From: "Elizabeth Hensley"
Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 3:58 PM

Author's note. Please treat this as an advertisement for Gene Brewer's books, "K-PAX, "On A Beam of Light" and (coming in July 2002), "K-PAX 3 The Worlds's of Prot." He is the originator of these marvelous character so if you like our version of these events you should take the trouble and expense to read his. Also treat this as an add for the Universal Studios Movie. K-PAX which will be on video in March 2002

If you like this and want a paper copy with photos from the movie write me at Elizabeth Hensley Post Office box 1022 Williston, Fl. 32696 I will send you paper copies of all our K-PAX stuff, BUT you have to state in writing that you have purchased at least one of the above mentioned books or seen the movie, and made a two dollar donation to the charity of your choice. Fair enough?


As told to Gene Brewer

Sometimes the old saying is true, "Physician, heal thyself. The prot/Robert situation was getting to me. I needed someone to talk to, so I made an appointment with my old friend and college Dr. William Siegel. It served him right.

He had been the one who had stuck me with prot/Robert in the first place!

Bill Siegel gazed at me with curiosity. "What brings you to see me professionally, Gene?"

I smiled ruefully. "prot. I need you to either convince me he isn't really an alien or else at least reassure me I'm not going completely delusional for suspecting he just might be!"

To his credit Bill didn't act too professional. He had the decency to laugh. "Ah yes, prot! You know he wrote me a thank you note for sending him to you."

I stared at him, "You know we don't allow patients to send unsolicited mail to non- relatives, so how did he get it to you?"

Bill shrugged, "Another prot mystery! Of course I've read your book, K-PAX. I know what you have been dealing with. The patient knows where an unpublished planet is, gets the orbit exactly right, knows what color the stars would make the planet's surface, and can draw accurate star charts for over 64 different planets he claims to have visited from the point of view of looking up from their surface back at the Earth! No wonder you are folie a deuced!"

I nodded, a bit relieved that Bill knew about my brother-in-law's confirmation of prot's star knowledge. I had been afraid I would have spent my hour just trying to convince him I wasn't completely looney!

Bill explained, "Just found the letter from prot in my mail box six years ago. It didn't have a stamp on it, or even an envelope. If it were any patient BUT prot I would have been a little worried he knew where I lived, and how to get there, but ah well, the man won't even step on cockroaches! Want to read it?"

"Bill, I wouldn't miss it for the world!"

Bill went to his files and soon pulled out an all too familiar looking piece of paper, torn out of one of prot's notebooks, no doubt about it, and I recognized his lousy printing.

It said, "I would like to thank you for your kind hospitality at the long island psychiatric hospital and for referring me to my good friend dr. gene, 'gino,' 'narr' brewer. I want you to know we are both making excellent progress in therapy. I almost have gene convinced I am from K-PAX and he almost has me convinced of the importance humans place in their relationships with their biological connections. It is not so much what he is saying to me but the fine example he sets for me by the enormous amounts of time and attention he pays to his mate and his biological replacements."

Almost sincerely,

Prot. 8-D

The sunglassed emoticon just about broke me up, but I couldn't help nodding ruefully. Prot's insight into my family relationships was hitting a little too close to home!

Bill smiled, "It seems even the patient is well aware he is folie ah deucing you, but I am really more worried about his obvious tongue in cheek assessment of your family relationships. Is he right about that, too?"

I had to admit that I had been neglecting my family, "But, Bill, that was six years ago. I'm doing much better now. Prot had several months to work on me about that already, remember? Right now I really need to talk about prot. Can we do that?"

Bill shrugged, "It's your hour, Gene."

Something dawned on me. Bill had actually met my "alien friend" first. "Bill, what was your first session with prot like?"

Bill smiled, "We didn't have time to do weekly therapy sessions with him, we went the drug route. But I saw him a couple of times, the first time two days after his initial adjustment period was over and the second time right before we transferred him to you to let him know we were moving him and to say goodby to him. He was a real trip! I was expecting a Mr. Spock clone. You know the type. We've seen dozens of them, sad people convinced they are aliens who are over logical, emotionally repressed and rigid in their thought patterns and use of language. But not prot! He is cut from original cloth. He was logical but not TOO logical, he was calm but not TOO calm. His use of language is precise and skilled, but playful and certainly not Star Trek perfect."

I nodded, "That's prot, alright, almost normal affect, but for all of that I've seldom heard him laugh. But he makes jokes, rather dry ones, and is fascinated by our resident clown, Milton. Milton is doing a better job of humanizing prot than I ever could."

Bill explained to me, "While the orderlies were fetching my new patient I examined his records, which had been faxed over from Bellevue. When I saw the diagnosis I groaned. Dr. Penshaw had branded prot with 'acute paranoid schizophrenia.' I think he did it out of spite, because later when I called him to inquire, he complained to me he suspected the man was a malingerer.

"So I braced myself for a difficult hour. You can imagine what I expected the patient to be like.

I had already had two paranoid schizophrenics that morning. I really wanted a break. To my surprise I got one.

"I listened for the orderlies. I expected to hear the ususal, 'Let go of me! I can walk by myself!' Or worse. Instead to my amazement I heard the sound of Frank Johnson and John Taylor laughing!

"Johnson said, 'Ok, prot, go in there and wow your doctor!'

"The patient said 'Okey dookey,' and walked into my room unafraid.

"They walked in behind him. Neither of them was having to hold onto him. He was just coming in on his own. They smiled at him, and he smiled back and then they said to me, 'You will enjoy this one, doc.'

"The patient actually waved at them as they closed the door behind us. Then he turned and gazed at me intently. While he was refreshingly NOT poker faced, I saw no signs of paranoia. In fact I saw no signs of emotional distress in his face at all, just friendly curiosity.

"I told him, 'Sit down in my nice comfortable lazy boy chair.' With paranoids sometimes the hardest thing is just getting them to sit down.

"But this one did so willingly and found the handle on the side, and put his feet up. He looked like he was enjoying himself, and said, 'You are keee-rect. It really is a comfortable chair.' He cocked his head and gazed at me expectantly

"I cleared my throat. I was having to switch modes. I had been expecting to spend the hour trying to convince an acute paranoid of the legal advantages of self commitment. Instead I had a perfectly willing patient on my hands who obviously expected me to have some words of wisdom for him.

"I looked down at his file. I looked up at my smiling patient. They didn't match!

"I took my pen and scratched out the word 'paranoid.' I had no idea what I was dealing with here but I knew I would have to start all over diagnosing him. As you know I missed the diagnosis as did you for several weeks.

"I asked him if he head voices no one else could hear.

"The patient looked distressed but said quietly, 'no.'

"That should have tipped me off something very strange was going on with him. Most people are not distressed to report they DON'T hear voices. But I was still so startled by his willingness to be examined that I failed to pick up on this important clue just as you did later when he asked if the reason you thought he was crazy was because he traveled alone."

I nodded, "If I had pursued that he might have told me about Robert right then."

Bill nodded, "I put a question mark after the word 'schizophrenia,' and then I did what you did, I asked him if he needed anything."

"Did he ask you for fruit?"

Bill shook his head, "His first concerns were the shots we were giving him. He asked me for literature on the medication we were 'jabbing into him,' and because it was a perfectly reasonable request that was stated calmly, and because I knew he had been cooperating fully if somewhat reluctantly, with the orderlies and nurses, I showed him the PDR. He rapidly read all the information in there on neuroleptics including the medication identification charts and then said what was obviously a swear word in some language, pax-o I think."

I couldn't resist asking. "What did it sound like?"

"Mot fodda!"

I nodded, "Yes I know that one. A mot is a skunk like animal and the term fodda actually comes from Star Wars, a fact prot admits. He knows more ways to say shit than Robin Williams, and usually combines various ways with the pax-o term, 'mot,' in front of it."

Bill grinned, "Definitely NOT a Mr. Spock clone. So he read the PDR and then glared at me and said, 'You have been making me moon homo sapiens every two hours for two whole days, and all this time I could have been cheerfully swallowing pills!'

"Now I knew from the police report and observations made of him interacting with the other patients here and at Bellevue that our new patient seemed to think himself an alien visitor, but this was the first time he indicated in any way to me he thought of himself as anything but human. I asked him what he meant.

"He glared at me and said, 'You know, every two hours, for two PAINFUL days, those two orderlies of yours, John and frank, have been coming into that little room you so kindly issued to me, and saying, "Ok prot, we're sorry, we know it hurts, but it is time for your shot again! Pull your pants down!" So I moon em. What else can I do? Dammit, bill, my butt is sore!' "

Bill started laughing, "and he was doing a very credible imitation of John's heavy Brooklyn accent, too! Forgive me Freud, but I couldn't contain myself. I burst out laughing right in front of the patient!"

I nodded, "I know. Join the club. He made me laugh the first time I had him in my office too. Ask him some time to tell you about K-PAXian sex!"

We both guffawed for a while until the tears were running down our eyes. Then Bill said, "Then prot did a very unusual thing. He asked me for a piece of my paper, and to borrow my pen. I handed them to him, and he wrote in big letters: 'Patient knows we are trying to help him and is VERY cooperative but patient really really REALLY prefers taking pills to needles!!!!' Then he asked me to put it in his file, 'right on top where everyone could see it.' "

I was a little troubled, "Bill, what happened to that note? It didn't come with his files to the MPI?"

Bill nodded, "It was so charming I kept it as a souvenir, but I did verbally explain to you on the phone that he was cooperative and would take pills, didn't I?"

I nodded. "We have never tried to 'shoot' prot, except for blood tests, and a yearly flu shot which he takes with a lot of fuss but without any real resistance, no doubt because he knows they are unavoidable. So, Bill, did you take him off of shots and start medicating him orally?"

Bill nodded, "Of course, immediately. In fact I apologized to him for even assuming that he wouldn't take pills. I explained to him that with the diagnosis he had been saddled with, a cooperative patient right off the street was unusual. We had jumped to conclusions about his willingness to be helped, and that was wrong. I admitted it. I was expecting him to be angry here, but he wasn't. He just asked me what the diagnosis was."

Bill explained, "I said, 'I don't want to tell you because I think it is wrong. We are going to have to start all over again trying to figure you out.'

"Then, Gene, he smiled at me and said a very wise thing, 'I think the highest honor one being could pay another is to try and figure him out. I am delighted.'

"And at those words I was astounded!

"Anyway Gene, when the nurse handed him his first pill he swallowed it so quickly, and with so much eagerness, that she wasn't sure if he'd really taken it. He saw her distress and adapted his future behavior. After that he would push his medication way back in his throat and swallow a whole glass of water, and then open his mouth and lift up his tongue and point. There was no doubt in her mind he was swallowing them, for all the good it did him. Seven weeks later he was still just as cooperative, just as friendly, just as much the Little Miss Mary Sunshine of his ward, just as keenly aware of his surroundings and still firmly convinced he was an alien from the planet K-PAX and 6 years later he is still convinced! That's what I call a persistent delusion!"

I nodded.

Bill grinned, "And the patient is doing a better job of convincing you he is from K-PAX than you are convincing him that he is just one personality in an MPD!"

I nodded ruefully, "I have hypnotized him on numerous occasions. Prot goes under easily. He puts himself under now for me any time I ask. I have to cover the little white gazing spot on the wall with paper to keep him from going under without my asking him to. There is no doubt prot/Robert is a multiple. Robert will come out willingly, and then just as willingly turn the body back over to prot. They don't seem to fight about it at all. I know it, and yet prot continually folie a deuces everyone he meets including me!"

Bill frowned, "But he was reluctant to tell you about Robert until you hypnotized him?"

I shrugged, "Yes, no, and maybe. I made him listen to the hypnosis sessions. His answer to all that was, 'I could have told you most of this consciously.'

"I gently pointed out to him, that, 'Maybe you could have, but you didn't.'

"His reply to that was, 'You didn't ask. You kept asking me about K-PAX, K-PAX, K-PAX and I was happy to talk about my home town, gino, since I was so homesick, and you've helped me enormously there. I really needed to talk about it. But I did keep telling you EARTH was my problem, and you seldom asked me anything at all about my time on Earth.'

"I replied, 'EARTH is not your problem, prot. Robert is.'

"He snapped, 'robert was fine until EARTH got to him, and I was fine until EARTH got to robert. So EARTH is both our problems!'

Bill nodded, "So he definitely does and did know Robert existed, and can communicate with him. And he may or may not have been willing to tell you without hypnosis. Funny. When I asked him if he heard auditory hallucinations, he quickly said no, but as I said, he was distressed about it."

I shrugged, "Insight or lack of insight? It is hard to tell. We know with multiples the personalities that speak internally to them are real, whatsoever their origins. Maybe prot doesn't consider Robert's voice a hallucination. I mean he's right. Robert is real. It is prot that is unreal! So I guess it all depends on how you look at it."

Bill grinned, "And it's kind of the reverse of what we usually get, isn't it? It's not unusual to get patients who claim aliens from outer space are talking to them, but he has got to be our first alien who has a human voice talking to him inside HIS head!"

We both grinned at that. I said, "For all I know, maybe that's why prot didn't tell us about Robert. He thought we'd think he was crazy!"

We both hooted at that.

Ah, it was sure good to have someone to talk to about my favorite problem patient!

I added, "Bill you are quite correct. What was distressing prot was not from hearing Robert's voice but from NOT hearing Robert's voice. Until I got him talking again, Robert hadn't spoken more than a dozen words to his protector in years, if that much."

Suddenly something dawned on me, "prot...protector! Oh Bill! I always thought prot was an anagram of porter. But could it stand for protector?"

Bill grinned, "Ah, my patient is gathering insight..about his patient!"

It is funny where inspiration will come from.

I added, "anyway I believe prot's distress at Robert's rejection is the real reason why prot 'left us' for five years, to give Robert a chance to think about whether he even wanted our help or not. I know this, because according to prot's delusional structure' he can time travel backwards but not forwards, and so didn't have to spend five whole years away from us back on K-PAX. He left us that long only so Robert could decide he was good and ready for help."

"Did it work?"

"Amazingly, yes. With a little help from me Robert is talking to both of us now."

Bill was amazed, "And prot still won't admit he is just one personality in a multiple? Unusual! Usually multiples do finally realize it. Playing the hypnosis tapes usually convinces them."

I shrugged, "Prot may have modified his delusion a little bit. Now he seems to think he's some kind of symbiont living inside of Robert, or maybe he always believed that and was reluctant to admit this to me because he was afraid I would think he was a chest leaping type alien. He won't talk about it in those terms to me even now. I heard from Betty she overheard him explaining it this way to one of the other patients."

Bill stared at me, "What do you mean, 'chest leaping type alien?'"

"One of the first things he said to me was, 'Don't worry, I won't leap out of your chest.' It's a reference to the movie, 'Aliens.'

Bill laughed, "You know you are going to form a fine therapeutic relationship with the patient when HE tries to put YOU at ease! He teased me, "So he never leapt out of your chest?"

"No just into my heart."

Bill nodded, "I can see why!"

I nodded, "And, Bill, he is the most cooperative patient I have ever had. Whether he is just a persona or a real alien symbiont (and I honestly admit I am not sure), there is no doubt he wants to help Robert! Robert and prot are the kind of friends we all want to have. I actually envy them. I think Robert is going to be all right, Bill. It is actually prot I'm worried about. Bill, he's leaving soon, integrating with Robert, I hope. But damn it, Bill, I'm going to miss him!"

Bill nodded, "That is perfectly understandable, Gene. He is your friend, too."

"And yet prot is willing to die for Robert! Or else he is comforting himself with the delusion that he is headed back to K-PAX, if it IS a delusion. I swear, Bill, I am not sure! But his firm belief, delusion or not, that he has a planet to go to, is actually helping the therapeutic process along enormously."

Bill nodded, and we said it together, "The teleology of the healing is often incased in the psychosis."

I couldn't help asking. "So how did the rest of your first psychiatric interview with our alien patient go?"

Bill grinned, "Gene, he asked me as many questions as I asked him. After he wrote his note he looked at me pleadingly and asked, 'Can I have a few more sheets of paper and a pen or pencil to write with since the police took my notebooks and pencil away from me?' "

"I said, 'I have your notebooks and other possessions right here.' I pulled the plastic bag containing his possessions out of my desk drawer and set them on my desk.

"The patient's eyes lit up.

"I smiled, 'I am willing to give most of them back to you.' Gene, you pretty much know what he had. Besides normal self care items there were a few notebooks which I had studied and could make neither hide nor hair out of them since they were written in pax-o. He also had a hand mirror, a flashlight and a little pocketknife with a half broken blade that had seen better days. I slid the notebooks and his pencil over to him, and he took them eagerly, with a quick look of gratitude at me, and stuffed them in various pockets. I stared at the mirror and flicked the flashlight on and off a few times. And I said, 'You can have the flashlight back. too.' I handed it to him. He gave me a thankful look, gently said, 'I thank you very much,' and he pocketed it, too.

"I added, 'The mirror is more problematic. It is glass and has sharp edges. You are not planning to do harm to yourself, are you, prot?'

"He grinned, 'Oh no, doctor! I can hardly wait to see what happens next!'

"That satisfied me he wasn't suicidal. I gave him back his mirror. But I warned him, 'Be careful around some of the other patients. Don't let them get a hold of it.'

"I never saw a patient get more joy out of my giving back a possession. He had seemed calm enough to me before, but now I knew he had been more anxious than I realized. But once he had that mirror it was if a mountain of anxiety lifted from him. I realized later of course, after he explained it to me, that what I had done, in his delusional mind, was to give him back his way to escape at any time, from our hospital. Prot no longer felt like a prisoner.

"I said, 'Obviously, prot, I can't give you back the pen knife.'

"He shrugged, 'Oh, no sweat, Dr. I was only using it to sharpen my pencils, and I am sure, in a facility of this size, somewhere in it, there is a pencil sharpener I can use when I need it. Right?'

"I nodded. The patient's cheerfulness was catching.

"Prot added, 'You know the pen knife was not the dangerous item. It was the flashlight. A little word of advice here, Bill, the next time someone claims to be from another planet and you pick his pockets, don't start flicking buttons on and off. Its like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you are gonna get!'

" 'Prot, I can see perfectly well for myself that it is just a dime store flashlight. What is it supposed to be to you? Some kind of phaser or ray gun?'

" 'No, Bill, it's an or-din-nar-ry flashlight.' He said it slowly and soothingly as if the patient were trying to bring the doctor back to reality! 'And I didn't get it at a dime store. I got it at a garage sale out of a freebie box. But you didn't KNOW that.'

"I smiled, 'I'll let you keep it, but why do you want a mirror and a flashlight?'

"He just gave me his famous Cheshire cat grin, said, 'If I have to I can use them to escape from the hospital.'

"I asked him how he could do that.

"He told me, 'I can use them to beam out of here if I have to.'

"I asked him how.

"He told me, 'There is a way to use a mirror and a small amount of light to travel either through space, or backwards in time.'

"I asked him if he would give me a demonstration.

"He said, 'No, because it would freak you out too much. I want to stay here and study psychiatrists and crazy humans, not end up in roswell, new mexico, with a bunch of military savages breathing down my neck and studying my every move!'

"I asked him if he would tell me how he did it. He just tensed up a little bit and shook his head real fast and fervently. He had been so cooperative about answering all my other questions, I didn't push it. He explained 'You guys aren't ready for light travel. I don't dare tell you how I do it.'

"Then I asked him, 'But you just revealed to me you could do this. Now I could take them away from you and strand you here, but you told me, Why?'

"He said, 'I trust you.'"

"Gene, that was the moment, if any other moment hadn't already revealed it, that I had an extra-ordinary patient on my hands. It usually takes weeks for a psychotic patient to start trusting his doctor, if ever. Prot had sized me up and found me acceptable in a few minutes. I felt there was hope for this one. That warmed my heart.

"I finally got around to asking him the standard psychiatric questions, Who is the President? He knew all right and had a perfectly rational opinion of his competence, one I completely agreed with! He knew how many fingers I was holding up, and pointed out my index finger needed a nail file taken to it. He knew where he was. In fact he could give it to me in longitude and latitude as well as by name and address. In fact, if he hadn't been insisting fervently that he was from another planet I would have discharged him right then and there.

"I checked his records. It looked like every possible mental test that could be run on a psychiatric patient in less than a week, had been run on this one! A note said 'prot' had been incredibly eager to cooperate. Well, they had missed giving him one. It's an oldy but a goody, and I figured we had nothing to lose. If nothing else, I suspected we both would enjoy doing it! I gave him the Rorschach test. I handed him the first card and asked, 'What do you see in the card?'

"He took the card from me, gazed at it, turned it upside down and sideways, checked the back, and read off the copyright information, and said, 'It is a printed replication of an ink blot, a rather nice one. Someone didn't just smear ink. They took some time and trouble in to applying it in a pleasing pattern.'"

" 'I know, prot, but what do you see IN the card?'

" 'I do not have microscopic vision or X-ray vision, if that is what you mean.'

" 'I mean what can you imagine you see in the card? Its like cloud gazing. When you were little didn't you ever go out under a beautiful sky and look up at the clouds and try to imagine things in them?'

"His face lit up, 'Oh that! I did that as a child. I still do it. It's much more fun than television. Sure I can do that.'

"He then preceded to do just exactly that with each card, with a big grin on his face. He obviously enjoyed using his imagination and sharing it with me. His joyful answers revealed a rich, comforting and vivid inner mental world that I just could not figure out! As you know, normal people usually do see animals and favorite imaginary characters and what have you in Rorschach test cards. Psychotics see more frightening and sick things, and they usually don't see the card as a whole, but pick out bits of the image here and there, and describe them in a rambling, discordant, incoherent manner. Not prot. Prot saw the images as a whole and could describe them fluently. BUT prot saw many creatures I had never heard of, and of course couldn't have because they existed only in his outer space confabulation. But they lacked the horror of the true psychotic's imagination. They were false memories obviously, but not unfriendly ones. He said one of them reminded him of a fairy tale he had heard on FLORA, which he explained to me was a planet. I asked him to tell me the fairy tale. He did, and it was a good, coherent and entertaining story with a moral about how important it is to trust beings even if they don't look, think or act like you do. I went home that night and told the same story to my grandchild, and he loved it. It also indicated a complete lack of paranoia. But the whole thing was about animals that did not exist, and prot had to explain them to me. Prot was at peace with his mental world. In fact if those animals had been real ones, again I would have discharged him then and there.

"The rest of the testing was similar. The thought that the patient might have been malingering to get free room and board did cross my mind briefly, but just briefly. There was a solidness and a truthful earnestness to his wild tale that made me believe that he believed it totally. And that was very unnerving because as you know, the strangest thing about prot is simply, he acts perfectly normal. Psychotics usually act disturbed and don't have good social skills. Because prot is a secondary personality in a multiple and not a schizophrenic, prot acts normal and makes friends rapidly with every creature he meets. That is why you and every one of us is so easily folie a deuced, Gene. So quit worrying about yourself.

"Then we covered prot's legal status. I explained to him that the results of our interview indicated it would be better for him if he, 'were a guest for a bit longer,' at our institution. The news didn't seem to bother prot. He nodded knowingly in fact. Then I explained that, 'It would be much easier on all of us, if you just committed yourself by signing a paper. You apparently were willing to sign the temporary commitment papers but these would mean we would have the legal right to keep you indefinitely, or until we feel you are ready to face the outside world again. I know that sounds harsh, but by committing yourself we won't have to go before a judge to have you involuntarily committed, and it will also make your discharge easier when that time comes, and prot, I believe that time will come, you are helpable.'

"Prot was perfectly willing to sign papers. I had to stop him from using his pencil, but he took my pen from me readily enough and scrawled 'prot,' right where he was supposed to. Of course that was problematic.

" 'Prot, you signed them, "prot." '

"He looked at me like I was the crazy one, 'It is my name. What was I supposed to sign my name as, "Teddy Roosevelt?" '

"I couldn't help laughing but I explained, 'We have to have your legal name.'

"Prot shrugged, 'I don't have a legal name. Prot is all the name I have.'

" 'But, "prot" wouldn't hold up in court!'

"Prot gave me a wise little stare, 'Who is going to go to court about it? I certainly am not! As long as you quit jabbing me I'm perfectly willing to stay.'

"I put my hand on my chin considering this.

"The patient continued soothingly, 'Let it slide, bill. Let it slide.'

"I shrugged and did so. Prot had a point. Unless somebody contested it we would probably never be challenged by anyone as to whether it was proper to voluntarily commit a delusional patient who willingly signed the only name he knew he had. I did ask him to sign 'prot' in both first name and last name blanks, which he readily did, but he obviously thought that was ridiculous.

"So, Gene, that is how we came to obtain prot, Mysterious Alien from the planet K-PAX! Speaker to animals and Psychotics! Lunatic! Wise man! Savant-astronomer! Multiple Personality and loyal protector of Robert Porter! Off key singer! Prankster! And good friend!"

I asked, "So how did your last session go with prot?"

Bill smiled, "My last session with prot was just to say goodby and to let him know we were transferring him to MPI. I had just had two depressives and a paranoid schizophrenic that morning. Prot's friendly, calm, even humorous demeanor was a welcome relief!

"He took his seat and smiled at me, studying me calmly through those ever present dark glasses.

"I said, 'Well, prot, you've been on various oral meds for almost four months now. You like those better than the needles, ay?'

"He grinned, 'Oh yes, much better!'

"So I said hopefully, 'Where are you from?'

"Gene, he gave me a gentle but defiant little grin, 'K-PAX, Bill, it will always be K-PAX no matter what you say to me or have me swallow. This is because I AM from K-PAX.'

" Bill put his fingers together, "This didn't surprise me. I knew from my staff meetings that prot would still expound at great length to any one who wanted to listen (and many did), about his wonderful planet. I was a bit sad. I had had high hopes for this patient. He had seemed curable. But at least he was in good spirits and he was still very cooperative. So maybe there was still hope that you, or someone some time would still be able to help him. I certainly hoped so because I like prot. You know how he is."

I told him, "I know."

Bill then said, " 'So,' I said to prot, 'The meds aren't doing you any good.'

"Prot shrugged, 'Well, they made me a bit fuzzy minded, but the major tranquilizer part did work to relieve my anxiety at being committed, somewhat. This was, after all, a new and somewhat scary experience for me, so I kinda enjoy them really, the pill ones, that is. Very soothing.'

" Bill gazed at me, and said "Then I commented to prot, 'The nurse told me you are a real lamb about taking them, that you actually seem eager to swallow them.'

" 'Baa.' "

Bill grinned, "A patient with a sense of humor is a welcome relief! Then I asked him, 'But after all that you still think you are an alien? Why do you suppose that is?'

"Prot gave me that Cheshire cat grin you always talk about, 'Why, doctor, might it not be, because I AM from K-PAX?'"

Bill leaned back in his chair, "I couldn't help smiling. His demeanor was infectious, and yet it is a sad thing when a psychiatrist fails to help a patient back to reality. I asked, 'You seem to be happy to be from K- PAX so why are you so eager to swallow medication that might strip this belief from you?'

"Prot shrugged, 'Oh, doc, I don't know.' He stared at the ceiling obviously asking himself this hard question. 'Possibly because I rather hoped they might work. Being from K-PAX is great, but being from K-PAX but stuck on EARTH is a nightmare from which I would have been glad to awake. I had read of the miracles these medications work on some demented beings and now I have seen it for myself. Horrible nightmares, even worse ones than mine of being an interstellar cast-a-way fade away like dew drops under a hot sun-star. Earth is a pretty place though it has many faults. I wouldn't mind being human if I were human.' "

Bill explained, "I exclaimed, 'prot, such insight in a patient as delusional as you, is so rare! You deserve help, prot, because you want it so bad.' "

"He nodded. "Then, Gene, I explained to him, 'You need intense one on one psychotherapy, prot. Think you could handle that?' "

Bill smiled, "Then prot gave me a wide, toothy grin, and exclaimed, 'Bring it on!'

"I told him, 'Well, prot, we can't do it here.'

"Prot's face fell."

Then Bill told me, "I explained to him, 'But I have a friend at another institution near here that may be able to help you. That institute is a teaching institute and they specialize in difficult and unusual cases, of which you certainly are one. I have spoken to him and he is willing to try to help you.'

"He asked, 'What is your friend's name?'

Bill smiled at me, "I explained, "Dr. Gene Brewer. He is acting director there." (Here I commented, "So that is how prot knew my name and what my position was. He had simply asked! I'm having one of those 'duh' moments.")

Bill continued, "I gazed at him closely. 'You will both have to work hard. Are you willing to do that?'

"He said calmly, 'Of course.'

Bill grinned at me, "I've told him great things about you. You won't make me a liar will you?"

"Absolutely not!" prot looked a little offended that I had even asked.

So, Bill said, "I told him, 'Ok prot I'll fill out the necessary paper work to initiate the transfer immediately' "

Bill gazed at me and tapped his fingers together. "Our patient's face fell at that. He said, 'Won't I at least be given time to say goodby to,' (and here he listed EVERY patient on his ward, several on the other wards, and every nurse, orderly and all the janitors that were presently working at the hospital! Gene, he knew people I didn't know!)

"I exclaimed, 'Whew, prot, that is quite a list! Yes, of course you will. You have plenty of time to say goodby. Paper work doesn't move that fast.' "

'Oh,' said prot, 'red tape, We haven't got paper work on K-PAX.' "

Bill grinned at me. Then I exclaimed, "WOW! When can we leave?"

He nodded knowingly, "I know that feeling!" "Well then, Gene, I asked him playfully, knowing full well it wouldn't do prot any good or harm, 'Why can't you just go home, prot?'

"He sighed and explained to me, 'It is not like star trek, bill. There ain't no such animal as faster than light radio. I can't just whip out my trusty communicator and say, "Beam me up, hortense, there's no intelligent life down here." '

" Bill said, "I stared incredulously, 'hortense?'

"Prot explained, 'An acquaintance of mine. She often coordinates light travel, except during our rare cold season. Then she travels to FLORA.' "

Gene, I was amazed at this. I wondered if maybe hortense was a real person and not one of prot's confabulations, I asked, 'There is an alien on your world named "hortense?!" '

"He gazed at me calmly, 'No, bill, there is no alien on K-PAX named hortense.' "

'But you said...' "

'We have a K-PAXian on K-PAX named hortense. But she is not an alien, she is a K-PAXian of my species, what we call a dremer. If YOU were on K-PAX, YOU would be the alien, not hortense, not that we would be so rude is to call you that. Got it?' "

Bill grinned, "I 'got it.' Prot could be so logical."

Then Bill added, "But I still wondered if maybe this was a real memory prot was referring to. I asked, 'But her name is hortense?' "

Prot shrugged, 'Yes.' "I still had my suspicions, I asked, 'Isn't that a rather human name?'

"Prot shrugged, 'Well, there are only so many ways to put sounds together. Sometimes coincidences happen. It is like that superstition you humans have about snowflakes never being alike. Utter nonsense! Does any educated being who even thinks about it, think that of all the snowflakes on all the planets on all the worlds that have snow (which are many more than can support intelligent life, snow is a much more common phenomenon), from the first snowflake that fell after the big bang to the last one before we all go crunch, that no two will ever be alike.
I think not!' "

Gene, I could see he had a point."

"Prot explained to me, 'In fact they repeat quite often, even on one WORLD. I am sure soon you will find this out.'

"Well, Gene, actually I had read something to that effect, but I did not waste my time explaining this to prot. Our hour and my precious time with him, was almost up.

"Prot added, 'I am sure out of my 15 million fellow dremers plus the billions of other fellow beings with which we happily share K-PAX, it wouldn't surprise me if someone there was named "Bill." And this isn't bringing up all the other known worlds that support intelligent life.'

"Prot is amazing! Gene, I envy you. It is almost as if you have indeed psychoanalyzed ET."

"Almost!" I shuddered. "Sometimes, Bill, I KNOW I have!"

Bill grinned, "Gene, if I hadn't met him for myself, I would be worried about you! But I'm not. I have met the guy, and quite frankly I hope he IS an alien!"

I added, "Me too." Then Bill smiled and glanced at the clock. I knew what that meant. My hour was up. I got up to leave. But I asked, "So, Bill, what is my prognosis? Do I need to start taking Thorazine?"

Bill grinned at me, "I don't think so, Gene. You are already on prot zac! Think you will need any more therapy sessions?"

I smiled, "Not for a while, Bill, my friend, but keep the couch warm!"