Transcript of 23rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, June 26, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: I'm nigger rich!
Dr. Balis: What a charming expression. I take it you received your disability check.
Ms. Lough: Whoo-hooo! I thought it would never get here.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Are you on something? Have you been smoking marijuana?
Ms. Lough: Oh, no, not really. I'm a little hung-over.
Dr. Balis: So you used last night?
Ms. Lough: It's not like you think.
Dr. Balis: Did you get high with Tony?
Ms. Lough: I wasn't going to, but he offered me a hit and I thought, "Why not?" I took a few codeine pills with it, and so did Tony. We got really fucked up! It was a weird high; it made me all paranoid. I was too fucked up to do anything, but I was so restless that I couldn't hold still. We spent hours watching made-for-TV movies on the Lifetime channel.
Dr. Balis: You know I don't approve of this. If you're getting high to dull your physical pain, ibuprofen is much more effective. You can take higher doses of ibuprofen if necessary, up to 600 mg. It might upset your stomach, so be sure to take it with food.
Ms. Lough: I'm getting high to dull the psychological pain of daily living, Doctor. Why can't you just prescribe marijuana? That's what helps the most.
Dr. Balis: You know I can't do that.
Ms. Lough: Sure you can. Just write "Unlimited Marijuana" on your prescription pad.
Dr. Balis: It seems like you are having no trouble obtaining it on your own. The medical marijuana clubs in San Francisco are closed now, so a prescription would be worthless as well as unnecessary and inappropriate.
Ms. Lough: The ever-practical and always ethical Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: How are things at home?
Ms. Lough: Actually, everything's good. I think that drunken scene last week bonded us together, somehow. Rob admitted that he found Charlotte's distress gratifying after I threw up in her car. Rob and I are united against a common enemy--Charlotte. It's kind of like the way that the United States' collective hatred of the Germans and Japanese bonded the country together during World War II.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Speaking of things at home, check out the new addition to the family.

Sharon's New Rabbit
Dr. Balis: Very cute. When did it arrive?
Ms. Lough: Rob brought it home Monday. One of his students was breeding rabbits for Easter and had a few left over. It's a good thing she's cute, because she's a very annoying, dirty animal. I don't know what Rob was thinking.
Dr. Balis: Have you thought of a name?
Ms. Lough: I call her a lot of names. But no, I haven't named her yet.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. It came from one of his students, you say? Rob is a teacher?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, he teaches at Shitty College.
Dr. Balis: Do you mean City College of San Francisco?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, what I said. Since I'm home all the time now, he thought I might be lonely. He'd been meaning to get me another ferret, but couldn't find one and thought a rabbit would be close enough--"because basically, they're both big rats."
Dr. Balis: I see. It sounds like Rob had good intentions.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, well, the road to hell is paved with them. And it's been hell since this little poop factory arrived. I let her out of her cage, and she runs and hides under the sofa. She's a very productive creature, if you know what I mean. She pees gallons and gallons, and those rabbit raisins are all over the place. They're encrusted on the wheels of this goddamned chair. She's even terrorizing the cat.
Dr. Balis: Can cats and rabbits coexist peacefully in the same house? Cats are natural predators, aren't they?
Ms. Lough: I know. I was hoping Groucho would eat her, but he's a coward. She bit him when he first went to sniff her, and now he's afraid of her, even though she's half his size. When the bunny hops down the hall, Groucho cowers in his litter box. What a chicken. His jungle cat relatives would be so ashamed.
Dr. Balis: I imagine it's hard cleaning up after a new pet in your condition.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, but that fact never occurred to Rob. I always heard Ph.D's were obtuse and lacked common sense. Sometimes, I think he's got an early onset Alzheimer's or something. He's a real space case. He's fifty one--it's not that old. But he acts like a feeble old man: losing his keys, getting lost on the way to work. I noticed that his hands shake very slightly when he tries to hold them still.
Dr. Balis: Last week, I asked you to compile a list of things you could do with your free time that wouldn't be hampered by your disability. Have you given it any thought?
Ms. Lough: I did think about it, but I didn't write anything down. I've been spending a lot of time cleaning up after the fur ball from hell. But there are some other things I'd like to do.
Dr. Balis: Such as?
Ms. Lough: Cultivate cannabis.
Dr. Balis: Can you think of something non-drug related you could do?
Ms. Lough: I think you're making way too much about this drug thing. With all the free time on my hands, I might as well get high. I'm going to be laid up for several months. There's nothing to do except watch TV. And there is so much bad television, I don't really have a choice but to do drugs. Most TV shows are only watchable if you're drunk, or stoned, or both. It has all the makings of a conspiracy. I bet the network executives are in on it--they probably have ties to Colombian drug lords. They know that the worse TV programming is, the more the public will have to rely on drugs to be entertained.
Dr. Balis: That's an interesting theory. Maybe you should pass it on to the writers of "The X-Files."
Ms. Lough: I think it's too out there even for them.
Dr. Balis: Have you given any serious thought as to what you want to do with your spare time?
Ms. Lough: I've always wanted to learn a foreign language. I took French in high school, but it's really not good for anything, except irritating art house patrons with my bad accent. I've always wanted to brush up on my Japanese, so I can insult my relatives in their native tongue, if I ever see them again.
Dr. Balis: Taking a class is a good idea. Have you looked into registering at any of the local colleges?
Ms. Lough: I registered at Shitty, but I did it late. Most of the classes I was interested in are full. I thought maybe I could take some bonehead elective just to pass the time and to qualify for a priority registration next semester.
Dr. Balis: That's a good idea. What courses are available?
Ms. Lough: Just some worthless electives nobody's interested in. I don't know if I even want to go.
Dr. Balis: How about sitting in on some classes?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, well. I'll think about it.
Dr. Balis: Is there anything else you've always wanted to do, but never had the time?
Ms. Lough: I've been going to a lot of double features. I try to wake up early enough to listen to the Howard Stern morning show, and then I spend the rest of the day watching TV and stuffing my face. I've become a connoisseur of daytime television. I really like Jerry Springer. I was so disappointed that they didn't air the episode, "I Married a Horse." Did you hear about that one? They interviewed people who had sex with their pets.
Dr. Balis: I think I did hear something about that, yes.
Ms. Lough: Bestiality always makes for a good laugh. I can kind of see how people get into it. Animals are cute and cuddly, especially dogs. If it weren't for the bad breath and claws, I might find it appealing. When I told Rob this, he muttered something about "falling down on his duties" and retreated to his study. He's pretty funny sometimes.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Earlier, you said the bunny was part of the family. Do you see Rob as part of your family?
Ms. Lough: Huh? Uh, yeah, I guess so. He's the breadwinner.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel any affection for him?
Ms. Lough: I'm not going to get all mushy over him.
Dr. Balis: Do you still find sex with him as repellent as you once did?
Ms. Lough: Is that some kind of come-on?
Dr. Balis: No, I...
Ms. Lough: Want to fuck?
Dr. Balis: Huh? When I...
Ms. Lough: Because if you want to fuck, I'd be happy to oblige to keep you from obsessing about the sex lives of your patients.
Dr. Balis: No, Sharon. When I first began treating you, you said that your promiscuity led you to be somewhat asexual. In recent sessions, you've expressed a reawakening of sexual feelings, such as your attraction for Tony.
Ms. Lough: And now I'm expressing longing for house pets and farm animals, not to mention Scott Adams. This is terrible. I must be deranged.
Dr. Balis: Actually, it seems that you're expressing a healthy interest in sex, which is quite normal.
Ms. Lough: Fucking dogs and horses is normal? Is that the Freudian view, or something? Isn't bestiality illegal? Maybe you're trying to set me up--you'll get me to bring pictures of me with the neighbor's dog and turn me over to the police.
Dr. Balis: No, I would never do that. However, I will keep Portia locked up from now on.
Ms. Lough: Ha! I've never heard of people fucking cats. Maybe it's because their orifices are too small and they have such sharp claws. They also wouldn't hold still for that. And don't even get me started on that terrible cat food breath. I don't think I could get it up for a cat. I like cats though, just not that way.
Dr. Balis: How discriminating--only the royalty of the pet food set.
Ms. Lough: Oh shut up. Now I wish I hadn't said anything about bestiality.
Dr. Balis: Are you taking precautions with Tony?
Ms. Lough: It's kind of hard to fuck with three limbs in casts, even if the other guy gets on top. Besides, we aren't doing anything that requires precautions, unless you're suggesting that I don rubber gloves and a bunny suit just to get felt up.
Dr. Balis: How much do you know about Tony's sexual history?
Ms. Lough: Not much. He said something about working at a leather store, so he's had some exposure to the S&M scene.
Dr. Balis: What about Tony's HIV status? Have you asked him about that?
Ms. Lough: Uh, no.
Dr. Balis: Why not?
Ms. Lough: What is this, the Inquisition? We're not exchanging fluids, except spit.
Dr. Balis: You said that Tony might be gay or bi. That does put him in a high risk category, especially if he, like you, has a history of intravenous drug use. If you continue to be intimate with Tony while you're both under the influence, you are putting yourself at risk.
Ms. Lough: I don't want to get tested. I hate all the anxiety that comes with the two week wait for the results.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Sex is a curiosity to me.
Dr. Balis: Explain what you mean by that.
Ms. Lough: It's a strange act, a strange obsession. When you look at what people consider sexy, it's so subjective, so meaningless. It really doesn't make any sense. Sometimes, when I browse adult web sites, I find the photos curious or attractive, but always in a detached sort of way. The amateur adult sites--the ones where fat, ugly, ordinary people send in naked pictures of themselves and their wives--those are the most fascinating to me. Those people seem just like animals, following their baser instincts, shoving their crotches into the camera. It's both fascinating and repelling.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Looks like there's no more time for me to regale you with the inner workings of my twisted psyche, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: All right, Sharon. I'll see you next week.
Ms. Lough: Bye, Doctor Balis.
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