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Chapter 18

I came to half-a-block from my house, staggered home and caught the immediate attention of my father.

“Trenton, what the hell happened?” he asked. “Are you okay?”

“I think so,” I said, finding the couch. “I made it home in one piece, so I must be all right.”

“But your shirt is ripped and you have a bloody lip,” he said with a concerned voice and moved closer to investigate. “Did you get into a fight?”

“I don’t know ... I guess so.” I felt the cut on my lip and figured one of them was wearing a ring.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” He sighed and waited a couple of seconds before asking, “It happened again, didn’t it?”

“Probably. I mean, the last thing I remember is those thugs coming at me in the alley.”

“In the alley! Where the hell were you?”

“I was running from them, made a bad turn and got cornered ... then everything went black like usual and the next thing I knew, I was outside our door, as if someone had delivered me here.”

“Right, safe and a little worse for wear,” he said, wetting a tissue in a glass of water and dabbing my lip. “This is intolerable. I’m worried about you. This isn’t normal, you know, and we need to get to the bottom of it.”

“Are you saying I’m a freak?”

He suddenly looked frightened as if realizing he was dealing with a tender and vulnerable youth, not completely capable of handling the plain truth. “No, no, not at all, son. I was just saying ... I mean, I just meant-”

“Dad,” I interjected with a grin that stung, “I was just kidding. I’m no more a freak than any of the other guys. I just have this condition that happens to save my life once in a while. I’d say I’m rather lucky, in a way, wouldn’t you?”

“Well, I’m glad you have a sense of humor about it. I guess that’s your youth talking.” Relieved, he fell back in his chair, which triggered a salvo of hacking spats that lasted thirty seconds.

“I think we both need to see someone offline for what ails us,” I joked, which produced the desired grin out of the old man. “Let me get you some more water.”

Before he could protest, I jumped up and fetched a glass for him. He guzzled it like a desert fox and sighed.

“So what are we going to do about this ‘condition’ of yours?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I was hoping it would just go away.”

“Problems never just go away, Trenton. You have to face them eventually.”

“You’re probably right, but do I have to face them now? I think I’d rather wait a few hundred years.”

“This is no laughing matter. For all we know, you could’ve been killed. Heck, maybe you got the upper hand and hurt them. Do you even know what happened?”

“I can’t remember anything.”

“Right and it’s for that reason that I still think you should see my friend. He’ll be discreet, I can promise you that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re my son, after all, and I want to protect you. But you’ve got to let me help you in order to do that.”

“Come on, Dad, we’ve been through this before. Crazy people see shrinks and I’m not crazy.”

“Lots of people see therapists, Trenton, not just crazy people. Besides, don’t think of it that way. Rather, it’s like talking to a friend who has expertise in a subject and can give you good advice because he can get to the bottom of the issue. In this case, my friend is an expert at the human brain and what makes it tick. I should know, he’s helped out several friends of mine.”

“He has?”

“You’d be surprised … people you’d never suspect.”

“Like who?”

“Like Satif Jacobson.”

“No way,” I exclaimed. Satif Jacobson was a star basketball player for the Washington Nuggets. “Are you serious? Why would he need a shrink?” I could tell my Dad was getting annoyed by the word shrink, but let it slide.

“Lots of ball players need help with the mental aspect of the game. Heck, most professional athletes have a rock or two loose upstairs and need a therapist to sort it all out.”

“That’s amazing. I figured they had it all together up there.”

“It takes work and they’re no different than you and me. Now, what do you say, should I give him a call and set something up?”

“Okay, Dad, if you think it’ll help get to the bottom of these blackouts, I’ll give it a try.”

“Excellent. I’ll get on it right away.”

“One condition, though...”

“I know,” he interjected, “it’ll definitely be offline.” I felt my lip as he winked and it stung. “Now don’t you have a party to get to?”

“Oh crap!” I exclaimed and jumped to my feet. “I’m definitely going to be late now.”

With that I ran to my room, took the quickest shower known to man and five minutes later, was out the door.

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