“You with Behavioral Health?”
The question came from a thin man lurking near the entrance of the Iroquois Regional Medical Center. He held a quivering a jumbo coffee cup of the same approximant diameter as his body.
“I said, you with Behavioral Health?” repeated the man, who, himself, clearly belonged in the upper floor of the Behavioral Health wing: the mental health unit. But he was no staff member. That was for sure.
“I’m… I’m an intern. I’m supposed to start today.”
“Did they take away your soul yet?” he said as he quivered his cup to his lips.
“Eh, maybe you don’t have one. It don’t matter; you can’t lose what you don’t have. Staff in Behavioral Health don’t have a soul. They’re better off without it. It’s useless, anyway. Especially when all you do is categorize and control people.”
“I’m sorry, I’ve got to get going.”
“Wait,” he said, placing his bony free hand upon the intern. “Have you seen Dr Ahern?”
“Dr Ahern? What Dr Ahern?”
“Dr Ahern, the new Director of Behavioral Health; Dr Ahern, the famous psychologist; Dr Ahern, the former professor. Your new boss.”
“Oh, yeah, Dr Ahern. No, I haven’t met him, but I read his books in school. It’s pretty cool he’s here.”
“Oh, yeah, it’s cool, all right. But you know he’s touched? His university shit-canned his whole department. His wife dumped him. Then he tried to commit suicide, but the bullet missed. Now he’s coming to work for The Man.”
“I’m sure none of that matters. He’s a good doctor and he knows psychology; he can help a lot of people.”
“You pretty sure of that, aren’t you? He won’t be taking you down with him when he goes nuts?”
“No, I’m not worried about that.”
“Well, I guess you know what you’re doing. Lots of luck. I suppose someone’s got to go down with him, and if it’s not you, it’ll just be someone else like you.”
“Hey, you know, you can come with me, and we can, like, go over to Behavioral Health and, like, get your meds adjusted. I’m an intern there. I’m sure they’ll see you right away if I tell them what’s wrong.”
“You’re perfect for the job. You’re already talking just like them. Categorize and control, that’s what it’s all about,” he said as he turned away. “Go categorize and control.”