Authors: William Deverell
Tags: #General Fiction
“Okay, let’s see you prove yourself. We’re going to recommend your release, Bob, but if you ever as much as threaten anyone, raise your fist, if you’re caught with a weapon – you’ll be back here in a wink.” That seemed, under the circumstances, the most useful therapy I could give him.
Here, Irwin unexpectedly broke in. “And, Bob, you’re going to be required to report regularly to Dr. Dare, so he can monitor your progress.”
I thought Irwin had attempted a tasteless jest. But he carried on, serious and stern, listing conditions of curfew, substance intake, a regime of therapy, “and absolute, unfettered cooperation with Dr. Dare.” I tapped Irwin on the shoulder, interrupting him, inviting him to join me in a whispered tête-à-tête.
“Did I agree to this?”
“Isn’t that what you suggested?”
“I didn’t offer
I hesitated to tell Irwin he might be getting on in years, his hearing failing.
“For God’s sake, Tim, don’t embarrass me.” That was said too loud; ears were straining to hear. Irwin lowered his voice.
“Who could be a better warden than you? Take him up on his challenge to prove himself. You can be well guarded during the interviews. Let me handle this.”
Irwin turned away, left me hanging. “I should mention that the Ministry of Health will have to charge for Dr. Dare’s services …”
“Just send me the bills,” said Grundy’s father – amiably, but he’d been watch-checking, toe-tapping: he had business elsewhere. Thelma Grundison remained immobile but for the occasional suck of a breath mint.
After we wrapped up, I glumly watched another exhibition of nudging and elbow-gripping. Grundy, not quite hidden by his well-wishers, pumped his fist.
Irwin insisted he’d done me a favour. “Damn it, Tim, you don’t even bill half your patients. You’re always complaining that you’re living on credit cards. Sock it to them, old boy.” I surrendered. Irwin had thought this out wisely, knew I would relent. He knows I’m fascinated by the criminal mind, by psychopathy. Indeed, I
curious to learn more about Grundy’s emotional mechanics.
However, most of his therapeutic time, at least during the summer, will be spent with Dr. Martha Wade, who has bravely volunteered to hold anger management sessions on weekends at The Tides. She’s primarily a juvenile psychologist – she’s worked with gangs – so she’s a good choice, considering her patient’s emotional age.
Martha has already met several times with Grundy and his family, and insists she has no concerns for her safety. She will stay overnight in a guest cottage, will have the run of the estate: the riding trails, the heated pool, the nine-hole pitch-and-putt. I’ve never been at The Tides but am curious to visit, to observe the pampered subject in his lair.
Grundy was released a few days later, in time to enrol in a summer-school course. My first post-release interview with
him was looming, and I was disturbed occasionally by images of Barbara Wiseman’s last moments.
In the meantime, my relationship with Sally had just blown apart, so I was in separation shock when Grundy came to my office to set up a schedule of appointments. Accompanying him – because I insisted I would not see him alone – was a young man who handled Grundison Incorporated office security, whose function now was babysitting his boss’s son. He was introduced as Lyall DeWitt. Tall, lithe, lighter than Grundy, his hair cropped short. I noted a judo-club emblem on his jacket.
I’d hired a temp to reorganize my files, but she was having difficulty, and the office seemed in more than its usual disarray. I ushered them to my less cluttered consulting room, a stuffy Edwardian space with subdued lighting and walls lined with books, curtained windows overlooking Fourth Avenue.
I asked Grundy how he was adjusting, and he said, “Great” and thanked me for having “faith” in him. His eyes were darting about, taking in the room, noting the back door, an exit to the fire escape and the alley.
After a brief comparing of calendars, it was agreed we would see each other alternate Thursday afternoons. I would continue to insist that Grundy be accompanied.
“I drive for Bob,” Lyall said. “I’ll be around.”
“You known each other long?”
“Ever since college.”
“How are you getting on with him?”
I couldn’t read Lyall: the sardonic lift of eyebrow might have expressed contempt for Grundy, for me, for the whole process. But it also might have been a confident message: I have matters well in hand. I hoped he was a black belt.
Before dismissing them, I had Grundy step outside the room so I could talk in confidence with DeWitt. “Do I understand you were college buddies?”
“Yeah, but it was kind of a locker-room thing. I was in phys. ed., he was a jock-of-all-trades. No big deal. He was rich, he had contacts.”
“And he connected you with Grundison Inc.”
“Sure, I got a good job out of it.”
A relationship more mercenary than intimate. “Tell me your honest feelings about him.”
“He’s a lamb.”
“Has he been making any threatening noises to anyone?”
“Don’t worry – I can handle him.”
I wanted to pursue this, but Grundy was waiting, maybe worrying that we were in deep conspiracy. Before seeing them off, I threw Grundy a question prompted by Barbara Wiseman’s notes – he’d accused her of prying into his mind, and I asked him why.
“That’s what psychiatrists do, isn’t it? I was just kidding, Dr. Dare.” (Translated: I wasn’t kidding.)
Barbara certainly hadn’t bought that:
His words were curt, but a moment later he covered up with a laugh, saying, “But I guess that’s your job. “
“Did she say something to prompt that response?”
“It was a long time ago, sir.” He shrugged. I didn’t pursue the matter, and he walked down the stairs with DeWitt.
Had Barbara been digging for something close to the gut? Sadly, she hadn’t transcribed her questions, and, like me, she wasn’t a believer in that intrusive device, the tape recorder (though I appreciate that yours is hidden, Allis). There had been other brusque reactions, particularly when the subject of the female gender was raised.
He wasn’t a willing patient; he’d been sent to Barbara by his family. Over the first three sessions, all her efforts to chip away at his barriers were futile.
She hadn’t got around to transcribing her notes for the fourth session – the day before she was murdered – and her notepad was never found. I suspect Grundy stole it, trashed it
after he ran past a desk under which the terrified receptionist was hiding, and escaped onto the street.
Now, observed from my second-floor window, he was striding with confidence, joking with his chauffeur as they jaywalked to a late-model minivan: black, with Playboy mud flaps. As Grundy opened the passenger door, he looked up at my window. I thought I saw a grin, but from the distance wasn’t sure.
The next night, returning from a training run to Point Grey, I saw a similar van – black, darkened windows – parked on Creekside Drive, near the homeport of the
. I slept fitfully, my brain cells tuned to be aware of any lurching of the boat, a heavy footfall.
Intuition serves us like a blind man’s dog, and I’ve since had a prickly sense Grundy was near, once in the shadows of night, then once during the day – I didn’t get a clean look; a man ducked into a shop doorway when I turned quickly.
I won’t be surprised, Allis, if you chalk these alleged sightings up to incipient Paranoid Personality Disorder. I’m slowly coming to the conviction that, yes, there is a plot to get me, and unseen hands are directing it. There exists a presumption against coincidence, so why would all my calamities be happening at the same time unless I’ve become the plaything of a jesting god who wants to drive Timothy Jason Dare insane?
How am I going to get through the next week? I have two court appearances. My mother’s libel trial begins, as well, and I should be there to help her face the wrath of Clinton W. Huff, the oversensitive mayor of Jackson Cove. Sally leaves for Europe on Tuesday.
Maybe I should take a Prozac. But I fear drugs, the curse of habit, of addiction.
There was, perhaps to be expected, some preliminary jousting – he had difficulty reconciling himself to his unaccustomed role as patient.
Date of Interview: Friday, July 25, 2003
Generally, Tim presented as less anxious and combative than earlier this week, and less frantic, but still garrulous. He was again unable to cope with the elevator, despite my advice that he undergo a deconditioning program.
I’ve suggested other tools, particularly self-hypnosis. Tim is adept at hypnosis, and has employed it with his patients, but for some reason he is disinclined to go that route, and one wonders how committed he is to search within himself.
“Look for the father” is often a reliable rule of therapy, but for some reason he shies from speaking of the man he calls Peter, a former medical student – whereabouts unknown. Tim is close to his mother, though, and fond of her.
Despite all, it appears he is maintaining a busy practice – he’s much in demand by the courts. He agrees this is a healthy way to sublimate his many concerns. He hasn’t had more sightings of anyone “following” him, and one hopes he has put such fears behind him.
We devoted most of our time to seeking the factors underlying Ms. Pascoe’s decision to separate from him. Some of those quickly became apparent, as in the following extract.
What kind of artist is she?
Brilliant. She’s just finished a series of portraits of people at their day-to-day tasks – quite revelatory. She does landscapes that Tom Thomson would have held in awe. Her perception intrigues me, I’ve never been able to comprehend the artistic gift. But mostly she earns her living as a children’s book illustrator. She does the Miriam series,
Miriam’s Funny Picnic, Miriam Goes to France
, ages five to eight. You can’t go into a bookstore without … well, maybe you don’t frequent the children’s section. There’s a therapeutic coincidence at work here, by the way – she wants children too. I’m afraid I’ll bequeath some of my neurotic tendencies, so that’s one of the hot-button topics. But the thing is, I’ve known her since early childhood, losing her is like a limb being chopped off, an appendage.
A limb …?
“I need to break out,” she said. “I need room to grow.” I moved out of our house, a bungalow in Kitsilano – you know that district? Anyway, now she has room to grow and I’m living on a boat at Fishermen’s Wharf. Foundering. I don’t know if she’s having an affair, and I can’t bear the thought.
You’re speeding, Tim. I’m trying to catch up.
You used the word
. Does that say anything to you?
That I …
A long pause here. Possessive of Ms. Pascoe, stifling her creativity?
All right, I threw that out loosely, but I get your point – I was taking her for granted. Doing so blithely, thoughtlessly.
Why do you think she spoke of needing room to grow?
Familiarity was a prison. We’d known each other since Grade
, for Christ’s sake. There’s more to it than that – I was a prison to her. She illustrated
Miriam Goes to France
without ever having been there. I’m phobic about flying. She wanted to travel; I kept her grounded …
“Maybe you have it backwards,” you said. “Maybe she kept
grounded.” Touché, Allis, you threw a perfect dart. Your point is proved. After Sally kicked me out of the nest, I flew wobbily out of control, and seem to have landed on my head. She insists the signs had been there for a year, a gradual deterioration, more frequent lapses, missed dates, forgotten episodes.
My speech patterns may have been a little disordered again today (I don’t think I’m better with you yet), so as I sit watching the gulls drift by outside the
, feeling more relaxed after our bout of therapy, let me put events in order. Go back with me a couple of weeks ago to the Pondicherry Restaurant …
As was customary, the chef, Nataraja, greeted my arrival with one of his Buddhist aphorisms: “Accept totally, acceptance is the path of understanding,” and with that, he levitated me to my regular table by the window. The Pondicherry is my favourite lair, where the spiritually correct chef (also owner and maître d’ of this six-table hole in the wall) guarantees his curry is organic, his cumin and cardamom ungenetically modified. I’m likely the most faithful of its meagre New Age clientele, and feel in a large way responsible for its survival among the trendier eateries of Fourth Avenue.
For perhaps the first time in recorded history, it was Sally, not I, who was late. She received my kiss with an oddly cautious reserve. Normally, she exudes the kind of perky energy one often finds in bantamweights. (Visualize a five-foot, mop-haired, thin-hipped Goldilocks whose sky-blue eyes seem in a constant state of astonishment. Thirty-four but you could mistake her for twenty-four.) Clearly, she hadn’t recovered from our spat the previous night, and her strained smile and the leeward tilt of her head, as when she is stressed and about to unburden herself, set
me worrying. (At this point, I was still labouring under the smug belief that I knew this woman as a Tennessee preacher knows his Bible. I’d been analyzing her for two decades.)