Grandiose (4)

Kauffman leads Victoria to a table in the center of the cafeteria. The cafeteria is empty; only two food cooks lurk behind the food bar, preparing the morning breakfast for tomorrow.

“What would you like?”

“Sky’s the limit!” Kauffman jokes. Victoria bats her eyes and smiles.

“What do you recommend?” Victoria asks flirtatiously.

“The tuna melt is to die for” Kauffman says enthusiastically.

“Well, I must try it then” Victoria replies, passing a hand through her thick curly black hair. She suddenly realizes that she still had her coat on, so she takes it off and places it behind her chair. She catches Kauffman staring at her chest, only to find the top two buttons of her silk white blouse unbuttoned exposing her busty chest.

“Oh, dear”

“It seems they’ve come undone” Victoria laughs as she slowly buttons her blouse.

“No, I’m sorry”

“It was un-gentleman like of me” Kauffman replied, embarrassed.Image

“It’s quiet alright”

“You are a man, aren’t you?” Victoria teased. Kauffman blushed even more at this.

“So, the tuna melt, you say?” Victoria smiled.

“Yes, that’s right!” Kauffman said, relieved to change the subject as he made his way to the food bar.

“Benny, my man, how’s it going?!” Kauffman yelled out to a frumpy looking bald man with a full dark brown beard.

“Hey, Mr. Kauffman” Benny said as he walked up to the kitchen side of the food bar.

“How can I help you?”

“Can you whip up two of your famous tuna melts?” Kauffman asked with a grin.

“No problem, Mr. Kauffman” Benny replied as he headed back into the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Kauffman and Victoria talked more about the position and Elizabeth. Victoria was getting tired of talking about Elizabeth, noticing how much Kauffman fancied her.  She quickly shifted the conversation to suit her own insidious interests.

“Why work for a loony bin?”

“Why not go private?” Elizabeth pried. Kauffman was slightly taken aback by Victoria’s over-bearing inquiry.

“I would appreciate it if you would not call it a loony bin. It’s a mental rehabilitation facility” Kauffman told Victoria firmly.

“Did I say loony bin?” Victoria said, pretending to be coy.

“I meant mental hospital”

“Pardon me, my manners just go off the bat when I’m hungry” she said as she placed a hand to her heart. She smiled to herself, because she had purposely vexed him.

“I guess we all do silly things when we’re hungry” Kauffman smiled.

“Benny, are those melts ready yet?!” Kauffman turned his head and yelled out.

“In just a minute! Do you want chips with ‘em?” Benny yelled back.

“Sure, that would be great!” Kauffman replied. A few minutes later, Benny came bustling out the kitchen entrance, from the far left of the room, carrying two red trays. He set them on the table, each facing their corresponding owners.

“These look great” Kauffman beamed at Benny.

“Thank you, anything else?” Benny smiled.

“Oh, Benny, I’ll like to introduce you to my new nurse’s assistant, Marissa Croon.” Kauffman said to Benny.

“How do you do, M’am?” Benny smiled at Victoria as he tipped his head.

“I’m fine, thank you” Victoria smiled back.

“Well, Bon’ Appetite, I have to get back and finish cooking tomorrow’s breakfast. Good night, ya’ll” Benny said in a Texas drawl as he headed back to the kitchen.

Kauffman and Victoria didn’t talk much during their meal. Kauffman was still trying to figure Victoria out; she hadn’t talked much about herself and he was curious to find out more.

Over the next few weeks, Victoria made sure to always be on Kauffman’s good side. She made sure he had his favorite cup of tea ready in the morning, brought him strawberry scones (his favorite), and even gained Elizabeth’s trust; which Kauffman found to be very impressive. She had him under her spell. She wondered how long it would take for him to sleep with her.

During one very cold November morning, Victoria decided to pay Elizabeth a visit. Elizabeth had been coiled on the far right corner of her room, murmuring.

“Hello, Elizabeth” Victoria said coolly. Elizabeth lifted her head and smiled. The lights were brighter here than any other place in the facility and everyone thought that was quiet peculiar.

“Hi” Elizabeth replied in a baby voice.

“Do I know you?”

“Of course, it’s me, Marissa”

“You look like someone else” Elizabeth says to her.

“May I ask who?” Victoria asks as she steps closer to Elizabeth.

“I can’t remember….” Elizabeth whines, frustrated by her own incoherence.

“I’m sorry you can’t remember” Victoria replies, trying to sooth Elizabeth.

“Let’s play a game, Elizabeth”

“Do you like games, Elizabeth?”

“Yes, what kind of game?” Elizabeth asks eyes wide with excitement.

“Truth and Tell”

“I ask you a question and you answer truthfully. You can ask me questions too and we’ll just go back and forth” Victoria says to her.

“Okay” Elizabeth replies in a baby voice again.

“I’ll go first” Victoria says as she leans down on her knees in front of Elizabeth.

“What do you talk about with Mr. Kauffman?” Victoria asks.

“We talk about me mostly, of what I can remember of my past, anyway…” Elizabeth replies, trailing off.

“What do you remember?” Victoria continues.

“Hey, it’s my turn” Elizabeth scolds Victoria.

“Yes, I’m sorry. Ask me a question.” Victoria says coldly.

“What’s your name?” Elizabeth asks.

“I told you that earlier, it’s Marissa” Victoria replies, frustrated.

“Marissa, that’s pretty” Elizabeth says.

“Your eyes, you look so much like her…” Elizabeth started saying but stopped when she saw Kauffman approaching.

“I see you’re up and early” Kauffman chimes in as Victoria turn her head and smiles.

“Oh yes, she’s quite a girl” Victoria says sarcastically.

“Victoria” Elizabeth whispers.

“What was that?” Kauffman asks Elizabeth.

“Victoria!” Elizabeth screams so loud that Kauffman has to step back.

“Calm down, who is Victoria?” Kauffman asks, curiously.

“She’s Victoria…” Elizabeth points at Victoria.

“No, Elizabeth, her name is Marissa. You are confused.” Kauffman says in a soft voice.

“She’s obviously confusing me with someone else” Victoria laughs.

“You remind her of Victoria, that’s interesting” Kauffman says as he looks at Victoria.

“Who is this Victoria” Victoria asks, masking her nervousness.

“Someone she knew, but I can’t be sure” Kauffman replies.

“Oh look at the time, your first session is in ten minutes, we must prepare” Victoria urges Kauffman.

“We’ll discuss this further” Kauffman smiles at Elizabeth as he heads out her room with Victoria holding onto his left arm. They close her door and Elizabeth is left rocking herself on the floor murmuring again.

“Her eyes… it’s her eyes” Elizabeth repeatedly babbles.

Grandiose (3)

 

“Interesting,” Kauffman interrupted as he wrote on his worn brown leather pad. I watched him as he rapidly took notes and found myself a bit annoyed that he had interrupted me. Nevertheless, I decided to forgive him for the poor manners and waited until he was finished. It seemed like he could go on forever, scratching his ginger beard as he poured his thoughts onto those pages.

Seemingly, he was unaware of the sudden sharp pain that ran from the back of my neck to the left side of my head. It was like I was under an electric shock from an eel. I twisted and turned in pain, but he was oblivious to me now; as he was deep in thought. The pain intensified and I screamed. I screamed like I was being murdered by a serial killer; you know that chilling scream made famous by all the great horror movies.

Everything after that seemed like a blur; I have a lot of blurs. I vaguely remember, Kauffman rushing to my side trying to calm me but to no avail. Then a bulky nurse rushing in and injecting something into my left arm. I remember chuckling a bit because she had the body of a quarterback and a pig’s nose.

“What happened?!,” I heard the nurse ask with shortness of breath.

“I don’t know.”

“I was taking notes and she just went ballistic.”Image

“Put her down!” Kauffman yelled. That’s all I remember. Now I’m back in the padded white room that smells like mint, has no windows, and has lights that are too bright. I tell them it hurts my eyes but they don’t care. They say they are good for me.  I call them liars.

The asylum was quiet that cold October afternoon, every patient had been neutralized and all slept in their beds with the exception of Elizabeth. The front desk nurses were gossiping about the patients as usual.

“Monty peed the bed again and they had the slow janitor, Bob, clean it up!” A porky nurse named Janice bursted with laughter.

“Oh, Janice, you’re so bad,” a shy skinny nurse named Molly pleaded. Suddenly the front doors opened and in with the cold brought in a devilishly beautiful woman of a petite stature with wild curly black hair. It was Victoria but she was going by another name now. A friend at the asylum had warned her that Elizabeth was slowly regaining her memory and Victoria could not let that happen. She walked right up to the help-desk and gave her signature sinister smile to Molly. Molly could tell that this woman was far from nice and she gulped.

“May I help you?” Molly asked, trying to sound confident.

“Why, yes dear.”

“I’m Marissa.”

“Marissa Croon.”

“I’m here about the nurse assistant position for Mr. Kauffman.” Victoria boasted.

“Oh, yes, I was told to direct you straight to him.”

“Follow me please” Molly directed Victoria. Kauffman’s office was in the basement, so they took the elevator down. They didn’t talk much on the way down just gave each other nervous smiles here and there. When they reached the ground floor, Molly felt a shiver run down her back as she headed out the elevator.

“You can get lost down here, it’s a bit of a maze” Molly nervously laughed, trying to shake the bad feeling that had come over her like ice.

“I don’t mind getting lost. I love adventure.” Victoria replied in a monotone. They took a few left and right turns, until they finally reached Kauffman’s office.  It was closed. The worn wood door was in desperate need of a new finish or perhaps needed to be replaced. Molly softly knocked on the door and called out for Mr. Kauffman.

“Mr. Kauffman, are you there?” Molly called out.

“Yes, just a minute” Kauffman replied.

“He’s always so busy reading you know,” Molly smiled at Victoria. Victoria didn’t say anything back. She just smiled. The door flew open and Kauffman greeted both ladies.

“Good evening” Kauffman smiled. He was taken aback by Victoria’s beauty. He could barely stop himself from staring.

“This is Marissa Croon, the new nurse assistant you requested.” Molly told Kauffman.

“Yes, yes, how do you do?” Kauffman greeted Victoria once again.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to it then” Molly said as she headed back to the main floor.

“We’ll go up with you; I want to show Miss Croon the patient she would be helping me with.” Kauffman cried out to Molly. On the way back up to the main floor, Kauffman slightly grilled Victoria on her work history and education. Victoria seemed to have all the right answers and Kauffman was growing more intrigued by her. She was very intelligent.

“Elizabeth,” a soft voice speaks to me. I have my head between my legs and my long curly red hair covers my face. I slowly lift my head and look around but nobody is there. For a moment, I fantasize that the voice is Henry’s. It sounded like him.

I crawl into a fetal position at the back right corner of the room as a sleep catches my eyes. Time is unknown to me and I am unsure if it’s actually time for bed. Bedtime has been called out yet, so I guess not. Sorrowfully, I shed a tear for my Henry as I close my eyes.

I don’t dream anymore. My thoughts consist of bits and pieces of images I can’t be sure to be true or not. They tell me I did terrible things; they say I killed people, men. I don’t remember the last two years of my life or what happened that brought me here. Everything is a blur. The padded white floor is cold and I hold myself tighter.

“Elizabeth,” I hear that song angelic voice again calling my name. Abruptly lifting my head to see the owner of the voice, I am left perplexed by the handsome man with blue eyes I had loved many years ago kneeling right in front of me. Henry.

“Henry!,” I cry out excitedly.

“Hush my love” Henry smiles at me as he places two fingers upon my badly chapped lips. I kiss them.

“I missed you so much” I gasped as I rushed into his embrace. He kisses me and I let him take me. It is like a new dawn after a monstrous storm; our bodies explode with love. It feels great. We hold each other and as my head lies on his left shoulder, I can’t help but smell the tobacco and lavender exuding from him.

“I missed you too,” he whispers. I smile like a little school girl. Suddenly, I got the feeling that someone was watching us.

“Who is she talking to?” Victoria asked Kauffman as they looked at Elizabeth through her door window.

“I don’t have the slightest idea” Kauffman replied.

“Does she talk to herself a lot?” Victoria asked.

“This is the first time I see her do this” Kauffman replied in a concerned tone. They watched Elizabeth for a bit longer.

“Oh look, Henry, its Mr. Kauffman”

“He’s nice to me” Elizabeth pointed a finger to Kauffman. Kauffman smiled at Elizabeth.

“I must go now my love” Henry told Elizabeth.

“No!”

“Don’t go, stay and meet Mr. Kauffman” Elizabeth pleaded but Henry was gone. She started to cry.

“Why is she crying?” Victoria asked trying to hide her amusement. Elizabeth looked back to where Kauffman and Victoria stared at her from her room door and when she noticed Victoria she stopped crying.

“I know her. She looks so familiar” Elizabeth thought to herself.

“So…that’s Elizabeth” Victoria said coolly to Kauffman as they headed to the cafeteria. Kauffman was already under her spell and it didn’t seem like Elizabeth remembered her. But Victoria couldn’t take that chance; she had to get rid of Elizabeth for good this time. No loose ends.