Eastern Standard Tribe – Day 44 of 64

19.

They let me call Gran on my second day here. Of course, Linda had already called her and briefed her on my supposed mental breakdown. I had no doubt that she’d managed to fake hysterical anxiety well enough to convince Gran that I’d lost it completely; Gran was already four-fifths certain that I was nuts.

“Hi, Gran,” I said.

“Arthur! My God, how are you?”

“I’m fine, Gran. It’s a big mistake is all.”

“A mistake? Your lady friend called me and told me what you’d done in London. Arthur, you need help.”

“What did Linda say?”

“She said that you threatened to kill a coworker. She said you threatened to kill her. That you had a knife. Oh, Arthur, I’m so worried—”

“It’s not true, Gran. She’s lying to you.”

“She told me you’d say that.”

“Of course she did. She and Fede—a guy I worked with in London—they’re trying to get rid of me. They had me locked up. I had a business deal with Fede, we were selling one of my ideas to a company in New Jersey. Linda talked him into selling to some people she knows in LA instead, and they conspired to cut me out of the deal. When I caught them at it, they got me sent away. Let me guess, she told you I was going to say this, too, right?”

“Arthur, I know—”

“You know that I’m a good guy. You raised me. I’m not nuts, OK? They just wanted to get me out of the way while they did their deal. A week or two and I’ll be out again, but it will be too late. Do you believe that you know me better than some girl I met a month ago?”

“Of course I do, Arthur. But why would the hospital take you away if—”

“If I wasn’t crazy? I’m in here for observation—they want to find out if I’m crazy. If they’re not sure, then you can’t be sure, right?”

“All right. Oh, I’ve been sick with worry.”

“I’m sorry, Gran. I need to get through this week and I’ll be free and clear and I’ll come back to Toronto.”

“I’m going to come down there to see you. Linda told me visitors weren’t allowed, is that true?”

“No, it’s not true.” I thought about Gran seeing me in the ward amidst the pukers and the screamers and the droolers and the fondlers and flinched away from the phone. “But if you’re going to come down, come for the hearing at the end of the week. There’s nothing you can do here now.”

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