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CHAPTER NINE






They left Las Vegas the next morning, and drove back to Los Angeles. Susanna sat next to Charlie in the front of the Buick. Raymond sat in the back of the car and watches another film on his TV. Sometimes he looked out at the desert they were driving through.

Once Raymond drove the car for a few minutes. The road was empty so there was no danger.

Im a ... very good... driver, Raymond said.

Susanna got out at her flat in Santa Monica. Charlie and Raymond drove on to Charlies house in Los Angeles.

There was a letter waiting for Charlie. It was from Dr. Bruner. Im staying here in Los Angeles, at the hotel California, the letter said. Please come and see me. I think we need to talk.

That night Charlie went to see Dr. Bruner at his hotel.

Mr Babbit, I want to stop playing games, Dr. Bruner said. My lawyer is talking to your lawyer. He is explaining to him ... the facts. Raymond will see a special doctor on Friday. This doctor will decide who gets custody of Raymond. And you are4 going to lose.

I think that is for the doctor to decide, Charlie said. But I have helped Raymond more than you have in twenty years.

You think you have helped Raymond ! Dr. Bruner said. But Raymond is still autistic. He will always be autistic! Neither you nor I can change that fact.

Charlie turned to go. Ill see you on Friday, Dr. Bruner.

Dont you understand, Charlie? Dr. Bruner called. Even if they give you custody of Raymond, you will not get your fathers money. I dont have to pay you anything.

Goodbye, Dr. Bruner, Charlie said, walking away.

Dr. Bruner called after him. Ill give you two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to have Raymond back now.

Charlie stopped walking and turned round to face the doctor. He shook his head. I dont want your money, Dr. Bruner, he said, I want my brother.

*

Friday came. Dr. Matsn sat at his desk. Next to him was Dr. Bruner. In front of him were Charlie and Raymond. The two brothers were both wearing suits.



Theres no easy way to say this, Mr Babbit, Dr. Matson began.

He did not need to continue. Charlie understood. Youre sending Raymond back to Walllbrook, he said.

They can look after him there, Dr. Matson said. They understand Raymonds problems.

But Raymond has changed, Charlie said angrily. He has only been seven days with me and already he is getting better. And you dont like that.

Dr. Matson and Dr. Bruner sat silently for a minute. Then Dr. Bruner turned to Raymond.

How was you holiday, Raymond? Tell me what you did.

Raymond held his little TV to his heart. I played cards, he said. With Charlie Babbit. And I drove Daddys car.

Dr. Bruner laughed. You drove a car, Raymond?

It was on a quiet road, Charlie said.

And I danced with Susanna, Raymond said.

Even Charlie was surprised at this.

Dr. Bruner took a pen from his pocket and wrote something down in a notebook. Then he turned to Raymond. Do you want to stay with Charlie, Raymond? he asked.

I want to stay with Charlie Babbit, Raymond said.

You see, Charlie said. Raymond wants to stay with me.

But Dr. Bruner did not look at Charlie. He looked at Raymond. Do you want to go back to Wallbrook, Raymond?

I want to go back to Wallbrook.

Dr. Bruner wrote again in his notebook. Dr. Matson also wrote something down.

But want do you want to do, Raymond? Dr. Buner asked again. Do you want to tay with Charlie? Or do you want to go back to Wallbrook?

Raymond was now breathing very deeply. He shook his head from side to side, and moved uncomfortably in his chair. Wallbrook ... Charlie Babbit ... Wallbrook ... Charlie Babbit, he muttered.

Charlie jumped out of his chair. Stop asking him all these questions, he shouted. Youre upsetting him.

Now Dr. Bruner looked at Charlie. Im showing you that Raymond is still autistic, Charlie, he said calmly.

Charlie sat down and put his in his hands. He saw that they would never give him custody of Raymond. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps they did know how to look after Raymond at Wallbrook.



But Charlie gave Raymond something they could not give him at Wallbrook. Charlie gave Raymond love. And Raymond, in his way, gave Charlie love.

All Charlie wanted was the best for Raymond. Charlie wasnt the loser. Raymond was the winner.

Ray, they want you to go back Wallbrook, Charlie said slowly to his brother. He looked up at the two doctors. Can I visit him?

Dr. Matson turned to Dr. Bruner for an answer. Of course, Dr. Buner answered. We would like you to.

Raymond took out his photograph. It was a lovely picture of the eighteen-year-old Raymond and the two-year-old Charlie. Rain Man and Charlie. Brothers. Raymond handed the photograph to Charlie.

Charlie began to cry softly.

Are you all right, son? Dr. Bruner asked.

Charlie looked up and smiled. Then he turned to his brother. Ill come to see you, Ray, he said. And you can drive Dads car when I visit.

Im a very good driver, Raymond said.

 

Answer the questions:

1. Who says these words? Who is the speaker speaking to? What do the words mean?

a. Its OK, man. I didnt burn. Im fine.

b. The other girls have missed a beautiful dance.

c. Im sorry they took the cars away.

d. Can I visit him?

 

Vocabulary Work

lawyer funeral will expression

anxious upset notebook to matter

astonished relationship toothpick to breathe

custody

 

2. a. Which word means worried?

b. Which word means keeping something safe?

c. Which word means unhappy?

d. Which word means very surprised?

e. Which word means the feelings shown in someones face?

f. Which word means to speak quietly and unclearly?

g. Which word describes what a person wants to happen after his death?

h. Which describes a small piece of wood, used for cleaning the mouth?

 

 



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