(If you’re just joining the story, Chapter One – Dr. Porter is here http://wp.me/p4AUvc-nZ4 )
Dateline: January 15, 2017
Five Days Until Inauguration Day
Chapter Two – Missing Hours
My missing hours have become a meditation exercise.
I’m staring at a doorknob. Staring deeply at a doorknob. I’m entering a spiral, going deeper into the spiral, following my breath…to escape my anger that’s been simmering for hours.
This doorknob has real meaning for me. It is the doorknob on a closed door that I want to throw open. Turning that knob would lead me to freedom and drop the curtain on this bad piece of theater –starring the intercept team in dark suits — and this exasperating interlude would end.
I don’t consider myself a naive person. So, how did this happen?
Days ago, I’d whispered into a comatose combat veteran’s ear that Donald Trump was crazy and I had some answers for the right people who wanted to get serious about this bullshit. Did I expect anyone to show up?
But they had shown up and I had taken them seriously.
During the drive over to the house with the doorknob I’d worked out a clear meeting agenda in my head. Using the Socratic Method applied to the subject of brain science, I’d created a step by step process for people unfamiliar with neurology to follow. I had believed I was in possession of the golden keys to this meeting.
Standing before them in the main room of what I can only guess would be called a Safe House – a place for stashing people of interest until the heat has died down – I had delivered the following opening statement, but not in one of my power suits, not in one of my pristine lab coats, but in my riding attire of knee high boots and jodhpurs. The team had nabbed me at my office after I’d returned from the barn.
During my presentation the agents had sat on a sofa and chairs and were dressed in nearly identical dark business suits. Before beginning my statement, I’d decided not to mention how the swarm identity they were exhibiting would likely led them straight to Groupthink whenever considering a case together. Their cognitive problems would have to come later. We had national security issues to tackle first, and so, I had begun.
“President-elect Donald Trump’s non compos mentis exhibits as a psychosis. Signs of this as being true are observable and well documented. Here is a list of behaviors that should be setting off alarm bells that America is on the brink of violating its Constitution. Up until this moment, I had believed these catastrophic signals had been falling upon deaf ears. This I’d found disturbing and increasingly odd. Five days out from inauguration, I’m grateful to share them with you.
“First, Donald Trump is a compulsive liar. Second, he experiences events by way of interpreting them through his hallucinations that he believes are real. Third, his mental derangements, his inability to recall events as they truly occurred minutes, hours or days before, is an acute form of psychosis.”
Then I had sat down, brushed a bit of horse hair off my jacket, crossed my legs and had waited for them to spring into action.
But that’s not what had happened and we are still sitting here.
The missing hours…
I hear the rustling of clothing off to my left and I tense at what I suspect will be another question that challenges my patience. Is it possible they believe the laws of science could have changed in these last hours? That the facts of neurology will be different and by waiting they’ll get a different set of answers out of me?
When the rustling stops I turn my attention from the doorknob to a man in a suit who asks, “What medical proof do you have Dr Porter that President-elect Trump’s mentally impaired?”
“That’s a great question, as I’ve said the last twenty times you’ve asked it, and I’ll repeat for the twenty-first time my answer that your use of the word “impaired” slights the seriousness of his mental illness. Please correctly state his condition as mental derangement. Mental impairment implies that you believe Trump suffers from something like a concussion. A condition that will pass over time. I’ve stated the exact opposite of that. Donald Trump’s behavior will not reestablish itself back into any reliable state of equilibrium. Why? Because his delusional behavior instead presents as a persistent peaking effect of his mental psychosis. Which means, Donald Trump spends more time in delusions than he does in reality.”
The man in suit continues, “So, you have no proof, just theories.”
I shoot back, “Are you confused perhaps about how theory is applied to research? I’m not using the term theory in the way a man like yourself might dream up a “theory” — that if you get a burner phone and only call your mistress on it your wife will never find out you’re having an affair. You could mistakenly call that a theory, but you’d be using the word incorrectly, and using it to assuage your guilt, whereby further giving yourself permission to cheat on your wife. In that case, what you’re using is not a theory at all, but a flawed strategy of deceit.”
I must’ve hit a nerve because Agent 2 storms out of the room and another man clears his throat to regain the floor, “How do you develop your theories Doctor Porter?”
But I’m still having fun mind-fucking Agent 2 so I shout, “If you’d asked me I could’ve plotted with mathematical certainty if you’d get caught cheating.” I cup my hands around my mouth in a mini megaphone. “FYI! The key is plugging in more variables than a stupid burner phone.”
“I believe you’ve drilled in your point, Doctor Porter.”
“Have I? Good. Because I’m ready to leave.”
“Look, unlike a cut on your finger, or a broken bone that will heal, the human brain does not work that way. The brain is not a bone-knitting type healer for itself. It’s a complicated organ. It has many regions that are constantly doing automatic things, like breathing and beating your heart and creating fluctuations in your body’s endocrine system. The brain does other things, such as, comprehension tasks, as in seeing what’s right in front of you. If it’s healthy it sees what’s actually there. If it’s Trump’s brain it filters real time as a mass hallucination.”
I pause for effect, because this is the most serious problem the President-elect has, whereby making it the most serious problem we all have. “Let me ask you a question. When everyone watches the same thing, a replay of a video clip for instance, do we see what Donald Trump says he sees? No we do not.”
“What’s the endocring system?” This is his lame follow up.
“E N D O C R I N E system, with an e. Goddammit! I should fucking bill you people at this point for being so stupid and wasting my time! If I knew where to send an invoice I absolutely would. Give me your business card, please.”
I lean over snapping my fingers together and opening my hand for someone’s business card. “It would be for $800 by the way. I’m four hundred an hour, when not in surgery. You, and Agents 1 through 5, need to sharpen up, because I’m leaving here in five minutes. Non-negotiable.”
Then the only woman on their team takes over. “Okay, Doctor Porter, we realize you’re a specialist with years of experience and training.”
She’s the one who coaxed me into the car to begin with.
“I will kick right through that door with these boots. I hope you’re hearing me.”
“I’m hearing you.” She nods and sends me – what must pass for an sympathetic look in the intelligence community – a softening of her eyes that only makes her look sleepy.
“Then pay closer attention because this is my last lesson on the subject of the deterioration of cognitive function.” I lean forward and tick off the issues to make my point. “Is one lie a symptom of deterioration?” I hold up one finger. “The answer would be no. Are five Trump lies a symptom of a something being off cognitively?” I hold five fingers up. “How about a hundred? Or a thousand?”
At this point I’m feeling deranged.
“Are conspiracy theories a symptom of psychosis? Is bullying and incessant ridicule a sign of mental trouble? Is threatening people? How about sexually assaulting women and kidding about it? Is that troubling enough for you?”
“People who know him say that’s his personality. He’s a bullying-type of guy. I don’t see how that can be proof of mental instability.”
“To you hurting people intentionally is a sign of mental stability?”
“I did not say that.”
“But you did just say that! You dismiss every symptom I point out as non-problematic for a world leader to possess. Otherwise you would get on the phone and begin, what I would hope would be, a rapidly escalating series of steps to stop Trump from taking office!”
Then I stop shouting and my tone becomes lighter. “Look, we’re not talking about just any “Crazy Joe” sitting on a park bench talking to invisible pigeons. Delusions, ideas of impossible grandiosity, lying as second nature…these are symptoms, no Goddammit, they are proof that he’s mentally deranged.”
At this point she glances at the man sitting next to her on the couch, but I can’t read what’s exchanged quickly between them.
I lean forward to focus their attention back on me. “My last point as it pertains to his delusions. Have you heard any strange and grandiose ideas about building a two thousand mile long border wall?”
None of the agents will look me in the eyes. They stare everywhere but at me.
“Please just bring him over to where I work, or I’ll meet you at Walter Reed and take some blood samples, do a CT scan and run him through the MRI.”
“That’s just not going to happen today.” She stands up, as my signal I can leave.
Did I sense a feeling of regret in her voice?
“You know, Agent 4, reality should not have to grasped at, as if it were a balloon floating away from you.” I knock the side of my head to make my point. “Reality should already be firmly in here by the age of three.”
Even though I saw him earlier, I drive back to the barn to see Nightingale. I really don’t want to talk to anymore humans today, in fact, the thought of a human voice feels like shattered glass cutting into my skin. I need the smell and nustling of my horse.
I slip his halter over his nose and fasten it behind his ears and with a lead rope I guide him out of his stall and down the centerline of the stable. He blows out a long exhale and makes significant snorts, as one by one the other horses in the barn extend their heads and necks out over their stall doors and snort back as we pass.
Nightingale and I clop along the frost covered path that encircles the riding ring. It’s dark, nearly 7pm, and there’s not another human soul in sight. I may walk in circles with no destination for hours just followed by my horse. I have serious thinking to do, but no wish to concentrate on any of it.
I halt our forward movement and throw my arms around Nightingale’s neck. I almost feel like weeping, as I bury myself in his mane and muscle, when out of the blue the, “OMG! We’re all going to die!” pinned tweet of the sexy TV pundit swims up in my mind and I groan instead. Partly out of sexual frustration and admitting it to myself.
If I had married I would’ve been divorced six times over by now. I am, so they say, not easy to get along with on a long term basis. I’m brilliant for a year, and then I get bored. The women may look even better than when I began dating them. It’s just that I like silence much more than I enjoy constant engagement. This makes me an odd combination of being professionally extroverted, and when in the mood, sexually aggressive in pursuit, but also possessing the anomalous traits of a social outlier.
Thus the horse, the empty bed and no dates on the books.
I reach in my pocket for the apple I brought for Nightingale and up with it comes a crumpled note stuck to its peel.
Navigating through the wide curves around Dupont Circle I turn onto N St and miraculously find a parking space near the Tabard Inn. An hour ago I was certain I wanted to be left alone, but the invitation, coming as it did, secreted to me in my jacket pocket, spurred me onto the interstate and straight into Washington, D.C. Had the mysterious note been an invitation to meet in a suite at the new Trump hotel, I would still be walking around in circles.
Taking two steps at time up the stairway I’m surprised to see The Tabard Inn’s quaint lobby empty, with not even a desk clerk in sight. Then I remember, of course, in the days ahead of the upcoming inauguration of our puppet president every Democrat with any means has bolted from Washington.
Standing in front of Room 303, it opens after I knock lightly, and I’m met first, by the scent of perfume and then, this woman appears in front of me.
The TV pundit, who never wears this kind of dress on air. I can barely tear my eyes from her plunging neckline.
“I recognize you, which makes me wonder if I have the right room?” Saying this, I reluctantly lift my eyes to look into hers, that crinkle at their sides as she steps backwards and ushers me through the door.
In the rear of the room I spot the woman intelligence officer, who’s quickly gathering her keys and phone off the top of a table and brushing past me she whispers, “I thought you two should meet.”
And then, she’s gone like a puff of smoke and the door clicks closed behind her.
“May I offer you a drink?” Asks the TV pundit. “My name’s Maria and you are, of course, Doctor Porter.”
I practically dive at the bar while insisting that she call me, Bette.
“Did you come from fox hunting or something?” She illustrates with a sweep of her hand over my riding clothes. “Nice boots.”
“You don’t hunt foxes at night on horseback.” I swallow an inch of Scotch in one gulp. “May I fix you something?”
“What you’re having is fine.”
I turn back to the bar and catch my reflection in a mirror. My hair seems to be having an electrical reaction to meeting her and has taken upon itself to curl even wilder. I run my hands through it in a vain attempt to look normal, and then pick up our drinks to join her.
“I’ve seen you on television, many times. You’re smart and so amusing.”
“I looked you up on the internet.”
I lean back in my chair trying my best to look relaxed. “That must’ve been dull going.”
She laughs and says, “No, not at all, but I’ll admit to not understanding much in a recent speech of yours.”
I look puzzled.
“I watched the talk you gave in San Francisco on YouTube.” She opens a reporter’s notebook I hadn’t noticed before, and flipping through a few pages she stops and reads, “Moyamoya Disease Explored Through RNF213.”
“Yes, that would be a confusing topic. Please don’t ask me to explain it to you. I’ve had quite a day.”
“So I’ve heard.” She sips her Scotch and smiles at me.
“Are you married?” I hear myself asking without meaning to. God Lord! Where is my filter?
She looks puzzled but quickly answers, “No, are you?” Her question ending with a delightful lilting laugh.
“I don’t know why I said that,” I confess. “I haven’t had dinner, or lunch for that matter.”
“Let’s order something, Bette Porter. What would you like?”
“Poached salmon, asparagus with hollandaise and french fries. You?”
“I’ve had dinner already so,…I’m thinking of dessert. Do you like chocolate?” She asks while dialing for Room Service.”
It didn’t take long after dinner, wine and more Scotch to find ourselves, with her shoes my boots off, leaning back against the Tabard Inn’s headboard and talking about everything, but Donald Trump.
At one point during dinner, when she had slipped french fry after french fry off my plate, I’d brought up the topic of his hallucinations, which we talked about in some depth, but soon the topic drunkenly drifted, as things do, to her telling me a story about dropping ecstasy at Burning Man last summer.
I had stared into her eyes as she described her out of body experience of joining with a ring of naked dancers around a bonfire that had at its center — a forty foot high effigy of Donald Trump engulfed in flames.
Now we’re leaning back against the pillows, and she’s telling me more extraordinary things that happened to her at Burning Man, until finally looking over at her I cannot stop my desire of falling lips first into her cleavage.
I watch her taking a sip of red wine and then lightly licking a droplet away from the top of her lip.
“I need to tell you something.” I say very softly while my hand slides inside her dress and finds her nipple.
“Hmm,” she whispers back, “the hands of a surgeon.”
“A brain surgeon,” I remind her before we kiss.
She slides down into the bed and pulls me on top of her. “I’m a little dusty from the horses. Does that bother you?” I ask.
“I smell them on your neck.” She licks up my skin to just under my ear. “Salty.”
Slipping her dress off her shoulders, I forget every annoyance of today and think of only curves and nipples and sucking them. She opens her legs to me and moves my hand into a sensation of waves of her wetness and heat. Our lips meet in a kiss, that becomes a dance of tongues inside her mouth and mine, and she bites my neck when I slide inside her. Another long kiss and she pulls my shirt tails out of my riding pants and whispers she wants me naked.
“I hate to stop,” I half moan in her ear.
“More of you,” she says while pulling her dress over her head.
Nude and kneeling at the edge of the bed, she pulls my riding pants off and somewhere over her shoulder sail my bra and panties. One french manicured finger traces down the single strip of hair that I wax into a thin line straight to my clitoris. In circles she plays with my aching for her.
Closing my eyes, I feel her lips on mine, her breasts pressed against me, the pleasure of her sliding inside me, we make love slowly and rhythmically…riding the long waves of pleasure and sensation.
I roll her over and suddenly the awareness of my fantasy unfolding – the vision I’ve had of her under me – the longed for realness of being with her, sends my animal brain up to eleven.
Transformed, I hear a gasp of breath from her and everything changes between us. Everything.
She digs her fingernails into my back, and cries, “Jesus! Fuck me,” and we’re locked on a ride of throbbing currents, until the sounds and shockwaves of our final climax… shoots through me…far, so very far from my control.
Hope you enjoyed Chapter Two.