by Kris Jackson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 3

"How are you doing, Gerry?"
"Fine, I guess."
He didn’t sound fine. He tossed aside the TIME magazine he had been looking at and turned to Maggie. He didn’t bother to return her smile.
"Do you remember my name?"
"Ah, it was Maggie something."
"Tarkasian. The last one’s kind of hard to remember." She felt it was a good sign that he remembered her first name.
"Oh." He leaned back against his pillows and sighed. She tried to interpret the sound: postop pain, boredom, annoyance at her sudden intrusion? She couldn’t tell.
"Catching up on a little reading?"
"Yeah, sure. Not that any of it made any sense."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I didn’t recognize any of the names. They keep talking about stuff but I don’t have anything to connect it to. It’s just words."
She sat down, her clipboard before her, her most nonthreatening smile in place. "I’d like to talk with you for a few minutes."
"About what’s going on?"
"Yes. Or anything you’d like to talk about, actually."
"I’d like to talk about me. What’s happening with me."
"Good. That’s what I’d like to talk about, too."
"Do you people have any idea what’s wrong with me?"
"Well, memory is a pretty tricky thing. I guess the first thing we should do is see just what you remember."
"I’ve been thinking about that. I guess I remember everything up until about June of 1969. Then it gets hazy."
"Hazy in what way?"
"Like … like I can remember what happened last week, but not yesterday. It all feels like last week."
"Okay. Do you remember where you work?"
"Yeah, but I can’t really tell you."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I’m not supposed to."
"Why not?"
"Well, it’s secret."
"Where you work is secret?" She allowed her voice to betray a little disbelief.
"Yeah." He said it with finality.
"Let’s try something else. Do you follow baseball?"
"Yeah. The Sox, anyways."
"That’s the – Boston – Red Sox?"
"Do you know who played in the World Series?"
"This year? 1969? No. That would have been later on. In the fall. I don’t remember that."
"Who’s the President?"
"Do you know who the vice president is?"
"Yeah, that’s Agnew." He glanced at her clipboard. "How come you’re not taking any notes?"
"Because you’ve gotten every one right so far."
He smiled just a little. "So my memory of back then is okay?"
She smiled back. "So far. Do you watch TV?"
"What shows?"
"Oh – The Wild Wild West. It’s kinda a dumb western, but I like it."
"What night is that on?"
She wrote that down. "What’s another show?"
"Star Trek."
"What night is that on?"
"Ah, they moved it to Friday this year, and I haven’t watched it that much. How come you’re writing this down, now?"
"Well, so I can look it up."
"What, and see when the show was really on?"
"Yes." She smiled; he didn’t return it. She moved on. "Do you watch Happy Days?"
"No. I never heard of it."
She nodded and wrote on the clipboard.
Gerry frowned in thought. "When was that show on?"
"Oh, it didn’t start running until the 1970’s."
"Then why did you ask me if I watched it?"
"No reason, really. Just checking."
"Just checking what? Seeing if I was lying?"
She didn’t answer. She was alarmed at the sudden hostility in his voice.
"Do you think I’m lying to you?"
"No, Gerry, I’m just checking your memory."
"If you don’t believe me you should just say so."
"I believe you, Gerry. Now, here’s another. Who is the governor of Massachusetts?"
"Sargent. Frank Sargent."
"And who’s the lieutenant governor?"
"I have no idea."
"Okay. Did you ever study martial arts?"
"Did you ever study martial arts?"
"I – never even heard of him."
"Did you go to Woodstock?"
"What, in Connecticut?"
She laid the clipboard in her lap. "I’m talking about a lot of things you’ve never heard of, aren’t I, Gerry?"
"Yeah. Sometimes you don’t make any sense at all."
"All right. Let me try this one. Are you straight?"
"What – what do you mean?"
"Well, I think you know what I mean."
"Well, you might mean that a couple of different ways. Like am I straight right now, and I have to say I guess so. I know I’m still on some pain killers and stuff, but I don’t really feel it much."
"All right. How else might I mean it?"
"Well, you might mean it sorta straight in general, right?"
"Well, don’t write this down, but not really."
"Okay. What do you mean?"
"I mean I do smoke dope and stuff. At least, I used to. I don’t know if I still do these days."
"All right."
"Now, can I ask you some questions?"
"When can I get out of here?"
"When you’re better."
"Well, I know hospitals are expensive. It’s probably more than fifty dollars a day for me to stay here, right?"
"Yes," she said, suppressing a smile. "But don’t worry about that. The hospital will absorb the cost if you can’t pay it. The important thing is for you to get better."
"Would I die if I left right now?"
"Well, you’re still recovering from major surgery. We’d like to see how that goes, first."
"I’d like to get out of here as soon as possible."
"I can understand that. No one likes to be hospitalized."
"It’s not just that." His voice was suddenly cracking with emotion.
"What is it, Gerry?"
He couldn’t meet her gaze. He tried to speak, then shook his head.
"You feel you’ve lost a major part of your life?"
He nodded.
"And you have to go out and find it?"
He nodded again.
"And there was something bad, too."
No response.
"Do you remember that, Gerry?"
Silence, then he cleared his throat. "No."
"All right. Yesterday you said – "
"I remember what I said."
She waited.
"I’m not sure about that now. Maybe – maybe it was because my head was all screwed up that I said that."
"Gerry, we want to help you."
He turned to her. "What do you mean?"
"We may have a way to get you your memory back."
"Yeah? How?"
"It would require another operation. A much simpler and safer one than the one you just had."

When Butterfield arrived in the OR his assistant had already removed the staples holding Gerry’s scalp together and peeled back the flap of skin and underlying tissue, exposing the skull. Butterfield opened the skull itself. He had closed it two days before with titanium clips and screws going into the bone. He used the same electric screwdriver he had used before to remove the screws. It took about a minute and a half. He handed the piece of bone, clips still attached, to his assistant with a flourish. She laughed. "Bet you wish it was always this easy, don’t you?"
"It’s like working on Data," he said. "Look, the opening is about the same size and in the same place as when they work on his head." He opened the meninges, the leathery covering of the brain, as he spoke. "Nurse, please move that screen to where I can see it."
He had before him a small computer screen and keyboard, specially made so they could be sterilized for the OR. He called up the PET scans and MRIs he had made the day before. The shunt consisted of two small wires attached to tiny electrodes going directly into the cerebral cortex. Placing one wire was easy; the position of the other had occupied several hours of inconclusive agonizing and had even intruded on his dreams. He had decided, finally, to defer the decision until he actually had the exposed brain before him.
And here it was. "The moment of truth," he muttered. It occurred to him that now, as he prepared to plunge the electrode into the patient’s brain, the phrase from bullfighting was especially apt.
He looked at the screen one last time. The MRI showed the structures of the brain in minute detail; the PET scan showed the function of these areas. He sighed. His choice involved what his favorite teacher in med school had called the dividing line between the art and the science of medicine. He made his decision and implanted the tiny electrode.

"So what do you dudes want to do again?"
"Well, Gerry," Lamont said, "we’d like to apply the current to your brain now. We think it might restore your memory."
Butterfield and Maggie had talked him into this procedure with some difficulty the day before; now he was wary of actually having the current applied. "What if it doesn’t work?"
"Then we shut it off and we’re right back where we started."
"What’s supposed to happen here?"
"Well, there’s a part of your brain which should be getting signals from another part. The bullet wound interrupted the passage of those signals. We put in two electrodes. One of them detects the signal and the other transmits a signal to the other part of the brain. The whole thing is controlled by this computer here, and this other thing, which is essentially a voltage regulator."
Gerry looked skeptically at the apparatus on the cart beside the bed. "Where’s the actual computer?"
Lamont tapped the box under the monitor.
"That’s a computer?"
All three smiled. "Yes, Gerry," Lamont said, "and a pretty good one, too."
"How much voltage are you giving me?"
"Ah, four picovolts to start with."
"That’s not very much. Will that do anything?"
They looked from one to the other. "Yes," Lamont said, "we think so. But you’re right, it’s not much. If we don’t get any response from it, we’ll up the voltage."
Gerry sighed. "I’m really scared to do this, now."
Maggie spoke up. "Gerry, we talked about this. It’s very important to restore your memory, and this looks like the only way to do it. If we don’t, what will you do? Everything you know is almost thirty years out of date. You might not even be able to get a job out there."
He closed his eyes. "I know, I know," he said. "Okay, give it a try."
Lamont turned on the computer and entered a password. All three looked at Gerry with great curiosity.
At first he had no reaction. Then a look of surprise came over him. He lay back on the bed, mouth open. He raised his hand as if in awe, then slowly lowered it. Shudders racked his body. Then, gradually, he relaxed.
He was staring at the wall, eyes half closed, head lolling to one side. Little by little he became aware of his surroundings. He looked from one person to the other, calmly at first, then in increasing alarm. Then he tried to sit up. The various tubes and monitoring apparatus attached to him prevented this.
"It’s all right, Gerry," Lamont said, moving in to calm him. "You’re all right."
"What is this!" he exclaimed. "Who the hell are you people?"
"We’re doctors," Lamont said. "You don’t remember us?"
"I’ve never seen you before in my life!"
"Well, I’m Dr. Frank Lamont, and this is Dr. Chic Butterfield. We’re neurosurgeons. This is Dr. Maggie Tarkasian, she’s a Ph.D., not an M.D., in psychology."
"Am I in the hospital?"
"Yes, you are. You’ve had a brain injury, but it looks like you’re going to be all right. Do you remember what today’s date is?"
"Today’s date? I don’t know."
"All right. Who’s the President?"
"Uh, it’s Clinton. Bill Clinton."
"All right. That’s correct. You’ve been here for four days now and your family hasn’t been contacted yet. Would you like to call them?"
"Uh, no, actually, I have to call work. Can I have a telephone?"
They gave him the bedside phone and he dialed. Like the day before, he got a wrong number. When he was informed that he was in San Francisco he dialed again, adding the area code. This time he got through.
"Hello, Gina? This is Hampton Bell. I’m in the hospital in San Francisco."

"Mister Bell," Lamont said when he had hung up, "have you ever gone by the name Gerry Sullivan?"
"No, I haven’t. Why?"
"Well, until a few minutes ago, that’s who you’ve said you were. Did you ever know a Gerry Sullivan?"
He hesitated. "Well, yes, back in grade school. But I haven’t seen him in a good many years. You mean I was conscious before this, and was claiming to be someone else?"
"Yes," Maggie said, "and you thought it was 1969."
He looked at her sharply. "Well, I seem to be all right now."
"Yes, Mister Bell," Lamont said, "but I think that’s only because we have this current running into your brain. Once that’s shut off, you’ll probably go back to thinking you’re Gerry Sullivan again."
"Well, the solution is simple. Don’t shut it off again."
"I’m afraid we have to. We have to look over the results of what we’ve just done. Maybe we can leave it on longer next time. In the meantime, we need to establish who you are. You didn’t have any identification on you when you were brought in here."
"I just called my workplace. Doesn’t that count for anything?"
"Yes it does," Lamont answered, "but it would be nice if someone who knows you well could come here and maybe bring us some picture ID."
"Let me call someone."
"No, let us call them. Give us a name and phone number." Maggie Tarkasian wrote them down. Lamont’s hand moved to the keyboard.
"Wait!" the patient shouted. "Don’t do that!"
"Sorry," Lamont muttered, and hit the escape key.
The process repeated itself. The patient lay back on the bed, eyes glazed, body slightly trembling. After a minute or so he gradually became aware of his surroundings again. He looked from one to the other and smiled.
"Sorry, man," he said. "I can’t remember anything different than before."

Gerry was quite terrified to learn that he had just been claiming to be someone else. "I’m me," he said, "I’ve never gone under any other name. This shit is crazy!"
"Gerry," Lamont asked, "have you ever known anyone by the name of Hampton Bell?"
"No, I never heard of him."
He was tapping his foot. It was moving up and down as if keeping rhythm with music. Maggie noticed this and assumed at first that he must need to urinate. Then she remembered that he was attached to a urinary catheter.
"Are you all right?" Lamont asked him.
"Yeah, I guess so," Gerry said. By this point his entire body was shaking. He said, his voice quavering, "Is someone here eating chocolate?"
He slumped back onto the bed, his teeth chattering and his eyes rolling.
"Grand mal!" Lamont barked, and the team moved into action. Since the patient was already lying down there was little to do. They rolled him onto his side in case he vomited, then just kept him from rolling out of bed. After a few moments a nurse came in to take charge. The treatment team stepped away from the bed.
"Chic," Lamont asked, "does he have any history of seizure that you know of?"
Butterfield shook his head. "If he had been on Dilantin I would have seen it in his blood work."
"Maybe he was doing without treatment and just putting up with the seizures," Maggie suggested.
"No," Butterfield replied. "His head would be a lot more banged up, for one thing. I think these seizures are new, a byproduct of his bullet wound."
Lamont said, "As with any first-time seizure, I think we should just monitor him rather than start drug treatment. Also, this could have been caused by the stimulation of his brain. If we keep stimulation in place it may cause more seizures."
"Or prevent them," Butterfield said.
Lamont looked at him. "Could this be a key to the amnesia situation?"
"I don’t even know what the amnesia situation is any more."
"Listen," Lamont said wearily, "he’s asleep now. I just need to walk away from this guy for a while. Let’s meet at four o’clock and swap ideas. Nurse, call me if there are any changes in his condition, aside from normal recovery from the seizure."

"So, Maggie, did you call that guy?"
"Yes, Frank, I did. He was quite excited to hear that Hampton Bell was here. He says he works with him, he’s his best friend, and get this, he’s an attorney."
"Ah. One more delight."
"He’s hopping a plane up here in the morning. He’s gathering documents today."
"How did he sound?"
"Nice enough, I guess."
"Any new thoughts on this case?"
"It’s certainly gotten more interesting, hasn’t it?"
"Well, that’s one way to put it. I’d rather it be a lot less interesting."
"Maggie," Butterfield put in, "what do you know about multiple-personality disorder?"
"The standard stuff, I guess."
"It’s pretty rare, isn’t it?"
"Well, not as rare as you might think. It has a kind of kook reputation because of how it’s been treated in the popular press and in fiction, but it’s quite real."
"Give us the two-dollar tour."
"All right. First off, about eighty-five percent of its victims are female, because it’s usually a product of sexual abuse. There is usually a primary personality, one of low self-esteem and kind of quiet in nature. The other personalities tend to be more flamboyant."
"It doesn’t sound like you’re describing what we have here at all."
"No, it doesn’t."
"How is treatment usually effected?" Lamont asked.
"Well, usually by breaking down the barriers between the personalities through long periods of psychotherapy. The goal is to reintegrate the different personalities."
"We may not be able to reintegrate them," Lamont said dryly, "but we can switch back and forth between them with the flip of a switch."
"Well," Butterfield said, "if this treatment could be applied to other multiple-personality patients, it could represent an advance in treatment."
Lamont looked at him. "Thinking of writing a paper, Chic?"
"I might put something in the trades about this, yes."
"Keep it under your hat until we see exactly what we have here, all right?"
"Any thoughts from either of you on which direction treatment takes now?"
"Just one," Maggie replied. "This isn’t really a case of multiple-personality disorder. Not in the classic sense, anyway."
"Agreed," Lamont said. "Especially when we have the manifestation of the two personalities controlled by a keyboard. I think melding these two personalities will be very difficult, if not impossible. Which raises the question of which one gets to stay in the driver’s seat."
"I thought we had agreed that Gerry Sullivan was the ‘real person’," Maggie said.
"I thought that, too. But he doesn’t have a lawyer for a best friend. He doesn’t have any friends or relatives at all, from what I can see."
"So you think this entire personality should be suppressed?" she asked.
"Do you have another suggestion?"
"Yes. Let’s look him over for a while. Maybe fine-tune the shunt."
Butterfield shook his head. "There’s only so many times I can go into someone’s brain. Maybe we could fine-tune the settings, but I think I’ve placed the electrodes as well as could be hoped for."
"Fine," she replied. "Maybe there’s a way for both of them to be manifested at the same time. I really think that Gerry Sullivan is the real person, and the other personality, Hampton Bell, came along later."
"And Gerry became Hampton," Lamont said. "Do you have any theory on a mechanism?"
"Well, it could be that Hampton Bell was someone he knew, and he assumed his name at the time he fled the draft. The bullet wound scrambled his mind so much that he forgot this. And when he’s under stimulation, he forgets that he was ever anyone else."
"Here’s another theory," Lamont said. "Hampton killed Gerry, and now Gerry’s soul is possessing Hampton’s body."
He said this so deadpan that the other two took a few seconds to laugh. "It’s a parlor game," Maggie said. "We could think up mechanisms for this case all day."
"How did your interview go?" Lamont asked.
"Well, it was interesting." She recounted the conversation she had had with Gerry the day before. "Your suggestion to ask him about martial arts was a good one," she told Butterfield. "Gerry thought it was a person, like Marshall Dillon, I guess. I had no idea that phrase wasn’t in common usage in 1969."
"All right."
"And I really felt funny asking him if he was straight, and he had no idea that it was a reference to heterosexuality in present terminology."
Lamont smiled. "It had that meaning in those days, too. Particularly in this city. But for most young people in 1969, it would have meant that he wasn’t a ‘freak.’"
"So those details, at least, would be consistent with the diagnosis of retrograde amnesia."
"Yes. On the other hand, it sounds like he really didn’t want to get into details about his work, or anything, for that matter," Lamont said. "That would argue that he’s faking."
"Yes," Maggie said. "But if he was working in a defense plant he could well have been told to be secretive about his work."
"Well, that’s true, too."
"And if Hampton Bell is indeed the ‘real’ personality," she continued, "how would he know all these details about Gerry Sullivan?"
Lamont shrugged. "These are all questions that need to be addressed."
Maggie nodded. "I’ll write up a summary of the interview and e-mail it to both of you." She looked at the two men and asked, "Are we done here?"
"Almost," Butterfield said. "What if we give him the current again and get another personality?"
They mulled this over. "Well," Lamont said at last, "your paper will be even longer, won’t it?"

Gerry Sullivan was watching Gilligan’s Island, an episode he had recently seen, at least from his point of view. He turned from the screen to see some bald dude with glasses in a suit. He was sticking his hand out. "I understand you’ve had some problems with your memory. I’m Douglas Gillespie, your attorney and your best friend."
Gerry shook his hand with no enthusiasm. "Uh, hi, man. My name’s Gerry Sullivan." A lawyer? Hassle!
The Three Musketeers were right behind him, watching eagerly. This Gillespie dude was looking at him like he was some kind of lab specimen. "You really don’t remember me, do you?" he asked. "That’s remarkable."
Maggie stepped forward. "Gerry," she said, "we’d like to apply the current to your brain again."
"Why? So he can see it?"
"Well, so we can see it, too. We’re still trying to learn more about your condition."
He jerked a thumb at Gillespie. "Also, so this dude can talk to the other guy, right?"
"Well, yes, Gerry. This is just part of --"
"Five minutes," he replied sullenly. He glanced at the clock on the wall.
Lamont started the computer and entered the password. There was the same progression as had occurred the day before. Within a minute it was clear that a different person was looking at them. "My God," Gillespie murmured.
"Doug!" Bell said weakly.
"You remember me, Hampton?"
"Yes, of course." He looked at the treatment team. "How long?"
"Since we talked to you?" Lamont asked. "Twenty hours."
"It feels like only a minute." He turned back to Gillespie. "Doug, did you bring any ID with you?"
Gillespie held up a manila envelope. "It’s all here, Hamp. As soon as I’m through here, I’ll show it to them. We should have you out of here in no time."
Bell grabbed Gillespie’s wrist. He seemed to be having trouble composing his next sentence. "Listen, Doug," he said at last, "I’m really scared. It’s like someone else is trying to take over my mind. Can you help me?"
"That’s what I’m here for, buddy," he said reassuringly. "You just take care of getting better."
Bell nodded and relaxed. Lamont moved to the keyboard. Gillespie said, "Do you really have to do that?"
Lamont shot him an angry look. "Yes, I do." he said evenly, and cut the connection. "And I’ll thank you not to try to interfere when we’re conducting a procedure on a patient."
Once more the transformation occurred. When it was finished Gerry Sullivan shot a look at the wall clock, then back at the assembled group. "Get him out of here!" he snapped, looking at Gillespie.
"Mister Gillespie," Maggie said calmly, "could we have a meeting with you?"
"Of course," he replied. He picked up the manila envelope and left without glancing at the patient again. Gerry watched him go with an expression of pure hatred.
When they had left he reached for the telephone. There had to be someone he could reach. He had already tried to find his girlfriend Barbara. He had gotten another wrong number, which when he thought about it only made sense. She wouldn’t still be living in that shitty little apartment with those two other chicks. She would probably be in another city, maybe even another state. She might even be married, a weird thought, and that meant her last name would be different. He could call her parents in Lebanon, New Hampshire, but that would be a long shot. They had never liked their daughter’s hippie boyfriend, and besides, they had been kind of old. They were probably dead or at least senile by now.
Willie Hill, then.
He already knew that Hill wasn’t at his old address. Finding him would take a bit of time. He dialed nine, then Operator.
"Operator, I’d like long-distance information."
"Do you mean Directory Assistance?"
"Um, uh, yeah, I guess so."
"You can dial that directly, sir."
"I can?"
"Yes, sir." Her voice had taken on a real what-rock-did-you-crawl-out-from-under tone. "Dial one, then the area code, then 555-1212."
"Wow. Far out." He tried it.
He got a recorded voice which asked for the city, then the party’s name. Then a real live person came on to say that there was no one in that town by that name, but there was someone by that name in another town, one he knew to be about twenty miles away. He was impressed -- had she really looked through like fifteen phone books in a few seconds? No, she must have looked it up on some computer. He wrote the number down.
It was twenty past three. That meant twenty past six back on the East Coast, just the right time to call. What would Hill say? Had they not spoken in decades, or had they been in touch, and he just couldn’t remember? He picked the number out on the phone.
"Who -- who is this?"
"Hill, it’s Gerry!"
A pause. "Gerry?"
"Gerry Sullivan. I’m in Mercy Hospital in San Francisco."
Hill made a little choking noise. There was a pause, then Hill hung up the phone and Gerry was left with a dial tone.
He looked at the phone in disbelief. His best friend! He bashed the phone against the rail of the bed, but it didn’t even have the grace to break.

They met in the small conference room the treatment team had been using. "Mister Gillespie," Lamont began, "I must stress first off that you must never interfere when any of us is treating a patient. You must know it’s against the law, if nothing else."
"I apologize for that," Gillespie said. "But you must understand, I have quite a personal stake in what is going on here."
"I don’t think you understand what is going on here."
"Well, since you put it that way, I have to say that it appears to me that you’re not giving your patient the proper medical treatment."
Lamont tossed his glasses onto the table before him, a gesture his colleagues recognized as his supreme expression of anger. "Obviously, Mister Gillespie, you know how to treat a case like this better than we do. Perhaps you’d like to tell us how to proceed?"
"Please, Doctor Lamont, I didn’t come here to insult you."
"You’re succeeding at doing exactly that."
"Perhaps we should start over." He opened the manila envelope under his arm. "I have some documents you might be interested in. Here is a copy of Hampton Bell’s employment record. Here is the file copy of his security badge from work. This is the copy of his high school diploma from his employment application. His Social Security number is on several of these documents. Here, incidentally, is his health plan card. They made a copy of it for me. I was not able to get a copy of his birth certificate on such short notice, but I’m sure it’s obtainable, and it will show that he was born right here in California."
Lamont scanned the employment record. "Looks good to me. How long have you personally known him?"
"Over twenty years."
"You’ll be happy to know, then, that he stands an excellent chance of a full recovery."
"That’s good. How soon can he be discharged?"
"There’s a lot more to it than that, Mister Gillespie," Maggie said. "We have to do a lot more tests on him."
"What for? It seems to me that that electronic gizmo in there is just the ticket. What more do you need to know?"
"Why he’s exhibiting two personalities. Why he thinks he’s someone named Gerry Sullivan when the stimulation isn’t applied."
"Why do you need to know that? Is one of you writing a book?"
They hesitated.
"Look, I know this is an interesting case, but I think I’ve established the patient’s identity as well as could be reasonably hoped. This Gerry Sullivan ‘personality’, as you call it, is an illusion, a byproduct of the bullet wound. You’re wasting everyone’s time thinking otherwise."
"Mister Gillespie," Maggie said, "will you grant that we’re in a better position than you to know what’s best for the patient?"
"With all due respect, Doctor Tarkasian ... no. Look, doctors and lawyers, we’re natural enemies, right? But I have to tell you I have a great deal of respect for the medical profession. My mother was saved from a horrible cancer death by some brilliant doctors a few years ago. I’ve seen doctors perform miracles, miracles to a layman anyway. In the fields of oncology or reconstructive surgery you do wonders every day. But in the area of the mind, and with apologies to you in particular, Doctor Tarkasian, I have to say you’ve advanced little beyond the medicine man shaking a bone at the patient and muttering a chant."
Maggie Tarkasian was deeply offended at this but concealed her feelings. Lamont and Butterfield, dedicated scientists both, also registered no emotion, but both recognized the kernel of truth in his words. More than that, it was a clever remark. They memorized his words to repeat at staff meetings.
"But perhaps I’m being unfair," Gillespie continued. "Can you tell me what you hope to accomplish by studying the ‘Gerry personality’?"
Lamont picked his glasses up and put them on. "Well, to be sure, there is a lot we could hope to learn in terms of pure research from this case. I’ll admit that, although our knowledge of the brain has grown dramatically in the last few years, we still don’t understand it particularly well. But there are other, more immediate reasons for studying the other personality here. What if it re-emerges? What if it partially emerges, enough to cause your friend problems, but not enough to be detected by those around him until it was too late? Can he afford to live with that kind of cloud over him?"
"You’re saying that the device might need to be fine-tuned, then."
"Yes. We need to establish the parameters of Hampton Bell remaining in charge."
Maggie Tarkasian shot Lamont a glance but said nothing.
"Fine," Gillespie said. "Then, after you’ve determined all this, then what? He won’t have to push a computer around in front of him on a cart, will he?"
The treatment team resisted smiling at this image. "No," Lamont answered. "We’ve discussed this already. We believe we can implant a pacemaker about the size of a computer floppy disk inside him which will do the same thing."
"In his head?"
"There’s not enough room in his head. The wires we’ve already put in his brain would remain in place, we hope, although there is the slight possibility we’ll determine a better place for them. There will be a wire running beneath his skin to the pacemaker itself, which will be implanted under the skin of his chest. He’ll just have to come in every ten years to get the batteries replaced."
"That sounds good. Now, why not keep the computer by his bed going until then?"
Lamont shook his head. "We don’t feel comfortable with that just yet. Right after his first stimulation he suffered a grand mal epileptic seizure."
"He did? Wow. As far as I know, he’s never had one before. Shouldn’t you be watching to see if he has another one now?"
"We’ve asked the ward nurses to keep an eye on him for that very reason. But this is an example of why we feel we need to run more tests. We want to do an electro-encephalogram to look at brain activity while he’s under stimulation, for one thing. That might give us a handle on the seizures."
"Why not give him an antiseizure drug? Dilantin, isn’t that one?"
"That’s not done after a single seizure, only when a pattern of them has been established. We wouldn’t be giving our patient the proper medical treatment."
Gillespie acknowledged the jibe with a nod of his head and a smile. "But if the seizure problem was cleared up, you’d be willing to keep him constantly stimulated?"
Lamont wasn’t about to be pushed. "We have to determine the proper parameters. We --"
Gillespie raised his hand. "I’m sorry, that’s not good enough. Every moment that that hallucination is in charge is dangerous to my friend and, I must add, my client. If he committed a crime, my friend would do the time for it. Or he could injure himself. You’ve seen how hostile he is."
"This is a purely medical decision," Lamont said. He was clearly bristling.
Gillespie took it coolly. "Perhaps, but perhaps not. It might also be a legal one. I should hope it doesn’t come to that. Can I have your assurance that as soon as possible, you’ll turn the current on and leave it on?"
Lamont hesitated. Gillespie’s calm response to his flash of anger had thrown him off. Now Maggie and Butterfield were beaming telepathic signals at him. He threw up his hands. "Give us an hour," he said.
"Fine," Gillespie said. "One other thing, one which I’m sure you will find easier to accommodate. Hampton’s health insurance entitles him to a private room. Who can I see about that?"

Willie Hill was looking at a business card. He hadn’t looked at it in over a decade, yet when he had opened the desk drawer it was right where he had thought it would be. It said "Horton’s Dry Cleaners" in elegant swirling letters, and there was an illustration of a tuxedo engaged in a ghostly waltz with an evening gown. The image was supposed to be whimsical but he had always found it terrifying.
How strange that he had just taken the card out of the drawer like that and dialed the number. How strange that someone had answered on the second ring. Who was it, he wondered? Smith himself? That would make sense. Whoever it was knew who he was before he spoke. When he had stumbled through the essence of the phone call from Gerry Sullivan the voice at the other end had asked him a few brief, pointed questions, then hung up.
Hill stuck the business card back in the drawer and slammed it shut. The whole ordeal had lasted less than five minutes.
From the living room came the sounds of two teenagers arguing over a remote control. In the kitchen Kara was making supper. It was a nice house, and in eight years it would be paid for. Except they would probably have to take out a second mortgage to send the kids to college. Just the same, not bad for a poor black kid who had started out with nothing but a burning urge to make it.
He ran his hand across the wood of the antique desk. It was over but not over; it wouldn’t end here. Gerry knew where he was. So did Smith. So did everybody.
The past was rolling up behind him like a tidal wave. Soon it would break over him. "Bourbon," he muttered. Feeling old and tired, he headed for the liquor cabinet.

Lamont prefaced his remarks by sitting heavily down and rubbing his face with his hands. He straightened his glasses and said, "So. What’s the consensus?"
Maggie said, "You want to go with implantation of a pacemaker as soon as possible, and the hell with Gerry Sullivan."
"I’d prefer to have some sort of consensus here, first. Obviously you disagree. Let’s hear why."
"I thought we’d established that Gerry Sullivan was the ‘real’ person here."
"Well, reality is subjective, isn’t it? At least when we’re working with the mind."
"That’s hardly an answer, Frank."
"All right. Let me say that I’m no longer sure what’s real here. Gerry Sullivan certainly seems like a real person, but he’s come up with no documentation, no friends, and certainly no lawyers."
"Does the lawyer bother you that much?"
"Back off." There was the slightest edge to his voice. "To answer that, I’m not scared of him, but I live in the real world. As I was saying, Gerry Sullivan hasn’t established anything I’d call credible, and there are too many holes in his story. He can’t even tell us what he did for a living."
"He said it was classified," Maggie pointed out.
"Sure. ‘It’s a secret. I can’t tell you.’ But there was one thing I noticed. He asked us how much current we were applying. And he seemed to know how much four picovolts was."
Lamont held up a photocopy of Bell’s security badge. "Electrical engineering. Gerry was telling us something Hampton knows. Gerry is full of shit."
"I’ve interviewed him at some length now, and find him very convincing, very sincere."
"In multiple-personality disorder, aren’t the personalities often quite convincing?"
"I thought we had agreed that this is not --"
"Certainly. But my point is, when one of these personalities comes forward, doesn’t the patient seem very sincerely to be that person?"
"Well, yes."
"Even though the personality itself might be something totally off the wall, someone of the opposite sex, or from the planet Zorgon or something?"
"Well, yes, point taken. But to totally bury the Gerry personality just feels wrong to me. And it could cause problems later."
"The alternative is to cause problems now. We need a release from him, under stimulation, and from Gillespie, if he has power of attorney. Then I think we should go with the implant, put Hampton Bell in charge once and for all. Basically, I want out of this case. Sure, Gerry might cause him problems further down the line, but that’s not my greatest concern."
"If the individual patient isn’t your greatest concern, then what is?"
He met her gaze squarely. "All of my patients, in the aggregate. My job is to do the greatest good for the greatest number. And if a patient is going to insist on a certain course of treatment, and if it doesn’t violate medical ethics or standards, and if his lawyer is making veiled threats at me, then fuck it, I’ll give him the treatment he wants. Sure, I’m not giving nose jobs here, I know it’s brain surgery, but again, I have to live in the real world."
Maggie picked up the photocopy of Hampton Bell’s company-issued credit card. His face smiled back at her. She deflated. "All right. I concur."
"Fine. Chic?"
"I concur."

"So. What’s happening?"
Maggie was adjusting the IV bag at the side of Gerry’s bed. Adjusting IV bags wasn’t her real job -- she was after all not even a medical doctor -- but she couldn’t bring herself to look him in the eye right now. She smiled absently. "Well, as I said, you’ve been moved to this private room. No more little TV, you get a full-sized one."
"No, what’s happening with me?"
She looked him in the eye, still smiling. "Well, you need more tests."
"Are you going to do something so the other guy is in charge?"
She didn’t know what to say. Lying went against her grain, especially on a matter as weighty as this. She opened her mouth but couldn’t speak.
"I’m real! I’m a real person! You’ve spoken with me!"
"Gerry, you’ve got to stay calm --"
"Why should I? If you do that to me, it’s like I’ll be dead! It’s no existence at all! I know!" He reached under the sheets.
"Gerry, what are you doing?" she asked, but she knew. He was pulling out his urinary catheter. Next he pulled the IV line out of the back of his left hand. Dark red blood began pouring out of the vein. He pulled off every tube and monitor he could find. Only one eluded him: the wire running out of the back of his head to its attachment point at the head of the bed. He climbed out of bed and tried to stand up but was yanked back onto the bed, head first, by the wire. The sight of him tumbling onto the bed, naked legs waving in the air, seemed strangely comical.
Maggie ran into the hall but didn’t know what to yell. She knew that "Code, code, code" meant that a patient was in cardiac arrest, and the hospital’s coded warning that a gunman was in the hospital was "Paging Dr. Strong," but what did one say when a patient was trying to escape? She shouted "Help!" and nurses and orderlies turned to look at her.
She stammered out what was happening and went back into the room with reinforcements. Gerry had somehow gotten the wire loose from the bed and the computer and was starting for the door. Two orderlies grabbed his arms and pulled him back toward the bed, then stopped. They didn’t know what to do next. He was struggling and trying to kick them with his bare feet.
Lamont came in and barked quick orders to the duty nurse. She filled a syringe in about ten seconds and calmly handed it to Lamont. He looked at the patient; Gerry glared back defiantly. "Get him on the bed," Lamont told the orderlies, "and for God’s sake, hold his legs." He moved in and pulled Gerry’s johnnie up, exposing his white thigh, and jabbed the needle in without swabbing. Gerry gave one yell, then stopped struggling.
Lamont turned and had a brief conversation with the duty nurse, then turned to Maggie, arching one eyebrow in question. Her heart was beating in her throat. "I-I’m sorry, Frank, I couldn’t lie to him, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do, and when he started getting out of the bed, I-I --"
He put his hand on her shoulder and she jumped. "It’s all right," he said. "I think you did everything as well as you could have. Take it easy."
She nodded. She had been afraid that she was going to shed tears, but she had it under control. Lamont turned to where the nurses were hooking Gerry back up.
She hadn’t realized that a vein on the back of the hand could bleed so much. There was blood all over him and the bed, blood on the floor and even on the walls, but none on the other people. Since the onset of the AIDS virus hospital workers had become skilled in avoiding contact with blood, even when the patient was known to be HIV negative.
His voice was as calm as if nothing had happened. This surprised her; she hadn’t thought the injection would take hold so fast. She approached the bed. He was reaching out to her with his free hand; she took it. His eyes had the haunted but resigned look she had seen in dying patients.
"Something bad happened. And it wasn’t something I did. Remember that. Remember -- me." He looked away, no longer caring.
She turned to Lamont. He had reattached the wire to the computer and started it up. "I’ve decided that our friend Gillespie was right," he said. His hands flew over the keyboard. "When he wakes up, he’ll be a new man, and his name will be Hampton Bell. You can forget about Gerry Sullivan. We’ve seen the last of him." He flashed her a brief smile and left as abruptly as he had arrived.
She turned, heavily, to look at the sleeping patient. She felt as if she had just been in combat or something.
It was the duty nurse. Like a lot of nurses, she had a funny edge to her voice when she addressed Maggie as "Doctor".
"I have to note that injection on his chart. Do you know where it is?"
It took Maggie a few tries to translate this. She looked around. It was indeed not there. "It must still be in his old room on Three," she said.
"I’ll have to send a candy-striper down after it," the duty nurse said.
"No, don’t bother, I’ll get it."
The chart was indeed back in his old ward, on the table beside the bed. There was a new patient in his bed already, surrounded by doctors and nurses. She reached for the chart.
She instinctively pulled her hand back. She looked at the bed, noticing the crash cart beside it for the first time. They shocked the patient, who barely moved. A doctor leaned forward and blew into his mouth, then stepped back. Everyone looked at the monitor.
The line was flat. They had lost and they knew it.
Maggie took the chart and headed for the door. Standing and watching was an osteopath she knew. "What’s up, Dean?"
"Damned if I know, Maggie. He up and died on me."
"What was he in for?"
"Bad knee. Twenty-four years old, in good health, he comes in here and dies."
"Of a bad knee."
He shook his head. "Damnedest thing."
Something tugged at her consciousness, something she couldn’t articulate. "See that I get a copy of his autopsy, would you, Dean? E-mail it to me."
He looked at her as if she had just asked for the patient’s head on a plate with an apple in his mouth. She wasn’t even a "real" doctor, it wasn’t her patient, and she wanted the autopsy? "Sure thing, Maggie."
She glanced beside the door on the way out. The door tag still said SULLIVAN, GERALD K.

"All right, Willie. We’re going to go over it one more time."
Everyone, his wife included, called him Hill. For these two guys to call him Willie simply showed how full of shit they were.
Hill knew enough to play along. He sighed, huddled a little smaller in the chair and looked scared.
"How many times has he called you since he left Sleider?"
"Once before last night?"
"No. Last night was the first time he called me."
"You expect us to believe that? He was your best friend, then he doesn’t call you in thirty years?"
"I don’t really care what you believe and what you don’t believe."
"Listen here, buster, you better watch your –"
"Take it easy, Carl. Listen, Willie … I can call you Willie, right?"
A song began spontaneously in Hill’s mind: Let me call you Willie, I’m in love with you …He suppressed a giggle.
Somewhere some part of his mind was analyzing itself. Was this irrational panic or some kind of coping mechanism? He had often asked himself the same question while holding a cat that, sick and dying, was still purring merrily away in his arms. He smiled. "Sure."
"You gotta realize, you could be in as big of trouble as we are."
How did they decide who gets to be good cop and who bad, he wondered? Did they draw straws? Or was it based on aptitude?
And where was Smith? Why hadn’t his baleful presence become known? "Don’t I know that? I seen the monkeys too, you know."
"So why don’t you play ball with us?"
"Play ball – how?"
"Well, where is Barbara hanging out?"
"I don’t know. Like I told you, it was just him on the phone."
"Yeah, but we know she got him out of there. With a little help from you, I might add."
"I didn’t help them, man." Hill felt pretty safe in saying this. If they actually suspected that he had helped Gerry get away he would have been pushing up daisies thirty years ago.
"Okay. But she did. So what happened to her?"
"Shit, man. I don’t even know where my first wife is."
They were getting nowhere with him. They had even momentarily run out of questions.
Bad Cop thought of one. "You think he wants money?"
There was a pause in the way he said "wants" that made Hill think he had been about to say "wanted".
"No idea, man. Look, I told my receptionist I’d be gone about two hours."
"She doesn’t know where you are."
Bad Cop was a cop. Hill was sure of it now. There was something in the way he looked at him, like Hill was just one more nigger whose head he’d like to crack open.
"Did I say that?"
Bad Cop came flying off his chair at that one. "We told you not to – "
"Okay, Carl," Good Cop said. "Look, Willie, why don’t you go back to your animal hospital now. And if you hear from Gerry again, or from Barbara, or if there’s anything you remember, call that same number. Operators will be standing by." He smiled as he shook Hill’s hand, and Hill managed to return it.
Bad Cop’s handshake was perfunctory and his smile was a sneer. Aptitude, Hill thought. Assholes are born, not made.
He paused with his hand on the doorknob. "I got one question for y’all. Did you find him?"
Both looked away. "Yeah," Bad Cop said after a second. "We found him."
Hill nodded and left.

"So. Case closed. And it looks like we won one for once."
Frank Lamont tossed Gerry’s chart onto the conference table and smiled at Maggie and Butterfield. "Any feelings here?"
"I have one," Maggie said. "My worst moment in the whole ordeal was watching him get pulled back into the bed by that wire in his brain. I still don’t see how that didn’t kill him."
"Don’t worry about it, Maggie," Butterfield said. "That wire is stapled very securely to his skull. He could hang by it, he could pull it so hard the wire broke, and it would never hurt his brain."
"Oh, that’s good."
"And, of course, it’s hidden securely beneath his skin now."
"Any other thoughts?" Lamont asked. He turned to Maggie. "How did your interviews with the patient go?"
"I’m sure you’ve read my report and just want me to refresh your memory."
"Of course, he lied," Lamont said. He was clearly in a good mood.
"Well, he seems pretty unremarkable. Parents deceased. Married and divorced, one daughter whom he sees on weekends. Broke up with a girlfriend about six months ago. Lives alone in a small house in a suburb of Los Angeles." She paused. "Very reticent. Didn’t want to get into family stuff at all. Says he has no siblings, unusual for a baby boomer."
Lamont glanced at her. "Not that unusual. Did you talk to the daughter?"
"Yes. She’s fifteen. In high school, seems like a very nice girl. I talked with her on the phone three times, a total of about forty-five minutes."
"Well, she indicates no sexual abuse. That’s significant, because it again points away from classic multiple personality. If he had been abused, he’d be likely to carry it on to the next generation."
"There’s something else, though, isn’t there?"
"Okay, Frank. Am I that easy to read?"
"I know you that well, that’s all."
"Well, there was something she said. She said she used to think her parents were retarded."
Both men looked at her. "Retarded," Lamont repeated.
"She made a point of saying she wasn’t just dissing them. I’m using her words as much as possible. She really thought they were retarded. When she was in second grade she had to help her mother cook because Mom couldn’t understand the instructions on the packages. And she taught her father the alphabet."
Butterfield shook his head. "Bell’s not retarded," he said. "His brain looks and acts like a normal brain. Somewhat above-average intelligence. He was probably just taking a heuristic approach to learning, saying ‘Tell me what you know.’"
"Well, she says now she thinks her father’s pretty smart."
"Mark Twain said that." They turned to look at Lamont. "He said when he was a kid, his father was the stupidest man in the world. But by the time he grew up, his father was pretty smart. He always admired how much he learned in just those few years."
Maggie smiled. "But she says that Mom is still retarded," she said.
"Sure," Lamont said. "Every teenage girl’s mother is. Anything else?"
"Yes," Maggie said, tossing a folder onto the table. "Look at this."
"An autopsy?" Lamont said.
"Who is Anthony Troiani?" Butterfield asked.
"A young man with a bad knee. He checked in and died about twenty minutes later."
They looked at her quizzically.
"He was in Gerry’s old bed on Three just half an hour after Gerry moved upstairs. Gerry’s name was on the door and his chart was on the table."
Butterfield flipped to the second page. "Says here he died of ‘cardiac arrhythmia’."
"Well," Maggie asked, "what does that translate to?"
"It means his heart isn’t beating."
"Sure. Which simply means they don’t know what he died of."
Lamont glanced at her. "And you suspect foul play?"
"Well, I interviewed the other patients in the ward. All three saw the same thing. A man in hospital blues came in and took a blood test. He pricked Anthony Troiani’s finger with a standard prick, took a sample with a pipette and left. A minute later the patient went to sleep. Five minutes later a nurse came in to do intake and couldn’t wake him up. The rest is history."
Lamont turned to the last page. "Nothing showed in his blood."
"Well, would it?" she asked.
"No," Butterfield said. "A lot of poisons are completely undetectable a few minutes after administration. Especially the better ones."
Lamont looked at her. "Okay. Let’s pretend that I’m retarded here. Put this all together for me."
"Half an hour before this," Maggie said, "Gerry made a phone call from his bedside phone to Massachusetts. It lasted less than one minute. It was right after we ran the second stimulus trial. Then Gillespie asked to have him upgraded to a single room and he got moved. Anthony Troiani was moved into his bed and someone came in to kill Gerry. He got Anthony instead."
Lamont looked underwhelmed. "So he talked with someone in Massachusetts and he pissed him off so bad the guy hopped the space shuttle out to the West Coast and killed him with a poisoned skin popper?"
She shrugged. "I’m not saying I’ve put it all together," she said lamely.
"Where do you want to go with this, Maggie?"
"I’m asking you."
He tossed the autopsy in the wastebasket. "Nowhere. It’s strange, but I can’t see how it has any bearing on this case, except that this whole goddam case is strange. One way or the other, I see no reason to bring this up to the patient. Got anything else?"
Maggie hesitated.
"Come on, out with it."
"Okay. I was bad."
"Oh, you’re such a rebel. What did you go and do?"
"Well, I checked the Internet phone book, just to see if I could find any relatives. And I hit pay dirt. I found his parents."
Lamont cocked an eyebrow. "They’re alive?"
"Yes. But they say he’s dead."
Lamont and Butterfield looked at each other. Lamont got up and put Bell’s papers into the envelope with an air of finality. "Well," he said at last, "I hope his insurance is for real, anyway."

"Hello, Seth. You’re looking good."
"And you’re looking the same as ever, Mickey."
"I’ll accept that. I’ve been reading your work."
"Gullible. Credulous. You always were." The two shook hands and sat down.
"Jesus. Everyone is here. Look, there’s Montgomery!"
"I think everyone is here. Have any idea what this is about?"
"No. I bet everyone here received the same summons you and I did, and from the same portly, bespectacled, balding gentleman."
"And it has to do with the goddam monkeys."
At his words a silence fell on the room. They looked from one to the other. He was right: everyone there had been involved in Operation Rhesus.
None of them had discussed that project in decades. Most of them took care never to even utter the words "monkey" or "rhesus".
Giorgio O’Ryan entered the room. He looked exactly the same as he had looked the last time they had seen him. He began without preamble.
"A matter has come up which affects all of us. It had been thought that we had achieved closure on this issue, but such seems not to be the case. In short -- and I shall also be long -- Gerry Sullivan has resurfaced. He made contact, but did nothing more than reveal his existence. A decision was made, perhaps hastily, to insist that he say no more. The question remains as to what information he possessed, and to what end he wished to apply it. I wish to share with you what is known and to hear your suggestions as to our next course of action, if any. First, perhaps, it would be best to review this matter from the beginning."
He held forth for twenty minutes. Some of his words, plainly delivered as they were, caused members of his audience to squirm. He achieved the feat speakers seldom master of saying all he should say, then stopping. He signaled the end of his address by removing his glasses and polishing them with the end of his tie, a gesture which went back to the beginning of time.
One matter only was left unaddressed. He never mentioned the man seated beside him at the head of the table. He was a short, stocky man whose thick arms were folded across his chest. He was wearing a baseball cap and never looked up, so no one had seen his face. He had been there when they had arrived and would be there when they left. No one mentioned him, nor did they need to. They remembered Spencer Smith.

Chapter 3