"So, what happened next?"

Mister Intelligent-With-A-College-Degree is sitting in his high-backed chair by the window, wearily resting his chin on his fist. He's 'trying' to look interested in what I have to say, but he's failing miserably. Oh, well. I suppose I should give the man some credit for the attempt.

"Well...I had never known her to tell a lie, but I couldn't be sure that she wouldn't. I couldn't be sure that, once pressed and bribed and tortured, she wouldn't give in and give me away. I couldn't have that happen, you know? Everything rested on her; on her silence, her loyalty. Given the choice, I would have told no one, but given the circumstances...well, I didn't have the choice. I know you've heard the cliché 'The tension in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife,' right?"

There is an awkward silence, and I get the feeling - no, correction, I know - that he is not even listening to me, that his mind is miles away. Maybe it's at home, with his family, sitting down to a nice Sunday dinner - the kind I haven't had in years. Maybe he's smiling and laughing with his wife and his kids, talking about the children's grades and future mortgage payments...normal worries, not conspiracies and betrayals, the plot of some twisted sci-fi movie. The plot of my life. Maybe now he's settled comfortably in his easy chair, quietly reading the daily news... Yeah right, just after he cleans the nice, white, picket fence outside and pats his 2.5 children on the head and sends them off to bed. This guy is way too normal for me. I almost pity him... and then I hate him for it. I hate pity, whether it comes from me or anyone else. I hate feeling helpless, or even feeling that other people *think* I'm helpless. And that's all that pity is, really. Feeling helpless and then moving on, 'cause you were right in the first place, there is nothing you can do, so why bother? But I digress...The guy yawns, and hastily covers his mouth with his hand to hide it. Damn. Now I do feel sorry for him. He should be at home relaxing with his nice normal family and his nice normal sports game on his nice normal television. Not here, listening to some crackpot- conspiracy-theorist patient of his. I continue on with my story, now only slightly irked at his apparent apathy...

"Well, anyway, I'm sure you've heard it, and I know you hate clichés almost as much as I do, but in this instance, it's the only thing I can think of that will fit. The tension in that room - right before I got up the guts to tell her, to trust her - was so thick you could cut it with a knife. It was almost like she knew, you know? Almost like she knew that I couldn't tell her. Almost like she knew that *I* didn't know if I could trust her or not. I hated it, I mean, Lord, what kinda asshole do you have to be to not trust your best friend?"

He winces at my choice of words. Man, this guy can't stomach anything. He's really in the wrong profession. I can just imagine him slaving diligently away at his law school, or Med school, or wherever the freak these guys go to. He probably never expected he'd be forced to psychoanalyze a lunatic. Well, at least I think I've finally stumped the genius. That's got to be a first or something. Maybe not, though. This dude's not very sharp. I thought you had to be in order to get a gig like this. Apparently not. He obviously has no clue how to answer me. I can practically see his brain working away inside his skull. But, I mean, what do you say to a lunatic? How do you answer the mad man?

I'm having fun, sitting on his plush, expensive couch, thinking of other names to call myself. Or to call him, I'm not picky. I feel bad for the guy, having to listen to my ramblings when he could be somewhere - anywhere - else. I do, honestly I do, but it's his problem, not mine. I never asked to be sent to a shrink. It was a court order. This whole dumb state thinks I'm off my rocker. I'm not, they're just afraid of the things I know, the damage I could do. I'm not gonna complain, though. It's pleasantly heated in here, like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter night. I stare past the guy's shoulder, right out into the darkening evening. Through the window, I can see the snow swirling gently to the ground, a thick, heavy down comforter falling from the sky. The dusky twilight gives it an almost ethereal glow. To this guy's children, safe at home, wrapped up in comforters and holding steaming mugs of hot chocolate, I'm sure the snow looks magical, like a fairyland or something. An ice palace, a winter wonderland, you know the clichés... To me, though, all I can think of is how cold it's gonna be to sleep in it. I settle back into my warm, comfortable couch, and try to absorb all the heat that I can while I still have the chance. Maybe it'll last until morning. I hope so. The guy leans forward again, trying to look intelligent.

"So, what happened next?"