Dog Days(2)

By: Edie Bryant

Nothing. It was clear that, whatever was going on in his mind, it wasn’t following any logical pattern of thought. I had no idea what broke a hole in the wall, but it wasn’t a burglar.

And based on this old man’s actions, I was guessing even if he did know about the hole in the wall prior to today, he wouldn’t remember it. It was very likely he was once aware of what caused the hole and had forgotten about it.

In his confusion, the first thing his mind went to was a burglary. I couldn’t very well tell him that this was bullshit, though. I’d had a lot of training on how to deal with people bordering on psychosis, and confronting the delusions head-on could sometimes lead to a dangerous situation.

“I see, so you think they broke in earlier today?” I asked the old man.

“Yes. I don’t know how… How did they make the hole with no noise? I was sleeping. Why didn’t I wake up? I don’t understand that part. They’re sneaky…” He paused for a moment. “They have new technology. They lasered it. They must have lasered the hole.”

“And have you noticed anything missing that they might have stolen?” I asked.

The old man paused. “No… Nothing is gone.” He frowned. Clearly, he hadn’t considered this part of the burglary.

This concerned me. Like I said, confusion could sometimes be dangerous. The last thing I needed was for him to start freaking out because he realized on his own that his delusions made no sense.

“They stole nothing!” he exclaimed suddenly, as his hand was flung to his head. “I have a bump. Right here, look!” He pointed seemingly at nothing on his head. “Because they implanted me. They chipped me. I knew they wanted to chip me, but I didn’t think they could do it. Because I would wake up. But it’s the new technology. I just forgot about the new technology.” He shook his head defeatedly.

All right. Obviously this man was in no position to be living on his own. Unless he had some family that could help take care of him, I was going to have to take him in for a psych evaluation.

Which I absolutely hated. Of all the calls I got, having to 5150 someone was the worst experience for me. For the most part, these people didn’t want to hurt anyone. They weren’t actively causing a crime. They just weren’t in a position to function in the world. So having to handcuff them and take them in really bothered me. Usually, it involved a lot of force that I’d rather not have to inflict on a confused, scared person.

Despite the stereotypes that were often thrust upon cops, I wasn’t an inherently violent person. In fact, I rather abhorred it. I used force only when necessary, and even then, it gave me a pit in my stomach. But it was part of the job.

Besides, it would have been much crueler for me to leave this man here unattended. Taking him in to be evaluated was the best thing that could be done for him. They could place him in a care facility that was equipped to deal with his senility and make sure he was safe.

He certainly wasn’t safe for himself right now.

“Sir, do you have any family?” I asked him.

His expression changed drastically again.

“Oh, no, Sherry!” He gasped as he ran into the living room shouting. “Sherry! Sherry? Where are you?”

Well, this wasn’t going to be easy. What a way to start out my shift. At least my exhaustion had left me once my adrenaline began to rush in.

“Sir, who is Sherry?” I asked as I followed him into the living room.

“My wife!” he cried. “My beautiful, wonderful wife. And she doesn’t deserve to be chipped. She’s not involved in any of this. It’s me that they want. Will you tell them? That she has nothing to do with any of this? I don’t want them to hurt her. I don’t want anyone hurt.”

“Sure.” I agreed. “I’ll make sure they know not to hurt anyone else, but sir, it doesn’t appear that your wife is here.”

He looked around. “No… She’s gone. Good, she isn’t here. She must be at the store.”

Based on his complete loss with reality, I had a feeling she wasn’t really at the store. I couldn’t imagine anyone else living at this house unless they were in just as bad of a mental state as him. And, of course, if anyone was experiencing that level of mental instability, they probably weren’t in any shape to be doing grocery store trips.