Fic: They Said He Was Depressed 2/5
Beta assist: Thank you, Sandra in Seattle
Subject info: Keller survives the fall in Season 6.
Feedback: Always nice
They Said He Was Depressed 2
Chris arrived back at the prison by way of a navy colored prison van with 'Department of Corrections' written in yellow lettering on the sides. He had the van all to himself,that was all except the driver and Officer Sean Murphy. Earlier that morning, Murphy had been waiting outside the psychiatrist's office when he finished his session with Dr. Strickland. Chris had already been handcuffed and had changed into his "Em City" uniform after his morning shower. They locked eyes and Chris said "Hiya, Officer Murphy."
"You don't have amnesia, you liar!" Sean said accusingly. "You remember who I am!"
Chris, put his right hand over his heart and innocently said, "No, it's on your name tag. Officer Sean Murphy." He said as he pointed to the C.O.'s left shirt pocket. It seemed like some people believed him and some didn't.
Murphy wasn't sure whether he was one who did. But it was very clear to him that Chris was much weaker than the last time he had seen him. He had lost some weight during the hospital stay and due to inactivity, he had lost some of his muscle tone. Against his better judgment and training, he decided not to use the leg irons for the trip 'home'. Chris was quiet on the way back but he was very engrossed in the scenery outside the windows. He had asked permission to use some of the other seats so he could see both sides of the road.
"Officer Murphy? Do ya mind if I sit on the other side?"
"Well, jeez. Look out there man. Half of this shit wasn't there before. And I can see more on that side. Look, there, there." His long finger pointed to a new business. "See...that Harley shop! That's new." A lot had changed since the last time he was escorted down this route. Murphy kept a close eye on him, knowing deep in his gut he wasn't going to try and do anything stupid.
As the bus stopped at the light, the three men read the sign advertising new motorcycles:
New models include a completely redesigned XL Sportster family and a new VRSCB V-Rod power cruiser, which complements the VRSCA V-Rod.
The three men looked at each other and started laughing. Laughing at things only men understand. It was a guy thing induced from testosterone.
Officer Murphy quickly processed Chris into Oz. Chris saw Arif standing close by when he was given his provisions of linens, toilet paper, towels, baby powder and soap.
"Officer Murphy, let me help. I'll take his things to his pod." Arif looked back and forth between the C.O. and Keller. Arif felt sorry for Keller even though he believed what the Koran said about homosexuality. He never had any personal dealings with the man, knew him by his reputation only. Said never liked him and had said so on many occasions. But it had always been in reference to Beecher, and Arif wasn't particularly fond of Beecher. After the death of Said, he swore to Allah he would help others in need. He wasn't sure if he could keep this promise, but he was going to try. And in this case he was going out of his way because it was going to be a test of his faith. And you had to start somewhere. He couldn't imagine what it must feel like, not to remember different events and people in your life. Things that made you the man you are today. 'It's no loss not remembering Schillinger. If his memories do come back, I hope that one stays buried deep, just like Schillinger is today."
"Well, it's ok with me if it's ok with you, Keller."
"Sure, I guess so." Keller looked directly into Arif's eyes, looking for something but he didn't know what he was looking for. He looked at Murphy for some type of answer, some validation of something, anything. But nothing was offered.
Officer Murphy accompanied Chris to see the Man Up the Stairs. The door to Tim McManus's office was open.
Murphy said, "Tim, you want me to stay or go?" He removed the handcuffs from Chris.
"Stay Sean. Well, look what you got me for my birthday. My very own wind up Christopher Keller doll! And you got me the right one. The 98K514 model. Sean, how will I ever repay you?" Tim leaned back in his chair and motioned for the guard to bring Chris in. Tim and Sean locked eyes and Chris felt the energy in the room change. 'I'm sensing something between these two. This ought to be interesting.'
"You didn't know that today was my birthday, did you Keller?"
"Don't look at me to blow you...out." Chris said without any hint of emotion on his face. 'What a strange man, weird sense of humor. The goatee's gotta go.'
"Oh, in a good mood are we? I suppose you still want to be in Beecher's pod? I'm not sure if that's a good idea, but Querns okayed it. But somehow things are always a lot quieter around here when the two of you are together instead of apart." McManus and Murphy glanced at each other as he said it.
"I don't know why I let myself be talked into these things. It's a shame none of us got the chance to see Beecher playing lawyer in court. I bet he was like poetry in motion. See, Beecher wants you back, I don't understand it." He said the last part as he was rubbing his face with his right hand so it came out like mumbling. Murphy understood mumblings by McManus, but Chris had no idea what the man was referring to.
"Do you have something for me?" Tim stretched his hand out, waiting for Chris to hand him the discharge summary for the file.
"What?" Chris asked after a short period of silence while Tim sat there with his hand still outstretched and wiggling his fingers. He was trying to identify with the words... Beecher... lawyer... wants... you... back.
"Didn't Dr. Strickland give you an envelope for me?
"Oh. Oh, yeah." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out an envelope that had been folded smaller than a wallet. "This what you want?"
"Christ! Just put it on the desk. Sean, please escort Keller back home."
Officer Murphy and Keller walked down the stairs leading into Em City. Sean stood closer to the rail while holding on to Chris's right arm with his left. No one could see him do a short backhanded wave to McManus.
Tim stood at the top of the stairs, playing with his goatee. He saw the wave that was meant for him and smiled. Then he began wondering what the next few days would be like now that Keller was back. With Beecher. Here we go again, on the same fuckin' roller coaster.
Murphy looked at Chris when they got into the TV area. "You gonna be okay, Keller?"
"Yeah, I think so. Officer Murphy thanks for what you did on the ride back. That was nice."
Murphy nodded once and left him standing there as he went back to Tim's office.
Chris looked around slowly. If he moved his head too fast, he got dizzy. Everyone was staring at him. No one looked familiar. He felt like one of the lions in a zoo. All the people came to stare at the animals, especially on Sundays, after church. His mind drifted:
The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.
Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.
At the zoo.
He remembered that was a Paul Simon song, not that he particularly liked Simon, even when he was with Garfunkle, but it was played over and over again. 'Sort of how the teapot song just popped into my head'. He came back into focus when he thought he heard some voices in the distance. The distance was just a few feet away and suddenly the voices were crystal clear.
"Hey Keller, take any flying lessons while you was on vacation?" asked Poet.
"Yo, Keller, my man, can you talk to them Alien dudes from outer space now that you got them holes in your head?" Reggie shouted.
"Heard you had a lobotomy, you fag," Pancamo taunted.
"Welcome home, Chris." Bob Rebadow was carrying his laundry as he passed by him.
"Who's your barber, Keller?" Alvarez shouted from the top tier of pods.
The taunts were almost to the point of over stimulation to his bruised brain and body. He tried to ignore them, especially Alvarez. He wasn't ready to look up at the railing where "it" happened, even though he didn't know just what "it" was. He filed their comments along with McManus's remarks about rooming with Beecher into a little folder in his head.
Chris started to walk. He wasn't sure where, he just knew he needed to be some place other than where he was. He looked down the hall and was able to see the laundry room. "I know I don't like doin' laundry. I know that for sure." He said out loud to no one in particular.
"That's right K-Boy. You do not like laundry day. How 'bout a game of chess?" O'Reily asked.
Chris stared at Ryan, "And you are. Someone I should remember, right?"
"I'm O'Reily. Ryan O'Reily."
"And we play chess together? Am I any good?"
"That's good! Yeah, man. You'll remember me real quick. We had lots of good times together. And we played chess... always played for money. You were the best chess player here. No one, well hardly anyone ever beat you. Black or white?"
"I guess I'm like one of the outlaws, so I'll take black. So, we're friends, huh?" Chris really didn't wait for Ryan to answer. "When does Toby get done working?"
Ryan didn't answer right away, he was thinking of his first move.
"2 o'clock." He put his hand on the white pawn ready to move it when it occurred to him that Keller might not have known the answer. Toby had talked about Chris's amnesia and how he didn't remember him. So if he didn't remember Toby, he probably had no idea about his work schedule, maybe didn't even know that he worked for Sr. Pete. He looked up at the clock wondering how close it was getting to the next meal and his job. The clock seemed stuck at 1:00 pm, which meant one more hour till Toby got back. One hour of watching Chris's back. And that was if Sr. Pete let him go on time. He never could figure out why Toby stayed to work extra when she asked him, it wasn't like he was getting overtime pay.
"Ya know what? I'm really tired. I'm gonna lay down and take a nap. That ok with you? We can play later, ok man?" Chris yawned. He got up from the table and walked to the pod.
Ryan watched as he entered and looked around. He wanted to keep a close eye on him, he owed Toby and Chris for all the times they had covered Cyril's back. And the funny thing was, he had never asked Chris to do it but he did it anyway.
As Chris set foot in the pod, he noticed that both bunks were made up and it looked neat and tidy. 'Well, at least he's not a pig.'
Chris lifted his head slightly and started sniffing the air; remembering Toby saying an odor might bring some memory back. 'Nah, I don't smell nothin'. Nothin' but...weed. Just a hint of it.' He saw a can of Lysol above the sink and figured Toby had tried to mask the odor, but it's a hard one to get rid of. Smell weed once and it's imprinted on your brain for life. Some cop told him that when he was a kid. 'Weed I can handle, but not chess. Too many rules and too much sittin'.'
He looked at the bunks and decided that the bottom bunk would work and he lied down. The lyrics to the zoo song were still going through his head.
The monkeys stand for honesty... maybe that's Toby. And the zookeeper is very fond of rum... That had to be McManus. Zebras are reactionaries... had to be the guy with the muscles. Antelopes are missionaries... the old man carrying the laundry basket? Pigeons plot in secrecy... O'Reily?
As soon as he took a couple of deep breaths to relax, he was out like a light. All you could hear was snoring coming from the pod.