We finally stop at Suite 301B. A name is written in gold letters under the numbers: DR. JEANETTE JOSEPH. The subtitle for it is HEAD OF OPERATIONS.
One of the goons holding me squeezes my shoulder. "You'll be meeting with Dr. Joseph. Watch your tongue."
I snort. "That some kind of lesbian joke? I know where to put my tongue; I don't need your advice."
A split second of silence precedes a sharp slap across my face.
"Ow, asshole! You hit me!" I exclaim.
The last thing I hear from the other goon is, "You'll get used to that." He didn't look up from his shoes.
"I'm assuming you know why you're here, Miss Thatcher."
"No, no idea at all. Please. Enlighten me, Dr. Joseph." I say sarcastically.
Dr. Joseph glares through me. "I shall enjoy watching your progress, Miss Thatcher. In the end..." She trails off, picking up a large book from her desk. It has a cross stamped into the front, with HOLY BIBLE emblazoned underneath. "Have you read this book, Miss Thatcher?"
"Yeah...bit of a snooze."
She shakes her head at my sarcasm and flips through the book, toward the beginning. "Genesis One, verses twenty seven and twenty eight. 'God created man in the image of Himself, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.''" She shuts the book and contentedly sighs. Then she turns her attention to me. "God has a plan for you. You're just a bit lost right now. And we're here to help you get on the right track. It's not going to be easy, Miss Thatcher, but if you have the courage to carry your cross just as He did..." She gestures to a crucifix above her desk, making me wish I was hanging there instead of listening to her, "we can help you along the way."
She clears her throat. "Your roommate will be here shortly. She will explain to your our schedule here at Messina Rehabilitation Center." I can almost guarantee the schedule doesn't have French classes or softball games.
A knock comes at the door. Before she answers, Dr. Joseph hisses, "And Miss Thatcher, if you engage in any of your perverse activities, I shall know."
Dr. Joseph's office is too clean. It has the pungent smell of antiseptic and has too many Jesus and poodle decorations. One wall has the sole purpose of displaying fancy pieces of paper that laud the works of Dr. Jeanette Joseph, especially for her work in children's psychology. One of the papers is different. One of them is a permit for a rehabilitation center. Messina Rehabilitation Center, to be precise. Out of curiosity, I look at that one. It is similar to the sign outside. But, in the words of my mother, omission is a form of lying.
Dr. Joseph greets me. "Hello, Miss Thatcher. I spoke with your mother this morning. Please, have a seat." She is a pudgy woman, with graying ash brown hair cut short and severe, like her voice. She looks very professional in a dark blue pantsuit. She does not blink at all.
She sounds an alarm within me as I park my butt into a chair. I can't escape Dr. Joseph's gaze. No more, that is, than I can escape from the four extra words on the permit.
Messina Rehabilitation Center for Sexual Deviant Teens.