was standing at the psych ward’s intake desk before I realized I might not be insane.
“It’s that damn tonic, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Also it’s one hundred proof,” said Doc. “You get your money’s worth.”
The nurse tapped her pen. “A lot of you head cases talk to yourselves, but mostly you don’t walk yourselves in.”
“She can’t see you,” I said.
I think Doc grinned. It was hard to tell under all that mustache.
The nurse whistled for an orderly.
“Time to go,” I said.
“Let’s stay,” Doc said. “This will be fun.”
The orderly had no neck. His eyes were right between his clavicles.
“Big fella,” I said.
Doc kicked him in the testicles.
“Nice boots,” I said.
The orderly was lying on his side, gasping for air.
“I never touched him,” I told the nurse.
Three goons in white scrubs appeared and surrounded me. Doc leaned in and bit one on the ear. The goon whirled around, but saw no one.
The second goon swung at me, but Doc caught his arm in both hands and shoved. The goon stumbled.
“Don’t look at me,” I told the third. “I’m harmless.”
He took a step forward. Doc kicked him in the knee.
I held out my arms. “I’m all yours,” I said.
The four men were crab-walking away.
“Hey,” I said. “I’m a man who needs help.”
Doc pulled a silver flask from his hip pocket and emptied it on the linoleum.
“Doc?” I said.
He dug out a box of matches and lit one on his fly.
“Now we can go,” he said. He bent and ignited the whiskey.
“Thank you, ma’am,” I told the nurse.
We walked out onto Marengo.