Книга A Scanner Darkly. Содержание - 13

“Pardon?” Fred said.

“The first time you were in. Last week. You were kidding and laughing. Although very tense.”

Gazing at him, Fred realized this was one of the two medical deputies he had originally encountered. But he said nothing; he merely grunted and then left their office, made his way to the elevator. What a downer, he thought. This whole thing. I wonder which of the two medical deputies it is, he wondered. The one with the handle-bar mustache or the other … I guess the other. This one has no mustache.

“You will manually feel this object with your left hand,” he said to himself, “and at the same time you will look at it with your right. And then in your own words you will tell us—” He could not think out any more nonsense. Not without their help.


When he entered Hank’s office he found another man, not in a scramble suit, seated in the far corner, facing Hank.

Hank said, “This is the informant who phoned in about Bob Arctor using the grid—I mentioned him.”

“Yes,” Fred said, standing there unmoving.

“This man again phoned in, with more information about Bob Arctor; we told him he’d have to step forth and identify himself. We challenged him to appear down here and he did. Do you know him?”

“Sure I do,” Fred said, staring at Jim Barris, who sat grinning and fiddling with a pair of scissors. Barris appeared ill at ease and ugly. Super ugly, Fred thought, with revulsion. “You’re James Barris, aren’t you?” he said. “Have you ever been arrested?”

“His I.D. shows him to be James R. Barris,” Hank said, “and that is who he claims to be.” He added, “He has no arrest record.”

“What does he want?” To Barris, Fred said, “What’s your information?”

“I have evidence,” Barris said in a low voice, “that Mr. Arctor is part of a large secret covert organization, well funded, with arsenals of weapons at their disposal, using code words, probably dedicated to the overthrow of—”

“That part is speculation,” Hank interrupted. “What you suppose it’s up to? What’s your evidence? Now don’t give us anything that is not firsthand.”

“Have you ever been sent to a mental hospital?” Fred said to Barris.

“No,” Barris said.

“Will you sign a sworn, notarized statement at the D.A.’s office,” Fred continued, “regarding your evidence and information? Will you be willing to appear in court under oath and—”

“He has already indicated he would,” Hank interrupted.

“My evidence,” Barris said, “which I mostly don’t have with me today, but which I can produce, consists of tape recordings I have made of Robert Arctor’s phone conversations. I mean, conversations when he didn’t know I was listening.”

“What is this organization?” Fred said.

“I believe it to be—” Barris began, but Hank waved him off. “It is political,” Barris said, perspiring and trembling a little, but looking pleased, “and against the country. From outside. An enemy against the U.S.”

Fred said, “What is Arctor’s relationship with the source of Substance D?”

Blinking, then licking his lip and grimacing, Barris said, “It is in my—” He broke off. “When you examine all my information you will—that is, my evidence—you will undoubtedly conclude that Substance D is produced by a foreign nation determined to overthrow the U.S. and that Mr. Arctor has his hands deep within the machinery of this—”

“Can you tell us specific names of anyone else in this organization?” Hank said. “Persons Arctor has met with? You understand that giving false information to the legal authorities is a crime and if you do so you can and probably will be cited.”

“I understand that,” Barris said.

“Who has Arctor conferred with?” Hank said.

“A Miss Donna Hawthorne,” Barris said. “On various pretexts he goes over to her place and colludes with her regularly.”

Fred laughed. “Colludes. What do you mean?”

“I have followed him,” Barris said, speaking slowly and distinctly, “in my own can. Without his knowledge.”

“He goes there often?” Hank said.

“Yes, sir,” Barris said. “Very often. As often as—”

“She’s his girl,” Fred said.

Barris said, “Mr. Arctor also—”

Turning to Fred, Hank said, “You think there’s any substance in this?”

“We should definitely look at his evidence,” Fred said.

“Bring in your evidence,” Hank instructed Barris. “All of it. Names we want most of all—names, license-plate numbers, phone numbers. Have you ever seen Arctor deeply involved in large amounts of drugs? More than a user’s?”

“Certainly,” Barris said.

“What types?”

“Several kinds. I have samples. I carefully took samples … for you to analyze. I can bring them in too. Quite a bit, and varied.”

Hank and Fred glanced at each other.

Barris, sightiessly gazing straight ahead, smiled.

“Is there anything else you want to say at this time?” Hank said to Barris. To Fred he said, “Maybe we should send an officer with him to get his evidence.” Meaning, To make sure he doesn’t panic and split, doesn’t try to change his mind and pull out.

“There is one thing I would like to say,” Barris said. “Mr. Arctor is an addict, addicted to Substance D, and his mind is deranged now. It has slowly become deranged over a period of time, and he is dangerous.”

Dangerous,” Fred echoed.

“Yes,” Barris declared. “He is already having episodes such as occur with brain damage from Substance D. The optic chiasm must be deteriorated, since a weak ipsilateral component … But also—” Barris cleared his throat. “Deterioration, as well, in the corpus callosum.”

“This kind of unsupported speculation,” Hank said, “as I already informed you, warned you, is worthless. Anyhow, we will send an officer with you to get your evidence. All right?”

Grinning, Barris nodded. “But naturally—”

“We’ll arrange for an officer out of uniform.”

“I might—” Barris gestured. “Be murdered. Mr. Arctor, as I say—”

Hank nodded. “All right, Mr. Barris, we appreciate this, and your extreme risk, and if it works out, if your information is of significant value in obtaining a conviction in court, then naturally—”

“I’m not here for that reason,” Barris said. “The man is sick. Brain-damaged. From Substance D. The reason I am here—”

“We don’t care why you’re here,” Hank said. “We only care whether your evidence and material amount to anything. The rest is your pnoblem.”

“Thank you, sir,” Barris said, and grinned and grinned.


Back at Room 203, the police psychology testing lab, Fred listened without interest as his test results were explained to him by both the psychologists.

“You show what we regard more as a competition phenomenon than impairment. Sit down.”

“Okay,” Fred said stoically, sitting down.

“Competition,” the other psychologist said, “between the left and right hemispheres of your brain. It’s not so much a single signal, defective or contaminated; it’s more like two signals that interfere with each other by carrying conflicting information.”

“Normally,” the other psychologist explained, “a person uses the left hemisphere. The self-system or ego, or consciousness, is located there. It is dominant, because it’s in the left hemisphere always that the speech center is located; more precisely, bilateralization involves a verbal ability on valency in the left, with spatial abilities in the right. The left can be compared to a digital computer; the right to an analogic. So bilateral function is not mere duplication; both percept systems monitor and process incoming data differently. But for you, neither hemisphere is dominant and they do not act in a compensatory fashion, each to the other. One tells you one thing, the other another.”

“It’s as if you have two fuel gauges on your car,” the other man said, “and one says your tank is full and the other registers empty. They can’t both be right. They conflict. But it’s—in your case—not one functioning and one malfunctioning; it’s … Here’s what I mean. Both gauges study exactly the same amount of fuel: the same fuel, the same tank. Actually they test the same thing. You as the driver have only an indirect relationship to the fuel tank, via the gauge on, in your case, gauges. In fact, the tank could fall off entirely and you wouldn’t know until some dashboard indicator told you or finally the engine stopped. There should never be two gauges reporting conflicting information, because as soon as that happens you have no knowledge of the condition being reported on at all. This is not the same as a gauge and a backup gauge, where the backup one cuts in when the regular one fouls up.”

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