Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 10/09/98

Saturday, October 3, 1998

Sunday, October 4, 1998

Monday, October 5, 1998

3 pm. Initial Session with Darius Booth. Darius is an intense, driven young man. Born in Australia to an American mother and an Australian father, Darius grew up on a dairy farm in the South West of Australia. His mother was killed in a tractor accident when he was just a baby. Darius wants to be a stand-up comedian. He feels that he is compelled to do it--like a religious calling. However, he has taken a philosophical view of comedy, apparently. He has a routine from which he won't deviate but which he admits doesn't provoke laughter. He's been barred from a number of performing venues already. Being an unfunny comedian sounds like a kind of personal hell--public rejection and humiliation nightly. Obviously, Darius can't earn a living at his comedy, so he works doing accounting tasks. In addition to bringing in a paycheck, he looks on his various jobs as providing a form of emotional stability. Darius likes jobs which enforce a strict routine--he analogized it to a Chinese Tea Ceremony. He is working as a clerk in the accounts payable department at SII. He told me about his daily tasks and they seem almost soothing for him--repetitive and predictable. But he said that something always goes wrong to sour the jobs he's had in the past and now, again, something is going wrong at SII. This time, it has to do with another employee named Doug Auble. I haven't heard yet why Mr. Auble is ruining Darius' job. But I get the impression that Darius is a man for whom insignificant events can take on enormous importance--he seems somewhat obsessive. He sweats profusely and apologized for it. I should check his thyroid and perhaps be alert for the possibility that he's having a reaction to a legal or illegal drug. He gave me the impression of someone who is abusing methamphetamine, although I could easily be mistaken--I saw no pupilary dilation, for example. Perhaps his hyper manner can be more appropriately ascribed to a personality disorder. There's someone whom Darius calls "Fat Jill" which he is a bit reluctant to talk about. Apparently, she was a romantic interest for a number of years and was also involved in the comedy scene. While he quotes her frequently and with approval, he also expressed a virtual horror at the prospect of being reunited with her.

Tuesday, October 6, 1998

12 pm. Fifth Session with Madeline Trent. Madeline was able to describe in some detail the events of her attack. She described one of the most vicious and sadistic rapes I've ever heard. Madeline's attacker broke into her house. In addition to raping and sodomizing her, he cut her breast with a knife, tried to introduce dye into the wound, defecated on her, burned her labia and clitoris with a lit cigarette, kicked her in the ribs, smashed her head into a wall, and held her face over a burner on the stove. Physically, she suffered a concussion, bruised ribs, internal injuries, a torn rectum, and physical damage to her vagina. Apparently there was even more, because her obstetrician told her that it was unlikely that she would be able to have children--a prediction that was fortunately proven false. Madeline is clearly suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. During the session, I guessed she was suffering from some hallucinations related to the event and she was shocked at my perspicacity. She admitted that she had been afraid to tell me about them because she feared she may really be losing her mind. She told me that she's had six or seven episodes: sometimes she imagines that the wound on her chest is bleeding, or that the stove lights itself. I asked her to keep me informed--if the hallucinations start to rise in frequency, I'd like to know about it. She also told me about an incident where she ran into a male co-worker suddenly and experienced an intense and violent fear reaction. I tried to explain what was going on. Obviously, the trial has brought forth events which Madeline has tried hard to suppress. As it turned out, Madeline didn't have to testify. The attacker entered into a plea bargain on the day of trial whereby he pled guilty to manslaughter and sexual battery rather than rape and murder. Madeline has understandably strong revenge fantasies surrounding her attacker. However, given the circumstances of the attack as she related them to me, I didn't feel that her assertion that she wasn't conscious long enough to recognize the face of her attacker was particularly credible. But given the intensity of the session, I didn't confront her on this point. Madeline's justifiable rage surrounding these events has barely begun to be expressed. We have a lot of work to do to try to lessen some of the emotional power these events have over Madeline.

Wednesday, October 7, 1998

5 pm. Sixty-Fourth Session with Alex Rozzi. At the beginning of the session, I interrupted Alex kissing Ted--a big man with a muscular physique wearing the distinctive red jacket and black slacks of a Waiters on Wheels uniform. Ted had dropped Alex off for his session. Alex was noticeably cheered today. He cited the positive influence of people who have come into his life since Benny departed it--Katherine, Ted, Cami, Ralph, and he even included me in the list. But underneath the good cheer, Alex is still ruminating about how to appropriately confront Benny. But what Alex thinks is appropriate is far different from what I do. Alex seems bent on exercising some revenge fantasy, although he wasn't very specific about it. It may be as simple as spitting in Benny's face; Alex said that he wants to "fuck with his head a little." Alex said that he realizes how much he's changed, and how little Benny has. When Alex next meets Benny, Alex is determined not to "fold into that blubbering idiot again." Obviously, I'm disturbed that Alex feels it necessary to have any contact with Benny, especially given Alex's desire to antagonize him. It seems to me that Alex is most interested in impressing Benny with how independent he's become. I'm getting a strong sense from Alex that he hasn't resolved the ambivalence he feels towards Benny--I can imagine Alex actually renewing a romantic relationship with him, and that scares me somewhat.

Thursday, October 8, 1998

4 pm. Ninety-Fifth Session with Anna Green. Anna's father hired a detective to watch Anna's house and the detective had little to report except for the fact that Martin was living there. I remember, when Anna was trying to convince me that it was a good idea for Martin to live with her, Anna told me that her father approved of the arrangement. Apparently, Anna overstated his position. Her father thought she should take in a roommate. Anna neglected to tell him which roommate she'd chosen. Anna's father blames Martin for much of what happened, and so when he found out that Martin was staying with Anna, he was very upset. He came down, surprised them late at night, and forced Martin out. He stayed the weekend to be sure that he was really gone. Anna told me how she felt it was for the best, and how she was ready to move on with her life...but it all sounded a bit rehearsed. I called her on it, and she admitted that she had practiced the session in her head. I think that she feels it necessary to justify her actions to her father and to me, and she's not above telling us what she thinks is necessary to win our approval.

Friday, October 9, 1998

10 am. Thirty-Fifth Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon had sex with Lila this week. She went into almost pornographic detail about the sex itself, even though the upshot was that she felt used. She said that she's "always the one on my knees doing the wet work." At Lila's parents home, Sharon performed cunnilingus on Lila and then was airily dismissed. She took a bus to an all night diner and wallowed in self pity. I'm not sure what Sharon is expecting out of a relationship with Lila. I think that Sharon is well aware of Lila's immaturity, but it seems to surprise her over and over again. Sharon gave me a short story that she wrote. It is observational fiction more than narrative, written in the first person. But although it's nominally a love story, it doesn't seem particularly connected with any of the real life relationships that Sharon is experiencing. I assume that the Chris character most closely resembles Rob. If so, perhaps in real life she underplays some real affection that she has for him, although the story is mostly about overcoming a partner's deficits. There's a couple dressed all in white whom the characters see at the copy center that forms the main locale of the story. Although they are dismissed as probable religious fanatics in the story, they hold a certain high ground in the story--they are the focus of the narrator's attention. I'm really not sure what significance they have for Sharon as a writer.

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