Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16
After they'd crossed the bridge they cut through St James' Park, the Green Park and Hyde Park to arrive at St Mary's Hospital where a certain highly-recommended doctor awaited them. His office, one floor up from street level, was spacious and filled with books. Large windows showed old oaks changing from buds to leaves. They both went into the doctor's office, Ted didn't wait outside. Since Albert Latham had announced that his neurological system was very similar to Charlie's, transparency had become the word of the day regarding that neurological condition: it was not to be kept secret, it was to be publicly discussed, and doctors were to meet with neither of them alone. Ever. It seemed clear to Ted that Albert feared some danger that lurked in his and Charlie's condition being treated or examined or discussed in secret or in private. Even Albert's habits of rocking and moaning and doing other odd things when he got agitated, very similar to Charlie's way of doing it -- even these things, Albert now sometimes did in front of other people, mannerisms which, he had publicly announced, he had spent a lifetime hiding from others. Sometimes. And sometimes Albert would start to rock and moan or clutch his head or wring his hands in front of others, and then suddenly run off -- presumably to finish doing what he needed to do in private, as he'd been accustomed to do.
Some doctors had refused to see Charlie other than one-on-one, but there were plenty of other doctors interested in him, and even some of the doctors who at first hadn't gone along with the as-public-as-possible nature of the whole case relented so as not to be left behind.
This doctor -- Ted had heard the man's name not for the first time today when they introduced each other, and forgotten it already, the doctors were beginning to become something of a blur for him -- asked them to please be seated in some of the office's rather abundant armchairs. Ted complied, Charlie cast a nervous glance at Ted, and Ted said to the doctor, "It's sometimes very difficult for Charlie to stay seated. It may seem to you that you don't have his full attention if he's wandering around the office and looking at everything but you, but believe me, the interview will go better than if he's sitting and can't think of anything but how uncomfortable he is sitting."
"It's true," Charlie chimed in. "It's a bit strange, but I'd be very grateful for your understanding." Charlie had found, with Albert's guidance, that phrases such as admitting that certain things were strange and saying he'd be grateful for someone's understanding were very helpful when meeting people for the first time. At seemed to help everyone to be more at ease. The doctor's books were fascinating. Charlie had seen so many books in so many different luxurious rooms lately.
"Of course," the doctor replied. "And I understand that an actual physical examination will not occur today, that it's to be an interview only, am I correct?"
"Yes," Ted said.
"Yes, thank you for understanding, doctor," Charlie said.
"Of course," the doctor replied.
Charlie strode over to one of the large windows, just outside of which a female robin was jumping back and forth between two branches of an oak and chattering agitatedly. "She's lost her babies," Charlie said, pointing to the bird. "She had a nest right there on one of those branches, I don't know whether or not the eggs had hatched yet, but now they're gone, the whole nest is gone somehow, something happened to it, and she's very sad. It's very distressing. But there's nothing anybody can do about it now."
The doctor turned in surprise to Ted, who said, "I'd imagine e's completely right, Doctor. E's very good with animals, very sensitive to what's 'appening to them. Also, if e doesn't know something, e tends to say 'I don't know,' right straight up with no 'if's' or 'but's.' If e says something is such and such way about an animal or a watch, I'd say a good rule a thumb is to assume e's right until you know otherwise."
"I hadn't even noticed there was a robin's nest out there," the doctor said. "That's extraordinary, Mr Evans."
"E prefers that everyone call im 'Charlie.'"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Charlie. I shall do so from now on."
"It's not so important. Thank you for understanding."