matthew ashford homepage general hospital synopsis

chapter xi: tom finally gets help to
deal with what happened in africa.

Scene One: The same morning as the previous episode, the hospital, Bobbie and Amy Vining are talking as Tom walks out of the elevator. Amy is freaking out because of; her disastrous date with Mike Corbin (Sonny's biological father who is Luke's maitre' d).

Tom: Did something dire happen?

Amy: Yeah, (throwing up her arms) I just probably ruined my entire life. I got to go call 'em. (She walks off) Good-bye.

Tom and Bobbie watch her.

Bobbie: Ah, the vagaries of new love.

Tom: Give me old love any day. 'Course.... it has vagaries of its own.

Bobbie: How are you doing after last night?

Tom: Well, I'm not quaking and shaking on the bathroom floor any more. That's enough, don't you think?

Bobbie: I'm glad you're feeling better. Felicia said it was a full-grown panic attack. Does it happen often?

Tom: (Clears his throat) Not so much any more. (Somber) But... uh.... Never quite so public. Thanks for taking over Tommy for me.

Bobbie: Ahhhh, he's a wonderful little boy. He's amazingly mature.

Tom: No kid should have to watch his father fall apart under his eyes.

Bobbie: Yeah. But he saw you get it back together.

Tom: Yeah (rolling his eyes and walking around)!

Bobbie: You know, I've only heard a little bit about your experiences in Africa but... I can imagine how harrowing it must have been.

Tom: (Turning to her) Actually, I don't think that you can.

Bobbie: You wouldn't be human if it hadn't left some effects.

Tom: It's an interesting question: What constitutes human? -- aside from the biological factors.

Bobbie: (Thinking, then shrugs) I can't answer that. But I do know something about human needs.... we all need unconditional love.... and not to many of us get it.... you should be grateful that you have a son who adores you (slight smile).

Tom: I am! I wouldn't know what I'd do without him (slight smile). (Getting somber again) Maybe that's what this is all about.

Bobbie looks at him. Tom looks as if he is contemplating something.

Scene Two: Bobbie and Tom are still talking when Tony walks up, agitated. He shows them the hospital news letter. He is disgusted by an article, "The Humane and Pragmatic Approach to Care for the Terminally Ill." Tom reading the article, "By none other than Dr. "Let-the-Poor-Kid-Die" Dorman. Tony thinks firing is not enough he needs to be kicked out of medicine. He reads on, Dorman writes that it is a waste of money, personnel and resources to treat the terminally ill. Tom snarks, "I think he has a future in Congress." Tom is furious, he thinks Steve deserves this for trying to give the creep some humanity. Tony thinks after the article Steve cannot keep Dorman on staff. Tom, "I'd say you really blew it this time, Dad!"

Scene Three: Another morning, Simone is helping Tommy get ready for school. She tells him that they are going out for dinner with Justus."I *can't*!" he replies, "I have to eat with Daddy. He *needs me!" She tries to reassure Tommy that Tom is fine, and to get upset. Tommy disagrees. Simone tells her son that Tom told he he was fine. She tells Tommy that his father just gets sad when he thinks of Africa. He still whines that he has to be there for his father. Felicia tells him that will go up to his father's apartment and he will explain. Tommy tells her that his father is at Felicia's place. She replies, "Of course," and looks and sounds none too happy.

Scene Four: Felicia's place. Felicia is feeding Georgie, while Tom is struggling put on Maxie's coat; he and they see comfortable with him being around.

Maxie wants her locket and Felicia reminds her to hurry up, the bus will be there soon. Just then Georgie turns over her bowl.

Maxie: I'm be right back (runs off)!

Tom: Right Right!

Felicia: (Takes food off her face and licking her finger). Ehhh.

Tom: Did I ever mention how lovely you look with oatmeal in your hair.

Just then as Tom picking the oatmeal out of her hair, Simone and Tommy come through the door.

Felicia: Right! (Noticing Simone) Hi, Simone! Tommy.

Tom: Hi!

Simone: Hi! I hope we're not interrupting.

Tom licks his fingers of the oatmeal.

Felicia: Oh no. No. (To Tommy) Hello.

Maxie calls out that she cannot find her locket. Felicia is clearing up the mess.

Felicia: (Sighing in frustration) Did I or did I not tell her.

Tom: You did! I heard the whole thing. I'll testify if I have to!

Felicia: (Picking up Georgie) Alright, I'll remember that. And you know what I'm going to do, put her down, we.... we're going to gang up on Maxie between the two of us we can get her to school, okay (walking off).

Tom: (To Simone, gesturing) You know, I'd offer you a cup of coffee, but (craning his neck) but I'm don't think she made any.

Simone: (Gesturing ) I'm really not here for coffee, Tom.

Tom: Okay, why are you here?

Simone: Justus invited Tommy and I out to dinner tonight.

Tom: (Slightly sarcastically) How nice of Justus.

Simone: Weelll, apparently Tommy doesn't think so, because he is under the impression that he needs to have dinner with you.

Tom Frowning turns to look at Tommy who is sitting quietly on the couch. Tom then looks at Simone, who gives him a subtle head motion. Tom clears his throat, and walks over to sit next to Tommy.

Tom: Why is that, Son?

Tommy is silent. Tom pats his son on the back.

Tom: (Cont.) I think I already know. You don't have to tell me. You're a little worried Probably a little concerned that.... I kinda lost it the other night.

Tommy gives a little sad nod. Simone watches.

Tom: (Cont.) It means alot that you care about me. I mean that. From the bottom of my heart. But I'm going to be fine. Really! I'm going to be fine. I promise!


Felicia returns.

Tom: (Cont.) Now, you tell me, you really want to do something for me?

Tommy: Yeah.

Tom: (Pointing to his son) You go out with your mother and Justus tonight, (gesturing) and tomorrow night you and I'll have dinner. Just the two of us!

Tommy: But who will eat with you tonight? Who will take care of you?

Tom: Aahhh, I can take care of myself.

Felicia: I will!

They all turn to look at Felicia. Simone opens her mouth in surprise. Seems like there is a tinge of jealousy.

Felicia: (Cont.) You're welcome to take your chances with potluck dinner with us. If you like.

Simone still is not happily surprised. She turns towards Tom.

Tom: (To Tommy) Well, you see a solution (gesturing) for everybody.

Tommy: (Frowning) Are you sure?

Tom: Absolutely sure! (Smiling) Absolutely.

Maxie runs in, out of breath, saying she is ready.Tom looks toward her. Felicia tells her daughter to take a breath and relax. She and Tommy greet each other.

Tommy: (To Maxie) Do you have to wear a jacket.

Tom: Oh, jacket, yeah.... yeah of course. Here.... here.... right here.... (handing Felicia Tommy's coat at him) quick. Put it on. You got your.... jacket.

Felicia walks Maxie and Tommy out towards the door. Tommy asks for his hat. Simone and Tom are left alone.

Tommy: Well, (clearing his throat) do I get Brownie points? Think I handled that fairly well (with a slight smug expression)

Simone: Oh, like a master. But i am not sure who got handled.

Simone walks off. Tom flashes a look.

Simone stops in the hallway, thinks for a moment, rolls her eyes and then walks off.

Scene Five: Tom is waiting in the living room. Felicia returns.

Felicia: Well, the children are waiting for the school bus.

Tom: A sense of calm and peace (picking more oatmeal from her hair) descends upon the universe.

Felicia: Enjoy it while you can.

Tom: Alright, I think I will.

Just then Tommy runs back. They look towards the door. Tommy runs over to his father and wraps his arms around him, nearly knocking him over.

Felicia: Uh. See what I mean.

Tom: Wait a minute. Wh.... What is this?

Tommy: I just need to hug you one more time before school.

Tommy continues to hold on to his father.

Felicia and Tom look at each other, concerned.

Tom: Uh.... (Letting Tommy go) Look, (bending down) let me tell you something. (Patting Tommy's arm) I am glad (Tom hugs his son) you did.

Tommy, satisfied, runs off.

Tommy: Bye!

Tom: Bye!

Tom watches his son. Felicia is looking at Tom. After Tommy is out of sight Tom looks up at Felicia.

Tom: You think he's got a little rampant anxiety happening here?

Felicia: He's a very serious child, he's probably worried sick about you.

Tom: Well, I.... I need to get right on top of this. I need.... to be steady so that he sees that I'm steady.

Felicia: What if you're not?!

Tom: (Getting up) Then I'll fake it. (Slight laugh) Like it or not, fight it though I may, I am the grown-up here. Time to start acting like one.


Tom starts walking around. Felicia looks at him, not so sure. Tom pours himself some coffee and looks over towards Felicia, who has a serious expression on her face.

Tom: Did I, heaven help us, say something right?

Felicia: (Nodding her head in agreement) Yeeahh, I think you did.

Tom: Ah uh. Let's hope this isn't the start of some alarming new trend.

Felicia: Well, I hope it is! I think that's possibly the best solution for everyone (Could she be including herself)! Even if you don't quite feel grown-up it's good to act like an adult, concentrate on what's best for the child, and then your instincts will kick in and then everything else will fall into place.

Tom: (Slight frown) How did you get to be so smart?

Felicia: I've been hanging out with alot of shrinks. (Slightly flirtatious) Actually, I'm kinda partial to them.

Tom: (Slight tilt of the head) I could use that to my advantage.

Felicia: (Smiling) You never know.

Felicia walks over to pour herself some coffee, Tom watches, intrigued and a little please.

Scene Six: A little later, at the hospital, Dr. Kevin Collin's office. Kevin opens the door to find Tom.

Tom: Hello.

Kevin: (Surprised to see Tom) Hello.

Tom: (Walking in) A mutual friend seems to think that I would benefit from your services.

Kevin: Professional services?

Tom: Unless it seems awfully too incestuous for your comfort level.

Kevin: No, I've gotten used to that since I've moved here (smiling).

Tom: Would you be surprised if you heard that.... the moment I came to you looking for a job I was just this side of a nervous break-down?

Kevin: (Nodding his head) Yes! But then I've gotten used to surprises, too. (Motioning) Why don't you make yourself comfortable, tell me (walking towards his desk) tell me what's on your mind.

Kevin sits down behind his desk. Tom is seated in front of it.

Tom: Kevin, I'm impressed.... I tell you I walked in here, teetering on the brink of a mental meltdown and you don't even blink.

Kevin: Well, actually, without being told I could wager a guess that you were operating under enormous stress when you came home from Africa.

Tom: Well, (gesturing with his finger) that would depend on if you were referring to the first time or the last.

Kevin: Why don't you tell me about the first.

Tom: I came home.... looking for a divorce. I decided, convinced myself that my life in Africa with the woman.... I was involved with there was what I really wanted. To be honest, I was actually revealed when I came home and found my wife in the arms of another man.

Kevin quietly listens.

Tom: (Cont.) Or to be quite literal, on the floor with him playing marbles with my son. (Nervous laugh) I never thought much of Simone's taste in lovers.

Tom: (Cont.) But Justus Ward.... (scoffs and rolls his eyes) words fail.

Kevin: Don't like him much (stating the obvious)?

Tom: He's an insufferable fool. But then again, there's plenty of people around here who say the same thing about me. Maybe that's why we don't get along, were so much alike. Maybe it has nothing to do with Simone at all.

Kevin: Anything is possible.

Tom: I descended on my wife and demanded that she pack up Tommy and return to Africa with me. No deal: Divorce. The outcome was assured.

Kevin: Not necessarily, she could have said, "Yes."

Tom: (Thinking, soberly he says) Not in a million years!

Kevin: Why don't you tell me what happened when you got back to Africa.

Tom tells Kevin what happened;
2 Min; 4.5 Meg

Tom: (Getting up) Everything broke down.... (Walking around, clearing his throat) The defense mechanisms.... The self deception.... (Gesturing) The mirror cracked. The pieces hit the ground.... and underneath where the glass used to be was the real man that the mirror hidden from view. There I stood.... unmasked.... revealed.... I was a monster!

Kevin looks at him, but says nothing allowing him to continue.

Tom: I.... I.... I.... don't know what possessed me to (throws out his hand) even bring this all up (Walking away).

Kevin: (Standing up) Tom, don't go.

Tom stops. He put his hand over his face.

Kevin: (Cont.) I'd like to hear it, if you're ready to say it.


Tom: (Gesturing) Well, I suppose I have to. Say it, that is, that is the first step towards releasing it.

Kevin: Yes!

Tom: (Patting his arm, then putting his fist back to his face, starts pacing; obviously nervous and uncomfortable) I'd like to.... consider this.... conversation privileged.

Kevin: Of course it is.
Tom walks over to Kevin, nods then sits back down in his chair. Kevin sits back down behind his desk.

Blinks nervously, intertwines his hands as if; then gestures with them as if to gain the fortitude to open up.

Tom: (Gesturing) I went so far out. You have no idea. Beyond boundaries of civilized behavior.... Beyond humanity.... decency.... I went so far out I may never be able to come all the way back.

Kevin listens on intently.

Kevin: Scale of human suffering must have been unimaginable.

Tom: (Staring intently) I wasn't just a witness, I was a facilitator!

Scene Seven: Tom is still opening up to Kevin, he is now standing up away from Kevin's desk.

Tom continues to tell Kevin what happened;
4:10 Min; 9.5 Meg

Tom:  I cut a deal with a local guerrilla leader.... I had to. It was the only way to insure the orderly and safe running of the camp. In return for that safety.... (pacing, putting his fist to his mouth) and guaranteed receipt of food and (walking towards Kevin's desk) medical supplies I kicked back a portion.... So in effect, my guarantee was that I had a constant inadequate supply.... of essentials. Who got what.... rested solely with me. Life and death meted out.... (trying to avoid crying, voice cracking) by Dr. Tom Hardy!




Tom: (Cont.) I was reasonably humbled at first.... I accepted this.... sss.... terrible authority, but reluctantly, respectfully, with diligent weighing of all the factors involved. (Trying not to cry) Now when I look back it's like one morning (putting his hand to his face) I.... I.... I (gestures) just woke up and everything was different. I was different (snaps his finger) like that!



Kevin continues to intently, but quietly listen on.
Tom: (Cont.) I was captured by the power. It's true, Kevin.... absolute power does corrupt. I lost my humanity. (Walking over to the chair) I forgot (sitting down) how to feel. (Gestures) I knew that I used to once-upon-a-time, but I couldn't find the place deep down inside where that feeling lived.

Tom: (Cont.) But what I could recapture was centered around the thought of my wife and my son, especially my son.

Tom: (Cont.) It was then that I realized what a mistake I'd made, letting them go, the sense of saying, "I don't need you anymore!" And I knew right then if I didn't fix it, if didn't get my wife and son back, I would.... surely go mad. Completely mad. Because in a way, I was already, there.

Kevin: Tom, I'm sorry, but I have to ask, do you have any doubts about your ability as a doctor to function in this hospital?Tom: (Exhaling) If you asked me that question when I first came back, honestly, I'd have to say, "Yes!" But I would have lied. As for now, I still can't forgive myself.

Tom: (Cont.) I can't say that I have any level of peace. But the worst is over, and I can confidently say that my practice won't be affected in any way by what I've gone through.

Kevin: What about Simone and Tommy?

Tom: She's moved on. I shouldn't let my regret and need derail their future progress. (Slight smile) I'm still working on that one.

Kevin: How can I help?

Tom: Ahhhh, (wipes his mouth) I think (frowns) a few uh.... a few more sessions like these fairly intense ones (nodding).

Kevin: Sure, whatever you need.


Tom: Ahhh.... (clears his throat and puts his hand over his face; gestures) Now that we're through with that, ahh.... (wipes his mouth) why don't you say we just uh.... (sits up) get together colleague-to-colleague. I'll.... I to spring for lunch over at the Outback. We'll.... talk shop.

Kevin: (Getting up) Let's do it!

They get up and leave, together. The jealousy Tom had over Kevin getting the Head of Psychiatry seems over.

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