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A Disappointing Encounter

A Disappointing Encounter, Part 1

Doctor Linderhoff was quite tall, taller even than the impression I had of him from his pictures. And rather than fat, again my impression from his pictures, he was quite muscular. But the face was the same as the one I remembered from the pictures: glowing with health, heavily bearded in black, ecstatic.

"Mr. Arnall, I presume," he boomed out at me. "Pleased to meet you."

"It's an honor to meet you, Doctor," I replied.

"Please sit down," he said as he pointed to a comfortable-looking chair.

I did so.

"I knew Doctor Mendoza in Germany," he continued. "We were students there at the same university. How long were you in therapy with him?"

"About six months. Then the religious order of which I had been a member decided they had spent enough on me." I said this with a very grim smile on my face.

"How was it for you, working with Doctor Mendoza?"

"It helped. He encouraged me to get out and work in order to deal with the depression. And he was a listener. He also prescribed Mellaril, which I quit taking as soon as the sessions ended."

"Oh? he queried.

"I don't like psych meds. I don't take any now, even though I still of course have to deal with the mania."

"Hmm. Is it for this that you wish to see me?"

"No, not at all," I replied. "I've come for something quite different, and something which I think you will find interesting."

"Oh? Tell me," he asked.

"It begins with the fact that I hear voices. But it's not with the voices that I need help, not exactly. To cut to the chase, I've come in hopes that you can help one of the voices. I think it suffers from PTSD."

The doctor's eyebrows shot up as he blurted out, "You're joking of course."

"Not at all," I replied. "I'd as soon be rid of the jerk entirely, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. But I hope that you might be able to help me by helping it."

Linderhoff began scratching in his beard. Then he turned his gaze upon me -- by now very serious -- and said, "Are you friendly with this voice?"

"Well, we are on a first name basis, if that's what you mean," I replied.

"I mean, are you in any sense friends?" he pressed.

"Hmm. Well, the voice says that it is my mortal enemy, which puts something of a damper on friendship. I have however tried to become friendly with it."

"You mention that the two of you are on a first name basis. The voice has a name then?"

"Yes, it's 'GefurienNethNeth.' At least that is the name it first gave me. Although now and then it demands that I change its name. Lately it has demanded 'GefurienNethNethNethNeth.' But I refuse to use that name, knowing that if I do, it will then demand that I use 'GefurienNethNethNethNethNethNeth.' One of its ways of needling me is to make demands which are ridiculous.

"By the way," I continued, "I have my own names for it. Usually the name is 'Shorty.' Sometimes I call it 'Mister G.'"

Linderhoff looked at me with arched eyebrows and said, "Shorty? That to me seems rather demeaning. Why do you call the voice that?"

I began to blush as I replied, "Well, to be honest, my purpose is to annoy it."

"Ah! Now you state that you are seeking help for him, yet you seem to me to be running a pattern on him. I will be specific. First of all, there is the demeaning nickname and your referring to him as a jerk. Furthermore you call his requests of you ridiculous demands, and you refer to the voice as 'it,' and you admit that the point of the name 'Shorty' is to annoy the voice. Do you think your behavior is rational?"

Linderhoff delivered the word "rational" in a shout, as if taking Shorty's side.

I reddened more deeply.

"You see, Mr. Arnall, don't you, that you've been behaving quite destructively, both towards yourself and Mister GefurienNethNethNethNeth?"

Linderhoff repeated the "Mister GefurienNethNethNethNeth" twice more, giving me the feeling that he was rubbing it in my face. Clearly, he was taking Shorty's side. Against me, dammit!

"But Doctor Linderhoff," I began in rebuttal, "there is my side of the picture. First of all, the thing is in my head without invitation. It is constantly threatening that it will kill me. It often shouts at me to the point of distracting me, especially when I am attending Mass. Several times it has distracted me to the point that I have seriously inconvenienced myself, for example, by locking my keys in my car. When I am peeing, it makes fun of the size of my weewee. When I try to sleep, it keeps shouting to prevent me from doing so. To bring it closer to home, it attempted to prevent me from coming here by distracting me to the point that I almost ran a red light with a police car sitting right behind me. Also it is yelling this very moment that if I continue to talk with you, it is going to have one of its 'contacts' torch this building. Now do you really think I am being irrational in my behavior towards it?"

"Hmm -- at the moment I'm not sure of anything about this situation," he replied as he did some more scratching in his beard.

"By the way," he continued, "does the name 'Jerome Witzelsucht' mean anything to you?"

"Yes. I worked with him for a couple of years in the 70s."

He then got up from his seat, rather pompously, and went to a filing cabinet behind his desk. Out of it he drew a folder and returned to his seat.

After examining the contents of the folder for several minutes, he cried, "Ah hah! He indeed mentioned you. In fact, we spent several weeks discussing mostly the damage you did to him, both physical and mental."

"What!" I yelled. "We were good friends, though now and then of course, as is normal in close working relationships, we would have our differences."

"Differences!" Linderhoff yelled back at me. "Do you call a fist fight a difference? In fact, I see looking more closely at this page that the situation was not at all a fist fight: without provocation you sucker punched the man and then punched him again and again as he screamed for mercy. Finally he collapsed in a pool of his own blood. Observers say that you then ran out of the room in a frenzy of fiendish laughter."

End of Part 1