Just Another Day At The Office

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Janie looked at him wide-eyed, like a deer caught in headlights. Somehow, he knew his outburst wouldn't have fazed her, just as his weekly sessions with her and his words of encouragement and advice, never, ever, sunk in.

Each time they delivered themselves to his small office room, it felt as if the walls were closing in on him. Walking the short hallway from the elevator, his heart raced, his face flushed and droplets of cold sweat gathered on the back of his neck and beaded on his forehead. Every day, he fought off panic attacks, his own anxiety was pushing him over a very narrow edge. So much so, he didn't know if he was going to make it to the end of the sessions without strangling one of them.

Today Janie's fantastical nonsense was pushing him to that point. When the patients entered the room for their hour-long session of what seemed to be slow torture, he would swear on a stack of bibles, that he could hear them breathe, smell their bad breath, and on particularly bad days, hear their heartbeats. Sometimes he would secretly fantasize about wrapping his fingers around their neck and squeezing until he could see the veins in their eyes bleed red. On days that were extra special and horrible, he would play a game in his head that if they mentioned a certain subject for a certain amount of times, he would kill them. Designating an object or style of murder by the number he assigned to the patient.

Doctor X looked at Janie for what felt like a very long time. He didn't realize he was doing this until she giggled again. Subconsciously, he did this in hopes she would end her commentary by saying, 'Oh, I'm just kidding.' She never was. Everything she said. Everything that came out of her very small, pinched mouth was the truth, or at least what Janie thought was the truth. She had a predilection to twisting and embellishing it occasionally.

Janie was originally sent to see Doctor X by her mother. Her mother became concerned when Janie was showing signs of anemia. She has several bite marks on her neck that no one could explain. Janie insisted it was her newest boyfriend Vladimir giving her love bites. Her mother demanded that she stop dating the obvious weirdo. Janie, being a good daughter, did what her mother said. She didn't however, stop dating 'weirdos'. After Vladimir there were a few more vampire incarnations, then Janie moved into Incubus territory for a while. The more her mother spoke up and voiced her concerns, the stranger the men became. There was a point when Janie was dating a very large, very thin androgynous creature that her mother could only attribute as to being an alien of some sort. Eventually, it finally came to ahead. Her mother insisted that Janie either start seeing a Psychologist or her mother would be forcing her to move out on her own. Such a respected lady couldn't have her daughter trailing demons in and out of the place. Eventually, Janie moved into her own small apartment, but she couldn't afford rent on her own. Her mother said she would support her, as long as she promised to continue with her weekly therapy visits.

"Janie."

"Yes, Doctor X. Which by the way is a strange name? I've meant to bring it up, but always forget."

"Which name?"

"Your name. What does Doctor X mean anyway?"

"Janie. We are getting away from why you are here today."

"Why am I here?"

Doctor X's jaw began to tighten again and upon this realization, he started to breathe deeply and counting backward from ten. "Because you have a problem."

Giggling again, "I'm not the one with the weird name."

"Janie. My advice to you is you should stop dating. Distance yourself, try spending time on your own for a change. Not only do you keep dating those who are bad for you... you never stop dating."

"It's just..."

"It's just what Janie?"

"I don't really understand what kind of psychologist you really are? You don't give me a prescription and we really don't seem to be fixing my problem."

"Which is what I've been saying this entire time! It's not that I'M not fixing the problem. It's that YOU aren't listening to me! And I'm not a psychologist by trade, I'm actually a scientist. I specialize in Humanoid Sensory Re-animation."

"Human Sense what?"

"Humanoid Sensory Re-animation. It's... Janie, you've done it again. This isn't about me. This is about you."

"But if you aren't a real Psychologist then why am I coming to you."

"I have a minor in Psychology. I... it doesn't matter. I don't need to explain this to you."

"But if you are some kinda scientist, why do you need a minor in Psychology?"

"I need to understand why the human mind works. It is important for my... was important for my experiments... research."

"Was? You aren't doing them any longer.?"

"No. Now I am treating patients like you. And, look at that. Our time is up."

"Ok. Weird."

"We can pick up from where we left off when you come back Friday."

"Ok Doctor X. I will see you on Friday at 3 pm sharp."

As she routinely did every single session, she obediently got up from her chair, curtseyed, and left the office. Once the door was closed behind her, Doctor X, made sure he locked it and walked over to his desk. He put his head in his hands and started repeating the word, WHY, WHY, WHY over and over again only stopping when he was jolted back to reality by the ringing of his phone. He was going to ignore the call but knew that wouldn't be the responsible thing to do. Reluctantly, he answered. Before he could say his standard introduction, the caller cut in.

"X?"

"This is Doctor X."

"Ha. Using the old doctor routine again are you?"

"Who is this?"

"Let's just say... someone you really don't want to see, but need to talk to."

"WHO is THIS?"

"Let's make an appointment shall we."

"I'm not taking on any new patients."

"Oh. I'm a patient you will definitely be taking on. Let's say Monday, at 1 pm. I will be on time. Let's be discrete about this, shall we."

Doctor X hung up the phone and sat up straight. His heart was beginning to race and his stomach making loud gassy noises as it was churning. He didn't know if he wanted to vomit or shit himself. The voice was very familiar to him. He was hoping it wasn't who he suspected it was going to be. He opened his datebook and scribbled in ???? in the one o'clock time slot. He slowly closed the book and hung his head, whispering a 'why' as he released all of the air from his lungs. 

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