I got feedback, so that means another chapter! BTW, if you want to say I suck, give some specific reasons, otherwise I’ll just think you’re a troll.
Again, this is a rough draft with next to no editing. This session I was getting into the swing of it, so it’s nice and long (also… well, you’ll see.)
A note on locations: Dochia is approximately equivalent to California. Eillios is Washington DC and Washington, the state, mixed (climate of the state, politics of DC near the capital, more laidback elsewhere). Odede is Oregon. None of them are in the same relative positions as the states. This is set in the AMF, the Anitian Mirevian Federation, which is basically the US, and uses abetaries (a word I’m pretty sure I made up) instead of states.
I still need to make it more therapy and less chatting, but that’s just editing (and getting input from people who know things).
ETA June 2013: Trigger warning for assault. Highlight for specifics >>> (specifically forced undressing and bathing. No actual abuse.) <<<
Edited slightly August 2013.
Neill spent the half hour set aside as preparation for his third session with John Doe #3 mostly doodling, having no idea what to do. There were only so many times one could look over the same set of rather useless notes, and he had reached that point last week.
He pulled out a fresh notepad and a pen and went to the therapy office. John Doe was escorted in like before.
“Good afternoon,” Neill said once the guards left.
He noticed the patient was almost slightly smiling.
“Are you having a good day?” Neill asked, amicably.
“The days are all the same,” the patient said in his monotone.
Neill knew that feeling, but there wasn’t much one could do about it, and the routine was beneficial for most of the patients.
“Do you get bored?” Neill asked. “There are activities open for patients if you want.”
He didn’t respond. There was a long moment when Neill feared that it was going to be another quiet session.
“I think,” the patient said, “that you are the only psychiatrist that I have met that actually wants to help people.”
“I’m sure that’s not true,” Neill said. The patient’s smile flickered away. “People don’t go into medicine unless they want to help people.”
“There are many reasons to do something.”
“What do you think their reasons were, then?” Neill asked.
Another long pause.
“I want my face back.” Neill’s hand tightened on the notepad, but the patient continued. “I’m not ready to tell you my name.”
That was something at least. “Why not?”
“You haven’t earned it.”
“Alright,” Neill said, trying to be patient. “How about… how old you are?” Any scrap of information was something he could show his supervisors who were insistent on results and facts.
The patient’s tongue flicked against his lips. “Thirty-seven.”
They were in the middle of the year. “So you were born in 1963? Or 64?”
“Are you from Dochia?”
Neill waited if possibly he would volunteer which abetary. He didn’t speak with an accent, but that didn’t limit the possibilities much.
The home of the capital city. “I see.” Neill paused, trying to think of something else. “Do you have siblings?”
A pause. “No.”
“Where do your parents live?”
The patient’s gaze flicked away and he didn’t respond. Neill wasn’t sure if that was something he didn’t want to share or something he was sensitive about. He couldn’t read this patient at all.
“Where in Eillios are you from?”
He thought for a moment the patient wasn’t going to respond, but he said, finally, “Here and there.”
It wasn’t much of an answer, but at least he was talking. “You travelled a lot, then?”
“I have travelled.”
“Where did you go to college?”
That was interesting. “What did you do?”
There was a hint of a smile, and a touch of dark amusement in his voice. “I’m sure you’ve read the papers, doc.”
“I meant, where did you work?”
“Here and there.” Monotone again. Interesting.
“What sort of work?”
“I’ve done a number of things.”
For a while Neill thought he wasn’t going to respond or would give another non-answer.
“I delivered papers for a while.”
“A paper route or to businesses?”
Neill had very nearly supported himself in college delivering papers. The pay wasn’t good, but it paid for supplies at least, and it meant he was up early to start studying.
“I see. That’s not very good money.”
“I don’t need very much.”
“How did you afford rent?”
“How did you?”
Neill blinked. “I’m sorry?”
“You had the same job. How did you afford rent?”
“How do you figure that? Perhaps one of my children had it.”
“You don’t have children, doc.”
Neill was starting to get uncomfortable. “And why do you think that?”
“You have no wedding ring. Nor a tan line from wearing one. You are not much older than I. For you to have finished your schooling in that time you would have had very little time for relationships. And you are quite experienced at your profession, which leaves less time. It is possible I’m wrong, but not likely.”
He was observant, more so than some of the mental health professionals Neill knew. He was watching Neill now, his expression blank.
“That’s very logical, but I could have children all the same.”
“That’s true. But you don’t.” A pause. “Do you, doc?”
It was dangerous to let a patient here have any personal information. “We’re not-“ His throat was dry. He swallowed. “We’re not here to talk about me.” He turned it around. “Do you have children?”
The patient pursed his lips slightly. Neill was certain he wasn’t going to answer.
“I’m not an easy person to live with.”
That was unexpected honesty.
The patient shook his head the merest fraction of an inch and didn’t answer.
“You’re very talkative today,” Neill said after a bit. “Why’s that?”
“You’ve been asked before.”
The patient’s gaze flicked away. “I told you. The others didn’t actually want to help me.”
“Does that mean you want help?”
“I want my face.”
“Is that the only reason?”
“That’s not the reason I want to help you, you know.”
His gaze flicked back. “I know.”
“Your lack of emotion could be a sign-“
The patient interrupted him for the first time. “I have emotions, doc.”
“You don’t act like you do.”
“They took- they ripped my face away.” The touch of inflection from the previous session was back. The ‘r’ was slightly trilled, the ‘s’ slightly held. For this patient, it was practically a passionate rant. He was still, a statue eternally about to move. “They ripped myself away. There were cameras.” There were cameras everywhere. “Have you watched the video?”
“I don’t generally watch the admittance videos.”
His hands tensed, a mere twitch. “Perhaps you should, doc. Especially when the patient is being assaulted.”
“I’m sure the guards-“
“Watch it.” For anyone else that would have been monotone. For this patient it was practically a shout. “Then tell me what you’re sure of.”
“What’s your first name?”
“It’s against institution policy for staff to give out their first names.”
“Oh.” A touch of a smile. “You sounded like me there, doc.”
The chime indicating the end of the session toned.
Neill watched the video as soon as he had a chance. The patient was brought in. He looked drunk – he’d been tranquilized by the police. He was still upright, but stumbling. He was grinning, his teeth stark white against the red make-up. It was a thick layer, shiny and almost plastic-like, with crossing stripes of black apparently at random. Neill paused it on a clear shot of the patient’s face. No, the more he looked at it, the more it seemed to be a pattern he couldn’t quite understand.
The patient was wearing a suit, in a somewhat old-fashioned cut, in garish colors. It was the sort of style the magazines hailed as ‘neo-dandy’ and that few men had the skill to pull off. The patient did, even in the state he was.
He froze when he saw the shower, a mass of potential energy, a sick look on his face. Policy was to have new inmates strip, shower, and change.
“No.” He started to struggle. “No no no no no.”
The security sergeant explained policy as the guards dragged him forward.
“No!” He was a mass of limbs and movement and broke free from the four guards surrounding him. He lurched for the door before he was tackled again.
“Come on,” one of the guards growled.
“I thought he was tranqed.”
“Not enough apparently.”
They were dragging him forward as he howled and struggled.
They stripped him. When they pulled off his jacket and shirt as one unit, he snarled and managed to hit one guard in a wild flail. He was scrubbed, his face especially, and when the make-up was washed off, leaving nothing more than a smear by one ear, he went blank and limp.