I will once again flag this as NSFW (Not Suitable For Work). Sam is a very creative writer – Simon

CHAPTER 15

That championship therapy session

Dr. Emma Everly Hancock never realized that house hunting was such hard work.

Then again, as she wrote in her diary “I moved in with Mitchell, then my folks, then back to Columbus with Mitchell and then to Boston where everything was done for me by others. Thank god for realtors.”

And the realtor was thanking god for Dr. Hancock, because despite all the glowing media reports and politicians saying the housing market ‘had bounced back’, the realtor knew better.

“The housing market stinks,” he had told Dr. Hancock.  “You have cash… you are pre-qualified. I guess I should be asking you the best way to start is with this question. What don’t you want?”

“I don’t understand?”

“Dr. Hancock, you could buy any house you want in the greater Boston area. You want to live on the beach–you can afford that. You want to live in a gated community–you can afford that. Want a fancy condo or townhouse in an exclusive Boston address–you can afford that. Want a country estate–you can afford that,” the realtor pointed out.

“I went through the listings and prices on those houses, and they looked way too large for my taste,” she said.

“The listing prices are all hocus-pocus in this market, Doctor.  Here let me show you,” he said, as he slid his chair over to where she was sitting and opened his laptop to the current listings.

He scrolled through the images and came to a huge house on the ocean in Newburyport, Massachusetts. “Like it?”

“Everything but the price,” she said.

“You can get this house for one third of the asking price, because the owners got divorced, moved out, and stopped paying the mortgage months ago. The bank will accept a short sale and the owners are willing to split the remaining debt,” he said.

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“Oh,” said Emma, not knowing what a ‘short sale’ was.  “Why not list it for what they will accept?”

“Doctor, this is a commission based business,” said the broker.

It’s always about the money, she wrote in her diary. Why do I forget that?

Lucky Emma never had to sweat a penny from the time she was born until the time Mitchell left her. When Charles Craig Curtis explained what it was like to live on the edge financially Emma’s response was a simple but understandable “Who knew?”

Emma spent the entire weekend looking for a house that was affordable, didn’t need any work, was located in a community with great public schools, a community not too far from Moise Pipecks, a community with green space where she could take walks with the girls, a nice yard with a garden, a front porch, and she wanted a neighborhood that had other children in it for her girls to meet and play with.

I want to watch the new neighborhood grow up, she wrote in her diary.

“I have a great house in Belmont that fits those wants, Dr. Hancock,” the realtor said.

“Sorry, too many Mormons live in Belmont,” she said.

The realtor stared at her-stunned.

“Just kidding,” she said.

She found what she was looking for at 9 Earle Road in Wellesley.  When she started looking around the town, she was afraid that it being a college town, she wouldn’t find what she wanted for her girls and herself.

Then I remembered it was a Wellesley college town, she wrote in her diary.

Wellesley College is an all women liberal arts school that costs $55,914.00 per year.

Emma bought the house, and decided to let her daughters stay another week with her parents while she made the move and put the new house in order. She even bought a Siamese cat and named her Rhama before she had her spaded. The cat meowed all the time and had the bluest eyes Emma had ever seen on any living creature.

Emma had a ball buying some new furniture, hanging pictures, and putting away everything.  She really started to enjoy being a cat owner. She loved when Rhama would jump up on her lap and start kneading her claws to get comfortable.

She also noticed that the cat could, just as quickly be aloof as it could be cuddly.

 

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Cats are like women and dogs are like men, she wrote in her diary. (No surprise there), she added.

Emma Hancock was so into getting the house ready, she started to slack off on her duties as a bar owner.

I have to get my routines down pat, she wrote in her diary.

She also made plans to go into Moise Pipecks first thing the next morning.

When she woke up and walked out the door, Rhama had left her a present and was meowing away bragging about it.

Rhama had caught, killed, and gutted a pretty big mouse.

“Yuck,” Emma said as she went to the kitchen closet to get a broom and dust pan.

Do I scold the cat? She asked herself.

“Just doing your job, Rhama,” Emma said as she dumped the dead mouse remains into a plastic bag which she then dropped into a garbage can in the garage.

“That reminds me,” she said out loud “I wonder when the garbage gets picked up?”

She asked one of her neighbors who she had first met when the moving van arrived and the older woman introduced herself.

“Fridays, Dr. Hancock.  Where do you think they take it?” she oddly asked Emma. Emma shrugged her shoulders.  I don’t care where they take it or what they do with it,” she later wrote in her diary.

///

She had an appointment with one of her patients and then she was going to spend the rest of the day doing what a bar owner had to do.

And since, she had been super busy looking at houses and then buying one and moving, she knew she was way behind.

But, she also learned she had a staff that she could trust, because things at the bar seemed to be flowing well.

After all, as she wrote in her diary the money is being deposited into the bars’ checking account.

 

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But there were a lot more things to running a bar than trusting your help and having money deposited into a checking account.

As she was driving to the bar, she started thinking about not only her upcoming appointment, but of the one she was eagerly waiting on — Charles Craig Curtis.

I am really going to have to concentrate… he’s so good looking and famous to boot, she thought as she pulled into the parking lot of Moise Pipecks.

“I wonder if he thinks I’m attractive?” she muttered as she grabbed her two briefcases; one for the bar and one for her patients.

Now that’s something I shouldn’t be thinking, she thought.

Or should I? as she wrote in her diary later that night.

Dr. Emma Hancock knew psychiatry backwards and forwards.  She knew a little about investing money. She knew absolutely nothing at all about being a bar owner.

But she was lucky. Boston was a college town with oodles of students who needed quick work that brought them a decent amount of money, so they could not only afford college, but also the cost of living that went with living in a college town.

Boston, Massachusetts wasn’t as bad as New York City, but it was close.

The college students worked hard and were very eager to see Moise Pipecks succeed, because they needed it to.

And they liked Dr. Hancock.

And they liked the atmosphere she was in the process of creating.

Emma went into the cramped office where her day shift manager, Jeff was waiting for her.

They exchanged positive greetings, and then Emma asked what was on their agenda?

“Payroll, beer orders, food orders, entertainment bookings, the men’s room urinal is broken, the ladies’ room toilet needs a new wax seal, the draft system is out of CO2, Direct TV raised their price on the NFL Network, the health inspector has a list of 10 things that have to be completed in 30 days, and we need to ban a few unruly patrons,” Jeff, the day shift manager said.

“That’s all?” Emma said with a laugh.  “Let’s get started. Hold my hand and walk me through everything, so then I’ll know how it works,” she said confidently.

“No problem, Dr. Hancock.” Jeff said with a smile.

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“Does this repeat itself at night?” Emma asked.

“All the time. You’ll have to talk to Tiffany about the ins and outs.

Tiffany was Moise Pipeck’s night manager.

It took most of the morning for Emma to learn, but learn she did. She had a tough time with her first four patients of the day for various reasons, but she was hoping that Charles Craig Curtis would break that streak when she saw him.

///

Charles was having a bad first few days after returning home from New York City.

Gary Harte had been badgering him non-stop about sending him his drafts, outlines, and illustration ideas.

He dealt with this anxiety by constantly badgering his children with texts and phone calls and walking Max.

But he knew he was badgering them to keep his mind off the fact that he had nothing to offer Gary.

Then he felt guilty and sent all his kids a nice check, but nothing at all to Gary. “At least I can write a check,” he barked to Max; who could care less about writing and a lot about walking.

They all called him and thanked him and told him that they loved him and to stop feeling so guilty, but if he did — keep sending the checks.

Then Lucy got in touch with him and started badgering him about coming to Boston.

Thinking of Lucy made him think of Anne and that made him melancholy because Anne totally dominated the seduction process.

“No Buffalo Springfield and no Modigliani,” he spat out.

Amedeo Modigliani was a Jewish-Italian painter and sculptor who resided in Paris in the early 20th century. His works ere famous for mask-like forms and elongation of figures. He died from tubercular meningitis. But Charles, like all of Modigliani’s fans knew his death was more from drug abuse, alcohol abuse, overworking himself, and living in extreme poverty.

Buffalo Springfield was Charles favorite folk-rock band.

 

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Formed in 1966 by Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, and Jim Messina — this was one of the first North American bands to become very popular while the “British Invasion” was in full swing. The band played folk, rock, psychedelic, and root music. Charles’ favorite album that he played was ‘Buffalo Springfield Again’.

Months ago, while out walking Max, Charles thought about Amedeo and why he liked his works.

Modigliani had to earn his reputation and never really was recognized as one of the great ones until after his death. He had to fight for every bit of everything he did, not only because of his bad health but also his partying. But the faces he painted. The angles. His colors and most importantly, his ability to paint ordinary people and make them appear so extraordinary he mused as he walked at a brisk pace.

He came back from the walk and went to his computer and started to look up pictures of Modigliani’s works. After a while, he went to his emails to catch up on both reading and answering them.  Once he saw that he had received a bunch of emails from Lucy and Gary he went right to Facebook; ignoring the emails sent to him by Lucy and Gary.

He quickly bored of the social network, which hadn’t happened in a very long time and he decided to listen to his favorite band.

“Can’t remember when Facebook stalking bored me,” he said to Max as he popped Buffalo Springfield into the DVD slot in the PC tower and listened to a few songs. This wasn’t stimulating him and the idea of listening to the band while making Max aroused his hormones and he quickly popped it out and inserted it in his old fashioned Walkman that he had purchased state of the art headphones for.  He was in love with this Walkman, because no matter how fast he walked or jogged or was tugged by Max, it never skipped.

Charles and Max bounded of their home and into the old style beauty of their Back Bay neighborhood.

Charles and Max walked the neighborhood a lot. Everyone knew him by appearance, not by his new found celebrity status as the famous author of a bestselling children’s book. They knew him as the middle aged dude with the personable golden retriever.  There were all sorts of nods and waves as Charles and Max enjoyed their walk.

Charles liked being known, but not found out.

They walked a few blocks and were detoured by road crews tearing up more streets that Charles could have sworn were just tore up a few years ago.  Charles had never

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gone the way that the detour was pointing and looked forward to it. After all, he had great music blaring in his ears and Max just loved being walked.

Suddenly Max stopped and Charles’ right arm was almost yanked out of its socket.

Max had found a place to take a dump and of course Charles was prepared. He hated the dog owners who let their dogs crap all over his front stoop despite signs everywhere informing such shitters that there was a fine for such behavior.

How can they enforce it? He thought as he cleaned up the doo-doo one day on his front step. Imagine the man power needed? Imagine the clerks? Imagine how much our taxes would go up to build such a local government agency.

Now Charles produced his little plastic bag that he kept from the grocery store and using it as a glove — picked up Max’s poop and tossed it in the nearest trash can.

“This is one thing I do not need reading glasses for,” he said quietly.

Suddenly, he felt a hand tap him on the shoulder. He looked at Max, who was not acting defensive and turned toward the tapper while taking out his ear plugs.

“I want to thank you for curbing your dog,” the stranger said to Charles before Charles had turned to face him. “By the way, do you know what ‘curb your dog’ really means and where it started?” the stranger asked him as he pointed to a ‘curb your dog’ sign posted on a lamppost.

“Pick up the poop,” Charles said.

“It means put your dog poop in the gutter — comes from New York City in the 1930’s,” the man pointed out.

“Gutters and New York City go hand and hand,” Charles said as he put his ear plugs back in and strolled away thinking somehow I have to use that in my new book. He stopped and looked around for a store that would have a pen or pencil and some paper to jot the thought down with. The only place he could find was a head shop.

A head shop is a retail place that people can buy recreational drug paraphernalia in.

“Definitely be paper in here,” Charles said to Max as he tied him to a lamppost and entered. Charles was being sarcastic about the paper. He knew, at the worst, he could buy a small package of marijuana rolling papers and use one sheet for the thought the stranger had given him (Of course, it was Anne who educated him about rolling papers back in the day, as they say).

He was waiting in line, when he spied a weekly entertainment tabloid that had

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headlines screaming out about an arts festival being held for local painters. There were to be two categories. One for a copy of Modigliani and another one for inspiration by Modigliani. Charles looked, fumbled around for his reading glasses, and realized he hadn’t taken them with him.

Who takes reading glasses on a dog walk? He thought.  He grabbed the paper and waited patiently in line. He figured on using the margins for notes he wanted to make about the stranger’s remarks Charles never brought a wallet or any credit cards with him when he walked Max. Just his license with a $20 bill wrapped around it and kept in place with an elastic band.

The line moved a lot quicker than a bank, a supermarket check-out, and of course any department of motor vehicles.

They know what they want here, he mused, as he asked the clerk if there were any reading glasses around that he could borrow.

The clerk laughed and pointed to a kiosk right behind him. Sure enough, the store carried reading glasses… modeled after the one that John Lennon of  the ‘Beatles’ fame had made popular back in the 1960’s.

Charles bought the pair and started reading about the festival. The story continued on the back of the page, and when Charles turned the tabloid over, right next to the story on the festival was an advertisement for a ‘Buffalo Springfield’ tribute band.

It’s the day after tomorrow, he realized and mouthed a thank you to whoever was looking after him and rewarding him with such booty.

He retrieved Max and happily finished his walk — totally forgetting what he went into the head shop for in the first place. Maybe it is a sign telling me why I can’t write, he thought.

When he got home, he felt energized and went back to the social network to find another date, and to set up another book signing to go with that date.

As he searched, sent messages and posted blurbs on people’s walls, he realized that he had one free day coming up that would allow him to go, and he could fill a lot of time up with the arts festival, and, then, later that night go see the tribute band. He also could kill time by thinking about his upcoming visit to see Dr. Hancock on Friday.

A gift from the god’s of understanding writer’s block. I wonder if she has a Facebook page; he suddenly mused as he searched, and to his dismay came up with no Emma Everly Hancock on Facebook.

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“I now have zero days in this week to not write, not write, and not write some more,” he said to Max when his phone texting tone went off. He grabbed his phone plunked his new John Lennon reading glasses down from the top of his head and instantly smiled.

It was from one of the women in his past that lived in upstate Maine.  He had been trying to contact her for months, because she was the first female he had slept with after Anne Snowe.

Her text read: “I’m so happy for your career and happy you have reached out. I’m now officially divorced. Let’s get together real soon.”

“Sooner than you think,” Charles said to the phone as he returned to the computer and went from Facebook to his email account, because he had a long message to send her that would be totally inappropriate for a return text message — not because it would be crude, but because it would be long. Charles Craig Curtis had a lot to write about when it meant getting laid, just not when it meant getting paid.

///

Friday was upon them both rather quickly. Emma knew that the busier she was the quicker time flew by.

Charles could never figure out how his time flew by when he was doing absolutely no writing whatsoever.

And that was pissing off Gary Harte, and Charles knew if he couldn’t muster up a few pages soon, he was in trouble.

“I really can’t influence myself right now,” he said dejectedly as he drove to his first therapy session.

Charles thought about hailing a cab for the short ride from 250 Beacon Street to Moise Pipecks and then decided to drive his car.

After all, he reasoned — he hadn’t driven it in a long time.

Charles had always driven whatever car he could scrape enough money together to keep on the road.

“If Dad would have kept all those clunkers he had owned over the years, he would have broken the back of the federal government‘s ‘cash for clunkers’ program when he turned them all in,” his oldest son had toasted at the Thanksgiving after Charles Craig Curtis became rich with the phenomenal success of his last book.

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And with the money earned, Charles treated himself to the perfect vehicle for a libertarian minded single now famous author living in Boston.

A Volvo.

Of course, he bought the most expensive one he could and helped his children all buy brand new cars, too.

Why not?

He could afford it and best of all he could remember when he couldn’t afford things like a brand new car.

“Never forget where you came from,” his father always told him.

“Because if you do, you get lost,” his mother always added.

Charles didn’t drive that much. He didn’t have to. He lived in Boston, which had a fabulous mass transit system. And, if he didn’t like the trolley schedule he could take a bus or (yikes) a cab. More often than not, he walked wherever he needed to go. Now that he was wanted — people who wanted him… sent a limousine.

But Charles Craig Curtis didn’t drive that much in Boston because he hated traffic and the way that people drove in the greater Boston area.

“Madness,” Gary Harte had called it.

“Fucking ‘pain in the ass’ madness,” Charles had agreed after they had been cut off by a man driving a Jaguar — who flipped them off as they were both exiting the Callahan Tunnel, and the Jaguar driver wanted to get in front of Charles’ car to speed up his entry and exit into and from the toll booth.

“And, you think New York City is worse?” Gary asked.

“It is,” answered Charles.

But not when it came to drivers getting around the core city (even Charles Craig Curtis knew this. But as a loyal Bostonian he would never admit it to anyone from New York City).

New York City was grid like. Easy to go east to west and north to south.

Boston was impossible to go east to west and north to south. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t go in any direction with any ease whatsoever.

 

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“The term one percent and ninety-nine percent didn’t begin with the Occupy Wall Street folk,” Charles had texted his daughter one night after a horrendous commute that he had experienced when he took one of his infrequent drives to have dinner with a friend at The Wayside Inn. “Ninety-nine percent of the people who live and drive in this city DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE and only one percent do!”

“Dad, be on the offensive, not the defensive,” his oldest son had told him once.

“Why not? Everyone else is….” his youngest son added.

So Charles took their advice and started being a more aggressive driver in a city of aggressive drivers.

It didn’t work. Within a month he was in 4 accidents… all of them his fault.

He went back to being an over cautious driver and noticed his stress level diminished and he felt much calmer when driving.

He checked the time on his cell phone and drove off for his first therapy session. He was going to be 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time, because his parents advised it.

When your 15 minutes early in Boston traffic, the person you’re going to see knows you care, he mused.

Charles Craig Curtis arrived and bounded up the stairs for his first therapy session with Dr. Emma Everly Hancock who was going to be at least 15 minutes late for their first appointment.

“Why is that?” Charles asked the day manager who had informed him of this.

“She is always late. She has two young daughters who are involved in everything. They make her late,” the manager informed Charles.

Charles knew this was a fact. Every parent who was involved with their children, at any age (but especially young ages), was always running behind schedule. He thanked the manager and started strolling around the room where he would be talking to Emma.  He pretended to be looking at the books that were on the shelves, but he really was debating with himself if he should lie on the couch or sit in a chair. He was about to try sitting on the floor ‘Indian style’, as they say when his thought process was interrupted by Dr. Hancock announcing her arrival and apologizing for being behind schedule.

“Because of your daughters?” Charles asked slyly.

 

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“How did you know?” Emma asked him.

“Your manager told me. I can relate. My children were young once too,” Charles offered.

Dr. Hancock motioned for him to sit on the couch.

“That answers that,” Charles said.

“Answers what?” Emma replied.

“I was debating if I should take the couch or the chair. But before I made a decision, I was going to sit on the floor ‘Indian style’,” he said.

“Whatever you prefer,” she said.

“I’ll sit on the couch and lay down if I feel like it,” he said wondering how she guessed he was thinking about sitting on the floor.

“Where shall we start?” she asked. “By the way, lying down in therapy sessions doesn’t happen much anymore, but I have a funny feeling you will be the exception.”

“Your fee,” Charles answered.  Bet Woody Allen made lying down passé,” he thought.

“$250 per hour,” she said confidently.

“That’s more than my lawyer charges,” he shot back.

“I’m better than an attorney, and I’ll throw in unlimited texting,” she said.

“Deal,” he said as he held out his hand.

They shook on it, as they say.

Writers are terrible at negotiations, Emma wrote in her diary.

“Psychiatrists are terrible at negotiations,” he texted his daughter.

“Why?” she texted back.

“I would have paid a lot more. I can afford it,” he texted. “But she went first with the price and that price was okay with me.”

///

“In regard to texting, Charles, I have some rules,” Dr. Hancock said as she was surprised to see him lie on his back on the couch.  “Comfortable?”

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“I wouldn’t be doing this if I were not, Doc,” he said.  “Can I call you Doc?”

She nodded. “As I was saying you’re a damn fine writer. I expect you to text me in full vocabulary,” she stated sternly. “Are you familiar with short hand texting or abbreviation texting?” Emma asked her newest patient.

“No, I spell it all out and it drives my agent’s secretary and a few others, who like one word texting, nuts. But I’m not up on this abbreviated texting like I think I should be,” he said.

“Who is your agent?” Dr. Hancock asked him.

“Gary Harte,” said Charles.

The Gary Hart! The senator? The one that received a lap dance from Donna Rice? The man who might have been President?” Emma said.

“You know your Gary Hart trivia Doc,” Charles pointed out. “But mine is spelled H a r t e.”

“Oh,” she replied.  “I was wondering whatever happened to him.”

“Google him.”

“It’s not that important,” Emma said.   “The two most annoying abbreviated texts I have ever seen are ‘idk’ and ‘smh’,” she said.

“I have never seen them. What do they stand for?” Charles asked.

“Small idk stands for ‘I don’t know’.  Small smh stands for ‘shaking my head’,” Dr. Hancock said with a laugh.

In my present state of mind, when it comes to writing, ‘idk’ and ‘smh’ are more than I can come up with, he thought. “Don’t worry, when I text you it will be fully written out. You can penalize me if I don’t,” he said.

“How can I do that?” she asked.

“Charge me $5 a character,” he said with a wave of his hand.

Oh boy, she thought.  Trying to impress me with the money thing.

And Charles Craig Curtis wasn’t trying to impress Dr. Emma Everly Hancock. That wasn’t his style. He really thought that he should be fined if he strayed from full texting.

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“Now that the preliminaries are over, is your cell phone on?” She asked him.

“Yes,” he said.

“Please turn it off,” she said.

Charles fumbled for his reading glasses and then did as he was told. “Thank you for asking me to do so,” he muttered.

“Why are you thanking me?”

“Don’t get me wrong, Doc. Technology is something I look forward to. It’s the lack of etiquette accompanying iPhone use that is starting to annoy me,” Charles said.

“What is your definition of ‘etiquette’?” she asked him.

“If I give the right answer can we set a date for my appearance here and then go into my session?”

“We’ll set the date after your session. I’m the boss,” she reminded him.

Charles liked that.

“Besides the obvious — like cell phones or iPhones being talked into or texted at the movies or in a car… what are your peeves?” she asked him.

“Lines,” he replied.

She cocked her head in a way that he not only thought made her look gorgeous, but, of course, didn’t quite grasp what his one line reply meant.

“Lines are bad enough at the grocery store or the bank, but when people are jabbering away on their phone or texting they not only turn me off with what they are saying, but they hold up the lines that much more,” he said.

“I bank on-line and have a nanny do all my shopping,” she said.

“Oh, a one-percenter,” he said sarcastically.

“Look at who is talking,” she reminded him.

“It’s funny that all the gadgets get us in touch with one another, yet we all seem so much farther apart,” Charles said.

“With that thought, let us begin your first session,” Emma said.

“You go first,” Charles said.

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“I just did,” Emma said.

Charles faked a cough and asked for a glass of water. He was stalling, which he was becoming an expert at. Emma got up and went to the bar and got Charles a glass of water. She handed it to him. “If you say ‘more ice’, you’re own your own.”

Charles gave a nervous laugh and cursed to himself. He was going to ask just that.

“Charles.  My philosophy is very simple. One word. Would you like to know what the word is?”

Charles nodded.

“Honesty.”

“That’s a scary word for me right now, Doc,” Charles admitted.

“You just got honest,” she pointed out.

“So I did?” he said as he smiled. “Honesty is a word I need to get to know better.”

“You’re the writer. Without honesty there can be no recovery. You will never get better. We will never conquer what has brought you here,” she said.

“That’s powerful,” he said.

“You bet. And guess what?” she asked him.

“What?”

“It works. So let’s start. Why are you here, Charles? What can I help you with?”

“I’m stuck,” he admitted.

“Well, let us un-stick you, then.  By the way, is ‘un-stick’ a word?” she asked him.

“It is now,” he said with a laugh.  “Honesty, right?”

Dr. Emma Everly Hancock nodded in agreement and for him to begin.

He read her nod, like people were reading his very successful novel.

“I’m stuck when it comes to writing my next novel. I have the worst case of writer’s block since writers and writing was invented,” he blurted out.

“Is something bothering you?” she asked him.

“Yes,” he replied.

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“What?”

“That I’m suffering from a severe case of writer’s block,” he said.

“I know that. I am referring to something other than the obvious,” she pointed out.

“Like what?” he asked her.

“Are you feeling heavy guilt?” she asked him.

“Not at all.”

“Are you upset with anyone or anything?” she asked him.

“Yes. Me!” he answered.

“Are you referring to your writer’s block again?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said,

“Wrong answer. I know and you know that you have writer’s block. There is something causing it and it isn’t writer’s block,” she explained.

“I just can’t write!” he screamed. “It’s your job to help me,” he pleaded.

“I am trying. Let me rephrase my questioning.  Other than writer’s block is anything bothering you?” she asked him.

“Everything is going great. My finances are the best they have ever been. My children are healthy and happy. I have a great dog. I’m finally famous. Life couldn’t be better!” he said happily.  “I do miss my folks, but I don’t miss my ex-wife.”

“We may have just found a hook or hooks,” Emma said.

“That’s a good thing, right?” Charles hoped.

“Of course. Tell me what bothers you about your ex-wife?”

“Everything,” he said.

“Are you upset that you’re divorced? Are you not dealing well with being by yourself? It’s quite an adjustment to go from being married and raising children to all of a sudden not having your companion or your children around,” Dr. Hancock said.

“How do you know about the adjusted part?”

“I read the back cover jacket of your book and I put your name in Google,” she said.

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Charles laughed, then thought I need to put her name in Google.

“I am very happy that I am divorced. I believe she is, too. She finally got some money out of me, and to tell you the truth… she deserved it. My children have all told me that we should have divorced years ago. Being divorced was a blessing for me and I have a blessing for her. Want to hear it?” he asked her.

She nodded.

“May God bless my ex-wife and keep her far away from me,” he said in a hearty tone.

“Scratch off the ex. Tell me about your parents,” she said.

“There was very little wealth on my dad’s side. It’s a funny story on how my ancestors came into it. Can I share it with you?” he asked.

“But, of course,” Emma said.

“My dad was the only male member of his family to not become a lawyer. He became a chef. The only person in the world, who was a better cook, was my mom. Anyways… the reason he didn’t become a lawyer was because his father and his grandfather were great lawyers when it came to doing the research of laws, but terrible when it came to the practice of lawyering, and they never made any real money. They did save as much as they could, and this led to my grandfather buying into a small Italian restaurant where my dad ended up being executive chef,” Charles began.

“Was he an owner in the place?” Emma asked.

“No. He sold what interest my grandfather left him to the family that bought the place, and that family has owned it ever since. Dad wanted to focus on the meal side, not the business side,” Charles said. “Plus he needed the money to buy a house, make my mom happy, and put some away for me to attend college.

“Well, I guess you must be one great cook” Emma guessed.

“No, I can’t cook to save my life. My parents did all the cooking, and I did all the eating!” Charles exclaimed.

“Spoiled rotten by your parents. Now there is something I never heard of before,” she said sarcastically.  “A Jewish mother and an Italian father spoiling their child. Who would have thought that was a possibility?”

Charles broke out into a hearty laugh and was soon joined in by Emma.

“I haven’t laughed like that in a long time,” Charles confessed.

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“Good,” replied Emma. “How about getting off this path and back to the story about the little bit of money your Dad was left with, and where it came from?”

“I’m glad you remembered where I left off. Maybe you should be a writer?” Charles said.

I am, Emma thought. But no one will ever see what I have written.

Later that night she wrote in her diary No one will ever see what has been written on these pages.

“My ancestor’s great legal research uncovered an obscure law in the old country. The law stated that creditors couldn’t take personal possessions off the bed when a woman was going to give birth. My great-grandmother was bursting with my grandfather. My great-grandfather starting yelling at her to ‘hold-on’, because he needed time to pile all their valuables on the bed. He ran around yapping about what he had discovered to all his relatives in the house who were there for the birth and they started running around and grabbing booty to pile on the bed so creditors couldn’t seize it,” Charles said.

“What a comedy scene,” Dr. Hancock said.

Charles took a sip of water. “It gets better,” he warned. “As relatives ran around the house grabbing whatever they thought was valuable, it donned on them that if they placed their own treasures on the bed, their stuff would not only be safe with my great-grandparents, but out of the reach of their own creditors. The race was on.”

“I can imagine what happened next,” Emma commented.

“It was a mad house. So many items were placed on top of the bed that not only did the bed collapse, but when my great-grandmother started giving birth — no one could see her, but they could hear her,” Charles said.

“When the creditors came to the house, my great-grandmother had just given birth and her vagina was exposed for all to see; one of the creditors reportedly looked at her privates and all the stuff around her and proclaimed ‘that’s some booty’.

Emma started to howl and chided Charles for using his writer’s imagination to make it all up to test-market the story on her.

But Charles didn’t. “It really happened,” he protested.

“How do you feel, Charles?” Dr. Hancock suddenly asked him with a serious voice.

“I feel great. This talk is helping,” he said as he sat up from the couch.

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“If I get a piece of paper and something to write with — do you think you could write?” she asked him.

“Now I don’t feel so hot,” Charles said as he fell back on the couch.

“There is a lot of time in the day and night. I don’t think you’re the type to sit in front of the PC and stare at a blank Word Document,” Dr. Hancock assumed.  “So, what do you do to fill the vacuum?”

“Do you really want to know, Doc?” he asked her.

“I told you — it is all about honesty. Be honest with me and then it will be a lot easier for you to be honest with yourself, and then we can defeat whatever is causing your writer’s block,” she said.

“Ok, Doc. Here we go… sex,” he said, and he stared right at her when he said it. He wanted to read her body language; because, he wanted to get down her pants after she cured him.

Is he testing me or trying to seduce me? she thought.  At this point, she had no interest in sleeping with Charles Craig Curtis or any of her patients. Curing him is my main priority – just like any other patient. Now after I cure him…. she wrote in her diary.

“That’s a broad statement, Charles,” Dr. Hancock pointed out. “Can you be more specific?”

“When I am not writing — which is all the time — I spend time trying to track down my children. I answer fan mail, deal with marketing issues, clean the house, take my dog for a walk, and then I realize I still have hours left that I have to occupy my mind with so I can concentrate on not trying to write,” he said.

“Don’t you have any friends?” she asked him.

“I noticed that the older I get, the less friends I have. I have acquaintances, but not friends. The funny thing is that it doesn’t bother me. But, if you would have told me in high school that I would be saying what I just said, I think I would have dropped dead,” Charles said.  “It’s so much easier staying in touch with my old friends from high school and college through the Internet.”

“I think you mean convenient,” stated Dr. Hancock.

Friends are more important to us at early ages than older ages, Emma wrote in her diary as she realized that like Charles, her friend list got smaller and smaller as she got older.

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“I do have a lot of Facebook friends,” Charles boasted (while changing the subject. After all, he wasn’t happy that he didn’t have a close friend to go to a Red Sox game, let alone to go to a bar for a drink).

“Don’t you think there is a huge difference between in person and on line?” Dr. Hancock asked him (Dr. Hancock was not a fan of Facebook).

“Not anymore,” replied Charles.  “As a matter of fact, the social network has reconnected me to my friends of yesteryear.  I know more about them and their past years just by browsing their pages and looking at their photos.  Try and get someone in real life on the phone or even in person to tell you about their past, and you will die of boredom. Somehow, by viewing them it’s more exciting.”

“To you, but not me,” Dr. Hancock said.  “I would rather talk to an old friend over the phone and reminisce. But you do get major points for being honest.”

“I guess I’m recovered then, Charles said with a wry smile. “You’re a good teacher, “By the way, I have to confess something else.”

She nodded for him to continue.

“I feel super guilty about not being ‘real’ friends with them,” he said sadly.

“Maybe that’s one of the reasons you find yourself not writing,” she pointed out. “You spend way, too much time trying to be friends with them online.”

“But I also spend a lot of time online dealing with my fans. It helps sell more books and makes for easy interaction.”

“Maybe we need to revisit your ‘sex’ comment. We only have a short time left before your session is over,” Dr. Hancock said as she pointed at the clock.

“It’s almost been an hour?  I feel like I have only been here a few seconds,” Charles said.

“That, Mr. Curtis, is the mark of a very good session,” Dr. Hancock boasted.

“Facebook comes in handy with the sex, Doc,” Charles said.

Good god, he is one of those, she thought.

He realized that he hadn’t phrased that right and immediately went on the offense.

“What I mean is that I’m not some crazed pedophile or sex nut-job in any way, shape,

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or form. I don’t sit naked in front of my computer and masturbate to pictures of my old girlfriends on Facebook. I don’t hide behind a computer. Hell, I don’t need to hide behind anything.  I use Facebook to scout out future dates, and even then, I have rules — lots of them,” Charles said.

“I see,” said Dr. Hancock.

“No, I don’t think that you do,” Charles said. “Let me explain. I just feel so awkward in explaining this, but I know I must… just thinking about what I am about to say is making me feel better.”

“That’s a good thing Charles,” Dr. Hancock said.

“I think that I am obsessed with sex as an excuse,” Charles said bluntly.  “It helps me kill the time that I should be writing with.”

“When you write, how many hours a day does it take up?” she asked him.

“A lot when things are going well.  A lot less, but still some, when things aren’t going great. Right now, with things going so bad I spend about two minutes.” he managed to say.

“Can you give it to me in terms of hours?” she asked.

“Six to nine when I’m on my game,” he said.

Good god, she thought, what does he possibly do sexually for six hours — let alone nine?

“It takes me hours to find who I want to go out with,” he stated.

That’s a relief, she thought, as the images of what Charles, let alone, any man, could do in today’s world of easy sex gave her the heebie-jeebies. “What do you mean by saying ‘to find who you want to go out with’?” she asked him.

“That’s where Facebook, instant messaging and text messaging come in so handy,” Charles said.

“You’re losing me, Charles,” Dr. Hancock said.

“I have rules, Doc,” Charles said.

“I’d like to hear them,” she said.

“Number one, I am NOT a pervert. I’m not looking at porn all the time I should be

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writing. I’m not flirting with little girls online. I’m not answering the ads for telephone sex.  However, I can see how many men, and to an extent some women, are probably getting into all sorts of tangled webs because of the Web,” he said.

“I can’t resist this, Charles. ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we tangle to deceive.’” The good doctor quoted.

“Indeed,” Charles said.

“Are you deceiving me and thus yourself?” she asked him seriously.

“Why do you say that?”

“Maybe you’re laying this out to me as a smokescreen, and what you just said is precisely what you are doing or even want to do,” she said.

Charles Craig Curtis was insulted and let Dr. Hancock know it.

“I am sorry,” she began. “But if I am to help you, I must ask all sorts of questions, listen to the answers, and then make suggestions. It hurts to dig, but it is entirely necessary,” she said reassuring him.

“Thank you. I am beginning to understand. Look, I’m here to see you, so I know I am the one who needs help. The good Lord knows I haven’t been helping myself. But I am serious about how I do — what I do with my spare time. It involves sex, and my desire to obtain it. It’s just how I go about getting my goal that is the time killer,” Charles said.

“So, tell me,” she said.

“The first thing I have to do is filter the fans from the friends, and the fans who want more than signed books, and then the friends who are my friends because of my success,” he pointed out.

“That sounds time consuming,” she said.

“It is — especially when it’s a one man show I have decided to live by,” he said.

This is another reason a lot of the literary big-shots and their entourage didn’t like Charles Craig Curtis.

///

“He is so full of himself, he won’t even hire a secretary,” one said at a meet and greet the author. “I hear he doesn’t even have a publicist,” announced a second guest. “He’ll

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never make it,” predicted a third big-shot. But the media lapped up the fact that Charles was a ‘lone-wolf.’ They enjoyed pointing out that he was accessible to anyone, anytime, anyplace. And his growing legion of fans, especially the parents (mostly mothers) were thrilled beyond belief when he personally answered their emails or messages left on his Facebook author’s page. He even answered all the old fashioned letters that he received. The comment most associated with Charles Craig Curtis was ‘his success hasn’t given him a big head.’ But at this time in his life, it was his little head that was in total domination of his big head; and he proceeded to explain that to Dr. Hancock.

“I spend a lot of time doing research, Doc,” Charles started. “Dealing with my fans eats up a good portion, and I don’t mind that one bit. After all, they are paying all my bills and then some. It is indescribable what having fans does for me. That people actually like my book, and pay money for it… and then they come to listen to me talk and read from it — it is the third most experience of my life.”

“What are number one and number two?”

“What we call going to the bathroom,” he deadpanned, and she broke out into a hearty laughter.

“My children and… that sex thing,” he said.

“Ok. I want to understand this perfectly.  You can’t write. You spend a lot of time on-line and in other manners dealing with your growing fan base. When not doing that — it’s all sex — all the time. Is that it?”

“More or less. But as I said, I have rather strict rules on who I go after to have sex with and that is the most time consuming of all,” he said.

“Tell you what, Charles. Speaking about time, ours is running out. Before you go I want to know a few more things. One, what are these so called ‘rules’. And two, what is your earliest memory about other women, excluding your mom and relatives?” the doctor asked.

“What I am about to tell you is what helps keep my newest book idea from being born, Doc,” Charles began.  My focus is on women who I have slept with in my past and are currently available.”

“You need to define ‘available’,” she said.

“They are either single, divorced, widowed, separated, or not in any other heavy duty relationship whatsoever,” he said.

“So that’s why your quest is so time consuming,” she stated.

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“Why do you say that?” he asked her.

“You must be searching forever to find women who you not only have had previous relationships with — but are available per your guidelines,” she pointed out.

“It would be easier to find and sleep with the women who I have had relationships with before and are still married. I grant you that,” he said.  “What I do is easy, fun and rewarding. It helps me forget that I can’t string together two sentences let alone one paragraph.”

“Why are you so adamant about the women having no strings attached?” she asked.  “By the way, I have to say bravo to that spirit.”

“Well thanks, Doc,” Charles said.  “I have learned a lot in my years; I keep on learning stuff, too. However, one thing I have learned and will adhere to is absolutely no screwing around with women who are in — whatever relationship that they are in. Won’t do it! Seen too many people hurt. And Doc, no one will ever say that Charles Craig Curtis ever hurt another person because of being selfish.”

“Have you been hurt by cheating?” she asked him.

“Nope. You?”

This caused Emma Everly Hancock to have a quick flashback.  Surprisingly, her mind became preoccupied with her double date of fooling around with Willie and Billie when she was brought back into the present by Charles.

“Did you hear me Doc?”

I started to wonder at that moment if, at some point I was destined to end up with Charles, she wrote in her diary.

“I said selfish, because there are a lot of women — both from my past, and fans who are married, engaged or in a relationship, and they want me in bed. They freak out when I say ‘no’. They can’t believe it, because all the other men they come on to or vice versa say ‘yes’ faster than they can undress,” Charles said.

I wonder if women and men were meant to be with only one partner or multiple partners while married when the ‘idea’ of marriage was invented, Emma wrote in her diary.

“So finding and then seducing the women of your past, to be involved in your present, is occupying the bulk of your time,” Dr. Hancock said.

“No!” Charles replied meekly. Then added the truth… “All of the time.”

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“How about your first memory of sexuality before we call it a day?”

“One of my old girlfriends used to joke that my earliest memory had to deal with my first experience at being naked, and that as soon as the nurses picked me up I probably experienced a hard-on!  Obviously, I wouldn’t know that, because I was just an infant, but I liked the original thinking. Are you familiar with Land O’ Lakes butter cartons?” Charles asked Dr. Hancock.

“The one with the little Indian girl on it,” she guessed.

“Very good, Doc.”

“Did you ever notice that the little Indian girl isn’t politically correct?” Dr. Hancock asked Charles.

“No. Not because I’m immune to the plight of the Native Americans, but because it was my first glimpse of sex,” he said.

“Don’t tell me that picture turned you on,” she said, horrified that a young boy could be so sexually aroused that even the Land O’ Lakes butter carton cover-girl turned him on.

And, to think, that I almost thought his first act of masturbation dealt with the Land O’Lakes Indian cover girl, she wrote in her diary.

“Didn’t turn me on. It was my first sexual vision. Do you use Land O’ Lakes in Moise Pipecks?” he asked.

“I think so. Why?”

“Would get the carton of the young Indian girl, and bring just that to me with a scissors and scotch tape?’ Charles asked politely.

Emma took her iPhone from her purse and texted her manager, Jeff, about the items Charles wanted. “You’re in luck we carry the butter. I’ll hurry downstairs to bring it back. This I can’t wait to see.”

When she left, Charles took the opportunity to check his iPhone. He fumbled for his reading glasses and swore at the ceiling when he read that he had both missed calls and text messages to review. “It will help me kill more time,” he said as he put the phone down, and waited for Dr. Hancock to come back. He was looking forward to showing her his sophomoric sense of humor, and answer her question honestly.

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She came back to the third floor and handed him the Land O’ Lakes butter box container, a sharp pair of scissors, and a dispenser that had clear tape in it.

Charles Craig Curtis went to a table in the center of the room (and noticed that there were two copies of his book prominently displayed in the center) and went about his work.

Charles cut out the front panel of the carton which featured a beautiful (but politically incorrect — because her skin is way, too white) Native American female kneeling down. Her knees were rounded, and the centers of her knees were red from the weight of her body. At chest level she held up a little box of Land O’ Lakes butter. Charles cut out that little box and threw it away. He then cut out the knees of the girl and placed them where the box was. He put the tape on over the knees which now looked like huge breasts where the box had been. He showed Dr. Hancock.

“Wow, the first photo crop,” she declared.

That made Charles laugh. “There you have it, Doc. My earliest memory of my sexual awakening. Of course, this has led to lots of better items as I grew older… not to mentioning giving up Land O’ Lakes Butter for organic butter,” Charles said with a sly smile.

“Like what?”

“As a teenage boy, I moved into cutting up pictures of girls and women who I wanted to have sex with and pasting their faces over naked pictures of girls from the magazines, then journeying to masturbatory heaven.”

“Did you masturbate a lot?” Dr. Hancock asked Charles Craig Curtis.

“You bet,” he said with a smile.

“I won’t ask you how many times,” she said.

I bet he whacked-off 5 to 6 times a day, she later wrote in her diary.  Dr. Hancock masturbated a few times a month, and never discouraged it with any patient or anyone else who asked her the question. She thought it was very natural and healthy. As a professional, she could never figure out why it was taboo or even made men and women feel guilty and cry about it.  But she did her best to stifle those fears if a patient brought it up.

“I have something to show you Charles,” Dr. Hancock said.

“That’s a loaded question with a man like me. By the way, are you seeing anyone?”

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Dr. Hancock ignored the question and reached into her purse and produced a dollar bill. Damn it she wrote in her diary; he beat me to it.

“Watch this,” she said as she put a dollar bill down in front of both them. She folded the dollar bill in the front so Washington’s forehead covered his entire face. It looked a dressed up circumcised penis, and she showed it to him.”

He broke out laughing and asked her where she had learned that?

“Believe it or not, from an ex-colleague at Harvard. He was always doing silly things like that.”

“I didn’t know people at the yard had any humor in them, especially the men. Did you want to sleep with him?” Charles asked.

“I’m the doctor and you are the patient. And the answer is no. I had no desire to be with him or anyone else from the faculty,” she said sternly.

Didn’t mention me, he mused.

At least I deflated his ego by not mentioning him or a man like him, she later wrote in her diary.

“I want to wrap this up, Charles,” Emma said. She cleared her throat and began.  “You need a better hobby than randomly searching for women to hop in the sack with. Once you find a hobby to replace your sexual urges, your mind will start to calm down, and your creativity will slowly but surely begin to come back to you. This is not going to be something you can do cold turkey, Charles, but will get you moving forward. I suggest that you put a time limit on when you will stop looking for sex in all the wrong places. That’s what we will focus on from now until next time.”

“I understand, but my weakness is that I have a horrible time at influencing myself nowadays,” he said.

“I was being kind when I called sex your hobby, Charles. It is really your excuse or your crutch to lean on.  Once you break that, I firmly believe you will be on your way to recovery and writing bestselling children’s books all over again. Time’s up,” she said.

“Thank you, Dr. Hancock,” Charles said as he stood up. Plunked his reading glasses down from the top of his head and took out his checkbook.

“Put it away,” Dr. Hancock ordered. “The first one is on the house on one condition.”

“Yes?”

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“In lieu of pay, you sign those two books of yours on the table for my girls, and we set up a day to do a reading and book signing here in the future… deal?”

“It’s a deal,” he said as he grasped her hand and shook it while he stared in her eyes.

It was the sexist handshake I ever experienced Dr. Hancock wrote in her diary.

///

Charles Craig Curtis was mentally fired up. He was feeling great, and he knew he had to do what Dr. Emma Everly Hancock had suggested for him to ‘move forward’ with not only his writing – but with his life.

“Besides,” he whispered to Max who was demanding more and more pats, “I want her and I can’t have her until I’m clean.”

He then went over to his computer and felt motivated to write. Of course his ritual came first.

“How come ‘careful when wet signs’ are not posted in every aisle of bookstores where Fifty Shades of Grey is sold?” he yelled out. Then he wrote.

If we call number two poop, shouldn’t number one

be called peep? Peep and poop. Poop and peep. What

funny names thought Larry Loop

(Larry Loop was going to be the little boy who walks the reader through Charles’ next children’s story).

If you missed the earlier Chapters you can find them here.

Simon Barrett

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