(read it until you get bored – it's not essential to the plot)
(this is not the secret hidden section, in case you were wondering)
Lola: Are you just sitting down here in the dining room, by yourself?
Lola: What's that you're working on there?
Warren: It's a letter.
Lola: Oh. Are you a patient?
Lola: So am I. I'm not from this ward – I just came up from North 9, 'cause I'm just wandering around, checking out the other wards, you know, for a comparison.
Lola: So what's this ward like? Is it good?
Warren: Yeah, I guess.
Lola: How long have you been here?
Warren: Three months.
Lola: Gee. You must really be accustomed to it then.
Lola: Have you been in any of the other wards?
Lola: I've been here for just two weeks. What's your name, by the way?
Lola: Hi nice to meet you Warren. My name is Lola.
Lola: So do you know how long you're going to be staying here?
Lola: Do you have a place to go to, after you leave?
Warren: I don't know where I'll be going.
Lola: Do you have parents you can stay with?
Lola: Whereabouts do they live?
Warren: In Diamond Creek.
Lola: Oh yeah. Is that where you lived before you came here?
Lola: In your parents' house?
Lola: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Warren: Yeah, two sisters.
Lola: Do they live in the same house?
Warren: One does, the other doesn't.
Lola: Are they older? Younger?
Warren: Both older.
Lola: How old are you?
Lola: How old is your eldest sister?
Warren: Twenty two.
Lola: And what's her name?
Lola: And what's your other sister's name?
Lola: And how old is she?
Warren: She's twenty.
Lola: Is she the one that lives at home?
Lola: What does she do? Is she employed?
Warren: No, she's a student.
Lola: What does she study?
Warren: Um biology, chemistry, that sort of thing.
Lola: So is she planning to be like, a scientist?
Warren: Something like that.
Lola: Is she at a university?
Lola: Which one?
Warren: Melbourne University.
Lola: And what about your other sister, Geraldine, what does she do?
Warren: She's a temp secretary.
Lola: Oh yeah. Whereabouts does she live?
Warren: In Carnegie.
Lola: How long has she lived there?
Warren: About a couple of months.
Lola: Does she work in an office?
Lola: Does she live by herself, or with someone?
Warren: She lives with a friend.
Lola: Does she have a boyfriend?
Lola: Do you have a girlfriend?
Lola: What about your Dad – what does he do for a living?
Warren: He's an air traffic controller.
Lola: Does he work at the airport?
Lola: Is he one of those guys who keeps an eye on the radar?
Warren: Ah, I dunno.
Lola: That must be an interesting job. I heard it's really stressful, what with all the planes taking off and landing all the time.
Lola: What about your Mum? Does she work?
Lola: What does she do?
Warren: She's secretary at a school.
Lola: Oh Yeah. Which school?
Warren: Ivanhoe Grammar, the junior school.
Lola: Oh yeah I've heard of that place. Does she like that job?
Lola: What else does your Mum do? Does she have any hobbies?
Warren: She likes to sing.
Lola: She likes to sing, you say?
Lola: What sort of singing does she do?
Warren: Opera style.
Lola: Oh yeah. That's nice. Is she like, an alto, a soprano...?
Warren: She's an alto.
Lola: Uh huh. And what about you? Do you have any hobbies?
Warren: Uh – I like to draw, I do drawings, I write stuff, and I play music.
Lola: Oh yeah. When you say, play music, do you play an instrument?
Warren: Yeah. The electronic keyboard.
Lola: Oh. The keyboard. Do you have lessons with that?
Warren: I used to.
Lola: But not anymore?
Lola: But do you still play, sometimes?
Lola: How long have you been doing that?
Warren: Since about 1990.
Lola: So – about five years?
Lola: That's good. It's nice to learn a musical instrument. I've never really tried it myself – I had a go on acoustic guitar a few years ago but I never really got very far with it. Are you a member of a band, at all?
Lola: Have you ever been?
Lola: Oh well. So do you ever get the chance to practice, when you're here in hospital?
Warren: Not really. Sometimes I go to the activities center to play the piano, but it's just mucking around.
Lola: Oh. Do you like playing the piano?
Lola: Is it very different from playing keyboard?
Warren: Well, there are a lot of differences, it's a bit more difficult.
Lola: Yeah I can imagine. So do you have a keyboard at your parents' place?
Lola: Is it a good one?
Warren: Yeah, pretty good.
Lola: So what else do you do? Did you say you do drawing?
Lola: Using what sort of medium?
Warren: Sometimes pencil, ink, charoal, chalk.
Lola: Mmmm have you done any drawings while you've been here in hospital?
Warren: Yeah a few small ones.
Lola: That's cool. Do you go up to Arts Access, that building with the art stuff?
Lola: Oh. Did you do a lot of drawings when you were in school?
Lola: Did you finish school, up to year 12?
Lola: Did you pass the V.C.E.?
Lola: How long ago was that?
Warren: It was last year.
Lola: That's good. Did you study art as a subject in the V.C.E.?
Lola: Did you enjoy it?
Lola: What sort of subject matter do you draw?
Warren: Oh, anything, I usually draw stuff copied from photos.
Lola: Oh yeah. Do you ever draw stuff like from real life?
Warren: Yeah. Well I can.
Lola: That's cool. I'm pretty interested in art myself, I try to do a few drawings, but they never turn out very well. Maybe you could show me your stuff sometime.
Lola: What was the other hobby that you said you had?
Lola: It was music, drawing, and...
Lola: Ah yes. So what sort of stuff do you write?
Warren: I write short stories and letters and I keep a diary, and I'm working on a novel.
Lola: Oh yeah. What's the novel about?
Warren: It's about these people in psychiatric hospital who find a way to get into this parallel universe.
Lola: Oh, cool! So it's kind of like, a science fiction fantasy?
Lola: And how much have you written so far?
Warren: About twenty pages.
Lola: Cool! That sounds interesting. And have you been working on it while you're staying here?
Lola: You must get a lot of inspiration from around here, seeing as how it's set in a psychiatric hospital.
Lola: So who do you write letters to?
Warren: Oh, pen-friends, relatives.
Lola: Who are you writing that letter to?
Warren: This one is to my psychologist.
Lola: Oh. What's your psychologist's name?
Lola: Oh. Does she work at this hospital?
Warren: No, she works at the Austin Hospital.
Lola: Are you going to send that letter to her?
Warren: I'm going to give it to her when I see her next time.
Lola: Oh. How often do you see her?
Warren: Every three weeks.
Lola: Do you write a letter to her every time?
Lola: How come?
Warren: Because it's easier to communicate that way.
Lola: Oh. So I guess it's easier than talking, then?
Warren: Yeah, it's easier for me.
Lola: Fair enough. So which school did you go to?
Warren: Diamond Valley Secondary College.
Lola: Hmm. Which suburb is that in?
Warren: Diamond Creek.
Lola: Oh so it's just near your house then. Did you walk to school?
Warren: I rode my bike.
Lola: Oh, right. And what subjects did you study in Year 12?
Warren: Information Technology, English, Literature and Studio Art.
Lola: Only four subjects?
Lola: Did you do well in school?
Warren: Yeah, moderately well.
Lola: What kind of stuff did you study in Information Technology?
Warren: Mostly computers – stuff like desktop publishing, spreadsheets, word processing, that sort of thing.
Lola: Do you like working with computers?
Lola: Do you have a computer at home?
Warren: My Dad just has a Commodore.
Lola: Do you know a lot about them?
Warren: Oh, some of them, y'know, some kinds.
Lola: I know a little bit about them. My parents have one and I've been trying to use it but it doesn't always do what I want.
Lola: So, do you have any plans for the future?
Warren: I think I'll just be staying here for a while.
Lola: Wouldn't you rather be somewhere else?
Lola: What, really? There's nowhere else you'd rather be?
Warren: Well – I'm sure there are some places I'd rather be, but this will do for now.
Lola: Well, I sure as hell don't want to stay here. I don't know anyone who would. Don't you think this place sucks?
Warren: No, it's not so bad.
Lola: Well I don't see anything good about it.
Warren: Well it's easy.
Warren: Yeah, it's an easy life.
Lola: What do you mean, easy?
Warren: Well, we don't have to cook or clean or do any work.
Lola: Well, I suppose you have a point there. But still – anyway there's so many bad things about it, they kind of outweigh the easy lifestyle. I mean, the food is pretty bad. And I hate the way we can't stay up late. And I hate the way we're always being watched, day and night by the nurses. And it's so boring!
Warren: Well I don't mind any of those things so much.
Lola: I guess you've been here so long, you've learnt to cope with it in your own way.
Lola: You must be, like, adaptable. If I were in your shoes I'd just be going crazy with yearning to escape.
Lola: So you finished school last year – and you got pretty good results in school?
Lola: So how come you ended up here?
Warren: Well, I came here because I wanted to come here.
Lola: Are you mentally ill?
Warren: Well I – I have self destructive tendencies.
Lola: Were you admitted here voluntarily, or involuntarily?
Lola: What happened?
Warren: I told my psychologist that I'm going to kill myself.
Lola: Were you really going to do it?
Warren: I knew she was going to bring me to hospital. But if she hadn't, then I would've done it.
Lola: So you knew, that she was going to prevent it.
Lola: Then you can't have been really serious about it. Otherwise you wouldn't have told her.
Warren: I just wanted to come to hospital.
Lola: But why?
Warren: Because I saw hospital as being a place where I could be happy.
Lola: Why did you think you could be happy here?
Warren: I figured in psychiatric hospital I wouldn't have to do anything that I don't want to do, and I wouldn't have to work, and I wouldn't have to worry so much about the image that I project to other people.
Lola: Is that what you thought, before coming here?
Lola: And did things work out the way you expected?
Warren: Sort of. Not completely, but it's still O.K.
Lola: Oh. So what do the doctors think of all this?
Warren: They want me to leave.
Lola: So can't they just kick you out?
Warren: They can, but they're afraid to because they think I might hurt myself.
Lola: Why do they think that?
Warren: Because I tell them I'll hurt myself if they discharge me.
Lola: Hurt yourself in what way?
Warren: I'll starve myself.
Lola: So you'll starve yourself if they discharge you?
Lola: You really want to stay here that much?
Lola: That's really strange. How long are you planning to stay here?
Warren: I don't know. I'm not going to plan it – I'm just going to stay here until I get sick of it.
Lola: And you don't want to leave yet?
Lola: I heard this place is going to close down soon.
Lola: What will you do it if closes down before the time when you want to leave?
Warren: Well, I figure they'd probably transfer me to a different hospital. I mean, they have to have some place to put the patients who can't take care of themselves.
Lola: So you wouldn't starve yourself if they transferred you to a different hospital?
Lola: So you don't care which hospital you're in, as long as you're in a hospital.
Lola: What if they put you in a place that was kind of like a hospital, but without the nurses?
Warren: Uh – a hospital without nurses?
Warren: Well that depends.
Lola: On what.
Warren: Well, if I still don't have to do any cooking, or cleaning, or washing, or going out to work, then it would be all right.
Lola: So you wouldn't starve yourself, as long as someone else is taking care of you.?
Lola: In that case, what if your parents agreed to take care of you at home? That would be O.K. wouldn't it?
Lola: Why not?
Warren: I don't want to live with my parents. I want to be independent from them.
Lola: Why is that? Don't you like them?
Warren: It's not that I don't like them – it's just that I'm at that age where I want to be apart from them. It's the same with most people when they get to my age, they want to be independent from their parents.
Lola: Yes. But it's strange, that you say you want to be independent from them, and yet you want to be dependent on the hospital.
Warren: I want to be separated from my parents. I prefer to live without them.
Lola: Hmmmm. What if one of your sisters agreed to take care of you, in a different house? Would that be O.K.?
Warren: No. I wouldn't agree to that.
Lola: Why not?
Warren: 'Cause they're still family.
Lola: So it's not just your parents that you want to be separated from, it's your whole family?
Lola: What if it was someone else? Someone not in your family?
Warren: Like who?
Lola: Well, supposing one of the patients took a liking to you and agreed to let you stay with them and they'd wait on you hand and foot all day.
Warren: No. That would be just wrong. I wouldn't want to take advantage of their kindness.
Lola: So you do want to be taken care of by the hospital, but you don't want to be taken care of by someone who actually cares about you.
Warren: That's right.
Lola: And could the same reason apply to your parents – that you don't want to take advantage of their kindness?
Lola: I think I'm getting a clearer picture of where your head's at now. So, if the hospital decided to place you in alternative accommodation, some sort of government housing project where you don't have to pay rent, and if a person was paid wages to take care of your cooking and cleaning for you, would you agree to that?
Lola: What if this person only did the cooking and not the cleaning?
Warren: I'd agree to it, but the place might get a bit dirty and I wouldn't clean it.
Lola: What if, instead of doing the cooking, the person just buys pre-cooked food and hands it to you?
Warren: Yeah, that would be O.K.
Lola: What if, the person just gives you frozen food and tells you to microwave it?
Warren: Well – it's a fine line. If the person actually puts the food in the microwave and tells me to press the button, then it would be O.K. But if I have to put the food in the microwave myself, then it wouldn't be O.K.
Lola: Hmmmm. So, would you be willing to pay rent to stay in a place like that?
Warren: Depends how much.
Lola: Are you getting any money from social security at the moment?
Warren: I'm on the dole.
Lola: Don't you have to be looking for work in order to be on the dole?
Warren: Usually yes, but there's a section on the dole form where you can say that you're sick and then you don't have to look for work. So as long as I'm in hospital, I can still get the dole.
Lola: So, hypothetically, if you were granted sickness benefits on a permanent basis, you would be able to leave the hospital and not have to worry about running out of money?
Warren: I suppose. I'm not sure how it works.
Lola: Do you know how much sickness benefits is?
Lola: How much is the dole?
Warren: It's about eighty dollars a week.
Lola: So supposing, just for the sake of argument, that the sickness benefits is – a hundred dollars a week. Would you be willing to pay – fifty dollars a week rent?
Warren: Yeah, I guess.
Lola: Would you be willing to pay sixty dollars a week rent?
Lola: Would you be willing to pay seventy dollars a week rent?
Warren: Um – yeah.
Lola: Would you be willing to pay eighty dollars a week rent?
Warren: Um – no. That's too much.
Lola: Seventy five?
Warren: No. Nothing more than seventy.
Lola: So you have to have at least thirty dollars left over from your social security payment.
Lola: So if the sickness benefits is a thousand dollars a week, would you be willing to pay nine hundred and seventy dollars a week rent?
Warren: What sort of accommodation would cost that much?
Lola: I don't know – I'm just testing the numbers here, trying to figure out if you just need to have that thirty dollar minimum difference, or if it's a percentage thing.
Warren: I just need to have the thirty dollars.
Lola: O.K. what if the sickness benefits was a hundred and thirty, and the doctors tell you that you're going to be discharged into some place where the rent is a hundred but you have to pay ten dollars a week extra for food. Would you refuse to pay, and then starve to death, or would you agree to pay it?
Warren: Ummm I'd agree to pay it.
Lola: What if, same situation but you have to pay twenty dollars extra for food?
Lola: But what if this place is like, a palace? Supposing it's a big house with giant ballrooms and ocean views and a swimming pool and five servants tending to your every whim? Wouldn't that be worth the extra money?
Warren: Well, then, maybe. But that's not gonna happen, is it.
Lola: What if, it's just a grotty old boarding house but the rent is only ninety and you have to pay twenty dollars extra for food?
Warren: And the sickness payment is how much?
Lola: A hundred and thirty, still.
Warren: O.K. listen. The limit is twenty dollars difference between sickness benefits and rent, and that includes food and everything. O.K.? No, no, the limit is thirty dollars, including food, but they may be able to talk me up to twenty dollars depending on the quality of the accommodation. There.
Lola: All right. So – on a related topic – would you agree to live with your parents if they were being paid wages to take care of you?
Lola: Is that because they're family?
Lola: And you refuse to stay with family.
Lola: What if it was someone else? What if it was me? Supposing I agreed to take care of you, if you pay me an amount within these limits that you've been talking about. Would you agree to that?
Lola: What if I agreed to take care of you for free, and give you cooked food and accommodation for free? Would you agree to that?
Lola: Why not?
Warren: It's like I said – I wouldn't want to take advantage of your kindness.
Lola: So how much would you want to pay me? You must have a minimum payment limit.
Warren: Um – thirty dollars a week?
Lola: So – you'd agree to stay with me, and have me take care of you, as long as you're paying somewhere between thirty dollars and – your upper limit?
Lola: So supposing I was to make an appointment with your doctor and say to him, "Doctor, I've been having a chat with Warren, talking about the possibility of moving in with me, and he seems pretty open to it, on the condition that he pays me fifty dollars a week, so I recommend that you discharge him into my place as soon as possible." And then the doctor goes straight to you and says, "Right, Warren, you're out." According to your own rules, you would have to move in with me, and not starve yourself. Am I right?
Warren: I guess you're right.
Lola: O.K. Well it's getting late, I'd better get back to my own ward. Maybe I'll see you later. Oh and by the way, Warren, this was all hypothetical – I'm not going to really invite you to move in with me, 'cause I know that deep down you'd really rather stay here, and I wouldn't want to do something which would make you unhappy. If you want to stay here, then I won't do anything to try and get you out. Goodbye!