Chuck raised a knee to his chest. “My parents, my girlfriend, some of my friends who couldn’t pass the physical, they all ask, you know?” “Yeah.”

“What was it like? That’s what they want to know. And you want to say, ‘I don’t know what it was like. It happened to someone rise. I was just watching it from above or something.’ “ He held out his hands. “I can’t explain it any better. Did that make a bit of sense?” Teddy said, “At Dachau, the SS guards surrendered to us. Five hundred of them. Now there were reporters there, but they’d seen all the bodies piled up at the train station too. They could smell exactly what we were smelling. They looked at us and they wanted us to do what we did. And we sure as hell wanted to do it. So we executed every one of those fucking Krauts. Disarmed them, leaned them against walls, exe cuted them. Machine-gunned over three hundred men at one time.  Walked down the line putting bullets into the head of anyone still breathing. A war crime if ever there was one. Right? But, Chuck, that was the least we could have done. Fucking reporters were clapping.  The camp prisoners were so happy they were weeping. So we handed a few of the storm troopers over to them. And they tore them to shreds.  By the end of that day, we’d removed five hundred souls from the face of the earth. Murdered ‘em all. No self-defense, no warfare came into it. It was homicide. And yet, there was no gray area. They deserved so much worse. So, fine—but how do you live with that? How do you tell the wife and the parents and the kids that you’ve done this thing?  You’ve executed unarmed people? You’ve killed boys? Boys with guns and uniforms, but boys just the same? Answer is You can’t tell ‘em.  They’ll never understand. Because what you did was for the right reason.  But what you did was also wrong. And you’ll never wash it often” After a while, Chuck said, “At least it was for the right reason, you ever look at some of these poor bastards come back from Korea? They still don’t know why they were there. We stopped Adolf. We saved millions of lives. Right? We did something, Teddy.”

“Yeah, we did,” Teddy admitted. “Sometimes that’s enough.”

“It’s gotta be. Right?”

An entire tree swept past the door, upside down, its roots sprouting upward like horns.

“You see that?”

“Yeah. It’s gonna wake up in the middle of the ocean, say, ‘Wait a second. This isn’t right.’ “

“ ‘I’m. supposed to be over there.’ “

“ ‘Took me years to get that hill looking the way I wanted iti’ “ They laughed softly in the dark and watched the island race by like a fever dream.

“So how much do you really know about this place, boss?” Teddy shrugged. “I know some. Not nearly enough. Enough to scare me.”

“Oh, great. You’re scared. What’s a normal mortal supposed to feel, then?”

Teddy smiled. “Abject terror?”

“Okay. Consider me terrified.”

“It’s known as an experimental facility. I told you—radical therapy.  Its funding comes partially from the Commonwealth, partially from the Bureau of Federal Penitentiaries, but mostly from a fund set up in ‘fifty-one by HUAC.”

“Oh,” Chuck said. “Terrific. Fighting the Commies from an island in Boston Harbor. How does one go about doing that?” “They experiment on the mind. That’s my guess. Write down what they know, turn it over to Cawley’s old OSS buddies in the CIA maybe. I dunno. You ever heard of phencyclidine?”

Chuck shook his head. °

“LSD? Mescaline?”

“Nope and nope.”

“They’re hallucinogens,” Teddy said. “Drugs that cause you to hallucinate.”

“All right.”

“In even minimal doses, strictly sane people—you or I—would start seeing things.”

“Upside-down trees flying past our door?”

“Ah, there’s the rub. If we’re both seeing it, it’s not a hallucination.  Everyone sees different things. Say you looked down right now and your arms had turned to cobras and the cobras were rising up, opening their jaws to eat your head?”

“I’d say that would be a hell of a bad day.”

“Or those raindrops turned into flames? A bush became a charging tiger?”

“An even worse day. I should’ve never left the bed. But, hey, you’re saying a drug could make you think shit like that was really happening?” “Not just ‘could.’ Will. Given the right dosage, you will start to hallucinate.”

“Those are some drugs.”

“Yeah, they are. A lot of these drugs? Their effect is supposedly identical to what it’s like to be a severe schizophrenic, kYchat’s his name, Ken, that guy. The cold in his feet. He believes that. Leonora Grant, she wasn’t seeing you. She was seeing Douglas Fairbanks.” “Don’t forget—Charlie Chaplin too, my friend.”

“I’d do an imitation; but I don’t know what he sounds like.”

“Hey, not bad, boss. You can open for me in the Catskills.” “There have been documented cases of schizophrenics tearing their own faces off because they believed their hands were something else, animals or whatever. They see things that aren’t there, hear voices no one else hears, jump from perfectly sound roofs because they think the building’s on fire, and on and on. Hallucinogens cause similar delusions.”

Chuck pointed a finger at Teddy. “You’re suddenly speaking with a lot more erudition than usual.”

Teddy said, “What can I tall you? I did some homework. Chuck, what do you think would happen if you gave hallucinogens to people with extreme schizophrenia?”

“No one would do that.”

“They do it, and it’s legal. Only humans get schizophrenia. It doesn’t happen to rats or rabbits or cows. So how are you going to test cures for it?”

“On humans.”

“Give that man a cigar.”

“A cigar that’s just a cigar, though, right?”

Teddy said, “If you like.”

Chuck stood and placed his hands on the stone slab, looked out at the storm. “So they’re giving schizophrenics drugs that make them even more schizophrenic?”

“That’s one test group.”

“What’s another?”

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