Folie a Deux

Written by David A. Brooks

Hello Kids. Tonight’s bedtime story? Time for a morbid tale, I think.

There sure are interesting people in this big wide world. I saw one of my regular interesting customers today. He’s back from the state hospital again. The issue is whether he can now stand trial. He’s been in the hospital for many years, and every few years he is returned to see if he is able to stand trial for the murder of his brother.

Two brothers were institutionalized at two different mental hospitals. Their elderly mom died, and each brother was given a pass to go home for the funeral. What each hospital didn’t know was that the other hospital was also releasing a brother. Uh oh. You see, these brothers are prone to a rare problem called a “Folie a Deux”. No, that isn’t an indecent relationship! It’s a situation where each participant has a delusion which supports and feeds the other participant’s related delusion. God/Satan, Jesus/Judas, Napoleon/Josephine. I’ve had each of these come up in the past. Most unfortunately, these brothers liked to play out Able and Cain.

Interestingly, they are also prone to swap roles. The brothers met up, buried mom, and decided that rather than return to the hospitals they’d play at Able and Cain. One brother tried to kill the other one off using a number of unusual means. He tried to poison the other using mercury in the pasta sauce. However, mercury will not adhere to anything and seeks itself at the bottom of the plate, so this didn’t work out. He tried to use rattlesnakes to do the deed. Snakes in the mailbox, snakes in the toilet, snakes in the bed. However, the snakes either gave early warning and were easily avoided or they wouldn’t bite. They also tended to crawl off and be a nuisance to the brother who wasn’t supposed to get bit. Once again the method didn’t work out. He went to a series of pet stores to buy tarantulas by the box-full. They were creepy, but not lethal. My client pondered and pondered about what method to use next. Sometime during this pondering, he seems to have grabbed a gun off of the wall and shot his sleeping brother. Well, sometimes direct action is the most efficient. Since God promised the soon-to-be-defendant that the dead brother would rise from the dead, my client kept the body in as good a condition as possible. This became progressively more difficult as the month of August came and went. No air-conditioning; not so much as an electric fan. However, patience being a virtue, my client sat back to wait for his brother to rise from the dead.

Meanwhile, a neighbor called the police to report that her neighbor’s crazy sons had been staying at mom’s house for awhile; and the neighbor hadn’t seen them for a month.

Since mom passed away, the property might be abandoned; or the sons could still be holed up there. Oh, by the way, watch out. One of the sons likes to hide up in the oak trees and drop down on unsuspecting people who approach the house. He’s been known to chase people with a machete from time to time.

The officer who responded to this welfare check took hours to make his way up to the house, forced to check and clear each large oak tree on this heavily wooded property. As he worked his way up to the house he saw the Defendant whittling on the front porch.

“Are you OK?” asked the officer.
“Yep.” (Not so much as looking up).

“Is your brother here?”
“Yep.”

“Is he OK?”
“He’ll be fine.” (Still whittling).

“How’s he doing?”
“Been better, I’ll say that.”

“Can I talk to him?”
“I don’t know, you can sure try. I haven’t been able to get much out him lately.”

“Can I go in?”
“Yep. You’ll want this.” (Handing the officer what he’s just finished whittling.)

“What the heck is this?”
“Nose plug. Trust me.”

The officer ignored the warning and declined the plugs. This may have been the worst decision the officer ever made. I never found out how long that poor officer had to spend in therapy, but it probably wasn’t nearly long enough.

My client was too crazy to take to court to say he was insane. He’s been locked up in the hospital ever since. The hospital has spent years trying to get him to not talk about his delusional beliefs, thinking that if my client doesn’t mention them he might be able to stand trial. Nice try.

When my client is periodically returned to court I simply tell him that I was just getting interested in how he received messages from God when our conversation was interrupted by the most recent hospitalization. How’d that go again? He is always more than pleased to remind me, with lots of florid detail. It’s back to the hospital once again. He’s in his 80s now. I wonder how many more times we’ll be having this chat.

Well, if a crazy old coot ever offers you a nose plug and says “trust me”, if I were you I’d take his word on that. Wisdom comes from strange sources, and you’ve got to trust someone sometime.

Good night kids. I’ve got the light.
Uncle David