Kill Me

Kill Me by Stephen White

Book: Kill Me by Stephen White Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen White
about discretion.
    “Please,” he said, gesturing me toward the restaurant door. “I have to make a stop before I leave.”
    He had to pee, I guessed. He was discreet about even that.
    I thanked him for the meal, and we said good-bye without shaking hands.
    When I stepped outside, I walked into a day that had turned gray and was threatening the city with rain. I found myself hoping that my new, old friend was waiting for me with her chauffeured Town Car and her probing fingers.
    No such luck.
    I succeeded in hailing a cab right away and felt lucky to have it. I told the driver to take me out to Teterboro Airport in Jersey, where Mary would be waiting to take me home. The cabbie made a point of telling me how much the ride would cost. I was thinking about other things. I said, “Fine.”

FOURTEEN

    “I’d like to come back,” I said to my Boulder shrink at the end of that first day’s pair of sessions. “This has been fun.”
    “Sarcasm? Yes?” he said.
    “Yes.”
    “Thought so,” he said. “When?”
    “Soon, maybe. Same arrangement. Two visits in one day. That works for me. When can you do it again?”
    He picked up an old-fashioned appointment book, not a handheld computer. He spent a moment checking this and that before he said, “Thursday this week. Or Tuesday next.”
    “Thursday this week.”
    “You’re feeling some urgency?” he asked.
    Yeah, you could say that. “What times do you have?”
    “Ten-thirty and two-fifteen.”
    “Can do. It’s been a pleasure,” I said, standing.
    “If that remains the case,” he said, still in his seat, “then I’m not going to be of much help to you.”
    “And that means … what?”
    “My impression is that you’re a guy who walks into a room and takes it over. Either by charm, or by skill, or by sheer force of will. If none of those things work, you’ll do it by fiat. But you’ll do it.”
    I didn’t disagree with him. I did like to run the world, or at least any part of it that I was currently inhabiting. I hadn’t been like that my whole life — people who knew me when I was younger would’ve called me a free spirit — but I’d been like that since I’d decided to make some money.
    But I was curious about exactly what point the psychologist was making. So I waited him out. To my surprise my wait wasn’t long.
    “If I permit that to happen here,” he said, “I’ll be conspiring with you to waste your time. And wasting your time, I’m afraid, given your circumstances and your agenda, whatever it is, would be a crime.”
    “How do you know so much about me?” I asked. “Or think you know so much?” He did know a lot, and then he didn’t, but I wanted to see how he’d respond to being thrown a bone. I sat back down to hear his answer.
    He took a quick glance at his watch deciding, I thought, whether or not he had time to answer me.
    He said, “I only know what you’ve taught me. When you meet somebody, if you shut up and give them half a chance, in a remarkably short period of time they’ll teach you almost everything you need to know about them. If it’s important that you know the person, and understand him, the trick is to pay attention during the lessons and be the best student of that person you can be. That’s how I know what I know about you. You are the expert on you in this room, not me. You’ve been teaching me things about you that you aren’t even aware have been part of the lesson plan. As you teach me about you, I try to pay attention, to be the very best student I can be.”
    “I’ve told you almost nothing about me,” I said. But what I was thinking was, This guy does his work the same way I do mine. I pay attention. If there’s any way at all to pull it off, I will let the guy on the other side of the table show his cards before he’s ready.
    I knew my retort had been weak.
    He knew that, too. He said, “Facts are crap.”

FIFTEEN

    I drove out to Jeffco Airport and left my new Prius in the parking lot

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