Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Savage 9

The center was dark save for a lone light in Dr. Adler's office.  Adam hadn't expected to see the secretary at her desk, but he was startled to see that the desk itself was not there.  Gone also were the few chairs, tables, and lamps that had adorned the small waiting area. 

"Come in, Adam," the doctor called from his office.  "We've got the place to ourselves, and I've got a lot to tell you"

Adam walked through the door to find Dr. Adler pouring champagne into two fluted glasses.  The doctor chuckled weakly, "We may as well celebrate the end, though it's come a lot sooner than I'd hoped"

"Won't that interfere with my medication?", Adam asked, and again Dr. Adler chuckled weakly.  "Adam, there is no more medication.  I know you've been taking it only sporadically of late,"  Adam opened his mouth to protest but Dr. Adler nimbly bridged the gap, "it doesn't matter, son, there is no more medication, no more treatment, no more hypnosis.  In fact after today we will likely never see each other again."

Adam drank the champagne quickly and poured himself another glass, his broad shoulders slumped.  He sat heavily on the only seat left in the room, the couch on which he'd taken so many after session naps.  Dr. Adler sat on the desk looking down at the tall man.  "You were perfect for the program, I want you to understand, Adam.  You wanted this, and we wanted you.", the doctor handed Adam a manilla envelope.  "Go ahead, open it.  That is your permission slip, if you will, authorizing the company to tinker with your brain.  You wanted to get well, Adam.  Though to be fair we did have you over a barrel."

Adam had taken the papers from the envelope and stared at a gray and black photocopied picture of his aged parents.  They looked back at their son from beneath a still layer of dark water, those familiar circles carved into their skin.  Not exactly how he remembered finding them, or was it?  How had Dr. Adler gotten this photo?  Beyond this picture were more, pictures of Emily and Adam sitting on the bench in the hospital courtyard where he'd spent so many months healing from his accident.  Each picture was labeled, "Week 1", "Week 2", on and on in the doctor's sharp and tidy print.

"Empathy replacement therapy", the doctor pressed on, "Adam I need you to focus on what I'm telling you, it may sound ridiculous, but you know it's true.  You know it's true because you've never gotten better.  Not really.", The doctor looked down and away.  "What we tried to do, what I tried to do," the good doctor sighed,  "you did so well.  It just didn't work, Adam, I was wrong, and I can't protect you anymore."  Dr. Adler cleared his throat and squared his small shoulders, "Adam you have to protect yourself now, you have choices."

Dr. Adler looked at Adam's confused expression and softened.  Adam had reached the picture of Emily's mother.  The photo wasn't ten years old or five years old, oh no.  It was far more recent.  The woman was a bloodied mess, and the next carefully cataloged photo was the image of the whore's teeth and tongue in the bottom of the Savage sandwich cooler.  An inky shadow rolled slowly across Adam's eyes.

Dr. Adler went on.

"Adam there are bodies in your basement.  You murdered your parents, you are a predator.  You were selected for this program because you displayed a gift for emulating emotion, and because you were careful enough to not have been caught.  Oh you were a sharp one, Adam.  The best we'd seen.  We thought, I thought, that you could be taught empathy and that a broken past could be replaced, swapped with something healthier and cleaner.  This isn't repression, understand, though that is a small part of the process.  I've been working on creating simultaneous memories.  I thought we could break you and put you back together the right way.  Adam, Adam?  I need to know that you understand me.  I was wrong, you weren't broken.  What we've done has broken you."

Adam's chest and shoulders moved up and down rhythmically with each breath.  He had reached the final picture, though it was in black and white Adam knew that the boys wore kelly green tee shirts and running shorts.  Adam could also see that he was among these tough boys, standing tall in the back.  Not all of team green made it into the group photo that year, several of them were in the infirmary, having had nasty fight in the night.  None of the boys would say what had happened, though Adam's knuckles were a shade darker than his uniform.  Why had Adam thought that he was team red? 

"Adam, you don't have anything to ask?  Anything to say?"  Dr. Adler looked at his hulking guest quizzically.  Why hadn't the boy spoken up? 

Adam raised his eyes to Adler without lifting his head, "Is Emily real?" 

"Well Adam, Emily is an actress.  I believed if I could make you connect with a child, develop a bond,"  And here Dr. Adler's last sentence ended.  Adam had shattered the champagne bottle on the desk and slid it with a twisting motion into the neck of this father who had unmade him.  Dr. Adler gripped Adam's neck and stared, his mouth opening and closing, stuttering and sputtering, "Ba ba ba ba ba ba", and then it hung limp.  Adam mused for a moment at the spout of blood the bottle neck had created before getting out his pocket knife and going to work.

When he had finished fixing Dr. Adler, Adam rolled him into the area rug and loaded him onto the van, along with all of his files.  

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