“I don’t believe you would have made fun of the way I walk if you could have imagined where we would end up. This world is full of dark turns. I am sure you assumed that life would always smile on you, as it had for twenty-six years. People delude themselves that way. It makes it easier to avoid consequences that reveal hard truths about who they are and the sometimes tragic effects their actions have on the people in their orbit.”

“I’m not here as a judge. Truly. I feel like you know that something awful might happen to you at any moment and that is real terror. Terror of the unknown, terror of the mind’s ability to project all manner of bloodshed and pain. It’s all too much, if I’m honest, so try to focus on the intimate details: the sweat beading on your neck fat or the trembling in your jaw. Think of them as simple physiological reactions that any normal person would have and then listen to your breathing. I know it’s hard with the music, but that is all part of the routine. It makes it more interesting for us to have a suitable playlist going in the background. Ambiance is probably not the word I’d use, but it does help set the tone in a way your screaming does not.”

“Okay. I see that my speechifying is not calming you down and I am partly to blame for that, but what should really give you pause is what you think is going to happen when I stop talking.”

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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