For a moment, Teddy thought he saw lights arcing through the eruptions outside.

“It actually worked the other way around. Noyce found me and I found the senator. It was Bobby Farris, the warden at Renton. He called me one morning and asked if I was still interested in Ashecliffe.

I said sure, and he told me about this convict down in Dedham who

was making all this noise about Ashecliffe. So I go to Dedham a few times, talk to Noyce. Noyce says when he was in college, he got a bit tense one year around exams time. Shouted at a teacher, put his fist through a window in his dorm. He ends up talking to somebody in the psych department. Next thing you know, he agrees to be part of a test so he can make a little pocket change. A year later, he’s out of college, a full-fledged schizophrenic, raving on street corners, seeing things, the whole nine yards.”

“Now this is a kid who started out normal...”

Teddy saw lights again flaring through the storm and he walked nearer to the door, stared out. Lightning? It would make sense, he supposed, but he hadn’t seen any before this.

“Normal as pecan pie. Maybe had some what do they call it here?--‘anger management issues,’ but all in all, perfectly sane. A year later, he’s out of his mind. So he sees this guy in Park Square one day, thinks it’s the professor who first recommended he see someone in the psych department. Long story short—it ain’t, but Noyce fucks him up pretty bad. Gets sent to Ashecliffe. Ward A. But he’s not there long.  He’s a pretty violent guy by this time, and they send him to Ward C.  They fill him up with hallucinogens and they step back and watch as the dragons come to eat him and he goes crazy. A little crazier than they hoped, I guess, because in the end, just to calm him down, they performed surgery.”

“Surgery,” Chuck said.

Teddy nodded. “A transorbital lobotomy. Those are fun, Chuck.  They zap you with electroshock and then they go in through your eye with, get this, an ice pick. I’m not kidding. No anesthesia. They poke around here and there and take a fewnerve fibers out of your brain, and then that’s it, it’s over. Piece of cake.”

Chuck said, “The Nuremberg Code prohibits—“

“—experimenting on humans purely in the interest of science, yes.

I thought we had a case based on Nuremberg too. So did the senator.  No go. Experimentation is allowable if it’s used to directly attack a patient’s malady. So as long as a doctor can say, ‘Hey, we’re just trying to help the poor bastard, see if these drugs can induce schizophrenia and these drugs over here can stop it’—then they’re legally in the clear.”

“Wait a second, wait a second,” Chuck said. “You said this Noyce had a trans, um—“ “A transorbital lobotomy, yeah.”

“But if the point of that, however medieval, is to calm someone down, how’s he manage to go fuck some guy up in Park Square?” “Obviously, it didn’t take.”

“Is that common?”

Teddy saw the arcing lights again, and this time he was pretty sure he could hear the whine of an engine behind all that squealing.  “Marshals!” The voice was weak on the wind, but they both heardit.  Chuck swung his legs over the end of the slab and jumped off and joined Teddy at the doorway and they could see headlights at the far end of the cemetery and they heard the squawk of a megaphone and a screech of feedback and then:

“Marshals! If you are out here, please signal us. This is Deputy Warden McPherson. Marshals!”

Teddy said, “How about that? They found us.”

“It’s an island, boss. They’ll always find us.”

Teddy met Chuck’s eyes and nodded. For the first time since they’d met, he could see fear in Chuck’s eyes, his jaw trying to tighten against it.

“It’s going to be okay, partner.”

“Marshals! Are you out here?”

Chuck said, “I don’t know.”

“I do,” Teddy said, though he didn’t. “Stick with me. We’re walking out of this fucking place, Chuck. Make no mistake about it.” And they stepped out of the doorway and into the cemetery. The wind hit their bodies like a team of linemen but they stayed on their feet, locking arms and gripping the other’s shoulder as they stumbled toward the light.


“ARE YOU FUCKING crazy?” e,

This from McPherson, shouting into the wind, as the jeep hurtled down a makeshift trail along the western edge of the cemetery.  He was in the passenger seat, looking back at them with red eyes, all vestiges of Texas country boy charm washed away in the storm. The driver hadn’t been introduced to them. Young kid, lean face, and pointed chin were about all Teddy could make out under the hood of his rain slicker. Drove that jeep like a professional, though, tearing through scrub brush and the storm’s debris like it wasn’t even there.  “This has just been upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane.  Winds are coming in at around a hundred miles an hour right now. By midnight, they’re expected to hit a hundred fifty. And you guys go strolling off in it?”

“How do you know it was upgraded?” Teddy said.

“Ham radio, Marshal. We expect to lose that within a couple of hours too.”

“Of course,” Teddy said.

“We could have been shoring up the compound right now, but instead we were looking for you.” He slapped the back of his seat, then turned forward, done with them.

The jeep bounced over a rise and for a moment Teddy saw only sky, felt nothing underneath the wheels, and then the tires hit dirt and they spun through a sharp curve that dipped steeply with the trail and Teddy could see the ocean off their left, the water churning with explosions that bloomed white and wide like mushroom clouds.  The jeep tore down through a rise of small hills and then burst into a stand of trees, Teddy and Chuck holding on to the seats as they banged off each other in the back, and then the trees were behind them and they were facing the back of Cawley’s mansion, crossing a quarter acre of wood chips and pine needles before they hit the access road and the driver pushed out of low gear and roared toward the main gate.  “We’re taking you to see Dr. Cawley,” McPherson said, looking back at them. “He just can’t wait to talk to you guys.”

“And here I thought my mother was back in Seattle,” Chuck said.  THEY SHOWERED IN the basement of the staff dormitory and were given clothes from the orderlies’ stockpile. Their own clothes were sent to the hospital laundry, and Chuck combed his hair back in the bathroom and looked at his white shirt and white pants and said, “Would you like to see a wine list? Our special tonight is beef Wellington. It’s quite good.” Copyright 2016 - 2023