Ten minutes before his therapy session with Callie, Dr. Visner was sitting at his desk thinking about her.
I remind her of her stepfather, he thought as he looked over his notes. He tricked her into thinking she enjoyed the sex with him. She looks at me with desire in her eyes, and I don’t think that’s just my countertransference making me want to think she wants me, though I must be careful with my countertransference. She is beautiful and desirable, that stripper, and because of the sexual abuse she suffered from her stepfather, her transference with me–though amorous on the surface–will have unconscious hostility to me, too.
Beyond the obvious ethical problems of me possibly being involved with her sexually, he continued in his meditations, there’s the danger of her turning violent on me. Her stepfather, Mort Brahms, it turns out was the man killed by that animal in the Hamilton news story…and there have been sightings of such a beast here in Toronto, after the killings of two men during sex with them. She must have delusions that she’s this beast. Does she own a pet of some exotic kind? Does she dress up in a furry costume, with fake claws? The police insist that the victims didn’t have knife wounds, but claw wounds. The men wouldn’t have fucked her when she was wearing such a costume, I think it’s safe to assume; few men would be turned on by that. She wouldn’t have changed into such a costume right after the kills, for she was at their homes, and why would she carry the costume around? I can’t seriously be expected to believe she transforms into a beast, as with her Hulk fixation, so what’s going on?
His receptionist spoke on the intercom: “Ms. Seaver is here for her appointment, Dr. Visner.”
“OK,” he said. “Send her in.”
Callie entered the room. His jaw dropped.
She was wearing a sleeveless, skin-tight, PVC red dress that went half-way down her upper legs and showed off a generous amount of cleavage. She also wore black fishnet stockings and matching high heels. She’d painted her face with thick black mascara, purple eye shadow, pink blush, and red lipstick.
“What do you think?” she asked with a grin. “Do you like it?” She turned around for him, then sat in a chair facing him. Without panties, she at first had her knees together, but over the next several minutes she would slowly, almost imperceptibly, open her legs. As her legs drifted open, that pheromone emanated from her.
He took a deep breath and resisted looking between her legs. “Why are you…dressed like that?” he asked. The pheromone buzz was already beginning to affect him; his eyes were half-closed, and his head swayed left to right.
“I’ll be stripping at The Gold Star tonight,” she said. “As soon as we finish here, I’ll be going over there, so I won’t have time to change. Besides, I wanted to look hot for you.”
He pushed himself to regain control. “Don’t I…remind you…of your hateful stepfather? He who…cruelly sodomized you, and drove your mother…to suicide?”
“You may look like Mort, but I can see you’re a much better man than he ever was.”
“I see.” With effort, he was writing notes. Don’t grill her on Mort’s death, he thought, blinking a lot. Discuss it only if she brings it up, and even then, be tactful. “But you…hardly know anything about me. How do you know…I’m any better than he was?”
“I know enough,” she and Kluh said together, as they were always communicating together now; indeed, Callie’s personality had become barely distinct from that of the demoness. Their souls were like circles in a Venn diagram that overlapped about ninety percent, with only thin edges of the one soul and the other not touching. Because of this psychic closeness with the mind-reading demoness, Callie’s ‘knowing enough’ about Visner was no exaggeration.
“You know…the idealized version…of a father/lover figure…that you’ve projected onto me,” the therapist nonetheless insisted. I feel high, he thought, still blinking.
“Is that so?” she asked, her legs wide open now, her agape eyes and pursed lips giving him no doubt that the exposure of her vulva was fully intentional. “Enlighten me.” The pheromone aroma grew more and more powerful.
“Y-yes, w-well…,” he began, stammering not so much from her exhibitionism, or the pheromones, as from her choice in clothes; for her outfit was an exact replica of that of a young Thai prostitute he’d enjoyed, many years ago, during the partying years of his youth in Southeast Asia, just before he began his master’s degree. “Because of your trauma, your personality has split into three…aspects, we’ll say.”
“You think I have three personalities?”
“No, I-I don’t think necessarily that–not yet, anyway. I’ll try to explain this…to you in a way…that w-won’t sound like…psychoanalytic jargon. I’ll use language you can understand. Y-you…”
“No need to dumb it down too much. I’m smarter than you think.”
“No, Callie, I don’t mean to condescend. Anyway, there’s you in your original ego-state, just wanting to connect with people, as we all do when we’re healthy. But, because of the divorce…of your parents, your father’s…distancing himself from you, then his death, your mother’s suicide, and your stepfather’s…rapes, that original you…has developed two other, subsidiary egos.”
“OK, I’m intrigued,” she said with a smirk, her legs still wide open. “What are these ‘subsidiary egos’?”
“Well, one of them is an angry, hateful, and even violent beast, so to speak.”
Her eyes widened. Her smirk grew wider.
“This ‘beast’ rejects people, because it’s been hurt…so many times by them, and it can only remember…pain and rejection itself. The other is…w-well…as you are now…full of lust and desire, e-eager for the fulfillment of pleasure.”
“Oh, you’re right about that,” she said, using her power to open her vagina into a big, black hole.
The pheromone smell was overpowering. Still, he held on to his composure, as shaky as he was getting. He just looked down at his notepad and wrote more notes, but his shaky hand made the words almost illegible.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let the beast get you.” She licked her lips at the visible erection in his pants.
“Do you want to talk about the beast?”
“I’d rather talk about the horny version of me.”
“I can see that.”
“Yeah…but you aren’t looking.”
“Do you feel insulted about that?”
“No. I know you want me. I can feel it. You’re just a little shy. Actually, your resistance makes you all the more attractive to me. Men who jump at every opportunity for sex are boring. You’ll come to me, though, in time.”
“I will, will I?” he asked with a smirk, looking directly into her eyes and trying his best not to look down.
“Oh, yes,” she said, still showing off that wide-open hole, and smiling from noticing his occasional, furtive looks. “As I said, the beast won’t kill you.”
“I’m not concerned…about a beast killing me.” His head was spinning from the sexy smell.
“You’ve been following the recent local news, haven’t you?”
“Of course I have. A hairy beast…killed two men…by slicing them up…with razor-sharp claws. Police claim…they’ve seen such an animal, a furry one…with a woman’s curves, running about…and jumping up high, in huge leaps, on the streets at night. Are you saying…that this beast is a part of you?”
“Oh, yes,” she said. “But you don’t believe that, do you?”
“I believe the beast…is a figment of your imagination.”
“But you do acknowledge that I killed those men, and Mort? You do acknowledge that the police really saw a hairy animal with a figure as curvy as mine?”
“I acknowledge…the possibility of your having…killed them. I acknowledge that people have seen…a beast out there; but I’m a psychotherapist, not a forensic scientist. I’ll leave it up to them…to decide if you killed those men, if there really is…a hairy animal out there, and if that animal…is connected with you…in any way other than…in your imagination.”
“You believe…you killed those men…as that beast, but I’m not yet convinced…that your guilt in those matters…is anything other than…a figment of your imagination. You’re clearly deeply disturbed…and traumatized; this trauma is making it difficult…for you to see things…as they are. I care about you, and I want to help you. You’re terribly fragmented, split up…into three parts.”
“Actually, the fragments are all coming together. You’ll be joining us, too, Doctor, in a very special way…in a way, in fact, that will go beyond how you came together with that girl prostitute in Bangkok many years back.”
He dropped his pen and notepad.