“A transorbital lobotomy. ....

Teddy blinked at that and looked back at his page, found the c- and word: “are.” “Just like Noyce,” he said. “I suppose you’ll tall me he’s not here, either.”

“He’s here,” Cawley said. “And a lot of the story you told Dr.  Sheehan about him is true, Andrew. But he never came back to Boston. You never met him in a jail. He’s been here since August of ‘fifty. He did get to the point where he transferred out of Ward C and was trusted enough to live in Ward A. But then you assaulted him.” Teddy looked up from the final three letters. “I what?”

“You assaulted him. Two weeks ago. Damn near killed him.”

“Why would I do that?”

Cawley looked over at Sheehan.

“Because he called you Laeddis,” Sheehan said.

“No, he didn’t. I saw him yesterday and he—“

“He what?”

“He didn’t call me Laeddis, that’s for damn sure.”

“No?” Cawley flipped open his notebook. “I have the transcript of your conversation. I have the tapes back in my office, but for now let’s go with the transcripts. Tell me if this sounds familiar.” He adjusted his glasses, head bent to the page. “I’m quoting here—‘This is about you. And, Laeddis, this is all it’s ever been about. I was incidental. I was a way in.’ “ Teddy shook his head. “He’s not calling me Laeddis. You switched the emphasis. He was saying this is about you—meaning me—and Laeddis.” Cawley chuckled. “You really are something.”

Teddy smiled. “I was thinking the same thing about you.” Cawley looked down at the transcript. “How about this—Do you remember asking Noyce what happened to his face?”

“Sure. I asked him who was responsible.”

“Your exact words were ‘Who did this?’ That sound right?”

Teddy nodded.

“And Noyce replied—again I’m quoting here—‘You did this.’ “ Teddy said, “Right, but...”

Cawley considered him as if he were considering an insect under glass. “Yes?”

“He was speaking like...”

“I’m listening.”

Teddy was having trouble getting words to connect into strings, to follow in line like boxcars.

“He was saying”—he spoke slowly, deliberately—“that my failure to keep him from getting transported back here led, in an indirect way, to his getting beaten up. He wasn’t saying I beat him.” “He said, You did this.”

Teddy shrugged. “He did, but we differ on the interpretation of what that means.”

Cawley turned a page. “How about this, then? Noyce speaking again—‘They knew. Don’t you get it? Everything you were up to. Your whole plan. This is a game. A handsomely mounted stage play. M1 this is for you.’ “ Teddy sat back. “All these patients, all these people I’ve supposedly known for two years, and none of them said a word to me while I was performing my, um, masquerade the last four days?” Cawley closed the notebook. “They’re used to it. You’ve been flashing that plastic badge for a year now. At first I thought it was a worthy test—give it to you and see how you’d react. But you ran with it in a way I never could have calculated. Go on. Open your wallet.  Tell me if it’s plastic or not, Andrew.”

“Let me finish the code.”

“You’re almost done. Three letters to go. Want help, Andrew?”


Cawley shook his head. “Andrew. Andrew Laeddis.”



Cawley watched him arrange the letters on the page.

“What’s it say?”

Teddy laughed.

“Tell us.”

Teddy shook his head.

“No, please, share it with us.”

Teddy said, “You did this. You left those codes. You created the name Rachel Solando using my wife’s name. This is all you.” Cawley spoke slowly, precisely. “What does the last code say?”

Teddy turned the notebook so they could see it:




“Satisfied?” Teddy said.

Cawley stood. He looked exhausted. Stretched to the end of his rope. He spoke with an air of desolation Teddy hadn’t heard before.  “We hoped. We hoped we could save you. We stuck our reputations on the line. And now word will get out that we allowed a patient to play act his grandest delusion and all we got for it were a few injured guards and a burned car. I have no problem with the professional humiliation.” He stared out the small window square. “Maybe I’ve outgrown this place. Or it’s outgrown me. But someday, Marshal, and it’s not far off, we’ll medicate human experience right out of the human experience. Do you understand that?”

Teddy gave him nothing. “Not really.”

“I expect you wouldn’t.” Cawley nodded and folded his arms across his chest, and the room was silent for a few moments except for the breeze and the ocean’s crash. “You’re a decorated soldier with extreme hand-to hand combat training. Since ‘you’ve been here, you’ve injured eight guards, not including the two today, four patients, and five orderlies. Dr.  Sheehan and I have fought for you as long and as hard as we’ve been able.  But most of the clinical staff and the entire penal staff is demanding we show results or else we incapacitate you.”

He came off the window ledge and leaned across the table and fixed Teddy in his sad, dark gaze. “This was our last gasp, Andrew. If you don’t accept who you are and what you did, if you don’t make an effort to swim toward sanity, we can’t save you.”

He held out his hand to Teddy.

“Take it,” he said, and his voice was hoarse. “Please. Andrexv?

Help me save you.”

Teddy shook the hand. He shook it firmly. He gave Cawley his most forthright grip, his most forthright gaze. He smiled.  He said, “Stop calling me Andrew.”

THEY LED HIM to Ward C in shackles.Once inside, they took him down into the basement where the men yelled to him from their cells. They promised to hurt him. They promised to rape him. One swore he’d truss him up like a sow and eat his toes one by one.

While he remained manacled, a guard stood on either side of him while a nurse entered the cell and injected something into his arm.  She had strawberry hair and smelled of soap and Teddy caught a whiff of her breath as she leaned in to deliver the shot, and he knew her.  “You pretended to be Rachel,” he said.

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