Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 6

Manic for Max

"Well," said Stuart Gentry, folding his arms and getting comfortable. "First of all it's important that whatever I tell you Puppy you try and stay in the mind-set that this man is a stranger until proven otherwise."

"What do you mean?" I asked, trying not to be slightly offended but not knowing why.

"Because Puppy, whatever I tell you about this man means nothing if he is not your real father and I just don't want you to...well I need you to stay as natural as you can and not get emotionally attached."

"Ok, got it, now spill!"

Stuart rolled his eyes at me. "Max Chase is thirty three years old which means if he is your father he would have been seventeen when you were born."

"Wow, that's pretty young...but hang on my mum was_"

"Twenty eight, yes we know. So straight away we need to look at how and why that would have happened."

"Ok, is there more?" I asked, not really giving a shit what age he is, or was for that matter.

"Yes, he has a wife and..."


Stuart sighed. "Well this is where it gets strange Puppy, and it's also an issue which gives us the biggest indication that he may not be your dad."

"And that is?" I asked, now getting an itchy in my chair.

"Well, it appears he has a son Puppy."

"Cool, a brother... so what's wrong with that?"

"Puppy, the boy is sixteen."

"Oh, oh so... hmm!"

"Yes, hmm." Stuart said, glaring right at me.

"So how could...I mean, is that...so is there a way that could happen and him still be my dad?" I asked now baffled.

"Well there are a few ways Puppy, yes, but none of them paint the man in a very good light when you think about it."

"I don't understand," I said, noticing everyone looking round the room at each other except me.

"Look Puppy, until we get the DNA test done, we really shouldn't worry too much about that part, agreed?" Mr Watson piped up.

"Ok, so what else?" I asked, ready to forget that little detail for a moment.

"Well he lives in Croydon and has his own business as a tree surgeon."

"A tree what?"

"It's a person who looks after trees, cuts them down or trims them Puppy," Charlotte stated.

"So that's the basics Puppy, how do you feel about it so far?" Mr Watson asked. I started to swing from side to side on my chair in thought. My dad, a tree doctor, how cool!

"Yeah, I mean I don't know what to say really."

"So Puppy, we did some background checks and Max has no criminal record to speak of, just a few parking fines and a speeding ticket from a couple of years. He has been married to his wife for eight years and before he was self-employed he worked on the railways as a ticket inspector."

"What else?" I asked, craving for information.

"Well Puppy that's it really, there are privacy laws that prevent us from finding out less important things so we can only get what we can get."

I dropped my head down and sighed. "Yeah I know, I just got a little excited for a while that's all. He sounds like a nice guy."

"I admit his credentials are that of an everyday person Puppy, but we must still be cautious. Even after we get the results back from the test and it shows he is indeed your father, I would still expect the first contact to be supervised by one of the staff and held here at the home," declared Mr Watson.

"So when can I take this test?"

"That's why I am here Puppy, I have the equipment in my bag, I can do it now if you like?" Said Sam Stillworth, my general doctor.

"Sure, yeah let's do it now, I want to know as soon as possible."

"Ok but just be aware we need to contact Mr Chase and let him know you have agreed to take the test and then we need to arrange for him to have his sample taken, just be prepared Puppy this could take a week or so." Sam said.

"A week?" I blurted, my eyes bulging. "I thought this was gonna be like a day or something."

"Oh no Puppy, we have to get the sample to a University lab up on Broad hill, they will then run the test and let doctor Stillworth know the results." Watson said. "Doctor Listern, did you have anything to add to today's meeting?"

"Yes just a couple of things. Puppy I know this must feel like a very exciting time for you, and also one of great apprehension, but we must remember to remain calm and balanced. Increases in adrenaline and emotion is not good for your condition and I really urge you to take what Stuart said about trying to sit on the fence with this. At least until we know the final answer you are looking for."

"I know doctor Listern, I know, it's just...well..."

"Let the words form in your mind Puppy and take your time."

"It's just this is the first time it all feels actually real, like... like someone actually might want me."

"And this may well be the case Puppy, and if it is, I want your mind to be in tip-top condition come the day when you sit down with this man and talk to him. So that means no anger episodes and no getting too excited."

"Ok, I understand."

"How are you sleeping Puppy?"

"Fine, why do you ask doctor Listern?"

"Hmm, you seem a little spikey on the surface. Have you had any bad dreams lately or any problems in the home?"

Mr Watson cut in before I could speak. "We had a problem with Elaine Bates which has now been resolved, I have made sure Puppy does not attend her class anymore and will be investigating the event and ones in the past with other children."

"Ok, thank you Mr Watson, please see that Puppy is sent to me in future no matter how small the incident if you would."

"Of course doctor." Mr Watson nodded his affirmation. "So unless there is anything else that needs to be discussed I suggest that Sam, you do Puppy's test and we'll draw this meeting to a close. Puppy I will contact Mr Chase in an hour's time to discuss his part of the test, ok with you?"

"Yes thank you sir."

"Right then, that's sorted. Have a good day everyone, and Puppy make sure you eat before lunch ends, you have around twenty minutes."

"No problem sir, I will."

After having my cheek scraped with what looked like an oversized version of an ear bud I had managed to get some scraps from the eating area finding that almost everything had gone. It occurred to me that I really wasn't eating enough lately and this was really contradicting what I should be feeling like eating since I was doing my weights regularly now.

Back in my room I had the TV on but found it increasingly hard to concentrate as my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts ever since the meeting had finished in Mr Watson's office. The one thing that was really screwing with my mind was the fact Max had a child and he was the same age as me. How could that be? How is that even possible? I worried...worried that it meant the man I so hoped was my real father was just some person playing a cruel trick on me. Inside I was getting impatient, I was getting anxious. I wanted that stupid test to be on my side!

I wanted Max to be my father!

Feeling suddenly out of control I got up quickly from my bed and started to pace the limited space in my small room. I wanted to run, run anywhere, it was a claustrophobic feeling that was turning my mind to mush and propelling me into overdrive. I tried to think of what doctor Listern had said, hoping that would settle me, but I was not keeping control of my emotions. It felt like a nuclear chain reaction had just started in my brain and I was now a passenger.

Feelings of dread turned to feelings of elation. Ambitious plans with my new dad came flooding into my head. I felt alive, and then dead, happy, then moments later, suicidal. It was happening. That feeling was happening. No, no, calm down. Rebalance, rebalance! BALANCE, DAMN YOU!

I dived into the bathroom and ripped off my clothes. Turning the shower on, I got straight in and immersed myself under the freezing cold water, crying out in shock. It had to be done. I needed to be reset. My coping mechanisms sprang into motion. I felt my pulse, tapped my temples, and curled my toes.

As the water warmed up, so the bad feelings returned. Stop, stop, STOP!

I jumped out of the shower, and still dripping wet grabbed a pen and started to scribble on my whiteboard. The sun, warm waters, hot sand, and planets I need to visit. Drawing a line through all of them all... yes! This created order, this created order in my life. Hot sand, warm sun!

The chill in the air was now attacking my wet body, but I continued to scribble. I had to get things in order, everything must be in order! If everything is together and in order, I can survive...yellow sand, yellow sun, blue water, blue planets.

This went on for hours and hours, until I heard a voice followed by a knock on my door.

"Puppy, is everything ok?" I heard Cindy call from outside my door. I didn't answer. I was too busy scribbling stuff on my board. Moments later she came in and immediately got a towel from the bathroom and wrapped it round me.

"I'm gonna be ok Cindy, look, it's all in order." I said pointing at my pictures, and smiling.

"Puppy, that's great, why don't you come away from the boards now, it looks great." She said, prying me away towards my bed by the arm.

"Yeah it does, things are great, and do you see what I did?"

"Oh yeah Puppy, you did real well. Now why don't you get into bed and I'll go see if doctor Listern is around."

"God, I wanna just meet Max, he's gonna take care of me don't you see?"

"He will Puppy, now you just stay there and I'll be back in a moment."

I wanted to get up and coat my boards with more stuff but Cindy had told me to stay where I was and Cindy was always right. I could see the coloured sparks of light in my mind again; it was brilliant this time, like I was on the horizon of something amazing.

Blue water, blue planets, yellow sun, yellow sand!

Moments later I was being spoken to by Doctor Lister before I felt something being pricked into my arm. "Hey doc, what did you just do?"

"It will calm you down Puppy, Cindy said you were acting manic. Remember what we spoke about?"

"Yes but I just needed to get... God this is gonna be great, I can see everything so clearly now, Doctor Listen. You believe me right?"

Doctor Listern stroked my hair and smiled. I looked up at him eyes wide, big smile.

"Balance, Puppy, balance. Right?"

I awoke to find Cindy sitting on my bed, her knees drawn right up to her chin."Hey, what's up?" I said, closing one eye again, feeling half dead.

"You're awake, I've been in here like every day."

"Every day? Damn I'm starving!"

"Puppy you have been out for two and a half days, doctor Listern has been in and out of this room more than me these last couple of_"


"Yeah Puppy, days! You were crazy, he had you topped up on sedatives. What the hell happened?"

"Erm, I don't really know." I replied groggily.

"How much do you remember?"

"Well almost everything. I just remember feeling really great, but I needed to get things_"

"In order, yeah I know, have a look at your boards."

"Damn, I did it again didn't I? Did I do all that stuff?" I asked referring to three whole white boards that were covered with pictures and writing in all the colours of the rainbow.

"Yeah, it's this whole Max thing aint it," she said before sighing. "Puppy you were doing so well, I hate to see you undo all that and be put back on sedatives and god knows what else they give you."

I heaved myself up into a sitting position and stared at my boards. "I just don't get it, I thought these new pills I am taking is supposed to limit the symptoms, I thought I was fine one minute and then the next...it was just weird, Cindy." Before Cindy could say anything else doctor Listern came into my room and stopped in his tracks seeing I was awake.

"Welcome back to the land of the living Puppy, how do you feel?"

"Absolutely starving and a bit groggy."

"That will wear off. I will have the kitchen staff bring you some food, I don't want you getting out of bed until doctor Stillworth has checked you over. You seemed to have gone on a wild one Puppy and I am surprised that happened. Oh and wipe your cheek son, you have drool running down you."

I wiped my face with my sleeve and yawned.

"Will he be ok doctor?" Cindy asked, ever the caring soul.

"Yes, but I think we will need to talk about why this happened Puppy, when you are ready of course."

"Sure, I just...God, it was so weird."

"Like the last time?" Doctor Listern asked, taking out his small pad.

"No, that's just it, this came on much more quickly than the last few times, it caught me by surprise. One minute I was ok, and then hours later I remember being stabbed with a needle, and then blank. So that must have been the point you came in then and gave me something?"

"Yes, that was at...hmm let me see, around six twenty?"

"And I got lunch at around half twelve," I said tapering off and into thought.

Doctor Stillworth had checked me over and had given me a clean bill of health. Over the next couple of days I tried to get back into my normal routine and tried not to get back into the mind-set that had set me off on my wild ride of mania again. I did my weights, I took my pills, which doctor Listern had temporarily increased, and, I also tried to eat more, sometimes to the point where I felt sick.

Cindy had been a massive help as usual by keeping an eye on me when my doctors weren't there. To be honest I felt ok and started to wonder what all the fuss was about. But I was only too aware that I needed to be normal should the day come when I got to meet Max. Well, that's if the test results came back the way I wanted them to.

I had cleaned all the nonsense off my boards and made sure my room was tidy. Tidy room, tidy mind, doctor Listern would say to me in our meetings. Cindy and I spoke more about Max and what I had found out. She seemed to be enthusiastic about the whole thing, but I did wonder if she just listened so I had an outlet rather than anything else. I worried for her because she was so fragile underneath that hard outer shell and I really hoped things would turn out well for her one day, she deserved so much love and happiness.

to take my mind off things a little I started to get involved with some of the younger kids, teaching them how to draw and write. It really helped when all you could think about was one thing, and in my room, that's all I ever did.

As I sat and watched Danny brook, a sweet seven year old child draw me a picture of a dinosaur I heard the sound of hard shoes making their way over to where we were in the recreation room.

It was Mr Watson!

"Puppy, do you have a moment?"

"Yes sir, what is it?"

"Please come to my office."

"Uh...yeah sure. Ok bye Danny, Puppy has to go, you be good yeah?

Danny was lost in another drawing, but nevermind, now I was worried. I knew doctor Listern would have to tell the home director what had happened to me a few days ago, and I know he was going to have to mark it in my file. As we walked I tried to get my thoughts together as to what I was going to say. At least this time it wasn't anger that I would be told off for, so I thought maybe things would be ok once I told him what the problem was.

As we approached his door he let me go in front and told me to go in and take a seat. I entered the room and sat down realising he had not followed me. Moments later Sam Stillworth came in, followed by Mr Watson and they both sat down, their faces expressionless.

"Puppy, I have invited you and Sam here as we have had the results back from your DNA test with Mr Chase."

"Puppy, I want you to relax ok?" Sam said, reaching over to squeeze my shoulder."

"Yes I will try, but can you please tell me, I really need to know." I pleaded, sitting on the edge of my seat. My heart started to pound hard in my chest.

"Ok, well the test results come back this morning and they tell us that Max Chase is your father with a ninety nine point six accuracy"

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