A Day with the Psychiatrist
by Shainur Ullah
Sitting at his desk, full of psychological toys, fake animal heads, leather furniture and the fresh scent of a new day, he looked at his computer. Facebook, staring at his ex-wife’s account with her celebrity lover. Jealousy spurs around in his veins.
At 30 and with a respectable name, Dr. James Rowley’s first client is a vampire whom he gave special sun cream during their previous appointment that enabled him to walk in daylight.
“Hello,” the vampire groaned.
“Hello, come in,” smiles Dr. Rowley.
The vampire walks slowly, shamefully, and with a sad look on his face. A sure sign that he has done something wrong. He sits down on the comfortable leather chair. The room is lit in chiaroscuro tones. The vampire is ready to speak.
“The sun cream works a treat, but didn’t stop my thirst. I started biting people in daylight.”
“Oh dear. Ok, on to the next one… Music.”
The vampire looked confused, as was the norm whenever he saw the psychiatrist, but the man always had an answer for everything. He had been referred to him by a werewolf.
Rowley spoke. “Music has a way of changing moods and making you forget things, maybe even blood. It’s not just music, either. Yoga works, too. Get into a sleeping position on that sofa. I’m going to put on the 9th Symphony by Mozart, and when you’re in a relaxed state I’m going to say some words out loud.”
The vampire closed his eyes as Mozart’s symphony began to play and the psychiatrist began speaking, softly and gently, words that somehow made the vampire feel relaxed.
“I want you to squeeze your whole body. Fingers, toes, and face, squeeze everything. Now let go. Relax your whole body. I want you to let go of all your problems, let them flow out, ignore the sounds from outside, let them flow out.”
For ten minutes the vampire stayed in this state and seemed to be enjoying the relaxation and released tension. The psychiatrist checked Facebook on his mobile phone, an iPhone 5. His ex-wife has updated her status, causing another flow of anger through his veins.
The vampire awoke from his relaxed state. “Wow, I didn’t think about blood all that time. Amazing.”
“I want you to do this every day for ten minutes or more. Here are some tablets. They will also help with your thirst.”
The vampire left. It had been a good session.
10: 30 AM
Rowley was messing around with some of the equipment when a ghoul arrived at his office. A graveyard worker, he secretly digs up dead people to eat. He has sought out the psychiatrist for help.
“Playing time?” The ghoul laughs at the psychiatrist playing with his equipment.
“No, just waiting, come in.”
The ghoul sits down. He has mud all over him and a sad look on his face.
“Eating dead people again?” Rowley asks.
“I can’t help it,” the ghoul replied.
The psychiatrist thinks to himself for a moment, playing with the Newton’s Cradle. No drug could really help this ghoul. Then, a thought.
“Sex!” the psychiatrist shouted.
The ghoul was shocked but the psychiatrist smiled at him and stood up with his hands in his pockets. The Newton’s Cradle rocked back and forth.
“I have a feeling that when you eat dead people, you like the feeling of being disgusting, or you feel the need to punish yourself and for being disgusting. Sex could be your answer.”
“Put all that disgusting energy inside of you, making you eat dead people, and then making you feel superior, into sex. The male always feels more dominant during sex, so go to a brothel or somewhere prostitutes go. They’re disgusting humans, if you think about it.”
“You are one of the strangest people I know. Seriously, I have to have sex with prostitutes and go to brothels?”
“If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what else could.”
The ghoul left. It was an hour until his next client, the Devil. The psychiatrist checks Facebook again. His wife is more beautiful now than she ever was when they were still together. He feels embarrassed when he looks at her profile picture; the need to keep going through the pictures is torture. Sweat drips down his forehead and he can hear his own heartbeat.
The Devil steps into his office, 6’1’’ and handsome with a respectable look as he smiles at the psychiatrist, who stares at the Devil. And why not, with such a reputation as he had? Yet now the instigator of evil and God’s number one enemy wanted help from a psychiatrist.
“Come in, come in,” Rowley almost shouted.
“Call me Lucifer.”
“So, what’s wrong…Lucifer?”
The psychiatrist never thought he would see sadness and anxiety on the Devil’s face. Rowland is not a Satanist but the devil is the first celebrity in his office, and out of all the psychiatrists in the world, he chose one in England, Manchester. Lucifer stood up and looked out of the window with his arms behind his back. He looks at the psychiatrist’s computer and sees a woman on Facebook.
“Pretty, is she your wife?”
“Ex-wife. She left me for a celebrity actor.”
“Women, hey? So easy to seduce. If it makes you feel any better, she’s only with that him for his status. It’s not him she likes.”
“Thanks, it does. So why are you here?”
A moment of silence and awkwardness. Eventually, the Devil spoke.
“The last couple of days I have been feeling sad.”
The psychiatrist wasn’t thinking of his ex-wife anymore. The mystery of the Devil’s visit was overwhelming. He would give him all the time in the world to speak, even cry. Seeing the Devil like this would be a first of wonders.
Rowley opened a bottle of wine and they drank until they got drunk. Lucifer and the psychiatrist were laughing – definitely drunk.
“You know what I hate? When people make a deal with me, and when it gets to the end of their deal, they all go to God for forgiveness. For fucks sake, why make the deal in the first place?”
The psychiatrist spilled his feelings, too. It was the alcohol – in a way, it rendered them equals.
“My wife and an actor. He’s just so goofy looking. Women – what the hell do they want?”
They talk about all the crazy things in the world and laugh and it was nearing midnight. The television was on.
“Hey, is it possible to make a deal to go to heaven forever or never go to hell?”
Lucifer laughs. “No.”
It was late. They put the alcohol away. The psychiatrist sits in his chair and the Devil sits upright.
“I think that did it. I’m not sad anymore. I just wanted a chat, no religion or evil or world domination. Thank you, Dr. Rowley. Here’s a gold coin, it’s worth thousands.”
The Devil left and the psychiatrist, still drunk, fell asleep on the leather sofa.
When morning broke he had a hangover. The vampire arrived covered in blood and with an angry look on his face.
“The techniques and the tablets, they didn’t work!” the vampire said.
“The tablets were not real. I lied.”
“The meditation techniques I expected to work but not the tablets. I was going for the placebo effect.” Trying to explain this with a hangover wasn’t easy. The vampire’s shouting didn’t help, either.
“I can’t believe I went to a human for help!”
“Why do you do it, help creatures like me? Does it give you some mental or spiritual fulfillment?”
“Out there, in the human world, I’m a weirdo. I don’t feel normal. I’m like one of you guys, weird with weird problems – you all make me feel normal!’
A paused silence. The vampire had a realization. The psychiatrist was like them in a way, like the night creatures; he was no different, except that he was human.
“I don’t feel thirsty right now. It’s you; you’re the one that keeps me away from blood. When I think of you I think of a good person. All those times we talked, I could’ve ripped you to pieces, but I didn’t.”
Sudden realization leaked into the psychiatrist’s mind and a wonder of hope.
The vampire’s anger had been replaced by gratefulness. He hugged the psychiatrist and gave him a loving smile. The psychiatrist smiled and hugged him back. He was solving cases today. He went back to his desk and on the computer was Facebook. He deleted his ex-wife off his friends list. He thought about what he was to the vampire. He was mortal and would die one day, and then the vampire would start biting people again.
“I’m not going to live forever, you know,” Rowley said, implying the obvious.
“Can I turn you into a vampire? That way you will live forever.”
“No. You just have to find another psychiatrist like me, or you will have to find another way.”
It was a good day. Then a phone call came, a surprising call. Rowley answered it.
“It’s me, the ghoul – I ate the prostitutes!”