The clerk in front of them put another stack of papers into a folder.

“You know the George Washington Bridge, right?” the police officer said. The orderly nodded.

“Lemme tell you how strict the policy was. I used to work over there. One precinct covers the area north of the bridge, another covers south of the bridge. If someone jumped off of it—like a suicide—all of us from both precincts would watch the body hit the water.”

“Oh jeez.”

“We’d wait to see which way the tide carried the body. If the body went the other direction, we’d pat the other officers’ shoulders and say, ‘All right, that’s yours.’ Crazy, huh?”

The people sitting in the chairs against the wall were dressed in hospital gowns. They watched the police officer chuckle. The clerk’s phone began to ring.

“Psychiatric emergency room,” she said into the receiver.