“Adult relationships involve wine: specifically cabernet. Or that’s what I thought; she bumped into me again, glass in hand tipping towards my chest. Speckles of red assaulted my shirt as she opened her mouth, trying to form clumsy words and clumsier kisses. To the taxi cab again, my Monday routine, with another you and the same old me. It’s not supposed to be like this, it’s not, it’s not, but then if it isn’t, what do we do?”
“Neil… was this just another one-night stand?”
“Yes doctor, yes.”
This is Neil Bookman. His therapist’s name is William Schrude. The ironic part here is that Neil is asking for answers, when he makes his living trying to find answers. Well, did anyway. Recently, he was suspended from his investigative journalism job. The paper just didn’t have the means to fund him; considering the lack of excitement in the past months, he went from full-time to part-time to eventually, just a contributor, scraping for stories just to come up with any pay. Eventually he rented out an ad advertising his skills as a jack-of-all trades, a hand for hire, specifically a private eye; a life which is as exciting as it sounds, yielding only jobs from housewives suspecting affairs, procuring memorabilia for retirees, and sometimes even finding lost cats in trees.
Neil has been seeing William, who prefers to be called Bill, for the last three months. It was court-ordered. Bored out of his mind three months ago, Neil had decided to “get shit-faced, and see how far it gets me.” His words, not mine. When he had awoken at dawn nearly six hours later, he was sprawled across a lawn, amidst the crushed carcasses of plastic flamingoes and lawn gnomes, the spray of a sprinkler jolting him awake. He stumbled up only to fall down again; his pants had been pulled down, coiled around his legs.
After reassessing his physical state, he shook his pockets. “Wallet, check, sunglasses, check, keys- not check.” The emerging sunbeams assaulted his eyes, and caused him to spin around in order to avoid its gaze when suddenly-oh. “That’s where it was.” They were sitting in the ignition of his Honda Accord, lights on, upside down-wait WHAT? “No no no no oh Jesus, oh what the fuck, why is my car upside down?” And in that weak light, Neil had seen the waste he had laid the previous night. It seemed like a miniature hurricane had sped throughout the street, overturning trashcans, uprooting mailboxes, and senselessly destroying rosebushes and petunia beds in its wake. Chips of paint covered the sidewalk, ending on the lawn. He checked his surroundings, surprised that no one had called the police- “What neighborhood was this again?” This is Haverfield, that quiet little suburb nestled safely away from the city, which is were you live. “Oh, is that the one I was-“ No, no it’s not; not the place you were looking at a couple months ago, that’s New Acorn. “Oh fucker, wait, Haverfield, Haverfield, this is the cop neighborhood?”
As Neil came to this realization, his legs sprawled as if to run away when a shock ran up his spine, and he collapsed on the lawn. He was hung over, but it also helps that standing behind him was a man in a night robe, brandishing a taser. Officer Barry had awoken immediately and saw the overturned car, watching Neil crawl out the open window, vomit, and pass out. “Screw it, it’s two in the morning” he said, his graying age getting the better of him as he went back to bed, promising to resolve the five hours later when he’d wake up. It’s not like Neil was going anywhere anyway.
Neil was cuffed, taken into a local precinct, cleaned up, photographed, jailed, met with his lawyer, and settled for a plea bargain, giving him the feeling of being swept up by a whirlwind. When the winds dropped him back down to Earth, he had found himself with DUI charges, the revoking of his license by the state, property damages of up to $6000, and court-ordered therapy sessions. He managed to avoid community service by pretending to be a raging depressive drunk in need of help, and so the judge had opted for treatment for him instead.
Except he wasn’t. Neil just wanted to talk, and the therapist realized this; Bill just sat back and listened. And so it went, for the last three months, and here we are. Back to the situation at hand, Neil was still talking, and Bill was trying to probe and analyze the psyche of an obviously very troubled individual. Why exactly? Because Bill feels it’s his need to service society, to give something back to the world; Neil feels the opposite, that society is entitled to him, which Bill hasn’t found out yet.