stories

The Rumors About Me - Chapter 3 - page 2

The driver laughed hysterically as we hurtled away from the scene of the crash. His eyes were no longer sane and it seemed dangerous to stay in the cab any longer.
"I've just remembered something," I said. "Let me off here, will you?"
I had recalled that there was a private hospital specializing in psychiatric cases nearby.
"Where're you going?" the cabbie asked.
"It's none of your business," I retorted.
I'm going straight home to sleep," he said, white-faced, taking my fare.
"Yes, that's the thing to do."
I got out of the car. It was terribly hot.
I was kept waiting for about 20 minutes in the hospital waiting room. A hysterical-looking middle-aged woman and a young man who appeared to be an epileptic went out, and then it was my turn. When I entered the examination room, the doctor was watching a tabletop television on a desk by the window. The television was reporting the helicopter crash.
"Even the sky's getting crowded," the doctor muttered as he turned to face me. "Naturally my patients are on the increase, too. Even so, they won't go to a hospital until they get really sick. It's a bad habit the Japaness have."
"Yes," I nodded. "Yes indeed."
It seemed a little pushy, but I immediately launched into an explanation of my situation. I didn't have much time; I was still on the job.
"Last night they suddenly started talking about me on television. This morning, the newspapers had articles about me. On the station platform, the loudspeaker broadcast things about me. It was even on the radio. Everyone was gossiping and whispering together about me at work. Somehow or other, my house and even the taxi I was riding in have been bugged. The fact is, I'm being tailed. It's a really huge effort. Even that helicopter on the news just now collided with that building while it was chasing my cab."
The doctor watched me fixedly as I talked during which an expression of the greatest depression seemed to settle itself upon his face. At last he waved his hand as if he could take no more, and started shouting.
"Why didn't you go to a hospital sooner! If you only come when your symptoms are so advanced, what can I do besides hospitalize you, forcibly if need be? It's perfectly clear. Pursuit fantasies. Persecution complex, in short, relational delusions. It's a classic case of schizophrenia. Fortunately, there's still no personality collapse. Check into the university hospital immediately. I'll take care of the paperwork."