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To slay the Jabberwocky

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She left without any last words or even common goodbye, let alone an explanation.
Just stood up and left.
At first he, albeit somewhat disturbed, didn' t pay much attention to that fact, believing it to be just a female moodswing and nothing more.
But time went by, and Jonathan Crane waited (and waited and waited ...), but still she never came.
He grew restless ( even more than ever), then moody ( that was nothing new, but this time even Jervis could hardly endure it), and then, all of a sudden, dejected and ,to his own shock, wistful.
What could have he possibly said or done wrong?!
( well,he admitted; actually quite plenty, especially to those who weren' t Molly Randall, but still , surely it wouldn't hurt to elaborate a little?)
Days came and went, and once, during one of his so- called therapy sessions with Dr. Leland ("so-called" being the keyword) he was given a small folded note by the aforementioned doctor, her face, for once, unreadable.
" What' s that, Doctor Leland?", he asked, puzzled.
"The securities gave it to me at the main entrance doors. I believe, according to them, it's a word from the young lady that used to visit you, Professor Crane."
Curious, he almost snatches the note from Joan' s hands, and unfolds it right there and then, being not exactly in character.
There's but a single line :
" RTFM, Professor ! ( Sorry, but you had it coming. )When you're ready, we return to the subject again.M.M.R"
"This abbreviation- what could it possibly mean?"- Jonathan heard himself asking ( and has he just read the note out loud?!)
Joan Leland looked down, clearly uncomfortable.
" Well... in fact , it's a slang word, meaning the person in question should ,er... study the subject more thoroughly, and it is used by modern young people..."
" Is it short for something?"
" If you insist, it's actually short for...( she grew even more uncomfortable) " Read the ...freaking manual".
He was at a loss for words, and for emotions as well.
Molly Randall never used bad words. Ever.
" She must have been really angry when writing it", Crane finally managed to utter, because the silence was already as awkward as it could be.
" No, Jonathan, I don' t think so", Joan Leland looked at him with somewhat unbearable compassion. " The last time I saw her out of here she didn' t seem angry to me. More like... disappointed, I' d say. And sad."
Jonathan, looking paler than an Apocalypse horseman, gathered the note from the table and rushed out of the study, nearly knocking down Edward Nygma, who had evidently been waiting for his session near the doors.
" What the hell was that, Doc?", Nygma asked ,not quite happy with having nearly been stepped upon. " Sounds as if our esteemed Professor has finally lost it!"
" On the contrary, Edward," Joan answered thoughtfully, before letting Nygma in, " I dare to suggest he is closer to finding it than ever."
To say he is frustrated is a huge understatement.
The manual, indeed! The nerve of that girl!
Who does she think she is? Does she take him for some inept fool to be trifled with? And , first and foremost, who of them two is , in fact ,a student?!
But, unfortunately, Crane has never been able to stay angry with his favourite student for long- neither while being her counsellor, nor during their discussions ( yes,and disputes, too) here, in Arkham, and, for some reason, not even now.
And an unnerving small voice in his head keeps reminding him that Molly Randall might have her reasons.
It's not like he has got many people to be on speaking terms with at present ( no offence to Jervis, but still).
(Not that he has ever had lots of people in his life that he had any amount of respect for)
And, moreover, he has high doubts that of all people outside Arkham walls,anyone else than her actually trusts him, no matter how absurd the idea of trusting him could look like.
Considering Molly's words as some sort of challenge, Jonathan Crane from now on buries himself in books, journals and all sorts of printed scientific materials ( strange enough, Joan Leland is eager to break the standard rules on what the Arkham residents are or are not allowed to have in their cells, and even shares most of her personal library with him).
He cuts off all that is left of his social intercourse with the other Rogues ,apart from Jervis Tetch ( if mutual silence with the latter can pass for intercourse), and he reads, and reads, and makes notes ,and reads more until he just cannot any longer.
( because he still needs what's left of his eyesight, and Arkham isn't exactly a resort place).
Of course, there are lots of news in his branch of science, some names ( thankfully, not many) that he is unfamiliar with and some new ( or not so) theories being discussed.
But ,interested as he is in his chosen field, Crane is not particularly in the mood for upgrading his qualification at the moment, because he is trying to find something he can' t exactly name somewhere between the pages, and it aggravates him beyond measure ,but still he doesn't stop searching.
And after all that he is brooding, and somewhere in the process he comes to some minor conclusions:
1) His profession is becoming much more popular since his University days , and it's not always a good thing. Because many people , having read a couple of columns in a glamour magazine, believe themselves to be experts in human mind and human relations, and that's absurd;
Moreover, the so-called popular phsychology is mostly rubbish.
(Not that he has ever held Freud in high esteem, mind you.)
But that must be his professional burn-out .Or deformation. Or whatever.
2) Nietzshe , his long- time idol, is not a god, after all. And he is dead. ( and died ,being not much saner than an average Arkham resident)
3) He does miss the long and interesting conversations he eventually got used to.
He misses having someone that can understand him , albeit not always ( to put it mildly) agree with him. He misses having an intellectual challenge.
And, shockingly, he just misses her.
4) But that's neither here nor there.
Because people like him can never change.
People don't change.
They just can't.
Or can they?...
"It's impossible!", he cries out loud one night ( not even noticing the night having come) and groans in exasperation.
" Only if you believe it to be", murmurs Jervis from his cot, half- asleep already.
" Pardon?"
Jervis looks concerned and almost lucid.
" Actually, Jonathan, I suggest you do try to think over six impossible things before breakfast tomorrow. May be it will make you finally find your muchness, my friend."
Jonathan Crane is frozen right on the spot, but not for long.
" Jervis, you are a genius!", he exclaims with uncharacteristic ardour.
Tetch gives him a timid smile, then goes back to sleep.
And Jonathan quickly snatches his notepad, opens a blank page and , in spite of lack of light, manages to write down a new headline:
Six Impossible Things ( later S.I.T).
( He isn't by any means going to listen to advice of his fictional fellow countrywoman- also a rather impertinent young lady- and to" think about it tomorrow".)
He is going to start thinking it over right now
List of Impossible Things:
( Here pages from the journal of Prof. J. T. Crane are mixed with actual changing reality)
I.T. N.1: I have survived ( crossed out) am still alive.
1.1. If one can call this a life.
1.2 Although it might have been worse.
1.3 As it turned out, being vulnerable has a single asset: it means not being dead.
I.T.N2: I could ( crossed out) can sometimes be not quite right ( crossed out) mistaken.
2.1. Not all people are idiots. One can meet an intelligent person now and then. ( No, Edward, I'm not speaking about you!)
2.2. Ability to reflect and question one's behaviour is, in fact, a trait of a sane person. I may be a sociopath, but definitely not an idiot.
2.3. No, Jervis, I am not an impostor. And my reflections most certainly have nothing to do with Molly Randall!
I.T. N.3: Fear is not everything that matters. There are other driving forces, which I could have failed to take into consideration and to properly research.
(following lines are somewhat ineligible)
....Again he returns to his books, but this time with another sort of motivation.
Having read somewhere about coping with "burning out ", he suddenly ( at least for himself) becomes very active in research and development of his own branch of science, as if trying to make up for the years lost in serving his " one true passion" .
It is just another experiment, he keeps telling himself, and nothing more.
Only he is now his own test subject.
.....Now, months later, he is being published ( albeit anonymous to the readers) in several specialized editions, half of them foreign . He founds himself polemizing and arguing with several prominent psychologists and psychiatrists, sometimes being in the midst of very interesting and fruitful discussions; simultaneously he manages to practise more rhetorics than he did in all his previous years ( because disputes are important) and to start polishing up ( more like learning anew) long- forgotten German, as his main virtual opponent is some outstanding professor from Frankfurt- an der Oder, whose English leaves much to be desired.
He keeps writing, and Pamela Isley is indignant because of the amount of trees supposedly having been cut due to Crane' s newly found social skills.
Other Arkham residents ( apart from the Joker, who is muttering obscenities about " useless Southern snobbish nerds" , hostile as ever) are either indifferent towards the whole matter, or ( some of them) keep watching over the whole Crane business as if it were some sort of popular TV series , as the events of the current year turned out to be even more interesting than "Santa -Barbara".
I.T. N.4: Communication with other human beings ( not all of them!)has some importance even for introvert types.
4.1 . Not all people around are bullies. (Surprisingly, he finds out he doesn't care that much about being bullied anymore .)
4.2. Yes, I finally admitted it. ( It only took forty- seven years or so, but never mind. Not that he had ever been into all that " live fast, die young" ideas, so popular in his youth.)
4.3. ( NB!) There are at least several people in this world ( Batman included), who give a damn ( crossed out) care about my well- being. ( No idea why I even mentioned the flying rodent .).
What Jonathan Crane doesn't know is the fact that it was none other than Bruce Wayne who , on Joan Leland's personal request, has transferred quite a sum of money to Arkham's fund , so that the Board could be able to acquire more effective modern equipment and medications. Not that it is important for him to know that, anyway.)
I.T. N.5: My condition is neither irreversible nor incurable.
5.1 . The main point is whether the patient wishes to be cured or not..
5. 2 Again, it's a matter of faith. And of personal choice.
If there is such a thing as choice.
But it must be.
What was the point of trying to escape from Granny Keeny's ideology, only in repeating it in other words by my own way of life? Surely, it was just what the old hag would have said on the occasion: that she knew it woud all turn out just like that; that she had been right; that some people are just born evil and cannot help it....
But, in this case, there's no such thing as responsibility....
"Excuses", as Miss Randall put it.
Yes. The girl was not so wrong about me, after all. All lame excuses and laps of judgement.
5.3. I refuse to let the old (and dead) bigot to go on ruling and ruining what's left of my life.
There, I said it.
I.T N.6. There is no such thing as predestination.
People can change.
( If they wish)
*†*******************†************************************************************** .
One morning Joan Leland comes to work and, surprisingly, finds Jonathan Crane at her study' s doors.
" Hello, Professor Crane. How can I help you? If it's about Robert Hare's book, you may keep it : I , unfortunately, have got too little free time for extra reading just now...
" I am not here about the book, Doctor Leland."
He doesn't look well, after many sleepless nights, but there's a certain determination in his eyes, which is new to Joan.
" Actually, Doctor, I thought...( he is hesitant, but goes on)... I wonder if it is possible for me to continue...( Joan lifts an eyebrow)...I mean, rather, restart thereapy sessions. The cognitive- behavioural ones. From the very beginning, if you don't mind.
"How's that for muchness, Jervis?", he says to himself.
Although Jervis Tetch, in fact, always secretly believed his friend could slay his personal Jabberwocky, even when Jonathan himself didn't .
Because, indeed, as Jonathan Crane will finally admit to his fair interlocutrix during a long walk in another city of another country, several centners of medications and God only knows how many hours (days? years?) of thereapy later, people can change, after all, only the price to pay for one's delusions can be rather high in some cases.
But at present, in the evening of that very day , here and now, on the other side of Gotham, Molly Randall receives a phone call from her elder colleague that she has been long waiting for .
And after putting down the receiver, she geniunely smiles for the first time in a year.
The end.