Life in a Dictionary’s Asylum©

The Scream by Edvard Mauch

Note to the Reader — the story below is a completed short story.  I am now writing it into a full novel.  Unfortunately, the index does not appear the way it should, which should be two columns.  

Life in a Dictionary’s Asylum

A Novel


Jo Ann Rodriquez




     Jules Reimer kept a secret until he died in 1982. He was a writer, but this was not the secret. Reimer, a member of The Group, a small assembly of writers loyal to formulating and rediscovering “constraining forms,” continued designing methods that served as a stimulus to his personal creativity.  When Reimer died, Joel Carrasquillo, his beneficiary found various papers, notes, and plans for a new book. Joel brought the papers to me and asked me to help him piece together his friend’s book. I was surprised to find only twelve pages of text and an index.  The constraint he created for himself was to randomly choose words from a dictionary.  The definitions of the words selected would help create the situations that occur in the story.  Each chapter also required six quotations from The Oxford Dictionary, two macrobiotic recipes, and one classical mythology.  The mythologies would, in some way, reflect one of the characters’ real or unreal stories.     

     According to his notes, Reimer intended to write a story about a man named Frank Santise who visits his aunt, Madam Anne-Louis Le Nain, in a mental asylum, and gets lost trying to find her.  The selection of a mental asylum incorporates the world of illusion and reality; therefore it is appropriate to Santise’s encounters.  Frank Santise, a man of 50 years, is a writer and researcher, who rediscovers himself in an environment where the mentally wounded live.  While Santise searches for his aunt, he meets many patients with various delusions that include the past and present of real and unreal events.  What is true is never really meant to be determined by Santise, merely exposed.  Reimer also decided to write the index first, and write the story according to the form of the index. 

     Reimer’s usage of literary constraints has enabled him to create more from the constraint than to be limited by the conventional forms of writing.  Reimer’s view was that if you created rules for yourself then the rules would force you to be more imaginative, the limitations working for you instead of against you. Examples of his work are, A Building’s Conundrum, in which an apartment complex fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, mixing the past and present lives of the tenants; thirty-two books of short stories and numerous journals. Reimer’s works were never published.

     Therefore, it is a surprise to us that Reimer continued in this vein until his death and never shared his work through publication. As readers, it is our loss.

                                 The Editor, and Friend



The Visit

      The dream. It is something he knows he must discuss with his friend and advisor, Dr. Mermault, but on this day, Frank is to meet with his Aunt Anne.  As much as Frank would like to cancel his visit, he knows that he promised his aunt that he would visit her and keep her company all day.  It is one of those obligations that a loved one has for a member of the family.  And although his visits should not be an obligation, it should come from the love of his heart, Frank knows that that is not true.  Frank Santise is fifty years old, although he appears younger.  He is five feet eleven inches tall, and slender with a strong physique.  He does not exercise except for the occasional long walks through the park.  He wears his graying hair parted on the left side.  He still has a lot of hair and luckily never inherited the family condition of the men in the family who lost their hair early in life.  Frank has a habit of rubbing behind his left ear when he becomes nervous, as he is doing now while packing to visit his aunt.

     The Gericault Asylum is 241.5 kilometers from his home in Orleans.  He dutifully packs all of his necessities just in case the visit will require him to sleep overnight in Clermont-Ferrand as it has in the past.  Frank will take the train as he has for the last fifteen years. 

     The asylum, a term that is not used today as it once often was, sits 4.83 kilometers from the train station.  The taxicab from the train station takes him to the gate of the Gericault Asylum.  The fragrant hospital grounds always makes Frank dizzy with luscious thoughts of his childhood.  The fragrance reaches far beyond the entrance to the building.  It is a scent Frank finds evanescent. 

     The grounds are beautifully manicured and behind the trees sit an obscure building that average passersby would not realize is an asylum if they were not aware of it.  It looks like a large mansion with two pillars.  There are three walkways that lead to the rounded arches.  Beside each walkway there is a garden.  The far left and far right gardens contain oaks, birch, alder, and maple trees.  The inside left garden have herbal plants with a scent of parsley, thyme, and aloe.   The inside right garden grows roses, irises, chrysanthemums, tulips, holly, and blackthorn with little elderberries. Any of the three walkways leading to the main entrance is a choice of pleasure in nature’s gift to our earth.  Today, Frank chooses the right lane.

     Frank opens the heavy blonde oak door and announces himself to Madam Conair.  She signs him in and Frank asks if he could he leave his dark brown leather satchel next to her desk.  She assures him she will watch it for him, and directs him to Madam Le Nain’s doctor.  It is customary to first talk to the patient’s doctor so that the visitor is prepared for whatever may occur in one’s visit.  Walking across the foyer, he admires the large wrought iron spiraled staircase leading to the mezzanine converted into a vast library.  Frank stands on the Kirman rug which occupies a substantial portion of the foyer; it is a Persian rug with pastel colors of green, purple, blue, and yellow.  In the center, there is a medallion design, with an ornately patterned border.  The rug has always impressed Frank, because he has never seen work so intricately patterned and designed, even during his travel to India.  Many times Frank meant to ask the doctor where the hospital acquired the rug.  But just as many times, he leaves without asking.

     Close to the left-hand corner of the hallway leading to Dr. Claude Poussin’s office is a brass jardinière containing a Chinese evergreen plant.  Frank rubs a leaf between his thumb and first finger, a habit he started in the last few years without ever really knowing why.  He knocks on Dr. Poussin’s door.

     “Come in.”

     “Bonjour, Dr. Poussin.  It is I, Monsieur Santise.  I have come to visit my aunt.  How are you this morning?”

     “Oh, very well, thank you.  How was your train ride up here?  Glorious, I assume, as you’ve always describe it.”

     “Yes. Yes.  Dr. Poussin, how is my aunt these days?”

     “Well, as can be expected.  There has not been any significant change in her health.  As you know, she likes to wander upon the grounds and smell the flowers not ever saying very much.  But she looks forward to your visit.  I told her you were coming.  You are her only visitor these days, you know.”

     “Yes.  Our family has never been very close and her sister lives way up north.  It has always been difficult for Ilean to come down and visit her.  But she keeps promising and one day, she will surprise us all.”

     Outside of the office, there is a loud commotion.  Frank looks at the doctor questioningly, Dr. Poussin shrugs his shoulders and gets up from his chair and both men approach the door.  They step outside and a patient is being strapped into a strait jacket.  As the orderlies fasten the ties, Frank repeats an adage They that make of his creed a strait jacket for humanity.  Dr. Poussin looks at Frank and asks him what he said since he could barely hear him.      

     “Oh, nothing.  I was just thinking out loud.”

     Dr. Poussin directs the orderlies to take the patient to the holding room.  “I am sorry you had to witness this, Monsieur Santise.  This is not a customary occurrence, but there are times when patients need to be restrained.”

     “Yes.  I understand.  Where is my aunt?  May I go visit her now?

     “Of course, but I hoped we could discuss her progress and…”

     “Can we do that later?  Right now, I would like to see her.”

     “Of course, of course.  I will have one of the nurses show you where she is.”

     “Excuse me, but unless her room has changed, I know where she is.”

     “Then, Monsieur, by all means.  Just make sure you stop by later so we can discuss her condition.”

     “I will make sure that I do, Doctor.”

     Frank walks away from Dr. Poussin, the orderlies, and the patient that is being strapped into the jacket.  He stops and turns around to look at the men struggling with the patient, while Dr. Poussin gives instructions to the orderlies of where they will keep the patient until he calms down.  Frank sadly nods his head a few times and rubs behind his ear. 

     He continues to walk to his aunt’s room that is on the third floor.  Some of the doors are closed with padlocks, and others are opened.  The opened rooms contain patients sitting, staring at the wall, or talking to themselves.  The last time Frank visited his Aunt Anne, it was the Holy Day of Obligation.  He promised himself never to visit on the Holy Day of Obligation; it only made Frank feel guiltier because it reminds him that his primary motivation in visiting his aunt is based on obligation.  Also, on those days his aunt would remind Frank about the family and how no one ever visits her, except him, of course.  And that makes her wonder because she thinks he only visits her out of guilt, and not love.  Frank reaches Aunt Anne’ door, and she is sitting down by the window crocheting.


          Be to her virtues very kind;

                  Be to her faults a little blind;

                  Let all her ways be unconfined;

                  And clap your padlock on her mind.

     When Frank enters the room, he places his hand on his aunt’s shoulder.  Startled, she turns around.

     “It is I, Frank.”

     He kisses her once on each side of her cheek and then takes her hand and kisses it.  She resumes crocheting.  Her expression is one of longanimity.  Frank cannot help himself, and swallows the lump he feels in his throat. 

     “Aunt Anne, how are you this morning?”

     She does not answer him.  She stops crocheting and places the ruffled doily in her tapestry case. She gets up and walks to the closet and puts it away. 

     “Aunt Anne, are you not speaking to me today?”

     “Hmuh.  Pardon me Frank, but I have to go to the toilette.”

     “Oh, yes.  I will wait for you; perhaps we can go for a walk in the garden.”

     His aunt leaves Frank in the room perusing her crochet magazines.  He waits five minutes and starts pacing about the room.  He peeks his head out the door and into the hallway.  There is no sign of his aunt.  Frank waits another five minutes.  He decides to look for her.  When he approaches the woman’s toilette, he asks one of the nurses to check and see if his aunt is inside.  After a few seconds, she returns and says no one is inside.  Frank becomes a little nervous.  He thanks the nurse and retreats to his aunt’s room.  He waits another fifteen minutes, but his aunt does not return.  Exasperated and concerned, Frank starts to search for his aunt when he runs into a patient named Anais.  Frank nods his head to acknowledge her, but she grabs his arm.

     “Bonjour, Monsieur.”

     “Bonjour, Mademoiselle.”

     “Monsieur, Monsieur, help me, please.”


     “Take me with you.  I’ll do anything you ask, just take me with you.  They want to sterilize me, but I want to have babies.”

     “Mademoiselle?!  I . . . am here only to visit my aunt.  You are confusing me with someone else.”

     “No!  This is my chance to escape, but I need your help to get off the camp.  You can take me in your red Renault, I saw it through my window.”

     “Mademoiselle.  I took a train here.  I do not have a car.”

     “Monsieur, I will do anything you ask.”

     Anais coyly looks up at Frank and starts to untie her robe. 

     “The soldiers here say I am very good.  I can give you much pleasure.”

     Chagrined, Frank looks around and he is alone with the woman.  He clears his throat and asks her.

     “Mademoiselle, what is your name?”

     “Anais.  What is yours?”

     “Frank.  Anais, you have mistaken me for someone else.  I cannot help you out of here.  I am very sorry.”

     “But, you must Frank.  Don’t you see the soldiers outside?  The doctors here in this camp want to sterilize me, they’ll do anything the Fuhrer asks.  He wants all women to be sterilized.  The other prisoners have told me so.  All the women know!  I can make you very, very happy.  I can do tricks with my tongue upon your manhood.  Ask any soldier.”

     “Well, what a ruttish offer, but it is not necessary.  May I make a suggestion?”

     “Anything you say, Frank.”

     “Go down the hallway and down the stairs where you will find my chauffeur waiting in my car.  Tell him that I sent you to wait for me.”

     “Oh, thank you, thank you.  I will repay you, sir, you will see.”

     When Anais runs down the hallway, Frank runs in the other direction and wipes his brow with his handkerchief, followed with a swift rub behind his left ear.  A smile crosses his face, and he starts to laugh.  Oh, my God.  Where is my aunt?  Frank continues to walk down the east hallway in the opposite direction from Anais.  As Frank approaches the door of the elevator, he sees a man strapped into a wheelchair.  The man is silent and appears defeated.  What a strange place The Gericault Asylum is.  The man’s forlorn expression reminds Frank of a premonition he once experienced.

                           

    He is getting off an airplane in mid-winter.  There are people in the airport walking around him wearing overcoats, scarves, and mittens.  Some people even wear earmuffs to keep their ears warm from the winter chill.  Yet, Frank is dressed in olive green gabardine slacks, a light brown shirt with the collar open, and a sports jacket.  He carries no luggage and has no idea where the plane has landed.  He just remembers arriving at an airport, bewildered and confused.  Frank hears his name announced over a loudspeaker and he starts to feel perspiration beading upon his upper lip.  Frank runs to the desk to let them know that he will take the phone call.  The woman at the desk continues to announce Frank’ name, yet no matter how many times he tells her that he will take the call, she acts as though he’s not even there.  Frank reaches for her hand, and all of a sudden he is in the hospital with his father who is dying.  Frank awakens from his dream shaking and immediately calls his father.  That is when he is informed that his father died the same night he has the dream. 

     The man who sits in the wheelchair starts to cry, and Frank turns to him. 

      It was not long ago when Juan was in the United States and a student at a university in New York.  There were signs then, although he never could figure out why he had the fits of temper.  Juan only knew they would come and go quickly.  Sometimes when Juan became angry with his wife, she would tell him that he should be committed to Bellevue for the insane.  And that if he did not stop behaving so erratic, that she will one day commit him herself.  Juan never believed her.  Not until late one evening and they were in Brooklyn on their way to the subway when she announced to Juan that she was leaving him.  Juan became so angry that he put his hand through the glass of a bar window.  Then he threw himself in the middle of the street in front of the traffic, and yelled that he would rather die than live without her.  Juan’s wife, scared and confused, tells him that she will not leave him. 

     Instead, two days later while she is at work, a man comes to the door and knocks at his apartment door.

     “Who is it?”

     “I have a delivery for Juan Robertin.”

     “Just a minute.”

     “Are you Juan Robertin?”

     “Yes.  Who are you, what do you want?”

     “This is for you.”  The man hands Juan a paper. Juan unfolds the paper and reads the restraining order.  If he comes near his wife again, he will be arrested. 

     Juan closes the door, goes into his bedroom and looks inside the closet.  His wife’s clothes are all gone.  Juan packs his own clothes and leaves the apartment for good.  Angry, he takes the train to 34th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, where he borders a bus to the airport and leaves for France.  Juan left in the middle of a school year.  He only has one year to graduate, but he could not stay in New York, not after being served a restraining order.  Juan knew that unless he left United States, he will go after his wife, and in fit of anger, perhaps kill her. 

     Juan’s demons followed him to France, but he was able to immerse himself in his studies at the American University in Paris.  He graduated with honors, and pursued a career as a public accountant.  Until one day, when Juan found himself atop of his roof screaming obscenities.  The police came and arrested him.  During his court appearance, Juan attacks the police in the court room and he is committed to observation at the Gericault Asylum.  Now Juan sits in a chair, crying, strapped into a wheelchair.  His requests for a habeas corpus from the United States remain unanswered. If only someone can come to Juan’s defense and question the validity of his imprisonment, he could see the gates of his confinement opened.

                           

     Frank walks down the hall and turns another corner.  There is a woman with two children.  The woman is in a room talking with an older woman, and the two young boys come running out of the room and run into Frank.  One boy holds a small caravel, a replica of the Santa Maria ship of 1492.  Frank is just able to avoid the boy running into his legs and possibly damaging the caravel. 

     “There, there young man, be careful.  Otherwise, you will break your little Santa Maria.”

     “I’m sorry, Monsieur.  How do you know the name of my ship?”

     “When I was a boy of your age, I had a ship collection of my own.”


     “Yes.  I had quite a collection.  Let me see, I had the Germanic rowing boat, a dugout, a trireme, a Viking ship, a cog, a caravel just like yours, and those were only a part of my historical ships.”


     “I even built little ships of my own.”

     “Really, how?  Can I see them?”

     “Unfortunately, no, I don’t have the collection anymore.  But, there was a time when I spent many hours when I would paint the futtock of a ship.  It was very time consuming because it had to be perfect, you see.”

     “What is a fut . . . what was that word you used?”

     “A futtock is a rib in the frame of a ship, just like the Santa Maria has.  See how the curve of the ship from the stern to the rudder is shaped?  Each plank of wood is a part of the rib, and it is called a futtock because it is curved.”

     The boy’s mother calls to them.

     “Ah, you better go back now.  Your mother is calling you.”

     “Ohhh.  Can’t you show me some more?  Please.”

     The mother comes out of the room and tells the boys to come back into the room.  She apologizes to Frank for the boys bothering him.  Frank waves his hand at her and tells her they were no bother at all.  He enjoyed their short conversation.  She thanks him and the boys follow her.  The boy with the ship in his hands waves good-bye to Frank.

     Frank stands there for another minute while he smiles to himself.  Then he suddenly remembers that he has to find his aunt.  Where is that woman? Frank walks outside of the building to see if she smells the flowers like the doctor told him she often likes to do.  Frank walks to the elevator and goes to the first floor and walks outside.  He takes the center walkway, admiring the flowers on both sides of him.  There is a woman in a wheelchair, grimacing with obvious pain.  A nurse is giving her, what Frank assumes to be a painkiller and some water.  He nods acknowledgement of their presence as he passes them and continues to search for his aunt.

     A male patient runs up to him.

     “Bonjour, Monsieur.  Say hello to Gigi.”


     “Yes, my pet.”

     “Your pet?  Where is it?”

     “Right here, in my hand, Monsieur.  Are you blind?”

     “Excuse me?”

     “What, are you blind and deaf?”

     “Je vous demande pardon, Monsieur, but I do not see any pet.”

     “Here, in my hand.  The next thing you will tell me is that I am imagining things like my sister says.”

     “Okay, Monsieur.  That is a lovely . . . bird in your hand.”



     “A cat?  Does this look like a cat to you?  Cats are monsters!”

     “Oh.  Well then, why don’t you tell me what it is.”

     “My house mouse.  I brought her with me when I came to live here at this hotel.”

     “Ah.  It’s a beautiful house . . . mouse.”

     “Isn’t she lovely.  My Gigi.  My beautiful little Gigi.”

     The man abruptly turns from Frank and walks back from where he came leaving Frank perplexed and laughing to himself.  What kind of people do they incarcerate here?  I cannot believe this.  Where in heaven’s name is my aunt?  If I do not find her soon, I shall go mad and have to check myself into this, this place. 

     Frank continues walking; nodding his head noticing how fragile anyone is capable of becoming.  This is the porcelain of humankind.  He is afraid of saying anything to anyone since he does not know what mental illness each person suffers from.  Some people are allowed to walk freely among the grounds; others are padlocked in their rooms.  Others scream, or are held in strait jackets.  There have been times Frank’ questioned his own sanity.  He remembers when he was young and heard about his aunt from his mother and father.  “Anne-Louis checked herself into the sanitarium for depression,” or “Anne-Louis tried to commit suicide several times in her youth.”  There were times when Anne-Louis would shrill in the middle of the night, waking everyone up in the house.  Frank was a young boy then, but he remembers those nights well.  Frank walks all the way to the entrance of the estate and still cannot find his aunt.  He turns toward his left and walks around the building and sees people walking about, nurses and doctors at lunch sitting on the ground as if having a picnic.  It is the only time they can have any solace of their reality for a little while.  Frank enters the building from behind and passes the main entrance and goes back to his aunt’s room in case she has returned.  Before Frank reaches her room a man is walking toward him with a cane in his left hand. 

     “Bonjour, Monsieur.”

     “Bonjour.”  Frank tries to walk away, hoping the man will leave him alone.  The man stops right in front of Frank and does not allow him to pass.  Frank steps to the right, the man steps in front of him.  Frank steps to his left, and the man steps in front of him.  Frank takes a deep breath and says, “Pardon.”  The man does not move.  Again, Frank tries to go to his left, and again the man steps in front of him. 

     “Monsieur, I want to share something with you.”

     “Oh.  What is that Monsieur?”

     “The other day, I started to take a walk in the garden outside.”

     “Outside of the hospital?”

     “Of course, Monsieur.  Where do you think we are?”

     “In a hospital, but I was not sure if you . . . never mind.”

     “As I was saying, I was walking around the garden when it occurred to me, that this place resembles another place very special to my heart.  It is a site where people are all different colors, but no one notices.  A place, where there are many children, women, and men.  There are no doctors, hospitals, cars, or for that matter, industry.  The people are food gatherers.  There are vibrant colored flowers, and gardens.  For many miles before your eyes can see, there are rows and rows of wheat and bright cornfields.  When I take my walk, there is a very high hill that most people do not like to climb because they do not want to see what is on the other side.  But, as the clouds hover over the hill, I can hear music bellowing from behind, I can hear the sound of the violin accompanied by a piano, playing Strauss’s Sonata Op 18. I walk to the very top of the hill.

     The fields furnish plush lilacs, amidst yellow magnolia trees.  There is a breeze that envelops me with a warm soft brush of comfort.  It feels safe and the atmosphere is one of love and acceptance.  I walk toward a large, what appears to be a home.  I can only assume that it must be spacious inside.  There are windows with deep purple silk curtains behind them.  When I reach the door, a pink light illuminates the hall.  There are several doors, all closed.  I wonder which one I shall open.  Tell me, Monsieur, have you ever been to Xanadu?”

     “I have my own Xanadu,” as the thoughts of his own reverie surface.  “But, yours sounds absolutely ravishing.”

     “Thank you.  It’s where I use to live before I came here, you know.”

     “Really?  How long have you been here?”

     “Oh, not too long.  They think I’m crazy.”

     “Who does?”

     “Why, my family.  They committed me.” 

     “I’m sorry to hear that.”

     “And the doctors of course, but they think everyone is crazy.  Be careful Monsieur, they may mistake you for one of us.”

     “Thank you for your advice, I will be careful.”

     “Oh, I better go now, here comes the nurse.  They don’t like us to talk to visitors.  They think we’ll scare them away.  Do I scare you, Monsieur?”

     “Not in the least.”

     “Well, then.  Please come again and I’ll give you an entire tour of my room, and I’ll introduce you to my friends.”

     “I will.  Thank you.”

     “Good day, Monsieur.”

     “Good day.”

     The nurse passes by and Frank resumes walking through the hallway.  He peeks into every open room door, searching for his aunt.  Why she continues to elude him perplexes Frank.  As he walks to the next corridor, there is a sign at the end of the hallway that says, “ONLY EMPLOYEES AND GUESTS WITH PERMITS ALLOWED”.  Frank stops walking when a sweet scent with a light wave of smoke crosses his path.  He turns to the left corridor and the first door to the right a very old man is sitting on his bed staring at the wall.  There is only a bed, a dresser with no mirror, a small table and a chair.  On the walls there are posters of different trees.  On the table next to the bed is a small metal container with a dome shape cover the incense burns inside.  Frank knocks on the open door, the old man pays no attention to him. 

     “Pardon Monsieur, but I cannot help noticing that sweet aroma.  I had to find out where it was coming from.”

     The old man does not reply.

     “I admire your posters.  I use to see trees like that in the South of France during my travel.” 

     Frank points to a poster above the chair.  The poster is of a tree with a little boy engraving a heart.  The old man sits and stares, ignoring Frank.  Frank slowly and awkwardly enters the room.

     “Monsieur, if I am bothering you, please let me know and I will leave you alone.”

     No answer.

     “Well, do you mind if I look at the posters a little longer?”

     No answer.

     “I can only assume that it is all right and I have your permission.”

     No answer.

     The patient’s silence was only on the outside because inside, the patient, whose name is Jacques Mitterand, was controlling a fight. The fight started many years ago.

    

     Jacques Mitterand was a farmer with chickens, geese, rabbits, hens that he sold on the road. Like a merchant with a cart in the city streets of Paris, Jacques sold the eggs from his chickens to the stores in the town and to the butcher he sold his chickens, alive because Jacques could not stomach killing his animals. Whenever an animal did die, Jacques would take it and bury it under a large tree that he climbed as a child. Now that he is 56 years old, the tree still stands strong and boldly, but Jacques became less lucid.

     Jacques has a wife and three children, his mother and father still live with the family. He was responsible for everyone. He was the sole provider for his entire family.



Adventure, 17

Advance, FG career, 42, 98, 132

Affenpinscher, 322

Azra, FG vacation, 19, 44

Airlift, war troops, 89

Aisne, river canoe trip, 58

Albite, 99

Aldershot, FG research 190;              meets fiancJe, 190

Alidade, indicating measurement,    123

Amiens, FG birthplace, 105

Andvari, a dwarf, 301


Bile duct, 33

Birth, FG 104

Bloodmobile, 333

Brisance, Somme factory explo-         sion, 234; energy re-    lease, 233

Brown, John, American      abolitionist, 288

Brueghal, 164

Bulletproof, 356

Burgonet, encounter with patient,    285; helmet, 286


Capitalize, FG investment, 192

Caprylic Acid, FG diet, 13

Cataclysm, Madam Le Nain, 12;

                FG family history, 16

Cenacle, FG writers group, 99,          123, 191, 356

Chameleon, 44

Chase, Mary Ellen, 122

Chuvash, FG travel, 121

Civil Rights, hospital, 11

Cleat, 3 

Clerical collar, 91

Compound, scientist, 301

Conference, psychiatrist meeting,    11; Madam Le Nain, 42

Conspiracy, patient psychosis,         353; tries to escape, 355

Crematorium, Madam Le Nain’s     husband, 23; Auschwitz     25


Dazzle, FG overwhelmed, 57

Deaminase, nutrition, 191;                enzymes, 191

Decoy, wildfowl, 58

Della Robbia, Luca, Italian               sculptor, 311

Dickens, Charles, 444

Diphthong, speech writer, 47

Dover, FG visit, 324

Dream, FG prelude to aunt’s visit, 1; psychiatrist          discuss, 16; premonition,   5

Drill, army, 284

Duple, FG musical critique 77;

                education, 189


Earldom, patient rank, 299

Ectopia, congenital affliction, 36;

                FG discusses patient, 38

Edition, FG discusses, 191; censored in China, 192

Eject, 22

Effusive, patient 300

Einsteinium, thermonuclear explosion, 413; patient    witness, 425 

Elfheim, home of the elves, 299

Embroidery, aunt’s hobby, 319;

                London shop, 200.

Emissivity, radiation, 33

Empedocles, 89

Enmity, 66

Entrepreneur, FG father opens shop, 66; 15th anni –   versery, 69

Ermine, 55

Erysipelas, patient disease, 400;

                FG shocked, 400

Everett, FG visit to Massachusetts, 288

Excrescent, patient 401

Expatriate, FG grandfather, 68; grandfather arrives in                France, 59

Exteroceptor, sense organ, 388;

                shock treatment erases, 390


Farmington Hills, FG visit to Michigan, 292

Fasten, straight jacket, 4;

FG witnesses patient, 5

Fauna, 11

Fighting chair, FG deep sea fishing trip, 409

Flashback, patient 372

Florida, 409

Flower child, patient dreams, 354; FG writes, 356

Flyblow, patient imagines to be,       409

Fragrant, hospital grounds, 1

Franciscan, FG elementary                school, 18

Fulsome, patient with Turret Syndrome, 415

Futtock, FG ship collection, 6


Gansu, FG researches province, 133

Garcia Lorca, Federico, writer, 91

Gastric ulcer, FG visits doctor, 188;operation discussed, 189

Geodesic dome, 422

Gericault Asylum, The, 1, 4, 5, 11, 79, 353, 401, 415,

Gherardini, Lisa, FG wife, 190; can’t have children, 203; family background, 208; education in painting in Paris, 222; has exhibit, 224; receives bad re-views, 225; has nervous breakdown, 228; separates from FG, 230; re-turns to FG, 234; refuses to travel with FG, 58

Ghost, patient sees, 501;    convinces FG to escape,     503

Gladiator, patient, 79

Glucoside, FG visits nutrition conference on, 15

Golconda, FG great-grandfather convinced to excavate, 62

Gore, 511

Gorgun, Esther, FG mother, 62; meets husband, 67; has illegal abortion, 71; tries suicide, 72; writes poems, 76; first published, 78; travels to America, 78; has FG after third miscarriage, 81; dies in hospital, 88

Gorgun, Frank, birthplace, 105;  education, 106-107;                 travel, 19, 44, 58; moves to  America, 69;     lives in London, 75; drug addiction, 77; meets           Lisa Gherardini, 190; completes first novel,   192; wins first of many awards, 189; meets Georges  Perec, 176; starts writers group,             177;vaca-tions in Aisne, 58; starts visiting     therapist, 192; traces family history, 191       Gorgun, Theodore, FG father, 93; meets wife,        67; has extramarital affair, 96; invests in      property, 99; starts small publishing company,             109; visits Paris for first time, 110; dies in         accident, 115 Greek revival, FG writes about                U.S. popular architecture, 529


Habeas corpus, 5

Half-brother, 17

Hampshire, 22

Haute, FG considered, 39

Hemialgia, patient, 431

Holy day of obligation, Madam Le Nain’s belief, 4

House mouse, patient imagines, 8

Hump, patient rides, 10


Idle wheel, patient invents, 13

Ignominious, FG aunt’s shame, 97

Impulse, FG decision, 100

Incarcerate, 8

Indurate, FG grandfather, 46

Inertial frame, Newtonian law of motion, 56

In-house, training, 9

Institutional, FG educational theory, 106

Interstellar, patient builds rocket      ship, 488

Intubate, patient suffers, 380

Invasion, German invasion, 89

Iridium, patient thinks he   discovers, 328

Italophobe, patient fears Italians,    60


Jardiniere, 3

Jib, 97

Jingles, patient sings, 56

Juggernaut, patient’s devotion to      the Aryan Nation, 431


Kapellmeister, hospital choir             master, 39

Keloid, patient, 499

Kirman, rug in hospital foyer, 2

Kombu, FG nutrition, 13


Lachrymal, 88

Lavabo, ceremonial handwashing in Notre Dame Church, 116

Lawyer, 9

Le Nain, Anne-Louis, Madam, 3, FG visits, 1; hides from FG, 8; refuses to surface, 9; married to FG uncle, 38; tries suicide, 59; hallucinates dragons, 33; institutionalized by husband, 2; found by FG 521

Legacy, 81

Leukoderma, M. Jackson, 473

Limerick, patient recites, 16

Lobotomize, 286

Longanimity, Madam Le Nain’s      face, 4

Lumpenproletariat, Karl Marx, 19

Lysenkoism, patient believes doctrine, 96


Magician, 56

Manet, Edouard, 78

Masters, Edgar Lee, poet, 432

Methicillin, patient takes, 355


Neo-Malthusianism, control of population growth, 400

Netherworld, patient is in, 477

Now o’er the one half-world…, 501


Obstreperous, patient, 65

Occultism, patient, 70

Oh may I join the choir invisible…, 39

Outer planet, patient visits outer space, 333


Padlock, hospital doors, 4

Painkiller, 7

Panama City, FG travels, 44

Phaethon, 50

Phonom Penh, patient, 51

Point me out the way…, 44

Porcelain, 8

Poussin, Claude Dr., Madam Le Nain’s psychiatrist, 3


Quartan, 80

Quartz glass, 84

Quinquennium, FG every five year obsession, 279


Randers, 60

Rapallo, 90

Rataplan, patient’s tattoo of gunfire, 87

Recruit, 9

Reveille, FG father’s army days, 110

Roanoke Island, 200

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 30

Ruttish, patient, 4


Sabbatical year, professor commits himself, 50

Schelling, Friedrich Wilheim, Joseph von, German idealist, 95

Shrill, 8

Sienna, canvas, 388

Snollygoster, patient, 84

Songwriter, patient, 430


Tacamahac, patient, 11

Telemetry, 133

Teleology, 500


Ultrasonozraphy, ultrasound, 333

Urbanist, 321


Vagabond, FG accused of being,     72

Vancouver Island, 420

Vasectomy, 67

Verismo, patient’s artistic movement, 440


Watershed, FG turning point in finding his aunt, 500

Wedeln, FG skiing expedition, 300

Wernicke’s Encephalopathy, patient, 460


Xanadu, dreams, 8, 9


Yearbook, 490

Yellow journalism, news of Madam Le Nain appears, 116


Zen Buddism, 510

Zephyr, 356

Zugzwang, chess game move, 511

Zunian, 502


Written by Jo-Ann Rodriquez

All rights reserved. No part of the short stories may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” and email to

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