Transcript of 22nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Thomas Darden, Friday, April 17, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Tom. Come in.
Mr. Darden: Thanks.
Dr. Balis: How are things?
Mr. Darden: Things are complicated, as usual.
Dr. Balis: Really? Well, let's start with something you mentioned last time toward the end of our session. You said that you felt you've made some sort of mess at work?
Mr. Darden: I don't "feel" I've made a mess. I know I have.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How so?
Mr. Darden: Well, to start off, Karina is out of the picture for me. I've decided not to contact her anymore. If she tries to call me, I intend to ignore her. I've realized now that I've wasted too much time with her, and instead of dwelling on what could have been, it's better to just drop it and move on.
Dr. Balis: It's good to hear such resolve in you. I agree, she didn't seem interested in a serious relationship--certainly not a healthy one.
Mr. Darden: Karina was all about deception. She played games with me, and she did it well. She was using me to make her ex-boyfriend of four years jealous, which is ironic since I'm probably the only male Karina's met in the past seven months whom she hasn't had sex with. She knew I was attracted to her, and the more I became interested and enticed, the more she dangled the chance to be with her sexually just out of reach. She gave me just enough to whet my appetite for her and then pulled way back and said she only wanted to be friends. And then she used my attraction to her as a tool to get things she wanted from me. She's a user and abuser because she's spoiled and gets her way too easily. Well, not this time. I'm through jumping through her fucking hoops.
Dr. Balis: I think I agree with you on most of your points. Please continue.
Mr. Darden: Well, at about the same time I'd first met Karina, a new woman was hired at the Help Desk to field in-house support problems. Her name is Rachel O'Rielly. Her best friend, Jennifer Keys, helped to get her the job. And I believe, at the time, it had been her intention to fix Rachel and I up.
Dr. Balis: Really?
Mr. Darden: Yes. Jennifer has always liked my sense of humor, and she used to tell me that I reminded her of her best friend. She thought we were very much alike and therefore might be compatible in a relationship.
Dr. Balis: Have you gotten to know Rachel well? Do you feel she's as compatible as Jennifer suggested?
Mr. Darden: Initially, I didn't think so, no. But I've come to enjoy her wit and humor. She sits in the cubicle across from me, so we talk often. It's ironic that I usually came to her to discuss my dreary situation with Karina. She had agreed with me that Karina sounded like a user, and that she was all-around bad news. But I have a tendency of drawing situations out, if you hadn't noticed.
Dr. Balis: You? Draw things out? Never.
Mr. Darden: Thanks for not being too sarcastic.
Dr. Balis: You're quite welcome.
Mr. Darden: Anyway, as my talks with Rachel increased, I came to realize I was falling for her. Have you ever listened to someone speak and suddenly felt soothing electric sensations gently pulsating through the back of your neck just from the mere sound of her voice? That's the way I feel when I'm around her.
Dr. Balis: Have you thought about asking Rachel out?
Mr. Darden: Oh, I've fantasized about it. But she works in the same department. It would be more than foolhardy, it would be an occupational suicide. Since Rob left the Help Desk some time ago, I am the only male in the department. And where there's a great number of women together, there is gossip. Could you imagine the whispers shot back and forth if I were to have a relationship with Rachel?
Dr. Balis: I can see how such a situation would make things uncomfortable.
Mr. Darden: Well, as it turns out, the whispers started anyway. And it's all my fault for being so damn obvious with my feelings toward her.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel they know of your romantic interest in Rachel?
Mr. Darden: They most definitely do. I'm a very insecure person. Rachel is a very beautiful woman. Guys from other departments have frequently stopped by her cubicle to flirt with her.
Dr. Balis: And you are jealous.
Mr. Darden: Enraged is more like it. There is one guy in particular--Scott Collavito from the graphic arts department. He has been hounding her for the past month. The guy is a big player. I'd call him an asshole if he didn't give sphincter muscles such a bad name. The guy is a typical Italian stud-monkey with a dark tan, baby-blue eyes, and enough mousse in his thick, black hair to withstand a category five hurricane. He has gold chains dangling from his thick neck--I mean the whole bit. I hate bastards like that--absolutely perfect. The kind of guy that, if you were gay, you'd want to butt-fuck you.
Dr. Balis: Don't hold back, Tom. Learn to let go of your emotions.
Mr. Darden: More sarcasm, huh? Well, my jealousy was apparently so obvious that the Help Desk gossip queens had already held a half dozen meetings around the water cooler about it. Most of the women in my department don't like the idea of my hooking up with Rachel because they feel I'm too moody. As you already know, I'm notorious for my temper tantrums at work. Rachel is much more in control of her emotions. Last month, I carried the anger a little too far.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Mr. Darden: I don't know if you surf the web at all, but there are a lot of hacker sites on the Internet. You can download just about any application you want to get your hands on for free, if you know where to look. I do. And I also know where to download custom viruses. One particular virus called "Plunger" is specially designed to run on an Apple computer running OS 8. It causes the entire system to crash. The victim will see his screen flash multiple colors for about a minute, and then everything on the monitor will start swirling around like water in a toilet bowl. Finally, the poor boob's hard drive gets reformatted, and all his work is lost forever.
Dr. Balis: I've got a feeling I'm not going to like the rest of this story.
Mr. Darden: You won't. Everyone in the graphic arts department runs a Mac, of course. Well, I found a way to transmit the "Plunger" virus through the company's network, directly into Scott Collavito's machine without being detected. I've got a program that ghosts my IP address so no one...
Dr. Balis: Whoa, hold on there. You lost me.
Mr. Darden: Sorry. Basically, I found a way to send the virus while covering my tracks.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: It felt good to do this to Scott. I feel it's my personal responsibility to bring turmoil to the lives of those who have it so easy. A little conflict, a small disaster might build some character. Anyway, the day his system crashed, he naturally called the Help Desk for assistance.
Dr. Balis: Let me guess--Rachel took the phone call.
Mr. Darden: You got it. I couldn't believe my luck. She had long since known about my jealousy and my affections for her, despite my efforts to suppress them. It didn't take long for her to put it all together. Here I thought I could get away with it. I was patting myself on the back for my ingenuity only to be foiled by a woman's sixth sense.
Dr. Balis: Did she confront you about crashing Scott's computer?
Mr. Darden: Not directly, no. She simply stopped talking to me. I let the silent treatment go on for a couple days, praying that I had just been imagining that she'd figured out my juvenile stunt. But I knew. I knew the moment she first turned her head away when I looked over at her that day. I finally sent her an e-mail asking her why she wasn't speaking to me. She immediately replied by asking me how it was possible for one person in a department sharing files on the network drive with a group of twenty people to suddenly contract a virus capable of reformatting their hard drive. Of course, I played on like I had no idea. And this only proved to make things worse.
Dr. Balis: I can imagine.
Mr. Darden: For the next week, I was miserable. Not being able to speak to Rachel was torture. She's the only person in my department that has kept me sane. I never meant for anyone to know about the virus, especially not her. It was supposed to be a means for me to cope with my jealousy and insecurities. True, it was childish. But it was also satisfying to imagine Scott squirming in his chair. Then guilt just got the best of me, and I couldn't go on pretending like I wasn't responsible.
Dr. Balis: At least we know your conscience is still intact.
Mr. Darden: I guess so. I finally did what was right. I wrote Rachel a long-winded letter that explained everything. I began the letter describing how I felt about her, then proceeded on about the feelings of jealousy, until finally I confessed to and apologized for crashing Scott's computer.
Dr. Balis: Did she forward the letter to your manager after you had confessed? I would think this would be a serious violation of SII's security policy.
Mr. Darden: No. She'd never do that. In her mind this wasn't a work-related issue. It was personal.
Dr. Balis: So what was her reaction to your letter?
Mr. Darden: I was relieved to receive an e-mail from her saying she was glad I'd admitted to it all. Rachel thought I was a beautiful writer, and that I'd missed my calling. She also made it clear that she was very upset that I'd stoop to such a level. But I couldn't believe she was so willing to forgive me.
Dr. Balis: It is rather surprising. She must really have valued your friendship to so readily accept your apology. I think that says a lot about Rachel; and maybe something about you, too.
Mr. Darden: She's one very special woman. I just wish we worked in separate departments.
Dr. Balis: So that you could pursue a relationship with her?
Mr. Darden: Yeah. It's not like I'd be confident enough to ask her out anyway.
Dr. Balis: Well, if you do muster the courage, I think you should give yourself some time for this incident to blow over. Speaking of time, ours is about up. I'd like to talk more about your emotions related to this woman. Can you come back next week?
Mr. Darden: I'd feel more comfortable if we made it two weeks from now.
Dr. Balis: Very well. I'll see you in two weeks.
Mr. Darden: Goodbye, Charles.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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