Ed Darkwood- Paranormal Therapist

Clinical Session # 333- Mr. B

Darkwood gestured to his leather couch. "Make yourself comfortable Mr. Beelze…"

"Please, doctor," the patient broke in, "it's just that every time someone says my name..."

Darkwood nodded in a calm professional manner. "Visions of madness, fire, torment… that sort of thing? Yes, I'm familiar with your work."

"It seemed like a great curse at the time but now I…" The client's words trailed off.

"How about we just call you Mr. B?" The therapist concentrated with a pen and notepad in hand. "Alright, Mr. B, why don't you tell me the reason for your visit?"

The patient settled back on the couch. "Doctor, I just haven't been feeling like myself lately. I mean, back in the old days I had a clear purpose. But now… for the first time ever, I've been having doubts."

Darkwood nodded. "Did something change?

"I'm the same," Mr. B jabbed his finger at the ceiling, "it's the people that changed!"

"Anyone in particular?"

"Oh… not really… but there was this woman I met the other day, we kind of got into it."

"You had an argument?"

"Yeah… I was in Albuquerque." Mr. B paused to gather his thoughts. "I always get out on Valentine's Day. You would be amazed at the suffering that one little holiday causes."

The demeanor of Mr. B changed like the flip of a switch and he grinned mischievously. "Sometimes I go just to watch Cupid do his thing. Just think of it, a plump naked flying baby with a bow and arrows, stirring up lusty feelings in the naughty parts of men and women! And, as if that isn't perverted enough, those same people think he's an angel!" Mr. B chuckled. "And Cupid is as black-hearted as they come!"

Darkwood felt the story drifting off point. "Why don't you tell me about the woman?"

"Oh… yes… as I said, I was in Albuquerque. I walked into a dim little bar by the interstate and there was this pretty young female, sitting all alone, sipping her diet Coke through a red plastic straw. She had on blue jeans and a tee-shirt, brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. She had the type of forced polite smile that hid some inner torment, some broken heart. This one, I thought, was perfect."

"I caught her eyes immediately." Mr. B sat up a little taller. "Not to boast, but I've got all the moves with the ladies. I'm tall, dark, mysterious, my skin temperature's a steady 160 degrees Fahrenheit; even the coldest woman melts in my infernal hands."

"So you seduced her?"

Mr. B shook his head. "It was going great at first but then I found out she was one of those… oh, what do you call it?"

Darkwood guessed: "A lesbian?"

"No, that wouldn't have been a problem, but this girl was a…" Mr. B spoke the words like venom: "A scientist!"

"Why was that a problem?"

"It wasn't at first… but then I finally got around to business. I wanted her soul. And… and… when I tempted her, she laughed at me!"

Mr. B's skin reddened considerably beyond 160 degrees Fahrenheit. "She asked: 'how do you even know I have a soul?'

I say: 'Because I collect them!'

Then she asks to see one! But I mean... you can't literally see a soul!

She says: 'Well how do you know they even exist?'

'Because I collect them!' I say.

She claimed I was using circular logic!

So I say: 'Listen little girl; I know all about souls, I corrupt souls, I got piles of souls down in hades!'

'Now you think you're the devil?' she laughs so smugly and says: 'You can't prove any of this!'

'You ever heard of quaking of the ground, fire and brimstone?'

Then she starts going on and on about volcanoes… magma this… molecule that… blah blah blah… all that cursed science stuff…"

Darkwood broke in: "It sounds like things got uncomfortable. So, what did you do?"

Mr. B blinked at the ceiling, head shaking slightly. "I excused myself and crawled out the bathroom window."

Darkwood allowed his client some time to think.

At last, Mr. B continued. "After that, it just hasn't been the same. Hell is starting to look less like an endless realm of torment and more like an ordinary cave. And my demons look a lot more like bats than I remember…"

"I… I… Um… And this morning," Mr. B's voice quivered. "This morning I even had the craziest thought that I… maybe I don't even exist…"

Dr. Darkwood felt he was close to a breakthrough. "And how does that make you feel?"

"Mr. B?" The therapist glanced up at the empty couch. "Mr. B?" He stood and searched the office for his missing client. There was nothing but a scent of smoke.

Darkwood hurried back to his desk and grabbed up the phone. "Melinda, did Mr. B pay in cash or credit?"