The White Room
GIBSON DECIDED THAT he was getting nowhere with Kooning. If anything, he was digging himself in deeper. She had him talking too much about his previous "fantasy" life and the weird anomalies between "his" world and the world in which he found himself. At the same time, he knew that the regime of drugs and therapy, far from "curing" him, would eventually drive him truly and irrevocably nuts. Within the limits of his meager resources, he activated the first phase of his escape plan. He embarked on a painstaking study of the routines of the clinic. When doors might be left unlocked or the nurses away from their stations. He began to keep copious notes in a code that he'd invented for himself. The notes were obviously reported to Kooning, and when she asked him about them he told her quite frankly that he was conducting a study of the clinic's operation with a view to escaping. She found that extremely interesting and began talking about the motivation behind the compulsive gathering of data. He also attempted to discuss the idea with John West and to his surprise received a very similar response. He had toyed with the idea of taking a partner along, and West had been the ideal choice, but when he broached the idea he found it received with an amused disdain. In fact, West treated him as though he was endearingly crazy and a little stupid.
"Oh, yes, old boy, crashing out of the joint? I believe that's how they described it in the old Hollywood big-house movies. Have you carved a gun out of soap yet?"
Having only trusted the man after a good deal of soul-searching, Gibson was understandably miffed.
"I've been making a study of the routines in this place. I'm going to figure out a way of walking out of here."
"Oh, do give it up. They call it compulsive data gathering and they give you a whole lot of new and different drugs on top of what you're taking already."
Gibson persevered but only with great difficulty. "If I was to find a way out of here, would you come with me?"
West shook his head as though the answer was self-evident. "Oh, no, quite out of the question. I couldn't survive out there. They wouldn't let me."