Transcript of 9th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Joseph Mazurka, Monday, September 16, 1996 at 4 pm.

Mr. Mazurka: Okay, where is she?
Dr. Balis: What? Who?
Mr. Mazurka: Don't give me that "what, who" crap. You know where she is.
Dr. Balis: If you're talking about your wife, I really don't know.
Mr. Mazurka: That's a god damn lie. Are you fucking her? Is that it? I know her tricks. I know what she'll do. You tell me where she is or I'll kill you, I swear it. She's mine and you're not taking her away, you got that?
Dr. Balis: Look Joe, I know you're upset, and I'm willing to make certain allowances, but this is more than I have to take. I told you, I got one phone call from her about two weeks ago and that was it. I haven't heard from her since. If you don't believe me and you want to spin these fantasies I can't stop you, I suppose. But don't tell people you're going to kill them. You can't expect anyone to stand for that.
Mr. Mazurka: Yeah right. If I catch you two together I'll do you both; don't think I won't.
Dr. Balis: Is this all you have to say? I really don't see how this is serving any therapeutic purpose, and I've got better things to do than listen to your threats. Are you still taking amphetamines? You look terrible. Have you been sleeping?
Mr. Mazurka: I don't need to sleep much any more. Anyway, I just get these horrible nightmares when I do; it's not worth it.
Dr. Balis: Any that you remember when you wake up? Do you want to tell me about them?
Mr. Mazurka: What's the use? Is that going to make them go away?
Dr. Balis: Sometimes dreams are trying to tell you something. If you get the message, they can stop. What is it about them that bothers you?
Mr. Mazurka: These things would bother anyone. They all start the same way: I'm in my house, my parent's house actually, but it's dark, and there are all these doors. They're all closed. And I'm just a kid, I'm scared, going up this long corridor full of doors. The house didn't really have a hall like this, and I sort of know this in the dream, but it doesn't help. There's no way out--I've just got to keep going--so I start trying the doors. Sometimes I hear sounds behind them, like someone's being killed or tortured, but the door's locked. But way up ahead a door opens a crack and I drag myself there--for some reason, I can hardly walk. But there's a sort of flickering red light coming from that half-open door and I can't help being drawn to it. When I finally get there...well, it's different each time, but it's always bad news.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Mr. Mazurka: How would you like to see your mom, not just in bed with a rotting corpse that's somehow still alive, but naked, with her flesh all putrid and falling off her bones, and them laughing and pulling pieces off each other, and throwing them around the room? How would you like it if that corpse looked just like you? What if they grabbed you, and dragged you in there with them while they went at it? Would that seem like fun to you?
Dr. Balis: No, but it's not a very difficult dream to interpret. Lots of children hear their parents making love and get frightened by the strange noises. It's not uncommon for them to put a sinister construction on what they hear. And every little boy feels the need to supplant his father in his mother's affections. We call it the Oedipus complex. You don't need to feel guilty about it, it's perfectly normal.
Mr. Mazurka: Who said I felt guilty? The weird thing is that it feels perfectly normal, I even like it. More than that.
Dr. Balis: You mean you get sexually aroused?
Mr. Mazurka: Yeah, it's a wet dream. Every time, or just about. But at the same time I'm really grossed out.
Dr. Balis: You said it's always different. What changes in these dreams?
Mr. Mazurka: The corridor part's always the same. But sometimes it's not my mom in the bed, or maybe I go in a different door. Once there wasn't a bed, just a pile of dead bodies, but I go in there all the same and start rutting away. Then I look at my arm, and it's like rancid butter, with the muscles and veins and stuff twisting around like worms in heat, and the skin bursting open like a wet bag of garbage...
Dr. Balis: But you still have an orgasm?
Mr. Mazurka: That's the weird part, huh? I thought so too. I guess I just don't care any more if I live or die, that must be it, just so long as I get my rocks off. But what do I know about this shit. You're the doc, what do you think?
Dr. Balis: Well, sex and death are two basic facts that we all have to deal with somehow. It's not altogether unusual to mix them up, or link them in some way. If these dreams are worrying you, there are things we can do. The drugs I prescribed would help you sleep better without having these dreams, I'd guess. But if you are still taking amphetamines...
Mr. Mazurka: Look, what I take is my own business. Some of us don't have perfect lives, you know, and we need a little help just to keep going.
Dr. Balis: I'm here to help you; I've told you that. But I really don't think these drugs are doing you any good at all. Have you looked in a mirror lately? Your eyes are bloodshot with dark circles underneath and you seem to have developed a tic. Your hands are trembling and you can't sit still. These are the sort of signs you don't need professional training to evaluate; you should be able to see for yourself what this stuff is doing to you.
Mr. Mazurka: That should be the worst of it. I don't give a shit how I look anymore. My whole life has gone down the toilet, and you're telling me about a goddamn tic. What difference does it make? I tell you, something's got to give. I'm ready to do something radical, something that people will remember for a long time...
Dr. Balis: Maybe what you need is a long rest, would you like that? I know a place where you could get some of the help you need. I could see if they have room for you. It's out in the country, really nice and peaceful. The food is great, I've eaten there myself.
Mr. Mazurka: You mean the funny farm? You're not getting me in there! They'd never let me out. And even if they did, who'd hire me after that? You think anyone's looking for salesmen straight out of the nuthouse? I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid. I can come in here and blow off steam and nobody's the wiser; but that goes on my permanent record. No fucking way am I checking in there if I can help it. You can't put me there against my will, can you?
Dr. Balis: Not unless I think you're an imminent danger to yourself or others. But you're coming close, Joe, I have to admit. I don't know what to think about all these threats you keep making.
Mr. Mazurka: It's nothing serious. I told you, I'm just blowing off steam. You don't know what it's like, all alone there in that room, just thinking and thinking and nobody to talk to about it. And she's split, the bitch. I don't know where the fuck she is. I told the cops; they said there's nothing they can do after what happened. It's just not fair. She has all the rights and I ain't got jack. I don't know what this place is coming to. But there's only so much a man can take, and I've taken it and then some. If they expect me to sit up, wag my tail and beg for more, they got the wrong dog, that's all I can say.
Dr. Balis: Look on the bright side Joe. If she's really disappeared then they can't try you on the assault charges. You're still relatively young, you can get yourself together if you try; you can build yourself a new life...
Mr. Mazurka: Yeah, a brand new beautiful life, with a brand new beautiful wife, two and a half kids, a couple of cars and a house in the suburbs. This would all seem like a bad dream, right Doc?
Dr. Balis: Lots of people have to start over again, it happens all the time. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose?
Mr. Mazurka: Not a heck of a lot, that's for sure. But I just don't have the energy anymore. I feel like saying "fuck it" and letting things slide. Can't you hear that sucking sound? Something wants me, down in Hell, and it's hard to say no. It's swimming against the current, you know?
Dr. Balis: You can break out of this if you try. This is a stressful time, but don't give in. You're a fighter, right? Then fight with whatever it is that's dragging you down. I'll help if you'll let me.
Mr. Mazurka: Yeah right. Well thanks for the pep talk anyway.
Dr. Balis: I think we'll have to leave it at that for today. Please, throw whatever it is you've been taking down the toilet and you'll feel better. Take my word for it. If you need some help to do that, there are a lot of substance abuse resources I can connect you with.
Mr. Mazurka: I don't know what you're talking about. But I've got to go.
Dr. Balis: Bye Joe. See you next week.
Mr. Mazurka: Yeah bye.
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