Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 24


"Could you open that tin on the table for me please Jensen?"

I walked over to the can that read Garden Peas on it and looked at it curiously. Susan was at the sink washing some other vegetables and I kept looking at her then back at the tin repeatedly.

"Erm, I think it's been made wrong," I said.

"Sorry honey," she replied, not looking back at me.

"I said, I think something is wrong with the tin, it seems to be sealed up. Maybe they forgot to put a lid on it because the bottom is the same as the top. No pull ring or anything."

Susan turned off the tap and dried her handsvbefore coming over to the table to see what I was talking about.

"Hmm, looks fine to me," she said picking it up.

"No, look, you can't get into it," I stated, taking it from her hands and trying to twist it open.

"Ooh, I see... oh that's so cute," she declared, starting to laugh. "No Jensen, you need a can opener, these are tins, you have to open them with a tool... look, wait, I'll get you a can opener. I'm sorry honey, I didn't know you... well never mind."

Susan passed me some contraption like scissors on android steroids from the kitchen drawer and I stared at it blankly. "Hmm, I think you better show me what to do. Whenever I got them at the home they were already out of the cans. I've seen them on the TV but never really thought about how they got out."

Susan grinned. "You place it on the top and press the levers together, then you twist the thingy here and that starts to open the can. Here you try." Once again, I took the tin from her hand and started to copy her actions and moments later the lid was off.

"Wow, that's really neat. Makes me feel a little stupid. I mean I know I'm smart, my marks are always high, but I guess I have a lot to learn outside the books. So are all these tins like that?"

"Yes, Jensen, all these tins are like that," she said, before giggling.

Susan took the can from my hands and went back to the sink, draining off whatever the peas were sitting in. I sat at the table and just watched her. Moments later, Max walked into the kitchen, drying his hair with a towel.

"Puppy, go get your shoes on, we need to leave for the doctors in five minutes."

"Ok Max... hey, I learned how to open a tin, isn't that cool?" I said, beaming a smile at him. Max just looked at me strangely and nodded before I disappeared from the kitchen. I rushed upstairs and burst into my bedroom to hunt for my shoes. Steven had been fast asleep in his bed, but I must have woken him.

"Where are you off to in such a hurry?" he asked, groggily.

"I'm going to see Doctor Burrows remember?"

"Oh... oh yeah, well have fun, and don't forget to tell him how you nearly killed me last night, he may give you a pill to stop it happening again."

My expression turned solemn. "Look about last night... about everything last night, I-"

"Chill, we'll talk about it later, just go and get fixed, and if anyone asks about the marks on my neck, you say the same as I will, and that is we were mucking around and things got silly."

"You're covering for me?" I asked.

"It's what brothers do, right?" he said with a grin. I smiled back, then freaked as I remembered we were leaving in seconds. Charging round our room, I eventually found my shoes tossed under my bed. Pulling them out I slipped them off and bolted out of the room and down the stairs.

"Ok, teeth brushed?"

"Yeah, Max, of course."

"Ok, put a jacket on its cold out there... right, honey, we're off, good luck at the darts meeting, we'll see you when we get in." Max and Susan shared a kiss, before she came over and smothered me.

"Ooh, now make sure you tell him everything Jensen, Ok? God, I could cuddle you all night you little monkey, juuust, soooo adorable in your new clothes!" she said pinching my cheek.

"Bye Susan," I said, following Max towards the door.

"Sweetheart... Jacket?"

"Oh yeah," I said, pulling it from the hook by the front door.

Max declared we were nearing the doctor's office as we pulled up at a stop sign. Out to my left I could see children playing in what looked to be a school. A group of boys were kicking around a football in the yard and there were some others standing near the gate chatting, all with cell phones in their hand. They all looked smartly dressed in uniform and I started to wonder if that could ever be me.

"You ok, Puppy?" Max asked, as I had obviously zoned out a little.

"Max, did you enjoy school?"

"Hmm, I guess, why do you ask?" he said, pulling away. I craned my head, continuing to look at the children until we were too far past them.

"I just wondered if I am going to like it."

Max placed his hand on my leg. "I'm sure you will fit in really well Puppy, and with your active mind, I am certain you will enjoy what school has to offer."

"It's gonna be strange though, all those other children and stuff. I have only ever been used to learning with maybe two or three other people. I don't know if I could deal with the crowds... and what if... what if people are horrible to me."

"Why would they be horrible to you?"

"Because I'm weird," I said, dropping my head down.

"Puppy, you face challenges that some others do not. That does not make you weird. Besides, when you do go to school, nobody needs to know about your background or your past. As far as anyone will know you have just moved schools."

"Well, Steven says I'm weird and that was before he knew most of my past, so..."

"Puppy, Steven thinks everyone is weird who doesn't fit into his way of thinking. I really wouldn't worry. Speaking of Steven, how did the two of you get along last night, are things better."

"Yeah a lot better he taught me how to... SHIT! Erm... he taught me how to use my phone. We are getting along a little better, yes."

"Whoa, what happened there," Max said, chuckling.

"Oh, nothing, just couldn't remember what we did for a second."

"Well, I am over the moon, the ice seems to be broken between the two of you, and forgive me Puppy if I say-"

"Yeah, I know, you told me so."

Max laughed. "Steven's not so bad, like I said, he puts up this front, but inside he is a big softy. Hey, don't tell him I told you this, but one night, we all sat down to watch this movie called Toy Story three. Well anyway, I happened to look over at Steven, and guess what?"


"He was crying his eyes out. So next time he goes into bully mode and makes you feel shitty. Just look at him and remember, you know that about him," Max said, tapping his nose, and grinning.

I grinned back. Max didn't really need to tell me Steven was a big softy because by now I was starting to see those elements in him. But as I mentioned, it was actually his horrible attitude that I was now finding appealing. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want him to be quite as nasty as he had been to me, but I did like that edge about him when he spoke to me. I guess it kinda felt like affectionate hate... if there is such a thing?

Max turned right and we entered a small parking lot and he came to a stop in one of the spaces, switching off the engine. I undid my seat belt, assuming we were here.

"Now, remember what Susan told you, Puppy? Tell Doctor Burrows everything."

"I will," I said as we both exited the car.

A gentle breeze blew in the air as we walked across the parking lot. The sun was out today, which was making me feel altogether better and I hoped that once I got out of this office I would feel even more so.

We'll see.

"Max, good to see you, and Jensen... I heard so much about you. Please both come in and sit down," The doctor said as we entered his office.

The room as small with various pictures of body organs on the wall, and a full size skeleton stood staring at me in the corner. Behind us was another small room containing a bed, similar to the one in Doctor Listern's office, I remember. But it was the absence of any windows in the room that gave it a closed feel, and one that was starting to make me uneasy.

"So, Jensen, thank you for coming to see me, Max has filled me in on some of your background and Your medical records have been transferred to me. I have to say you are quite the medical mystery in some areas, but let's see if we can't unravel what's been going on with you."

"Medical mystery, Doctor?" Max said, raising a brow.

"Yes, well these records show a lot of detail, but not much in the way of a concrete diagnosis. One moment, let me pull the full records."

Doctor Burrows got up from his chair and went to a filing cabinet off to the side and opened it up. He flicked through various files until he found mine.

"Hmm, so it says here that you were diagnosed Bipolar in two thousand and twelve, but my evaluation says that it would be a very young age to do that. I see here you were under the care of a Doctor Listern."

"That's right," I said.

"What troubles me Puppy is some of the medication Doctor Listern has you on. I note that a few he has prescribed are not proven to help patients with Bipolar and one of them he has given you can actually make the problem worse."

"I don't know what I am taking; I just always did as I was told, Doctor."

"Yes," Doctor Burrows said, looking over his glasses at me and then back at my records.

"So, what are you saying Doctor, that Jensen doesn't have what he was diagnosed as having?"

"The records are strange, Max; it looks like for a number of years Jensen's carers were unsure of what was going on. I see that between two thousand and seven until two thousand and twelve, three Doctors, one of which was Doctor Listern were diagnosing... my God, this is all over the place."

"What?" Max asked, shifting forward in his seat.

"ADHD, Asperger's syndrome, high functioning autism, and there is also a record of Jensen being diagnosed with acute schizophrenia. Looks like they settled on Bipolar in two thousand and twelve as the answer."

"So do you know what is really happening with Jensen?"

"Well, I have a good idea, but I want to run some tests today before I can be sure... is that ok with you Jensen?"

"Yeah, sure," I said, feeling like I was just the guinea pig in the room while Max and the Doctor talked.

"Excellent, well what I would like to do is run a physical check up on you first Jensen. I do this with all new patients; this being to make sure everything is working correctly and that there is nothing we need to look out for down the road."

"Do you want me to wait outside Jensen?" Max asked.

"No its fine," I replied, following Doctor Burrows into the small room behind. As we entered, Doctor Burrows closed the door and told me to take a seat on the bed. I did so as he pulled on some rubber gloves and picked up some kind of tool.

"Now, I'm just going to look in your ears Jensen, then your mouth and then I will examine the rest of you, ok?"


Doctor Burrows took his tool and pressed it into my left ear before doing the other one. I was then told to open my mouth as wide as I could. He then began doing circle motions with his fingers under my jaw before stepping back.

"All looks good, now, would you remove you clothes apart from your underwear and step onto those scales over there for me?"

I did as he asked, taking off all my gear until I was standing almost naked in the room. Stepping on to the scales Doctor Burrows started playing around with a few sliders before recording the result on a clipboard.

"Hmm, just over nine stone one ounce, ok, let's do your height now. If you can stand against this wall here Jensen, I'll bring the block down."

I moved to the wall and stood there while he pulled down a wooden block, resting it lightly on my head.

"Five feet, seven inches. Well, for your age Jensen, you are a good overall weight for your height. The last things I want to do are, take your blood pressure, and then get a urine sample from you to make sure the waterworks are ok."

"Cool," I said, sitting back on the bed. Doctor Burrows wheeled over a small machine linked to a hose and strap, before tightening the strap round my arm and inflating it. The machine purred away until it beeped and Doctor Burrows looked at the reading.

"Perfect, ok Jensen, you can get dressed now. Here, take this small bottle and bring it out to me once you have filled it. There is a toilet in the corner there."

I took the bottle from Doctor Burrows and he left the small room, closing the door. I went over to the tiny toilet and began filling the bottle with my pee until it was almost full. I placed it on the bed while I got dressed and then left the room to join Max and the Doctor.

"Here you go," I said, passing the bottle to Doctor Burrows. He took it from me and placed it in a paper bag before putting my name on it. He called someone on his phone and a lady came in and took it from him.

"Ah, Pam, please can you make up a sleeve for Jensen's specimen and send it off in tonight's courier, and can I have it go as priority."

"Of course Doctor," the lady said, before leaving the room.

"Well Jensen, I was just telling your father that physically you are in very good shape. I would like you to try and put on maybe a half a stone more weight, but other than that I think you will live a long life."

"Thank you," was all I could respond with.

"So, what I want to do now is discuss the mental side of things Jensen, are you ok with that?"

"What do I have to do?"

"I want to give you a questionnaire first of all which is going to ask you a number of questions on how you feel from day to day. You will see that you get a choice after each question to rate it between one and ten - with ten being constantly and one being not at all. As I said earlier, I have a pretty good idea what is happening with you, but this test and a couple of others will allow me to give you my diagnosis, is that ok?"

"Yes, no worries."

"Good, now here is the form, take your time and just let me know when you are done."

Doctor Burrows placed a two page form in front of me containing many questions. As I read through and marked them they were mostly about how I felt and what caused me to feel like I did.

I sat quietly and went through the sheet one question at a time.

After filling out various forms and performing a few exercises for Doctor Burrows we talked about my past at the home. I brought up the episodes of where I had reached rock bottom. I explained about this voice in my head from time to time, about the suicide attempt and finally about my outburst at Steven just the previous night, of which caused Max to raise an eyebrow.

Doctor Burrows continued to take notes as I just went from subject to subject, year to year and outburst to outburst. I talked about my anger issues, and the days when I would scribble all over my white boards at Greenstone. I talked in-depth about Cindy and how she helped me to cope. I talked about the staff at Greenstone and how I was treated there. Fuck, I told him everything!

But it felt good.

Some topics had moved me to tears, some had even moved Max to tears, but I guess it all needed to come out. I had laid out my life on a plate to Doctor Burrows and we had now been in the office for nearly an hour. When I was done talking, Doctor Burrows leant back in his chair and sighed.

"Well, Jensen, there is no doubt you have been through the mill, and thank you for being so honest with me, I can see it was very difficult for you to focus on some aspects of your past, but this information has been valuable for me to form a picture of you in correlation to your medical records."

"So, am I crazy?"

Doctor Burrows chuckled. "Doctor Listern and his counterparts would have you think so Jensen, but here is what I think. I see a person that has faced a life that no child should ever have. You have tried to deal with things you have not understood... that your mind has not been able to process and that has affected you mentally. Sometimes when we are faced with horrible circumstances our brains find the most effective way of protecting us from those circumstances having long term effects on us. You will note that some of your behaviours like anger, for example, is your mind's way of trying to deal with certain situations. Jensen, this is all normal, and mix in a bit of puberty with that, it is natural the saucepan will boil over now and again."

"But what about the voice in my head and my Bipolar?"

Doctor Burrows thought for a moment. "Jensen, do you know what brainwashing is?"

"Not really." I said, shrugging.

"Well, I see you are wearing a red shirt there, right?"


"Well, what if I started telling you every day that your shirt was not red, and in fact it was green?"

"But its red."

"No its not, its green, and I am going to keep telling you its green until you believe me. One day Jensen, I will tell you that your shirt is green and your answer will be... yes it is. That's because I have brainwashed you into thinking that it is green. I have made you doubt... I have made you question your own self, because?"

"I'm not sure."

"Because Jensen, you need to be reassured. You need to be told what is right and what is wrong because of the life you have had. The people at Greenstone have put everything in place for you, they told you when to eat, when to dress, how to act, when to sleep... what pills to take etc, etc. I think you have been brainwashed to keep you under control when the staff there didn't really have a handle on what was going on with you."

"So I'm to blame?"

"No of course not, but because of who you are, you have been easily led, and this has made Doctor Listern's job very easy because all he has had to do is brainwash you into thinking there is a medical condition when really..."

"But I do have Bipolar, right?"

"Jensen, you have what we call GAD with an element of depression, that's it. The extremities of what comes with that are just the brain's way of trying to protect you. Memory blackouts, extreme anger, seeing things out the corner of your eye, hearing things, and even episodes of feeling manic, are all side effects of severe anxiety and the side effects of some of your drugs. All this other stuff you've been told... Jensen, it's all fantasy."

The Doctor's diagnosis was profound and I suddenly felt angry towards the staff at Greenstone, and in particular, Doctor Listern.

"So what are you saying Doctor Burrows, that Jensen has been medically abused or something?" Max asked, irritation in his voice.

"I don't pretend to know what was going through the minds of the people there, but I do think the use of Tranquilisers, benzodiazepines, Bromide and Lithium were a way to keep him quiet, some of the other drugs such as Propranolol, Zopiclone, Amitriptyline... Jesus the list goes on. Max, in my professional opinion, these were just not necessary."

"So what is GAD, Doctor."

"General Anxiety Disorder, Jensen. With the depression element I can treat both with one simple drug for you called Citalopram. The rest of the pills you are on I want an immediate phased withdrawal and I am certain you will start to improve mentally soon after."

"Wow, no more pills?" I asked, starting to smile.

"No more pills Jensen... well maybe just one," He said, grinning at me. "I will write up my report on our discussion today. I want you to see a therapist for eight sessions on your moods Jensen, and then hopefully I will not see you again unless it is for a common cold."

Doctor Burrows set out a plan for me to start coming off my pills and said that the new pill, Citalopram, should start working in around four to five weeks. He reassured me that together with the new drug and therapy session that I should start feeling a whole lot more stable pretty soon. It was music to my ears, and although he had told me not to expect immediate results, I was still so happy that I was finally being freed of all the shit I put in my body on a daily basis. I think the most important thing though, was the fact I had been informed, quite categorically

I was not insane!

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