Treatment - Flash Fiction

Copyright © 2014 Ben Kesp

Post 47

Kesp Writing

He enters the room slowly, unsure of his surroundings. Reaching for the chair in cuffed hands, he sits offering a sanctuary in the brightly lit room. His eyes rest on mine and move away quickly. They are blue. His hair is short and sandy brown. His glances dart around the room uneasily. The room does not offer much. White walls with a few paintings, a tall corner plant, a table and two chairs. A single arched window sits high on one wall. Natural light filters in but is overpowered by the two long fluorescent tubes suspending from the ceiling.

I reach for his file. I have studied it many times. John Cotter. Twenty four years of age. I raise my eyes to his.

“Please relax. My name is Dr. Philip Marsh,” I begin keeping my voice calm and welcoming. “Do you know why you are here?”

Few seconds of silence follows.

“You want to talk about me.”


A short pause follows.

“You like violence?”

“I don’t know if I really like violence.”

“You have violent tendencies.”

“I do!”

“Yes. You have said to my colleague earlier that you could kill someone with your bare hands.”

“I don’t remember saying that.”

“Do you not think of it?”

“What? Violence!”

“Killing someone?”

“Yes, I have thought of it.”

A short pause follows.

“If it came to it,” the patient continues.

“Would you choose?”

“Between what!?”

“Acting on violence or just thinking about acting on it.”

“There could be no choice. Once it triggers.”

“There is no going back!”

“I don’t know,” the patient answers fidgeting with his handcuffs, pausing momentarily.

It’s strange.”

“What is?”

“Violence. It’s such a strong, in your face word.”

“The results are evident. How would you know if you are having a violent tendency?”

“I guess I don’t know. I would not until it happened.”

“Then it is too late.”

“For what!?”

“To turn back. There is no going back once it’s triggered.”

“No going back,” the patient responds casting his eyes on the table in front of him. I lean forward resting my elbows on the table.

“Tell me about your friends.”

“Friends! What a strange concept.”

“Why is it a strange concept?”

“I don’t know if I consider anyone a friend,” the patient answers placing his eyes on the wall behind me.

“I would like a friend,” he continues.

“When you were younger did you have any?”

“What? Friends!”


A few but that was a long time ago.”

A pause follows.

“Do you have a lover?”

“Lover! That is also a strange word.”


“Such a normal aspect of life and yet not for me.”

“Do you feel capable of love?”

A silent pause follows.

“Are you able to answer the question,” I ask gently.

“I might. I don’t know,” he responds sitting into his chair lifting his cuffed hands onto the table. His fixes his eyes firmly on them.

“I don’t know,” he continues raising his voice.

“What has upset you?”

“I am not upset.”

“You raised your voice. Did my question anger you? Or are you angry with yourself?”

“I am not upset,” he replies lifting his eyes to meet mine.

I close his file in front of me allowing a few seconds to pass.

“If people ask you questions that you can’t answer or perhaps are afraid to answer does this upset you in some way?”

“Maybe a little. People should not upset me.”

“Tell me how you feel when they upset you? Do you feel angry or violent?”


“You become violent.”

“It triggers inside me.”

“Do you feel good inside when acting on violence?”

“Feel good!”

“Yes. Pleasure or enjoyment, a thrill?”

“I would think control and maybe some pleasure.”

“Is it a good feeling be in control?”


“How does it make you feel?”



“Yes. Safe. Safe from feeling fear. They can’t hurt me.”

“You hurt them.”

“Do I hurt them?”

“Yes, you do.”

A short pause follows.

“If I hurt them, they should not make me angry,” the patient continues placing his cuffed hands once more on his lap focussing his eyes on the small arched window.

“Are you afraid of being hurt?”


“Yes. From the people you hurt?”


“Maybe, meaning, Yes? No?”

“I don’t know.”

“Does it frustrate you when you don’t know what people mean like now for example?” The patient pauses returning his gaze to his hands.

“Yes. When I don’t know what they mean.”

“Are you afraid of that?”


“Because you have no control over the situation.”

“Yes. Perhaps.”

I lean into my seat, holding my gaze on my patient.

“Do you remember what you did last night?”


“At the hospital?”

“Yes. I was at the hospital. I had cut my finger,” the patient answers lifting his index finger showing me the bandage.

“Do you remember anything else?” I ask with silence greeting my question. “Do you remember having a fight with anyone?”

“With who?”

“The doctor who attended you.”

“Yes. I remember. He was looking at me strangely.”

“Did he upset you?”


“Did you ask him to stop looking at you?”

“Yes, and he laughed.”

“How do you mean he laughed?”


“As in he was looking at your strangely or he thought you were funny?”

Silence descends.

“Do you know what he was laughing at?” I ask again.

“He was laughing. Ok!”

“Did I upset you again?”

“I am not upset.”

“Do you regret hurting people?”

“I don’t really know. I sort of forget why I have done it.”

“The doctor at the hospital needed twenty-three stitches on his face and had three broken ribs. He may never see in his left eyes again.”

The patient remains silent casting his eyes to the plant’s waxy leaves reflecting the brightness of the lights.

“Many of your victims are left like that with serious injuries,” I continue.

“Can I go now?”

“Go where?”

“I don’t really want to talk to you anymore.”

“Do you know where you are?”

“Yes. In some sort of hospital.”

“Do you know why?”


“Do you know why you are here?”

“Can I go now?”

“Did I upset you about the Doctor? Did I trigger something in your thoughts?”

Silence follows.

“Urges to act out a violent tendency?”

Silence follows.

“Would you like to talk to me about your upbringing?”


“Your mother? Your father?”

“I want to go now.”

“Did they treat you well? Were you happy as a child?”

The patient remains silent sitting upright in his chair. Eyes resting on his lap.

“Will you come and talk to me again soon?” I ask calmly.

“I might.”

“I am here to help you.”

“Can you help me Doctor?” he asks raising his eyes to meet mine.

“I can try. You lack stability and control over the actions you take.”

“Can I go now?”

Placing my pen on the table, I nod to the security guard outside the door through the small window along its side.

“Yes, you can go now.”

He stands and steps through the doorway.


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