A Different Kind of Belle


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Scene Title A Different Kind of Belle
Synopsis Jack gets bored underground and worries about potentially going insane again, so he seeks out an old therapist referral! Bella seems to take out her own boredom on analyzing him.
Date May 10 2010

Bella's Apartment

It's later in the morning, and Jack along with two other Locos have taken snow mobiles out, with some specific purposes in mind. One, the two men who joined him intend to go to a shelter near their family to see if they're safe, and two, Jack was going a bit crazy, despite being locked up with Lola for weeks, and just needed to see the sun. Bella's place just happened to be near where the two go, and after a ton of digging, they finally get down to the door.

It was months ago when Tracy had Mortimer seeing a therapist that he got Bella's card, but he never decided to actually see Bella, instead he stalked her a bit and found out where she lives. Right now his reason for seeing her is mostly boredom, with no real intention of getting a therapist, especially since this is the especially crazy half of the head.

He's completely covered from head to toe in white snow gear, including mirror goggles. The door's kicked open, considering it was frozen shut, and he heads on up to her apartment.

When he reaches her door, he knocks a few times after hearing someone in there, also holding a walkie talkie to call his men so they'll know if they can leave yet. The men stay outside near their snow mobiles.

This is so very much not the time.

Though, conversely, what better time could there be? Bella has been cooped up in her apartment, living off of relatively meager supplies and an ever-dwindling stash of marijuana. Legitimate fears about survival have started to take root, though none so serious as to overcome her concerns about running out of reading material - that is, after all, the only thing that can really be done. The living room has become a veritable nest, the epicenter at Bella's couch. Fanning out from it is a debris field, densest on the coffee table, consisting of various parts smoking paraphernalia, bags of chip (carefully rationed), books (hard cover and soft cover), magazines (old copies of the New Yorker, mostly), and a few - ahem - 'personal items' to help pass the time.

As such, when Jack knocks, Bella lies on her couch, dressed in PJ pants and a t-shirt and no make up whatsoever. Her hair cascades in an unruly mass about her head as she reclines, a flashlight in one hand, its light directed at the pages of a copy of Discipline and Punish, which is a book about not what you probably think it's about. She bought it for a class in undergrad - that she's reading it shows she's really recycling old material.

The knock startles Bella, and she sits up rather suddenly. This causes an immediate headrush, and she groans, pressing the pages of the book over her face as she waits for her equalibrium to return. Holding her place in her reading with her finger, she slides off the couch and to her feet, padding over to the door, peeking through the peephole. Who the hell is that? Bella's grip on the flashlight tightens. She oughtn't to open the door, but God knows she's getting sick of her own company. She doublechecks to make sure the chain is in place, then undoes the deadbolt and tugs the door open just a crack, peering out into the hallway beyond.


"Isabella Sheridan!" Jack exclaims as if they were old friends, but immediately reaches into one of his pockets, face still covered completely, then pulls out the business card, looking at it, then to her. "I was getting bored hiding away from the snow, so I came here to keep you company." He removes his goggles, then unwraps the scarf from around his mouth. "Mister Jack, but you can call me Jack." Mortimer Alex Jack, someone she's probably seen in Company papers, and possibly had to help make a psychological profile of. And god knows those things get frequent updates when it comes to him.
You must be on Public to do that.

Bella blinks, once, twice. Her eyes move down to the business card, then up at his face. She bites her lip. "Mr. Jack. Jack," she says, taking her time, considering the situation, "You've got me at something of a disadvantage. You seem to know of me, but I haven't had the pleasure. You'll… understand, I hope, if I'm hesitant to let someone I don't know into my apartment." Or someone she /does/ know as /crazy/. "If you could maybe be a bit clearer about what it is you're after, I could be more helpful and accommodating?"

"It's simple! I've come down with a serious case of boredom, and I'd like to stay with a therapist for a while and see what happens." Jack answers, which probably just raises more questions. Also there's the fact that her home address isn't on her card. "Some therapist, I forget her name, she gave me your card last year. I'd like to avoid cabin fever in this weather, and you, my dear Isabella, will be my anchor in this weather!"

Okay. So he's definitely in crazy mode. And while that certainly qualifies him for psychiatric help, Bella isn't exactly on the clock. She remains behind her door, peeking through the crack, her finger holding her place in the book, a reminder that she was doing something.

Okay, she wasn't really doing anything. Nothing she hasn't been doing for days upon days, alone in the usually-dark. Her mouth quirks to one side. "Who referred you?" she asks, "Who was your previous therapist, and what did she tell you about me and my areas of expertise?"

"That's a good question." Jack crosses his arms, giving that a good minute of thought. "Funny story about that…" he gives a playful smile of embarassment, as if he just lost his keys or something. "Now, don't freak out when I tell you this, but I didn't quite get that half of the memories."

Bella's smile is thin. "I specialize in psychological problems linked to SLC manifestation," she says, being rather excessively technical in her terminology, hoping to make it very clear she's a professional and essentially not to be fucked with, "So believe me when I say that very little shocks me at this point. Believe me, too, when I say that I can't really just take your word for it, Jack."

"Good! My ability made me absolutely insane, but I'm not insane anymore, I've just got this crazy split personality thing. Personally I just think it's all in my head and the other me is a figment of my imagination, and other times I think that stripper did it." Jack lighly taps her door a few times, as if asking her to open it. "You should take my word for it. Let's face it, if I wanted to kick your door down, drag you out into the snow, then watch you freeze to death, I would have done it by now. And I'll have you know that I only thought about it because I always have violent thoughts. But violent thoughts don't mean violent actions! And I think about sex and gears a lot too."

What a charmer! Bella's smile would get thinner if there were any width left to lose. "What some psychiatrists diagnose as DID, what most people call multiple personality disorder, is a somewhat dubious concept. I strongly believe it's what was, in older days, referred to as a hysterical symptom. Like so-called demonic possession." She speaks with the steady cadence of a tutor, polite, informative, impersonal. "I'm sorry, Jack, but I'm going to need a proper referral. It's inappropriate for me to establish a client-therapist relationship under these circumstances. If you'll give me just a moment, however, we can continue this discussion from our respective sides of this door."

"Oh, I don't want you to be my therapist, I just want you to make sure the snow doesn't drive me insane. I don't feel like I'm getting insaner, I'm just taking precautions. I can't afford to go insane when I've got sensitive projects going on." Jack crosses his arms, apparently trying his best to be patient, but the look on his face says he's getting tired of something, and who knows what happens when he gets bored. "You see, I don't need a therapist, I just need someone who happens to have therapist skills. Make sure I'm not having insane twitches, or saying crazy things, then fix it before it gets out of hand. I don't think we'll have a problem, but as I said, i'm taking precautions! And I should note, again, that I haven't knocked your door down."

There are some very serious considerations Bella must make, given the circumstances. She has dealt with potentially violent patients before, but always within the appropriate setting. This is not such a setting. She could lock the door, hole up… but that would bring things to a head very quickly, and she isn't sure how she'd fare.

"I'll be right back," Bella says, "I need to clean up a little, make things presentable. I'll let you in once I'm done. Okay?"

Jack shrugs, just waiting there at the door. "Just don't get a gun and shoot me through the door, it'd be very hard for me to get to a hospital in this weather." he casually requests, then raises his walkie talkie. "You two can go visit your families now, I'm alright here, but put my snow mobile in the lobby before you go."

Bella swoops across her apartment, grabbing object after incriminating object and shuttling them into her room, dumping or, in the case of fragile objects, setting them on top of her vanity. She checks her face in the mirror, briefly considers applying foundation, then decides that she's ashamed she's been so thoroughly programmed by the patriarchy. A few tugs and tosses later, she's in sweat pants, and there's actually a bra on under her t-shirt. She checks herself in the mirror again. Innocuous? Sure. Helpless? Hopefully not. Looking weak is /not/ what she's after.

Her hand moves down to a drawer in the vanity, drawing it open. Inside is a taser, a little item she requisitioned from her employers after the /multiple break ins/ at her apartment. This apartment. Maybe it's time she considered moving? She stows it in her sweat pants pocket (she stole this pair from a fling back in med school) then moves back into the living room. The air doesn't smell particularly like cannabis: a benefit of water pipes and vaporizers. She returns to the door, peering out at Jack. "If you wouldn't mind taking your boots off outside?" she says, before sliding the chain free of its anchor.

Jack slides his boots off, stepping into the apartment, then removes his outer winter clothing, revealing a buttoned up white shirt with a brown tie and a pair of dark blue jeans. He tosses his clothing off to the side, then sits his boots on top of them, closing and locking the door behind him. "Nice place y ou've got here." he idly comments, heading to the couch. Though when he walks by her, a hand smacks and grabs her ass for a second, and he adds, "Yup, that's years of psychiatric study right there. My father was a therapist, you know."

Bella's eyes widen as the blow lands on her rear. Her eyes close for a moment, before she turns, looking Jack right in the eye. "That won't happen again," she informs him, a statement of simple fact rather than a prediction, "My house, my rules." That copy of Discipline and Punish rests, apropos, on the coffee table, its cover spread, her place held. "I'd offer you coffee, but the power's out," she says, as if there had been no interruption in the usual precession of formalities, "Really? What kind? Any particular affiliation? Humanist? Behaviorist?" a slight smirk, "Rogerian?" Jack sure looks like the product of unconditional positive regard…

Jack shrugs his shoulders a bit helplessly at her question, and if he agrees with her rules has yet to be seen, he simply sits back and spreads his arms across the couch. "He used the psychoactive chemical imbalance in my head triggered by my ability to drive me insane and write a book about it. It's called 'My Definitive Study of the Psychedelic Mind'." A book she'd probably have heard of, and the story is that they have no idea how a person would get that kind of information ethically.

"I'm not sure what happened to my father, maybe I killed him, or maybe he just left town, I'm not sure." He honestly sounds as if he has no idea, suggesting he might have been pretty insane at the time.

Bella read that one! "I believe I cited that book in a paper where I defended the use of psilocybin as a legitimate pharmaceutical," she says, mildly, "But I assure you, I argued against the presuppositions of the paper. Though, I admit, my main basis for criticism was its hypothetical basis. What you're telling me throws it in rather a different light," she takes a seat in the armchair that sits to one side of the coffee table. The position resembles, in no small way, the orientation of therapist and client. "I still think it was a shameless screed. Totally unscientific, and politically conservative. Good riddance."

"But I turned out alright. Sure, I had a bit of a phase, but now I'm functionally talking to someone and not even trying to recruit them to a religion." Jack notices her over on the chair, then pats the space on the couch next to him.

"My religion mostly involves Lovecraftian horrors, Oz, and Wonderland." Jack points out, rubbing his hands together a few times. It is rather cold without electricity, and it being -40 outside. "Oh, not much, top secret work, trying to get my golden guns back from the police somehow, and I'm trying to get my ability back so I can fix this," He raises his left arm, removes the black glove, then pulls it back to reveal a bronzed clockwork mechanical arm, far beyond normal science in that she can see thousands upon thousands of tiny gears working under the thin outer shell, through the little openings in it. He opens and closes the hand a few times, though it seems to have a lag issue. "Since I lost my ability, it's gradually gotten worse. I can't keep it updated."

Bella's head tilts as she peruses the arm. She lifts the flashlight, letting its beam play across the bizarre contraption. "A chiefly literary religion, then? Maybe you should incorporate Frith while you're at it. Get the rabbit enthusiasts into the fold. An interesting contraption," this last about the arm. She lowers the flashlight. It /is/ chilly. The gas heater still keeps the building survivable, but if the windows weren't padded with insulation, they likely wouldn't be having this conversation. At the very least, Bella wouldn't be in her PJs. "What was your ability, then? And how did you lose it?" This last is of particular interest. It's precisely the inverse of what her project is trying to achieve, after all.

"When I had that weird little girl with me, she said my ability was like Sylar's, except only for mechanical things. She says it's mechanical intuition or something." Jack remembers, he just seems to either habitually relay half-assed information, or just plain tries to frustrate people. "Now, how I lost it, that was before my personality split, but it's a memory we both share. That old man, just appeared… it was a very scary moment, like he ripped our soul out. We're told he's dead."

Inconclusive, and essentially useless. And here Bella was hoping to get something done for once. Oh well, you can't expect things to just fall into your lap. "So did you build that arm?"

"I Built it, though it's not my best work, since I had to make it with one hand. It used to have attachments, but now I can't change them." Jack pulls his glove back on, then spreads his arms out again. Even with it messing up so much, it seems to be like an extension of himself by now. He's had it for a while. "But once my ability is back, I'll upgrade this arm, maybe with better metals."

"How did you lose the arm you were born with?" Bella inquires. Her tone remains one of mild, friendly interest. Her hand remains where it can discreetly go for her taser. So far, so good. With luck it won't be necessary.

"More ancient history! That was also before the personality split, that was when I was really crazy." Jack sighs, as if having fond memories of a childhood. "I fell in love with a cop, named Cassidy. She doesn't live in America anymore, she went with that asshole cop and got knocked up, my lesser half is broken up over it. But back then, it was just me and Cassidy! Well, I had to court her first, which leads into my story. There was this man, named Dutch. He was an ATF cop or something. I challenged him to a fight to the death, which was going pretty well, then I held a grenade too long and my arm blew up."

Bella considers this kind of reckless self endangerment in the name of getting laid just one decimal place in the account book of patriarchy payback. "You self-describe as crazy quite regularly, Jack. Has this always been the case? Have you always considered yourself as crazy? And what does that precisely mean to you? Being crazy, that is."

"I consider myself to be functionally crazy, that means I'm privvy to my craziness. Though I used to hallucinate, I don't anymore, so my mind's clearer." Despite the fact that Jack still has the religion created due to the hallucinations. "What does being crazy mean? That I think on a totally different level than other people. It's clearly evolution at work, and I don't mean these Evolved abilities. I can see the holes in people's plans, in their words. They're so grounded in their so-called reality, it's the entire reason I'm still alive." He taps the side of his head a few times. "Even without my abilitiy, I haven't been outwitted. And self-describing as crazy means everyone will underestimate me, that's why I have gang territory in Staten. Even when I left, hell, even when I stopped killing people and destroying gangs, no one enters it."

Bella gives a small nod, "For a long time I've objected to the way mental disorder is classified, and the way it is viewed, in the psychiatric establishment," she says, "For all its cultish parsimony, intractable obscurity and clinical inefficacy, the Freudians, at least, understood that personalities as such are pathological. Your self-acceptance of madness is really just an acknowledgement of the fundamental character of craziness. And, evidently, your being openly 'crazy' is useful to you. It allows you to intimidate people, make them think you're dangerous, unpredictable," she cracks a small smile, "This is a misperception. The fact is, there are few people /more/ predictable than the truly insane."

"If I'm not insane, then what am I? I feel insane, the only reason I don't blow things up and carve words into people anymore is because my other half keeps me from doing it. He's got all these crazy morals, and a conscience." Jack rolls his eyes, even using quotation fingers when he says 'morals'. "I'm certainly not a sociopath, I have my limits and standards, and I feel. But, you sound like you're saying I'm not crazy, so this I gotta hear."

"Well, it's a matter of definitions," Bella says. She lifts one hand, "Even the APA doesn't have an airtight one. Just basic guidelines. The most common example people use - a little tired perhaps, but still useful - is homosexuality. Up until relatively recently, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. The basis? Deviance from heterosexual norms, the generation of distress in the so-called sufferers, the maladaption of possessing desires that are unacceptable within the established social structure. Now, of course, only a really retrograde individuals would classify homosexuality as a mental disorder. And," she lifts a finger, "There are some that argue that homosexuality, as we understand it, was more or less invented during the eighteenth century. Sexuality, as a defining characteristic of a person's selfhood, dates only as far back as the Enlightenment.

The psychiatrist smiles, hands coming to rest in her lap again, "Mental disorders are, most broadly, a matter of an imbalance in the mind. The mind comes into existence as a result of social factors, and social factors change over time. Insanity, and the mind itself, are a secondary functions of culture. There is no sane and no insane. There are established norms, and perceived deviations. That you think of yourself as insane is just a matter of your internalizing certain cultural views about normality, against which you compare yourself."

"So I'm only insane because I think everyone else is sane?" Jack asks, apparently his interpretation of what she's saying. He stares down at his lap, arms still spread across the couch. He seems to mellow out a bit when given something to think about. "So what you're saying is, I'm completely incapable of conforming to society's norms, so I choose to surround myself with weaker individuals I can convert to my way of thinking and create my own little world. Huh, interesting…" She didn't say anywhere near all that.

"Well, you /did/ say you had an urge to spread religion," Bella says, rolling with the intellectual punches here, "I ask you, what else was Christ than a deviant who was compelling enough to get others to conform with his deviance? Of course, he was also nailed to two pieces of wood, hung up to die, and never got to reap the rewards of what he began. So you need to really weigh the pros and cons of that /particular/ path."

"So, I can be the next Jesus…" Jack still doesn't raise his head, he's processing it all, but he still appears quite mellowed out. "I didn't think I was Jesus, I mean, one of my men does, and I don't like to read on his toes, but if I can make a more mainstream religion, I bet I could get the Jesus ball rolling!"

Jesus balls would be an amazing merchandizing opportunity. Millions of Americans playing games of 'toss the Savior'. "During times of struggle, duress and tribulation, people are looking for a new way to make the senseless world legible. If you can provide a new way of looking at things, of making things feel whole again, you'll be well on your way. But it's a hard note to strike. Very specific. Most of the time it's inadvertent. Not always, though. L. Ron Hubbard said 'Want to make a million dollars? Found a religion.' Quite explicit. And see where that got him."

"Money, who needs money. Doing things for greed only defeats the purpose of life, which is to enjoy it! People pursue money because of their need to enjoy life, but end up wasting life pursuing money." Jack looks up at her, an eyebrow raised as he realizes something. "You're the smartest woman I've ever met, except for my mother, she works for NASA. Well, Hokuto was great too, she gave us more control over this split personality thing, but now she's dead. Mortimer liked her a lot, he's sulky about it." This is the first time he's ever named his other half, and since she knows his full name, it's clear what he did there. Though one might wonder if anything happened with the middle name.

Bella's smile is finally more natural. "Thank you for saying so. I don't know how quantitatively more intelligent I am, but I'm with you on the matter of levels. Most people are deeply entrenched in their positions. No self-reflection. Imprisoning, really." She does know about his names, and she knows what he's entailing, but she doesn't want to let him know that she knows, "Mortimer? Is that you other self? The one you seem to think so little of?" A 'good guess' kind of question. She will not press the point of /how/ Hokuto ended up dead and /why/ Mortimer is sulky. Memories can trigger behaviors.

"Yeah, Mortimer's my other half. I only think little of him because he's immature. He doesn't understand life. He wants everything to be normal, and doesn't like my friends, so I make sure he doesn't have any and I do my best to piss his friends off. I guess you could say I'm self-defeating." Jack can't help but laugh at his play on words, shaking his head. "I self-reflect a lot, especially in dreams. Hokuto taught us a lot about dreams. They're not chaotic things anymore, our head's a goddamned second reality now. We cut it off into two sections, his eastern kingdom, and my western kingdom. I don't go on his side and he doesn't go on mine."

"A separate state solution," Bella comments, "It's a shame you need to share a body. I imagine you both might find it more agreeable if you had a more flexible living arrangement. Then he could have his friends, and you yours." How equitable. "Do you ever wish you could cross that line? Is there anything in his kingdom you want?"

"There's nothing I want. We used to fight over the body and Hokuto gave us a balance. We can talk in dreams, if we really want to, but I don't want his weaknesses and he doesn't want my crazy, so we try not to talk except for important things, like working out new rules for my body." Jack lifts his feet up on the couch, then lays back with his hands behind his head. "I'm gonna take a nap, there's books in my winter clothes over there. You just read and keep being sexy."

Bella's expression is strictly impassive as she receives Jack's urging. She gets slowly to her feet, and moves over to his pile of winter clothes. As she kneels to investigate just what reading material a man such as himself would bring with him (honestly, some Lovecraft wouldn't be bad right now, nor would some Lewis Carrol) her hand touches discreetly against the weight of the taser in her pocket. Good to know it is there, though she prays she will have no occasion to use it.

She'll find some Lovecraft and some Lewis Carrol. There's even a few Pooh books in there, and the third Oz book. Jack, meanwhile, just closes his eyes. Odd that he's not worried about her trying to kill him, but maybe he's just crazy… like a fox!

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