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The Asylum - Part 3-2 - Committed

Max_Writer

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* * *

 

Miss Porter walked back to the Pleasure Palace and used smelling salts from the first aid kit to wake their burglar. The man shook his head.

 

“I told you not to move,†Miss Porter said.

 

“I think we can agree you made the wrong move there, huh?†Cap’n Jack said.

 

The man looked up at the two.

 

“Who’s this?†he said. “This your girlfriend?â€

 

“This is the police,†Cap’n Scott said. “Told you one would be here.â€

 

“A lady cop?†the man said in disbelief.

 

“Well, I’m a pretty good shot for a lady cop, don’t you think?†Miss Porter said.

 

“Where’s your badge, lady cop?†the man said.

 

“Right here, bucko!†she said, brandishing her revolver.

 

“Police,†he said, blowing air out of his mouth. “Police. Police.â€

 

“Where are your friends?†Cap’n Scott said. “At least mine are here.â€

 

“They’re around,†the prisoner said.

 

He moved slightly and grimaced, then looked down at his leg.

 

“Your lady friend’s creepy,†he finally said. “What were you aiming for, lady friend?â€

 

“Nothing you need,†she replied.

 

“Oh, she’s clever too,†the man said. “What’s your name, honey?â€

 

“Just ask him your questions, why don’t you?†she said to Cap’n Scott. “Do you have a broom here?â€

 

“I can clean up later,†Cap’n Scott said. “Probably better not to mess it up in case the cops do come.â€

 

“Talk to him,†she said, pointing at the prisoner.

 

“So, what’s your name, guy?†Cap’n Scott asked the man.

 

“Bob,†the man said.

 

“Okay.â€

 

“Bob Smith.â€

 

“Well, Bob Smith, it looks like you are going to jail.â€

 

“Looks like.â€

 

“What’s your plan from there?â€

 

“Well, I figure I’ll sell some cigarettes, get a girlfriend …â€

 

“Little fellow like you, I don’t think you’re going to get one.â€

 

“Oh, I’m little, but I’m wiry.â€

 

“Well, they’re big and wiry, so … good luck.â€

 

“We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.â€

 

“What are you getting from this? What are you getting from helping them? Have you seen what they do?â€

 

“You can’t even imagine what I’m getting.â€

 

“I’ve seen it.â€

 

“What they tell you? Eternal life?†Miss Porter said.

 

“Who wants eternal life?†Bob Smith said. He looked at Cap’n Scott. “I’m getting all kinds of good stuff. It is really good. Maybe you want to switch sides.â€

 

“Last time someone switched sides, he ended up with his brain in a can,†Miss Porter said.

 

“That’s why I don’t want to have to switch sides,†Bob Smith said. “I don’t want my brain in a can.â€

 

“No, he switched sides,†she said.

 

“Brain in a can? That’s crazy talk!†Bob Smith suddenly said. “This a crazy lady you got there with you?â€

 

“Well, you just agreed with it! Sounds like you knew what you were talking about there, bucko!â€

 

“So you haven’t seen what they do,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“I know,†Bob Smith said. “I know.â€

 

“I bet you do,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“But see, what you don’t know is that working against them is bad.â€

 

“That’s the same stuff the last group said.â€

 

“Yeah!â€

 

“Now, they’re all dead.â€

 

“Look, all I know is that they technology that makes ours look like we’re beating rocks together, okay? This is a nice boat you’ve got here. This boat is brand new.â€

 

“It’s an all right boat. It’s a little bloody.â€

 

“This is like a stick … yeah. That’s her fault. This is a like a stick that you’re trying to float on the water.â€

 

“You’re the one leaking,†Miss Porter said.

 

“Some of the things that they’re going to be able help those of us who help them when it all goes to hell …†Bob Smith went on.

 

“Well, here’s what I know,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“Okay,†Bob Smith said.

 

“In the end, they’re not going to help us,†Cap’n Scott said. “I’ve seen what they do to their friends. And, this gun has a notch in it. And I’ll put another one in it if they come for me again.â€

 

“A notch? What are you talking about?â€

 

“I’m saying one of them isn’t flying anymore.â€

 

“Pshaw.â€

 

“Yeah, he killed it dead,†Miss Porter said.

 

“Yeah, uh-huh,†Bob Smith said, obviously not believing the man.

 

“It fell into the−†she went on.

 

“Now who’s telling tall tales?†Bob Smith said.

 

“Have you been to their cave on the mountain?†she asked.

 

“No,†he replied.

 

“Well, if you want to go pay your respects …â€

 

“Do you know how widespread they are? What they control?â€

 

“Probably outer space.â€

 

“Everything!â€

 

“Then why are they in hiding?†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“Everywhere,†Bob Smith said.

 

“Sounds like they’re just big talkers with a couple neat guns,†Cap’n Scott went on.

 

“Maybe,†Bob Smith replied. “Maybe they don’t care enough about us to destroy us. Maybe it’s less trouble−â€

 

“You sound pretty desperate to me,†Miss Porter said.

 

“−to just go around and do their business−†Bob Smith said, ignoring her.

 

“You think?†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“−and we’re not enough of a threat to even matter,†Bob Smith continued. “Do you kill every anthill you find if it doesn’t have anything to do with where you live? You live on a boat! You go and smash the anthills?â€

 

“I mean, you were over here, checking out the anthill,†Miss Porter said.

 

“Yeah,†Bob Smith replied. “They keep an eye on their enemies.â€

 

“Poking it with a stick,†she went on.

 

“I didn’t poke,†he replied.

 

“I guess we’re pretty big anthills,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“I was just looking closely,†Bob Smith said.

 

Miss Porter crossed to the prisoner and leaned over him. She put her knee on his injury and he groaned.

 

“This pain that you’re feeling?†she said. “It’s nothing compared to what they’re going to put you through.â€

 

“Whoa! Whoa!†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“Make it stop then!†Bob Smith said.

 

She leaned in and he yelled.

 

“Jesus Christ, lady!†he said.

 

“You really want to rethink your life,†she said.

 

“What’d you shoot me with, a cannon?†he groaned.

 

She took out her little snub nosed revolver.

 

“No, this little thing, right here,†she said with a smile.

 

“See, that puts you down,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“What’d you do, break the bone?†Bob Smith cried out. “Is the bullet still in there?â€

 

“No, it’s gone,†she said. “I’m a doctor.â€

 

“Did you … you’re a doctor?†he said. “Did you do surgery on me while I was out? God, it hurts!â€

 

“That gun put you down,†Cap’n Scott said. He held up his .45 revolver. “This gun puts them down. But here’s what I’m thinking: if they’re that powerful, if we’re helpless against them, why lie to me?â€

 

“I haven’t,†Bob Smith said.

 

“Okay, where do you get your information?â€

 

“Oh! See, now, I’m not going to give you stuff that’s going to p*** them off at me. I haven’t lied to you about what they can do.â€

 

“Whether or not you p*** them off, you’re going to end up dead,†Miss Porter said.

 

“We all are, honey,†he replied.

 

“Yeah, well, see, with them, death isn’t the end or the worst part of it,†she said.

 

“Maybe.â€

 

“No, it’s not. People never listen to me and then always end up dead or worse.â€

 

Cap’n Scott heard a car engine nearby. They waited and about a minute later, two uniformed police officers came down the street to the dock and split up, one heading down the pavement towards Cap’n Scott’s dock and the other heading along the shore in the opposite direction. The officer soon saw them on the back of the boat and headed towards them.

 

“Hey, go distract them,†Cap’n Scott said to Miss Porter. “Just stall ‘em for a couple minutes.â€

 

“How?†she replied.

 

“Nothing weird. Nothing weird, just go talk to them. Have a conversation.â€

 

“Are you going to kill him?â€

 

“No. I just want a few more minutes until our guy gets here.â€

 

She left the boat and walked up to the police officer.

 

“Excuse me, ma’am,†he said to her as she approached. “We had a report of a gunshot. Know anything about that?â€

 

He looked at Cap’n Jack as he spoke.

 

“Is Officer Bridges with you?†she asked.

 

“Officer Bridges, no,†the policeman said. “Officer Bridges is not here. We got a call from a concerned citizen about a gunshot in this area. Do you know anything about it?â€

 

“I’m sorry,†she said. “Yes. I’m sorry; I’m a little shaken up.â€

 

“That’s all right,†he said.

 

“I know Officer Bridges and …†her voice started to crack. “… and he, but …â€

 

She broke down crying as the officer tried to comfort her. She apologized to him again and said something through the tears that was unrecognizable. He called to the other officer, who headed their way.

 

* * *

 

“What do you think?†Cap’n Scott said to Bob Smith. “You recognize them?â€

 

“I can’t see anything,†Bob Smith said. “I’m in the bottom of your boat. And hog tied.â€

 

“I’ll probably let you stay there. But what do you think? Do you have friends on the way?â€

 

“Iunno.â€

 

“I figure just in case, I’ll wait ‘til the cops I know get here.â€

 

“Oh. See, you’re shrewd. You could go far.â€

 

“Yeah, not very far, because they don’t have much use for us. You haven’t noticed that yet? Why do you think they need us?â€

 

“I disagree.â€

 

“Yeah, they always do. It doesn’t go so well for ‘em.â€

 

“I don’t know. I don’t know. They can take you to other worlds.â€

 

“Yeah, they can. It’s not nice, though.â€

 

“I don’t know.â€

 

* * *

 

Officer Jordan reached Miss Porter and the first police officer, still trying to calm her down, motioned for him towards Cap’n Scott. Then Miss Porter pointed to the boat. The first officer escorted her back. When Officer Jordan saw the hogtied man, he put his hand on his holster.

 

“Uh … what’s going on here, sir?†he asked.

 

“Officer, thank goodness you’re here,†Cap’n Scott said. “This man broke into my ship and was stealing stuff. When I came to confront him, he assaulted me. Fortunately, my doctor friend was able to stop him. We’ve got him tied up. He’s been injured and she’s definitely been shaken by the incident.â€

 

The first police officer took Miss Porter back to the street, separating her from Cap’n Scott, while Officer Jordan had Cap’n Scott get the lights on the boat. Both officers took separate statements from the two and told them they’d probably have to come down to the station. When the man tied up on the floor protested loudly that the two were trying to kidnap him, Officer Jordan told him to shut up and kicked him. Cap’n Scott said he was sure people had been watching him for a long time and that he caught the man in his boat, stealing stuff, and then he assaulted him.

 

About five minutes later, they heard a police siren approaching. It stopped nearby and a minute or two after that, Officer Bridges and Officer McIntyre arrived on the scene on foot.

 

Officer Jordan told them that they wanted to take them down to the police station when they processed the prisoner. Officer Bridges recognized Officer Smith as the first policeman who had talked to the pair. The police told Cap’n Scott that they were going to impound his boat until they could pry the bullet out of the deck, where it had lodged after passing through the wooden wall of the outer deckhouse. They were also going to confiscate Miss Porter’s revolver for evidence.

 

Once they got down to the station, they were questioned again. Cap’n Scott actually told police that he thought a cult was watching him. When asked why a religious cult would be after him, he related everything that had happened on Stratton Mountain. They told the man they wanted him to talk to a psychiatrist and that he would have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, just to ensure he was not dangerous to himself or others around him. After a short time, they told him that they had contacted Butler Hospital and he would be evaluated there over the weekend.

 

Miss Porter was told that Cap’n Scott would be held until he could undergo a psychiatric exam as he thought there was some kind of crazy, religious cult after him.

 

“Oh, I thought this was over after we took him to the home,†she said.

 

She asked to see him and the police officer said she could. She was led to another interrogation room and allowed to talk to Cap’n Scott.

 

“So … they think you’re kind of crazy,†she said.

 

“They might be right!†Cap’n Scott said. “This stuff’s pretty weird.â€

 

“So you told them about Stratton Mountain?â€

 

“Was it a secret?â€

 

“I mean, I just don’t go parading around that I’ve seen things from other worlds. It’s not normal.â€

 

“I don’t think I’m ‘parading,’ but I’ll tell the truth to an officer of the law.â€

 

“All right. Are you trying to get committed? Because I can put you up if you wanted to do the plan that we had.â€

 

“See, that was kind of what I was thinking. If could just check myself in … that’d be an in.â€

 

“I don’t know.â€

 

“Hopefully the police will keep my boat in impound while it’s evidence, so it would be safe, right? So, this is the time that I can leave my boat. This is the time that I can help you.â€

 

“All right.â€

 

“I gotta get back to the boat when it’s done.â€

 

“What is with you and this boat?â€

 

“I’m not a rich man. This is my one source of livelihood. It literally is my life. It’s also my house.â€

 

“Do you have the money to commit yourself?â€

 

“I don’t know how expensive this place is but I’m going to go with probably not. Do you?â€

 

“Probably.â€

 

“Okay.â€

 

She told him that she followed the Greek man and knew where he lived. She wondered what to do about him. Cap’n Scott suggested they talk to Bridges about that man.

 

* * *

 

Officer Bridges was one of the two police officers that escorted the prisoner first to Providence Medical Hospital, where he was examined and his dressing changed, then back to the police station where he was interrogated. It was not a pleasant interrogation but, from what Officer Bridges understood, the man claimed that he had been watching the boat for a few days, saw the owner leave, and broke in, hoping to get something to sell for cash. The interrogating officer believed what the burglar said and saw the entire thing as cut and dried. They had found a handgun on the man and were checking the prints against the perpetrator’s. The man claimed he did not have a gun but that was doubtful.

 

The only name they could get from the man was Bob Smith and they could not get him to reveal an address, though the interrogation was continuing. It did not sound pleasant. He was getting a beating with a rubber hose. Officer Bridges also told his fellow officers that he had been helping Cap’n Scott out in watching his boat.

 

Officer Bridges was called into one of the interrogation rooms to talk to Miss Porter and Cap’n Scott. They told him about the suspicious Greek man and asked what to do about that. He got a description of the man and told her they would follow up on it.

 

* * *

 

On Saturday, November 21, 1925, Officer Bridges and Officer McIntyre went to the flophouse in the South Elmwood neighborhood. The landlord in the place was willing to let them into a room where a man who fit the description Officer Bridges gave them lived. The landlord told them the man’s name was Achilles Kostopoulos. However, the room was empty and appeared to have been hastily vacated. Officer Bridges guessed that the man had fled after his confederate had been arrested.

 

Under one of the beds, the officers found a small, curved, ornamental dagger. They wrapped it in a handkerchief to take back to the station as evidence. On return to the station, Officer Bridges learned that “Bob Smith†had finally given his real name as Mark Reynolds. His small house was searched but nothing was found there by police.

 

* * *

 

Cap’n Scott was released from Butler Hospital in Monday, November 23, 1925. He had passed the psychiatric evaluation given to him, though insisted the creatures he had seen on Stratton Mountain existed. However, he was not deemed a danger to himself or others and was released. He had no place to live at that point, but managed to locate Miss Porter and she allowed him to stay on the couch at her apartment.

 

A short article appeared in Monday’s Providence Journal, buried on the back page. It noted that a joint raid was conducted by Greenwood Police and the Providence County Sheriff’s Department on the squatters village near Stonecrest Hill northwest of the town. A dozen officers investigated the shooting at the camp that had taken place on Wednesday. Police also had a warrant to search for moonshine whiskey and a man by the name of Pleasant Marston was placed under arrest for assault and battery until the grand jury could meet in December to determine if an indictment would be brought against him. No moonshine was found in the squatters’ camp, nor were any stills. Marston would be held pending the possible indictment as he was a vagrant and thought a flight risk.

 

Miss Porter took some time on Monday to purchase another .32 snub nosed revolver. She arranged to meet for lunch with Officer Bridges and Cap’n Scott that day as well. She noted that Cap’n Scott was thinking about being Doctor Huxtable.

 

“Those are some tough shoes to fill,†Officer Bridges said.

 

“Hm. Maybe not then,†Cap’n Scott said. “Is that what you need? What do we need to do here?â€

 

Miss Porter suggested he change his crazy story from monsters to something else as the group in the asylum might have been working with the creatures on Stratton Mountain. He noted that it was a little late to change his story as it was on the police record. When she said that the doctor wouldn’t have access to police records, he replied that the doctor would probably try to get hold of them. They realized that the doctors at the asylum wouldn’t ask for them if they didn’t know about them. She was still uncomfortable with him using the same story as she feared that the people could be connected.

 

“Not necessarily, but it could be,†she said.

 

She told him not to tell anyone that she was a doctor as people in Providence knew her as a librarian. She suggested that he tell them he was President Roosevelt or someone that he knew a lot about from history. She said she would claim her cousin had a psychotic break and now he thought he was someone else but she realized that psychiatrists were able to see through lies in many cases. Cap’n Scott suggested that they stick with the truth. He said that he could tell them he was going through some rough times and needed to get grounded once again. He’d say he wanted to check himself in for a month to talk to the therapists to try to get into a better mental place. She suggested that he could use the recent attack as part of the story as well. He said he didn’t have to make up anything at all.

 

“I don’t understand why an asylum would accept you,†she said.

 

“Because I’m checking myself in,†he said. “And I have the money to pay for it, via you.â€

 

“I think it would best if you were there a couple of days to lull them into a false sense of security,†she said.

 

They discussed his making a distraction so that Miss Porter and Officer Bridges could get in. Then they talked for some time about a plan. Miss Porter suggested that Cap’n Scott get to the front security section on the second floor to try to release the boy from one of the cells. She described the boy to the man, but noted that if he couldn’t get to him, he couldn’t. She also wondered if the coal chute was locked. Cap’n Scott asked if she’d considered applying for a job there, but she noted she was a librarian.

 

Cap’n Scott told them to tell him everything they knew and what they wanted him to find out and then he’d check in and they should come visit him in a week. They told him that they needed to find out what was in Freygan’s lab and his personal quarters. Miss Porter pointed out that there were bars on the windows as well and that they had to figure out if the coal chute was a way they could get in or out. Getting keys would also help. Officer Bridges also noted that if the plan didn’t work, they could shoot off some guns in the place and wait for the police to arrive.

 

They talked about fake identification as well. Cap’n Scott wanted at least two, one for the asylum and one for after. Officer Bridges noted that he knew a forger named Murray Stein whom he could probably “convince†to make some fake identification for both of them if they wanted. They stopped by the police station long enough for Bridges to get his address.

 

Murray Stein lived in the West End neighborhood in a small apartment building. Officer Bridges knocked on the second floor apartment and the door was opened a moment later by a small man with short, curly hair.

 

“Yes, can I help …†Stein said.

 

He saw Officer Bridges and pushed the door closed but Officer Bridges put his foot in the door.

 

“Hey, Stein,†Officer Bridges said.

 

“I’m clean!†Stein said. “You know that I have done nothing! I’ve gotten a job and everything!â€

 

Officer Bridges pushed the door open and walked into the tiny, one-room apartment.

 

“Actually, I’ve got some people that want you to do that other thing,†he said.

 

“No, no!†Stein said. “You’re just trying to get me arrested again, Bridges. Officer Bridges. Sir.â€

 

“Well, not today,†Officer Bridges said. “Today’s special.â€

 

“Well, I’m not doin’ that anymore,†Stein said. “I don’t do any of that anymore. None of it. Never. Not ever, ever ever.â€

 

Officer Bridges and Cap’n Scott noticed a drafting table in one corner. There was ink, various kinds of paper, and numerous drafting and writing tools that could be used for forgery. Stein moved to block it from sight.

 

“I got a nice job in a factory,†Stein went on. “I work 10 hours a day, six days a week.â€

 

“Does it involve that?†Officer Bridges said, pointing at the drafting table.

 

“That’s a … hobby,†Stein said. “I’m doing hobbies now … to keep … you know … so that I won’t be tempted like that psychiatrist said. I hobby so that I can actually−â€

 

“What’s your hobby?†Cap’n Scott asked.

 

“Calligraphy!†Stein said.

 

“Calligraphy?†Cap’n Scott said. “That’s sounds pretty useful for us.â€

 

“Honey, look, do I look like a police officer?†Miss Porter said. “I’m not working with them. It’s just I’ve had my life put at risk and we can’t … people know my name and we need a safe ID for me and paperwork.â€

 

He softened a little bit.

 

“Well, I could possibly help you out, but, you know, if the police aren’t gonna bust me for it,†Stein said, looking warily at Officer Bridges. “But materials can be kind of expensive.â€

 

She glared at him.

 

“You know … kind of expensive,†he said again. “For the materials.â€

 

“Yeah, and you can get arrested for it,†Officer Bridges said.

 

“No, but I haven’t broken the law!†Stein said. “I haven’t broken the law, Officer Bridges. But I will be if, you know, if I give fake documents to this pretty lady here. You’re a very pretty lady, no offense.â€

 

“You won’t get caught if it’s discounted today,†Officer Bridges said to him.

 

“Discounted.â€

 

Though it was very cold in the apartment, Stein was sweating.

 

“Theoretically, how much would the materials cost per ID?†Miss Porter asked.

 

“Well, you know, uh …†Stein said. “At a discount, at a policeman’s discount … uh … how many IDs do you need?â€

 

“I just asked how many per,†she said.

 

“Well, how many do you need?†he said.

 

“Does it−?†she said.

 

“You need more than one for yourself?â€

 

“Yeah, two.â€

 

“You need two?â€

 

“Yeah.â€

 

“You need two separate, brand-new IDs?â€

 

“Yeah, it’s not like you’re creating a−â€

 

“Yeah, but it’s got to look right and it takes a lotta time to create, you know, I learned, before I rehabilitated myself, to …â€

 

“Just how much per ID?â€

 

“Well, I don’t think that $50 each, and that’s with the discount, is asking too much. So that would be $100.â€

 

“Why are you so twitchy?â€

 

“Because there’s a police officer here, asking me to break the law, and I feel like this is kind of a setup.â€

 

“His world has widened.â€

 

Officer Bridges walked to the door.

 

“I don’t know what you’re doing,†he said.

 

He left.

 

“How long would it take to make one?†Miss Porter asked.

 

“What all do you need?†Stein asked. “You need driver’s license, you need−â€

 

“Just driver’s license,†she said.

 

“Just driver’s license?†he replied.

 

“For one?â€

 

“Probably a day. Twenty-four hours, maybe?â€

 

“Okay, do his first.â€

 

“Wait, he’s got some too?â€

 

“He needs two.â€

 

“So you each need two.â€

 

“Yes.â€

 

“So you need four.â€

 

“Yes,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“You are very good at math,†Miss Porter said.

 

“So … I’ll need to see the money first,†Stein said. “The $200.â€

 

“I can show you the money,†she said.

 

“Yeah, show me the money,†he said. “And I’ll need a little up front.â€

 

“Half first,†she said.

 

“Half?†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“Half’s fine,†Stein said.

 

“Why don’t we give him half for the first one,†Cap’n Scott said. “Once he makes it, pay him for that one. Then we know we can trust him on the rest and he knows were good for it.â€

 

“Okay, so $25?†Stein said.

 

“Right now,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“Right now,†Stein said. “And then there’s gonna be another 175 coming when all four are done.â€

 

They nodded at him.

 

“Fair enough,†he said. “And you’re not gonna tell Bridges? I’m not gonna … I am so gonna end up in jail.â€

 

“None of us were even here,†Cap’n Scott said. “We don’t know who you are, man.â€

 

“Okay,†Stein said. “When are you coming back for it? You coming back tomorrow morning?â€

 

“Yeah,†she said.

 

“Late morning,†Stein said. “I’ll need the 25 then.â€

 

She pointed at Cap’n Scott. He looked shocked.

 

“It’s your ID,†she said. “Do you want to pay him?â€

 

“Do you?†he replied.

 

“Do you not have any money?â€

 

“I don’t want to get involved in any kind of family squabble,†Stein said.

 

“I need to pay for the repairs of the bullet hole on my ship, so …†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“You know I saved your damned life!†she said.

 

“I had that guy. Do you want my help or not.â€

 

“This goes beyond my help. You know there are people who are trying to kill you. This is more than just ‘Hey, I’m going to pay you for one thing.’ This is your thing. Get your ID and I’ll get your boarding.â€

 

“This ID is for the asylum. This is your thing.â€

 

They looked at each other while Stein watched nervously.

 

“You’re really frustrating me,†she said.

 

“I’m not a rich man,†Cap’n Scott said. “But I’m trying to help you.â€

 

“I’m not that rich,†she replied. “I was trying to save other people’s lives by doing this asylum thing.â€

 

“Well, I don’t know anybody that I’m helping in this,†Cap’n Scott replied. “I think it behooves you to put the funds up to get me in to your plan.â€

 

“You’re really going to do this?â€

 

“Yeah.â€

 

“Why?â€

 

“Did I not explain it?â€

 

She stared at him.

 

“You’re a putz, Mr. Scott,†she said.

 

“At least I’m not a Hutz,†he replied.

 

“I didn’t agree to be buying your IDs. It was never asked of me and I am frustrating that you are springing this on me now.â€

 

“The way I see it, we’re checking me into the asylum on your dime. That’s going to include documents if we need them.â€

 

“You said you were going to help us. I didn’t ask you to pay me for shooting that guy.â€

 

“That’s good, because it didn’t cost you anything. I’ll be happy to buy you a bullet.â€

 

“We staked out your place for you. I think that at least covers us helping you.â€

 

“You staked out my place for two days. I’m going into the asylum for a lot longer than that.â€

 

“You need boarding anyway. Your boat is gone and that’s your house.â€

 

“It’s true, but if I wasn’t going to be in the asylum, I’d be getting the boat back. Once I get the boat back, I can be making money.â€

 

In the end, Miss Porter paid. Stein looked very uncomfortable but took the money and told her to come back the next day around noon.

 

“Treat your wife better,†he whispered to Cap’n Scott as they left.

 

They found Officer Bridges in a nasty little lobby. A big, fat, greasy man sat behind an enclosed counter with bars in the front, flies buzzing around him. He watched the man carefully.

 

* * *

 

On Tuesday, November 24, Miss Porter and Cap’n Scott returned for the first ID. The name on it was John Thompson. The driver’s license looked very good.

 

“Aha!†Miss Porter said to Stein, whipping out the money. “You’re under arrest!â€

 

Stein went pale and then turned to look for a place to run.

 

“I knew it!†he screamed. “I knew it!â€

 

“Here’s the money,†she said.

 

“Wait … are you a cop?†he asked.

 

“No, I’m not a cop,†she said.

 

“Are you?†he asked Cap’n Scott.

 

The other man shook his head.

 

He finally took the money but looked very nervous about it.

 

Then she asked for an ID for Natalie Porter and for another woman. They agreed that she would pay for half for two more and she would come back in a couple of days for them. Cap’n Scott said he could start working on his as well. The name he wanted on that one was Chet Manly. Stein noted that he would make it Chester.

 

Miss Porter couldn’t think of another name though Stein made many suggestions, including Stein.

 

“It was a joke,†he said quickly. “It was a joke.â€

 

“Ah, I see what that is,†she replied. “You’re getting me back for that earlier.â€

 

“Yeah, that’s okay, right?†he said.

 

He also suggested Murray and said he could spell it Murry. She like the name Bettie and he suggested Elizabeth Murry. She also noted that she was not paying for Cap’n Scott’s other ID.

 

They left the man.

 

* * *

 

Miss Porter telephoned Holmes Sanitarium and found out that the cost of being committed at the place was $1,000 a month. Each month was to be paid in advance and, if a patient left early, the money would be prorated. She telephoned Officer Bridges and asked if he could contact Pendergast to foot the bill.

 

Officer Bridges telephoned the man. He told him they were sending a man in to investigate the asylum he’d sent Manfred, though there was a good chance that most of the money would be returned.

 

“You need a month’s pay for Holmes Sanitarium?†Pendergast asked.

 

Officer Bridges could hear the sounds of paper being flipped.

 

“We’re going to get most of that back,†Officer Bridges said.

 

“That’s a thousand dollars!†Pendergast said. “To investigate this? What’s wrong with the place? I checked it out! It’s the best one in the state.â€

 

“Well, we have reason to believe that some occult stuff might be going on there,†Officer Bridges said.

 

There was silence on the line. Then Pendergast sighed.

 

“And we don’t want Manfred to get swallowed by this new thing,†Officer Bridges went on.

 

“And I’m supposed to get most of this money back?†Pendergast said. “You said?â€

 

“Yeah.â€

 

Pendergast sighed again.

 

“All right, well tell me if you find anything,†he said. “I’ll write you a check.â€

 

Officer Bridges stopped by his apartment and Pendergast wrote him a check for $1,000.

 

“This is for Manfred, now,†the dilettante said. “I wrote ‘For Manfred’ in the memo.â€

 

Officer Bridges cashed the check and got the cash to Cap’n Scott.

 

* * *

 

That afternoon, Cap’n Scott took the train to Greenwood, R.I., and then walked across town to Holmes Sanitarium. He entered the place and talked to the homely receptionist, telling her he wanted to check in as he’d gone through some things and felt the need for therapy. He paid the $1,000 and filled out the paperwork with the name John Thompson. He put down the address in Providence that Stein had put on the identification but left the contact and next-of-kin information blank.

 

The mealy-mouthed, unattractive woman took his paperwork and blew into a brass tube in the back.

 

“Check-in,†she said in her thick, rural accent.

 

A few minutes later, an orderly with short dark hair arrived. The woman at the desk told him that Cap’n Scott was a self committal and that Dr. Freygan was rather busy right then, so Dr. Strong would have to handle it. The orderly took him down the hall and up the stairs to the ward. He opened the locked door that led to the ward and Cap’n Scott found himself in a hallway with several doors on either side. Each door had an eye slit and a food slot, as well as a piece of paper with a name on many of them.

 

The first door on the right past the door that closed off the ward had a brass plaque that read “Laundry.†The first door on the left had an old piece of paper on it that was yellowed with age and faded. The name upon it was Brian Timmons. The next door on the right had the name Janice Willowbe and the next one on that same side had the name Toby Smith upon it. Across from that was a cell with the name Manfred Donald upon it. The next room on the right had the name Emory Howard upon it and the last door on the right had the name Leslie Davenport while the last door on the left had no name. The orderly showed him to the next to last door on the left.

 

The walls and floor of the cell were padded and a cot was connected to the floor. Clean linens were on the bed. A window with bars on the outside stood in one wall. The room was cozy and a small vent was set in one wall near the floor. The orderly asked if there was anything he needed and told him he’d return in a minute with a gown for the man.

 

“Yeah, do they have any reading material?†Cap’n Scott asked.

 

The orderly said he could probably get the man some and asked what he was looking for. Cap’n Scott said he’d take anything for now. The man said he would try to help him out.

 

“Did I see Manfred Donald over there?†Cap’n Scott asked.

 

“Yes sir,†the orderly said. “He’s right here next door to you, sir.â€

 

“I knew him years ago,†Cap’n Scott said. “Would it be all right if I talked to him?â€

 

“He doesn’t talk, sir,†the orderly said.

 

“I just want to talk to him.â€

 

“All right. Let me get your gown and your other items and I’ll be right back and you can talk to him.â€

 

“Thank you.â€

 

The orderly closed and locked the door, returning in a few minutes with clothing for Cap’n Scott to change into. He changed and the orderly took his street clothes and said they would be stored for him. He said he’d asked Miss Ballow about getting some books for him to read and then took him to Manfred’s room. The other man was sitting on his cot, a little drool dripping from his mouth and a vacant look in his eyes.

 

“How long do you want?†the orderly asked.

 

“Just a couple minutes,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“All right, I’ll be back in five minutes,†the orderly said.

 

He closed and locked the door to the room. Cap’n Scott tried to get Donald to respond to him but his eyes remained blank and he didn’t respond to anything the man did. It was very disturbing. The orderly returned in a few minutes and escorted Cap’n Scott back to his room, locking him in. He returned about a half hour later with a small pile of books and magazines for him.

 

“If you need anything, you just holler, sir,†the orderly told him.

 

“All right,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

He asked the orderly if there were others places he was allowed to go or if he could go outside. The orderly told him he could go outside if he wanted. He noted there was a socializing room upstairs where he could talk to other patients. He said that most of the patients in Holmes Sanitarium were not self-committed so some of them had some problems.

 

“There’s a man across the hall here who thinks he’s … not Napoleon, that other guy,†the orderly said, snapping his fingers. “Wellington! Thinks he’s Wellington. That general that Napoleon fought.â€

 

“He made the right choice on that one,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“Gets mad if you call him Napoleon,†the orderly said.

 

He pointed in the direction of Leslie Davenport’s cell.

 

“The way he talks to people, sometimes they mistake him for Napoleon,†the orderly went on. “It really upsets him. Don’t call him Napoleon. It makes him very angry.â€

 

He told him that he would have times during the day where he could wander in those areas or outside. The doctors would see him twice a day and the orderly thought he remembered Miss Ballow saying that Dr. Strong was going to be seeing him.

 

“All the patients that you’ll be dealing with are relatively safe,†he said. “None are violent on this hall.â€

 

He also noted that the man could have visitors anytime he wanted during the open hours. The rules said that he had to be locked in his room when he was not elsewhere.

 

The orderly looked tough but seemed normal enough to Cap’n Scott.

 

Later in the day, Dr. Strong came to his room. He was a middle-aged man with graying hair and a black mustache. He wore pince-nez glasses and carried a clipboard. He gave Cap’n Scott a basic psychological evaluation and questioned Cap’n Scott, whom he called Mr. Thompson, why he felt the need to be committed to the sanitarium. When Cap’n Scott was vague at first, Dr. Strong told him that the more detailed he could be, the more he could help the man.

 

“I know this might sound strange, but I’ve been having a lot of trouble trusting people,†Cap’n Scott said. “Would you might telling me about yourself instead?â€

 

Dr. Strong seemed amicable. He noted that he had worked for the sanitarium for about three years, ever since Dr. Freygan’s workload got too heavy for him. He said that he lived in Greenwood and was 48 years old. He told Cap’n Scott he had been in the psychiatric profession for the last 20 years and noted that the sanitarium had a very good reputation and record for helping the mentally disabled. The sanitarium had seen a good release of people committed for various psychological difficulties. He said that he also specialized in psychological hypnosis, allowing him to regress his patients and sometimes recover memories via hypnosis when that seems helpful. He told Cap’n Scott that the orderly, Smith, said that he knew Manfred Donald and they had been working very diligently with Donald though there had been absolutely no response from the man.

 

“He’s completely cut himself off from the world,†Dr. Strong said. “We’re not sure why. If we knew why, it might help. Is that enough?â€

 

“It’s a good start,†Cap’n Scott said.

 

“So, you’re having trust issues?â€

 

Dr. Strong tried to steer the conversation towards what Cap’n Scott’s trust issues were and what those issues stemmed from, where the issues came from, and why he felt the need to commit himself to a sanitarium. Cap’n Scott glazed over the questions and asked questions about the asylum itself. While he continued to try to steer the conversation back to Cap’n Scott’s trust issues, he was willing to tell the man a little bit about the sanitarium as well.

 

Later, another orderly took him upstairs to the recreation area where he met the patients that were on his hallway, or at least those who would talk to him. The man had dirty blonde hair, a rural accent, and seemed very short with him. He told Cap’n Scott to leave Janice Willowbe, a middle-aged woman, alone, as she had a terrible fear of people. He pointed out Toby Smith.

 

“He’s paranoid,†the orderly said. “You can talk to him but don’t get behind him.â€

 

He also pointed out Emory Howard, who was sitting on a bench, staring into space and not reacting to anyone around him.

 

“He doesn’t respond to nothin’,†the orderly told him. “You can talk to Leslie Davenport over there. Don’t call him Napoleon. He gets angry.â€

 

Cap’n Scott found that most of the other patients were not much for conversation, but he was able to have a long and detailed chat with Davenport. The man continually called for his sword and his horse and constantly referred to Cap’n Scott as “Major.†After a while, he started to demand that Cap’n Scott salute him whenever he saw him, telling him not to forget to salute. Cap’n Scott saluted the man and Davenport dressed him down for saluting him incorrectly when he made an American salute. Davenport taught him how to salute as a proper British soldier. He also lamented the fact that none of the people there were in uniform as they should be. He thought all of the other people around him were soldiers.

 

* * *

 

When Miss Porter and Officer Bridges next met, Miss Porter asked him if they should search Strong’s and Freygan’s houses. Officer Bridges didn’t know about Strong, but thought searching Freygan’s house would be a good idea. Then she remembered that Freygan lived on site at the sanitarium. She was able to find Dr. Strong’s address in the directory, however. There was no listing for Freygan.

 

* * *

 

Cap’n Scott had soon met all of the orderlies at the sanitarium. Farley Blaine and Grange Greer were both surly and rural. However, Phillip Smith, who had first shown him to his room, and Gregory Burgess were much more friendly. Gregory Burgess was heavyset and overweight, as well as very quiet. Cap’n Scott also met Dr. Freygan briefly, though the Dutch doctor did not have to time talk to him for very long. He soon learned about the rest of the staff in the sanitarium as well. Bettina Marston acted as the cook and cleaning lady. She was older. He also learned of Bristol Knegin, the administrator of the sanitarium, an older man who also seemed somewhat rural. He spotted the groundskeeper but only through his window. He learned that the man’s name was Standish Schlect.

 

He learned that Dr. Freygan lived in the sanitarium, though Dr. Strong had a home outside of the grounds. The two orderlies that he got along with had only been there for a few years while the other orderlies had been there before that. At one point he was taken to an examination room downstairs and Dr. Strong gave him a physical exam. He was also offered experimental therapy, hydrotherapy, or even electro-shock therapy if he wanted. However, Dr. Strong didn’t think the man needed any of those things, though he did think that he had to open up to him.

 

Dr. Strong didn’t know much about the orderlies that were at the facility before he was there. He did know that most of the staff lived on the grounds. Dr. Strong and the two orderlies that Cap’n Scott got along with were the exceptions. He also learned that Dr. Freygan was not around a lot because he was working on some projects that were taking up a lot of his time.

 

* * *

 

Officer Bridges was not happy to learn that his daughter, Rose, was still telling stories about her grandfather visiting. She told him that one night, which he later figured out was the same night that Miss Porter had shot the intruder on the boat, her grandfather took her to a “wonderful fairy place†with three moons.

 

Soon after that, he was able to purchase a well-trained one-year-old German Shepherd. He also paid to have the back yard of his house fenced in for the animal. The dog would go into an aggressive mode when told to “Sic.†It cost him $10 from the farmer he talked to.

 

* * *

 

Miss Porter returned to Murray Stein, getting her identification for Natalie Porter on Wednesday. On Thursday, she picked up the identification for Elizabeth Murry. He said he’d have Chester Manley reading on Friday but she noted that they would pick up that identification the following week. She said she didn’t want it and wouldn’t pay for it as it wasn’t hers. He was disappointed with that and tried to give the woman a little advice on marriage.

 

“Sometimes the wife has to be the one who carries the burden,†he said. “Of the load of money.â€

 

“And you would know this how?â€

 

“Oh, I’ve been married twice.â€

 

“Uh-huh. Seems that your advice worked out rather well for you.â€

 

“Yeah, I learned a lot from my mistakes.â€

 

“Yeah, well, he’s not my husband. Thank goodness.â€

 

“Oh, really?â€

 

“HE is not my husband.â€

 

“What are you doing Friday night?â€

 

“I didn’t say I wasn’t married.â€

 

“I don’t see a ring.â€

 

“So, you’re saying that I have to wear a ring?â€

 

“No, I’m asking if you want to go out Friday night.â€

 

“He’ll be back for his card later.â€

 

“Okay.â€

 

She left him.

 

* * *

 

Officer Bridges and Miss Porter went to the asylum on Friday, November 27, 1925, to visit with “John Thompson.†It was very overcast that day. When they arrived, Miss Porter wandered around the building as if she was admiring the place. No one was around and she wandered to the coal chute that she knew was on the back of the building. A quick examination of chute proved that it was not locked and the latch would be easy to open. However, it was very, very narrow and she was unsure if she would be able to squeeze in. She thought she might, just barely. Officer Bridges, who was smaller than her, might have an easier time getting through the coal chute, but she guessed that it would be a tight fit for him too.

 

Cap’n Scott looked very well rested when Orderly Smith escorted him into the visiting room. Then the orderly told them to call when they were finished and left, closing the door behind him.

 

Cap’n Scott told them everything that he had learned at the asylum: the staff, the patients, and all of the rumors or little bits of information he had found out. Officer Bridges noted that he might be able to cause a ruckus if he told Wellington that the girl who was afraid of people called him Napoleon, and had his horse and sword. Miss Porter also suggested playing off three of the patients against each other to cause some kind of distraction.

 

“So, what’s the plan for where, when, and why?†Cap’n Scott asked.

 

Miss Porter told them both about the coal chute in the back that Officer Bridges might be able to wiggle down. She noted that it was latched but not locked and that it would deposit him right next to the laboratory. He pointed out that if they got caught, they were trespassing.

 

Miss Porter asked about how many people were around at night and Cap’n Scott told her he hadn’t noticed many people at all. It seemed like the orderlies that lived off-site, Phillip Smith and Gregory Burgess, worked more during the daylight hours. He only saw Grange Greer and Farley Blaine in the halls after dark, and not often. He knew that those latter two might actually live in the building.

 

When Miss Porter asked about keys, all he knew was that all of the orderlies and the doctors carried a set of keys. Miss Marston, the friendly woman who cleaned as well as cooked for the asylum, also had a set of keys, apparently. When Officer Bridges asked for their names, Cap’n Scott was able to tell him the names of the four orderlies, the receptionist, and the cook and cleaning lady, as well as the groundkeeper. Officer Bridges wondered if they lived in town.

 

Cap’n Scott also related that one night, he had woken up and heard what sounded like music playing and people laughing. It had sounded like it was from a long ways away, probably on the other side of the building, downstairs. He couldn’t make out any of the voices or the words, but it almost sounded like a group of people were having a party.

 

Officer Bridges noted that they would need to find keys if they were going to explore the place. Miss Porter said that if they could get hold of keys, they could cause a ruckus by unlocking the inmates’ cells. Cap’n Scott knew where the linen closets and most of the upstairs rooms were, as well as a few of the downstairs rooms that he had seen when he had gone outside onto the grounds one day.

 

They talked about getting over the wall at night and then Officer Bridges getting in through the coal chute and letting her in. Then they could search the place at their leisure. She mentioned Cap’n Scott getting the prisoners out as a distraction and then rescuing the child from the secure ward. They would need the keys to make any of that happen, however.

 

Unfortunately, there was a single street on the back side of the asylum with several homes on it. That side would be the best to approach the asylum, though they would have to watch out for homes with dogs that might alert their masters. Cap’n Scott suggested a second ladder to get back out but Miss Porter noted that they could pulled the ladder up onto the wall and use it on both sides. She said they would have to time it well. They talked about using the distraction while they snuck around the place, but the plan was not set in stone. Miss Porter also suggested cutting the telephone lines.


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