Shadow of the Therapist
It was my sixth session with the guy I’d been told to call Lieutenant, and I was about fed up. He’d started with waterboarding, then moved on to suspension. The third session had featured sexual humiliation, then there was sleep deprivation. Last time had involved beating the bottom of my feet with bamboo. I was brought in this time, and he said, “All right, 78773, today we’re going to do something a little different.”
“I can hardly wait,” I said.
He ignored the sarcasm. “This time, we’re going to expose you to very, very loud music for a period of–”
“Excuse me,” I said.
“Look, I hate to do this.”
I twitched a little. I wasn’t good at this stuff. “Well, the fact is, this isn’t working for me.”
“It isn’t . . . ?”
“I feel no more desire to talk than I did before we started.”
He frowned. “You know,” he said, “torturing is a relationship.”
“I know,” I said. “But this just isn’t doing it for me. I’m sorry.”
“What will you do,” he said, “if we switch you to another torturer, and you still won’t talk?”
I shook my head. “Then I’ll move on to yet another.”
“And another and another? If you’re ever going to make progress, you’re going to have to accept that breaking you can take a lot of time.”
“I know that,” I said. “And please don’t take this personally.”
“It isn’t my feelings I’m worried about,” he said. “It’s your future.”
“I think you’re not being honest with yourself,” I told him.
“That isn’t for you to say.”
“No, I suppose not,” I said.
He took in a slow breath. “Well, all right then,” he said. “I’ll speak with the Captain. He does hot irons.”
“That sounds more hopeful,” I said.
“All right. Well, I wish you luck,” he said, and walked out of the room.
I felt bad for him. But you know, I have to worry about my own needs and feelings. Don’t I?