“Boston,” Cawley said. “We keep an apartment there. She and the kids needed a break from this place, so they took a week’s vacation. It gets to you sometimes.”
“I’ve been here three days, Doctor, and it gets to me.”
Cawley nodded with a soft smile. “But you’ll be going.”
“Home, Marshal. Now that Rachd’s been found. The ferry usually gets here around eleven in the morning. Have you back in Boston by noon, I’d expect.”
“Won’t that be nice.”
“Yes, won’t it?” Cawley ran a hand over his head. “I don’t mind telling you, Marshal, and meaning no offense—“ “Oh, here we go again.”
Cawley held up a hand. “No, no. No personal opinions regarding your emotional state. No, I was about to say that your presence here has had an agitating effect on a lot of the patients. You know—Johnny Law’s in town. That made several of them a bit tense.” “Sorry about that.”
“Not your fault. It was what you represent, not you personally.”
“Oh, well, that makes it all okay, then.”
Cawley leaned against the wall, propped a foot there, looking as tired as Teddy felt in his wrinkled lab coat and loosened tie. “There was a rumor going around Ward C this afternoon that an unidentified man in orderly’s clothes was on the main floor.” “Realty?”
Cawley looked at him. “Really.”
“How about that.”
Cawley picked at some lint on his tie, flicked it off his fingers. “Said stranger apparently had some experience subduing dangerous men.”
“You don’t say.”
“Oh, I do. I do.”
“What else did Said Stranger get up to?”
“Well.” Cawley stretched his shoulders back and removed his lab coat, draped it over his arm, “I’m glad you’re interested.” “Hey, nothing like a little rumor, a little gossip.”
“I agree. Said Stranger allegedly—and I can’t confirm this, mind you—had a long conversation with a known paranoid schizophrenic named George Noyce.”
“Hmm,” Teddy said.
“Noyce,” Cawley said.
“Noyce,” Teddy repeated. “Yeah, that guy—he’s delusional, huh?” “To the extreme,” Cawley said. “He spins his yarns and his tall tales and he gets everyone agitated—“ “There’s that word again.”
“I’m sorry. Yes, well, he gets people in a disagreeable mood. Two weeks ago, in fact, he got people so cross that a patient beat him up.” “Imagine that.”
Cawley shrugged. “It happens.”
“So, what kind of yarns?” Teddy asked. “What kind of tales?” Cawley waved at the air. “The usual paranoid delusions. The whole world being out to get him and such.” He looked up at Teddy as he lit a cigarette, his eyes brightening with the flame. “So, you’ll be leaving.” “I guess so.”
“The first ferry.”
Teddy gave him a frosty smile. “As long as someone wakes us up.”
Cawley returned the smile. “I think we can handle that.”
“Great.” Cawley said, “Cigarette?”
Teddy held up a hand to the proffered pack. “No, thanks.”
“Trying to quit?”
“Trying to cut down.”
“Probably a good thing. I’ve been reading in journals how tobacco might be linked to a host of terrible things.”
He nodded. “Cancer, I’ve heard, for one.”
“So many ways to die these days.”
“Agreed. More and more ways to cure, though.”
“You think so?”
“I wouldn’t be in this profession otherwise.” Cawley blew the smoke in a stream above his head.
Teddy said, “Ever have a patient here named Andrew Laeddis?” Cawley dropped his chin back toward his chest. “Doesn’t ring a bell.”
Cawley shrugged. “Should it?”
Teddy shook his head. “He was a guy I knew. He—“
“How did you know him?”
“In the war,” Teddy said.
“Anyway, I’d heard he went a little bugs, got sent here.” Cawley took a slow drag off his cigarette. “You heard wrong.”, “Apparently.” :
Cawley said, “Hey, it happens. I thought you said ‘us’ a minute ago.”
“ ‘Us,’ “ Cawley said. “As in first-person plural.”
Teddy put a hand to his chest. “Referring to myself?”
Cawley nodded. “I thought you said, ‘As long as someone wakes us up.’ Us up.”
“Well, I did. Of course. Have you seen him by the way?”
Cawley raised his eyebrows at him.
Teddy said, “Come on. Is he here?”
Cawley laughed, looked at him.
“What?” Teddy said.
Cawley shrugged. “I’m just confused.”
“Confused by what?”
“You, Marshal. Is this some weird joke of yours?”
“What joke?” Teddy said. “I just want to know if he’s here.”
“Who?” Cawley said, a hint of exasperation in his voice.
“Chuck?” Cawley said slowly.
“My partner,” Teddy said. “Chuck.”
Cawley came off the wall, the cigarette dangling from his fingers.
“You don’t have a partner, Marshal. You came here alone.”
TEDDY SAID, “Wait a minute...” :
Found Cawley, closer now, peering up at him.
Teddy closed his mouth, felt the summer night find his eyelids.
Cawley said, “Tell me again. About your partner.”
Cawley’s curious gaze was the coldest thing Teddy had ever seen. Probing and intelligent and fiercely bland. It was the gaze of a straight man in a vaudeville revue, pretending not to know where the punch line would come from.
And Teddy was Ollie to his Stan. A buffoon with loose suspenders and a wooden barrel for pants. The last one in on the joke. “Marshal?” Cawley taking another small step forward, a man stalking a butterfly.
If Teddy protested, if he demanded to know where Chuck was, if he even argued that there was a Chuck, he played into their hands. Teddy met Cawley’s eyes and he saw the laughter in them.