"Hello? Could I speak to someone about... could I just speak to someone in charge?" Mr. Kenyon asked hesitantly.
"Of course, please hold." The woman's voice said professionally.
"Hello, this is Dr. Hoffman, may I help you?" Julia asked pleasantly.
"I hope so. My name is Paul Kenyon. I just came across your Web site and wanted to ask some questions." Paul asked nervously.
"Certainly, I'll do my best to answer." Julia said in a relaxed voice.
"I am an administrator in a state run facility. An orphanage for lack of a better term. I have a student that I'd like to send to your school if that's possible." Paul said in a rambling tone.
"I get the sense that this student is of some concern to you." Julia asked carefully.
"You could say that. Louie is a good boy, he has a kind and loving heart but... he hasn't been able to integrate into mainstream classes. He's special and I can't accommodate his needs. It kills me to see him sequestered from other students but I have to try and keep the peace." Paul trailed off helplessly.
"I see. Mr. Kenyon, do you think we might speak frankly? Avoiding the word 'mutant' is going to make conversation much more difficult than need be." Julia said seriously.
"Yes, that's a good idea." Paul said quietly.
"Does Louie need any special accommodation to deal with his mutation?" Julia asked softly, trying to be gentle.
"No... Well yes, maybe." Paul said in thought.
There was a pause, then with an amused chuckle, Julia said, "You covered all the bases with that one, could you just tell me?"
Paul smiled, her humor and casual nature put him at ease.
"The only special accommodation you would need to make is to allow him to keep his pet rat." Paul said hesitantly, hoping it wouldn't be a deal breaker.
"Would you care to explain further?" Julia asked, curious.
"I don't know much about mutant abilities and I confess that I don't understand exactly what Louie does with his." Paul said, trying to find the right words.
"Could you hold on for just a moment? I'm going to get Mr. Wagner to join us on the other line. I have to admit that my own knowledge of mutant abilities is not what it should be." Julia asked hopefully.
"Of course." Paul said and waited.
Less than a minute later there was a faint click and Kurt's voice said, "Guten morgen, Herr Kenyon."
Paul was surprised by the greeting, but answered in kind, "Guten morgen, Herr Wagner."
"Please continue, you were saying something about Louie's mutant abilities and a rat?" Julia asked curiously.
"Yes. Well, I guess I should start by saying that Louie's parents were a little... extreme... when it came to religion. From a young age all their kids were indoctrinated with extreme religious views." Paul said disjointedly.
"Forgive me Herr Kenyon, but could you explain what you mean by extreme?" Kurt asked slowly.
"They spent no less than six hours a day, every day in bible study. One example of their beliefs was that women were lesser creatures, tainted by original sin and were to be treated accordingly. Women were expected to attend the church every time the doors were opened, but not to participate or even speak. Louie was almost unreachable when he first arrived, but after a lot of work, he's finally opening up to the world around him." Paul said in a disturbed tone.
"I see." Kurt said quietly.
"When Louie's mutant abilities began to manifest, they were sure that an evil spirit had possessed him. They nearly killed him trying to perform a home based exorcism. He was in the hospital for weeks... I've never found out how long they were torturing him." Paul said with pain.
"My God." Julia whispered.
"I'm telling you this because... I'm not sure, but I think it warped him, or fragmented his personality or something." Paul said with difficulty.
"How so?" Kurt asked curiously.
"He has a pet rat, he calls him Jesus. To my knowledge, Louie has never manifested his mutant ability except through the rat. I think somehow, his subconscious projects an alternate personality through the rat to do the things that Louie would never do." Paul said slowly.
"So the child was subjected to such abuse that he developed multiple personalities?" Julia asked in confirmation.
"That's the theory. But it's been impossible to tell exactly how much is the psychological damage from his extreme childhood and how much is the effects of his mutation." Paul said seriously.
"If the child is in such a state, he needs professional counseling. We're just a small school, we don't have the resources to provide such as that." Julia said with apology.
"He's been receiving therapy for the past three years. He's been seen by some of the leading specialists in the state and they've more or less agreed that they've done all they can for him. I'm not an expert in such things, but going on what they've said, Louie's base personality is stable and is developing normally for his age. The way he is... is likely the way he will be for the remainder of his life. I was hoping that he might be able to... fit in there, I guess. Maybe he won't be so alone." Paul said hopefully.
"So what you're saying is that they've given up on him." Julia said carefully.
"Maybe. Maybe it's more that they've decided to leave Louie as he is rather than risking further damage by trying to integrate the alternate personality back into him." Paul said seriously.
"A valid point. I can't make any promises Mr. Kenyon, but we could interview Louie and see how that goes. We'll be having a special 'Open House' and registration for the new students on Sunday, would Louie be able to attend?" Julia asked carefully.
"Yes, I'll bring him myself. He's a wonderful boy and I know you'll like him." Paul said with hope.
"Vhat happened to ze boy's parents, if I may ask." Kurt asked slowly.
"I don't know. When child protective services found out about what they were doing to him, they went in and took him into protective custody. Since then, the family have refused any attempts at any kind of contact. They won't accept our calls, acknowledge our letters, nothing. He was made a ward of the state about two and a half years ago." Paul said distantly.
"Which state would that be?" Julia asked curiously.
"Nevada." Paul said quietly.
"Will you have any need for accommodations while you're here, or will you be returning the same day?" Julia asked curiously.
"I have to be back to work on Monday so, if all goes well with our interview, I'll leave Louie with you on Sunday and return that same evening." Paul said seriously.
"I look forward to meeting Louie, and you too Mr. Kenyon. Do you need any directions to find us?" Julia asked curiously.
"No, everything I need is on the Web site. We'll take a cab from the airport and they'll know how to find you." Paul said with assurance.
"Zat vill not be necessary Herr Kenyon. If you vill tell us vhen your flight is arriving, someone vill be zere to meet you." Kurt said kindly.
"You don't need to go to that kind of trouble." Paul said, surprised by the offer.
"It is no trouble, ve vill be picking up and dropping off others as well." Kurt said with assurance.
"Okay, I'll call back later when I've confirmed my reservations." Paul said with a smile in his voice.
"I look forward to meeting you both. Guten morgen, Herr Kenyon, auft veidersein."
"Auft Veidersein Herr Wagner, Goodbye Dr. Hoffman." Paul said, feeling like a weight was lifting from his shoulders.
"Goodbye Mr. Kenyon." Dr. Hoffman said and hung up the phone.
Paul hung up and rested back in his chair.
He closed his eyes and thought about Louie, and prayed to a higher power that this would be a good thing for him.