tagMind ControlHypnothe-Rapist: Starr Scores Ch. 06

Hypnothe-Rapist: Starr Scores Ch. 06

bySmokey125©

To every gentleman in need of female companionship and affection...your dream doctor. Literally.

***Dr. Angela Starr: The Hypnothe-Rapist***

SS36: STARR SCORES VI—"Avenging Forthwith"

***

36 stories, six (square root of 36) now belong to this series. averaging out to one of each of these six "Hypnothe-Rapist" stories for every six of the Smokey Sagas thus far. Just a coincidence. Absolutely nothing to do with this actual story itself, however. Another coincidence: this is going to appear on the site, at the time of writing and submission, around the same point the original "Hypnothe-Rapist"—part one—will reach its 30,000th view. Okay, I am through with that now. On with the story.

***

November 3rd, 8:00 a.m.

Angela stepped out from her office, dropped by the water fountain for a drink and swung over to Paula's recep area where she had just gotten in and set her things down. She held a small package behind her back.

"Good morning, World's Greatest Receptionist!" she smiled cheerily. "How are we doing today then?"

Paula laughed. "Why, just splendid, World's Greatest Angie Starr," she replied impishly. "Thyself?"

"Am I ever less than ecstatic?" Angie Starr queried rhetorically. She handed Paula the small box she'd been concealing.

"Aw, what's this for?" asked Paula. "It's not my birthday, and...come to think of it, it's not yours, either."

"No, but it is National Tell Your Coworkers The Truth About Themselves And How You Feel About Them And If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say Then Don't Say Anything At All Day," Angela explained. "And that's just precisely what this is."

Paula gazed blankly at her with a knowing smirk.

"You are totally insulting my intelligence with a lie of that size and transparence, and I frankly don't even care," she teased, accepting the gift. She opened the box, whipped out the protective tissue wrap, and found a royal blue coffee mug inside.

"Aw!" Paula was touched. "A mug! Thank you!"

"Read it."

Paula obliged with a chuckle.

"'World's Greatest Receptionist.'"

Angie held out her hands. "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but."

Paula shined it up on her sleeve. "Oh, Starr, thank you so, so much, I absolutely love it, but you didn't have to."

"Oh, but I did," Angela corrected. "You see, had I not, someone else may have given it to their receptionist, and consequently they'd have been mistaken in having done so, as only I actually do in fact boast the one and only World's Greatest Receptionist."

Paula was so touched she almost got a tear welled up in her eye. Obviously, both knew full well that this mug and dozens of sales items like it were marketed in Hallmarks and gift shops all over, and this certainly wasn't the first time someone had gifted this particular objet to his or her esteemed front desk assistant, nor would it be the last. But Paula wasn't about to start being a stickler about such things this morning.

"Well, how sweet," she said, choosing a prominent spot in her cube to display the fancy mug. "Now I just have to find one that says 'World's Greatest Boss.'"

"Yeah, and be quick about it too," Angie joked. "So—oh! Did you have a chance to set the clocks back?"

"I was literally just about to do that," replied Paula, starting with the one in the cube right beside her.

"'Atta girl. So how was your Halloween?"

"Oh," Paula exited the cube to fix the clocks in the waiting room and the hall. "Not bad. Dave and I dressed up like Jack Skellington and Sally, that was fun. The turnout was a little less than we would've liked, though. We gave out tons of candy to the kids who did come around, but we still had a heaping pile left over. But oh well, I'd rather have too much than not enough."

"I know exactly what you mean," agreed Angela. "I've gotten to know a lot of the parents and kids around my neighborhood now, but where I grew up, after my friends and I got too old to keep going, our visitors got real sparse too. It's a little sad in a way, but y'know, the next generation could start showing up in droves any year now."

"Right you are as always. And...all righty!" Paula wound back the last office clock, placed it in its spot on the wall and clapped her hands off. "There we are; Daylight Savings Time is officially over. And I'll take down the Halloween decorations when I've got a few spare moments. Then later on this week I'll bring in the Christmas stuff and start with it."

"Good woman!" praised Angie. "So, whom have we on the books today?"

"Well, let's just go ahead and find out, shall we..." Paula said, pacing her speech till she could get back into the cube. "Uh-huh, yes...here we are. A...Mr. Ben Bales first up today, at 9:00. Newbie, introductory session. Seemed pretty urgent on the phone."

Angela loved new patients. "Awesome!" she smiled. "Well, just go ahead and send h—"

Coincidentally, right at this moment the front door popped open, and in scurried a panting gentleman, whipping off his coat.

"Whew!" He approached the front desk, shivering off. "Hi, uh...I'm Ben Bales, here for my appointment. Sorry I'm a little late. I got here as fast as I could."

Paula and Angie stared at him for a moment, then turned to one another. Paula quickly double-checked the schedule.

"Uh...good morning, Mr. Bales, pleasure to meet you..." Paula greeted, a bit hesitantly. "Eh, tell me, sir, do you recall for when exactly your appointment was scheduled?"

Mr. Ben Bales looked at the two of them with an odd expression.

"I'm...pretty sure it was 9:00, right? I mean, that is what time it is right n—..."

He turned to the waiting room clock as he spoke. His voice trailed off as he noted the time its hands read. His own expression twisted into a facial question mark. He checked his cell, which unbeknownst to him had automatically adjusted to end DST.

"What the..." He appeared dumbfounded.

"Oh, dear," said Angie, having figured out this gentleman's confusion. "Mr. Bales, did you forgot to set your clocks back?"

A look of embarrassed realization came over Ben Bales' face. Seeing what was going on, Paula jumped in to see if she could alleviate his uncomfortable situation.

"Well...that may still be okay, Mr. Bales," she told him. "You're Dr. Starr's first patient today, and if we were losing an hour, that might be a problem, but we're gaining one instead, so you're actually early, not late. And..." She gestured to Angela. "If...Dr. Starr is ready for you right now, then we don't have to make you wait the whole hour. That's, eh...that's up to her, though."

"Oh, certainly!" Angela confirmed. "Mr. Bales, why don't you give the World's Greatest Receptionist, Mrs. Paula Saunders here, your ID and insurance information, and I'll be right back in my office, across from the restroom. You can come on back anytime you're ready, and we'll get started!"

Paula and Mr. Ben Bales got the formalities squared away. She Xeroxed his ID, gave him his new patient form and indicated him down the hall to where Dr. Starr was waiting. Angie looked up to see him with her warm, beatific smile.

"Well, hello there, Mr. Bales!" she stood to shake his hand. "Long time no see!" she quipped. "How've you been?"

Ben managed a smirk, but for the most part wasn't in the mood to laugh. He shook her hand, wandered to her sofa bed, slipped off his shoes and crawled up onto it like her pet.

"Well, welcome to my palace, Mr. Bales," Angela grinned proudly. "It's lovely to meet you, and I'm so happy you've come. So then, let's get a file started for you..." She retrieved an empty folder and some blank paper and scribbled down his name.

"...And...how may I help you this beautiful morning?"

Wow, she's cheerful, he thought.

"Well, uh..." he opened with a sigh, "It's...it's about my mother."

"Uh-huh, okay, I see...please go on."

He exhaled uncomfortably. This was plainly uneasy for him to talk about.

"It's all right," Angie urged, in her familiarly calming manner. "This is the safest place in the world, Mr. Bales. You can trust me. While you're here with me, I'm your best friend, and anything you tell me will be both treated with the seriousness it deserves, and kept in the strictest confidence. Feel free to share anything and everything you wish with me."

"Okay," said Ben. He shut his eyes and winced his face into a grimace.

"...My mother is dead."

Angie's face clouded with sympathy.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" she said. "And this happened recently?"

He nodded. "Last week."

Angie scribbled on the pad. "How terrible," she empathized. "Well, I'm very very sad to hear that awful news, Ben, but, I'm so glad you've come to me so I can help you through it."

"Yeah, well, there's a little more to it than just that. And at this point I'm doubtful anyone can help me, but I'm willing to try."

"Good. Now, Ben, obviously I can see that you're hurting, and I don't mean to abruptly flip the subject on you, or take time away from our work on your problem—it's just that at the same time, this is our introductory interview, and along with your issues you need help on, I want to collect some personal info so I can put it to use in assisting me to heal you."

He nodded, taking a deep breath. "'Kay. I'll be strong for ya."

Angela smiled warmly. "Good man. And the better news is..." She lowered her voice and leaned in towards him a few inches. "...We're not really supposed to do this, technically, Ben—and I won't tell anyone if you won't—but I'm gonna reward you for forgetting to set your clock back. Since you got here an hour early, and you happened to be my first patient of the day, I've decided to give you that extra hour's worth of treatment, because I feel you could use it. But I won't charge you more for it."

Ben looked up at her with visible love and gratitude in his eyes. His lips seemed to curl up towards a smile for the first time.

"Wow, that's...that's so nice. Thank you, Doctor, eh...Starr."

She smiled back. "What are friends for? And why waste the hour, right? It wouldn't do either of us a world of good to just make you sit in the waiting room. And for me, I'd much rather be working with a patient than sitting here waiting myself.

"Uh, unless, of course you have to be off somewhere, later on today, after this session?"

"No, no, I'm good for the day," Ben assured her.

"Fantastic! We'll go ahead and take our time then. Get as much out of this as we possibly can. And incidentally, I personally prefer Angie, but you can call me anything you want: Dr. Starr, Dr. Angela, Doc...whichever you like."

Ben suddenly felt a good bit better about being here already. If this wasn't the nicest woman on Earth, she likely could have fooled him. "Okay...Angie," he returned.

Her smile lingered, and broadened tenderly. "There you go. I may be a doctor, but in this clinic and this office I'm also your galpal, Ben, so no scary formality here. First-name basis all the way. Now then!" She gestured to him to hand her the new patient form Paula'd given him. "Why don't we go ahead and get this filled out.

"Now Ben, mon ami, have you ever been hypnotized before?"

"I have not."

"Okay. Were you referred to me by anyone in particular?"

"Yellow Pages."

"All right, excellent, thank you. Now, I'm gonna ask you a few basic personal health questions. These may not relate directly to your problem, Ben, but they're status quo, for all patients. And you don't have to answer a question if you don't want to.

"Any allergies?"

Ben shook his head. "No, none."

"Any mental issues or diseases?"

He again shook no. "Not unless sudden depression over losing my Mom counts."

Angie flashed him another short, sympathetic, loving look, ensuring him they'd get on with the treatment soon.

"Any hereditary or personal physical issues, disorders or STDs?"

Once more, he shook his head.

"Okay, terrific. How is your appetite currently?"

He shrugged. "'S...normal, I guess."

"How're your eating habits?"

Ben raised his eyebrows. "Well, admittedly, since last week I've been eating more 'comfort food' than usual," he explained, air quoting with his fingers, "For what are probably by now obvious reasons."

Angie nodded. "Gotcha. How's your sleeping?"

"Oh..." He made an unsure face, waving his hand in an uneven teetering pattern.

"...So-so?"

"Yeah, I'd say...again, not so great as usual since last week."

"All righty then. Can I ask your age?"

"34."

"Are you married?"

"Divorced."

"Dating a woman right now?"

Ben paused, a bit curious about the reasoning behind this question, but not enough to stop the interview and ask. "No."

"Okay...do you have a healthy libido?"

Again, he paused.

"I reiterate that you're perfectly within your rights to plead the fifth if you so desire, Ben," she added.

He looked back down to the floor with an additional shrug. "I...guess it's healthy enough," he replied.

"Fantastic. Okay, Ben, now you said there was more to your story than you already told me. Please, go on."

"Well, eh...my mother didn't exactly die of natural causes."

"Oh?"

He gave her another shake of the head.

"...She was robbed and murdered."

Angela's face filled, understandably, with shock.

"My goodness!" she exclaimed. "Oh, Ben, I'm—again—so sorry! I..."

She was about to add that she didn't know what to say, but it was just as well, as he went on with the story.

"Not as sorry as I am. This is the worst part of it. I found out later it'd happened while she was coming out of the drugstore. She's, uh..." He slipped a hand over his eyes. "She was on medication for these anxiety episodes she has somet—...had, sometimes. And, she had them, but I don't; they didn't get passed down to me. But anyway, earlier the same day, I was at her house—and we got into a fight because she'd forgot to get the meds filled, and I got aggravated with her about it because, well, she needs them. Y'know, to take decent care of herself.

"And she got defensive, and said she just forgot. And I said, well, yeah, but, Mom, y'know, you can't just forget! I mean, the doctor put you on them for a reason! And unfortunately, it kind of set her off. She was already without the medication, and, I shouldn't have gone off on her like that, but I was adamant about it, and finally she just...snapped. For lack of a better word. She jumped up and yelled at me to stop nagging her, and that she would get dressed and go get them right now. And...she did. She just, that exact moment, took herself right down to the drugstore, at 15th and Saxon Street."

15th and Saxon Street...for some reason that intersection rang a bell with Angela, but she wasn't immediately sure why. Oh well, she thought. The location's not vitally important right now.

She nodded somberly. "I see...and then she..."

"Yeah." Ben blinked several times, trying to keep his emotions under control. "And when I found out, I...I..."

He sniffled, unable to keep his voice from cracking just a bit. "...I felt so horrible—and guilty. I pushed her into going to the pharmacy-drugstore just then, and it's true that if she had gone to get them before, this wouldn't have happened, but it also wouldn't have happened if I'd left her alone just then. I know it may not be completely true, but it...

"...It felt like...I killed her."

Angie's mouth dropped ajar. She shook her head vehemently. "Oh, Ben, dear, it's not true at all!" she asserted. "You had no way of knowing this was going to happen at this particular date and time. If you had, you never would have sent her there, would you? Or, you would have made her go to a different location. It was plainly and simply an awful coincidence the person who did this terrible thing to your mother just happened to be there at the same time. You did nothing wrong here, trust me!"

"Yeah, I know, but I...I..." He let out a melancholy breath, covering his face still. "I can't help feeling like I should have gone to get them for her. I mean, it...it should have been me. She just went by herself, and that's just the way it happened. I could have gone with her, but at that moment, we...we just felt like we could use a few minutes to ourselves, I guess. It—we—th—..."

He sighed. "If I'd gone with her, I might have been able to protect her when this happened. I-I-I might've seen it coming. If...even if nothing else, I could have called for help. I could've...I-I couldn't done something! But the...the whole last week, all I've been able to think was that it...it should've been me!" His voice cracked and his body trembled. "It should've been me!

"It should've been ME!"

This repeated declaration cut Angela in the heart. She rose from her chair and joined Ben on her sofa.

"Oh, Ben, hon, please don't say that!" she implored, sitting with him and gently taking his wrists, prying his hands from his face. "Don't do that to yourself! It's not going to do you any good to put yourself in your mother's place. It's not your fault. I'm so, so sorry for your loss, I know you're in agony, I know how painful it is to lose a loved one, and I can understand your guilty feeling, but you can't punish yourself for this. Ben, please, listen to me, this is your friend talking: it is not, your, fault."

He sniffled, turning to her. "Thanks, uh, Doc...Angie."

She smiled back. "Hey, I'm your pal!" she encouraged, giving him a light clap on the arm. "Now, eh..." She stood and briefly returned to her desk to grab her pen and his file, squatted down to reach underneath the desk and grab a box of tissues, came back to the sofa and sat with him. She whipped some out, dabbed his eyes dry and placed the others in his hands. "Here, blow."

Ben did as she said and told her more about his relationship with his mother. She had been widowed when Ben was at a young age. Ever since, the terrain between them had been a bit rocky. The aspect of drama was played up to maintain things intact, but the love would never be denied. Ben had lost one parent, and definitely wanted to hang on to the other one, come what may, and so he had grown especially adamant about seeing to it that she did whatever it took to look after herself.

"So...all that being said," he explained, "You can understand how I still kinda blame myself—or part of me does—for this ironic twist things took last week."

Angela nodded and stroked his shoulder. "I do. But that's why you're here now, my friend. You came here in search of support and help, and I am going to grant you that help.

"Now, Ben, bravo, first of all, for doing the smart, sensible thing, and seeking healing. Some would not have handled the situation using good sense the way you did. It's also good that you're allowing yourself to feel your emotions and bring yourself to terms with this; denial's not healthy for anyone. Since you've brought yourself along this far, it makes it easier for me to guide you further down your path to closure.

"Now, Ben, I'm truly sorry to hear about your misfortune, especially since this happened to you with your father when you were little. Because, since this traumatized you at that easily impressionable age, that trauma has always stayed with you, like it does with all of us, at any age. So when this happened to you again with your mother recently, even though you're a grown man in your 30s, that young boy inside you who lost his Dad just became re-traumatized, at the loss of your-slash-his Mom.

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