going to stop him! He's just trying to get up his courage."
Prot took dominant position and asked, "How did he get up there?" Prot sounded more excited than he usually did.
Roman didn't even realize he was talking to prot and not the Indian doctor. He said, "He used one of the ladders from the new construction. "
"Oh." Said the alien sadly. "Listen you guys I'm gonna beam all three of us to the roof. Roman you be prepared to grab benny because I'm going to do something utterly de SPIC able (said like Daffy Duck) "I'm going to leave jazzy and completely body snatch benny. I'm going to make him sit down real quick rather he wants to or not. If I ever treated robin like that it would be SER I ous grounds for divorce! But hurry up and grab him while I've got him down and I do mean quick! Because it's going to be horrid for the both of us. He's going to hate being a meat puppet and I'll hate being surrounded by the putrefying, half digested flesh in his gut! Once you have him roman, I'm jumping back. Jazzy you be prepared for the worst case of nausea in your life!"
"Why? Dr. Chakraborty asked. Is transferring hosts that hard on you? It wasn't when you jumped to me."
Prot frowned, "jazzy didn't you hear what I said about the putrid, half digested flesh? I'm not in your brain you know. That's only my entry point. Your brain cells are busy being YOU. I spend most of my time and essence down in your gut brain which isn't intelligent and doesn't mind becoming so one bit."
Prot took his flashlight and mirror out of their right pocket, caught their reflection in the mirror and flashed his light. One minute Dr. Chakraborty had newly mown grass and its sweet smell under his feet. The next he was feeling and smelling hot asphalt roof tiles. There was actually a noticeable change in air pressure too, despite it being only a five-story difference Dr. Chakraborty felt dizzy and disoriented and empty! Then he realized why. Prot had jumped out of him.
Benny got a surprised look on his face and tried to jump but instead moved as if against his own will to a sitting position, fighting himself as he did so.
Roman jumped him, "Gotcha!" said, "NO killing your self today pal! Have a heart! We don't want to have to clean up the mess!
Navarro rushed in with a needle full of heavy sedative and rammed it in to the surprised and tackled depressive. Like a marionette deprived of his strings he crumpled to the shingles completely unconscious.
Roman breathed a sigh of relief then turned at the sound of retching.
Dr. Chakraborty felt like he had been kicked in the stomach by a mule! He doubled over and wretched until he had emptied out more stuff than he thought his stomach could hold.
"Prot!" He scolded. "You DO realize this is a classic psychosomatic reaction don't you? There is nothing in MY belly but your darn peanut butter sandwich. That meat didn't hurt you physically!"
Prot appeared before him internally looking as pale as Dr. Chakraborty felt, "Actually you still had two days worth of meals down here, but imagine tossing a two year old into the remains of a battle field a few days after the battle with all sorts of guts and loose body parts laying around rotting." Then imagine tossing the poor kid right in the middle of a huge pile of that stuff and dumping it all over him! That's what I just went through!" Internally prot frowned and another wave of nausea hit them both. Dr. Chakraborty felt them sinking to the ground.
Roman caught them.
Dr. Gene Brewer came over with concern written all over his face, an emotion he was great at showing. It was one of the reasons he was such a great psychiatrist. "Ah Chuck it looks like you finally caught it! We are finally getting over it and now YOU come down with it! I'm so sorry. I thought it would spare you."
Dr. Chakraborty nodded. The stomach flu would provide a great explanation for the alien induced nausea. He turned to Roman, "Help me to the infirmary please!"
Roman took him over to the side of the building. Dr. Chakraborty eyed the ladder and their distance from the ground and another wave of nausea hit him mixed with fear he was not causing. He sank to the shingles. "Roman, Gene, everybody. I don't know how I'm going to get down this ladder!"
Prot said, "And we can't mirror beam with everybody watching and I'm getting the willies just contemplating going down that thing!"
Gene brewer asked, "How did you and Roman get up here so quickly?"
"Truth." prot reminded him. "As long as Gene doesn't actually see me beam he can remain comfortably skeptical. His disbelief is what is keeping him sane. It's going to be a few more weeks before he can handle that I really can mirror beam."
Dr. Chakraborty explained, "Roman and I had a little help from our alien friend."
"Prot!" Gene brewer exclaimed. "I thought Robert was cured of him."
Dr. Chakraborty shrugged and was going to say more but instead started throwing up again.
Dr. Chakraborty said, "Roman you are gong to have to get me down off this roof like I am an unwilling mental patient! I'm just too sick to climb down and between the height and the nausea I am getting very fearful! It almost would be better to sedate me too and lower me down by stretcher like Benny!"
As Roman bent down to pick him up he whispered, "Our alien friend is about to panic at the thought of going down that ladder! Wouldn't you just know it! He comes all the way from another solar system…. and he's afraid of heights!"
Roman started laughing and then turned to his fellow orderly. "Hey Navarro! Got another hypo full?"
Navarro shrugged, "Always. You know as well as I do we've always got a pocket full."
He handed another hypo to Dr. Chakraborty who winced, internally shushed prot and injected himself with the sedative. Unconsciousness came blissfully quick.
Dr. Chakraborty woke up in the infirmary. The only difference between him and other patients who were wheeled in under sedation was he wasn't strapped down.
Roman was staring at him, "Ah you are waking up! We can talk freely. Mary Lou is asleep.
Dr. Chakraborty groaned, "Both of us are still ready to as you American's say, toss our cookies again"
Prot said, "nope. We is not. I just took inventory. No cookies left. Nada! Zippo. That is another problem. Now that we are empty I am getting VERY hungry and your stomach is not fit to handle the digestive process."
Dr. Chakraborty said out loud for both of them, "I have an idea. Roman, help me to the medicine cabinet. Praise God the girl's asleep. I don't want to have to explain what I am about to do. Plus she needs to be asleep!"
Roman grinned and considered a wheel chair but thought up a different idea. Laughing he picked up the little Indian doctor as easily as if he were a small child and carried him over to the medicine cabinet.
There Dr. Chakraborty struggled to his feet, took out his keys and unlocked the cabinet. He took out an ampoule of Thorazine and a hypodermic needle
Internally prot groaned as he watched his temporary host fill the hypo. "Oh no!" he exclaimed and closed his eyes waiting for the jab. "First one hip is sore and now you are doing the same thing to the other one!
"Ouch!" He growled. "You don't think that is going to make me go away do you?! I'm not exactly a hallucination!"
Dr. Chakraborty grimaced at the receding nausea, the two needle stick pains and his current situation. He spoke out loud to prot so Roman would also hear and understand. "No prot. Thorazine will not make you go away. Nor would it make the voice of an ordinary alternate personality go away. But that is not what I am wanting to do. As annoying as you are being, you are my good friend. And you just saved a life at great discomfort to yourself. But Thorazine has another use other than as a psyche drug. It is being just about the best thing we have for nausea. Feel it working? We are already feeling a little better."
Internally prot nodded, "I do actually!" Then there came the famous loopy grin. "Good old Thorazine. Gets rid of tactile hallucinations too!"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "Good point. I guess that is what we were feeling."
Internally prot shook his head, "No the point was QUITE PAINful! But we are feeling much better."
Robert had been watching, "What was that all about? I don't usually see doctors being hauled in unconscious and then injecting themselves with stuff. Is prot being THAT annoying?"
Roman explained, "Yes and No. Prot saved a life. We had to rescue a jumper by his jumping into him. But his guts were full of meat and you know prot! This is for the nausea. Thorazine is good for that too.
Robert gave Dr. Chakraborty and prot a sympathetic look, "My poor, poor alien!"
Dr. Chakraborty felt prot force him to nod, then gritted his teeth, took back control and said, "Robert it was being no fun for me either!" Your alien friend really hates meat!"
Robert nodded, "Yup. And that brings me an idea. Now that I'm feeling a little better please, purty please bring me a cheddar cheese pizza and some chocolate covered cherries. I don't eat meat either but I will eat milk food when I can get away with it. That's only when I've got myself to myself and that's not been for a very long time. If I try to pop a piece of chocolate with my favorite alien in me I get a tiny taste of what you just went through." Then it was Robert's turn to do a loopy grin. "But some times I do anyway, 'cause it's worth it!"
Robert stuck his tongue out at prot.
Prot forced Dr. Chakraborty to allow him to do the same back.
Dr. Chakraborty gave prot an internal dirty look and took back control, "Enjoy it while you can! If you are getting your appetite back you will soon be getting your alien back too!"
It took a while to get back from MPI that night. Jasmine and prot had some shopping to do. They came home with ginger, rece noodles, vegetables, spices, soy sauce and a wok. Treya's face lit up when she saw their purchases, "Why my husband you really are going to cook tonight! I thought you were being untruthful just to sooth me."
Jasmine gave her a dirty look, "You will not be disappointed. Prot has been discussing with me his plans. We will be eating very fine tonight."
Then prot took dominant position. Treya could recognize the change this time. It was amazing how quickly one could adapt to the impossible and the strange.
Prot told her gently, "I am going to be reaching for a knife. I must cut up stuff. Jasmine said I should warn you."
Treya nodded, "It will be alright. I am expecting it now."
Prot grinned and put the wok they had bought on the counter. He announced, "The name of moi masterpiece shall be Simmered Eggplant with Ginger Sauce or as they call it in Japan, 'Nasu No Ohitashi'. I am also adding some touches of my own."
He grabbed a knife, winked at Lali and Mahu and commenced to chop up the eggplants, ginger and other vegetables with a flourish. He chopped up onions, bamboo shoots, green peppers, celery, and ginger and tossed them into the wok. Then he added the spices, and soy sauce with a flourish holding the shakers much higher than he had to and singing terribly off key and very loudly in badly mangled Italian as he did so.
The twins started giggling and even Treya couldn't help but grin.
The contents of the wok started to sizzle and the savory odor wafted though the tiny apartment. Treya started to think having her husband possessed by an alien was not such a bad thing after all.
He set a big pot of rice noodles to boil
Soon prot chirped, "It's done folks."
Then the cheerful alien danced around the kitchen from cabinets to the table, putting out plates, napkins, forks and spoons with a flourish. Then he ladled a heaping helping into each plate.
He stood behind Treya's chair and helped her sit down. Then he did the same for Lali and ruffled Mahu's hair. Then he sat down.
Treya took an expectant bite, "It is very good!" she exclaimed soon as her mouth was empty enough to be polite. She looked at prot/Jasmine and purred. "Well my husband, you have gone crazy, but he has taught you to cook, so I did not have to tonight. Prot, I hope he stays crazy this way."
Inwardly prot said, "You hear that Jazzy? I'd better have made a permanent change here. "
Treya purred, "After prot is gone I will ravish you my husband if you will keep cooking like this. Have prot teach you more good things like this one before he is gone!"
Delighted but surprised, Dr. Chakraborty's mouth dropped open.
Inwardly prot grinned, "it seems dremers and humans are not that far apart, at least not the females. You give your wife food and now she gives you what you want which is unnecessary, reproductive activity. Make a note of that."
Jasmine grinned. "Noted!"
The next day in the infirmary Dr. Gene Brewer paid Robert Porter a visit. "Knock knock": he said, "How is my favorite multiple personality today?"
Robert grinned, "I'm feeling better both mentally and physically then I've felt in along time, and I can honestly say I haven't felt prot's presence or heard him in my head in days!"
Dr. Chakraborty and prot both did everything they could to keep from laughing.
Dr. Brewer looked at Robert's dinner plate. Nurse Betty had listened to his request for cheddar pizza and chocolate covered cherries. The psychiatrist beamed his approval. "Ah eating things prot won't let you eat! Well that is a great sign Robert! I think you are ready to get a day pass out of the hospital. Let Giselle take you somewhere romantic. I am certain you are ready for it."
Robert Porter's grin was very much like prot when he was the most delighted.
Gene brewer turned to Dr. Chakraborty who was eating a banana to keep his inner alien happy. "Hey Chuck you look a whole lot better too! And you are eating like it's pleasurable! You can't have recovered from the stomach flu that quickly!
Dr. Chakraborty smiled, "I injected myself with some Thorazine."
Dr. Brewer hit his head, "Thorazine! Why didn't I think of that?"
The little Indian doctor gave Dr. Brewer his own Cheshire cat grin. "You only think like a psychiatrist. To you the stuff is only being good for heads. I think like a full-body Doctor!"
Dr. Brewer stared at Dr. Chakraborty, and started laughing. "Do you know how much your grin just looked like prot's?"
Dr, Chakraborty grinned again, "He's contagious!"
A thoughtful and puzzled look flashed across Dr. Brewer's face. He glanced at Robert Porter happily eating prot-forbidden foods and at Dr. Chakraborty wearing prot's sunglasses and eating a banana. One could almost see the wheels turning over in his brain.
Dr. Chakraborty held his breath.
But the moment passed. Dr. Brewer just shrugged, "I just had a science fiction moment. It would have made a great movie. 'Alien takes over catatonic man in mental hospital and then transfers to Doctor.'"
Dr. Chakraborty grinned again, "Sounds like a horror story!"
Robert Porter also grinned a loopy grin, "Nah. Not if the characters all love one another and we throw in some humor. After all consider this plot: 'Transylvanian Doctor makes monster out of parts stolen from dead people in a graveyard."
Dr. Chakraborty said, "Now that does sound like a classic horror story! Frankenstein, wasn't it? By Mary Shelly?"
Robert Porter shook his head, "No my non-American friend. It was a family sitcom called, "The Munsters" and it was just about the most loving thing on 1960's TV that wasn't so cloyingly sweet few could stand it. All that differed it from the original Frankenstein story is THAT creation of Dr. Frankenstein had a good paying job, a loving family and a creator who loved and nurtured him instead of rejecting him. Love made the WORLD of difference. Prot loves me even if he is an alien from another world who controls me sometimes. And Dr. Brewer loves me too even if he has the power to give people electro shock therapy and has done so to me, and to put people forcefully on mind altering drugs and has done so to me, or at least did so to prot while he was in control of me, not that he minded because he was hoping it would help me. Love is what it is that keeps this part of my life from being a horror story. I may be crazy but I'm not paranoid. No one is out to get me." He smiled at Dr. Brewer who smiled back.
Then Robert gazed at his doctor and added, "I sure look forward to that pass! Now please folks!! Let me get some sleep! I want to save up my strength for Gisele!" He winked.
Both doctors nodded and gently walked out.
One more day of Treya enjoying her dinner and being bored in bed, and one more day of alien stories to delight Lali and Treya. It seemed prot had been all over the galaxy and had the heart of a child himself. With Lali and Mahu he had an appreciative audience so there was no stopping him.
And there was one more day of incessant, unremitting chatter in the back of Dr. Chakraborty's brain. But it was indeed, just one more day. Once Robert could keep food down it was but a short time to the return of complete healing
Dr. Chakraborty held the thermometer up to the light. He smiled broadly at what he saw. "Well Robert Porter I am VERY happy to be telling you that your temperature is a normal 98.6, not too high, and not too low which would indicate hypothyroidism which can cause depression and even be mistaken for simple schizophrenia. We get a lot of that here. Doctor's ought to do tests before they refer folks to us. But you my very fine patient are ready to take a short walk outside in the back forty." He shot a glance at Mary Lou to remind Robert they had no privacy in the infirmary."
Robert stared at the doctor, a bit slow on the uptake, possibly due to the recent fever.
Dr. Chakraborty clarified as best he could. "We need to put our heads together about something."
It finally dawned on Robert and he grinned broadly. Inside of Dr. Chakraborty prot was grinning just as much. "Woo hoo! I get the big lunkhead back!"
Weakly but cheerfully Robert followed Dr. Chakraborty to the elevator with Roman following them while keeping a close eye on Robert. Usually that was to make sure mental patients did not get violent or act up, but in this case it was to make sure Robert didn't fall. He still looked a few sheets to the wind short of having steady underpinnings.
In the privacy of the elevator Roman got to witness Dr. Chakraborty putting his head up to Robert Porter. Suddenly they were both doing victory dances as best as the confined space of the elevator and Robert's weakness would let them, Dr. Chakraborty because he had lost an alien puppet master and Robert because he had his childhood buddy back.
They went down to the first floor and Robert headed out the door to the "Back 40," which is what the hospital called their outdoor recreational area. The other patients saw Robert and started waving cheerfully. Manuel came flapping across the lawn, attempting as always to become air borne and not succeeding. Lou, Milton and Cassandra came up to give both prot and Robert a hug but Roman shooed them away, "They still may be contagious." He warned.
Grumbling a bit, the patients left them alone.
Robert went out to the fountain and sat in one of the chairs for a few moments. Roman stayed with him more because of Robert's flu than his mental status. After all now he KNEW Robert's passenger really was an alien. They sat there in silence enjoying the flowers, the sunlight and the spray.
Soon Robert said. "Roman I am tiring."
Internally prot corrected, "We are tiring."
Robert gazed upwards and spoke out loud for both their sakes, "Ok, prot, I meant WE are tiring. Anyway I, ah WE, must go back and lay down again. But thanks for the break from the infirmary! And prot, old buddy, my fellow infirmary mate wants to meet you."
They switched and prot said out loud, "Robin I KNOW! I wasn't inside of you but I was still THAR. Remember?"
Robert blushed, "Ah yes, that's right. I forgot."
Roman started laughing. "It sure is fun watching you mental patients carry on two way conversations with yourself!"
Robert grinned sheepishly, "Yes, but now you know prot isn't just a construct of my own mind. We really aren't crazy! We are each talking out loud to each other for your sake, so you can hear both sides of the conversation. Usually we would know to talk internally only. I have had a whole lifetime of practice of talking internally to prot and appearing at worst only a bit distracted. No one knew until prot deliberately chose to spill the beans so he could get us some help. "
And prot added, "Remember that, Roman. Robert and I are just as sane as you are. But keep it quiet. I like it here but Robert only needs to be here a little bit longer and wants OUT."
Roman shook his head, "I don't know about you two being sane. Neither alien possession nor using a Human as a host is exactly normal."
"But we are not delusional."
The orderly could not tell if it was Robert or prot that said that but he suspected Robert.
Roman grinned, "No, but you're both still nuts! And I mean that in the nicest way so please don't get me in trouble for calling you that. We aren't supposed to call the patient's, "nuts." But you are crazy like people who keep ten-foot pythons as pets and people who climb mountains are crazy. I mean neither coming to this planet VOLUNTARILY nor ENJOYING having your mind taken over by an alien is exactly normal!" He grinned, "So you're both still nuts."
Internally prot said, "He's got us there, pal!"
Robert laughed and nodded. Then he tried to stand up but started sinking to the ground instead.
Roman grabbed him and helped hold him up on their way back up to the infirmary. As they reached the elevator, prot took top position and commented, "I haven't been this wobbly on my under pinnings since I tried to visit O-POOOKTA 3. Gravity is two and a forth times heavier 'than K-PAX which is heavier than EARTH. I won't try that again either! Like WOW! Did my feet hurt!"
Robert nodded, "Yup. Dremers welcome. Stomach flu keep out!"
Prot added, "At least this time my feet don't hurt.
Dr. Chakraborty asked a "By the way, Robert would you like another sedative to help you sleep tonight?"
Robert shook his head and grinned, "Nope. Now that we have each other back prot and I'll sleep like well fed kittens!" He grinned, "If I can get prot to bother to sleep at ALL. But I've had a whole lifetime of managing him. However before we go night night let's let Mary Lou meet prot."
Prot took dominant position and grinned his usual Cheshire cat grin, "So now I get to talk to mary lou. Unlike many of the other patients here she is too sane to believe Robert isn't Ka RACE cy! So she won't believe I can do it, but I am going to tell her I am going to take her to K-PAX with me. If EVER there were a human that needed to go, it's her!"
Robert took dominant position. The shift was subtle but Dr. Chakraborty could tell them apart. It was similar to the way people who are around identical twins learn their differences enough to distinguish one from the other most of the time. The Human half of the pair said, "Her parents are giving her the 'it is all in your head' lie. Poor girl!"
Prot took dominant position, "Yes, you humans call allergies, "psychosomatic" but I've been kind of bored so I have been looking up stuff in the medical books in the quiet room. The word 'psychosomatic' means "caused by stress" not, "imaginary illness," the way so many of you misinterpret the term. The adrenal glands are involved in helping the body fight allergies. If they are weak, stress related health problems can occur. So yes, in that sense they are psychosomatic, but they certainly aren't all in mary lou's head!"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded, "She is exhausted! The sleep depravation is wearing out her adrenals and that is making her allergies worse and the allergies are making the sleep apnea worse. She is being caught in a terrible circle that she can not win!" And we don't know what to be doing with her! We are going to have to leave her in the infirmary for as long as she says in the hospital. We can't even take her out to the Back 40 because the hallways here and even the Back 40 are too smokey for her. Even outside all it takes is one whiff of smoke to cause her sinuses to swell. We thought of putting her up in a hotel but we checked. They smoke in hotel rooms too. So she would be no better off there than at home."
As they were stepping out of the elevator prot suggested, " You humans have so polluted the wonderful air of your beYOOTifful PLANET that you have had to invent gas masks to cope! .Why don't you get her one of those?"
Dr Chakraborty scratched his chin. Hmm. "That is a most wonderful idea, prot!" I shall do so! But She can wear that in this hospital but not out in the world. Its only a temporary solution."
Mary Lou was wide-awake by the time they got back to the infirmary. Roman helped prot/Robert into their bed and stood there like he was supposed to do, "guarding the two mental patients from each other," a job which under the circumstances was as unnecessary as guarding a couple of Nuns would have been.
Robert gave prot full control but kept conscious so he would be aware of the fun.
Prot said, "Hiya Mary Lou! I'm prot." He grinned his best loopy grin.
The young lady was startled; "Wow you switched on me while you were out!"
Prot said, "We can switch back and forth at a moment's notice. Robert and I don't even have to bow our heads or anything like they do in the movies. We can switch in mid sentence, in mid bite of food, in mid stride. We can do so back and forth anytime we want to. I don't stop my little robin from coming out. He has been dormant all this time because it was HIS choice and I'm REALLY glad he's finally coming out of it. Dr. Brewer is really helping both of us. I'm not some kind of enslaving, alien monster. I'm tired of having to do all the work. I WANT Robert to get all better and start managing his body himself so I can just go home, back to my WORLD, the PLANET K-PAX. I hope you believe me."
Mary Lou said, "Wow! I never thought I would ever talk to someone who thinks he's an alien before. Ah, I guess I just gave my self away, didn't I? I don't really believe you are an alien. I think you are just crazy. I hope you don't mind but I have to be honest. Oh I do believe the part about you not wanting to hurt Robert. I just don't believe you are a real alien. Forgive my honesty
Prot shrugged and grinned, "I can't forgive you because someone has to be mad at someone before they can forgive. I'm not mad at you about it so I can't forgive what doesn't need forgiving. It doesn't hurt me any that you don't believe us. It certainly doesn't hurt Robert.
Dr Brewer came in then. "Hi, Robert. I am checking up on my favorite multiple."
It was prot. It was obviously prot. The two were as different as day and night despite inhabiting the same body. That, plus the sunglasses were a dead give a way.
Dr. Brewer wasn't too surprised. Neither was he terribly concerned. He explained playfully. "I came in to check on Robert and here you are again, prot. You are like a bad penny!"
Prot grinned, "I never thought I'd hear a human call any amount of money bad. I thought you worshiped the stuff even more'n your God."
Dr. Brewer shrugged helplessly. "Ouch! Got me again! Prot I love you but it's going to be a relief when I no longer have to wonder what new aspect of humanity is going to be zinged by my alien patient each day!" Dr. Brewer grinned his own loopy grin.
Then Dr. Brewer smiled a saner smile, "Robert it's alright. I know you are still in there somewhere. Your alien friend taking over again is just a .set back I am sure that is being caused by your stomach flu."
Robert came forward and gave a embarrassed smile. "I'm okay, Doctor. Mary Lou just wanted to meet prot. That's all. I can come out now any time I want to and I want to! I just wanted Mary Lou to meet prot because she wanted to meet him."
Dr. Brewer nodded, "Like his coming television appearance. Robert I am kind of concerned. I hope the temptation to be prot isn't going to be too much for you to resist in the future."
Robert shrugged, "I think I can deal with it, Doctor. But I'm still in the hospital. So please cut me some slack. I don't really have to be just myself all the time, just yet. Let prot enjoy existing while he still can."
Dr. Brewer nodded, "I am glad you said, 'me' instead of 'us'. That is a healthy sign."
Inwardly prot said, "Good touch there robert, you faker! He almost thinks you are done with me. Fat chance!"
Internally Robert nodded, "Yes prot. You and I both know we are happily stuck with each other, but I want OUT of here, so lay low!
Inwardly prot nodded, "I am. You know that."
Inwardly Robert nodded, "I do know that. Thanks pal."
Prot took control again and said, "Mary Lou I am definitely going to take you to K-PAX with me. You are one of the most deserving beings to go that I have ever encountered. I know you don't believe me that K-PAX is real but if you found yourself there you'd be surprised but you'd be happy. I know you would.
But Mary Lou said, "But prot, I don't want to go!"
Everyone's jaw dropped, prot's most of all. "But why Mary Lou? The gentle alien exclaimed, "But K-PAX has no smokers1"
She grinned, "And I shall live to see that on this planet too, prot, or at least I will live to see very few of them."
She stated firmly. Someday soon there will be laws passed that will make it illegal to smoke in schools, and colleges and hospitals. It will even be illegal to smoke in public places such as malls and restaurants and folks like me will be able to go out in public without fear and without being made sick!"
Dr brewer shook his head, "It will never happen!"
She shook her head, "No. It's just around the corner!"
He said, "Well maybe in the late 21st century."
Prot frowned. "You humans won't last that long."
Robert took dominant position. And said, "No prot. It's going to happen! I sense it. She's right, and its not going to take that long! It will start happening in this century!"
She grinned a grin very much like prot's, "After all its a civil rights issue. Because smokers can refrain from smoking but people who are made sick by smoke can't refrain from breathing!"
Dr. Chakraborty nodded and turned to Doctor Brewer, "After all Gene, in the 1950's which is just 40 years ago, did you think we would be seeing Blacks and Coloreds living without that awful segregation in the South and even becoming Doctors and Lawyers and, "he grinned", Psychiatrists?"
Dr. Brewer nodded. "You do have a point! But Mary Lou what are we going to do with you in the mean time?"
Suddenly Robert blurted out, "Gee whiz Doctor Brewer! If her Parents are that rich that they can keep their Kid locked up in a mental hospital just to let the hoarding mother continue to hoard in peace, why can't they just buy her an inexpensive home somewhere and pay her some money each month to stay out of their hair and their messy home? It's got to be cheaper than keeping her in here!"
Both Doctors stared at each other and Robert, their mouth's open.
Dr brewer started to grin very much like his alien patient . "Out of the mouths of babes!"
Robert grinned a grin very much like prot's. "And Mental Patients!"
Dr Chakraborty laughed, "Robert that's a most wonderful idea! I will be discussing it with Mary Lou's Parents soon as I see them. That will be the answer! "
But prot continued, "But Mary Lou, that kind of sit TU ation is only temporary because soon I am sure you humans will destroy one another and this be YOOT if full world with you. I am giving a tiny few of you a second chance. You can start over on K-PAX and it will be several thousand years before you are numerous enough to be a problem and by then maybe our continuing presence and guidance will have civilized you. And we benefit too. We have so many libraries and huts and even nuclear power plants and foot paths just going back into the woods because there aren't enough of us to keep them going. It's a real shame. There are too many of you because you breed too quickly and too few of us because we barely breed at all. Quite frankly, you humans are going to inherit K-PAX someday, and we don't' even care. We aren't even as aggressive as the herbivores on this PLANET. We never had to be to survive because we've never had carnivores to make us aggressive. So it's just fine and dandy with us if you take over the place. We lack the genes to be able to even care. But we do sort of care that all our artwork and literature and music and holograms are going to go to waste. So you can have them. It's better than them just sitting there unused. Our libraries are sort of sentient, and many of them are becoming very lonely and depressed from lack of use."
Mary Lou shuddered, "In some ways that is horrible!"
Prot shrugged, "No, it isn't. Maybe it's even a kind of survival of the fittest. Not only are we not invading you. We are actually ASKING you to sort of invade us. Now for you it can't possibly be a better deal. So, assuming I'm not crazy, why would you not want to come?"
Mary Lou said firmly, "Because prot, we Humans have a different destiny and it going to take place right here on Earth. We are going to evolve into God and construct Heaven".
What?" prot exclaimed, "and you think robert and I are crazy?"
Mary Lou explained. Albert Einstein discovered that time circles, right?"
Prot nodded, "That much is ke RECT."
Mary Lou added, "And I would say there is about ten to 15 billion more years of time left in the Universe before it does that, right?"
Prot shrugged, "Even we can't be sure, but that sounds about right, yes.
Mary Lou says, "And supposedly simple life forms evolve upwards into more complex, right? Isn't that what Darwin taught?"
Prot nodded, "It is not just a theory. Its been proven. Even on your WORLD it's been proven. "
Mary Lou said, "So evolution + 10 to 15 billion more years + the Human desire to obtain immortality + circling time which will let us go back around and upload everybody including Jesus and give Him His Kingdom makes God not only possible but the unavoidable results of scientifically understood natural law.
Prot shuttered, "Interesting, but how could it possibly be Humans? You are so violent! I do not even think you survive. If any beings evolve into God, it won't be you guys."
It was Mary Lou's turn to smile a Cheshire cat grin. "Now prot, THAT is what faith is for. I have faith it's us. Just faith. But that is all I need to want to stay here and help make it happen instead of defecting to another world, however lovely."
Robert suddenly took control, "Hey prot if you give us a second chance maybe your beings help make it happen.
Mary Lou was a bit confused, "Ah that was you, Robert?"
Robert nodded, "Yup. Letting prot take over again. I just had to put in my own two cents worth.":
Prot took over again and shook his head, "I've heard some Ka RACY things done in the name of faith but giving up a free ride to a safer, nicer PLANET. You are more insane than most religious beings."
Mary Lou grinned, "we shall see about that prot. Maybe you people never fell and I'll get to see you some day in Heaven."
Prot shook his head. "We don't go to heaven when we die. We beam our bodies to a K-PAXIAN Moon and look up at it once a while when it is orbiting overhead and wave at it. And our operating systems go to our Library. We've got billions and billions of years worth of dead K-PAXIans of many different species living in there, and every once in a while its nice to get out of there. Another reason to import some of you Humans. The way you breed in a couple of our generations there won't be such a long waiting line for agreeable hosts to help us slip the hoosegow." Prot grinned.
Mary Lou asked, "Like you inhabit Robert?"
Prot nodded, "I was just a little dremer. I didn't have much of a chance of getting out of the library on K-PAX at my little age after my head injury. I HAD to live up to my handle; be a sojourner to find someone willing to take moi. Robert Porter was just as lonely as I was. We were perfect for each other. Still are if I can just get the big lunkhead to go WITH me to K-PAX this time!
Robert took control and shook his head, "prot you know its going to be a parting of the ways soon. I am staying here with Giselle and marrying her and having kids and living the American dream. You go home. I love you but I want to mate and have a normal life."
Dr. Brewer exclaimed, "Bravo Robert!" I love it when I actually manage to cure a patient! And prot you once said I never did! You owe me something. I don't know what. But its like I've won a bet with you!"
But prot wasn't in the mood for banter. Quietly he said, "Robert you are going to be seeing me cry soon if you don't shut up!"
Solemnly Robert Porter nodded.
Mary Lou said, "Prot, you call your heaven your library and we will call our Library our Heaven. It's just a matter of giving the same thing a different name. And as for Jesus being Lord: According to you time travel is possible. And you may actually be right about this even if you are crazy. Because from what I've read all you need to travel in time is a black hole or any large enough gravitational mass. A large enough gravitational mass bends time around it and one can circle back using that, at least up to the point where the black hole formed."
Prot nodded, "That is very primitive time travel but yes that will work. It is VERY danger GER rous. The black hole's gravity is not stable under those circumstances. It varies from day to day, year to year, eon to eon. Steering is almost imp-POS-sible.' But you humans certainly are crazy enough to try it once you can reach one. I don't want to be human, that is for sure. Just inhabiting one is crazy enough for me! So I belong in mpi!" The alien grinned.
Mary Lou smiled, "How do you know it isn't SCIENTISTS that are at the Garden tomb that first Resurrection Day Morning?"
Prot shook his head and shuddered, 'it probably will be. You are crazy enough to do that, go back in time and upload all your ancestors."
Mary lou asked, "K-PAXians never did that?"
Prot shook his head thoughtfully, "Nope. It never occurred to us. We started uploading dremers from the time we invented the uploading process but never thought of going back and saving anyone who died before it. Interesting idea though. I admit it. It could be done and maybe it ought to."
Mary Lou grinned, "You K-PAXians DO need us. But it won't be me going. Some other Humans will have to go back and get all the older K-PAXians. I'm going to do what I can to see the process gets started here on Earth!"
Prot grinned, "I seldom get bested by a human. ConGRATulations! You got me! Errrg!"
Dr. Brewer laughed too, "Thanks Mary Lou! Someone FINALLLY bested prot at crazy logic or is this logical craziness? I'm getting right on the task of talking to your parents about getting you a place of your own. I need you out of here before you infect ALL the patients! You' are both too sane and too crazy to stay in here if you can bedazzle prot!" The Doctor chuckled.
Mary Lou grinned a Cheshire cat grin.
Robert suddenly yawned.
Dr. Chakraborty said, "Time for all patients to be going to sleep now. Gene, will you please leave so I can get them settled down?"
Gene Brewer nodded and quietly slipped out the door.
Dr. Chakraborty went over to the medicine cabinet, took out a sedative, walked over to Mary Lou and handed it to her. He reminded her, "Remember, Roman or another orderly will be always be here all night to keep a close eye on you to make sure you keep breathing so the sedative will be safe to take. I am also going to arrange for another sleep study for you and I suggest you do what you have to, to make sure your sinuses are stopped up before you have that study!"
Mary Lou nodded and frowned, "That won't be difficult, unfortunately!" She picked up a glass of water off her night table and swallowed the pill.
Dr. Chakraborty turned to Robert Porter his eyebrows arched.
Robert Porter shook his head, "Don't need one. Remember?"
The doctor nodded and grabbed his lunch box and headed out the door.
Roman sat down facing Mary Lou so he could make sure she kept breathing. If she stopped, he knew he was to wake her up. It would be a couple of hours before the night orderly took over. In the mean time neither patient was going to be such a problem that he really had to stand, regulations or not.
As they drifted off to sleep Robert Porter told his internal alien, "It was nice of you to help that girl with that herb.
Sleepily prot nodded, "and it was clever of you to think up that idea about Mary Lou's genetic donors getting her, her own pad.
Internally host and dremer grinned at one another. Robert whispered, "Welcome back, prot! Welcome back!"
Internally prot grinned," Just another service I perform. I wonder what's for breakfast tomorrow. By the way we have to teach Dr. Chakraborty how to cook better. It is for the purpose of reproduction. Silly Humans!"
Robert said, "I am not even going to ASK what that's about right now! Shut up prot. I'm sleeping!"
Prot started to say something only to realize his host had already fallen sound asleep, a peaceful little grin on his face. Robert's Teddy alien was back.