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Tomorrow I Remembered. PART ONE. The Hole. Chapter 3. “All rise”. A Peter Stevens book

Dilluns 30 Gener 2017

I knew enough about court procedure to stand when the deposition clerk says to. He introduced the magistrate. Slim, midsixtiesperhaps, glasses with bright yellow rims, and fishnetstockings.

“She likes to make a statement,” Joe whispered. “I went throughuniversity with her. She’s sharp mate, but she’s fair. Just keep cool.”  ...

I knew enough about court procedure to stand when the deposition clerk says to. He introduced the magistrate. Slim, midsixtiesperhaps, glasses with bright yellow rims, and fishnetstockings.​“She likes to make a statement,” Joe whispered. “I went throughuniversity with her. She’s sharp mate, but she’s fair. Just keep cool.”

“My client remembers driving to Adelaide, Your Honour, withhis wife, who was attending a work-related conference. She dropped him at the University Gallery to fill in time. During a guided tour of the Jeffery Smart Exhibition he had a blackout which caused a bit of a kafuffle, but…”
“Describe the… kafuffle… and perhaps you could be using some more precise terms Mr Grayson,” the magistrate was terse, and Joe knew better than to tangle with her, so he complied.
“The tour guide found my client in a corner in a foetal position, Your Honour. He quickly came good and then the tour proceeded.”
“Go on, more information please.”

“My client’s wife collected him later that day as arranged. She recalls that he was not quite right, but had seen that before, so was not unduly worried. It was on the drive back here to Melbourne that things went awry. On the approach to the West Gate Bridge, my client became very unsettled.”
“Again, more information please. If I am to make a decision about your client’s immediate future sometime before the close of business today, you will need to be more precise,” she was getting cranky.
“Displaying signs of distress and panic, Your Honour. His wife pulled the car over into the far left hand lane because she was concerned that he was trying to open the door whilst the car was moving. On stopping, he did indeed open the door and left the car, pacing up and down alongside the suicide prevention fence. Within a few minutes, the police had arrived and handcuffed him. His condition deteriorated, Your Honour, and an ambulance was called,”


Joe sat back down next to me, sighing, then chuckling. “It’s going well,” he whispered.
“I see that you have an expert witness, Counsel?”
Joe stood again. “Yes, Your Honour. Dr William Buckland is a specialist psychiatrist who deals with patients with post traumatic stress disorder who have experienced periods of dissociation.”
“Yes, I know him. He’s done some forensic work for us. Very well, let’s hear from him.” The magistrate motioned for Dr Buckland to be called.

William Buckland entered the courtroom and made his way to the front. I recognized him… fair hair, tall, clean-shaven, but the pierced eyebrow and the lip rings were what puzzled me. I had seen this man recently, I must have. I remembered trying to work out why such a highly regarded professional would have piercings. And then he spoke. “Yes, Your Honour, I have met with Mr Chris McVey twice over the past two days and have conducted preliminary assessments and investigations as to the behavior exhibited.”

His tone was confident, yet soothing, soft, yet full of authority. I recognized him then as the man that brought me back from the black hole.
“Mr McVey displayed clear signs of being in a dissociated state at the time of his arrest on the bridge, Your Honour.” He was fascinating to watch as he sat describing me. His steely blue eyes and those of the magistrate were fixed on each other, as though engaging in battle, neither willing to release the gaze.
Dr Buckland went on, describing in detail what we had, I suppose, discussed during those meetings, though I had no recollection. Things were beginning to make sense.
Man! I thought, where is Jess? I stole an opportunity to glance behind me, and there she was, a tear on her cheek, but a wink to acknowledge me. I knew things would be OK.
Next to me, Joe Grayson was becoming agitated, or so it seemed.

For a minute or two he had been fossicking for something in his briefcase at his feet.
The Magistrate’s attention shifted from Dr Buckland towards Joe and me. Her eyes were like pot-lids, and her mouth pursed, ready to speak. Joe stumbled to his feet, then I felt his full weight come crashing down onto my side. Silence first, then gasps, someone ran from the back of the room. The odd thing was, there were jelly beans scattered on the table and floor.

The Magistrate found her voice, trembling; she called out, “Diabetic, he’s diabetic!”  
And that’s all I remember. I woke up on the floor of the cell downstairs. Dr Buckland and Jess were there. No handcuffs this time. Two paramedics stood over me, my knees up under my chin.
My trousers were sodden. I had wet myself.
“He’s back,” Jess whispered.
“Chris,” it was Dr Buckland, “tell me what you remember, what just happened?”
The paramedics were packing up. Glimpses of the courtroom surfaced.
“Joe. Is he OK?” I had the sense that I was whispering though I wanted to scream.
“He’ll live to fight another day. And that’s a good sign mate, that you remember what happened. It was just a hypo. You didn’t see the magistrate launch herself across the room to his side, you’d passed out by that stage. Wouldn’t surprise me if there was something going on between those two!” Dr Buckland was chuckling, but Jess was stony-faced.
“The good news is,” he continued, “you are not going to Thomas Embling for further assessment. You have been released into Jess’s care, with daily visits to me for a week, and then we’ll see what to do. We’ll sort you out pal.”
“My pants are wet,” I whispered but I could tell that Dr Buckland and Jess knew already.
“Jess, why don’t you nick out and buy Chris some new pants. I’ll keep him company.”

With that, Jess leant over and gave me her customary peck on the cheek. She was barely out the door when Dr Buckland began, “You must call me William,” he said as though I had no choice.
That was the point I became mesmerized by his eyes. They were steely blue, yes, but they pierced my soul. His tone was imperceptibly different, commanding. I was safe; he was in control and I didn’t need to worry.
“I have a colleague visiting here from the UK he said. She manages a forensic hospital, a bit like the Thomas Embling. I will arrange for her to do some work with you Chris. We need to get to the bottom of these episodes you have been experiencing.”
I knew he was digging already. I felt the churning beginning, but pushed through it.
“Tell me, what is your story?” I couldn’t escape his eyes. I was in no mood to talk, but his eyes didn’t let me go, and the voice soothed me.
“My father raised me.” Pause. No words from Dr Buckland. I caught my breath. “I never really knew my mother. She was put into a hospital with bad post-natal depression after I was born. That’s what they did back then. And that’s where she stayed until she died.
Dad took me to visit a few times. It was scary.” I stopped talking then, but the images were there, running like a silent movie in myhead. She was empty, blank, staring, no recognition. Dad didn’t take me again. I was six, I think. “And your father?”
“William, I’m not sure. I was in my early teens, and then I have no memory of him.”
Jess came through the door with a Myer bag, and began to pull out some new underwear and pants.
“I’m really embarrassed about this.” I could feel my face flushing, tears formed and blurred my vision.
“I’ll go and get the car, Chris,” said Jess. That was a tactical move on her part, I thought. She was good at that, leaving me in tough circumstances to draw on my own strength rather than me depend on her too much. I stole a glance at William while I arranged the clothes on the table and removed the tags. I hesitated. “Don’t worry about me, I’m a doctor, remember,” William was smiling.

His eyes were on me the whole time I was changing. I figured he was observing me for signs of something, I don’t know what, but I trusted him, and some of the details of our earlier talks were starting to come back to me.

Peter Stevens

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