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posted on May, 24 2011 @ 04:53 PM
“Y’know, I think where they really blew it was when they finally succeeded in convincing us that they actually gave a sh*t about us.”

The room maintained its air of calm, professional assurance, as Martin Draper continued his task of filling the 45 minutes of his Tuesday morning 10:00 with musings, confessions and ruminations; his contribution to the therapy that he’d agreed to. The smoldering anger had taken its toll on his marriage, the relationship that barely existed with his grown children, and the career that seemed to grow more and more irrelevant as the years wore on. This 45 minutes, once a week, was designed to stave off the catastrophe that loomed over all he’d built of his life, and it was the least he could do to keep things rolling once the door closed and Dr. Millen settled into her chair.

“I think that some marketing weenie actually believed that they’d be able to keep up that façade,” he sighed. “Then again, maybe no one ever thought it through beyond the selling of the contract?”

Dr. Millen scratched her pen across the legal pad in her lap, as Martin allowed the room to breathe for a moment.

“You were saying…?” she said.

“The contract,” he responded. “The marketing contract. The idiot who convinced McDonalds, or Sears, or Taster’s Choice…or whoever the hell it was….that the guy with the money would choose their crap over the other crap if he could be convinced that the company itself cared more about him than the other companies did. And getting that first corporation to agree to forging that intimate relationship with the customer, he won the contract to market whatever the hell it was that first got marketed through the creation of that relationship.”

He suddenly coughed out a quick dry laugh.

“Hasn’t always been that way. But, by now, you’d think so.”

Martin’s eyes stared off into the dim space before him. The thousand yard stare, they call it. His gaze - turned within - peering into the empty darkness that lay behind it.

“Go on…” Dr. Millen’s soft encouragement reached into the gloom to draw him back, yet again, into the world that he hated and feared and felt so powerless against.

“Used to be that the customer knew that a big corporation was only out for itself,” he blurted out suddenly, awkwardly, as if he’d caught his foot mid-stride. He looked down at his hands, and recovered his cadence; his bitter appreciation for how ironic the whole unnecessary mess had ultimately become.

“Sure, there was brand loyalty, but it was about the product, or maybe the local retailer who was in the same boat as the guy on the other side of the counter. The poor bastard lived right down the street. His kid was in the same class in school as his customers’ kids. You couldn’t blame him for anything that might screw up with a gismo or whatever it was that the company sold you. He was just a guy doing the best he could with what he got handed. Just like you. It wasn’t like he made the crap. The thing you bought was the only connection you had with the sale. It sure as hell wasn’t about your personal relationship with the corporation itself. A person didn’t get confused over where they stood in that transaction.”

Martin hiked himself up a little on the recliner. He didn’t go for the whole Freudian notion of the patient in full repose as the therapist hovered with pen and notes. Still, sometimes he found himself slipping into a relaxed state. It was the shape of the chair. It did its best to convince him that this was a safe place where all his worst thoughts were welcome to come out and play; to get out and stretch their limbs a bit.

“It was bad enough when they lied about how good their sh*t was for you. Like the cigarette companies telling you that smoking was good for you. They said it cured asthma. Can you believe that they actually marketed the claim that smoking cures asthma?”

He launched into a deep laugh that lasted a little too long, considering the statement itself. The irony was obvious, but the laugh itself seemed strangled. Not a reaction to humor.

“Still, if it was the product that was killing you, then you could decide to stop buying the product. Nothing personal. Just let the damn thing go and no hard feelings. Just move on.”

He leaned back again into the deep comfort of the chair as it continued its efforts to win his release from the tension that held his frame in rigid defense against all that argued for acceptance and for alliance with a world gone quietly, politely insane.

“It’s not like that anymore,” he breathed. “The corporations took it to the next level in their effort to outdo each other. To a level that they couldn’t possibly maintain.”

He pitched forward, as if realizing that he was losing to the recliner. It was a battle that had raged since his first session with this, his first attempt at professional counseling. Martin versus chair; for the soul of the man himself. He stood up and walked to a smaller chair and sat down. The recliner would lose yet again. Martin glowered at it. It soothed everyone that slipped into its luxurious clutches. It had no allegiance to anyone, save the woman who scratched small notes on a yellow legal pad. The only person who didn’t indulge its seductive tactile offer. Yes, it was wonderful. It was designed to be wonderful, and it was deployed to be wonderful. That was what made that thing so insidious. Martin looked at it as he adjusted himself in the small plastic chair. This chair would do nicely. It would keep his ass off the floor and that’s all he needed from any chair.

“Like I said,” he continued, pulling his eyes from the massive recliner that lorded over the room. “they blew it when they decided that they’d focus on convincing the customer to care about them – the company – and to become emotionally invested in the life of the company as if it were a person, or even a collective of people just like them.”

Martin looked toward the window, a small sliver of daylight fighting through the split between the drapes.

“As if a corporation resembles a person, or even a collection of people in any manner whatsoever. Or ever could. Y’know, it ends up that if you’re seen as a professional issue you can’t be seen as a person anymore. The professional aspect of the relationship will always trump any personal aspect of….um….”

Martin looked back into the room, his eyes adjusting to the slight gloom.

“….so, Dr. Millen….what did I just say?” he asked quietly.

Silence stared back at him, its eyes cold and unflinching. The soft rustle of cotton against a smooth leathered upholstery, breaking the still for a small moment.

“Was that question for me?” asked the doctor.

“Yes it was.”

“What was the question again?”

“The question was, ‘what did I just say?’”

“I don’t understand the question.”

Martin leaned forward in his plastic chair.

“The question is simple,” he pressed. “I want to know what it was that I just said to you. Exactly what it was that I just said to you.”

The sliver of light that had won entry into the room caught a small glimmer off the edge of Dr. Millen’s forehead. A tiny flash of moisture as Martin let his elbows rest on his knees.

“Am I upsetting you?” he asked gently, a smile spreading slowly across his face.


Martin found himself at the doctor’s side, more quickly than either imagined possible, on one knee and both hands holding the arms of her leather chair as she sat bolt upright, rigid, and with a slight tremble. His pale eyes burned deep into her, their pupils in full exaggerated dilation; well beyond a reaction to the level of light between them.

She quaked silently.

“My mother used to tell us that you can’t pay someone to give a damn about you,” he smiled, allowing that to be his last words to her as his right hand flew across her field of vision, opening the front of her throat, leaving the muscles to the back of her neck to pull her eyes to the ceiling as a fountain of blood threw across the room to the wall.

“Don’t bother to comment,” he added, her body writhing to the floor as he stood by and felt a slow release flow through his skeleton.

He looked around the room once she’d stopped twitching. He’d been coming here for nearly a year, and this was the most relieved he’d been since signing on to the whole endeavor. Maybe his wife was right? Maybe what he’d needed all along was a good therapist? As he felt the tension drain through his limbs and ooze into the soft wet carpet, he suddenly found himself drawn to yet another issue yet to be resolved.

He slowly turned around and rested his center over his left leg, tapping the fully extended utility knife against his right thigh. The recliner seemed to wince slightly, almost appearing to shrink, as if to recreate itself as less than it had always promoted itself to be.

He smiled.

“You, my friend, are merely a product. I can’t hate you. You never suggested anything other than what you are.”

He sat down into its warm embrace.

“You never lied. I may have had my issues with you, but you never tried to be anything other than what you are as you worked to win me over.”

He pulled the wooden handle and the foot rest lifted obediently for him.

“I could be irritated by you, but not at you,” he sighed, playing with the tip of the razor that still held the stain of his counselor’s demise. “If you’d won, I could only have been irritated with myself, and with my own weakness.”

He dropped the foot rest and lifted out of the chair.

“You’ve never sinned against me.”

Martin walked quietly to Dr. Millen’s small private washroom. He ran the water as he inspected the spatter that would implicate him in her death. He’d be arrested, tried and convicted. Of that, there was no doubt. Still, as he considered the alternative – a life of rapid decline as his middle age status became an increasing liability in this land where the individual had surrendered itself to the corporate authority – he began to see that forever, within the relative security of prison, wasn’t the worst that could befall a man who’d come to the brink of losing all that he’d gathered together anyway.

“Better than the street,” he smiled, drawing a comb through his graying hair, as he prepared to surrender to whatever authorities would be summoned. “Let the prison industry manage my retirement.”

He turned out the light and walked back into the quiet room. The corpse sprawled across the gleaming carpet, its head oddly arched against the natural flow of its position, the mouth frozen in a silent scream. He played with the notion of jazzing it all up with something gruesome, but decided against it. He didn’t appreciate dishonesty, and certainly wasn’t one for allowing himself to be stranded within the kind of complicated lie it’d take to ensure a psychiatric slant on the state’s decision in this case.

“Do the crime, do the time,” he quoted, patting the recliner as he walked slowly toward the door.

The gasps were quiet, but as a chorus, they offered their own collective volume, when a blood drenched Martin emerged into the waiting room that the five doctors shared. He could hear the clamor of activity behind the reception desk as security became aware that something had gone horribly wrong in Suite 307.

Around him, the morning collapsed into a narrow tunnel as he held his arms aloft and dropped the knife to the floor. What he really wanted was a nap. Just a good long sleep with no reason to have to wake up again. He couldn’t stop smiling. He was finally free of all of it, and it could all just kiss his ass goodbye.

He didn’t even notice when the police arrived.

edit on 5/24/2011 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 08:24 PM
Ummmm ...

wheres the proof ... links ... or it didnt happen ..

sorry ... i been waitin to say that .. heres as good a place as any

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 08:25 PM
stupid double post
edit on 24-5-2011 by Segenam because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 11:29 PM

Originally posted by Segenam
Ummmm ...

wheres the proof ... links ... or it didnt happen ..

sorry ... i been waitin to say that .. heres as good a place as any

It happened in my fondest dreams. is the Short Story Forum....right?

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 04:32 AM
Ahhh .. i didnt even notice there was a short story forum ....

I didn't intent to read the story .. but as my eyes were drawn to a couple of words ... it got my attention and pulled me in ...
I enjoyed the story ... Did you write it ? ... I'm unsure why i enjoyed it .. it certainly wasnt the theme ...
i think the almost comical descriptions .. for example .. his relationship with the chair ...

Im not sure what i took from the story .. but i do feel better for it

posted on May, 26 2011 @ 10:34 AM

Originally posted by Segenam
Ahhh .. i didnt even notice there was a short story forum ....

I didn't intent to read the story .. but as my eyes were drawn to a couple of words ... it got my attention and pulled me in ...
I enjoyed the story ... Did you write it ? ... I'm unsure why i enjoyed it .. it certainly wasnt the theme ...
i think the almost comical descriptions .. for example .. his relationship with the chair ...

Im not sure what i took from the story .. but i do feel better for it

I'm glad it helped you to feel better. Yeah, I wrote it. I write tons of small vignette stories like this one. And yes, its a bit of a dark humor piece. I guess I have been seeing the "relationship" between customers and corporations going a bit sour in recent years, and - I don't know - I just imagined it spilling over into this most intimate of professional relationships.

After all, your therapist really isn't your friend. They can't be, or it's an ethics violation. And yet, people don't really understand that most of the time. Same way that people don't really understand that Nationwide really isn't "On Your Side" if it comes to a choice between you and their bottomline.

It's like trying to have a romance with a prostitute. She'll love you right back as long as you keep up with the premium payments, but sooner or later the true nature of the arrangement will become too obvious to ignore.

posted on May, 26 2011 @ 03:22 PM
Give us the Links?
No good with out Links.

sorry its just what they say....

very good. and I understand.

God save Google.

posted on May, 30 2011 @ 07:24 AM
reply to post by NorEaster

Absolutely ... i did take that from your piece .. and i agree ... I am trying to remove myself from relying on, and feeding the corporate machine as much as possible .. but this is proving quite difficult .. unless i go live with the trees.

And i love the way your dark humour works ...

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