Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Alex Rozzi, Friday, May 23, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Glad to see you again, Alex. How are you doing this week?
Mr. Rozzi: I'm pretty well pissed off, right now.
Dr. Balis: Why? What is going on?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, Marty--he's my social worker--he just told me that I am going to be required to do some community work. Picking up garbage at some of The City's parks. Places like McLaren Park and Delores Park and stuff. I'll have to report 3 times a week starting next Tuesday and I have to be there by 8 am. I'm real pissed off about it; I punched the wall and split my knuckle.
Dr. Balis: I noticed that you had it wrapped up. This may not be such a bad thing, Alex, doing this community work.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah? Sure isn't a good thing, Doc. Shit, I don't want to be picking up trash and other people's garbage. I mean, I see old used-up condoms and thrown out dirty diapers and stuff all the time, plus I saw this little girl one time down at the park off Third Street playing with a syringe. I don't want to get stuck with anything like that; I don't want to take any chances.
Dr. Balis: You take chances all the time, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: What do you know, anyway! What? You think that since I came here that one time that you know everything about me or what?
Dr. Balis: No, I don't believe that I do. How could I? But it seems that you've chosen a lifestyle that has certain risks--most seriously AIDS and HIV infection.
Mr. Rozzi: I've been tested and I don't have it, man. Plus, I don't do anything too risky like that. I'm not stupid. I think about that stuff all the time, you know? But the thing is Doc; I probably won't live a very long life anyway. But as far as AIDS is concerned, I take little chances with these tricks and it's not like I am out doing it every night. Most of the times, they just want to do me, you know? Mostly they just get me off and or get themselves off and then they just go on their way. I am certain not to exchange any fluids with anyone. Plus, I go get myself tested every six months. As a matter of fact, I am due for a test now. I time it around my birthday so I can remember.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad to know that you take some responsibility in this Alex. I imagine that being a prostitute can present many other risks as well.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, let's just say that I know how to take care of myself, okay? But I'm not really a prostitute, you know? I just do it sometimes. It's not a regular thing for me. Usually I do it only when I need some cash, but I don't rely on it. Sometimes I get some odd jobs through Benny.
Dr. Balis: Odd jobs?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, different things. Sometimes I run packages for this dude over to some other guys down on 15th Street. They give me some cash and I don't ask any questions. Most people seem to stay out of my way when I'm walking down the street or driving a car.
Dr. Balis: You're running drugs, right?
Mr. Rozzi: I guess so. I just don't ask them and they don't offer any information. I figure that the less I know about what's inside the package, the better.
Dr. Balis: Alex, have you ever given any thought as to why you put yourself into these kinds of situations? Or why you take these risks? The way you talk about it makes me think that you don't feel that the risk is that important.
Mr. Rozzi: But see? This is where you are wrong, Doctor. I know that I take risks and that is precisely the most important part of it.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Mr. Rozzi: The risk is the reason I do it. It's the thrill of it--the rush. I get off on it, in a way.
Dr. Balis: So the danger is what attracts you to it, is that more accurate?
Mr. Rozzi: I guess you can put it that way, yes. The danger is what makes me want to do it. Like I said before, I get a certain rush out of it. It's hard to describe. I can remember one time Benny and I were walking through a grammar school. It was in the early evening about six months ago or so and it was unusually hot that night. Well, I was feeling very horny and I just grabbed him and threw him to the ground right there between the buildings and we went at it. I totally ravaged him; we both had bruises all over. At one point, I saw some kids riding their bicycles through the school yard off in the distance. They could have ridden right over and caught us, and that's the only real reason I felt that I needed to do it. If we had done it somewhere private, I wouldn't have felt so satisfied after.
Dr. Balis: I think I can understand that.
Mr. Rozzi: You can? Really? I haven't found anyone who said they understand that. Most people think I'm a freak for that. They sort of back away from me as I'm telling the story. Sometimes, I like to pick people out who I think I can shock and many times when I try to shock them they shock me instead by understanding or something like that. Wow! I am surprised at you, Doc. You're more cool than I thought you could be. I guess you old dudes really know a few things that are worthwhile.
Dr. Balis: I guess that's true sometimes. So Alex, tell me more about your relationship with Benny. Obviously, you two are more than just friends.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, he is my first true love. I fell in love with him when I was only ten. He rescued me from this freak.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean rescued you?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, this older kid from up the hall in our building was...well, uh, you know, he was...kind of taking advantage of me and Benny stopped him.
Dr. Balis: Alex I can see that you are tensing up. In what way was this kid taking advantage of you?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I don't really want to talk about this.
Dr. Balis: It's okay, Alex; we don't have to talk about it if you don't want to.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I mean, it wasn' isn't easy for me, you know. I mean, I didn't do anything wrong or anything like that. I didn't have a choice. I guess you can say it is the story of my life.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean the story of your life?
Mr. Rozzi: Having no choices, you know? People screwing around with me and my mom telling me what to do, and now the courts. It's just that's what I've been all my life--Alex, do this. Alex, do that or don't do this or that! Oh, Alex! Yadda yadda yadda! Or Alex, you're going to do what I tell you to do and you're going to act like you like it. And you know what the problem is Doc? You know what the whole damn problem is?
Dr. Balis: Tell me.
Mr. Rozzi: I liked it, Doctor. I liked it when he...when he did it. I don't know why I liked it, but I did. I mean, I didn't know why at the time. I guess I know now.
Dr. Balis: What did you like, Alex? What did he do?
Mr. Rozzi: Damnit, Doctor! I told you I didn't want to talk about it.
Dr. Balis: Alex, there is some tissue there on the table next to you.
Mr. Rozzi: Fuck you, I'm not crying. I don't need that shit!
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry that you are upset, Alex. Do you want to continue talking about it?
Mr. Rozzi: I already told you that I don't want to.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, Alex. Let's talk about something that you do want to talk about, how does that sound? Tell me more about Benny and you.
Mr. Rozzi: Well see, after we became friends, I kind of liked to think of him as my big brother or the brother that I never had. When I was still living with my grandparents, I had this friend Jimmy and we were always together. But after my grandmother died...shit! I didn't want to get into all this.
Dr. Balis: You lived with your grandparents at one point?
Mr. Rozzi: Well now, that's a real screwed-up story. But if you have the time, I'll tell you all about my lying grandparents.
Dr. Balis: We still have plenty of time. Please do tell me about them.
Mr. Rozzi: First of all, as you may have already guessed, they are both dead and buried. Thankfully.
Dr. Balis: What did they do?
Mr. Rozzi: It's both what they did and what they didn't do. You see, Doc, my grandparents raised me as though I was their son. It was when my grandfather died that I think I noticed a change in the way my grandmother and my mother treated each other. They whispered a lot to each other and they also fought quite a bit. But at the time, I didn't know what it was all about. They tried to hide the fighting from me by going into another room, but it's kind of hard to hide that sort of thing when other people are right there in the same house.
Dr. Balis: You said you didn't know at the time what the fighting and hushed words were about.
Mr. Rozzi: Right, but I do now. Boy do I know now! You see, I thought all along that my mother was actually my older sister and that my grandparents were my parents. My mother didn't live with us and was not around much, so I only knew her by what my grandparents said about her and they didn't have many nice things to say.
Dr. Balis: Was she estranged from them?
Mr. Rozzi: I think she just was out and partying, stuff like that. Who knows? Maybe she was turning tricks like I do sometimes. But mainly she wasn't around much and it was just me and my grandparents. Once in a while I could overhear my grandmother talking to someone on the phone about her and she always said that she was constantly worried about her and the men she used to hang with. I heard enough of one conversation to know that she was sleeping around a lot--like she does now--and that this one guy beat her up pretty badly one time. My grandmother was crying and crying. It was like she was so upset by it, and I can remember that look in her eyes when she knew I heard the conversation. But we never talked about it.
Dr. Balis: But they continued to keep things secret from you?
Mr. Rozzi: Of course. Out of sight, out of mind. I think that was my family policy. No one wanted to talk about anything too deep.
Dr. Balis: I'm beginning to sense that. When did you find out the truth?
Mr. Rozzi: It was when my grandmother was lying in her hospital bed. My aunt Sofie--my grandmother's sister--was sitting with my grandmother and they were talking about my mother and me and what they were going to do with me after my grandmother was gone. Sofie told my grandmother that she should tell me the truth herself and my grandmother was telling her that she couldn't do it. My aunt kept on begging my grandmother and she was very weak and ill at this point, so she would just close her eyes and pretend that she had fallen asleep and stop talking. Well my aunt just got up and stormed out of the room right past me, she hadn't even noticed that I was standing just outside the door! Even though I didn't hear the whole conversation, I had heard enough of it to know what they meant.
Dr. Balis: When was it confirmed for you?
Mr. Rozzi: The day after my grandmother's funeral. I was staying at Aunt Sofie's and she told me. She and my mom told me, that is. They just sort of sprang it on me, but by then I wasn't surprised. By then, the only thing I wanted to know was if she, Larraine, was my real mother then who was my father? Well, if you can believe it, she wouldn't tell me, the bitch. I mean, here she is telling me that for almost ten years I lived a lie with all these people who knew the truth and now they won't tell me everything that I want to know. I even looked at my birth certificate for the first time and where it's supposed to say father's name, it says unknown. What a goddamned slut! She probably doesn't even know who it was herself. Sometimes I still have nightmares about it. Very vivid nightmares or slow motion languid dreams that disturb me and stick with me all day after.
Dr. Balis: Alex, do you think I can persuade you to write down some of these dreams, the things you remember about them or maybe how you felt?
Mr. Rozzi: Actually, I do already. You mean like a journal, right?
Dr. Balis: Exactly. Sometimes it can be helpful for me to know what those unconscious thoughts are, so that I can help you to understand them better.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I have never even considered showing them to anyone else. It's my personal ideas and stuff, you know.'s not like I am proud of it or anything like that. kind of makes me nervous to even think about it. What if someone else sees it or something? I mean, once you have it, you have all the dirt on me!
Dr. Balis: Please calm down, Alex. You are safe with me and you can tell me anything. I won't judge you and I most certainly would never use this against you. Please try to keep in mind that I am trying to help you and if you were to share this with me, I would take care of it as if it were my own. Here, take a tissue.
Mr. Rozzi: I'm not fucking crying, okay? It's my allergies, you know? It'll pass.
Dr. Balis: Alex, I can see that you are very upset right now and your face is getting red.
Mr. Rozzi: You're pissing me off again! So what? I'm getting upset. Doesn't your face get red when you get upset?
Dr. Balis: Of course it does and I'm sorry if I have upset you. It wasn't my intention. Please consider writing a journal for me. If you do any drawings or other things you can bring them in, if you wish.
Mr. Rozzi: Uh, I don't know. I'll think about it, but I'm not making any promises, okay?
Dr. Balis: Fair enough then. You know Alex, I think that we have had a very good session today. How do you feel about it?
Mr. Rozzi: You seem to be pretty cool and everything, but don't you see, Doctor, that I don't want to relive it all over again? I just want it to go away. That's why I don't want to talk about it and why I don't really want to be here. But you are easy enough to talk to, for an old dude and all.
Dr. Balis: Thank you. I guess I'll take that as a compliment. Now Alex, we are almost out of time so I'd like to explain something for you and want to ask that you think about what I have to say between now and our next meeting. Would you do that for me?
Mr. Rozzi: I guess I can try.
Dr. Balis: Good! Think of your emotions and the things that you said you didn't want to talk about as a liquid and yourself as a bucket. Now the bucket can only hold so much liquid and, at times, the emotions and pain and other life issues fill up the bucket and it starts to spill over. For some people, that manifests itself in physical pain or disease, for others it creates a need for escapism or a fearless attitude.
Mr. Rozzi: Escapism? What the hell do you mean by that?
Dr. Balis: Escapism comes out in many ways. For you, it seems that your form of escapism is running around pushing the envelope and getting into trouble. You are fearless in that you do things that may cause you or another harm. These can be considered self-destructive behaviors and it's obvious why they can be detrimental to you. I think you understand that much already.
Mr. Rozzi: I think I do.
Dr. Balis: So I'm just asking that you take some time to think about what I've just said. Until our next meeting, please think about it.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, well, maybe I will. Can I go now?
Dr. Balis: Yes, our time has run out. Martin will let you know when our next meeting is scheduled. Take care, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: Thanks, man. Catch you later.
Dr. Balis: Alex! Don't light that up...
Mr. Rozzi: Too late, dude.
Dr. Balis: Alex! I asked you before...
Mr. Rozzi: Sorry man, I'm out of here. See you!
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Alex Rozzi's Transcripts Transcripts of Alex Rozzi's Communications
Button to Alex Rozzi's Patient File Alex Rozzi's Patient File

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