Travis awoke in the locked room and went into a panic, howling like a wolf in a cage; not sure how he had gotten there. Dr. Lipkin arrived quickly to let him out and attempt to calm him down. Travis startled when the door opened but recognizing the doctor he calmed down. Lipkin gestured. “Come. Time to eat.”
Travis followed eagerly, feeling hungry again. He was thin but amazingly not malnourished due to his were nature and natural diet, but he did have a high metabolism which required a lot of food to be healthy. Starting out with his father he had been a bit undernourished, but living in the wilds had made him healthy and strong.
Travis sat at the table as before without being told and waited for the food to be brought, but Lipkin shook his head and gestured him up. “Come.” Travis frowned but followed the doctor who led him to a cafeteria line. He pointed to the tray, but then picked it up and put it in Travis’ hands when the boy didn’t seem to understand. He then led him to the food counter and the woman behind it smiled and put a dish of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and toast up for him. Lipkin gestured for him to take it, which Travis did, dropping the tray to pick up the plate.
The woman smiled slightly but looked down to hide it. Lipkin sighed and shook his head. “No, Travis. Put the dish on the tray.” He picked up the tray and tapped it. “Tray.” He pointed to the dish. “Dish. Put the dish on the tray.” He then showed Travis as he spoke the words, repeating it several times as he placed the dish, removed it, and placed it again.
Travis nodded understanding. He wasn’t stupid, just uneducated. Lipkin smiled. “Good.” Travis smiled. “Good boy.” Lipkin nodded. “Yes, you’re a good boy.” Lipkin then showed him the silverware and had him take a set wrapped in a napkin and then led him to the juice counter and got an orange juice, telling him what it was. “Orange juice.”
Travis repeated the words, sniffed it, took a sip and then smiled. “Orange juice.”
Lipkin smiled in turn and then led Travis to a table. He had him unwrap the napkin and pointed to the utensils. “Fork, spoon, knife.”
Travis pointed to the knife. “Knife.” He picked it up and stabbed a sausage and stuck it in his mouth.
Lipkin shook his head. “No. A knife is for cutting.” He gently took the knife away and put the fork in Travis’ hand in its place after showing him how to stab and scoop with it. He also showed him how the spoon worked but left him with the fork at the end.
“Fowk.” Travis poked the scrambled eggs but it kept falling off, so he got frustrated and merely put his face in the dish and began chewing.”
Lipkin tapped his shoulder. “No, Travis. People don’t eat that way.” He put the fork back in his hand.
Travis looked at it, frowned and then threw it across the room in annoyance. “Bad Fowk.” He held up his hand. “Hand.” and started to pick the food up with his fingers, except when it was too small and then he leaned his face down to the plate again.
Lipkin was persistent and firm, however, and so he told him no and got a clean fork, which ended across the room like the first. Lipkin swatted Travis’ hand–as corporal punishment for children in school and institutions was legal in that state-speaking more forcefully than the first time. “NO!”
Lipkin then got one more fork and put it in Travis’ hand. Travis lifted his arm as if to throw it, watching Lipkin’s face but the doctor shook his head. “No, Travis. Eat with the fork. Be a good boy.” He pointed at the plate. Travis sighed and tried again with the clumsy instrument, feeling frustrated but ultimately managing the task with only about a quarter of the food in his lap and on the floor.
Lipkin smiled and nodded when Travis was done and praised him after he returned his tray to the area Lipkin showed him. “Good boy, Travis. Do you need to use the bathroom?”
Travis looked at him with a look that Lipkin was learning meant that he didn’t know what he was saying. The doctor gestured to his own genitals. “Bathroom. Pee? Piss?”
Travis made an “ah face” and nodded and then whipped it out right there and urinated right on Lipkin’s shoes.
The doctor leaped back in alarm. “NO! Bad boy!”
Travis’ lip trembled and he cowered. He knew what bad boy meant, though Lipkin didn’t hit him as his father would have. Lipkin quickly calmed himself, however, when he saw the boy’s fear. “I’m sorry. I should have brought you to the bathroom first. That wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry for shouting. It just startled me. I’m sorry.”
He patted Travis’ shoulder to show him he wasn’t mad but noted the boy’s residual cowering and trembling. He called a janitor to clean up the mess and led Travis to the bathroom, pointing at the sign on the door. “Bathroom.” He then led him inside and showed him how to use the urinal by urinating in one himself. “Pee here. Urinal.” He brought him over to the sink afterward and showed him how to wash his hands and told him what it was called, and then showed him the toilet and explained what that was for.
Travis grinned, recognizing it and the word for it. “Shit bowl!”
Lipkin smiled and nodded. “Uh yes, but we call it a toilet. Toilet.” He pointed and said it a few times.
Travis continued to grin. “Shit bowl.”
Lipkin tried not to laugh. “Toilet. Say it.”
Travis sighed. “Toilet.”
Travis stood on his toes and looked out the window at the end of the bathroom, but Lipkin called him away. Travis pointed to the window. “Trees.”
Lipkin shook his head. “No, you have to stay inside for a while, Travis. Though we have an inner court and play yard, I will show you. But you have some learning to do first.”
Lipkin then spent the day saying basic things and pointing them out, trying to teach Travis to be as self-sufficient as was allowed in that area of the hospital. Travis loved the playground when he was allowed outside and ran and rushed around like a four-year-old, not showing the least bit of inhibition for acting so childish for his age. Travis had no concept of social norms; of what was normal for a fourteen-year-old to be doing. He basically hadn’t grown up mentally or emotionally.
Lipkin was exhausted at the end of the day but felt satisfied that Travis was trainable, and on his way to learning. It might take a few months to fully integrate him into society but he appeared to be a quick learner. And he remembered everything that he did learn; as Lipkin found out the next day when he tested the boy.
When Travis was brought to his room for his third night, he turned to Lipkin. “Daddy, come?”
Lipkin nodded. “Your father will return, but not until the blood test comes.” Travis had no clue what he just said. Lipkin shook his head seeing that Travis didn’t understand and tried to explain in simpler terms. “Yes. Not now. Later.”
Travis blinked, confused. He didn’t know what later was, so it sounded to him like the man had said yes-no.
Lipkin pointed to the bed. “Sleep, Travis.”
Travis sighed and went over to the bed and lay down, staring up at the ceiling. He jumped a little when the bolt was pushed on the door but then relaxed after a moment and closed his eyes for sleep; falling asleep fairly quickly. Travis had never had problems sleeping.