Today, as promised, chapter 3 of Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings. And as I’ve received and gone through the corrections by Express Editing Solutions it should be more polished now…
Tania took out her phone as soon as they left the meeting room. Steve shook Mary’s hand and said goodbye.
Phil looked at Ryan. “What about coming for a drink, or perhaps lunch?”
Ryan hesitated but finally shrugged and sighed. “As much as I’d like to, I’m afraid I can’t. My sister, Romy, is getting married in a few months, and we’ve got to the stage of choosing menus. Her fiancé is away, working abroad, and she’s enlisted me to provide her with tactical support. God knows why she thinks I’d be any good at that! She’s told me I’ll represent fussy eaters, so if I approve of something, it’s likely to be OK for the difficult people. The things one has to put up with!”
Mary smiled. Phil said, “Well, I see there’s no hope then. Neither Mary nor I have siblings, so don’t expect a lot of sympathy from us.”
“Lucky you! Although no, that’s not true either. I love my sister, though she can be a pain. Nice to meet you, Mary. It seems you’ll be spending some time here, so hopefully we’ll be able to catch up and do something else.”
Mary and Ryan shook hands, and Phil patted his shoulder.
After debating what to do for lunch on the way back to Phil’s apartment, they decided to buy a few things at a deli in the neighbourhood and eat at home.
“So…what did you honestly think?” Phil asked Mary after they sat down to eat.
“About the writer?” Phil nodded. Mary ate some bread and when she finished chewing, looked at Phil. “You do understand I don’t have a crystal ball or superpowers? I can’t just look at the guy and know what’s going on inside his head.”
“Of course I know that. And I didn’t suggest you come to obtain a confession or anything like that. But I’m curious to hear your opinion.”
“I think Ryan is right. And so are you. He doesn’t seem in the least affected by his actions or worried about how the victim might be. He might be worried about what could happen to him, but not about Mr Green’s well-being. Whatever that man has done to him, or he thinks he has done, it seems a bit callous. But Mr Wright has a point. Perhaps a formal assessment would shed some light.”
Phil looked at Mary sideways.
“You don’t believe there’s anything wrong with him.”
“No. You’re right. I don’t think he’s mentally ill, no. With regards to his personality, no comment.”
“But you will use your interrogation methods to get to the truth.”
“I’m not a torture expert, Phil. I’ll just ask him a few questions and try to see if I can establish what his state of mind was like at the time of the assault. That’s all.”
“OK. If you say so.”
Mary looked at Phil, frowning, and he raised his hands, mouthing ‘sorry.’ After a few minutes of eating in silence, Phil asked, “So, what do you think about the players?”
“The players? Do you mean the people at the firm?”
She laughed. “Well, Tania…”
“Tania isn’t a player. Merely decor.”
“Phil!” Mary punched him, jokingly, in the arm.
“OK, OK. No need to go all feminist on me. You know I’m all for woman power, but Tania isn’t even interested in law. I suspect her father thought that at least if she was there she wouldn’t be getting herself into trouble and keeping bad company. Honest!”
Mary continued eating, pretending to be upset. Phil could be incredibly patient at work, but was not very tolerant of the silent treatment.
“So, what do you think?”
“Of your colleagues, you mean?”
“It’s difficult to know. I’ve only seen them in the boss’s presence, apart from Ryan very briefly, and wouldn’t dare to judge based on that. Is Steve his right hand?”
“Steve came here as a trainee shortly after Wright established the firm. They’ve been through a lot together, although there are rumours that there was some scandal and that’s why Steve hasn’t moved on to create his own firm and hasn’t insisted on having his name next to Percy’s.”
“A scandal?” Mary looked at Phil with her eyes wide.
“Yes, I know. It doesn’t look likely. And I have no idea what kind of scandal. It seems it was a while back, and it’s well buried.”
“As I told you, he’s hoping to make partner, although I’m not sure he’ll fit in. He’s too… Well, he’s like the court jester. Always bouncing around and saying the first thing that comes into his head. He’s as likely to get a good kicking as make someone laugh.”
“I don’t think he’s a court jester at all. I think he’s a very sharp observer, although sometimes he might not come across in the right way, and people might dismiss his words. I think at their peril.”
“OK… And you haven’t met Lance, the shiniest new acquisition. He hasn’t been with us long but he has the perfect image and credentials. And Percy is like a boy with a new toy: he has to show him off to everybody.”
“I can see you really like him,” Mary said, winking.
Phil laughed. “It’s not so much him as the effect he has on others. But hey, it’s too early to call…”
“But there are other people working there too, no?”
“Yes, but in other departments or capacities. You might meet some of them, but these are the ones most likely to be involved in the case.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing them all in action. And you, of course.”
Phil smiled and they both started clearing up the table.
“And now, what are we going to do for the rest of the weekend?” Mary asked.
“Let’s pretend we’re tourists and do the whole New York experience,” Phil said. “What do you think?”
And that’s what they did. They wandered around Central Park and even went for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, visited the Empire State Building and went to the top, queued at the Times Square half-price ticket booth and went to watch a musical, window shopped in Fifth Avenue…
“It is a great place,” Mary said.
“Yes. One feels like singing ‘New York, New York’,” Phil replied.
“Please, no. I’ve heard you sing before.”
When they got to Phil’s apartment on Sunday evening, there was a message on the answering machine. While Mary went to drop off her handbag in the guest bedroom, Phil listened to it. She joined him in the kitchen.
“It was from the office. It seems the client will be in early tomorrow morning to go over some details and paperwork. Percy wondered if you would mind seeing him and starting your assessment at around eleven a.m.”
“Yes. No problem. I assume they’ll tell him that’s what we’re doing though.”
“Well, yes. I have to go in earlier. We always have a meeting first thing, around nine, to discuss the work we’re doing. If you don’t mind waiting around for a bit, you can always come with me.”
“Sure. I’ll take a book.”
“No surprises there.”
If you’ve missed the previous two chapters, here are the links:
Just in case you’ve been hiding and don’t know I just wanted to remind you that Escaping Psychiatry is available for only $0.99. Here I leave you a reminder and some links:
‘Escaping Psychiatry’ is a collection of three stories in the psychological thriller genre with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer. She is trying to develop her literary career but circumstances and friends conspire to keep dragging her back to psychiatry.
In ‘Cannon Fodder’ Mary has to assess Cain, an African-American man accused of inciting a religious riot when he claimed that he could hear God and God was black. He might not be mad, but Mary is sure he’s hiding something.
‘Teamwork’ sees Mary hoodwinked into offering therapy to Justin, a policeman feeling guilty after his partner and ersatz father was killed on-duty. Before Mary can extricate herself from the case, things get personal.
In ‘Memory’ Mary goes missing after an incident with Phil, who is manic as he hasn’t been taking his medication. When she is found, she has been the victim of a horrific crime, but they soon discover she was luckier than they had realised.
The epilogue revisits Mary at the point of the trial of her abductor and sees what changes have taken place in her life. Will she finally manage to Escape Psychiatry?
Thanks so much for reading and you know… Like, share, comment and of course CLICK! (Go on, clic. I’m fine but I had a car crash last week, the car isn’t that well and I could do with some good news).