Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Four Bad Men Discussing Susan

Four men were discussing in some kind of club or lodge.

"What is Narnia?"

"According to my patient, it is all a game they made up when smaller."

"So what made Professor Kirke and Miss Plummer play along with it then?"

"That is why I said 'according to my patient' - because, the other patient, her sister, seems not to agree. Do you know what she said? 'It is real, and that is all I can tell you' she said."

"With that attitude she should have been staying longer?"

Now another man joined the conversation. One Susan knew somewhat well since yesterday night. The one who had envied the Dresden bombers, who had wanted to be one of the pilots of the bomb plane over Dresden. The fourth she knew also, it was the one who had plagiarised C. S. Lewis' story about captives giving themselves up to him, reusing it far less realistically of the newer war of 40-45. The one who had tried to ravish Susan. But best of all Susan knew the second of the two speakers: it was her thereapist. A married man and too moral to have affairs with her, though not too moral to push her into flirting on dances. A man who had daughters her own age. Nevertheless, as he had shown about Lucy: a traitor. A man who believed in betraying people for their own good. Susan could have described him on the spot if you had asked her: a kind, funny, generous man, five years younger than Professor Kirke, stodgy, round-faced, a few white hairs in the general brown curls, a somewhat big nose. A man named Nathan Coon, a doctor of medicine, specialised in psychiatry. Only the first speaker she did not know yet. He was a police officer and he was short and thin. He was - in their secretive context - a living idol to the other three, they were less afraid to displease God (if they were not downright atheists) than to displease him or even just not quite live up to his expectations. But Susan's inopportune suitor from yesterday, the man so eager to kill "Nazis" even if civilians, opened his mouth:

"It was impossible to keep Lucy. Her brother had a position inthe army, he was popular, he made a whole platoon excited about getting Lucy loose from the loony-bin!"

"And there was no military discipline to deal with him?"

"If Lucy was released, as she was, he agreed with his captain to take a longer vacation, despite the leave he had aleready enjoyed when going to the estate of the Ketterley-Kirke's. He had briefly been in military prison, but the platoon threatened mutiny to get him out."

Susan's other heavyhanded suitor said: "We'll have to deal with him."

The thin man said in a very dry and curt voice: "We did."

"What do you mean?" said the therapist. "You have not put him in mental care, or I would have known."

"He's dead."

"The traincrash in Sevenoaks tonight?" He had paid little attention to the news in the radio. But he did know that train crashes kill people.


"How do you know it was us?"

"Come on! You do not expect a thing like that from British Railways, if they have accidents they are arranged right?"

"Not even British Railways is fool proof."

"No, it is not," snapped the small one.

"You know who did it?"

"Of course not! I cannot say for certain even whether it was strictly speaking us or a rival faction.

"Then why so sure the accident was no accident?"

"Enough! I see you are a sceptic, Nathan. But you have a patient to see, her family is dead, she is mourning. Now is the time to get at her if we are to get to the bottom of the 'two battles of Beruna' that she won without killing non-combatants, remember?"

Dr Coon knew better than to contradict, he said farewell to the other three and went off. Once he was gone the short man continued, musing: "There are no accidents. Our enemy once said: 'not one sparrow falleth to the ground least it be the will of the father'. If it is not humanly us, it must have been the Almighty."

He said the last word with a certain shudder, all three went silent for a minute. As he had quoted the Sermon of the Mount as coming from what he called "our enemy" we can be certain none of the four were Christians, at least not believing and practising ones.