THE PATIENT


A drama written by Alfred Vassallo
In three (3) acts

 

© 2019 Alfred Vassallo.
This play cannot be presented without permission of the author

 

CHARACTERS

THE PSYCHIATRIST         in his late 40’s
JOHN (the patient)          in his late 20’s 

SYNOPSIS

John Brown is haunted by extreme nightmares. The only hope to cope with life lies in his appointments with his psychiatrist. Throughout the play, we walk hand in hand with the exhaustion of his mind and experience the traumatic effects of the nightmares he suffers.

SCENERY

The action takes place in the medical office of the psychiatrist.


TIME

The Present


ACT ONE

(EACH PLAYER ON EACH SIDE OF THE STAGE. THE PSYCHIATRIST FACING THE AUDIENCE IN THOUGHT WHILE JOHN SITTING ON THE FLOOR WITH HIS HANDS ON HIS KNEES AS THOUGH HIS IN HIS ROOM)

THE PSYCHIATRIST
I hate to condemn my patients to an isolated asylum, wretched and forlorn in a room, where they imagine many things. Like a room filled with roses, smothering them with its fragrance, puncturing the mind by its thorns. If John has to be forsaken in a cell, in solitary confinement, silenced by drugs and pitch darkness, then his troubles will worsen. He often tells me the voices he hears, the noises from a woman in his sexual ecstasy, rendering his mad with erotic fantasies, piercing his perceptions with morbid imagination.

JOHN
I’d love to be ignored in space, Woeful and hopeless, Not in a padded room, but in a garden of nettles, smothering me senseless, puncturing my senses by those fabulous thorns, because I'm insane, I think
 
THE PSYCHIATRIST
I wonder if he appreciates being secluded in a winery where the stench of alcohol overpowers his resistance to the cravings, his longings, his dreadful yearnings by the thirst of his abstinence? Would he be forced to succumb into a deadly bout of binge drinking again?
Poor, poor John, my patient! When he tries to keep his affections alive and shows his true belief for what his true love within him controls, he recalls vivid dreams of ecstasy, his trance becomes more intensive while with his frenzied thoughts he crushes his own confidence in a state that leaves him in an insane boundary.

 


JOHN
I’d love to be forsaken in a prison cell, in solitary confinement, silenced by pitch darkness, except for the noise of woman in her sexual bliss, rendering me mad with erotic fantasies, piercing my perceptions with imagination, because I'm insane, I think 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Now he is afraid of uttering words of passion and care because for him they are muted. He is a man trying to keep his faith alive, clutching to one true love which dominated him since he found his soul mate many many years ago. He often sobs as he observes his efforts, which often are hanging on a thread, driving him into an obsessiveness.  
Poor poor John Brown, my patient, who sometimes drains my senses and I exhaust myself trying to control his deep depression, which is leaving his mind shattered. I came to know that with these experiences he is not only a miserable man but also is very collective, shared only by his loneliness captivated in a void space.  

JOHN
I’d love to be secluded with a woman who is my mother, where the images of abuse and unfaithfulness conspire, overpowers my resistance to submit, longing, and yearning for her love, So I will not be forced to succumb, into a deadly bout of hallucination, because I'm insane, I think

(JOHN Exits).
THE PSYCHIATRIST
John will soon join me for another session. Why do I bother? You see, I often ask myself that question.
I am doing my best for him, but sometimes I feel that I can never cure him completely. He is beyond my knowledge of healing and makes me feel incompetent when I know that I am one of the leading psychiatrists in the UK, and all my colleagues know that. His constant vicious thoughts are detestable. The dreadful feeling that he captures through his illusions is enough to test the patience of Job. All I know is that there is an impossible conflict between his thoughts. Some of these thoughts are created because of his guilty conscience, while others are there constantly as a result of his boredom and his state of loneliness. The insupportable rules of these thoughts are neither justified nor defensive, they’re of course intolerable. Some are hard to understand, others very provocative, disturbing, more than flesh and blood can stand. All this causes his unflappable endurance, yet he suffers without complaint.

(Picks the phone but keeps talking and dials a few numbers)

His many thoughts, especially insufferable ones are causing his long distressed exhausted mind to collapse, driving his to a panic-stricken life.

(There’s a knock on the door. He looks at the receiver and decides not to continue with the call and puts the receiver back. The door is opened and John enters)

JOHN
Thank you nurse.  

(The doctor stands and greets him.)

Hello John, How are you, come on, please have a seat.

(John is a serious man, and though very intense he is smart and intelligent. John sits.)

You know something John, you are my favourite patient because you come in here without any complains what so ever. 


JOHN
(Sarcastic) 
Good, how many stars do I get for that?
THE PSYCHIATRIST
I see you are in one of those moods, humorous ones and that is good!


JOHN
(Annoyed) 
Not all that glitters, doctor.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Not always, no. Perhaps I was wrong after all and you are not in a good mood. 
(He looks at him) 
Have you had a good sleep?


JOHN 
(Looks directly at his face) 
Are you taking the piss?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Now, why should I do that? You know I’m doing my best to help you? The reason you come here is that you need my help. You need guidance to control your fears, your anxiety and to overcome all the negativity that you possess inside of you.


JOHN
Because the tremors I feel inside me reminds me of Krakatoa, the quaking that goes through my veins is huge and the trembling which comes out of my mouth is hardly recognizable. I shake with the rapid tremulous quiver. All these vibrations are conflicting with my body every bloody second that passes by; so it is not surprising that soon I will wobble unsteadily towards my delightful sad ending.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I assume the nurses started your new tranquillizers I described last week?

JOHN
Yes.
THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you think are helping you more?


JOHN
I don’t know doc, and that is the truth.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
How about your nightmares, are they seizing?


JOHN
No! They still visit me, one thing is for sure they are very loyal to me. What is the word, I mean how does it go when a priest of whoever tries to take away the devil from inside you?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you mean an exorcism? Is that it? But surely you don’t need one?


JOHN
Yes, that is what I need exactly.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why?


JOHN
I like to exorcize the dormant demon!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Dormant demon?

 

JOHN
Yes, that is what I call it. That sleeping demon is always within me. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why do you call it that?

JOHN
My demon is always there but inactive. I can feel it but it stays silent. Then, without warning, it wakes up and creates havoc in my living.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I know what you mean. You are talking about your alcohol addiction? I can understand, your devil, as you’ve put it, hasn’t got horns, your demon lies in a bottle, and that is because you need it, often. That is why you have been detoxed. How many times now, two, three times?

JOHN
I don’t know, who’s counting anyway?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I cannot understand how you’re managing to acquire the drinks, I gave strict orders not to let you outside of this hospital, unless someone, you have bribed, one of my staff?......


JOHN
But...


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Listen to me John, the drugs I prescribed for you are very lethal especially if taken with alcohol, If I can prove that you’re still drinking alcohol in here I won’t hesitate to put you into solitary. Understand?

JOHN
Yes, doctor.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Don’t you realise that the alcohol changes you completely, you are well mannered, educated, respectable and above all a gentleman. For Christ sake, you have artistic diplomas and yet you wasted all your talents, why, for the sake of alcohol? If you want to cast away your demon, you must first stop drinking, and secondly you have to keep taking the drugs I have prescribed. 


JOHN
(In a whisper)
The alcohol takes away the pains I feel. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Say again and loud....


JOHN
I said it takes away the trembling, the fears it makes me live normally....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
You call this normal? The alcohol delivers signals straight to your mind and you, like a fool rushing in, bows and obey.


JOHN
My nightmares have nothing to do with alcohol. The nightmare is there to punish me.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
From what?

JOHN
From the past that haunts me.....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
The past is history, you shouldn’t dwell on it.


JOHN
The past is the downfall of my living now. To recapitulate the beginning doctor, I have to concentrate very hard, because although the past is blurred it hurts me deeply. It looks like a foggy lane though I don’t need a torchlight to see my beginning! I cannot explain the characteristics of my life because I hate going there again and again, yet I cannot stop, something keep pushing me towards it. The outline of my early years was very disruptive indeed. It required a strong effort from my part to live it, not comfortable but live it I did. In fact, because of it, I cannot restate my living as I wanted it to be. A few years from now, perhaps, I shall try once again and review my past life again.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why not now? Why wait?

JOHN
I ask myself why do I follow the path that can only lead to my destruction?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
And.......

JOHN
Am I missing something at present, or is it just fun? Or maybe it is imperative that I shall take the road to ruin. The incentives are full of doubt and fears, which are rendering me to go euphoric, and that will lead me to much more pain and tears. Once under the influence of alcohol, everything seems normal. Can you understand what I’m saying?

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Yes, of course, but that is why you have volunteered to come here. You have realised that you needed help. You wanted to change, so instead of ignoring your choice, you felt strong enough to take action, and that is why you are here.


JOHN
I know, yet it is so hard. I have never imagined.....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That is why I told you not to be foolish and mix those pills with alcohol, it is not only you might kill yourself also the pills won’t have any effect on you. You have been here a fortnight and you were doing fine until the day before yesterday, I 
don ‘t know why or what happened....


JOHN
The craving and the urges were costly, I must admit that when I came here I smuggled in some bottles, please, believe me, none of your staff had anything to do with it....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That is very honourable of you to be so truthful. I know that if you work with me we will succeed and when you leave here you won’t even remember the past or take alcohol again. I only can promise you that I am and will do my very best for you.


JOHN
Thank you, doctor, I wouldn’t have come here if I wasn’t sure about you. You came highly recommended.

 

 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Thank you. Now that we understand and trust each other our work should become easier. You were telling me about the nightmares.......


JOHN
When they come I feel that they’re killing me slowly, and the funny thing, in a way, I look forward to it, hoping I won't wake up from them.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Don’t be silly....


JOHN
Unless something drastic comes my way, what else I have to look forward to? My nightmares are like a soap opera, but with a difference. My soap opera revolves around the weird and the bizarre.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I heard you tell me in details about them since we started our sessions, but I cannot judge your life now by comparing it with what you go through the night. Dreams and nightmares are a mystery. I am a scientist so I do not believe in Hocus Pocus. Yet I know they exit. I dream myself, of course, nightmares not many, but what I mean is that I know what you’re trying to tell me. That is one of our main tasks to try and eliminate those visions of the night. If you keep in my one thing, you’ll get over this quickly. There is one thing that is positive about you and that is your health. I do not understand it myself, but apart from bruises caused when you’re under the influence, you are in superb condition. You are very healthy!

 


JOHN
Healthy? Do you know, have I told you that even in my dreams I am an alcoholic? Do you know how many gallons of wine I drink in my world of dreams? I tell you, doctor, I am so pissed with my life that I wanted to quit, and as you said I came here voluntarily.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Tell me about it.....


JOHN
Drinking habits I had many. For example, once I took account of a whole week.  On Monday morning I was so pissed that I had to walk on my knees, on all fours like a dog, becoming blighted in the evening. I found myself completely naked. On Tuesday when I struggled out of bed I realised how fucked up I was, I had no secrets, no hidden truths just remembering my appalling behaviour. Then to forget all about the day before I started drinking again, thinking the only way to forget the previous bout is to get smashed again.
I know I get abusive, angry, In truth I don’t swear much, but not when I’m under the influence. I’ll become foul-mouthed. (pause) Then on Wednesday, I promised myself to behave, but with alcoholic promises mean nothing!

(While JOHN is talking it is wise that the Psychiatrist make herself useful, have a drink from a jug of water etc)

Drinking like a mad man is very easy to do, well I found the easy anyway. Forgetting about my promise, I become reasonable at first, I will take just one drink to keep me going.....one drink becomes two, three and so on. On Thursday, and the rest of the week they all end the same. When I had a partner I was not able to satisfy her, drinking heavily has its limitations when it comes to sex.

 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
You’re telling me that this episode, you have described actually happened?

JOHN
I’m afraid so and frequently.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
But why do you call your nightmares weird and bizarre? Don’t you think alcohol is responsible?

JOHN
(irritated)
You’re the expert, tell me what do I call them if not that?

THE PSYCHIATRIST
I can call them what I like, but it won’t help you. You, and only you have to understand what’s happening inside your head. That way your episodes might start to disappear.


JOHN
You’re saying that I can get rid of my nightmares?

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Yes, you can!


JOHN
You know what doctor, you are crazier than I am.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why did come here if not to get rid of your nightmares and your addiction? I am here to help you, but in the end, it is you that have to be in a position where you can distinguish what you want and what you have. You need hope!

JOHN
Hope?  It is not my feelings that I want sometimes desirable to happen to me. I wish for nothing, therefore I do not hope.
THE PSYCHIATRIST
That is a very negative assumption!

JOHN
I am a painter, I have made a portrait of a drunkard, of a man, me, who began dying prematurely; I took the long and excruciating road that led me  through a labyrinth of bottles. I, the alcoholic, who undoubtedly, and without questions giving an arm and a leg or even part of the soul, to have another chance. I want to shake the filth from my body, erase those bad dreams which have infested my consciousness. Doctor, portrait of a pitiful man, me, who started drinking at an early age, ending addicted, captivated….an  obsession, filling my life with agony….
At the first a vague humiliation was only the beginning, with a subtle awkwardness I could not get by I hoped it will disguise the vicious truth,
the mysteries and agonies of my uncertain hope. It was only my shame that held me back, it placed me in a strange and dark atmosphere, a place full of uninvited obscure shadows, where all my inhibitions would appear. The embarrassments that occupied my life, the days came with unexpected tomorrows, the nights followed with anticipated past, all I had left was a heart jammed with sadness. The truth becomes confused and blurred, and hiding, in effect of all that was a huge.
You know sometimes when I am staring at the ceiling I laugh, or let say I dream that I am late for my own funeral, with a purpose....I am a stubborn man, so I shall be late for the funeral, I imagine that whoever comes to the service and burial will be annoyed and angry, especially if it's a lousy day and they start feeling the cold, getting soaked with the drizzle of the rain. This inhumation will turn into a terrible farce, the moans and the whispers of the mourners begin to be heard. The ceremonial rites which the priest is so anxious to get on with will have to wait for me a bit longer. I imagine myself lying in my coffin smiling. The ceremony begins as the coffin is laid by the grave. I see that there is no sign of relief for all present, who by now they’re all fucking soaking wet......

 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
(smiles)
Is that your wish John. 
(serious) 
Do wish that you are dead? If that is so then obviously you don’t appreciate living let alone trying to get along with it.


JOHN
Maybe I am dead now and this is one of my nightmares? Maybe I am subjected to nonsensical questions and a crap full of advice.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Tell why do I irritate you?


JOHN
(Sarcastic) 
You don’t irritate me. On the contrary, I am trying to irritate you. Irritating people is my objective. I like to watch their faces. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Don’t you feel a bit better after you leave here John?
(No answer)
Not even a little bit?


JOHN
Yes, a little bit. I know that you are a good person not always so pompous. I think in all sincerity that you are like me and I also believe you really want to help me.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I appreciate that JOHN. I really do.
Now, would you like to tell me what nightmares you had, if any, since we last met?

JOHN
(Laughs out loud)
You see how clever and cunning you are. There you are trying to trip me again. You know damn well I have nightmares, why do you assume I did not?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Not at all, I am trying to see how well the pills are doing. Do I believe that you have nightmares every single day? It is hard to believe that....

JOHN
(Angry) 
There you are.....So I invent my nightmares is that it?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
No. If you let me finish, I was going to say in normal circumstance it is hard to believe, but you are a different case, I believe you. What is the point in lying to me and all the description you tell me about them if they are not true? I do believe you and that is why I am trying to understand? Because to live like this daily is appalling for you. 


JOHN
I wish they were only in my imagination, I truly wish that!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Go on then, please indulge me.


JOHN
(Hesitates and think)
I was in a dark place, surrounded by creatures which at first I did not recognise. When I realised this was my way to oblivion, my life came to an abrupt end. I had to wait to meet whoever was to preside in a welcome ceremony, mine. I did not flinch when face to face I came with the Lord of flies himself. There was chanting, as he walked towards me, a beautiful gentleman in a magnificent red silk suit. He was not as portrayed by Christians. I thought if this was hell, I like to stay. There was nothing scary, everything I have imagined what hell looked like was false. Every being was dressed up in nice clothes, I did not see anybody naked, lustful or otherwise. If this was the way to Beelzebub, if this was the place of darkness, then this is definitely my place. I have imagined this place to live many times, I fantasied sweet dreams of perdition, but not like this. Those days I used to shout, “Show me the kingdom of hell and I should be happy.”

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you have any particular belief? Why Satan, why hell?


JOHN
If I knew the answer to that I won’t be here, would I? No, I do not believe in anything. I assume it was Satan because he is the symbol of evil and hell is portrayed as a bad place. I thought in my state of mind, evil is the place where I’m living. For me Satan and hell are a metaphor, it could be anything, anyone. Maybe I am subconsciously contented with a new life with that kind of people and accommodation. Maybe I will have a better life.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
And if in the last minute you change your mind, what if you come to hate this place as well?


JOHN
I hope I will be reincarnated as a dog. A humble dog, devoid of, sex, alcohol or any substance....I know without alcohol to manipulate my thoughts, and without the temptation of woman leading me on, I would have an easier life, maybe because if I am deprived of my habits and lust, is the answer.

(His mood changes, he becomes agitated and confused. All of a sudden he thinks he is in another time and place).

I have a quiet life living without strife. The soul is not mine any more it belongs to the angel protector. I want to feel welcome, again for once I want to be loved. I don’t want to be forlorn any more. Underneath my mask, I am a good man, but you don’t care who I am really just as long I am a good patient. Maybe with Satan I won’t be damned. I often asked myself if I could blend with others who don’t have the same pattern I have. If I shall mix with them, I will climb the ladders of progress and not of mediocrity. 

(Now he is more aggressive not to the doctor but to the effect of his story. He moves away from the doctor and falls down on his knees)

Will I be sustainable? When my blood mix with those corrupted souls would I be fulfilled? If that will be so then I will not betray myself, I shall conquer infinity, I will conquer my demise. I will blend my stained blood with them. I will make them my scapegoats. I shall betray and corrupt them truly, until the time when all of them will be unified in my kingdom of the lost.

(The psychiatrist now understands the situation of JOHN. During his dialogue he must watch over his, we see his preparing a syringe from a small bottle.)


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Calm down John, come and sit and relax.


JOHN
Not yet, I am not ready yet. I haven’t finished. I need to continue, I have to continue....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
No, John, you had enough for today.


JOHN
(He cannot control himself)

The darkness keeps haunting me and follows me everywhere. If this is so, my soul is not ready for the transformation, because there is only one truth and one lie. Guilt lies in the middle without respite. My decision is not yet made, but when I do I would like my conversion to be in place, I do not wish to tumble and fall; I’ve been in disgrace, still am, and more would be too much. If I have to leave this world, this life, I won’t shed a tear, it will not be a catastrophe, probably I could get rid of the trepidation. Wherever I go I will still be in deep trouble, then who will smooth my way? Probably I would be in peace, a solid dream of mine, alone in the darkness, existing in stillness, no one to bother me. No-one!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(With the syringe now in his pocket, he holds John by the shoulders)

Pull yourself together now John. Please, or else I have to sedate you.


JOHN
(Ignoring all that is around his.)

Hell! Hell is mine. That is where I want to be. In a place of fire and brimstone, where flocks of bats hover over the abyss and the gardens of thorns will be ready to greet me. In here I should declare all that I have felt many times, “blessed are the whores in flesh for theirs is the kingdom of lust!” and all should be terrified. “Blessed are the unclean of the heart for they shall see the Prince of fornication and all shall be in sorrows and morbid happiness. There, I and them we will share all that is not petrified. We shall become immortalised. We shall share all that is corrupt and that is unholy. We would not be damned, not completely. I know I will be fucked!

(He moves down to the front of the stage and watches the audience in a blank stare and points at them)

Damn you, damn you all! Come with me, you all have been cordially invited to my festival. Come and sing, chant and dance, this is a macabre service, do not be frightened, you don’t know this, but you are already here with me. Now you are welcomed. Come and enjoy yourselves, come show that you are adulterers, rapists, peadophiles, murderers, come and rejoice in my place. Do not hesitate any more, don’t be misled by the promises not already fulfilled. Come, because the charm of the place is generous and the gifts of wonders are waiting for you. You won’t be denied any more, come and join with my master, my lord, he comes in many disguising, you already have met him at one time or another, now it is that time to reveal yourselves to him.

(Falls on his back exhausted. The psychiatrist quickly administers the syringe on John’s arm. He moves away. The effect on John is not immediate. He pushes his body up still sitting on the floor.)

Where are you, my friend? Come and sort out my favours, my wicked heart and my atrocious soul are waiting impatiently. I want you to eliminate all my sadness that I face daily. I will abide with your commands, I’ll praise you all the time, I shall shout your name loudly so that all will hear me, please I beg you to set me free from this appalling life. 

(Calming down)

I am very anxious to come, with all my illusions, my fantasies, and my nightmares, I shall join you in the hope that you will cleanse me from them forever. I shall be your groom, your lover, your whore! 

(The psychiatrist moves closer to JOHN grabs his by the arms and steady his on his legs. He then walks his to the chair where JOHN sits and falls into a deep sleep)

THE PSYCHIATRIST
(He takes a small blanket from one of a cupboard and covers JOHN)
(To the audience)

What we have seen now is the collapse of a mind. John, although he was not sleeping at the time I am sure that he believed he was in a nightmare. The fact that his nightmares are predominate in his mind I have to surmise that to cure his completely is to know everything. I know John has a terrible secret inside him, he cannot come to reveal it, once he does I am sure a cure is possible. The fact that he has been haunted by these (Makes a sign of OPEN and CLOSED Inverted Commas) nightmares for so long, he cannot separate truth from what that is false.

(He walks towards John and stand behind his chair) 

I will let his sleep it off for now. When he wakes up he will be unaware of what had happened here. The medication administered will see to that. In the meantime, I shall quietly try to understand properly what lies in his darkest imaginations controlled in his weary mind.

 

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

(A week later)

(John is sitting with his head down on his knees) (The psychiatrist is standing talking to the audience as though he is lecturing)

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Nightmares are a universal occurrence that we all experience at some time of our lives. Some people may experience them often and can be very disturbing dreams which follow us for years; worrying us with their persistence and their vividness. In ancient times nightmares were thought to be caused by evil spirits that would haunt and suffocate people while they sleep. The nightmare itself accompanied by feelings of oppression and helplessness making a more lasting impression upon us, and the feelings from the dream will often linger on into our waking life the following day. The nightmare serves to get our attention to something that is psychologically important to us often, something that has been previously neglected in our waking life. Sometimes it is possible to deal with the nightmare by coming to terms with it and understanding what our fears are about.
(He turns and moves towards the chair where John is sitting and goes standing behind it)
As you know, John is my patient. He is one of those people who have nightmares quite often. I have been seeing him for a long time, the last session was last week, I know, I must admit his nightmares are getting worse. I was hoping that by now the treating was beginning to ease his tension and anxiety. I tried to teach him how to cope with them and I will continue to do so. In a moment together John and I will walk hand in hand towards the middle of all this trauma. 

(He goes and sits at his desk, takes a notebook, puts on glasses (if needed), sorts himself out and relaxes on the chair.)

(John lifts his head)
hello again! How are you today, are you comfortable?
JOHN
Yes, I am, doctor.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Good, that’s very good. At the moment what do you feel?


JOHN
I do not know. I am a bit confused today!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why is that?


JOHN
(He talks normally as if he’s in an intellectual conversation)
You see doctor, I look hastily around me and I do not realize immediately. I am still gazing around me and from the midst of my mind I seem to recognise something familiar,

 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
You mean you recognise me?


JOHN
No, yet when I look again I ask myself now, am I on the right track? Looking intensely I seem to see a weird thing at that (Pointing) unusual corner. I say unusually because in truth I am looking at my heart, floating in the corner, as if when I came in it hovered over and left me.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
But you that is not possible.


JOHN
With my imaginations everything is possible. That is because by looking at it I can quickly glimpse in the past, which I thought I left behind. By viewing at it and without controlling seems absurd maybe to you but not to me. The question is why?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That is the cause of it all the past! Yet because you keep digging into it you are trying to find that is missing from your memory. You know what that thing is yet unintentionally you are blocking it. Once we establish that we can improve greatly.


JOHN
I try my very best at doing that, I flip through the data stored in here (Touching his head) access it. By rifling through it pixel by pixel, running over it, over and over again I must find what is missing. Curiously I found something which made me pity myself.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
And what is that? What did you find?


JOHN
Obviously, I found a memento that haunted me forever, I did not find a physical form, no, I found my innocence, and I have forgotten it.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Your innocence? If you’re questioning that you are guilty of something!


JOHN
Maybe I am. No, I don’t think so.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Maybe that is what your nightmares are all about. You are chasing your innocence to cure your guilt.

JOHN
I know what you’re getting at. Old sins cast long shadows....Is that what you mean?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Exactly!

JOHN
You’re wrong! This morning I woke up to recall being dead. Dead but I couldn’t shut my eyes. At that time the horrors of the past vanished, now that is what I call happiness! I will laugh and I cry when I know that innocence had died with me. Doctor, when I corrupted my soul it was a very bad time, for venality was there who plunged me my sad heart into misdemeanours. My desolation reigned and the misery sustained. When I was dead I was great, it was a marvelous time....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
If you were dead.....


JOHN
(Cuts his off)
I was dead, I fell into the pit of darkness, unfortunately, it wasn’t for a long spell, but dead I was. Somehow I resurrected, reborn in the midst of gratification, the reincarnation, as I saw it, jeopardised my repose, it restored back my life into condemnation. Tell me, doctor, why do I deserve this punishment? Who is passing judgement to me?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you know what you’re saying, John? Being dead makes you happier, why? It’s a bit far fetched, no?
JOHN
Why? Why else? When I was dead I was clutching to my innocence, that great feeling of being fresh, cleansed, I know when I actually die I will embrace innocence eternally......


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Innocence! You are obsessed but that word this afternoon? Why?


JOHN
If I can claim innocence again, I will have a blameless time, a very good time indeed; for I hope virtue will be there, and my life shall change from mediocrity to sublimity. Sublimity a very powerful and nice word if only I knew exactly what it was.....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why say it then?


JOHN
I told you already, it sounds nice and powerful, I don’t need a reason if I want to utter words. Words make me feel good. I will laugh, I will cry, I will be angry yet innocence will stay within me hidden. Why are you making me repeat words?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
No reason, it is you who are repeating, it’s your own free will. Maybe there is a point of view about. All I can tell you for certain that right now you are being your own judge and jury.


JOHN
Time marches on it seems and yet I am still....I don’t think time moves for me and if it does it goes very, very slowly..... Doctor let me tell what I have got in my mind. Everyone has niggling problems, and they worry too, don’t they? My worry is rather special. That is why I have come here. Why do you think I talk too much? You know with many words I confuse the main reason of my predicament. Words cover up what I can’t bring myself to say what’s really troubling me. Until I speak the words, my anxiety will remain only a dream. Once I have uttered words, I’ve manifested anxiety, not purposely. I become scared......(With a change of voice) I’m really scared, Doctor. Anxiety terrifies me. I’m not used to expressing complex words unless in a dream....In my nightmares, I say a lot and they mean a lot. I think you have already sussed that out, doctor? (Laughs a bit) I do go on, don’t I? I can’t help myself. Yet when the nightmares come, mine is not trivial, not nondescript and neither insipid. Perhaps an influence of something else is the solution? It could be, could it?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
There is an option, but not yet. It could harm you more at present. I will know when you’re ready for that.
Tell me , since I saw you last, you have only spoken about your true feelings....Yet you have never mentioned anything if you had new nightmares at all.


JOHN
I don’t need to tell, because you know damn well I have nightmares daily....At least they’re not re-accruing but are terrifying at the same time.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Of course, I know but it is not up to me to push you through it, I like you to tell me about them when you’re ready to do so, that way your conscious will be free of guilt. Would you like to tell me about what the nightmares were about?


JOHN
Might as well. What I am about to describe is totally different from my other ones. This one I could describe it as started as a dream, a beautiful dream, come to think of it, but then it changed, it became....…
(He stops)


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Yes, it became what?


JOHN
(In this monologue he has to change according as to start calm and ending up very excited and afraid.)

Horrible and confusing. I was sleeping, and while sleeping I was also awake. I had a dream, it was sensual, very sensual, not just titillating and sexy. There was a discrete unification between my body and the dainty strong smell of a woman’s skin. The smell of sweat, the saliva and the odour of her ruffled hair. I could see over her glistening body, everything was static. My contentment was infinite, doctor. There I felt the need to cry, but I couldn’t. As my eyes were closed at the time, I did not mind, on the contrary, I felt that the insecurity was part of the blindness and that my brain was concentrated in visualisation. When I opened my eyes each one of them was registering with delight the gleaming pureness and the silent ecstasy. The blissfulness was complete. I could have stayed like that forever. I thought, that is what was John wants, and I accepted him. It was the life I wanted and I accepted it too. It was all in a closed room, with no windows, no doors, and no ceiling, a room vacant of everything including its walls. Perhaps it was an empty void.....That didn’t matter though. I didn’t care about the configurations. From the dream, that I was having, I woke up and in that sleep mode I felt profound. I was content. Near me was the woman I love, motionless, still asleep. I persuaded myself not to be frightened. The only thing I did not want is to be afraid. Not to be taken by panic. I did not want to cry, scream or hammer my hands on the non-existing walls. I had decided to be composed. Then, she woke up slowly and I looked at her with excitement. I tried to speak to her but I couldn’t utter a single word. I don’t know why but I felt ignored by her. She was somehow indifferent and unsociable in a very exciting way. I was eager for us to make love, but when I tried I could not penetrate her. She wasn’t sensual at all and starting to laugh out loud. I felt a fit of crazed anger and pulled away from her. I did not want to harm her, no sir I thought didn’t want that. But I was deranged with rage and fear. I had to stay calm and unafraid. There was also an affectionate moment of total stillness. It is very hard to describe the instant. The dullness began to disperse and was substituted by a soft sharpness, like an affable pair of hands stroking her damaged body. Then it was ghastly. It was inconceivable. The woman was dead. I knew I had killed her in some gruesome and painful way.  Then I woke up sweating. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(Calming his down)
Calm down please John, calm down.


JOHN
How often did I say I hate and wish other people dead? How did I want to hit them, defy them and threaten them? Even spit on their faces even spill a little blood? I tell you one triumph in contrite, that is all I needed. Then all right, I apologise and all is harmless.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What are you talking about? Apologising for what?


JOHN
Really, it’s like a play, with rehearsed lines, pauses, outbursts with all the exits all prepared. 
(Cracking up)  
The absence of the audience is complete.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That inconvenience can be rectified, John. Because what you dream and what you’re telling me are not important, because they are not real.


JOHN
(Not in the same level as the doctor)
No, of course it doesn’t make sense.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What doesn’t?


JOHN
You know doctor, of course, you really don’t know?
(He laughs out loud) I am the devil!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Satan?


JOHN
Himself, yes.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
In your nightmares, yes, maybe. 


JOHN
Yes, OK, in my nightmares, so what?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Take away a man’s dream fill his with whiskey and despair, and then try to imagine the thoughts that go through his mind. But at that same time, there is someone who knows him well, and that someone will visit him right now. His destination is headed straight to the darkest imaginings of his mind. Who are you really? That is a profound question. Are you just a man? To be exact are you a human being?  Maybe not as inquisitive or curious as for others, but you live, you think therefore you are a human being, not the devil! So if I believe you are a human being why am I trying to justify myself that your purpose of being here with me, right now, is to help you? This purpose, as clear as it sounds I cannot fully understand it yet, above all I know I am able to cure you of your morbid and confusing nightmares. That is my goal, that is my purpose. I ask myself, why were you given a life of misery and depression? Is it because you were brainwashed since you were very young and nobody did anything about it? Perhaps I expect wonders, and I believe I do.
(In a more subtle way)
John, were you wrong in coming here? Maybe you are disappointed and I am not what you expected from me? If so what can you say to my face? You are not a fool John, and I know you’re not to be laughed at. Tell me, John, what do you think?


JOHN
I don’t think doctor, I know. I know I am different. I know that whatever I try to do to help myself it becomes worse. I am what I am. Death is my love because I am nothing but a fool. Many are afraid of dying, but I am not. The way I am living now is a one way sure-fire ticket to my demise. There is no alternative for me. You might think there is. Doctor, I wished to end all from the moment I started to cry. Yet although I am devoted to death, I am not considering it.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
If I had suspicions of that I will take precautions. But you speak a lot about death and your demise. 


JOHN
If I see darkness coming on to me if I notice my flickering lights going off, I will not shed a tear. I will not be afraid. Not because I believe there is something else, but because I believe when a body dies it is the end of everything. Apart from that, I cannot believe anything else because I haven’t been there, and nobody I know who is dead came to tell me about it.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Quite a reasonable assumption.


JOHN
You see death is not terrifying, but the nightmares are. When I wake up from one I am confused, When I am in a nightmare although not in a glorious environment everything seems to come my way. All the pieces of the puzzle fit. My life is complete. That is why when I wake up I am confused and disappointed.

 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Nobody should rely on nightmares. If we started believing in fantasies than this right now is not true. Do you believe that me and you now, this minute is a dream? A fantasy?


JOHN
Can you reassure me that it is not?
THE PSYCHIATRIST
I can. You just told me that you just killed your lover....Right? Where is she now? Buried or at home, work or dancing?


JOHN
I don’t know! I haven’t seen her in ten years or so! Yet I know she is alive because I can feel it inside of me.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
So she is not dead. Right?


JOHN
I suppose so.....

 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
There is no supposition about it. I keep on telling you nightmares are not real, they’re only manifestations of the mind. What I call, wishful thinking.

JOHN
Exactly. And you to cure me you want me to get out of them? Without my nightmares I am nothing. If or when it happens I rather die or do myself in. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
John, you are contradicting yourself now.  You are here because of your nightmares.

JOHN
I am here because I am an alcoholic.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Precisely. And it’s the alcohol which is giving you this terrible life. Without understanding you are seeing images, hear sounds and feel sensations that seem very real but do not exist. 

JOHN
If you say so.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I damn well say so.


JOHN
Yet before I fall into another period of my time, the void I feel tightens so hard within me that it feels like a belt of sharp thorns pressing, making me nauseous, feeling disgusting and unpleasant. The emptiness of my inner body, is divided into sectors, makes me alarmed, apprehensive and overwhelmed. The consternation, the dismal dread fear which erupts in me frightens me less.……
(Suddenly stops) 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Continue, why did you stop?

JOHN
I know what your answer is going to be.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That once you have a drink all that disappears.
(JOHN nods)
But that’s not a cure John. That is what the body is telling you that it lacks the need for alcohol. Once the pills I have given you take control, the body realises that the lack of alcohol is not needed any more. In other words, the body understands because it has not been constantly fed by alcohol so it got uses to something else.


JOHN
Well the pills are not working yet.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you mean to tell me you are drinking behind my back?


JOHN
No. I mean even though I haven’t had a drink for many days I still get the nightmares.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Well, maybe your body has not adjusted yet to a cleansed environment.


JOHN
It’s bloody time it did. I am still in an awful state. As you can see. I am still in a zone horror, where nothing and nobody can enter except myself. A place were I understand everything while others do not. It is a place between my conscience and me. 
THE PSYCHIATRIST
I like the phrase, zone horror, yet I despise it at the same time. As I said before, you are not stupid, you are very literate and sometimes I feel that you are too intellectual. I hope I am wrong but sometimes it is your intelligence that is the cause of all this. Something to do with the past and either you have deliberately forgotten or the past.....

JOHN
(Cuts in) 
The past... What would I do without the past.....

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Carry on….The past is rendering you .....


JOHN
Insane!?

THE PSYCHIATRIST
I don’t like to use that word, let say it is playing a huge part  in the fantasies.


JOHN
Since I stopped drinking my changes psychologically and also physically are immense. All the mutation that has taken place within me is immeasurable. The rebirth I have acquired morally is great. What caused it? What changed me from everyday living to a more nervous wreck? Maybe I have been metamorphosed yes, but the past nightmares continue to haunt me.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Don’t think that you are doomed and your sorrows will not disappear. I don’t think you are condemned to an eternal lament. That is why you are here. I know you still get the nightmares. But I’m sure one day they will disappear slowly. I know that I cannot expose you yet to more extreme treatment.

JOHN
My appointment hour is imminent. You can see I am in a critical time. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
I can see and sympathise.


JOHN
Is that enough? I am approaching a moment of truth, and I shall reveal it. It is my turning point which is a vital moment for me. The dance of the skeletons is coming. Memento Mori! No fear of death. Not for me, not any more.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
You see, the tragedy, your tragedy is being built around you because you want it to be so. I help you but you have to help me too. I can ease your pain with a tranquilliser but that won’t cure you. 


JOHN
(Quiet and resolute)
Then I shall not live any longer. Last night’s nightmare is becoming a reality. I am no longer in control of myself. I am being controlled, by you perhaps? Why did I not think about that? Maybe you are using me for your benefit....Tell me, doctor, tell me....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What do you think?

JOHN
(Angry)
You bastard! I'm not supposed to think. I am asking you.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(Calming him)
You told me about last night episode. Why? Why so vividly?


JOHN
Because it is the truth. I have been told lies before. I know what I am now because last night’s nightmare revealed all to me, and who I really am.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
And who are you?


JOHN
I am nobody to anybody. I am only a simple thought, a concept in the darkest imagination of your mind. 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why do you say that?

(Reassured but grabs the Psychiatrist by the collar of the jacket)

Because my dear doctor I am also a victim of paedophilia, and a victim of my mother’s unfaithfulness.


END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE


(Few weeks later)
(John and the doctor both sitting opposite each other.)


THE PSYCHIATRIST
But, John, what you’re saying to me is that you are hanging on to a traumatic past, absolving all the blame from the accusers which your mind has created is a compromising your truth. The cycle of memories will resurface, crucifying all your jovial thoughts you have acquired, that will no doubt transport you and your bygone ordeal back into your conscious.


JOHN
I am at the end of my tether now. If you don’t find a solution quick, I will surely end my life.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(Angry)
If you talk like that I have no choice but to commit you to a solitary room.


JOHN
So, what is the difference?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you want to be locked up, with surveillance for twenty-four hours daily? Under observation without any privacy at all? With nothing to do but stare at the white walls?


JOHN
I have no privacy now, so in a room by myself will suit me fine. My life is an open book., everybody has access to it, including yourself. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
True, but presently you are free to roam about, go for walks in our lovely gardens, talk to other people with similar problems like you......
JOHN
Locked up or not, under observation or not, there is one unique thing that they cannot touch, and definitely, they cannot control. My nightmares. My colourful imagination, my desires to embrace fear!

THE PSYCHIATRIST
John, listen to me carefully, you’ve been here a few weeks now, and it seems I can’t get hold of your nightmares. I keep giving you sedation but it is not an ideal thing, I don’t want you to turn into a vegetable. A zombie!
(He pauses)

JOHN
(puzzled)
So! You're not sending me back?

THE PSYCHIATRIST
No, of course not. What I’m trying to explain to you that it is the time for a change in the healing method. Today I am going to try and see what’s really is in there, (Touching John’s forehead) once and for all. John, Like I told few sessions ago that when the time comes I’ll change my ways to help you and that is today, now, I think it is the right time. I am going to hypnotise you. Are you OK with that?


JOHN
Hypnosis?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Only if you agree. If you have second thoughts about it.....


JOHN
Yes of course. Go ahead. You know what you’re doing and I trust you.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Thank you.


JOHN
(Curious) 
What will exactly happen while being under hypnosis?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Hopefully, you’ll be cooperative, I will have interaction in which you will respond to the suggestion I make. I know when people hear the word, they conjure up images of sinister stage-villain who brings about a hypnotic state by swinging a pocket watch back and forth.....


JOHN
You do it differently?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Yes, instead I will serve as a teacher, a coach if you like. I will help you to become compelled to say anything without fear or shame. You will tell me whatever you wish. You’ll have the control to do whatever the mind tells you to do or say. While hypnosis is often described as a sleep-like trance state, I like to describe it as a state characterised by focused attention, heightened suggestibility and vivid fantasies.

JOHN
I understand!

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Hypnosis can vary dramatically from one person to another. Some hypnotised individuals report feeling a sense of detachment or extreme relaxing during the trance state. While others even feel that their actions seem to occur of their conscious desire. Other individuals may remain fully aware and able to carry out conversations while under hypnosis.
JOHN
You won’t make me jump as a chicken or strip naked, will you? 

(They both laugh loud)


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That would be something, would it? No, with this treatment I am sure it will help you. I’m certain of that, I am however not certain that I will be able to cure you completely. The percentage of reducing your anxiety, your worries, your distress is very high. I have to warn you also that while amnesia may occur in very rare cases, people generally remember everything. Hypnosis will have a significant effect on your memory. Posthypnotic amnesia can lead you to forget certain things that occurred before or during the hypnosis. However, this effect is generally limited and temporary. 
(Pause, they look at each other)
So what do you think John?

JOHN
Yes, I am bound to agree. The only concern I have is not the hypnosis itself, I am keen to know if it will help me forget the past? And really that is what I want.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
No, I cannot promise you that. It might cover some but hey, we can give it a good damn try.


JOHN
Yes, we bloody do.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(The psychiatrist moves a chair opposite John’s as to sit opposite his on the same level. He stares at his deeply)

Are you comfortable John?
JOHN
Yes!

PSYCHIATRIST
Good! Now I want you yo close your eyes. (John does so) Good….Please imagine you are walking in a filed of red poppies, the clouds are above you and the lake is running on the other side. There’s a beautiful sunset and when you look at it the heat of the sun warms your face and makes you feel relaxed. Good John….You are doing very well. Now take a deep breath….
(John responds)…..Good….Now let out, let it all out. (John responds) I am going to ask you to count to ten back wards…..Can you do that John….

(John starts counting backwards and slowly)

(From now on John is in a trance)
Yes!

THE PSYCHIATRIST
(He stands and moves the chair away. From now on he walks, stands, observe John etc)
John, you are going backward in time....2010....there, OK now further to 1990......Are you there, John?


JOHN
Yes, I am 24 years old.....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
That is very good John, Now go further backward, 1980, 1975, 1970.....How old are you now John?


JOHN
I am eight years old....
THE PSYCHIATRIST
Where are you and what are you doing?
JOHN
I am at nursery school and the sisters are being horrible....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Sisters?


JOHN
Nuns! You know with their black veils…Nuns….

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why are they horrible to you?


JOHN
They want to feed me a boiled egg....I hate boiled eggs...


THE PSYCHIATRIST
OK John, we’re are going a bit forward, it is 1971


JOHN
I am nine years old, it is Sunday morning and my mother is going to take me with her to Church.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
To church? Are your parents religious?


JOHN
Catholics!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Your father is coming too then?


JOHN
No, daddy sleeps late because he works late at night.

 

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you always go to church with your mother? 
(John doesn’t answer)
What else do you do with his on Sunday?
(John doesn’t answer he resists and shows it)
Did you hear me, John...
(John nods)
Tell me please, why don’t you answer me?


JOHN
I’m shy....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Shy? Of what are you shy?


JOHN
I don’t know, I mean....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why? Is something happening? Tell me, John.


JOHN
(Upset) 
No!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why not....Tell me
(John doesn’t answer)
Why don’t you want to tell?
JOHN
It’s not nice....I don’t want to say anything....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(Very calm and persuasive)
OK, John......Don’t tell me that...But you are still going to church, right?


JOHN
We are about to leave the house…


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Good, you are dressed in Sunday’s best clothes, mummy has taken you by the hand and you are walking to church...Is it far?


JOHN
No not very far....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Right, have you arrived yet?


JOHN
Yes....We are in and we are seating near the back, she always sits at the back....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
So you stayed there listening to the service?


JOHN
No, we didn’t stay long, after a five or ten minutes mum got up and she took me outside....

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Where are you going now?


JOHN
She is taking me down the road towards the strand, she is chatting and laughing with me....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Good, what else?

JOHN
I’m laughing too. But mummy stopped. she stopped in front of a closed shop. And I know where she’s going and for what...


THE PSYCHIATRIST
And?


JOHN
she is tapping on the glass door.....It opens and a short old man told us to go in.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Who is the man?


JOHN
I don’t know who he is, but he is the same one we see on Sundays.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What’s happening now?

 

JOHN
The usual. The man gives me some chocolates and lollipops and mummy tells me to be a good boy and not to move.  Then they go into another room....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What’s happening next. Are you sitting?


JOHN
Yes, I cannot move because if I do mummy will be crossed. Mummy is in the other room, there is no door but long big curtain.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Do you know why mum is in the room with the man?


JOHN
(Shouts and cries at the same time) 
Yes, the man is fucking my mummy! It’s horrible! It’s not nice. I want to scream but I can’t. I want to go inside and stop him, but I am frightened.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Calm down John, please calm down.


JOHN
(Very emotional and distressed)
I will kill him.....I will kill the bastard.....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(Interrupt his quickly) 
You are now ten years old....OK?

JOHN
(He changes quickly as though his hysterics never happened)
I’m in the boy’s brigade uniform, I look smart.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
You were in the Boys Brigade then. Where are you going?


JOHN
This is my first year but I don’t like it here, but mummy insists I go.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why don’t you like it?


JOHN
He makes me do things?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Who John?


JOHN
Mr. Johnson!


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What does he make you do?


JOHN
(Embarrassed) 
You know he makes me touch his, down there! He kisses me. He pulls down my pants, he tells me not to tell anyone or he will hurt me.
THE PSYCHIATRIST
Did you tell anyone?

JOHN
No.
(When John talks about his mother he is full of love and devotion)
No, but mummy stopped me going. I think she knew something, I am not sure.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
(He goes and sit behind his desk)
OK, John. Now tell me how was your relationship with your mother after you discovered what she was doing with the other man?


JOHN
(proud)
Good. Very good. I was her baby you know, I mean the youngest. There is five years gap between me and my brother, and seven years younger than my sister.  Yes, our relationship was great, she was obsessed with me and I adored her. Mummy was a beautiful woman, tall and slender with pitch long wavy black hair cascading like a waterfall over her shoulders. She had piercing dark eyes which seem to glow every time she opened them. Her lips were full and sensuous always painted red; she always had her lips like that. Red was a predominant colour of her life, as to say they were her trademark. 
(Stops and pauses)
She knew damn well she was beautiful and used her beauty as bait and manipulated men to achieve her goal. She was also a very generous woman.
Mummy also had many faults. As a mother she was very domineering, she interfered constantly, and often she bit her nose to spite her face. On the other hand, she truly loved me. As I told you I was her world and obsessed with me. In fact, she ruined me with her love, with her kindness and especially with her generosity. I never wanted for anything.
Yes, I can clearly say that the relationship with mum was great. She knew well that I still remembered intensely what she did, where she took me and what she did with that man. I say this frankly that every time we looked at each other's eyes with did not need to say anything we knew exactly what each other wanted to say.
That damn secret within me went hidden for all these years. I’m afraid I took advantage of that because of her guilt. Whatever I asked for it was given to me without hesitation. Yet I felt guiltier. I felt sorry for her. I wish I did not see anything. In fact, I was distressed about the whole thing and years later I realised, something through my alcohol addiction. If mummy was addicted to sex or money, what is the difference between her addiction and mine? Addiction is fucking addiction and that is all. Why should anyone criticize her? Why condemn her? Especially me?


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Nobody is doing that John. Continue, please.....


JOHN
Mummy was my life whom I adored more than I loved myself and much more. Since I was already subjected to the knowledge of sex at an early age I got hooked quickly. Women and sex became an important part of my adult life. After I left the Brigades I befriended a man ten years older than me. Come to think about it now, he was my brother's friend first, but then he had his eyes on me a ten-year-old. Though I say a man I don’t think he was not the full shilling. He behaved like a child most of the time.He played with miniature soldiers, he painted them and made parades with them....He painted beads in the colours of the nations football teams and played football, with them, like Subbuteo. He used to come to our house frequently. He used to create religious festivities with small statues of the Madonna, he came frequently to our house especially in the evening watches television and drink black coffee. Obviously, a child of ten would be fascinated by these things. I used to go to his mother house, he was an only child and his father died when he was very young. My mum didn’t think about him a lot, as I said he behaved like a child and she thought I was safe with him. It didn’t take him long to seduce me and I became his primary playmate. He used to bribe me with small gifts and promises. Yet, what I hated most was not what he was doing to me, but what was he doing to another young girl in front of me. I could do nothing but watch in fascination. This was the first time in my life, at ten seeing a girl with his knickers down and I was stunned. This continued for a long time, long time. Not every day but enough to make me sick every time I think about it. Eventually, it stopped, I grew up and I was not a little boy any more, but, surprisingly we stayed friends. I always asked myself why I stayed friends with him after what he had done to me all those years. All I know is within four years between 8 and 12, my childhood, my life was utterly in the hands of a paedophile and the sex-mad mother.
(He cries)


THE PSYCHIATRIST
We are going to move on John, you are a man now....what are you doing?


JOHN
I am all alone in a pub drinking whiskey.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Why are you alone?


JOHN
That’s the way I like it.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Is that all you do, drink whiskey?


JOHN
No, if a woman attracts my attention, I usually make my move. I was very good at that. I am a charmer and l act like a Greek bearing gifts, I had money to burn those days with the help of mother. It was a weapon which I used often, and it never failed.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
You must have a scope, a goal...


JOHN
Only one thing. An important factor which I have done quietly successfully. I wanted to avenge my mother.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
How?


JOHN
I thought men used my mother, although it was only one particular man, in my eyes I thought women are all unfaithful bitches of the same pattern, and it is I who should bring them down to their knees and not vice versa.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
But you said avenging your mother. To avenge means to inflict harm in return for an injury or wrong done to oneself or another. 


JOHN
But mine was different, I did not want to harm or conflict pain. I took punishment in a decent way, I wanted to use women for their bodies only, nothing else. To fuck them, manipulate their bodies from top to bottom, I wanted to devour their lust and expand on it leaving them exhausted and spent.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
John listen carefully, we are now going to leap much forward in time, to be exact it is yesterday. What did you do yesterday?


JOHN
Not much. The nurse gave me my medication early, had breakfast and went for a long time walk in the gardens. In the afternoon I read a book of poems. I do a bit of writing myself, but I like poetry. Then in the evening, I watched television....


THE PSYCHIATRIST
With other patients?


JOHN
No, I don’t like to be with a crowd, I prefer to be alone. 


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What else did you do?


JOHN
Nothing else, I fell asleep and that is when it happened.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
What happened?

 


JOHN
A vivid nightmare. One of the weirdest I have had.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Tell me about it.
JOHN
First it started with I being eight or nine years old, running fearfully through the woods, someone is running after me. I don’t see anyone, but I know, I can feel the presence, I hear horrifying screams, I hear the groan of a baby. I run towards it, I see it. The groans got louder, the baby is in awful pain, I try hard not look, but I couldn't look away either. I had to see, I knelt, the flowers underfoot crushed, I had to touch it, feel its pain, its agony, its death!
 
I know the person is behind, I look up, I cannot see properly, the face is blurred, though the person is familiar to me, I try to protect the baby, I have been pushed aside, It moved closer to the child and killed it.
 
I am back where I was, playing in the woods, by a small house belonging to my mother, I particularly notice and see clearly, every image, every sound. I can feel the breeze coming from the trees, smelling the wild-flowers. The house is behind me, far away now, my mother is not with me, she’s further away picking flowers. Then she calls me, I run quickly without any thoughts, she’s wearing jeans and a tartan shirt, I can smell her perfume, she smiles. She gets up and takes my hands, we walk towards the house, yet something tries to blur the image, to stop me watching. We come by the house, I don’t want to go in, I pull my hand from my mothers, and she calls me in, I hesitate, she calls again. I slowly walk towards the door and stops. I am scared.
 
I go in step by step..……Until I am inside. Mother is standing smiling at me...I start to cry a little, I know what is coming. I do not want to do it. I am forced, I have no will power, she’s all over me, skin to skin..…..Then I wake, in fear, but not upset. I wake up aroused. I want to masturbate. My fear of pain activates dysfunction in sexual excitement. 

(He takes a long pause)

It was a small village. It was a gloomy afternoon and I was on a journey. A journey of shadows. They were watching me. I could feel them nearby but I did not know who? I kept walking for a while on a deserted street. I did not know what the name of the village but the streets were not tarmacked and the buildings were spread out. I don’t think I could see two houses adjoining. As I kept walking from an isolated coffee bar I heard the music. It was sixties music. I quickened my pace and open the glass door of the shop. The song “Nights In White Satin” by the Moody Blues was being played on an old jukebox. I went to the counter pleased but there was nobody. I called out, nobody answered. As there was no door to enter the kitchen I jumped over the counter and entered calling out. First of all, I wanted to know the name of the village and secondly, I was dying for a coffee. The whole place was deserted. I went to the backyard but there was nothing except for dustbins filled with rubbish. I went back to the kitchen than behind the counter, where I had the same strange feeling that I was being watched. Scrutinized in fact. It was strange. When I was behind the counter without knowing I poured a black coffee and drank it, it was cold. On the floor I saw an alarm clock, I picked it up. The glass was broken and the clock was not ticking. I climbed back out of the counter and sat down weary on a chair. I called out again for some service and took out some money from my top pocket. That’s when I realised I was an Englishman because I had English pounds coins in my hand. I thought it was also weird to point out what race I was. Then to my bigger surprise, I realised I did not know my name! That bothered me and as though there were no customers in the room I kept talking....”Now that I have established that I am an Englishman, and also without a name, I have come to the conclusion that I am alive. I am holding in my hand six pounds and 55 pence....Is it a great deal of money or is it just peanuts?
Without reaching the end the song stopped abruptly and the song “I’m going to take you away” started. With my thoughts of being watched and the song about taking me away, I panicked and rushed out of the bar. Outside I kept asking two questions over and over again. Where am I? And who the hell I am? 
Apprehensively but not frightened I took to the road again hoping I will find some people at the centre of the village. The rain started to come down and I did not care I kept walking and walking. It seemed I was walking a street that leads to nowhere. Yet I knew all the time I was being watched. The evening was creeping in when I arrived at the top of the village. Suddenly I heard a church clock chiming, and my heart was filled with joy. I ran towards where the sound was coming from and at last I was in the middle of a fully-fledged village. A village without people, a silent village except for the church clock. As I passed the houses I knocked on doors and tapped on windows. I even opened some unlocked doors and shouted in. Silence. I thought about the jukebox it would had been very appropriate if they played the song by the Tremeloes “Silence is Golden”. The clocked stopped chiming and the only sound I could hear were my footsteps. The rain stopped. Then when I lost hope of finding somebody, in a corner parked was a small blue van and in I saw a figure of a woman. I ran fast calling, “Hey Miss, hey miss”, “Where is this village, where am I? please come out I need to speak to you.” But she did not move. When I got a bit closer the woman stood still. I opened the door and there the woman fell by my feet. It wasn’t a real woman after all. A mannequin. Someone is playing a joke at my expense, I uttered. I picked up the mannequin told it I was sorry and expressed to her that I always like the quiet ones. I started to laugh, hysterically. , then I thought I could use the van, but it had no ignition key, I open the bonnet, and of course, it had no engine. As I walked towards other shops I heard a telephone ringing, it was coming from a telephone box by the church. I picked up the receiver and someone was speaking. “This is a telephone exchange. Please hang up...Please hang up...”I slammed the receiver and left in a hurry. I arrived opposite a police station I hurried in, no-one. I went down where the cells were, the cell doors were open but no prisoners. I left the station and entered a newsagent shop, I looked around and saw nothing, only that on a stand with books that caught my eye, they were the same book. “The Last Man on Earth”. I shivered and I shouted very loud. “Am I in hell?”


THE PSYCHIATRIST
You were all alone in an unknown village. Isolated? And to the only thing, you found close to a woman was a mannequin!
JOHN
(Still under hypnosis)
I wished it was my mother. When I am frightened I always wanted my mother.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
Who did those terrible things in front of your eyes?

JOHN
No, it was not terrible what she did. I am an adult now and I see it from a different point of view. I admit she should have taken more precaution to shield me from it, I am the youngest, I was only a small child and she couldn’t leave me behind. I had to go wherever she went.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
The book you saw, “The Last Man on Earth”. When you read the title, you were frightened, yet you always told me that you like to be alone. Do you think that the loneliness you have experienced was maybe the place you always wanted to be with the Lord of darkness? You see John, right now you are wishing for all the hateful things you had in your life. You, in fact, you are finding it closer. You are trying to live another life. You obviously detest the way you live and you are living it the same but you are controlling it better in your nightmares. Now tell me are you are still in the village, You came out of the book shop, then what?

JOHN
This old village, somehow I had a notion that I knew it, but I wasn’t not sure. I always thought I shall meet someone here but not in an isolated place like this. Yes, In think I was going to meet her. She disappeared long ago from my life completely, and suddenly,without knowing what happened to her. I only know that she lives in my memory. The journey I make is long and tiring, though I did not expect to find her here. But I did.

THE PSYCHIATRIST
Who are you talking about John?
JOHN
Her! Who else?

(He says it without revealing)

When I was in the church, I walked in hoping to find a whole congregation, instead, I saw this woman sitting in the middle of it. I walked towards her and when I was close enough she turned her head towards me. It was her. The only woman I truly loved for what she was, my woman! She was the only woman I treated well. I loved her, because I never contaminate her with lust. I walked to her I sat beside her and forgot I was in church because I started kissing her all over, and she responded. She wiped the tears from my eyes, and when she did so she spoke. “Why John, why?”
“Why what,” I asked. Then all of a sudden I remembered something horrible, I remembered that she was dead. I kissed her face again but her face now was cold. The atmosphere is weird and breath-taking. “What have I done to her, why did she disappear? 


(He starts to cry in hysterics so much so that the psychiatrist tries to end the hypnosis.But John doesn’t respond)

I know. I know why I have the nightmares. I know my grave secret....I was really in that village, I was there many years ago, the woman I loved for six whole years lived there, she was my girlfriend. We were about to get married when I found out that she was unfaithful. She was like my mother all over again. I could not take that. One humiliation was enough. So I killed her. I smothered him while I was making love to her for the first time in my life, here in this village by  a building expansion and I placed hers body in one of the empty piles of the building knowing it was going to be filled up with cement. I was young then, about 18 years old I think.....Obviously, I got away with it, but not in my nightmares.


THE PSYCHIATRIST
John on the count of five you will wake up. You will remember nothing. One...two...three....four...five....

 

 

 

THE END