The Annual Head Shrinking
The end of the fountain pen made an annoying little fleshy popping sound and rattled incessantly as the Psychiatrist Dr Alan Mansfield tapped the end of it against his pursed lips in contemplation. Above the gesture his eyes were hooded, with just a hint of suspicion, as he scrutinized the man the sat across the room from him. As always the doctor was dressed in a well fitted gray business suit and his legs where crossed at the thighs, his foot bouncing as if to a melody that only he could hear.
To Connor Williams, the man that sat across the room from the doctor, he was intellectuality personified. And they say stereotypes aren’t true, Connor thought to himself waiting for the Doctor to finish his usual, “I’m thinking my way through your tough exterior,” routine and get to the fucking point.
Dr Mansfield sighed heavily and shifted to his other leg to cross over the top and fiddled with the papers that sat in his lap, “So Connor, how have you been feeling?”
“Fine,” Connor answered, his voice carrying as little emotion as possible as to not give the doctor any more ammunition to use against him. Connor figured that Mansfield had a wealth of imaginary bullets as it was.
“Are you really?” Mansfield asked, shooting a glance over to Connor that seemed to convey concern, and a pleading for him to tell the truth. It said that you can trust me, like a brother, which considering that Mansfield held the axe that figuratively hung over the exposed neck of Connors’ career, that statement had as much truth in it as water in the Mohave desert.
“Yes really,” Connor replied doing his best to keep the condescension from his tone. Behind the good Dr Mansfield, a pretty little blue bird flitted into view and landed on the window sill basking in the glorious sunlight, flaunting its freedom and pranced about undoubtedly singing. Fuck you bird, Connor thought.
“I want you to know that there is no shame admitting that you are experiencing stress. Its perfectly normal in fact you could call it healthy, especially with your line of work,” Mansfield stated, “I mean look at you, I can feel the hostility and pent up emotions just dripping off of you.”
Connor did look hostile, that he had to give the Dr, but in Connors defense he always did. In his profession it was an absolute necessity to look hostile. And as far as the pent up emotions, which the doctor was also right about, well those where just a by product of the job, “What does that have to do with anything Doc?”
Mansfield sighed again, this time like he was attempting to explain something to a small unruly child, “My point is,” he said, “How are we suppose to make any progress if you don’t open up to me. The healing process is one of winding roads not road blocks.”
“Wait…WHAT?” Connor asked unable to keep his tone under control any longer, but before he could ask the Doctor what he meant about the healing process, the Psychiatrist quickly intervened, attempting to be the hero that would lead Connor Williams into the light.
“Enough of this tough guy charade. You came to me crying for help, begging that someone would see you for who you are. A young healthy man who is in need of a guide from the dark reaches of his own conscience,” Mansfield spread his arms, a fatherly gesture, full of acceptance, “I will gladly be your guide Connor, all you have to do is let me take your hand and lead you.”
“WHAT THE FU-,” Connor stopped, shook his head, and took a few deep breaths, “Ok… First off, I did not come here by choice I am required by law to come here and you know that, you have known that for the last three years! Second, I am not depressed because of my work, I love my job, LOVE IT… Get it? And third, If I did need somebody to “Guide me from the dark reaches of my conscience,” it sure as hell wouldn’t be some government paid, wanna be, self help, pencil pushing, new age guru like you!”
Dr Mansfield nodded his understanding than went back to tapping his fountain pen against his lips, “What exactly do you have against the government Connor?”
Tossing his hands in the air in disbelief, Connor asked flabbergasted, “Out of everything I just said to you, thats what you hear? That my problem is with the government? Un-fucking-believable.”
“I’m just worried about you thats all,” Mansfield said.
“ME?” Connor asked driving the thumb of his right hand into his chest hard enough to make a loud thump, “Your worried about me? Doc if thats the case than how about you write me off on your little report and send me on my way. Cause thats the only way that I am going to feel better.”
The Dr smiled and swung his chair to the left to reach into the top drawer of his desk, “You know I can’t do that Connor. My job is to make sure that you are mentally sound enough in order to continue your duties, and I plan to do exactly that,” His hand emerged from the top desk holding a little blue rubber ball and he tossed it to Connor.
Connor caught it with ease, “What the hell am I suppose to do with this?” he asked.
“Squeeze it,” Mansfield responded, “It helps with stress.”
Your head would be better for that, Connor thought to himself as his powerful fist tried to grind the ball into its base components. For now he would have to imagine the doctors beaky nose and bushy eye brows on the blue rubber surface, “Alright so now what?”
“Now we talk about your suicidal tendencies.”
Connor dropped the ball letting it bounce away, “OH COME ON! I do not want to commit suicide!”
“See Connor that vicious outburst is exactly why that thought concerns me, You have so much stress and anger in you and its eating you up inside. Those emotions don’t just disappear Connor, they fester and grow into a very potent infection in your soul and in your very psyche,” The doctor shifted the papers in his lap again as he spoke, “Something that left unchecked will ultimately lead to you giving in to the darkness you so valiantly stand against.”
Connor stared utterly aghast “You got to be shitting me….. Really!?”
“Absolutely Connor, despite what you might think I really do care for you, I kinda of think of you as my wayward son, and I feel that its my responsibility to show you how to find the light within yourself,” Mansfield sat back, his hands across the papers in his lap, an expression of self righteous fulfillment on his face.
A whole lot of horrible things that could be done to the good Dr started flashing through the mind of Connor Williams and he started to ponder if his amnesty with the law would extend to moderate torture of a psychiatrist. Just then his cell phone chimed in, giving a whole new meaning to getting saved by the bell.
With desperate hands Connor reached for his phone hoping beyond hope that it would hold a way that would get him out of this mess, and keep him from doing something that he would come to regret years later as he rotted in a looney bin. The screen ignited revealing a text message from Connors’ Handler, Richard. It read.
You still getting your head shrunk? If so call me when your done, I have a job for you.
Oh thank god, was all Connor could think, and out loud he said, “Hey doc I just got a job, and I really hate to be that guy, but its super urgent. Am I good to go or what?”
Dr Mansfield, not realizing how close he had come to getting savagely beaten, drooped considerably but than sighed and smiled resignedly, “Oh Connor always willing to run off in the defense of others. I’m proud of you, despite your depression-”
Connors fist clenched hard enough to make his knobby knuckles crack.
“- Your still not losing sight of what your goals are. Very well Connor I’ll sign off on you, but don’t think that your off the hook alright?” Dr Mansfield turned to his computer on his desk and started typing away. Connor knew that he was passing him on his psyche evaluation, but he couldn’t help but think the the Dr. was taking notes on how to drive him further into insanity, “I fully expect to pick up where we left off next time we talk.”
“Of course Dr.” Connor grumbled, “I would expect nothing less, especially with my luck.”
“What was that?” Mansfield asked looking over at Connor, his expression telling him that he honestly hadn’t heard Connors last grumbled comment.
“Oh nothing,” Connor said forcing a friendly smile through his irritation.
Mansfield grinned warmly, as he stated, “It does my heart good to see you smile Connor,” He flourished the final strike of the enter button which sent Connors report to the Government higher ups, “Ok there we are, I have officially deemed you mentally healthy enough to keep Slaying monsters for another six months. Don’t make me regret it.”
Connor was already up and moving across the office, heading for the door as if chased, “Boy thanks doc, and don’t worry you won’t regret this at all, but we will see you next time and have a good one.”
With his hand on the door knob, so close to freedom he could taste it, lump welling in his throat, Connor turned to regard the doctor expectantly. When he spoke his voice was barely a whisper, “Yeah?”
“You forgot this,” Mansfield held up the little blue ball, than tossed it to Connor, “and remember that every life is worth it, even yours.”
Growling, and squeezing the hell out of the ball, Connor stormed from the office, slamming the door in his wake.