The Web. Chapter10

We learn more.


CHAPTER 10

OXFORD

Suzanne sat looking at the two men as they played their game of chess. They were alike in many ways and yet politically they were diametrically opposed. They never talked politics it only meant that carefully orchestrated evenings like this ended in acrimony.
“Either of you want coffee?”
“Yes, please,” Stanz said.
“Josh?”
“Not for me, it’s a bit too late and it keeps me awake.”
Stanz looked at I’Anson and raised an eyebrow.
“And while I would normally love to stay awake all night, I have to be up and out of here at the crack of dawn.”
“He’s going to Japan.”
“What for? You must be insane. There is nothing but computer chips and rice in Japan.”
“There’s money to be made in Japan.”
“Money. That’s all you think of. You don’t have enough money with your billions?”
“I think he has a little geisha over there.”
“Do they have geisha boys?”
“Peter!”
“I’m sorry am I being indelicate?”
“If they did,” I’Anson said after a moment’s consideration, “Would they not be geisho?”
“There you have me, my Japanese leaves something to be desired.”
“This conversation is not worthy of my participation I am going to make coffee.” Suzanne left them and headed for the kitchen. He felt weary and more than a little frustrated. The mental block that John Malcolm had for whatever reason erected between his past and present seemed intractable no matter what they tried, and he knew that Malcolm was becoming as frustrated with things as he was. The dreams that had plagued him over the period he’d been in the clinic were the worst ever according to him. Sometimes he wouldn’t even write them down.
“Penny for them.”
Suzanne turned quickly as he felt Stanz’ hands on his shoulders. He moved away.
“Peter, you startled me.”
“Obviously.”
Suzanne scooped instant coffee in to two cups.
“We used to at least be able to touch, you and I. Has he become so jealous in his old age?”
“No. It isn’t just that.”
Stanz leant back against the wall his arms folded across his chest. “So, what is the problem?”
“Your favourite author.”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“He has a mental block that’s decaying dangerously. He needs to get behind it and clear it out, but we can’t get further back than he’s eight years old, well slightly before then. Wednesday, February tenth nineteen sixty-four.”
“This is not a physical barrier through brain damage?”
“No.”
Stanz smiled. “You want me to take a look at him?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Not worried that I would succeed where you have failed?”
Suzanne turned angrily to make the coffee. “Grow up!” he snapped. “It has nothing to do with professional jealousy.”
“Then what does it have to do with?”
“It has to do with Joshua going to Japan knowing that I would be working closely with you.”
Stanz looked pleased and smiled. “Would he have anything to worry about?”
Suzanne looked at him coldly. “Not as far as I’m concerned.”
“Do you want my help or not, Julie?”
“You know that I do.”
“Then we don’t tell Joshua.”
Suzanne looked sad. He told Joshua everything.
“I will drop by the clinic tomorrow morning, you can fill me in on the case and I will interview the patient.”
“O.K.” He picked up the two coffee cups, started to hand one to Stanz and then changed his mind. “You know that I wouldn’t do this if I wasn’t desperate.”
“Your patients always did come first. Who knows what personal happiness you might have found if that had not been the case.”
“I’m happy enough thank you Peter.”
“And to make sure you stay that way, I will make out that I have been to your bathroom.” He smiled and held the door open for Suzanne.
“Thank you.”
“What time do you want me to come to the clinic?”
“Around ten.”
“I think that I can manage that.”
“I am grateful, Peter.”
“I hope I will do something for you to be grateful for.”

 

***

 

Stanz was nothing if not punctual. At ten o’clock exactly he presented himself at Suzanne’s office, all smiles and ready to show the younger man how the job should be done.
He listened carefully and politely as Suzanne briefed him on Malcolm’s case and then he asked; “You always conduct the session here?”
“Yes.”
“He has his own room though?”
“Yes.”
“Then I will interview him there.”
“As you wish.”
“You say that you have tried drugs, I may have something that might help. It’s fairly new but we have had some good results in Europe.”
“I think our friend is getting to the stage where he will try anything.”
“This writing he did, you think that in his childhood he spoke the language?”
“That’s the only way I have of explaining it.”
Stanz looked at him. “You really have changed, Julie.”
“Peter do me a big one huh?”
“Don’t call you Julie. Old habits die hard, but I will try.”
“Not just that.”
Stanz looked puzzled. “I can’t even elude to that time? I can understand your anger at my actually mentioning that I had seen Chaim but is it all such a bad memory?”
“Yes. It’s over. I don’t even want to think about it again. I have a life that doesn’t include being some one’s lab rat. I don’t have to jump through the hoops anymore and by Christ, Peter, I never intend to do that again.”
“Then I shall keep a tight watch on what I say.”
“Do you want to see him now?”
“Yes, I think so.”
Suzanne stood and together they went down to Malcolm’s room.
“Do you want me to stay?”
“That will not be necessary, I think.”
“As you wish.”
“My methods are quite different yours Julian, it will only confuse the man to have both of us there.”
“Yes.”
“I will come back to your office when I have finished with the patient.”
Suzanne smiled stiffly, then knocked on Malcolm’s door. His smile became more genuine. “Hello, John.”
“Hello.”
“You remember professor Stanz.”
“My fan.”
“How are you feeling, John?”
“Not bad. I slept but that was with tablets.”
“I see. Well, as you know, Dr. Suzanne has asked me to have a little chat with you to see if we can’t help you out a little. May I sit down?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I’ll see you later, “Suzanne said.
Stanz sat back and undid his tweed jacket. “Now then, John, let’s talk you and I.”

Stanz looked unhappy. He said; “I would like to read that Italian he wrote.”
“Of course. What do you think?”
“Did he say that he had not been hypnotised before?”
“I believe he said that as far as he knew he had not been. You think he has?”
“It’s possible.”
“At eight years old? Who could possibly do such a thing?”
“Perhaps he has some secret that someone doesn’t want anyone to know about. Perhaps his real father did it.”
“But for what purpose?”
“We shall have to wait and see if we can get around the block and see what the secret is.”.
“Do you think that you’ll be able to get around it?”
Stanz smiled. “I will give it my very best shot.”
“I am grateful, Peter. If I seem a little, I dunno, distant…I just wish that you hadn’t mentioned Weissler. Just thinking about that time, what we did.”
“You did nothing that you should be sorry for. You hurt no one.”
“I hurt myself.”
“Then I’m sorry. Let’s just forget about it.”
Suzanne smiled weakly. “Easier said than done for me.” He seemed suddenly to shift his thoughts back to his patient. “When will you try with Malcolm?”
“This afternoon, I think.”
“Will you want me around?”
“He is not a baby to have his hand held.”
“No.”
“But, of course, if you wish to be there I would not object.”
“Oh, I think we would just get in each other’s way, don’t you?”
“Probably. I am not sure that you thoroughly approve of my techniques.”
“It isn’t a matter of approval or disapproval, we do things differently. I still owe what I am to you, the job I’m able to do. You taught me what I know, Peter and that means that you taught me how to change and adapt.”
“True. I never expected you to stick rigidly to my way of doing things. You have a much more clinical approach than I do.”
Suzanne looked down at his hands. “Maybe I care more for the outcome than the person.”
“That I doubt.”
“It’s possible. I was always a cold fish.”
“And you have not mellowed with age?”
“Not really.”
“Would you like to buy me lunch?”
“Love to.”
“But not here, please, not here.”

critique and comments welcome.

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