Dr. Douglas and Hyde Robinson
By Robert Russell
List of Characters
Doctor Dorothy Douglas
35-year-old Yale psychiatrist and juvenile specialist hired by Hyde Robinson’s lawyer (not named) to psychologically evaluate Hyde before his execution date.
13-year-old boy convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson. He was sentenced to death by the electric chair and currently sits on death row awaiting his scheduled execution. Six months prior on May 1st, 1975 Robinson murdered both of his parents by stabbing, and he burned their house down. He does not remember committing these acts.
Alternate personality of Hyde Robinson.
[The action takes place in a gray cemented holding cell in Ward No.6 of the Florida State Penitentiary. Dr. Dorothy Douglas sits at a metal table centered in the room. On the table is a small notepad and pen. Across the table sits Hyde Robinson, his hands cuffed and feet shackled.]
Douglas: Well, Hyde, this isn’t going to work.
Douglas: I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.
Robinson: [silence cont.]
Douglas: Are you aware that you are scheduled to be put to death tomorrow at noon?
Robinson: [silence cont.]
Douglas: Hyde, you are going to be sent to the electric chair. I might be able to prevent that. But the only way I can do that is if you talk to me.
Robinson: [silence cont., makes eye contact with Douglas]
Douglas: This is a lost cause.
Douglas: Hyde, do you know who I am!?
Robinson: You got a cigarette?
Douglas: What? Um…dammit…okay, sure. [Hands Robinson a cigarette.]
Robinson: Got a light?
Douglas [exhales forcefully]: Yeah, here. [Puts matches on the table.] Hyde, do you know who I am?! I’m your doctor, Hyde! Your lawyer hired…
Robinson: I know who you are. And Hyde isn’t here.
Douglas: What? Whhh…what do you mean Hyde isn’t here? Who am I speaking to?!
Robinson: My name is Henry.
Douglas: Hyde, enough with the games.
Robinson: I’m not Hyde.
Douglas: I really don’t know what you’re getting at, but Hyde I need you to talk to me. Please!
Robinson: I’m not Hyde.
Douglas: This is serious, Hyde. You’re going to be sentenced…
Robinson: I’m not Hyde.
Douglas: I need you to take this seriously, Hyde!
Robinson: I’M NOT HYDE GODDAMMIT!!
Douglas: [jumps slightly in her seat, pauses]
Douglas [sighs]: Oh…okay then, um, who are you?
Robinson: My name is Henry. Hyde is my best friend.
Douglas: Hyde is your best friend? Okay, um, so when did you meet him?
Robinson: When he was young, very young.
Douglas: How young?
Robinson: Two, three years old.
Douglas: Two, three years old.
Robinson: Might have been four. Before he went to Kindergarten.
Douglas: And how old are you, Henry?
Robinson: I’m eighteen.
Douglas: How did you meet Hyde, Henry?
Robinson [looks upward]: I don’t remember; it was so long ago.
Douglas: Try hard to remember for me, please.
Robinson: I really don’t remember. I just kinda always been there, ya know?
Douglas: I see. Um, how…how well do you know Hyde?
Robinson: I know him very well.
Douglas: How well?
Robinson: I know everything about him.
Douglas: Okay. Um, Henry, I’m really glad that you’ve known Hyde since he was little. Hyde doesn’t remember a whole lot about his childhood. Maybe you can help.
Douglas: What is your earliest memory of Hyde?
Robinson: Hmmm, well, I remember being with him in the basement a lot.
Douglas: The basement, go on.
Robinson: Hyde’s old man threw him down the stairs and locked that door. Told him he wouldn’t see the light of day until he was eighteen.
Douglas: Hyde told me that too. He said his father forced him to live in the cellar. Hyde also said that his father did other things to him, but he wouldn’t tell me what. Do you know about the other things he did to him?
Robinson: Oh yeah.
Douglas: What sort of things would Hyde’s dad do to him?
Robinson: Hyde’s old man would come down into the basement least four or five times a week and give him a beating.
Douglas: A beating? Like with his fists?
Robinson: Yeah, at first. Then it was belts, and later, he had paddles and a wrench.
Douglas: Why would Hyde’s father do that?
Robinson: God knows. He always smelled like whiskey. Hyde’s mama would scream upstairs, “You’re drunk, Jim! You’re always drunk!”
Douglas: Would Hyde’s mother ever try to stop him?
Robinson [laughs]: Nope, never.
Douglas: What was Hyde’s mother like?
Robinson: The only person she hated more than her husband was Hyde.
Douglas: She hated Hyde? Why?
Robinson: She always did. Since the day of his birth, always hated him.
Robinson: See Hyde’s mama always wanted a girl. Tried forever too; eventually had two twin boys but they died right after they were born. Then she had a girl, but she died too. Tried again one last time and got Hyde. He’s the only one that made it out alive.
Douglas: So Hyde’s mother hated, or rather, never even loved Hyde?
Robinson: That’s right. Never let him forget it neither. She used to dress him up in girl’s clothes. Never got over it.
Douglas: Who never got over it? Hyde or his mother?
Douglas: How did that make Hyde feel?
Robinson: Well, shit, how do you think!? It hurt! Can’t you imagine? Being constantly humiliated like that, every day? She made him go to school like that. Eventually he just stopped going.
Douglas: Hyde stopped going to school? Was that before the basement?
Robinson: Yeah, that’s why he got thrown down there. His old man found out he was skipping.
Douglas: I see. Do you know what Hyde would do when he skipped? Where he would go?
Robinson: He’d come hang out with me.
Douglas: What would the two of you do?
Robinson: Walk around the neighborhood mostly. Talk and play games. I was his only friend.
Douglas: What kind of games would you guys play?
Robinson: We used to go to Ash Tree forest, ya know, out there past that Hill house.
Douglas: And what would you guys do in Ash Tree forest?
Robinson: I taught Hyde how to hunt.
Douglas: You taught him to hunt? How? What would you hunt?
Robinson: I swiped his old man’s Bowie, and we’d go and catch rabbits, cats, and such.
Douglas: And you guys would kill the animals?
Robinson: Kill ‘em, skin ‘em, burn ‘em. He learned real fast, real good too.
Douglas: Wasn’t Hyde ever afraid of getting caught?
Robinson: He was at first, but I told him I’d protect him. There was nothing to fear.
Douglas: But eventually, he did get caught, right?
Robinson: Yeah, and he got locked away, but I always protected him.
Douglas: How would you protect him?
Robinson [looks upward]: Hmm, that’s kinda hard to explain.
Douglas: Please try to explain to me. I really need to know.
Robinson: So, like, every time Hyde’s old man came down those basement stairs, I’d come grab Hyde, and we’d go to Ash Tree forest where we were safe.
Robinson: His father would beat him to a pulp, but it never hurt him ‘cause he was with me. He wasn’t even there.
Douglas: I see.
Robinson: I protected him, ya see, always have, always will.
Douglas: Did you ever teach Hyde anything else, like besides hunting?
Robinson: Nah, not really.
Douglas: But you guys would talk a lot, right? What sort of things would you talk about?
Robinson: Hyde always talked about hating his parents and such. How he always wanted to run away but couldn’t ‘cause he was locked in.
Douglas: And what would you say to that?
Robinson: I always told him that he could run away if he wanted to. And that I could help him if he really wanted to.
Douglas: How would you be able to help him run away?
Robinson: I told Hyde it was simple. If he wanted to get away from his parents, he’d have to get rid of them.
Douglas: How could he do that? Get rid of them?
Robinson: Same way we did those animals out in Ash Tree forest. Got rid of them fine.
Douglas: [eyes widen, pauses]
Douglas: Um, so Henry, can, can you tell me what happened on May 1st, 1975? Can you tell me a little about the events that happened that night?
Robinson: Hyde won’t be going to the electric chair, Doctor Douglas.
Douglas: Henry, I, I don’t think you understand…
Robinson: Doctor Douglas…
Douglas: …Hyde will be sent to the electric chair.
Robinson: …It is you who doesn’t understand, Doctor Douglas. Hyde will not be going to the electric chair. I won’t let him.
Douglas: And how do you suppose that?
Robinson: I have protected him for as long as he can remember, and I don’t plan on stopping now.
Douglas: How can you protect him now?
Robinson: Just like I’ve always protected him. I’ll take him away from here.
Douglas: Henry, I’m afraid that won’t work.
Robinson: I’ll take him to Ash Tree forest where we’ll be safe.
Douglas: You can’t do that. It won’t work.
Robinson: It will. It always has. And I still have his old man’s blade. I’ll make sure he’ll be safe, forever.
[A warden then opens the door and says “Time’s up.” He helps the shackled Hyde Robinson to his feet and leads him out of the cell. Dr. Dorothy Douglas sits at the metal table in silence as she watches the boy exit the room. As the boy crosses through the doorway, he peers back toward Douglas, and she catches his eye. The boy winks, and a small smile curls into his lips.]