Victim of His

Own Delusion

By R. R. Stark

            "Are you trying to tell me that I'm a schizophrenic and my therapist that I've been seeing for three years is a figment of my imagination?" Bill Fitzhoffermeister asked belligerently.

            "Not exactly," his friend Frank Geraldpatrickson replied. " I just said sometimes I think you're seeing things, and I couldn't find Dr. Eisensmith's address."

            "Oh. That's different."

            "Not exactly. Actually, I think you're on to something."

            "Uh, on to something?"


            They sat at one of those puny tables eating burgers and fries, and drinking cokes in one of those McFlannigan's fast food joints, where nine-hundred-trillion hungry eaters were now served. They watched the traffic whizzing by through the huge wall-to-wall windows.

            Bill asked, "What do you mean exactly?"

            After swallowing a huge hunk of burger and washing it down with his coke, Frank replied, "Three years ago when I told you that you needed to see a therapist, you just laughed. Then this therapist seems to pop out of thin air and starts treating you. This Dr. Eisensmith. But his office address apparently doesn't exist."

            "He didn't pop out of thin air. I met him in Central Park one day, sitting at a park bench feeding pigeons, and then after that we started going to his office."

            "Hmmm. Sounds suspicious. Perhaps next time you see him, test him, I mean, to see if he really exists. "

            "What? Test him to see if he really exists?"

            "Exactly. See if he's saying things that are already in your mind, not something new and genuine."

            "If he realizes I'm testing him, then the jig is up. Besides I'm loyal to him."

            "Exactly, because you pay him regularly."

            "Stop saying 'exactly' all the time!"

* * * *

            It was time for Bill's session with the doc. Good old Dr. Eisensmith. He looks kind of like the pictures of Dr. Sigmund Freud he had seen, and the old goat had a German accent too. Perhaps this psychotherapist modeled himself after the greatest of all shrinks -- although some considered him rather nutty.

            Bill laid in the therapy couch while Dr. Freud -- er, uh -- Dr. Eisensmith sat in a straight back cushioned chair holding a steno pad and pen, taking notes, or probably just doodling out of boredom.

            The doc inquired, "So, Bill, you say you have had strange urges toward your mother?"

            Bill huffed, "No, I never said that."

            "Of course you would never admit that openly."

            "I mean, I don't feel that way."

            "Ah, denial."

            "I'm denying nothing."

            The doc nodded, "Ah, a typical symptom of the denial complex. And since you have clearly experienced the Oedipus Complex, and are in denial of it, it means you are far from being cured."

            Bill stiffened in the couch. "What? That's insane!"

            The doctor chuckled, "Well, I could say that about you, Bill, but you already said it for me."

            "I only started coming here because I was feeling depressed about my life in general."

            "Of course, and you never narrowed it down to its cause, which was the Oedipus Complex, and how you really feel about your mother."

            Bill snapped, "That's ridiculous! My mother was never around, she abandoned me, she left me and my father. My father was a pretty nice fellow, actually."

            The doc grinned oddly, jotting something down in the notepad. "Ah, so the Oedipus Complex gets quite complicated now. This is intriguing."

            "No! I don't have any weird urges for my dad if that's what you're implying."

            "Ah, denial again."

            Bill barked, "I'm not denying anything!"

            The doc shook his head. "We're going in circles now. You are clearly hiding your true feelings. You obviously miss your mother, and her absence makes your heart yearn for her even more, those strange urges you know. And since she is away, probably became a crack-whore in some sleazy red light district, you shift those urges, and now they have developed for your father too. Quite perverted, I would say."

            Bill sat up straight in the couch and shot, "What?! This is insane! You're assuming crap about me and my parents that isn't even true! Sheesh! Why do I come here anyway?"

            "Because you want to be cured. You want to feel normal, instead of abnormal. And I must say, you are extremely abnormal -- and yet there are billions of extremely abnormal people wondering about the planet, just like you. And most of them aren't even bothering to seek therapy. Sad, very sad." He unconsciously, or not, scratched his fanny where his pocketbook rested.

            Then Bill remembered that Frank suggested that he should test the doc, to see if he was actually there or not, as ridiculous as that sounded. Was this all from his own deluded mind, or not?

            Sitting up very straight in the couch now and planting his feet on the floor, Bill said, "Alright, doc, if I'm so extremely abnormal, exactly how abnormal am I? What is your technical medical term for what I have?"

            The doc looked a tad nervous when he replied, "Uh, I have been trying to determine that for the last few years."

            "Do you have some fancy pathological label for what you suspect it might be?"

            "Uh, there are a few, but you wouldn't be able to understand them, considering they have too many syllables in them."

            "Ah-HA!" Bill glared at the doc. "I knew it! Frank was right! You're just a figment of my imagination!"

            The doc chuckled, "Not at all. Actually your imaginary friend named Frank is a figment of your imagination. That is the real reason I have been treating you."

            "That's ridiculous."

            "You have long since forgotten, but the real Frank Geraldpatrickson was your best friend, and in high school you were both taking a ride in your fancy '75 Trans Am sports car, you at the wheel, both drunk, and then you experienced a tragic accident, and Frank died, and you were injured, but recovered after a few months. At first you blamed yourself for his death, but then you conveniently covered that up by re-creating him as if he had never died."

            "That's preposterous! That whole thing about the accident I made up in our very first session three years ago, just to give you something. Because I was hiding the real reason I came to you."

The doc grinned, "Of course, your Oedipus Complex."

            Bill blurted, "No! You see, the person I knew as my father was actually my stepdad, so I started searching for my real father, then I found him, three years ago. A shrink. You. You're my real dad. That's why I'm really here. Now I realize you’re a total jerk."

The doc frowned, "Hmmm. This is a new development."

Bill grinned savagely in triumph. "Yep, and now I finally told you the real reason. HA!"

"No, you see, I merely meant this is a new development of your delusion, and nothing more."

Bill huffed, "You're just an idiot! I wished I'd never come looking for you!"

Dr. Eisensmith jotted some more notes down in his notepad. Then when he looked up, there was nobody in the couch. Bill Fitzhoffermeister simply was not there. Perhaps he never was.

            While jotting something down again, Dr. Eisensmith mused, "Hmmm. This is a rather interesting development."

The Delusional End