Sunday 22 March 2015
‘It’s isolating here. I’m isolated. I don’t get to see anyone other than them.’ She flung her right arm wantonly in the direction of the others to illustrate her point. Oliver looked at her targets and wanly smiled. ‘There’s nothing here. Nothing at all other than arts and crafts. I’m not, I’m not an arts and crafts girl!’
Still wearing the insipid smile gently rubbed her forearm. She tore it away from his touch and turned her face away from Oliver and towards the sun. Its warm rays calmed her increasingly anxious demeanour.
‘How could you, Oliver? How could you do this to me?’ She snapped her head back to look at him.
He had no suitable answer to her questions, instead choosing to shrug his shoulders in an ever so minute action in the hope that it might deflect her wrath.
‘That’s right, Oliver. You have nothing to say, do you? There is no appropriate response to having your wife committed to a mental asylum, especially not when the real reason behind your actions is your infidelity. Dennis Paulson didn’t have your whore committed when he found out that she, his wife, was fucking you, did he? No. But you needed to get me out of the way? Can’t have the wife of a potential congressman exposing his indiscretions, can we? Better to say she’s having a hard time of things and needs some time in a sanatorium. Well believe me, Oliver, this is no sanatorium. There’s no calm, restful peace here. This is a place of torment and torture.’
‘You need help, Camille,’ Oliver whispered. He prepared for the scathing retort that his words elicit, but she whispered in return, appearing for those who were watching that she was keeping her calm.
‘When I get out, Oliver, and I will get out, you’ll pay for this. There’s nowhere in this world that you or she could ever go to that will hide you from me. Remember that the next time you fuck her.’ Camille smiled so that the orderlies who were watching would be none the wiser. She appeared to lovingly pat Oliver’s cheek and then returned her gaze to the unkempt grounds in front of her. ‘You can go now, Oliver. I’ve had enough of your visit today.’
* * * * *
‘How do you feel today, Mrs. West?’
Camille exhaled a single breath through her nose as she chose the right words to answer the therapist’s question.
‘Well, Dr. Hudson, I do believe that’s your area of expertise. I am far from qualified to make any sort of diagnosis regarding my feelings today or any other day for that matter.’
Hudson hurriedly scribbled notes about her answer on a notepad, being sure to have it in a position that prevented Camille from reading it.
‘And why do you say that? Surely you’re cognisant of your own feelings?’
‘Oh, doctor, apparently not. Surely you’re aware that my husband had me committed. Read your case notes back if you need to . . . I’ll wait for you to catch up.’
‘You’re being snippy, Mrs. West, and you know where that will lead you.’
‘What I know, Dr. Hudson, what I’m painfully aware of is that my feelings are irrelevant as any man in my life, my husband in particular, can say I’m feeling one way in order to have me locked up in a hellhole like this place so he can . . . service his own needs, shall we say.’
Hudson again scribbled on his notepad, his eyes squinting as scratched away.
‘You’re an interesting case, Mrs. West – ’
‘Because I’m sane or because I know what you and my husband are up to?’
‘And what is it that you think your husband and I are up to?’
She tilted her head towards her right shoulder and smiled. It made Hudson uneasy.
‘Come now, Dr. Hudson, you and I both know perfectly well that you’re a college friend of my husband. We both know that you had at least three clandestine meetings with him prior to me being committed here. And we both know perfectly well that poor Dennis Paulson has absolutely no idea what his wife gets up to on a Tuesday night whilst he’s at his Freemason’s meeting. You and the good Mrs. Paulson have been seen in the company of one another, just as you’ve both been seen in the company of my husband. As I recall, a number of those liaisons occurred at your club where, luckily for you, the doorman and staff are bound by confidentiality clauses as a part of their continued employment. Now,’ she said as she stretched her legs out in front of her drawing Hudson’s attention to them, ‘Lord knows what the three of you got up to, but I think I’ve got a pretty good idea. Those photographs did make for very interesting viewing, doctor. I won’t forget what I saw in those pictures any time soon.’
Hudson faltered in his note taking, fumbling with his heavy fountain pen as it slipped from his fingers.
‘Ah, I see I’ve hit a nerve with you, Dr. Hudson.’
‘You’ve done nothing of the sort,’ he mumbled. ‘But, my dear, you seem to have forgotten one or two things about being in an asylum for the mentally defective. I am the one who treats you, and I’m sure a few sessions of electroshock therapy will see to it that you will forget what you think you saw. I find that this type of therapy does wonders for people who need to forget things. I’ll schedule you in for later today.’
Camille fought back the terror that was about to consume her. She tried to remain stoic and unflinching, as the memories of the screams and cries for help of those she’d known were dragged off for shock treatment filled her mind.
‘You can try your best, Dr. Hudson, but there are some things that you need to ask yourself.’
‘And what is that, Mrs. West?’
She was aware that she didn’t have his full attention, but she knew that her words would ensure that he was left wondering.
‘How did I get those photographs, who has them now, and where are they going to end up if anything untoward happens to me?’
Determined to win, Hudson called for the orderlies to take Camille away and prepare her for shock treatment. She refused to let any of them see her defeated, pulled her arms from the grip of the orderlies, and walked herself out of Hudson’s office and down the hall to the shock treatment room.
Immediately that she had gone, Hudson picked up the phone and dialled Oliver West’s home number. He waited a few seconds as the phone rang, and was picked up at the other end.
‘Oliver, we have a problem with your wife . . . she knows everything. And there are photographs to prove it all.’
. . . To be continued . . .