The psychiatrist watched him as he pulled back the curtains, looking out at the pleasant meadow of his new home.
“How are you today, Mr. Smith?”
“That’s a pleasant looking meadow.”
“Aren’t most meadows?”
He looked at her, astonished. “Oh no! No, not at all. Some are quite dark, with things crawling around inside them, things you don’t want to see…”
She wrote a note, but didn’t dwell on it.
“Why do you think you’re here?”
He let the curtain fall. Now it was just the fluorescent lights in the office.
“She ruined my show.”
“That young woman, on the blog. She ruined it. She sent a petition, and they read it, and did it, and ruined it all…”
He was getting agitated; she signaled, and the burly attendants moved closer to the door.
“Do you not understand?” he said. “It’s a pattern: from ‘Moonlighting’ to ‘Who’s the Boss’ to ‘Cheers’ to ‘Night Court’ to ‘Family Matters’ to ‘Boy Meets World,’ the pattern is always the same, the question is always the same: Will they do it?
“And they always, always do! But this was a haven. I found it after its first season. I watched it, and watched it again, enjoying the byplay, the intrigue; I’ve never seen Spader more brilliant, and the young actress had looks and talent, well matched with him. I had finally found a show worthy of my attention, but shortly after I’d found season one, I met her, the one who ruined things.”
“How did you meet?”
“Not physically. It was on a writing site, before the Internet chips we now have in our brains. She’s since gone on to fame and fortune as an author.”
He sat back, a wan smile on his face: “She posted about her first book signing, and I sent her a congratulatory note. I confessed to a bit of jealousy. Humorously, of course…”
“Of course.” (note scribble)
“But then, I saw her next post, and it was the beginning of the end: a petition for Lizzington!”
He sighed. Was she not listening?
“Yes, Lizzington. It was trendy back in those days to combine the names of couples. Google it, or whatever it is you do now. Brangelina, Bennifer, Kimye, and other assorted nonsense. This was the pairing of Lizzie, a detective, and Ray Reddington, a mastermind and villain. First part of her name, last part of his: Lizzington.”
“I see…” (note scribble)
He leaned forward, holding on to the arms of the chair, sneering.
“No, you don’t see. They listened to her. They received her petition, and they listened to her, and created Lizzington.”
He sat back, deflated. “And in season 3, the detective and villain kissed. The show was over for me then. I’d begged her not to send it in, pleaded.
“Do you know what her answer was?”
The shrink shook her head.
“A quote from Spock: ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ I knew who Spock was before she was born, and she sends me a quote from Spock!”
The attendants looked inside.
“That’s rather cryptic.” (note scribble)
He sat back, wiping the tears away.
“Oh, oh yes. Cryptic. Cruel, even. High-handed. Dismissive. There’s a bunch more. Shall I recite them all?”
“No. No Mr. Smith, I think we’ve got enough to go on.” (note scribble)
“I’m suggesting you spend a few days with us; we’ll notify your job, and these nice young men will escort you to your room.”
“Is there a window?”
“Yes, I believe there’s a window.”
“May I walk in the meadow?”
“After dinner, yes, you may walk in the meadow.”
“Oh, good. It’s such a pleasant meadow…”
She stood up.
“I’ll be by to check on you tomorrow, Mr. Smith.”
He smiled, endearingly. “Very well.”
The attendants came in, and lifted him gently to his feet.
“This way, sir.”
“Wherefore didst thou do this, Megan?”
“Did you say something, sir?”
“No, no young man. Lead on. Lead on…”