by Jason Gibbs
“Dr Myrhe?” said Stanley hesitantly, to the tall dark haired man who answered the door.
“Yes, but my friends call me Magnus, can I help you?”
“I don’t know, I have a strange request, may I come in and explain it?”
The doctor smiled a little uncertainly and then said, “Of course, please do.”
He waved him into his living room, where a large Norwegian flag was lying across the table. Stanley stopped and stared at it.
“Ah yes, I am fixing the flag, it’s become a bit tattered with all this weather we’ve been experiencing recently. Please, can I get you something to drink?”
Stanley shook his head and sat down on the edge of a chair. He looked around a little uncertainly. Magnus sat down and waited patiently.
“Um, well it’s very strange, but um, look when I woke up this morning I found myself writing on a piece of paper,” Stanley started, and paused while he reached into his pocket.
“This one, and the thing is, I don’t understand it.”
“You wrote something a bit strange? Maybe you were having a dream…?”
“No, well maybe, but it’s not that I don’t understand the words, or it is, it’s that I don’t understand the language. It looks like a Scandinavian language maybe, but, well the only thing I could understand was this bit at the bottom, where it says ‘take this sheet to Dr Myrhe’ and your address. So I’m here. Please take a look.”
Magnus was regretting letting this strange man in, but decided to humour him, and then get him out of the house as quickly as possible, so he reached across and took the sheet. He started reading it.
“Well, yes, it is Norwegian in fact, indeed…” he stopped suddenly and looked at Stanley.
“Is this some kind of joke?”
Stanley shrank back a bit from the look of irritation on the man’s face. Visions of marauders from the north flashed through his mind.
“No, no, I assure you, I am as mystified as you are.”
“Hmmm,” said Magnus. He then spat out a set of Norwegian words and watched Stanley. The man just looked more confused, and considering what Magnus had just said regarding Stanley, his mother and a horse, he should be looking angry. ‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ thought Magnus.
He read a big further and then made up his mind.
“Well, yes, I think I need a bit of time. I will read this further, and think about it. Please come back tomorrow, or Monday actually, can you come to my office, I’ll give you my address.”
“But, can you explain…”
“No. I cannot. But I will find out. You may rest assured of that.”
He found a business card, gave it to Stanley and then ushered him out. He then sat down again and read the note he’d been sent.
‘Dear Dr Myrhe, Please do not translate this to Stanley. He would not be able to understand. I need your help, at least to have someone to communicate with. It’s difficult to explain, and I imagine will be hard for you to understand, I’m not sure I do, but, I am Stanley, well I am his hind-brain. I am the entity which uses the deep parts of his mind. I cannot control him, and I have to answer the questions he occasionally sends me, but otherwise, well, I’m quite bored.’
Magnus paused, and shook his head, and continued reading.
‘I learned Norwegian by watching the television. Stanley leaves it on when he goes to sleep. And from 2-4 every morning there is a free access Norwegian course. Most of the rest of the programming is a bit dull, though I know a lot about geometric optics and the husbandry required for camels. I don’t know where your name came from, Stanley must have read it but not remembered the context, so it just appeared with me one day.’
‘Dr Myrhe – will you help me? Yours sincerely, Stanley’s hind-brain.’
Magnus was intrigued, but wasn’t sure how to approach the problem. He felt he’d have to sleep on it.
The next day Magnus awoke to find himself writing. The piece of paper was covered in what he could only assume was arabic, at the top in his own English capitals was the name and address of a Dr Ahmed Al-Saleh. So his hind-brain wasn’t sure of the answer, and was asking someone else.
Magnus got himself ready, called in sick to work and went to see Dr Al-Saleh, who, a quick Google informed him, was a clinical psychologist.
(Some years later.)
“And to sum up, ladies, gentlemen… and hind-brains,” Magnus paused for the appreciative chuckles.
“To sum up, that is how we started the HBRN – the Hind Brain Research Network. I’m extremely excited that today we’ve been able to open up this wonderful, brand new building. A hotel for scientists as some have called it, but as we all know, this is also the place where a lot of deep research will be possible. I’ve booked my first holiday here to start next week, and I have high hopes of getting at least two papers out of… sharing credit of course!” he tapped the back of his head at this, to more appreciative laughs.
“Finally, I’d like to thank Stanley Lipkins, without whom this whole process might never have started.”
He clapped, and Stanley stood up, looking a little bemused and embarrassed, Magnus waved him to the mic.
Nervously he said, “Um, well I don’t think you should be thanking me. It’s not me, it’s my hind-brain…”