Psychiatric Evaluations of The Problematics - Chapter 3
Coughing up a dry laugh at the slap, River nodded. This was an honest man, he wouldn’t say something he doesn’t think. At least one guy less to bother with, but he’ll be quite useful if he wants to participate.
River bit his lip, assumed a relaxed pose, and proclaimed that he needs to clean up the office.
Before he could even move, Christopher was ahead of him. When he came to the office, he smiled and slammed the door in his face.
”Um, Daria, Leeroy…what’s he doing?” River asked quizzically. He thought that was his initiation. Why did Harris enter instead?
They looked at him like a birdbrain. ”Because it’s his job to clean up the place. He doesn’t want you to bother with all that. Also, did you know that your job placement was decided three weeks ago?” River shook his head in denial.
”Well, the first to know was Chris. It seems that he was a little enthusiastic and dug up some things about you. Your published papers, asylum files, et cetera. He also asked around, just so we know what kind of a person is coming to boss us around. In the end, he came disgruntled.” Daria’s lips tilted upward while saying this.
”He found no black spots except your house-burning, none at all. Everyone was praising you, no bad word about you. Not even one. At that time, he lied slumped on the sofa, and grumbled how you are too suspicious.”
”Did it occur to you that you should tell him to stop? Now everything that he’s done seems fake. I feel weird.” Leeroy giggled and shrugged.
”What are you laughing for, Dawn? Answer the head.” This froze the good mood going in the office. Michael was sitting in his cubicle and looked in their direction, highly unamused.
”In my opinion, that janitor has not enough work to do and has a higher opinion of himself than he should. He’s a janitor, for God’s sake. Lazy people…” He seemed ticked off, like they mentioned a druggie.
River turned to him, his hands spread and palms open. ”Please, Michael, don’t speak like that. Negative attitude will not help our patients. He is still an employee in IMHM, just like you. In fact, his positive outlook on life will probably come in handy at one point, you never know.”
Being chided like that, Michael’s face burned. He turned back to his papers, and shut his mouth.
Daria sneered, ”River, you told him good. Someone would have done the same anyway, but coming from a boss, that must’ve burned him, especially since he’s been thinking how to suck up to you.” River glanced at his office, and saw Christopher peeking through the blinds.
After being caught, Christopher just winked and disappeared again. It seems that the office wasn’t soundproof. That would have to be fixed soon.
”Daria, sour grape, don’t worry, I have plans for him.” River smiled and turned to Leeroy, ”If we have any paperwork, give it to me to familiarise with it. That will be one of my jobs in the long run.” He chatted with Leeroy as they walked to Leeroy’s cubicle.
Daria was standing rooted to the spot. Sour grape? Her? Even Leeroy chuckled. She blushed and whispered, ”A faker telling me I’m a sour grape, what have I fallen to? Really a crazy person.”
Couple of hours later, River and Leeroy went through all the paperwork and Christopher cleaned up the office, even painting over the graffiti. His excuse? He was too lazy to wash them off.
Daria put on some music and hummed along. She had no intention to help, but she did go buy a bag of bagels for them to eat while working.
Swaggering in his overalls, when Harris finished he grabbed one and left to his ‘den’, what he called the janitor’s room.
River decided to follow so he could ask him about his snooping around. Christopher noticed, but paid him no mind, leaving the door open. River entered and saw that the room was clean, there was an old sofa in the corner, all of the cleaning supplies were systematically arranged, on the other side of the room, at that.
”Say, newb. What do you think psychiatrists do?” Stopping at this question, River stayed quiet, thinking.
After a bit of pondering he answered with nonchalance, but he didn’t know if this will do him any good, ”Psychiatrist will look over your previous medical record and other relevant information, extract as much objective informations from the patient, pay attention to his behaviour, and in the end, give or propose an appropriate treatment. This might be psychotherapy or medicines, or even just some yoga sessions. Not every patient is as severe as people assume when they mention a psychiatrist. They deal with the beginning stages of any possible disease of the mind.”
Nodding, Christopher asked again, ”And what does a psychotherapist do?” He gestured for River to sit on the sofa as he asked.
River followed his suggestion and answered smoothly, ”A psychotherapist digs into his patient’s mind. Despite seeming harmless to most, they venture the deepest into our minds and hearts. If they wanted, they could manipulate us like puppets on a string. Reversed psychology or putting us into a box with other people, they tell us what to say and do for our good. Some even push their patients over the edge into the abyss, thinking that it’s the only way for them to heal.”
Christopher was slowly sipping his water while listening. Seeing that River wasn’t going to continue, he put his glass down and sighed. He sat next to River and looked at the ceiling.
”And which one are you?” Although quiet, at this point, his voice was louder than a trumpet in River’s ears.
Like hypnotised, he uttered what he thought, ”I’m the worst of psychotherapists you’ve ever met.”
Immediately realising what happened he got up to leave, but Christopher’s leg barred his path, and he got pushed back on the sofa. He snaked over him, pressing him against the back of the sofa.
River started breathing rapidly, his bile rising up. For some reason, he felt terrified. ”Calling yourself the worst psychotherapist ever… I’ve seen much worse. You know, the battlefield isn’t a nice place to be, whether in air or the ground.” He blinked, his dark blue eyes flashing silver.
”I’ve followed you, newb. All of the good and none of the bad they talk.” His teeth weren’t white anymore, but copper red. ”You’ll need to learn to lie, Reev. Or we won’t be able to fool them all.”
River struggled and got up with force. Before he could yell for help, his throat got squeezed. ”Devils like us keep each other company, Reev. Now, let me see your real form.” He let go and gestured towards the River’s heart, as if wanting to gouge it out.
But silence ensued, nothing happened. River didn’t dare move from fright. He smelled danger. And then, Christopher went back to his human form.
”What, so you’re not a devil? What a waste of time… Why do you smell like one that much?”
River looked at the man shorter than him by 10 centimeters, his dark blue eyes, white teeth, straight nose, full, pale lips and chiselled face. No blemishes could be found.
He hadn’t noticed until now. As he thought this, the light in his eyes disappeared. A dull ‘thud’ could be heard in the room.
”Well, he fainted on me. Probably never seen a devil before. I might have surprised him a bit.” Saying this, Christopher’s face seemed concerned with a trace of amusement.
”Well, let’s get him settled on the sofa and tell others he fell asleep. They all had the same experience, after all. My sofa is really comfortable, ain’t it?” Patting River’s blank face, he strode out of the room.
Good night, River.