Transcript of 29th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, December 10, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Well, I found out where I know Alex's mother from.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Larraine Rozzi is a head of SII's mail room. She also apparently has the ear of one Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lloyd Major.
Dr. Balis: Really? From the mailroom?
Ms. Lippard: Well, not exactly. Did you ever hear of Nils Landors? He's the head of Advertising and Presentations. Apparently some time back, he used to be Lloyd's "buddy," if you know what I mean.
Dr. Balis: I think I do.
Ms. Lippard: That man is a total sleaze. A few months ago, he tried to get Sylvia Bows fired while the woman was on a maternity leave. Can you believe that?
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: Well, Nils loves to get dirt on everyone in the company. I guess Larraine found a receptive ear in Nils. She told him that I've been going out with her son. Nils went to Lloyd. And today, Lloyd came to my office very concerned for the image of the company--a CFO just can't be hanging out with a sixteen year old boy and requiring psychiatric help. He's worried that if the public gets wind of this, they would lose confidence in the company and the stock would drop. It couldn't affect our bond rating, but it could devalue the company. It's hard to be a Fortune 500 company if no one believes the Chief Financial Officer has her shit together enough to keep the books in order.
Dr. Balis: Is that really his concern?
Ms. Lippard: I think so, yeah. I doubt Lloyd's really worried about my abilities. He's seen the books--however much he understands them--and Frank's assured him I'm the right one for the job. He trusts Frank, and I'm pretty sure he respects me. Certainly he knows I have my ducks in a row after the job I did on the retirement system. The other option is that he wants to get rid of me for some personal reason. I know he's upset about the way the Apple takeover fell through, but he can't believe I doctored the numbers out of spite or something. But if he didn't want me in the position, he wouldn't have endorsed me in the first place.
Dr. Balis: Did he endorse you? I thought he was opposed to the idea.
Ms. Lippard: Well, he was reluctant. I don't suppose "endorse" is the right word. "Abstain" is more like it. He just kept quiet and let Frank and the board make the decision.
Dr. Balis: So what happens now?
Ms. Lippard: I don't know. I know he's a sly bastard. You don't get in that position by being Mr. Nice Guy all the time; politics can be rough. Hell, I had to knock off an occasional opponent during my climb up the ranks back at Nations Bank. I feel guilty about it, but that's the way it has to happen. I know Lloyd's good at the game. The question is whether he's motivated to hurt me.
Dr. Balis: What do you think?
Ms. Lippard: I don't think so. I think he's sincerely concerned for the company's image and valuation. I'm sure if he thought I was a liability, he'd do his best to get rid of me. But I don't think it's personal.
Dr. Balis: Could a rumor like this actually hurt SII's bottom line?
Ms. Lippard: Well, not profits, no. But it could hurt our stock price, on which the total value of the company is based. Investors are as driven by psychology as much as P/E ratios--more so, probably. If they think they smell a scandal, or worse, a criminal action...
Dr. Balis: Criminal action?
Ms. Lippard: Alex is a minor, remember?
Dr. Balis: You just took him to dinner right? Just how powerful a rumor has Larraine and Nils generated?
Ms. Lippard: Look, if the price of a stock drops on a rumor of my behavior, then the scapegoat is, of course, me. No one will care to figure out what's true and what's fiction.
Dr. Balis: But could this rumor actually cause the drop?
Ms. Lippard: Well, frankly, I don't really think so. Companies do lose value based on how the chief executive acts. But I haven't heard of a case in which an implied indiscretion of a CFO caused the collapse of a corporate empire. Look at Rupert Murdoch. He has a reputation as a megalomaniac--he's interested in owning the world more than in boosting his company's value. So NewsCorp's stock languishes despite a good P/E ratio and solid profits. And besides, the threat is low, and I have defenses.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: First of all, I doubt Rozzi and/or Landors have the wherewithal to make a real splash in the financial markets with this kind of news. They can just blab it around the company and tarnish my image here. But I don't care about that--my department is under control, and it's not like I'm up for promotion. Although I do care how the board views me. But if I should need a defense, I can use what I explained to Lloyd: I'm active in the art community--in fact my own brother is an artist. Alex is an artist, too. That's how we know each other. If I need to, I can make it known that I'm involved with Jake and that Alex is gay--so there's no way we could be romantically involved.
Dr. Balis: Have you considered Alex's feelings about this scenario?
Ms. Lippard: Uh, we haven't actually talked about that. Hmm. Well, I plan to talk to him anyway. I want to warn him what to expect, if it should come to that.
Dr. Balis: Good. But please listen and consider his feelings in this situation as well as your own. Did you tell Lloyd about Alex?
Ms. Lippard: I told him we met in the art community. I didn't mention that he's gay. It didn't seem necessary at the time, and I want some aces in the hole. I also need to find out from Alex just how his mother got that little tidbit about psychotherapy. I managed to assure Lloyd that it wasn't a problem. I think he took that as a denial, but I'm sure he's skeptical. But therapy is actually easier to counter. Plenty of people see psychiatrists; it's not as much of a stigma as it used to be. If need be, I can ask you to explain that my condition does not affect my daily functioning and certainly not my professional performance. By the way, what is my diagnosis?
Dr. Balis: Well, just to have something to put on the insurance forms, I'm using Simple Adjustment Disorder. It's an unspecified complaint but it satisfies the HMO.
Ms. Lippard: I don't like the sound of that. It makes me seem maladjusted, somehow. Can you come up with something that clearly wouldn't affect my everyday life?
Dr. Balis: I suppose I could use something like Delayed Grief Reaction, but that usually comes with depressed mood. I could comment on your unusually high level of functioning, that should counter the normal depression. But, Katherine, I'm uncomfortable putting anything like this in writing for public consumption. And I certainly don't want to appear before the board.
Ms. Lippard: Oh, I have no intention of putting you before the board. A letter would do it. But I don't think it'll come to that. If Rozzi insists on pursuing this, I'll ask her if she wants the company to know her son is gay and has disowned her. I don't want to get involved in mudslinging--a smear campaign is not becoming to a ranking executive--but I think I can avoid it coming across that way. Like I said, I have some experience in politics myself. And if she really wants to push it, I can play the poor victim to the board. I know some of them personally, and poor Walter Montgomery still pants like a puppy whenever he sees me. I'll explain it all ever so innocently. She and Nils will come across as the aggressors, and the Board may even decide they don't need their destabilizing influence at SII. Ha! Nils Landors and Larraine Rozzi picked the wrong bitch to fuck with this time.
Dr. Balis: You really think this could get them fired?
Ms. Lippard: If they really want to push it and I play my cards right, it could happen.
Dr. Balis: Is that what you want?
Ms. Lippard: Right now, I just want it to go away. But if they really decide to try to hurt me with this load of crap...
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. This has been a nice distraction--much different from my usual sessions. You know, the more I think about it, the more I hope they actually do try to make something out of this. I haven't had to play the politics in awhile; it could be fun. It would certainly add some spice to my life.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel your life is dull?
Ms. Lippard: You're so predictable, Doctor. Just as soon as I said that, I knew what your next question was going to be. My life is okay. I do things with Jake; I'm meeting new people, getting out. No, my life's not dull. But a new, unexpected spice can be exciting, you know?
Dr. Balis: Yes, it can be.
Ms. Lippard: So I guess next time, we'll get back to the regular grind. By the way, I got a report from the detectives. They're having a hard time locating my dad. Apparently the FAA won't give up the records they need. I thought that they could just find his pilot's license and get his address from that, but that's not public record. So they want to send someone to Alaska to ask around at his last known location and try to pick up the trail that way.
Dr. Balis: That sounds time consuming.
Ms. Lippard: It sounds expensive, is what is sounds. I told them to hold off on that a while. I'm starting to wonder if it's worth that much to me. I've already paid over $700 for nothing. I wouldn't miss a few grand, but I don't know if finding him will really settle anything in my mind. It may be better just to come to grips with it here and leave him alone. Talking to him might just make it worse.
Dr. Balis: It might.
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. Well, I'll think on it some more. Meanwhile, I have shopping to do.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Phil expressed an interest in making soups this winter, so I'm getting him a Crock Pot for Christmas. I'd like to get him an apartment with a real kitchen and that isn't part of the Jet Stream, but he likes where he is.
Dr. Balis: He hasn't patched up his drafts yet, huh?
Ms. Lippard: No, he's been too busy with that mural. You should go see it, it's really something.
Dr. Balis: Maybe I will. Well, time's about up for today.
Ms. Lippard: Oh, hey, I need to let you know--I'll be here next week, but the week after that I'm going to Columbia for Christmas. That Wednesday is Christmas Eve anyway, and I doubt you'll be working. But the next Wednesday is New Year's Eve. Are you going to be here then?
Dr. Balis: Well, I'm going to be available, but just to patients who are in crisis. The holidays are a difficult time of year. If you have a crisis, of course I'm here for you, but otherwise let's just skip both sessions. So we'll keep next Wednesday's session and then the next time I'll see you will be in 1998--let's see, that will be January 7th at 5 pm, okay?
Ms. Lippard: Okay. So next week as normal and then no sessions for two week--that'll be fine. See you Wednesday.
Dr. Balis: Good night, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Happy holidays, Doctor.
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