Green Eyes



BIAP Interview No 1251

Host Name: Paul Pelizzarro

BIAP Name: Frank Juskit

Length of Interview: fifty-seven minutes

Interpretation: None. See video.

Comments/Personal Reactions/Other: I am, as usual, both saddened by the death and repelled by the patient's actions, by my dutiful response; in fact, by the nature of the work: the tricks we play and the patients themselves, comic in their weakness, horrible in their desire for life and the flash of ardor that ends them... Green fireballs lodged in their eye sockets, their minds going nova with the joy of a lifetime crammed into a few minutes. Still, I find that the patients in their compressed, excited states are far more interesting than any of my acquaintances, and I believe that even relative failures such as Mr Juskit would - had they lived a full span at this accelerated pace - have accomplished a great deal more than they have related. Their repellent aspects, in my opinion, are outweighed by the intensity of their expression. For this reason I wish to withdraw my resignation tendered yesterday, October 24, 1986.

Therapist's Signature: Jocundra Verret

Staff Evaluation: Let's assign Verret to a slow-burner as soon as possible, but not just the first one that comes along. I'd like to see a photograph and data sheet on each new slow-burner, and from that material I'll make an appropriate selection.

A. Edman

Chapter 1

From Conjure Men: My Work With Ezawa at Tulane by Anthony Edman, MD, PhD.

... I did not see my first 'zombie' until my second day at Tulane when Ezawa permitted me to witness an interview. He ushered me into a cubicle occupied by several folding chairs and switched on a two-way mirror. The room beyond the mirror was decorated in the style of a turn-of-the-century bordello: red velvet chairs and sofa perched on clawed feet, their walnut frames carved into filigree; brass urns holding peacock plumes; burgundy drapes and maroon-striped wallpaper; a branching chandelier upheld by a spider of black iron. The light was as bright as a photographer's stage. Though 'zombies' - at least the short-termers - do not see clearly until the end, they react to the color and the glare, and ultimately the decor serves to amplify the therapist's persuasive powers.

In passing, I should mention that I considered the lack of a suitable chair within the observation cubicle a personal affront. Being a compactly built man himself, it might be assumed Ezawa had simply committed an oversight and not taken my girth into account; but I cannot accept the proposal that this meticulous and polite gentleman would overlook any detail unless by design. He had exerted all his influence to block my approval as psychiatric chief of the project, considering my approach too radical, and I believe he enjoyed watching me perch with one ham on, the other off, for the better part of an hour. Truthfully, though, what I was to see beyond the mirror banished all thought of my discomfort, and had it been necessary to balance on a shooting stick and peer between the shoulders of a crowd, I would still have felt myself privileged.

The therapist, Jocundra Verret, sat on the edge of the sofa, her hands folded in her lap. She was a shade under six feet tall, slender, impassively beautiful (therapists are chosen, in part, on the basis of physical attractiveness), and dressed in a nurse's white tunic and slacks. She looked younger than her twenty-five years, long-limbed, solemn and large-eyed. Dark brown hair wound through by strands of gold fell to her shoulders, and her skin had the pale olive cast of a Renaissance figure. The most notable feature of her appearance, though, was the extent of her makeup. Lipstick, eyeliner and mascara had been applied so as to transform her face into an exotic mask, one which evoked the symmetry of design upon a butterfly's wing. This gilding the lily was an essential part of the therapist's visual presentation, and similar makeup was utilized during the early stages of a slow-burner's existence, gradually being minimized as their perceptions sharpened.

Jocundra'a movements were graceful and unhurried, and her expressions developed slowly into distant smiles and contemplative frowns, giving the impression of a calm and controlled personality. I later learned in my work with her that this impression was half a lie. Indeed, she viewed the world as a system of orderly processes through which one must maneuvre by reducing experience to its logical minimum and analyzing it; but her logical bias, her sense of orderliness, her passivity in engaging life