Dr. Youngbeak looked through the record of her next patient with frustration evident on her face. There was hardly anything there to work with other than the patient'scriminal background. There was no record of his real name, his family, school… Nothing. It was almost like the patient just popped out of nowhere one day and started committing crimes. Dr. Youngbeak put her fingers to her feathery temples and rubbed slowly. She could already tell this was going to be a tough case.
"Patient interview number one: Quackerjack. Unfortunately, at this time, there are very few records about this patient. The good news is that Quackerjack appears to be an ordinary duck. This will make accommodating him easier than some of the other patients." Dr. Youngbeak thought for a while, "I'm going to try to glean as much information as possible from him in today's session."
She waited for the guards to bring Quackerjack to her. After a moment, several guards filed in, followed by Quackerjack, followed by more guards. Dr. Youngbeak tried to keep from gaping at the number of guards that had filed into the room. They were all lined up against the walls of the room, not one space against a wall left opened. Quackerjack sat in front of her with a child-like grin on his face. She noticed he was still wearing one piece of his costume: his hat. Dr. Youngbeak stood, picked a guard, and led him outside the door.
"What is the meaning of this? There is no reason this many guards should be in this room. And why is the patient still wearing a part of his costume? It's against asylum regulations!" Dr. Youngbeak gave the guard a stern look.
The guard looked away from her. "Well, uh, you see, um… Quackerjack is very dangerous. We tried to get his hat off, but he wouldn't stop kicking and screaming, not even after we sedated him. He bit poor Charlie's ear off. The other docs thought it would be best if we just let him keep his hat. Anyway, we need this many guards to keep him under control."
Dr. Youngbeak stared at him, then sighed. "Fine. Fine! Let's get on with this, then." She couldn't believe she was going to have to talk to a patient with so many guards listening in. It was going to next to impossible to try and establish a comforting atmosphere. She re-entered the room, only to find Quackerjack sitting in her chair. She gave the guards a disapproving look before sitting down in the chair that was supposed to be Quackerjack's.
"Hel-," Dr. Youngbeak began but Quackerjack interrupted her.
"Hello, Miss Youngbeak! How are we feeling today, hm?" He was speaking with a German accent, and he had in his hands the clipboard that belonged to her. Dr. Youngbeak tried not to show that she was agitated by this.
"I'm feeling fine, thank you. Could you please give me back my clipboard?"
Quackerjack considered this a moment, then shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't do that. It's against asylum regulations, you understand."
"My name is Dr. Lederhosen," Quackerjack said, unable to keep himself from grinning.
"I'm the doctor here, Quackerjack. You are the patient. I can have the guards escort you back to your cell if you do not cooperate with me," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Quackerjack frowned for a brief second, then he grinned. "All right, Miss Youngbeak. Even though it's against regulations, I suppose it wouldn't hurt for you to have a looksie." He handed the clipboard back to her.
"Thank you, Quackerjack," Dr. Youngbeak said, then frowned. On the clipboard's notepad, Quackerjack had scribbled some very inappropriate images. She turned the page and readied her pen.
Quackerjack pretended to write on an invisible clipboard. "The patient suffers from delusions. She believes she is a doctor, and that I am the toy-maker known as Quackerjack."
Dr. Youngbeak sighed, wondering if she should continue conducting the session or if she should have the guards take Quackerjack back to his cell. Determined to try and get as much as she could out of the session, she decided to let him stay for the time being.
"How are you feeling today?" she asked.
"I am feeling fine. Wonderful. But this session isn't about me, Miss Youngbeak. It is about you and these delusions you suffer from. Tell me, when did you first start having these delusions?" Quackerjack asked. He continually tried to keep a straight face but failed each time.
"I'm the one conducting this session, and it's about you, not me," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Quackerjack gave her a condescending little smile. "Well, if that's what helps you cope, I wouldn't have it any other way."
Dr. Youngbeak tried to keep her expression neutral, but she found that she was quickly getting aggravated. She tried telling herself that Quackerjack couldn't help himself, and that made her feel a little better. "Do you know why you're here?"
"Yes. I am here to help patients like you get better. I can see right away that you are going to be a very difficult case, Miss Youngbeak."
Dr. Youngbeak suppressed a groan. She could see that she wasn't going to get anywhere with Quackerjack today.
"Guards, please escort Quackerjack back to his cell," she said.
The guards lined up and led Quackerjack out of the room.
"We'll make an appointment for next month, Miss Youngbeak! Bye, bye!" Quackerjack shouted.
Dr. Youngbeak looked down at her clipboard. She hadn't managed to write anything down. She readied her pen in order to write something down but nearly dropped it when the alarms sounded. She ran out the door in time to see the guards all chasing after Quackerjack. His laughter echoed down the hallway.
"Patient interview number two: Quackerjack. Our last session together was a disaster. I didn't manage to gather any information about Quackerjack at all. I am hopeful that this session will be different. We have, for the time being, put Quackerjack on lithium because we suspect he may be suffering from severe mania. Time will only tell whether this helps stabilize Quackerjack in any way." Dr. Youngbeak waited for the guards to bring Quackerjack in. She still couldn't believe that so many guards were needed to keep one ordinary duck under control.
Soon, the guards filed in, followed by Quackerjack, followed by more guards. The guards had Quackerjack sit at the table, then took their places against the walls.
"Hello, Quackerjack. How are you feeling today?" she asked.
"Ooo, fabulous! I've gotta say this is a nice place you've got here, doc. A little lacking in the color department, but still…"
"That's good enough. We're not here to discuss the asylum's décor," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"Oh. That's too bad because I was thinking this room would look great in stripes and polka dots." Quackerjack giggled.
"Now, do you know what you're doing here?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Taking a vacation?" Quackerjack said, taking a sudden interest in the tips of his fingers.
Dr. Youngbeak thought about this. "I suppose you could see it like a vacation, yes. Duckham Asylum is a place to take refuge from the outside world."
"Oh! Oh! Are you taking complaints? Because I have one. The food here? Talk about yuck! It's goopier than silly putty. I didn't think that was possible. Oh, and the pudding tastes like play-doh. I should know. I've eaten play-doh plenty of times to know what it tastes like." Quackerjack nodded to himself.
Dr. Youngbeak scribbled some notes. She noticed that Quackerjack appeared to have a very disconnected pattern of thinking, quickly jumping from one topic to the next, regardless of whether it connected to the previous topic or not. She thought for a moment that it could be indicative of schizophrenia but she'd have to have more sessions with him to be sure.
"Let's move the conversation away from food. I want to talk about you. We've tried finding records on you, but we haven't succeeded just yet. It's like they've all been destroyed or have gotten lost. The most we've been able to find is information about the toy company Quackerjack Toys, but since it's gone out of business, employee records are difficult to find. Would it be possible for you to supply information such as your real name and date of birth?"
"Hmmm… It IS possible, but I don't think I want to tell you." He attempted to cross his arms, but the handcuffs he had on impeded this action somewhat. He stuck his tongue out at her.
"Very well. I can't force you to give me information if you don't want to. Why don't we talk about what sort of things you like to do in your spare time?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"I'm a toymaker. What do you think I do in my spare time? Sell Junior Woodchuck cookies? Actually, I tried trading toys for the cookies once, but those Junior Woodchucks ran away from me. Nobody seems to appreciate quality merchandise anymore." He gave a little huff.
"Do you feel underappreciated?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, wondering if she was finally getting somewhere.
"Oh no. My toys appreciate everything I do for them. I couldn't be more appreciated!" Quackerjack leaned in close, "Do YOU feel underappreciated, doc?"
Dr. Youngbeak frowned, not liking that he turned the question back on her. "This session isn't about me. It's about you, Quackerjack."
"Keep saying that," Quackerjack said, in a sing-song sort of voice.
"You don't still think you're Dr. Lederhosen, do you?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Maybe I do. Maybe I don't." Quackerjack leaned back in his seat.
"Do you often think you are other people?" Dr. Youngbeak watched Quackerjack intently. It seemed like he never stopped grinning. It was a little unnerving.
"Well, it would be so BORING if I was just one person all the time. Why be one person when I can be two or three or several?" Quackerjack said.
"Doesn't that get tiring, being more than one person?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Hmm. Nope." His grin seemed to get a little wider for a moment before settling back into his usual grin.
"I see." She scribbled down some notes. "What do you think about yourself, the real you?"
"I think the real me is a lovable, cuddly toymaker who loves to make things go boom. Don't you just want to kiss me?" Quackerjack asked, leaning in close again.
Dr. Youngbeak blinked, then she tried to ignore what he just said. "I think it's a good thing that you consider yourself lovable."
"Do you think I'm lovable, doc?" Quackerjack's eyes glinted with mischief.
Dr. Youngbeak frowned. "Does that really matter? The important thing is that you love yourself."
"Is that a yes or a no?" Quackerjack asked, challenging her.
"You are my patient, Quackerjack. I wish to help you and be your friend. Nothing more, nothing less," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Quackerjack frowned for maybe a few seconds before grinning again. "You really like to suck the fun out of things, don't you?"
"We're not here to have fun. We're here to help you get better," Dr. Youngbeak told him.
"We're not here to have fun. We're here to help you get better," Quackerjack mocked. "Too bad, so sad. I'm going to have fun, anyway." Suddenly, he jumped up on the table and grabbed onto the fluorescent light above him. He started swinging around like a monkey.
"Get down from there!" Dr. Youngbeak said, though Quackerjack paid no attention. "Guards!"
The fluorescent light fell and smashed into the table causing the room to become pitch black. There was mass confusion among the guards as they tried to figure out where Quackerjack was. Dr. Youngbeak sat very still in her seat, a little frightened by the pandemonium. There was a sound of the door opening, flooding the room with light. Quackerjack escaped out into the hall, laughing all the way.
"Patient interview number ten: Quackerjack. I'm afraid I have still made little progress with Quackerjack. He has started to freely give me details about his life, but with each session, he changes his story, so I cannot be sure what is truth and what is fiction. The lithium does not appear to be helping his mania, so we have switched him onto a few anti-psychotics. I hope that this helps calm him down. Once again, I'm going to try to make the most of my session with Quackerjack."
There was a knock at the door, then the guards filed in, followed by Quackerjack, followed by more guards. Quackerjack sat down in front of her. He was not smiling. Somehow, this was even more unnerving than his constant grin. Dr. Youngbeak kept her expression neutral.
"Hello, Quackerjack. How are you feeling today?" she asked.
Quackerjack glared at her and said nothing.
"You look upset. Is something wrong?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Is something wrong? Is SOMETHING wrong? I'll tell you what's wrong. I'm locked up in here, me, the most beloved toymaker in the whole world, while Whiffle Boy is out there rotting children's brains with his STUPID video games! Oooooh! He makes me so angry!" Quackerjack slammed his hands down on the table. "And what's worse is he laughing at me behind my back. I KNOW he's laughing at me. I can hear him laughing at me when I sleep. Stupid, stupid Whiffle Boy! I want to wring his pixilated neck, I want to stomp on his precious video games, I want to KILL HIM!"
Dr. Youngbeak was surprised by his angry outburst. She scribbled down some notes. "Quackerjack… I want you to take a few deep breaths to calm down."
"Calm down? CALM down? I don't think so! That's what you want me to do. You're working for him, aren't you? Don't lie to me! I can see it in your face! You work for Whiffle Boy! You want me to become a mindless video game obsessed zombie just like the rest of the world. Well, it won't work on me, no way, not ever. I'm going to play with my toys forever, and nobody is going to stop me!"
"I do not work for Whiffle Boy, and I don't want to force you to do something you don't want to do. I want you to take a few deep breaths and count to ten. You can count to ten, right?"
"Of course I can!" Quackerjack said, narrowing his eyes. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten."
"Do you feel better now?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"No!" But he said nothing more, settling in his seat. He continued to glare.
"Why don't we talk about something other than Whiffle Boy? Let's talk about something you like. Toys. How does it make you feel when you play with toys?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"It makes me feel great, of course…" His bill slipped into a hint of a grin, then his expression darkened and the grin disappeared. "But you don't want me to play with toys. You won't let me have toys in my cell. You'll only let me play with the toys in the rec room, and I hardly ever get to go there!" He looked as though he were going to throw a temper tantrum at any moment.
"Well, we did let you have toys in your cell at one time, remember? It was last month. We only stopped letting you have toys in your cell because, somehow, you managed to rig explosives into the toys you had," Dr. Youngbeak said, a stern note in her voice.
"Oh yeeeah…" Quackerjack's grin came back, and he started laughing as though he had just remembered a great joke. Dr. Youngbeak was startled by the sudden laughter and switch in his mood. It didn't last long. "That doesn't change anything! You took my toys away from me, my friends…" Quackerjack's eyes narrowed. "My friends… What about my pal, Sparky? What have you done with him? I don't see him anymore."
It took a moment for Dr. Youngbeak to realize who Quackerjack was talking about. "Elmo is fine. I've decided that it would be best if I kept you two separate, especially after what happened two weeks ago."
Quackerjack trembled with rage. "You won't let me see Megsy anymore? You… you…"
His eyes seemed to get wide before he lunged at her and wrapped his hands around her neck. Dr. Youngbeak struggled to get him off of her, but his grip was too strong. She couldn't breathe.
The guards were quick to act. It took five of them to pull Quackerjack off of her. Dr. Youngbeak coughed and held her throat. She watched the guards struggle with Quackerjack a moment before they carted him off back to his cell. One guard stayed behind.
"You all right, Dr. Youngbeak?" the guard asked.
"I'll be fine." She rubbed at her throat.
Despite the incident, she was determined to help Quackerjack and decided to continue seeing him as her patient.
"Patient interview number twenty: Quackerjack. Quackerjack has still shown no sign of responding to his medication. His mood is as unstable as ever. We still haven't found any more records on him. I have made little headway into understanding Quackerjack's psyche, but I haven't given up. Today, I plan to talk with him about his childhood." Dr. Youngbeak sighed and wondered if she was just wasting her time. She heard a knock at the door and quickly strengthened her resolve. Surely, she could learn something about her patient.
The usual assembly line of guards and Quackerjack filed into the room. Quackerjack was made to sit down. He was grinning as usual.
"Hiya, doc. You're looking as fuddy-duddy as usual," Quackerjack said, snickering a bit.
Dr. Youngbeak paid no attention to the insult. "Today, I'd like to talk with you about your childhood."
Quackerjack's bill formed into a mock pout. "Aw, come on. Haven't we been through this before?"
"You've given me bits and pieces of information about your childhood, but we've never directly talked about it. And I'd like you to give me the truth. I can only help you if you're truthful with me," Dr. Youngbeak told him.
"Fiiine." Quackerjack looked thoughtful. "When I was a kid, mommy used to read me bedtime stories and bake cookies and send me to school with a pat on my head."
Dr. Youngbeak flipped through her notes and sighed. "Last time, you told me your mother left you and your father, and the time before that, you told me your mother was hardly around because of her job as a CEO."
"Oh, but this time, I mean it. She had to keep me company. After all, my father worked the graveyard shift… at a cemetery." He grinned wide.
"You said your father was a zookeeper and a ringmaster for the circus."
"And he worked at the cemetery."
"Your father worked three jobs?" Dr. Youngbeak held a doubtful tone in her voice.
"Five. He was also a party clown and a pizza delivery boy." Quackerjack looked like he was having fun making things up.
Dr. Youngbeak tried to keep her cool. "Let's move the subject away from your parents. I want to know how you felt about your childhood."
"It was boring, of course. None of my toys exploded like they do now," Quackerjack said.
"So, would you say you were under stimulated as a child?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
Quackerjack giggled as if she had said something funny. Dr. Youngbeak gave him a stern look.
"Oh, doc. Don't look so serious. You really need to lighten up," he said, giggling some more.
"Answer the question, please."
"What question?" Quackerjack asked, trying to look innocent.
Dr. Youngbeak did not allow her frustration to be evident on her face. "You said your childhood was boring. Was that because you were under stimulated as a child?"
"If by under stimulated, you mean my childhood was lacking in explosions, fire, and pointy objects… then, yes. I was very, very under stimulated," Quackerjack said as if that was a perfectly natural thing to say.
"Where did your fascination with such dangerous things come from?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, trying to read his expression. The grin remained constant and showed no sign of slipping from his bill.
"Doesn't everybody love a good explosion every now and then? I mean, look at how popular fireworks are," Quackerjack said.
"So, you were always fascinated with that sort of thing, then?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, scribbling some notes.
"Always have been, always will be!" Quackerjack said cheerfully.
"What about your childhood friends? Were they also fascinated with dangerous things?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, trying to gauge his reaction. She was wondering if his childhood had been lonely for him or not.
"Hm. I can't remember." Quackerjack shrugged his shoulders.
Dr. Youngbeak was not discouraged. She pressed on.
"What were your childhood friends like?"
Quackerjack was as evasive as ever. "Don't know. But that's not important, is it, doc? The important people in my life are the buddies that I have now. Don't you agree?"
"Well, yes… But sometimes, the past…" Dr. Youngbeak began, but Quackerjack swiftly interrupted her.
"Sometimes, the past can give us insight into who we are today," he recited. "Yak yak yak, blah blah blah."
Dr. Youngbeak blinked and thought for a bit. Was it possible that Quackerjack had training in psychology or maybe he had a previous history with doctors in the past? She was uncertain, and it was unlikely that she would get a straight answer from him.
"Do you ever take anything seriously?" She asked this question so suddenly, it surprised her.
Quackerjack stared at her for a moment. Then, he giggled. The giggling gradually grew louder until it was full-blown mad laughter. The guards in the room shifted uneasily. Dr. Youngbeak tried to keep her discomfort from showing. Finally, the laughter died down. Quackerjack tapped the side of his head.
"You're not very bright, are ya, doc?" he said.
Then, out of nowhere, he pulled out Mr. Banana Brain.
"I'd say she's quite dumb, chum!" Quackerjack said in a high-pitched voice for the doll.
Everyone in the room looked alarmed at the appearance of the doll. It probably wasn't the appearance of the doll that startled them so much as what Quackerjack had the doll holding: a gun.
"Why, Mr. Banana Brain! Where did that gun come from?" Quackerjack said, sounding shocked.
"You don't wanna know, Joe!"
Dr. Youngbeak tried to remain calm, even though, the gun was pointed straight at her. The guards looked like they wanted to spring into action, but were clearly afraid that Quackerjack might shoot the good doctor.
"Quackerjack… Please tell Mr. Banana Brain that he needs to put the gun down. Slowly." She tried to make her voice sound firm, but it wavered.
"I don't think so! Mr. Banana Brain is my pal, and he's going to bust me out of here! Aren't you, Mr. Banana Brain?" Quackerjack asked the doll.
"You bet, Chet! So, nobody better make a move or the doc gets it!" Quackerjack stood and began walking backwards until he was out of the room.
Dr. Youngbeak sighed in relief when the gun was no longer aimed at her. The guards quickly went outside the room after Quackerjack.
"Patient interview number fifty-one: Quackerjack. This will be my final session with Quackerjack. I can no longer tolerate his mood swings, his rude behavior, his constant escape attempts, and the threats he's made on my life. Furthermore, after all of this time, I have still made little head-way with this patient. I only wish I had realized sooner that I would be incapable of providing Quackerjack with the appropriate therapy and treatment that he needs. If I had known, I would've stepped down much earlier. He will be transferred to the care of our new doctor, Dr. Warbler, next week. She has even more years of experience dealing with the criminally insane than I have. I am hoping that she will have better luck with Quackerjack than I have had."
She waited for the guards to bring Quackerjack in. A few minutes later, they arrived with the criminal clown in tow. Quackerjack was forced to sit down in front of her. He looked extraordinarily pleased with himself.
"Hello. How are you feeling today?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Great as usual, doc," Quackerjack said, a big grin on his bill.
"I'm sure you've been informed by now that today is our last session together. How do you feel about that?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"I feel accomplished."
"Accomplished?" Dr. Youngbeak raised an eyebrow.
"Why, yes… I KNEW you would get tired of me eventually. This is just proof that I was right!"
"I'm not tired of you, Quackerjack. You are being transferred because I feel that you would be much better off in a different doctor's care," Dr. Youngbeak said. It was partially the truth.
Quackerjack laughed. "All you docs are the same. You want us patients to be truthful with you, but you won't be truthful with us. Tsk, tsk. You should be ashamed."
Dr. Youngbeak tried not to get aggravated. This was her last day with Quackerjack. It would be best if she made it count as much as she could.
"You don't trust doctors very much, do you?"
Quackerjack shrugged. "You don't trust toymakers very much, do you?"
He was turning the question back on her again. She hated it when he did that.
"Let's move on." Dr. Youngbeak flipped a page over on her clipboard and readied her pen. "Is there anything you wanted to say to me? Since this is our last session together, it will likely be the last time we will ever talk again."
"Hmm. Let me think. You take things too seriously, your outfit is lacking in color, you have a big beak, you smell like old people, and you're an idiot." Quackerjack looked thoughtful. "Yep. That about sums it up."
"Do you have anything you want to say to me that isn't an insult?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, keeping her expression neutral.
"Nope!" Quackerjack's grin remained constant.
Dr. Youngbeak sighed. "Very well. Why don't we talk about how you relate to other people? Your friends in the Fearsome Five… how do you think they see you?"
"And why should I tell you that? You've talked to them. You should know how they see me." Quackerjack crossed his arms, or attempted to, since his actions were impeded by his handcuffs somewhat.
"Yes, but I want to hear what you think," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"I think you need to come up with better questions. These questions are boooooooring." Quackerjack faked a yawn.
"Why are they boring?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, determined to get something out of this session.
"See? This is why you're an idiot. You can't figure anything out for yourself. I have to explain things to you over and over again. That's just boring, boring, boring." Quackerjack's eyes were narrowed in annoyance, but the grin remained ever-present.
"Well, why don't you tell me what an interesting question is, then?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Well, you've never asked me what my favorite ice cream flavor is," Quackerjack said.
Dr. Youngbeak sighed again. "Your favorite ice cream flavor isn't going to help me help you, Quackerjack."
"Sure, it is. You just tell the nice lunch ladies here that I like butterscotch ripple ice cream, and everything will be fine." Quackerjack rubbed his hands together and licked his bill.
"You're not going to cooperate with me today, are you?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"You're the one not cooperating, doc. I mean, you can't even ask me one interesting question," Quackerjack said.
"Guards, take Quackerjack back to his cell…"
The guards moved to get Quackerjack to stand up. Quackerjack immediately latched onto the table. "Noooooo… I don't wanna go yet. I'm not done playing with Dr. Youngbeak…"
The guards tried to pry him off the table. The table was dragged across the floor as Quackerjack refused to let go. Finally, they managed to get him to let go of the table. They led him out of the room. That was the last time Dr. Youngbeak saw Quackerjack as her patient.