by Ethan Kanfer
SETTING: A bar and grill
CHARACTER: BERYL, female, 40’s, British accent.
(BERYL sits at a table talking to an unseen friend. She is drinking a margarita, not her first of the evening.)
No, I don’t have a thing for him. I mean, I don’t have that kind of a thing for him. I don’t go moaning his name when Nigel and I are having sex, if that’s what you mean… Right, wouldn’t be good for the confidentiality rule, would it? Professional to the core, that’s us. Oh, yes. Faster, harder… ohhh, Patient X!! No, it’s not like that. It’s… I don’t know how to explain it. He’s gotten to me somehow. Challenges me all the time… I know, it is what it is, it’s what we do… Yeah, yeah, I’m familiar with the bloody term, thank you very much. I never liked it, sounds like something they’d sell at Home Depot. Discounts on kitchen counter-transferences, come on down… He says I make him feel like he can’t win. He opens up, I’m negative. He goes back in his shell, I give him shit about that, too… I guess he’s right, in a way. I’m always saying “I’m not your mother, not your lover, not your guru, not your friend.” …No, not in those words, obviously. But that’s the content. At least to his ears, that’s how it sounds… I thought I was setting boundaries, that’s what my supervisor said to do, but it didn’t land. The poor bastard just keeps getting more and more upset with me. You know what he said to me the other day?
(She does an American baritone, not too well.) “Where’s the blitzkrieg, Beryl? Why does everything have to be rationed?”
(Back to her normal voice.) I didn’t say anything. What is there to say? He was taunting, of course, ‘cause he knows I’m sensitive. Been here twenty-six years, and I’m still a “foreigner.” My little axe to grind… But he’s right, isn’t he? We who aren’t the wives, aren’t the kids, aren’t the co-workers. Can’t we afford to be a bit more generous? Not say “no” all the time? What have we got to lose? We don’t have to live with the buggers, do we?… And that’s where I felt something shatter inside him. It was one negative too many, one rebuff, one cheap counter-argument, and I could see in his eyes something had gone just terribly wrong. He reminded me of a burnt out light bulb. You know how you shake it and you hear the filament sort of jingling around in there. Well, if you could pick up an a one hundred a seventy-five pound man and shake him, you’d have heard his heart rattling like that, like fried filament… I knew you were going to ask me that. Yes, he does. Every Tuesday. I’ve suggested many times he go find someone else, if he doesn’t like my approach. But he won’t do it. Continue reading