title: diary of a madman (au)
chapters: 2 (so far)
author: the unreliable narratress
fandom: House MD
episode/spoiler: references to the end of season 5
characters: House, OC’s, (Wilson voice over on the phone)
rating: pg, gen, au
warning: none I can think of
summary: House’s arrival in Mayfield doesn’t go unnoticed by the natives.
a/n: Well, I guess stories like this are a dime a dozen in this fandom nowadays. I started to write this shortly after the season 5 finale and way before any spoiler seen by now.
Will you bear with me and my wacky grammar if I promise to be a good girl and to do it again? (-:)
disclaimer: I have to feed a seven year old wabbit and a half a year old computer so please don't sue me. Seriously: I hope the idea to this story is mine, but I do not intend to touch the rights of the owner of the characters from House MD I’ve used. No moneymaking, no offence meant.
Chapter titles are ‘inspired’ by Nine Stories (Jerome D. Salinger).
chapter 1: Pretty Mouth and Blue Your Eyes (Pretty Mouth and Green my eyes)
I wonder who he is and why he came to stay in Mayfield.
He arrived at the end of the rain, and I watched him hesitantly bridging the distance to the main entrance. By stepping as closely to the window as I could, squashing my nose and forehead flat against the glass, staining it while I squinted down, I was barely able to make him out walking in - flanked by orderlies and one of the doctors.
See, I’m allowed to have a window now that I’m supposed to be all better. It’s a privilege hard earned, believe me. The window is locked nevertheless, of course, and the doors to my room have no handle on the inside. I mean, we’re in a mental hospital. Not everyone enjoys the stay and strangling yourself with a belt wrapped around the door handle or jumping out the window is a messy but sometimes ineffective way to skip dessert. I wish we had signs next to the windows, reading: “Jumps from buildings lower than an eight-storey might not result in immediate death, moron!” Really. I actually once sent an improvement-letter to Administrations but they never reacted. Oh, well. If you’re long enough hospitalized, you learn to forget the locks and to look beyond bars and how not to drown in the haze of the drugs you’re given. Of course there are therapy sessions and groups and counseling and art classes – but that’s nothing without a little chemical enhancement.
But… I’m off topic. I wanted to tell you about the new guy in my wing. The blue eyed stranger. Now, that sounds like a Sinatra-song… or a sappy sentiment from some chick flick.
I couldn’t see his eyes when he arrived, not up from my place by the window, obviously, and with him looking down to the ground all the time. But I left my room soon afterwards and he was still in the lobby, filling out triplicates of duplicated forms and shuffling even more paper around, when I found him. Mankind might go down in madness but paperwork needs to be done - and in proper order.
He didn’t look at me – or anybody, anything to be honest – but the pen in his fingers. Sometimes he would sharply turn his head, staring for a couple of seconds at an empty space a few feet away as if somebody invisible was talking to him.
Might be hearing voices. Hmh… another one of ‘those’. Remember old man Lenny over from B7? He had voices coming out of his ears, so to speak. They drove him up the walls because they wouldn’t shut up and he never ever told anybody what they were talking about. Might have been more interesting to listen to them than to Lenny himself. But Doc Richter told me to leave him alone after he caught me at it. But hey, isn’t everybody entitled to a little fun? Even if you’re locked in the bin?
The new guy didn’t look as if he’s much fun, either. I wonder how old he is… I saw him walking in with a cane, which in itself doesn’t mean he’s an old geezer, but I can see quite a lot of grey mixed in in his hair and even more in his stubble. Jeez, the man never got introduced to a razor? Or maybe they didn’t let him play with sharp things wherever he comes from.
Seemed like he wasn’t that big on personal hygiene otherwise, too - speaking in general terms. His clothes looked worn and wrinkled, but they definitely hadn’t been cheap when he bought (or maybe stole) them. Since I worked for a few months in a clothes shop I’ve got an eye for things like that. And the shoes, man, butt ugly if you ask me, but the kind you can only get online, shipped to you directly from the manufacturer and for a hefty sum, too.
Gimpy was still busy with paperwork and Melissa – admitting nurse today and one of my favorites – manned the counter. She smiled as she saw me strolling over and I casually leaned against the table, doing my best to ignore the stranger.
“Isn’t it time for your art class?” she asked.
“Art class is for kids and druggies and you know… crazy folk. Why don’t you take me for a walk in the park instead?” I answered with my sweetest smile in place.
Melissa only chuckled and shook her head. At least she never got mad at me for trying to flirt, like some of the other nurses. She liked me and I gave her another five gold stars on my internal score card.
Suddenly Gimpy lifted his head from the paperwork from hell, only to glare at me. Never one to be intimidated easily I simply ogled him back. His eyes were blue; I mean it, really blue like he was wearing some sort of colored lenses.
That’s the moment “blue eyed stranger” flittered through my mind and it stayed there ever since.
He seemed almost instantly loose interest in our little staring contest and his eyes dropped away from me and back to Melissa. “Is this the entire welcoming committee?”
“Well, I’m a fruitcake if you expected a gift,” I said loftily. “A word of advice: if they try to sell me as a success story to you, you should consider turning around and walking out of here as long as you still can.”
“Sorry, I’m not into nuts.”
His voice sounded… strained, as if he was operating on autopilot or something. Or perhaps simply doped out of his wits. We get all sorts of druggies around here. “Fine with me.” I extended a hand towards him, not surprised when he didn’t take it. “Welcome to Mayfield – loony bin for the rich, famous and sexy since before the beginning of time.”
He looked at me again – only a fleeting glance – but for a moment I thought he would smile... Just then Doc Richter and two of the orderlies showed up.
Of course I got sent back to my room without further delay, but I guessed Gimpy and I didn’t cross paths for the last time yet.
After all, you come to Mayfield to stay for a long time. It’s such a lovely place.
Chapter 2: For Wilson - with Love and Squalor (For Esmeé - with Love and Squalor)
The next time I happened to run into Gimpy was a few days later. He looked like death warmed over as I watched him sneaking into one of the offices. New arrivals weren’t allowed to use the payphones in the lobby until they were considered properly settled in. Further, new arrivals weren’t allowed into Administrations, except when a nurse, orderly or doctor trailed along. So he was either searching for an unguarded phone or drugs. I could smell withdrawal from a mile away.
Word was Gimpy had been a M.D. before they looked him up in here. Some big cheese in an even bigger hospital, somewhere in The Garden State. Didn’t do him any good if he still ended up here, when you ask me.
He didn’t lock the door – see now ‘that’ is the deadly giveaway of a newbie, because unlocked doors attract lunatics like honey does flies – and so I slipped into the office right behind him.
His back was turned towards the door – another sign of amateurism – even if I had to congratulate him on choosing the right moment for his endeavor.
During lunch time most of the offices are empty and everybody’s out looking for some chow. Usually I don’t stick around for the feeding of the animals, pleading I’m scared of all the bustling people, so they let me eat in my room. Becky – a long-term inmate… pardon… resident – brings me lunch, everyday complaining of the extra trouble she has to go for me. It’s not good to dwell on the thought if or if not she spits into my meal to pay me back for it. Maybe I should show a little more caution - Becky’s got the scalps of two dead kids on her belt, so to speak. She drowned her newborn twins in the tub when she was seventeen, claiming they were sired by a spaceman named Herman, who raped her. She spent a few years in prison before someone in her family pulled some strings. They made sure she would never again get pregnant and years ago she was released into the tender love and best care-money-can-buy of Mayfield, so everybody could forget she still existed. I’m not sure if she knows who she is anymore.
Long, looong before my arrival in this special branch of hell.
Between budget shortenings and the flu going around, is was more then intelligence getting him that far - it was pure luck.
Gimpy was busy staring down the phone when I entered and paid no attention to me sneaking in. It took him a moment to figure out why the phone didn’t work. To call someone outside you need to punch in a key code – Go glorious times of computerized security!
But there’s only so much to security; it took him less than two minutes to find the list with key codes in the upper drawer of the desk and to enable the call. Well, there is also the human factor
His memory seemed to work just fine; he dialed a pretty long number without having to look it up while he heaved himself up to leave butt-prints on the clustered surface of the desk.
I leant back against the door, waiting for him to turn around and finally notice me, but he didn’t. Amateur, no doubt.
Someone seemed to pick up at the other end of the line, because he suddenly perked up. “Wilson?”
A long silence followed, with whoever ‘Wilson’ was, obviously giving him his/her piece of mind about following rules.
Gimpy started to look angrier with every second ticking by. He lifted his free hand to rub over his face as if wiping away some invisible stain. “No! I want this to work. I just thought…” Whoever he was talking to, obviously cut him off.
I got to watch Gimpy chewing on his lower lip, seemingly stopping himself from speaking. He switched holding the receiver to the left hand to dig the fingers of his right hand into his thigh. Seemed like some kind of reflex, the way he almost curled over the leg… “What ‘I’ think, calling ‘YOU’, Wilson?”
I jumped as he suddenly yelled – and I think this Wilson-persona must have too.
“I’m thinking a lot of things… about things I shouldn’t probably think off… instead of doing stuff. But wait! I’m in a loony bin. I don’t have stuff to do. There is only so much time I can spend on sleeping, eating, puking my guts out, crapping, ditching therapy and building that super-secret fort in the backyard anyway. So what do you think I’m doing here, calling you?” He slammed down the receiver.
Huh, somebody’s not familiar with the “you-break-it-you-buy-it”- rule that applies around here. When he started to uncurl and ripped out the drawer to stash the list, I opened the door to slip out unnoticed.
I waited for him to show up. “So, you’ve got lots of things on your mind?” I said when he rounded the corner. “Trouble with that fort of yours?”
His eyes bore into me, but he couldn’t intimidate me – I mean, look where we are, buddy. “A habit of yours? Listening to other people’s private conversations?”
“I could hear your "private conversation" through the door and all the way down to the next floor. That's not quite eavesdropping,” I lied.
When he turned away from me to painfully hobble down the corridor, I wondered what happened to his cane – and who this Wilson-persona might be.