A Very Dangerous Man

by Armando Simón (December 2023)

Portrait Of Dr. Boucard— Tamara de Lempicka, 1929


Gregory Watson was driving down the road in his blue Mustang with white racing stripes, knowing he was near his destination, an asylum for mentally ill individuals. There were very few homes or small shops nearby, and he made a mental note that prisons and hospitals for the mentally ill seemed to be usually in the countryside or in small towns. Apparently, some people thought the rest of the population would be safer if the inmates of both institutions were far away, out of sight. Watson knew this was an absurd comparison, of course. Whereas convicts were undeniably dangerous and untrustworthy, mentally ill persons were not, contrary to stupid Hollywood movies. In fact, more often than not, they were easily victimized.

The asylum, or hospital, was ahead. Watson noted that unlike a prison, the building’s architecture was not oppressive, but rather pretty and cheerful, as attractive as the hospital grounds.

He parked and approached the reception desk.

“Good morning. I’d like to visit Dr. Ajit Chatterjee. I believe he’s a patient here,” he told the matronly lady at the desk, whose name tag read Amber.

“Dr. Chatterjee is not allowed to have visitors.”

“What? Really? Why on earth not?”

“He’s considered to be very dangerous.”

“Really! You don’t say!” Watson was truly surprised. Although having never met the man, Dr. Chatterjee did not strike him as dangerous from the videos he had seen, and Watson had not heard of any violent incidents involving the physician. “Well … can I at least speak with the Director of the hospital? I’d like to ask him a couple of questions. If he’s available.”

“I’ll check. By the way, I didn’t catch your name.”

“That’s because I didn’t throw it,” he joked. “It’s Gregory Watson.”

The receptionist did not even crack a smile at the joke, but turned to speak to someone on the telephone, then turned back to the visitor.

“Dr. Fisher will see you. I’ll take you to his office. If you’ll follow me-”

They walked a bit down the main hallway until they got to the second door on the right. She knocked at the door, entered, and introduced the visitor, then returned to her station.

“Please sit down,” said Dr. Fisher and Watson complied. “What can I do for you? I understand you want to visit Ajit Chatterjee.”

“Yes. The receptionist said it was not allowed. That he was … dangerous?”

“Indeed, he is,” said the elderly Director, speaking slowly, softly. “Tell me, did you know him before he came here?”

“We never met.”

“Interesting. What is your business with him, then? If I may ask.”

“I’m a reporter with American Spectator, writing a book on the covid-19 epidemic of 2020, and he wrote several articles and gave speeches at the time. Then, he dropped out of sight. But I’m curious. Why is he here? Did he have a nervous breakdown at work?” Watson began taking notes on a notepad he had been carrying in one hand.

“He was forcefully committed because of his horrific crimes. He’s a serial killer.”

“What! I was not aware of that!” Watson was obviously shocked at the news. “What did he do?”

“Because of him, thousands of people died. Families lost loved ones. The suffering was widespread.”

“I … never heard of that. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know.”

“That’s because we kept it quiet so no further harm could take place, just like we kept his involuntary commitment. It was decided to dispense with the formalities of a trial. No trial, no publicity. No fuss, no muss.”

“Dr. Fisher, isn’t that … illegal? I mean … what about his civil rights?”

“Mr. Watson, there are times when the collective good must outweigh an individual’s rights.”

“ I can see how that outlook could be … abused.”

“Perhaps. But in this case, necessity mandated it. After all, he was responsible for the deaths of thousands.”

“How many? I mean, how many deaths? Exactly.”

Dr. Fisher paused a few seconds and sighed.

“It’s hard to say.”

“That’s odd.” Another pause. “Especially since you make it sound like he’s another Hannibal Lecter. So how did he kill so many people?”

“You remember that in order to prevent the spread of the pandemic, some rigid rules were laid down. Among these was the mandate that everyone should wear face masks.”

“Yes, I know. That was one of the many things I was going to discuss with him.”

“Well, he didn’t. He went around for months to stores, to restaurants, without wearing a face mask. Hard to say how many people were infected. He was a modern-day Typhoid Mary rather than a Hannibal Lecter, although we have strapped a face mask to his face.”

“He had the virus and people got infected?”

Fisher again did not respond for several seconds.

“Well … no. He never contracted the virus.”

“I don’t understand. I’m lost here.” By now, Watson was confused. “He never infected anyone. Then, how did he kill thousands?”

“He didn’t do so directly. But, you see, by not wearing a mask and telling anyone who would listen to his ramblings that a virus is so small it requires an electron microscope to see it and so, a fiber mask cannot keep it out, well, a lot of people had to have listened to him. His favorite mantra, I understand, was to say that ‘You can’t keep a mosquito out with a barbed wire fence.’ It caught on. Quite a few people repeated it. And, as a consequence to people adopting his stance and not wearing a mask, the virus spread.”

“But, you’re not certain that that happened, are you? Cause and effect, I mean, not really. Not 100% sure.”

Again, that pause.

“No, not 100% with certainty. But you have to use logic.”

“Oh, I agree … By the way, are you aware that those politicians who screamed on TV for people to wear masks, they would remove the masks once the cameras were off?”

A corner of Fisher’s mouth twitched before responding. “Yes. It was embarrassing. You expect public officials to set an example and they go and do something stupid like that.”

“And those same officials went on long trips for vacation while they put their cities and states under lockdown. That was house arrest, you know, when you come right down to it.”

Again, the twitch. “Yes … As I said, they were an embarrassment. But … their hearts were in the right place.”

“Well, then … if I understand you correctly … his not wearing a face mask, that was the sole reason for his commitment.”

“Good heavens, no!” For the first time Fisher’s voice  rose. “That wasn’t all!”

“Oh, that’s good! I mean, that makes more sense.”

“As you, yourself mentioned before, he wrote numerous articles and gave talks where he fed the public misinformation, stating that heard immunity would be the solution to the pandemic.”

“I know. I saw those videos. At least I did until YouTube and the other social media outlets removed them.”

“They did so too late, in my opinion. But the worst thing is that he told a gullible public not to take the vaccine, that it was dangerous, that it caused harmful side effects. Who knows how many thousands of people listened to him and as a result refused to take the vaccine and died?”

“Yes. Who knows?” Watson agreed. “And that’s what led to his commitment.”

“Oh, no, there’s more. As a practitioner, he prescribed ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to patients who contracted the covid-19 virus. Ivermectin, as you probably heard, is a horse dewormer. These medications were not the ones recommended by the CDC and the FDA. As a result, the licensing board of the state revoked his license and recommended commitment to a mental institution. He was brought here, where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.”

Fisher’s face and voice now changed to express urgency. “It was bad enough when he was doing all these activities during covid-19 and the covid Omicron variant and the covid-19-40 variant, but now the covid-19-84 variant appears to be more dangerous, so Chatterjee’s undermining public health simply could not be allowed to continue.”

Throughout this interview, Watson had maintained a poker face, although he was seething inside. While taking notes, he had gripped his pen much harder anytime Dr. Fisher said something that particularly grated with him. Now, he decided to let loose.

“Dr. Fisher, as a physician, Dr. Chatterjee was simply giving his opinion regarding treatment of patients and possible harmful side effects of the vaccine. Now, as I understand it, giving ‘a second opinion’ has been routine in medicine for centuries.”

“Yes, that’s true, but there was a consensus of opinion regarding the treatment of patients and the vaccine itself.”

“Of course there was a consensus of opinion—if you censor any doctor who disagrees. And you take away his license to practice medicine.”

There was that twitch again. “In regard to the vaccine,” Watson went on, “many studies have been published in scientific journals of it being linked to various malignant side effects of which the most prominent was myocarditis and pericarditis. There are also numerous studies that have come out concluding that cloth face masks are useless in preventing infection. But the studies I thought were particularly interesting are those carried out in Asia, South America and Europe which showed ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine were the most effective and cheapest treatment for combating covid-19 in those countries.”

Dr. Fisher flipped a switch to an apparatus connected to the telephone. “Wilkins, Sessions, could you come in here for a minute?”

“Did they contract the virus?”

“You can ask them yourself.”

Two men wearing hospital uniforms came in, behind Watson. He turned to look at them.

“Gentlemen, Mr. Gregory Watson will be staying with us for some time.”

“What?” A very angry Watson whirled around to face Fisher.

“I’ve been evaluating him for the past half hour or so, and I’ve concluded that he’s paranoid schizophr—“

“—I’m what?!”

“—and can become dangerous to others. Please show him to his room.”

“Now just a damn minute—” Watson said as he was lifted from his chair. He continued to struggle and complain in a vociferous tone all the way down the corridor until he was out of sight.

In his office, Dr. Fisher sighed. Then, the corner of his mouth twitched again.


Table of Contents


Armando Simón is a trilingual native of Cuba, a retired psychologist and author of When Evolution Stops and A Cuban from Kansas.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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