Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

Pork Chops2

The Marriage Therapist

(Back on the Farm, Continued 3)

(Episode 23)

(In our previous episode, Stan had shown Harriet and Bob the bar code embedded in the underside of his left forearm.  Bob had asked how you get one of those.  And Harriet had asked, “Who are you?”)

“I had what psychiatrists would later come to call, an ‘ambivalent’ relationship with my mother,”  Stan continued.

“You know Stan, we ain’t asking anyone around here to talk about their mother,” Bob interrupted.  “But that Federal Government part of it, I believe we both find interesting.”

“Shut up!”  Harriet poked Bob again with the gun barrel.

“I believe it’s germane to the tale, Bob,” Stan explained.

Harriet nodded emphatically.  Bob shrugged.

“Who knows how or why, but I can hear her voice just running around in loose in my head… just this utterly uncontrollable bitch!  Even now.”

“She died?”

Stan nodded, and shook out another funny looking cig from the carton.

“How’d she die?”

“Car accident.  House fire.  Ice pick through the eyeballs!!!   Or de-capitated and mangled viciously in a bloody threshing machine accident, which was investigated and cleared me of all blame when I was only 12.  What does it matter?!  The point is, that it stopped the voices!!!”   Stan lit the cigarette with a shaking hand.  His head twitched to the either side several times, until inhaling the cigarette and blowing out slowly visibly calmed him.

“Okay.  That sounds good,” Bob said, cautiously.  “That sounds real good.”

Harriet nodded emphatically.

“But then, as I carried on with my fucking life and resumed my fucking career, in … Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan – any place with fucking sand, it sometimes seemed!  I heard voices, in the native language…  The psychiatrists later said that I must have been a very sensitive boy.”  Stan interrupted himself.  “Not that a female ever makes sense.  But these were in a foreign language.  And they were always female, very domineering, very demanding, very curt, and short, and unloving…  and hectoring!”  Harriet frowned.  Sam waved frantically in the air as if to ward off a flock of attacking crows.  “So I had to bow out and headed back to the States, where at least I could understand the whole jabberfest.”  He sighed and took two more long tokes of his cigarette…  ‘which didn’t smell exactly like a cigarette,’ Bob was thinking.

“You want a toke?”  Stan whistled with held breath.

Bob started to nod and say “Yes”, until Harriet glanced his way and Bob shook his head and said “No” softly.  Stan nodded.

“Oh, they would start out in the morning discrete and humble enough, just say asking what time it was, or asking about this or about that, real pleasantly, or reminding me to do something.  Then progressing to asking me what I had planned for the day, and then adding something to that plan of the day, plus a request to help them with one or two things, if I could, before I did any of that which I had planned for the day, and finally beginning to sound hurt and petulant when you tried to beg off in order to just get a little of your own momentum going… Or maybe just start the day with a cup of coffee first before being harassed, from one end of the kitchen to the other, for Christsakes!  Making requests and giving orders…   And then, of course, they’re on you for swearing and cussing and getting upset… at something else!  not them, for Chrissakes.  Because you’re trying to be good about that.  And by the way, ‘Whereever did you get so sour and suspicious?’ and ‘How come you have to get so incensed by the slightest little request when I ask it?  I don’t mind doing things for you?’”

Stan nodded.  “Yeah, like you can ever remember anything I ask you to do!”   I tried talking to it.  I tried being reasonable.  But all it would do was to ignore me, or ask why I was upset.   Or finally, after I was just about to flip out, “are you okay, Stan?”  Like it really cared!  It would ask, all concerned like.   Until finally, I decided.   I’m going to have to kill it.  I had been killing a lot of people for Uncle Sam by that time; so it only seemed like the next logical step to begin killing some for myself.”  Stan glanced around as if looking for support.

The support was not forthcoming.

“Well now, I can kind of see your point.”  Bob nodded finally.  “I mean, I can kind of see how a man could get to that state.”  Harriet swung the gun towards him.  “Or, you know, begin thinking that way if it was a bad day or something, or you had taken sick.  …And then immediately putting it out of his mind, of course.”

“You see there are some women, I don’t know why, but they are like powerful broadcasting stations.  Their yammering thoughts just stream out!  And the closer they get the more powerful they get.  Until murder is about the only thing.  And then it’s a territorial thing, too.  You have to defend the boundaries of your psychological territory.  Like Frost says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  So.  In a way , it’s like any mission.  You get a reading.  You triangulate.  Then you go in on a Sweep and Clean.”  Sam made some Delta Force movements.

“This’s all fine and good,” Harriet said.  “But I don’t see why you had to go and get my husband involved in all of this.”

Stan exhaled slowly while staring up.  “I thought it would help your marriage.”

What?!”

“You see, Harriet!”  Bob exclaimed.  “I told you Stan was bound to have a real good reason for whatever it was that I was doing!”

“You were raping someone!”

Bob shrugged acknowledgement.  “Okay.”

“That’s marijuana you’re smoking, isn’t it?”  Harriet demanded.

“Yeah?”

“That’s illegal in this state.”

“I… I thought they just passed a law.”  Stan scrunched his brows with the effort of recollection.

“They may have just passed a law in this county.  But we are still proud citizens of the United States.  And it is still very illegal to smoke that in the United States of America.”  The gun barrel rose up and down as Harriet said the United States of America.  Stan’s eyes followed the gun barrel as Harriet recited this, and he started laughing, until he started coughing.  Putting out the joint, he looked up at Harriet with reddened eyes.  “My bad,” he said.

Harriet nodded.

“Where was I?”

“You were telling us how you were doing some Marital Therapy with Bob here.”  Harriet poked the gun at Bob.  “Out in the dark, in the woods, with some woman called the Muffin Lady, who you drug from her car and raped and assaulted.”  Harriet nodded.

“Oh, yeah.  That’s it.”  Stan rubbed his face.

“For a while, after moving Stateside and mustering out I made a living for myself doing Marital Counseling,” Stan continued.

“He did Marital Counseling!”  Bob exclaimed to Harriet.

Harriet cocked the gun.  “I’ve got ears don’t I?”

“Just sayin’,’ Bob squeaked.  “So maybe we could both listen and learn something?”  Bob suggested.

“You just ain’t got a brain in your head, do you?”

“You got to admit, the blush has kind of gone off of our relationship over the past couple of years, Harriet.”

“?”  Harriet looked at her husband, speechless.

Stan nodded.

“?”  Harriet looked at Stan, speechless – before some harsh words came to mind.  “Oh, I’ll bet he was just super at that!”

“Many of my patients swore by me,” Stan declared.

“And I’ll bet the others swore at you.”  Harriet laughed.  “That is, if you hadn’t cut their tongues out.  Or beat them senseless, and murdered and raped them.”

“We considered every form of therapy.  We didn’t take anything off the table.  You take violence and rape off the table and it’s no longer a fair encounter.  It’s not a natural environment.  The men are at an immediate disadvantage.  How can you expect to plant and grow the seeds of a lasting relationship, if you deny one of the partners their natural inclinations?”

“You’ve got to admit, the man makes sense.”  Bob nodded.

“You see who thinks you make a lot of sense?”  Harriet nodded to Stan.

“Reality doesn’t care what we think of it,” Stan replied.  “In fact, it doesn’t even know we exist.”

“You think you’re Reality?

“Actually,” Stan took another toke and looked up in thought.  “It doesn’t even know it exists.”

“You see there.  Now something tells me, that makes a lot of sense.”  Bob pointed.

Harriet rolled her eyes.

“I was impotent, Harriet.  And now I’m not!”

“What in the world are you bringing up now, Bob?”

“What I’ve been trying to tell you, for the past several weeks, Harriet!  But you just keep mumbling, “Go out and milk the cows Bob,” and turning over and going back to sleep,”  Bob implored Harriet. “Like I’m not even there.   …That I’m no longer impotent.”

“Oh, Bob.  Would you shut up about that!”

“But it’s important!”

Now is not the time!”

But he’s a therapist.”

“He’s a serial killer!”

“Well…  Can’t a person be both?”

“I swear!   I am going to shoot you, so full of holes… that it will spell your name.  R.o.b.e.r.t. (.B.o.b.).W.e.e.d.s. right up and down that newly empowered little weenie of yours,” Harriet swore.

“Harriet!  I’m potent again!”

“So can we talk about this later then?”  Harriet turned with the gun emphatically.

“Sure.  Sure.  …Maybe we could have little Bobs?”

Harriet cocked the trigger again.

It was quite a while before anyone spoke.  Until finally, Harriet shook her head, as if to wake.  “So.”  Harriet coughed.  “Perhaps we could move on to this… so called, government involvement.”

“Your hour is not yet up.” Stan smiled.

“Good.”  Harriet leaned back and threw her bead back on Stan.

“Yeah.  How does that barcode thing there on your arm supposed to work?”  Bob asked.

Stan looked at Harriet.  Harriet nodded.

“Well,” Stan replied.  “If I get in a sticky wicket somehow…  say the authorities have located me and are about to move in, or my mission has been compromised, I simply run this patch on my arm through the scanner of any nearby store and my information is immediately uplinked to a massive central server, an internal clearinghouse of all digitally originating information worldwide, where this code is recognized and activates a very Black Ops insertion and rescue operation.  It takes about 24 hours to be fully staged and operational.  So it’s not a complete failsafe.”

“Huh!”  Bob grinned, touching it.  “What does the store read out on the cash register say?”

“It says, Have a Nice Day!  J”  Stan replied.

Bob laughed.  “That’s great.  That’s real nice.”

“And it gives you 50 cents off on a frozen package of peas.”

“Umm.”

“He’s joking, you nitwit,” Harriet said.

“No I’m not, actually.”  Stan replied.  Bob looked vindicated.  “And it’s just such comments such as that, which have served in the past to destroy this man’s fragile masculinity.  To the detriment of you both, I might add.”

Harriet was abashed.  “I don’t know.  It just come out…”

“It’s true.  That sort of attitude just comes out, runs out of her like puss.”  Bob nodded.

“Well.  Words do hurt.  And it’s something to think about, especially if you are trying to improve your relationship.”

“I’ll try to do better.”

“Good,” Stan said.

“And I’ll help all I can with it,” Bob made a heartfelt offer.

“Good then!”  Stan smiled, clearly enjoying the cathartic moment he’d helped sponsor.  He stood.  “Let’s all join hands then in a short prayer… and then see what’s for desert.”

“Oh cripes!”  Harriet had set the gun on the table and was wiping the sweat from her hands before clutching those of the others.  “I got so wrapped up in that article in the Times that I plumb forgot about fixing the dessert.”

“It’s no matter.  It’s no matter.” Stan nodded.

“Yeah,” Bob agreed, holding out his hands.

“Let us pray.”

Photo lifted from Google Images

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