Plea Bargain, Part 1
by Tony Noland
"It doesn't do any good to lie in therapy, you know."
"I'm not lying."
"But you're not telling me the whole truth, either."
"You don't need to know the whole truth."
"But you need to tell the whole truth, don't you? I can't help you otherwise."
"You don't want to help me. You're only here because they pay you."
"And you're only here because it's part of the plea bargain you negotiated."
"And? The public defender they gave me was a moron. That plea bargain was bullshit."
"It wasn't bad work for a moron. With your mother killed, your father missing and eight other unexplained disappearances hanging on you, that plea bargain was the only thing that kept you off death row. Pretty potent bullshit, Jesus."
"I didn't kill anybody."
"So you've said. Listen, every three months I file a report with the DA about the patients they send me. If I tell the DA that you're not making a good faith effort in these sessions, then the deal is off."
"The DA is a bastard."
"So you've said."
"How much do they pay you per session?"
"Not enough. Describe your father's hands."
"My... what? What does my father have to do with anything?"
"Indulge me. What did your father's hands look like?"
"How the hell should I know? He was in prison until I was twelve. And when he got out he was an abusive drunk. End of story. It wasn't like we played basketball together in the school yard."
"See, that's what I'm talking about. Is that the whole truth? Is that everything you can say about your father? Just for a minute, forget about what he did or didn't do. Forget about who he was, or the things he said or didn't say. Just take any memory you have of him where you can see his hands and freeze it, like a single frame from a DVD. No action, no talking, no emotions, no nothing. Have you got it?"
"No, not 'whatever'. Make the effort. Do it for real or I'll throw you over to the DA. Now, have you got an image of your father? A still frame?"
"Yes, I've got one."
"Is it a clear image? Jesus? Is it a clear image?"
"Yes, it's a clear image."
"Good. Hold the image steady. Fix it in your mind. Keep it fixed and zoom in on his hands. Just his hands. Can you see them? I said, can you see them?"
"Yes, I can see his hands."
"They're hands. What do you want from me? They're hands."
"Are they large? Scarred? Tanned? Look at the image and describe his hands. Tell me what you see. Not what he'd doing or what he's wearing, just his hands."
"They're hands. Regular size, dirty. Some cuts and scrapes. The knuckles are pretty scraped up."
"Are they bandaged?"
"No, just scraped up and bloody."
"How bloody? Is there a lot of blood or is it just some scraping?"
"Pretty bloody. Some has run down onto his wrist. He's got one bad bite on his... I mean, one bad cut on his right hand. It's bleeding."
"Are you on his right or his left? How are you seeing him?"
"I'm on his right."
"What is he holding?"
"It's a... nothing. A cigarette. He's holding a cigarette."
"No, he isn't. What's he holding?"
"I told you, a cigarette."
"Is it in his right hand or his left?"
"Uh, his right."
"That's not the truth. Stop running from it. Look at his hands. What's he holding?"
"It's... a gun. He's holding a gun."
"Right or left?"
"And in his other hand? What's in his other hand? Calm down, don't run from it. It's a freeze frame, no action. Nothing is happening. It's a frozen moment, nothing is happening. Your father's hands are bleeding, scraped and cut and bitten. Blood is on his hands. It's a frozen moment. Do you see it?"
"In his right hand he's holding..."
"A Glock. A big tactical Glock. Plastic grips, blackened action, mounted laser sights."
"Good. Look at the scene, but remember that it's frozen. There's no action. Whatever he just did or might do in a moment, this scene is frozen, like a single image from a DVD on pause. OK?"
"Here comes the hard part, Jesus. What's in his other hand?"
"I... I can't see it."
"Where is his other hand? What's he holding?"
"He's holding... I can't see his hand. It's in her hair."
"Where is his hand? What is he holding?"
"Her hair. He has her hair wrapped up in his fist, his left fist. She's screaming. Her hands are tied behind her back and she's screaming -"
"Jesus, calm down. The scene is frozen, remember? No movement. Nothing is happening. Freeze the scene in your mind."
"Can you see the gun? Where is he holding the gun? Remember, the scene is frozen. Nothing is happening. It's frozen. Where is the gun?"
"It's in her mouth. He has the barrel shoved into her mouth, shoved far back in. He's got her mouth forced open with it. She's... her lips are pulled back and... she's..."
"And what? What do you see?"
"She's laughing. She's daring him, not scared at all. Until..."
"Until what? What is he doing?"
"The barrel of the Glock... he's pushing it into her mouth. She's smiling, wide. Biting into it... biting into the metal. Her fangs... my God, the fangs are all bloody. She's not scared until he says 'Wooden bullets, babe.' Now she's trying to pull away, but she can't..."
The story continues with Part 2.
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