My first brand new K-PAX story in a long time. Just a short, pleasant mostly pointless (except for the pencil :-) slice of life encounter between prot and Dr Donna Johnson, psychiatric social worker soon after prot is transfered to MPI. Not much happens but it's relaxing. Just a short visit with a dear old friend.
Consider this an advertisement for the books and movie by the wonderful, but underated Author and Movie Producer, Gene Brewer. There is a movie K-PAX and 4 books in the series. But there are other books by him that are just as good. Ben and I (Not to be confused with Ben and Me) is a pognant classic about homelessness and forgiveness. Watson's God is a slice of the 50's and 60s that shall never come again. His autobiography * can teach many a young Author about how to do it right. I hope he is still up to something now. His web page has not been updated in quite a while and he no longer writes me back. He may need prayer.
K-PAX: Sharpening Marching Matiltda
Elizabeth Hensley 8-)
The new Mental Patient sat at a table his feet propped up up on on a chair, a contented smile on his lips. Dark glasses hid his eyes, masking what ever psychotic glow they possessed. But there was no sign of anxiety coiled in his body. Indeed he seemed very relaxed and intent upon writing in his little notebook with what remained of a wooden pencil. Donna Johnson sat down in a chair across from him trying to figure him out.
"Hello," She said." I am Dr. Donna Johnson, Psychiatric Social Worker."
The Patient said, amused. "Wow! What a mouthful! I am prot." His voice was gentle, quick and melodic.
She smiled. The Patient's good humor was contageous. It was also very unsusual for a long term, confined Involuntary. The poor Man had just been transfered to Manhatten Psychiatric Institute from Long Island Pyschiatric Hospital because his 90 day observation period had revealed he was not competent to be released from pyschiatric confinement. So he was facing an indefinite stay. Most Patients would have been highly agetated at facing such a disaster, or suicidal or in deep shock. That was why she was routinelly called in during such transfers. But this one was cheerfully writing in his little notebook as if this was a vacation at a resort or he was Jane Goodall and they were Chimps! She said, "You can call me Donna."
She smiled again, "prot can I help you adjust to being here in the hospital?"
The Patient said quickly but calmly. "No."
Her face fell. A bit surprised since he had been so friendly she asked "You aren't going to let me help you?"
He put his pencil down and frowned for the first time and looked at her gently and shook his head. "Oh no! It is not that. It is just your improper use of yor own language has it inadvertantly accurate. I have no idea how you can help me adjust to life in the hospital any better than I am already doing. So yes you may. But no you can't. Because I like it here. It seems just about perfect for my needs. I'm high and dry. I'm water proof but paper is not and there is this report I must write about my journey here. I am being fed on a regulor skedulle which frees up my time to write that report. I no longer have to forage. The food is far from great but it will do and it is of sufficient quantitiy to sustain me with calories to spare. I have most foolishly allowed this body to get in an undernourished state and it is of considerable interest to both the hospital and myself to build it back up again. We are both in agreement about that! I did not quite have anorexia but I came close! I also have a safe place to store my report. I could not believe that fellow homeless beings would be interested in purloining mere paper but yes it happened to me a couple of times. They used it to start fires and it set me back months of writing and three times my stuff got soaked past recovery also. Your PLANET is so wet" He smiled. "I could make a joke here but I am forcing myself to refrain! You have also issued me a bed to sleep in. It is so soft and comfortable! This is one of the few ways EARTH is superior in technology to K-PAX. Beds. I shall miss them! Plus I've made friends and companions here already. I am enjoying talking to dr gene brewer. I consider him one of those friends. We disagree on the state of my contact with reality but friends don't have to agree on everything to be friends. I am very homesick so talking to him actually does do me some good. So how can you help me to adjust, donna johnson? Oh I do wish the other Patients would not eat meat at mealtimes in my presennce. Eating with them doing that is like eating in a morgue during a disection but you and I both know that aint a gonna stop! So how CAN you help me?" He paused. Then his face brightened. "Oh I know."Here. Go sharpen my pencil!"
Donna said, puzzled "Isn't there a pencil sharpener in the arts and crafts room?"
Prot nodded, "Yup" He gestured." Right over there. I can see it from here. But you want to help me. I'm grasping at straws trying to find some way to let you do so. I don't want to break your widdle psychiatric heart. We can't have you leave with a patient unhelped, now can we?" He grinned mischiviously. "I'm humoring you."
She laughed. "I could get you a fresh pencil. This thing's just a stub."
Prot shook his head, "Oh no. Please don't. This thing's of sentimenntal value. It's been with me all over your beautiful WORLD! It's been like a faithful companion that never let me down!"
"Its getting shorter and shorter. What are you going to do when it can't be sharpened any more?"
Prot shrugged,"Throw it away and THEN get a new one if my report isn't finished by then. Waste not want not, I'm not that emotinonaly attached to it. But I shalll honor the dear old thing by letting it die in duty, not in waste. I am not spock. We dremers are not like the fictional vulcans on star trek. We are logical but not to the point of being illogical about logic. It is a tool we use not a religion. We will make decisisions based on feelings and whimsy any darn, good time we want to, just as you do, in fact more often than you do because whimsy is more often the logical choice than making decisions based on rules written on pieces of dead trees. You humans let rules on paper control your behavior when whimsy and feelings and logic and common sense and most important just being kind ought to rule your behavior instead."
Donna nodded, He's one of these once in a blue moon, psychotic works of art we should just leave alone and listen to and not even try to cure, but treasure! What a shame there is no long term facility where we can just stash this kind and let them talk and record what they say for posterity! I hope Gene is writing a book because he needs to be. We all need to just let him exist and this report of prot's; I hope he shares it with THIS Planet not just his own! Causally she asked, "Prot are you going to let us Earthling see a copy of this report you are writing when you are done? Because I have a strong feeling it could teach us something too! I mean that. I'm not just humoring you."
Prot nodded. "I will let you humans have a copy."
Donna smiled. "Then my work here is pretty much done. To humor each other I will walk fifty feet over to arts and crafts, sharpen this gallent, little pencil and bring it right back to you! "
Prot grinned mischivously, "Have a safe journey! Don't trip! Don't get eaten by any loose hallucinations the other patients may have forgotten to take back to their rooms!"
She smiled, "I'll do my best. Thanks for your faith in me trusting me with it!
Prot watched as she sharpened his pencil and broght it back. She handed it to him. "There now. Marching Matilda is as good as new except even shorter,
Prot stared at her in surprise."You named my pencil?"
Prot grinned wryly, "Naming material objects! It makes some sense when there are more than one of them and a distinction must be made. But I only have the one left. So this is quite weird! And you call ME crazy?!"