I am sitting in the kitchen in the daylight. The place is trashed. John is not here and if I am truthful I'm not sure he ever was. What I do know is that a strange and troubling wind is blowing through my life.
Last night I was wasted and pilled out. My memory of events is a vague drunken blur at best. I am an unreliable witness in my own life. I do remember some things, though whether they actually happened or not is quite another matter. The confusion is this: I think John was here, but there is a conflicting report stating, that in fact, he was somewhere else entirely...
“Good afternoon, Maudsley hospital. How may I help you?”
“err, yes. My name is Tristram Spencer. I was at...”
“Mr Spencer! We've been trying to contact you, but your phone has been permanently engaged. Now don't panic, it's good news: John is back. He's still a little withdrawn and passed quite a traumatic night, but other than that he's fine. The doctor is with him as we speak. But he IS here, and he IS receiving the best possible care.”
“A traumatic night? You mean he was missing all night?”
“No, not at all! We'd have alerted the police in that instance. He actually wandered back in here less than an hour after you and Miss Cooper left yesterday. He had suffered some kind of neurotic episode. We think it was his desperate way to show that it was further treatment he needed and not home release. I say he passed a traumatic night purely in terms of sleep/dreams/thoughts/anxieties, etc. During the routine morning check we found him naked and shivering in the corner of his room. The day had just been a little too much for him. But he's doing much better now.”
“But no, it can't be. He returned yesterday? Less than an hour after escaping? are you sure? And his hair, what colour is his hair? Has it been bleached blond? And what about a wheelchair? Did he return in an electric wheelchair?”
“Errhhmm, yes, Mr Spencer, we're quite sure!” said the nurse bemusedly, as if the only thing she was unsure about was my own mental condition. “ It was me who received him and booked him back in. Regarding his hair, well that's as black as its always been, and as for a wheelchair, certainly not! Why on earth would he be in a wheelchair? there's absolutely nothing physically wrong with him... I think he proved that yesterday!”
From the nurses voice, and the decisive manner she finished her sentence, I knew the conversation was over. There was no point in going on. Any further questions or doubts would have only left me looking even crazier than I already did. Instead I put the phone down and just sat there thinking, trying to penetrate the fog, to grasp a hold of a concrete memory, something I could be sure happened. At first there was nothing, and then in two heavy blinks it came:
**Blink** Water splodge on the wall **Blink** Jaws flapping about helpless on the floor.
I flushed sick with horror and covered my mouth. A grieving, longing sadness welled up and out my eyes. Please God, no!!! Anything but that! Not him, not my only friend Jaws. Please don't let my little fish be dead...