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The Freudian Effect

Chad Fesler

     "I can't stand it anymore! Am I going crazy?   I have this same dream every night, Doc."
         "Go on."
     "Well, the dream starts out that I am wondering around in a dark forest.   I can't see anything, but a dense thicket of trees. The only light that I can see is coming from a clearing."  The clearing leads to a dirt path."  In the dream I walk to the dirt path, but suddenly I stop."
     "Why do you stop?" Inquired the doctor.
     " I don't know.  I think it has to do with me all ready being up the path."  I mean that while I am standing at the top of the path I can look down and see my face and body, but it's not me at the top of the path."
     "Why do you think that it's not you at the top of the path? Pressingly the Psychiatrist asked.
     "Because, I just told you, I can see me at the bottom. For a shrink you don't listen too well.  You guys are supposed to listen really well, and I just don't get the feeling that you do."
     "Perhaps, you are at the bottom and also at the top of the hill, Brian."  The Psychiatrist offered as he took a sip of his coffee.
     "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Impatiently Brian asked.
     "It has to do with Freudian theory, and his belief that you are everyone in your dream. So please, go on." It was a very common theory by most of the Psychology profession, and was the bases of many books.
       "Yeah, that makes sense, Brian said sarcastically.  Come on… You know this office isn't very inviting for people to share their most intimate thoughts."
     Brian gazed at the book-lined walls; there was little bare space. The office was causing Brian's claustrophobia. Making him very irritable and the intense focusing eye contact from the Psychiatrist made matters worse.
     " What?!" Brian yelled.
     " Please proceed about your dream." The Doctor was searching for something. 
     " I'm not finished talking about this room. You've got this ugly red shag carpet.   A brown cloth sofa that looks like it's from the fifty's.  The goddamn thing is harder than a rock and you've got the balls to expect people to lay on it." Brian's mood had become more hostile.
     In a diplomatic fashion the Doctor said, " Please refrain from using obscenities, it doesn't help the discovery process." 
     " Yeah, whatever.  That goddamn grandfather clock is getting on my nerves." "Tick-tick, what the hell is that doing here anyway?"
     "Just forget about the office. Let's get back to the dream." 
     The Psychiatrist wrote something down on his note pad and it seemed to aggravate Brian even more.
     "Why, it's not bothering me half as much as this pathetic office? What are you doing with the money I pay your ass?"
     " I think that we are finished for today." The Doctor stated in submission.
       He motioned for Brian to get up and then pushed him towards the door.
     "Wait a minute… I'm sorry.  Yeah, let's talk about the dream." Brian pleaded.
     "No our time is up,  Mr. Windal." 
     The expression on Brian's face was of pure anger he was fuming inside and the Psychiatrist knew it.
     "Fine Doc, if you would just sign this medical release saying that it's all right for me to return to work?"
     "I can do that, but I am not sure you are ready." Monotony speaking the Doctor put down his noted pad and began to walk towards his desk. 
     "Just sign the goddamn thing." Brian said in hostel voice.
     Brian then latched on to the Doctor's white lab coat. 
     The Doctor jumped back and said,
     "I think it be best if you sought someone else's help, Brian. " I am not sure that I am the best person for your needs, and you are difficult." 
     "OK, Doc I'm sorry, just forget about me grabbing you.  I didn't mean anything by it."
     Brian gathered his things and began to leave.  The doctor stopped him and explained,
     "One more thing Brian before you leave take this prescription to the pharmacy. It is apparent that you have not slept in days.  This sleep deprivation may be responsible for the alteration in your state of mind.  This medication will help with your REM cycle and allow for less subconscious intervening."
     With a puzzled look on his face Brian asked,
     "In English Doc, what are you talking about?" 
     The Doctor tried to clarify what it was he wanted Brian to know.
     "It will limit the suggestive process in your dream, granted you will not sleep as heavily as you are used to, but judging from your current condition and lack of sleep, that should not be a problem."
     Brian took the prescription, looked at the Doctor and said,
     "OK, I will think about taking the drug. See you later." 
 
 

     I wanted to work.  I needed something familiar to reassure me that I was not going insane.  It had been a week since the last time I slept. I mean really slept.  I would doze off for periods, but I woke up. Some fortuitous force was not allowing me to dream. 
     I was walking into work just trying to get my bearings.  I remembered being happy that I would see something familiar and inviting.   The thought of trying to stay awake was an omni present force a sober reality that my life had changed.  I walked through the entrance, the receptionist's area in the lobby and then took the elevator up to the second floor where my office was. 
     As I got off the elevator, I noticed Matt coming towards me, a feeling of anger rushed over me.  I was not given a promotion that I deserved, but that was not what pissed me off it was the fact that they gave it to Matt. I mean it was Matt; I worked five times harder than that guy. 
      " Hi Brian." He had said to me as we approached each other. My mind set was yippee! There's that little kiss ass, Matt.  My thoughts were running wild, and my hatred for this guy was increasing.  I remember thinking  "Does this guy think that just because we work together that we're buddies? I mean, he thinks he can take my job and I am going to be jolly about it.
     " Yeah, hi Matt." I said to him in an irritable voice.  He didn't get the point though. He kept bobbing around me like a puppy dog. I pushed him out of the way and continued towards my office. 
     Melissa was to the left of me talking to the UPS man and signing for a package. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to keep her busy.  She signed, put the package on her desk and then walked over to me.  Oh my God, my head was swimming with displeasure for these people. Every single one of them was getting under my skin.  The history of Melissa and I was long.  We had started dating when I first started at the company.  I found out a couple of months later that she was sleeping with the boss.  She had used me.  I was just a temporary fling.  Something to keep her mind off of sleeping with that fat gross slob—boss of ours, God, I hated her.  She had told everyone that she broke it off with me, and that I was a pathetic lover. I thought about quitting but I was stuck there. No place would pay me the kind of money that this job did. I need to get away from her the very sight of her face was making me break out in hives. I decided to evade her by escaping into the bathroom.
     I flew through the bathroom and caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror. I can't stand how much weight I have lost. I haven't been eating since the dreams started. I would say that I've lost 30 pounds in the last two weeks, and I didn't have that much weight to spare. My thin frail body felt weak, and my face looked sunken in from the result of not eating. My eyes were getting on my nerves as well. They had become larger than I remember and much blacker. They stuck out of my skull, a lot more than they had in college. I noticed the gray hair I was getting I knew it was from the dreams. As I threw cold water on my face and tried to pull myself back together. I remember thinking all I have to do today is hang out in my office for five more hours and go home.
     I got to my office and sat down.  I turned on my computer and started to play solitaire.  The phone rang and I yielded at it in frustration, 
     "What goddamn it! Why does the phone always have to ring when I'm trying to play solitaire?"
      "Hello this is Brian."  I answered in my usual fashion. 
     It was a customer that had started to become rather difficult. Our previous conversations had not led anywhere and his denseness was eating away at my patience.  What does this moron want? I thought. It now became apparent that I had not set him straight on the previous matter. 
     I sternly spoke into the phone and stated that, "Of course I know the problem is with the polymer that we provided, but you haven't returned the material that we sent, and our company isn't in a position to help you unless you do so." 
     He replied with a piggish overture of how big and important he is. Not wanting to deal with him any further I hung up the phone.
     It had not even been 15 minutes later when my boss came in. 
     He said, "Brian can I have a word with you?"
     I told him, "Sure thing Jim." 
     My mind drew a blank at what the intent of the conversation was.  My boss is an incompetent fool, and if it were not for others in the company we would all be out of a job.
     I asked him rather puzzled, " What is it Jim?" 
     He accused me of not being one hundred percent and told me, " Brian maybe you still need some time off.  I just received a call from Mr. Stewart, and he sounded very upset."
     I retorted with, "What, what seems to be the problem?" 
     He went on in an accusing tone "He said that you were very rude to him, and were unwilling to honor the contract that we had with his company."
     This made me upset. I thought this is a fine time to be drawing up sides, and that it would be in the best interest of the company to back me.
      I defended myself, "Damn it Jim you know as well as I do that if this company didn't sell such shitty products may be I wouldn't have to blow sunshine up there …" 
     " That's enough." He advertently interrupted me. 
     He scolded me and ordered,  "Brian go home, and come back only when you are able to handle yourself in a professional manner. 
     A sense of calmness was there.  I was sure I would be mad at him accusing me of unprofessionally handling clients, but that was not the case. I was relived, and my body was drained.  I could barely keep my eyes open and I need to sprawl out on my coach at home and sort my thoughts.   Maybe I could fend off the dreams and catch some sleep. It was worth the risk.
     I went home and walked into my filthy house.  I made a joke to myself about having to move because of the stack of dishes in the sink.  I noticed the answering machine light was blinking and hit the play button.
     It chirped out, "You have two messages. Beep."  It was the one you left me about the medication. 
     You said in a rather hasty voice that gave the impression you were late for you tee time, "Brian this is Dr. Roberts in regards to our session today. I think that it would be extremely beneficial if you would reconsider taking the medication that I prescribed. Please call me back either today or tomorrow, thanks." 
     I uttered out loud, "Yeah I will get right on that. I'm not taking any drugs. That's those quacks answer to everything blame your parents and prescribe you some drugs, no thanks." 
     Which was a bad idea as we can plainly see Doc. 
      I then decided to see what was on television.  I was going to stop at the video rental place before going home but my fatigue had set in.
        I was watching TV and forcing myself to stay awake.  I thought about calling the girl from across the street, Kathy.
     She and I had talked briefly while getting our mail the previous day, and we hit it off.  She was in advertising and could relate to pushy, arrogant customers.  I told her about the problems I was having at work, she seemed sympathetic, but I did not mention the dreams.  In fact I have not mentioned these dreams to anyone, except you. 
     As I was on my sofa I began dozing off.  It was now getting late and I could not help but fall asleep. I gave in to the uncontrollable urge.  I feel a sleep around one and then it began. The dream, it was not like the others.  This time I was at work.  I cannot forget what happened next.

     What am I doing back here? 
     " Hi Brian." 
     That stupid Matt guy still has the guts to talk to me? I should have been more persuasive the last time. I thought. 
     He looked at me.  In fact stared, I was sure that he knew what my thoughts were. It seemed he knew everything.
     "So are you going out tonight?" he asked. 
      I already knew what he was going to ask before he said it. It was so real.  I was sure that I was awake. 
     I told him, "No tonight's over its almost morning."
     He had this look on his face.  A look that resides on mine most of the time, shivers ran down my spine.  I thought that I was looking it a mirror.  His eyes were the same color as mine.  Black I looked deep into them and could see myself staring back. 
     He spoke, "Are you pulling my chain, Brian? It's only one o'clock in the afternoon." 
     His mannerisms and the way he spoke were different. They were like my father's, but the simile ended with just that. 
     I was now flustered with him. It was becoming apparent that he was screwing with my head; I threaten to kick his ass.
     In a cocky manner he said,  "No I am serious." 
     Something went off in my head and I began beating him with my fists.  Fierce senses of rage warm my skin.  I could feel his face, and stubble as I violently pounded.  Blood shot out of his nose and covered my hands, which only infuriated me more.  I threw him on the ground and started to kick him.  He was pouring blood from cuts above his eyelids.  The orifice of his face was bleeding profusely. The rims of his eye sockets were now becoming black. An imprint of my shoe now appeared on his forehead. I figured the little wimp had had enough.  After I yielded my assault. A pain overwhelmed me.
     My ribs felt as they were broken, my face stung, and mouth was numb with pain. 
     Suddenly there was a loud knock on the door. 
     I awoke in a daze and yelled,  "What the hell, what time is it? Who could that be banging on my door?" 
     I noticed it was six o'clock in the morning. I had been asleep for about five hours.  My head was throbbing, my stomach felt on fire.  An enormous pain was overwhelming my groin. 
     I screamed in agony  "Yeah hold on I'm coming." 
      I tried to get off the couch but I couldn't.  I was covered in blood.  As I looked down I noticed that it was my blood. What the hell had I done to myself while I was sleeping?
     A voice was coming through the door, "Brian are you ok?  It's Kathy." 
     My pulse was racing and an overcoming sense a fear engulfed me.  I started to hyperventilate.  I need to assess the damage that had been caused. 
     I moaned back to the door, "Hold on Kathy I be right there." 
     The pain had not subsided anywhere on my body and I tried to get of the couch.  I took my leg into my bleeding hands and forced it to the floor.  I shouted out in pain as I fell to the ground.
     Kathy had heard me and raised her voice to the door, "Brian what's the matter?" 
     I thought, I should just tell what had happened.   The conflict was gnawing at me. What do you tell someone, about this?  I am able to become other people in my dreams?  I need to get rid of her, but I also needed help. 
     The pain was getting unbearable. 
     I groaned at the door and said, "Kathy call an ambulance." 
     The ambulance arrived and took me away. I was treated but I don't remember leaving.  The only recollection that I have is lying in the hospital bed.   A nurse told me to get some sleep and injected me with a syringe.  My fleeting thoughts as I closed my eyes were of suicide.
     Then I ended up here.
     " I need your help Doc. What can I do to end this?"
     "This is quite an interesting case.  I am not sure there is anything you can do about this. I thought that the medication that I prescribed would help, but you refuse to take it. You have become a danger to yourself and those around you.  The suicidal thoughts you are having are acceptable and I suggest that you act on them. Here let me help you."
     "Doc, wait put the gun down, there has to be another way!" 
     Brian unknowingly pleaded with himself.
       His visions of escape through suicide had crept into his subconscious.
      The doctor pointed the gun at Brian.
       Uttered depressingly, "This is one dream you won't wake up from."
     "Bang!"

     Acknowledgments: 
     Allision Schue (For the idea of the ending)
     Melissa Lajoie 
     Heather Petsche 
     Tom Updegraff
 
 


 
 
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