It was a skilled profession and I have to say, humbly, that not everyone has the aptitude for it. The requirement for patience, the eye for detail and that indifinable something. The sixth sense for spotting things. I had that, it was the attribute that meant I wasn’t just a good Private Detective, I was an outstanding one. Sitting here, back to the wall, blending in, that is another quality that is required. The ability to blend in, into all sorts of situations, all types of company. This job was a tough one, been on this one a long while now. The person I was watching here, he was clever, no, cunning would be a more accurate adjective. Devious, have to be so very methodical with this one. Take notes, keep tabs. There! He looked directly at me, sitting in the chair pretending to be engrossed in a game of chess, but he glanced up! I had him, saw him before he made eye contact, buried my head in the paper, that six sense you see. Always one step ahead.
That soppy sod’s off again! Look at him, making out he’s reading. Thinks he’s a bloody Private Detective! What did the Yanks used to call them? You know, Sam Spade, Marlowe, all them characters…Dicks, Private Dicks…Well, he’s that alright! Interesting Move. Sacrificing his last bishop to gain checkmate. Not so simple my friend. I was an International Chess Champion before..well before. Bloody delusional, he wouldn’t know the first thing about detective work, he’d faint at the danger. I should know, had plenty of them after me. Back when I was an agent in the Cold War. Berlin, all that. Where I learnt to play chess. Now! There you weren’t expecting that. Classic Move. Checkmate Old Son! The silly sod’s scribbling in his notebook now! The stories I could scribble in his little book, make his hair stand on end!
Two of my cases, rather interesting studies I must say, and useful material for the paper I am putting together. Yes, both delusional. The one writing is harmless enough. He is convinced he is a detective. Slight paranoia evident but something else as well, it‘s what brought him to my attention. The interest, for me, is what triggered it for him. There is always a trigger, you see. Might be one traumatic event but more often even this is preceeded by a number of situations all gathering weight, if you will, until something sends them over the edge. With him, I believe it was the suspicion that his wife was having an affair, then that colleagues at his workplace were trying to get rid of him. His wife was totally innocent but it broke the marriage. As it turned out some of his co-workers were antipathetic towards him but I believe that was due to his behaviour. Always watching them, checking up on them. Basically, it stems from a lack of self confidence, probably as a result of some lack of encouragement in childhood. Interesting though. As for the other chap, the one playing chess on his own. No, he never plays anyone, just plays both sides himself. Very cut off, hardly talks. Worked in a bank all his life, under-achiever in all aspects really. The interest for me in his case is that there is an underlying pathology, a certain untapped violent aspect to his personality. It will all be laid out in the paper I am writing.
Of all the patients here, he’s the one you will have to keep an eye on. The rest are harmless enough. No, there’s really no need to feel foolish, he has convinced more experienced nurses than you when they have first come to work here. Did he use the “I’m writing a paper on these particular cases” line? Yes, thought so, one of his favourites. He will tell you all sorts of fantasies about the other patients, don’t believe any of it…and be careful, of all our patients, he’s the most dangerous, just because he is so convincing and devious with it, he used to be a psychiatric nurse before, well, before, he had his breakdown.