Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pretty: Parable

"So? It's happened before, and it will happen again. The how of it is interesting, but not terribly important, since Leah is free to leave whenever she wants. She's not a prisoner here, you know."

"I know, Director Sugolinski, but if I am going to help Leah, I need to know more about her and where she goes and why she leaves us. Why did you tell me to not ask her?"

"Doctor, I have a question for you, and I understand that you may think that I am changing the subject, but it is the kind of thing that if I just came out and stated, you wouldn't understand. So instead, I have a question for you that might shed some light on just how dangerous and special our patient is."

"Okay, if you insist on making this into a parable."

"What is the name of your patient?"


"Correct, your patient's name is Leah. Good. Do you think there's anything unusual about her name, or that she has a name?"

"That she has a … no. Her name is Leah, although her last name is not in the records I have access to, but I assume she has a last name as well."

"Now, what is my name?"

"You are Eileen Sugolinski, Director of the facility where I work; my job is to evaluate and assist patient Leah, last name unknown, as she struggles with profound personality and cognitive dysfunction." The Doctor was already tired of this line of questioning, so he got a little flippant in his response.

"Well, then, Doctor. We have established that the people you interact with on a regular basis have names and that having a name is normal and reasonable. Now, my last question is, What is your name?"

The Doctor had no answer for Eileen Sugolinski's question.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Pretty: Veils

This time, Leah knew she was dreaming. That happened only some of the time. She was walking through a city in her dream, barefoot and dressed in her nightgown. She knew that she was dreaming because in that circumstance she should be cold, it was dark and a soft snow was falling on the sidewalks, but she felt no chill at all. People should stare at her, a half-dressed, barefoot wraith wandering the city streets as it snowed, but nobody looked at her at all.

Because it was a dream, and because she knew it was a dream, she decided to have a little fun. She turned down an alley on her right and got out of the flow of people walking on the main sidewalk. Skipping up the alley, she saw two men standing in a darkened alcove, a doorway leading into the alley that was open with two men standing in it. They were arguing over something. Feeling safe in her invisible dream, Leah drifted closer to the men. She thought she might give one of them bunny ears. Both men were tall and rough-looking. One had a tattoo of a raven on his right forearm, he had rolled up his sleeve to show it to the other man.
As soon as she got within a few feet of the men, both stopped talking and looked at her. The man with the tattoo leered at her and asked, "What do you want, pretty little girl?"

Suddenly, Leah felt the cold.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pretty: Remove

Hanging from the racks in the preparation room were a variety of outfits that the Doctor could wear for sessions with Leah. Today, he was going to wear hospital-green scrubs with a white lab coat. He had just finished tying the drawstring in his pants when the Director entered the room.

"Good morning, Doctor. What's this I hear about you needing to see me?" Eileen Sugolinski was a direct person, taking the lead in most conversations. Somehow when she was speaking to you, she not only managed to seem taller than her five feet of height, she managed to make you feel as if you were a child again, caught stealing sweets from her kitchen.

"Good morning, Director Sugolinski. Come to check up on me?" The Doctor tried to regain the initiative.

"Not precisely, but while I am here, I should tell you: take the greengrocer's pen again this session. Leah seemed to enjoy that one."

"I noticed that, and noted it in my report." The Doctor's tone was businesslike, bordering on cold. He did not appreciate the constraints under which he worked or the 'suggestions' that he was offered by his superior.

"Ah, good then. I apologize that my secretary was unable to schedule you a time, but I am free now." Eileen gestured toward the chairs next to the shoe rack. Not precisely comfortable, but easier than looking down at her all the time, the Doctor was nearly a foot and a half taller than Eileen. He sat.

"I'm all yours for the next", she glanced at her watch, "five minutes."

"Leah went out again last night, Director Sugolinski. She went out and came back and no one, not the nurses, not the orderlies, nobody saw her."


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pretty: Muddy

"One problem with the situation I'm in", began Mitsunori, "is the problem of information consumption. You never know just who is listening to you, and for that matter, who isn't. But that little trick I did with the water glass should work in your favor. That and the carvings. There's new ones out there today, did you see them?"

"No, I can never tell what's new and what isn't, unless I go away for a long time."

Mitsunori smiled. "That's the point. Anyway, as far as I can tell from looking and listening, you're off the case. There's no information flow between you and Mrs. Eddington anymore. Now it's up to you to decide: are you still going to look for David or not?"

"Not sure yet. Thanks for the help." Jack put enough money on the bar to pay for ten beers and started to get up. Mitsunori grabbed his hand.

"One thing yet, old friend, or maybe two."


"First is: do what you can for David Eddington. Even if it amounts to nothing, it will be good for you. You look more down than ever before. Second is: there's someone new in your halo. Are you working another case?"

"Nope, just the Eddington one."

"Hmm. Well, someone has made contact with you. I cannot tell who, since it is pretty tentative, but there's definitely something there. If you don't know about it yet, that can only mean one thing: it's going to be a big deal. Information dense."