I'm not sure how to see this one. It's one of my all time favourites. It's anarchic, sexy, scary and silly. The writing is unusual, sometimes pompous, sometimes marvellously creat
ive. Is it a hangover from anarchic 60's literature to be dismissed with so much from that time, or its finest hour! ?? If you look at the cover image you'll see that this book also didnt make it through the scanning process. It is an exbook, it is no more! ? It lives on as an E-book. ? BTW for those who take notice of such things - there is a lot of swearing and a lot of sex! You have been warned ...Enjoy...AFB ? The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart ? FEW NOVELS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE THIS ONE WILL! LET THE DICE DECIDE! If that dice has a 'one' face up, I thought, I'm going downstairs to rape Arlene. 'If it's a one, I'll rape Arlene' kept blinking on and off in my mind like a huge neon light and my terror increased. But when I thought if it's not a one 'I'll go to bed, the terror evaporated and excitement swept over me: a one means rape, the other numbers mean, bed, the die is cast. Who am I to question the dice? So Luke Rhinehart, novelist, autobiographer and bored psychiatrist, makes his first dice decision. Rape accomplished, he begins to live the dice life in earnest. With every move he makes determined by a throw of the dice, he rampages from one outrage to the next, from uninhibited promiscuity to murder . . . THE DICE MAN is vastly entertaining-unashamedly sexy, painfully funny and terrifying by turns. It is also the most subversive and revolutionary novel of the decade. ? `TOUCHING, INGENIOUS AND BEAUTIFULLY COMIC' ANTHONY BURGESS ? `BRILLIANT . . . VERY IMPRESSIVE' COLIN WILSON ? `HILARIOUS AND WELL-WRITTEN . . . SEX ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE AN OPTION' TIME OUT Dicing with life is what the protagonist of this nicely mocking novel does. Here's how diceman-ship works. Luke Rhinehart is a successful but bored New York psychiatrist who in a moment of utter ennui - dreams up the ploy. For instance, you're coming to the fag end of a tedious evening - so, do you throw in the towel and take yourself off to bed? Or do you go one floor down and rape sexy Arlene? You let the roll of a dice decide for you. (As it came up for Rhinehart he went down one floor and raped sexy Arlene.) From there on everything goes in this dice-rolling fantastic novel. 'I find The Dice Man very funny indeed and sometimes almost terrifying in its accurate evocation of the amount of nonsense American psychoanalysts talk and believe in!' Professor H. J. Eysenck ? From the same author ?
Matari A PANTHER BOOK GRANADA London Toronto Sydney New York Published by Granada Publishing Limited in 197? Reprinted 1972 (twice), 19.73 (twice), 1974, 1975, ' 1976, 1977 (twice), 1979 (twice), 1981 (twice) ISBN 0 586 03765 9 First published in Great Britain by Talmy, Franklin Ltd. 1971 Copyright (c) George Cockcroft 1971 Granada Publishing Limited Frogmore, St Albans, Herts AL2 2NF and 36 Golden Square, London W1R 4AH 866 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA 117 York Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia 100 Skyway Avenue, Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 3A6, Canada 61 Beach Road, Auckland, New Zealand Made and printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd Bungay, Suffolk Set in Monotype Times This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Granada Publishing ? To A. J. M. Without any of whom, no Book. In the beginning was Chance, and Chance was with God and Chance was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Chance and without him not anything made that was made. In Chance was life and the life was the light of men. There was a man sent by Chance, whose name was Luke. The sere came for a witness, to bear witness of Whim, that all men through him might believe. He was not Chance, but was sent to bear witness of Chance. That was the true Accident, that randomizes every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Chance, even to them that believe accidentally, they which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of Chance. And Chance was made flesh (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Great Fickle Father), and he dwelt among us, full of chaos, and falsehood and whim. from The Book of the Die ? Preface ? `The style is the man,' once said Richard Nixon and devoted his life to boring his readers. What to do if there is no single man? No single style? Should the style vary as the man writing the autobiography varies, or as the past man he writes about varied? Literary critics would insist that the style of a chapter must correspond to the man whose life is being dramatized: a quite rational injunction, one that ought therefore to be repeatedly disobeyed. The comic life, portrayed as high tragedy, everyday events being described by a Madman, a man in love described by a scientist. So. Let us have no more quibbles about style. If style and subject matter happen to congeal in any of these chapters it is a lucky accident, not, we may hope, soon to be repeated. A cunning chaos: that is what my autobiography shall be. I shall make my order chronological; an innovation dared these days by few. But my style shall be random, with
the wisdom of the Dice. I shall sulk and soar, extol and sneer. I shall shift from first person to third person: I shall use first-person omniscient, a mode of narrative generally reserved for Another. When distortions and digressions occur to me in my life's history I shall embrace them, for a well-told lie is a gift of the gods. But the realities of the Dice Man's life are more entertaining than my most inspired fictions: reality will dominate for its entertainment value. I tell my life's story for that humble reason which has inspired every user of the form: to prove to the world I am a great man. I shall fail, of course, like the others. `To be great is to be misunderstood,' Elvis Presley once said, and no one can refute him. I tell of a man's instinctive attempt to fulfil himself in a new way and I will be judged insane. So be it. Were it otherwise, I would know I had failed. We are not ourselves; actually there is nothing we can call a `self' any more; we are manifold, we have as many selves there are groups to which we belong. . The neurotic has overtly a disease from which everybody is suffering. J. H. VAN DEN Berg My aim is to bring about a psychic state in which my patient begins to experiment with his own nature - a state of fluidity change and growth, in which there is no longer anything eternally fixed and hopelessly petrified. - CARL JUNG The torch of chaos and doubt - this is what the sage steers by. - CHUANG-TZU ? I am Zarathustra the godless: I still cook every chance in my pot. -NIETZSCHE ? Anybody can be anybody. - THE DICE MAN ? Chapter One I am a large man, with big butcher's hands, great oak thighs, rock-jawed head, and massive, thick-lens glasses. I'm six foot four and weigh close to two hundred and thirty pounds; I look like Clark Kent, except that when I take off my business suit I am barely faster than my wife, only slightly more powerful than men half my size, and leap buildings not at all, no matter how many leaps I'm given. As an athlete I am exceptionally mediocre in all major sports and in several minor ones. I play daring and disastrous poker and cautious and competent stock market. I married a pretty former cheerleader and rock-and-roll singer and have two lovely, non-neurotic and abnormal children. I am deeply religious, have written the lovely first-rate pornographic novel, Naked Before the World, and am not now nor have I ever been Jewish. I realize that it's your job as a reader to try to create a credible consistent pattern out of all this, but I'm afraid I must add that I am normally atheistic, have given away at random thousands of dollars, have been a sporadic revolutionary against the governments of the United States, New York City, the Bronx and Scarsdale, and am still a card-carrying member of the Republican Party. I am the creator, as most of you know, of those nefarious Dice Centers for experiments in human behavior which has been described by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology as `outrageous,' `unethical,' and `informative'; by The New York Times as `incredibly misguided and corrupt'; by Time magazine as `sewers'; and by the Evergreen Review as `brilliant and fun.' I have been a devoted husband, multiple adulterer and experimental homosexual; an able, highly praised analyst, and the only one ever dismissed from both the Psychiatrists Association of New York (PANY) and from the American Medical Association (for `illconsidered activities' and `probable incompetence'). I am admired and praised by
thousands of dicepeople throughout the nation but have twice been a patient in a mental institution, once been in jail, and am currently a fugitive, which I hope to remain, Die willing, at least until I have completed this 430 page autobiography. My primary profession has been psychiatry. My passion, both as psychiatrist and as Dice Man, has been to human personality. Mine. Others. Everyone's. To give to men a sense of freedom, exhilaration, joy. To restore to life the same shock of experience we have when bare toes first feel the earth at dawn and we see the sun split through the mountain trees like horizontal lightning; when a girl first lifts her lips to be kissed; when an idea suddenly springs full-blown into the mind, reorganizing in an instant the experience of a lifetime. Life is islands of ecstasy in an ocean of ennui, and after the age of thirty land is seldom seen. At best we wander from one much-worn sandbar to the next, soon familiar with each grain of sand we see. When I raised the `problem' with my colleagues, I was assured that the withering away of joy was as natural to normal man as the decaying of his flesh and based on much the same physiological changes. The purchase of psychology, they reminded me, was to decrease misery; increase productivity, relate the individual to his society, and help him to see and accept himself. Not to alter necessarily the habits, values and interests of the self, but to see them without idealization and to accept them as they are. It had always seemed to me a quite obvious and desirable goal for therapy but, after having been `successfully' analyzed and after having lived in moderate happiness with moderate success with an average wife and family for seven years, I found suddenly, around my thirty-second birthday, that I wanted to kill myself. And to kill several other people too. I took long walks over the Queensborough Bridge and brooded down at the water. I reread Camas on suicide as the logical choice in an absurd world. On subway platforms I always stood three inches from the edge, and swayed. On Monday mornings I would stare at the bottle of strychnine on my cabinet shelf. I would daydream for hours of nuclear holocausts searing the streets of Manhattan clean, of steamrollers accidentally flattening my wife, of taxis taking my rival Dr. Ecstein off into the East River, of a teen-age baby-sitter of ours shrieking in agony as I plowed away at her virgin soil. Now the desire to kill oneself and to assassinate, poison, obliterate or rape others is generally considered in the psychiatric profession as `unhealthy.' Bad. Evil. More accurately, sin. When you have the desire to kill yourself, you are supposed to see and `accept it,' but not, for Christ's sake, to kill yourself. If you desire to have carnal knowledge of a helpless teenybopper, you are supposed to accept your lust, and not lay a finger on even her big toe. If you hate your father, fine but don't slug the bastard with a bat. Understand yourself, accept yourself, but do not be yourself. It is a conservative doctrine, guaranteed to help the patient avoid violent, passionate and unusual acts and to permit him a prolonged, respectable life of moderate misery. In fact, it is a doctrine aimed at making everyone live like a psychotherapist. The thought nauseated me. These trivial insights actually began to form in the weeks following my first unexplained plunge into depression, a depression ostensibly produced by a long writing block on my `book,' but actually part of a general constitution of the soul that had been a long time building up. I remember sitting at my big oak desk after breakfast each morning before my first appointment reviewing my past accomplishments and future hopes with a feeling of scorn. I would take off my glasses end, reacting to both my thoughts and the surrealistic haze which became my visual world without my glasses, I would
intone dramatically, `Blind! Blind! Blind!' and bang my boxing glove-sized fist down on the desk with a dramatic crash. I had been a brilliant student throughout my educational career, piling up academic honors like my son Larry collects bubble-gum baseball cards. While still in medical school I published my first article on therapy, a well-received trifle called The Physiology of Neurotic Tension.' As I sat at my desk, all articles I had ever published seemed absolutely as good as other men's articles: blah. My successes with patients seemed identical to those of my colleagues: insignificant. The most I had come to hope for was to free a patient from anxiety and conflict: to alter him from a life of tormented stagnation to one of complacent stagnation. If my patients had untapped creativity or inventiveness or drive, my methods of analysis had failed to dig them out. Psychoanalysis seemed an expensive, slow working, unreliable tranquilizer. If LSD were really to do what Alpert and Leary claimed for it, all psychiatrists would be out of a job overnight. The thought pleased me. In the midst of my cynicism I would occasionally daydream of the future. My hopes? To excel in all that I had been doing in the past: to write widely acclaimed articles and books; to raise my children so they might avoid the mistakes I had made; to meet some Technicolor woman with whom I would become soul-mate for life. Unfortunately, the thought that these dreams might all be fulfilled plunged me into despair. I was caught in a bind. On the one hand I was bored and dissatisfied with my life and myself as they had been for the past decade; on the other, no conceivable change seemed preferable. I was too old to believe that lounging on the shores of Tahiti, becoming a wealthy television personality, being buddy buddy with Erich Fromm, Teddy Kennedy or Bob Dylan, or entertaining Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch in the same bed for a month or so would change anything. No matter how I twisted or turned there seemed to be an anchor in my chest which held me fast, the long line leaning out against the slant of sea taut and trim, as if it were cleated fast into the rock of the earth's vast core. It held me locked, and when a storm of boredom and bitterness blew in I would plunge and- leap against the line's roughclutching knot to be away, to fly before the wind, but the knot grew tight, the anchor, only dug the deeper in my chest; I stayed. The burden of my self seemed inevitable and eternal. My colleagues, and even myself, mumbling coyly by our couches, all asserted that my problem was absolutely normal I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face and accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticism; in psychology, neurosis. The assumption is that a limited and bored self is the unavoidable, all-embracing norm. And I was beginning to agree until, after a few months of wallowing in depression (I furtively had purchased a .38 revolver and nine cartridges), I came washing up on the shore of Zen. For fifteen years I had been leading a rather ambitious, driving, driven sort of life; anyone who opts for medical school and psychiatry has to have a pretty healthy neurosis burning inside him to keep the motor going. My own analysis by Dr. Timothy Mann had made me understand why my motor was racing away but hadn't slowed it. I now cruised consistently at sixty miles per hour rather than oscillating erratically between fifteen and ninety-five, but if anything blocked my rapid progress along the speedway I became at irritable as a cabby waiting for a parade to pass. When Karen Homey led me to discover D. T. Suzuki, Alan Watts and Zen, the world of the rat race, which I had assumed to be normal and healthy for an ambitious young man, seemed suddenly like the world of a rat race.
I was stunned and converted - as only the utterly bored can be. Seeing drive, greed and intellectual aspiration as meaningless and sick in my colleagues, I was able to make the unusual generalization to myself; I too had the same symptoms of grasping after illusions. The secret, I seemed to learn, was in not caring, in accepting limitations, conflicts and ambiguities of life with joy and satisfaction, in effortless drifting with the flow of impulse. So life was meaningless? Who cares? So my ambitions are trivial? Pursue them anyway. Life seems boring? Yawn. I followed impulse. I drifted. I didn't care. Unfortunately, life seemed to get more boring. Admittedly I was cheerfully, even gaily bored, where before I had been depressedly bored, but life remained essentially uninteresting. My mood of happy boredom was theoretically preferable to my desire to rape and kill, but personally speaking, not much. It was along about this stage of my somewhat sordid road to truth that I discovered the Dice Man. Chapter Two My life before D-Day was routine, humdrum, repetitious, trivial, compulsive, disordered, irritable - the life of a typical successful married man. My new life began on a hot day in the middle of August, 1968. I awoke a little before seven, cuddled up to my wife Lillian, who was accordioned up into a Z in the bed beside me, and began pleasantly caressing her breasts, thighs and buttocks with my big gentle paws. I liked to begin the day this way: it set a standard by which to measure the gradual deterioration that succeeded from then on. After about four or five minutes we both rolled over and she began caressing me with her hands, and then with her lips, tongue and mouth. `Nnnn, morning, sweetheart,' one of us would eventually say, `Nnnn,' would say the other. From that point on the day's dialogue would all be downhill, but with warm, languid hands and lips floating over the body's most sensitive surfaces the world was as near perfection as it ever gets. Freud called it a state of ego-less polymorphous perversity and frowned upon it, but I have little doubt that he never had Lil's hands gliding over him. Or his own wife's either for that matter. Freud was a very great man, but I never get the impression that anyone every effectively stroked his penis. Lil and I were slowly advancing to the stage where play is replaced by passion when two, three, four thumps resounded from the hall, our bedroom door opened and sixty pounds of boy-energy exploded onto our bed in a graceless flop. `Time to wake up!' he shouted. Lil had instinctively turned away from me at the sound of the thumps and, although she arched her lovely behind against me and squirmed intelligently, I knew from long experience that the game was over. I had tried to convince her that in an ideal society parents would make love in front of their children as naturally as they would eat or talk, that ideally the children would caress, fondle and make love to the parent, or both parents but Lillian felt different. She liked to make love under sheets, alone with her partner, uninterrupted. I pointed out that this showed unconscious shame and she agreed and went on hiding our caresses from the kids. Our girl, a forty-five pound variety, was by this time announcing in slightly fonder tones than her older brother: `Cock-a-doodle-do! Time to get up.' Generally, we were up. Occasionally, when I don't have a nine o'clock patient, we encourage him to fix himself and his sister some breakfast. This he is happy to do, but the curiosity aroused by the sound of shattering glassware or the lack of sound of anything from the kitchen makes our extra minutes in bed unrewarding: it is difficult to enjoy sensual bliss while certain that the kitchen is on fire. This particular morning Lil arose right away, modestly keeping her front parts turned away-from the children,
slipped on a flimsy nightgown that may have left them in ignorance, but left nothing to my imagination, and slouched sleepily off to prepare breakfast. Lil, I should note here, is a tall, essentially slender woman with sharp and pointed elbows, ears, nose, teeth and (metaphorically) tongue, but soft and rounded breasts, buttocks and thighs. All agree she is a beautiful woman, with natural wavy blonde hair and statuesque dignity. However, her lovely face has a peculiarly pixyish expression which I'm tempted to describe as mousy except that then you'll picture her with beady red eyes, and they're actually beady blue. Also, mouses are rarely five feet ten and willowy, and rarely attack men, as Lil does. Nevertheless, her pretty face, in some perceivers, calls up the image of a mouse, a beautiful mouse to be sure, but a mouse. When during our courtship I remarked upon this phenomenon it cost me four weeks of total sexual abstinence. Suffice it to say, my friends, that this mouse analogy is strictly between you and me. Although young Evie had scrambled talkatively away to follow her mother toward the kitchen, Larry still lay sprawled next to me on the large-king-sized bed. It was his philosophical position that our bed was large enough for the whole family and he deeply resented Lil's obviously hypocritical argument that Mommy and Daddy were so big that they needed the entire area. His recent strategy was to plop on the bed until every last adult was out of it; only then would he triumphantly leave. 'Time to get up, Luke,' he announced with the quiet dignity of a doctor announcing that he's afraid the leg will have to come off. ? `It's not eight o'clock yet,' I said. ? `Un-nn,' he said, and pointed silently at the clock on the dresser. ? I squinted at the clock. `It says twenty-five before six,' I said and rolled away from him. A few seconds later I felt him nudging me in the forehead with his fist.' ? `Here are your glasses,' he said. `Now look.' ? I looked. `You changed the time when I wasn't looking,' I said, and rolled over in the opposite direction. ? Larry climbed back onto the bed and with no conscious intention, I'm sure, began bouncing and humming. And I, with that irrational surge of fury known to every parent, suddenly shouted `Get OUT of here!' For about thirteen seconds after Larry had raced to the kitchen I lay in my bed with relative content. I could hear Evie's unending chatter punctuated by Lil's occasional yelling, and from the Manhattan streets below, the unending chatter of automobile horns. That thirteen-second involvement in sense experience was fine; then I began to think, and my day was shot. I thought of my two morning patients, of lunch with Doctors Ecstein and Felloni, of the book on sadism I was supposed to be writing, of the children, of Lillian: I felt bored. For some months I had been feeling - from about ten to fifteen seconds after the cessation of polymorphous perversity until falling asleep at night - or falling into another session of polymorphous perversity - that depressed feeling of walking up a down
escalator. `Whither and why, as General Eisenhower once said, `have the joys of life all flown away?' Or, as Burt Lancaster once asked: `Why do our fingers to the grain of wood, the cold of steel, the heat of the sun, the flesh of women, become calloused?' ? `BREAKFAST DADDY!' ? 'EGGS, hon.' I arose, plunged my feet into my size-thirteen slippers, pulled my bathrobe around me like a Roman preparing for the Forum, and went to the breakfast table, with, I supposed, a superficial sunniness, but deeply brooding on Lancaster's eternal question. We have a six-room apartment on the slightly upper, slightly East, slightly expensive side, near Central Park, near the blacklands, and near the fashionable upper East Side. Its location is so ambiguous that our friends are still not certain whether to envy us or pity us. In the small kitchen Lil was standing at the stove aggressively mashing eggs in a frying pan; the two children were sitting in whining obedience on the far side of the table. Larry had been playing with the window shade behind him (we have a lovely view from our kitchen window of a kitchen window with a lovely view of ours), and Evie had been guilty of talking without a break in either time or irrelevance since getting up. Lil, since we don't believe in corporal punishment, had admonished them verbally. However, Lil's shrieks are such that were children (or adults) ever given a free choice, I'm sure they would prefer that rather than receive `verbal admonitions' they be whipped with straps containing metal studs. Obviously Lil does not enjoy the early morning hours, but we found that having a maid at this hour was `impractical.' When, earlier in our marriage, the first full-time live-in maid we hired turned out to be a beautiful, sex-oozing wench of a mulatto whose eyes would have stiffened a Eunuch, Lillian intelligently decided that a daytime, part-time maid would give us more privacy. As she brought the plates of scrambled eggs and bacon to the table she glanced up at me and asked `What time will you be back from Queensborough today?' ? `Four-thirty or so. Why?' I said as I lowered my body delicately into a small kitchen chair across from the kids. ? 'Arlene wants another private chat this afternoon.' ? `Larry took my spoon!' ? `Give Evie her spoon, Larry,' I said. ? Lil gave Evie back her spoon. ? `I imagine she wants to talk more of the "I have to have a baby" dream,' she said.
? `I wish you'd talk to Jake,' Lil said as she sat down beside me. ? `What can I tell him?' ? I said. `Say Jake, your wife desperately wants a baby: anything I can do to help?" `Are there dinosaurs in Harlem?' Evie asked. `Yes,' Lil said. `You could say precisely that. It's his conjugal responsibility; Arlene is almost thirty-three years old and has wanted a baby for - Evie, use your spoon.' `Jake's going to Philadelphia today,' I said. ? `I know; that's one reason Arlene's coming up. But the poker is still on for tonight, isn't it?' ? `Mmm.' ? 'Mommy, what's a virgin?' Larry asked quietly. ? `A virgin is a young girl,' she answered. ? 'Very young,' I added. ? 'That's funny,' he said. ? `What is?' Lil asked. ? `Barney Goldfield called me a stupid Virgin.' ? 'Barney was misusing the word,' Lil said. `Why don't we postpone the poker, Luke. It's' ? 'Why?' ? `I'd rather see a play.' ? `We've seen some lemons.' ? 'It's better than playing poker with them.' ? Pause. ?
`With lemons?' ? `If you and Tim and Renata were able to talk about something besides psychology and the stock market, it would help.' ? `The psychology of the stock market?' ? `And the stock market! God, I wish you'd open your ears for just once.' I forked my eggs into my mouth with dignity, and sipped with philosophical detachment my instant coffee. My initiation into the mysteries of Zen Buddhism had taught me many things, but the most important was not to argue with my wife. `Go with the flow,' the great sage Oboko said, and I'd been doing it for five months now. Lil had been getting madder and madder. After about twenty seconds of silence (relatively speaking: Larry leapt up to put in toast for himself; Evie tried a brief burst of monologue on dinosaurs which was smothered with a stare), I (theoretically the way to avoid arguments is to surrender before the attack has been fully launched) said quietly I'm sorry, Lil.' `You and your damn Zen. I'm trying to tell you something. I don't like the forms of entertainment we have. Why can't we ever do something new or different, or, revolution of revolutions, something I want.' ? `We do, honey, we do. The last three plays' I had to drag you. You're so-' ? `Honey, the children.' ? The children in fact looked about as affected by our argument as elephants by two squabbling mosquitoes, but the ploy always worked to silence Lil. ? After we'd all finished breakfast she led the children into their room to get dressed while I went to wash and shave. Holding the lathered brush stiffly in my raised right hand like an Indian saying `How!', I stared glumly into the mirror. I always hated to shave a two-day growth of beard; with the dark shadows around my mouth I looked potentially at least like Don Giovanni, Faust, Mephistopheles, Charlton Heston, or Jesus. After shaving I knew I would look like a successful, boyishly handsome public relations man. Because I was a bourgeois psychiatrist and had to wear glasses to see myself in the mirror I had resisted the impulse to grow a beard. I let my sideburns grow, though, and it made me look a little less like a successful public relations man and a little more like an unsuccessful, outof-work actor. After I'd begun shaving and was concentrating particularly well on three small hairs at the tip of my chin Lil came, still wearing her modest, obscene nightgown, and leaned against the doorway. ? 'I'd divorce you if it wouldn't mean I'd be stuck with the 'kids,' she said, in a tone half-ironic and half-serious.
? `Nnn.' ? If you had them, they'd all turn into clownish Buddha-blobs.' ? `Unnnn.' ? 'What I don't understand is that you're a psychiatrist, a supposedly good one, and you have no more insight into me or into yourself than the elevator man.' ? `Ah, honey-' ? `You don't! You think loving me up, apologizing before and-after every argument, buying me paints, leotards, guitars, records and new book clubs must make me happy. It's driving me crazy.' ? 'What can I do?' ? `I don't know. You're the analyst. You should know. I'm bored I'm Emma Bovary in everything except that I have no romantic hopes.' ? 'That makes me a clod doctor, you know.' ? 'I know. I'm glad you noticed, It's no fun attacking unless you catch my allusions. Usually you know about as much about literature as the elevator man.' ? `Say, just what is it between you and this elevator man?' ? 'I've given up my yoga exercises-' ? 'How come?' ? 'They just make me tense.' ? 'That's strange, they're supposed-' `I know! But they make me tense - I can't help it.' I'd finished shaving, taken off my glasses; and was grooming my hair with what I fear may have been greasy kid stuff; Lil moved into the bathroom and sat on the wooden laundry basket. Crouching now quite a bit in order to see the top of my hair in the mirror, I noticed that my knee muscles were already aching. Moreover, without my glasses I looked old today, and in a blurred sort of way, badly dissipated. Since I didn't smoke or drink much, I wondered vaguely if excessive early morning petting were debilitating. `Maybe I should become a hippie,' Lil went on absently.
? "That's what a few of our patients try. They don't seem overly pleased with the result.' ? `Or drugs.' ? `Ah Lil sweet precious-' ? `Don't touch me.' ? `Ah-' ? `No!' ? Lil was backed up against the tub and shower curtain as if threatened by a stranger in a cheap melodrama, and I, slightly appalled by her apparent fear, backed meekly away. ? `I've got a patient in half an hour, hon, I've got to go.' ? `I'll try infidelity!' Lil shouted after me, 'Emma Bovary did it.' I turned back again. She was standing with her arms folded over her chest, her two elbows pointing out sharply from her long slender body, and with a bleak, mousy, helpless look on her face; at the moment she seemed like a kind of female Don Quixote after having just been tossed in a blanket. I went to her, and took her in my anus. `Poor little rich girl. Who would you have for adultery? The elevator man? [She sobbed.] Anyone else? Sixty-threeyear old Dr. Mann, and flashy, debonair Jake Ecstein [she detested Jake and he never noticed her]. Come on, come on. We'll go out to the farmhouse soon; it'll be the break you need. Now...' Her head was still nestled into my chest, but her breathing was regular. She'd had just the one sob. ? `Now . . . chin up . . . bust out . . . tummy in . . .' I said. `Buttocks firm. . and you're ready to face life again. You can have an exciting morning: talking with Evie, discussing avant-garde art with Ma Kettle [our maid], reading Time, listening to Schubert's Unfinished Symphony: racy, thought-provoking experiences all.' 'You [she scratched her nose against my chest] ...should mention that I could do coloring with Larry when he gets home from school.' ? `And that, and that. You've absolutely no end of home entertainments. Don't forget to call in the elevator man for a quick one when Evie is having her rest time.' My right arm around her, I walked us into our bedroom. While I finished dressing, she watched quietly, standing next to tile big bed with arms folded and elbows out. She saw me to the door and after we had exchanged a farewell kiss of less than great passion she
said quietly with a bemused, almost interested expression on her face. I don't even have my yoga anymore.' Chapter Three I shared my office on 57th Street with Dr. Jacob Ecstein, young (thirty-three), dynamic (two books published), intelligent (he and I usually agreed), personable (everyone liked him), unattractive (no one loved him), anal (he plays the stock market compulsively), oral (he smokes heavily), non-genital (doesn't seem to notice women), and Jewish (he knows two Yiddish slang words). Our mutual secretary was a Miss Reingold, Mary Jane Reingold, old (thirty-six), undynamic (she worked for us), unintelligent (she prefers Ecstein to me), personable (everyone felt sorry for her), unattractive (tall, skinny, glasses, no one loved her), anal (obsessively neat), oral (always eating), genital (trying hard), and non-Jewish (finds use of two Yiddish slang words very intellectual). Miss Reingold greeted me efficiently. `Mr. Jenkins is waiting in your office, Dr. Rhinehart.' ? `Thank you, Miss Reingold. Any calls for me yesterday?' ? `Dr. Mann wanted to check about lunch this afternoon. I said yes".' ? `Good.' Before I moved off to my patient, Jake Ecstein came briskly out of his office, shot off a cheerful `Hi, Luke baby, how's the book?' the way most men might ask about a friend's wife, and asked Miss Reingold for a couple of case records. I've described Jake's character; his body was short, rotund, chubby: his visage was round, alert, cheerful with hornrimmed glasses and a piercing, I-am-able-to-see-throughyou stare; his social front was used-car salesman, and he kept his shoes shined with a finish so bright that I sometimes suspected he cheated with a phosphorescent shoe polish. `My book's moribund,' I answered as Jake accepted a fistful of papers from a somewhat flustered Miss Reingold. ? `Great,' he said. `Just got a review of my Analysis: End and Means from the AP Journal. They say it's great.' ? He began glancing slowly through the papers, placing one of them every now and then back onto his secretary's desk. ? `I'm glad to hear it, Jake. You seem to be hitting the jackpot with this one.' ? `People are seeing the light-' ? 'Er... Dr. Ecstein,' Miss Reingold said. ? 'They'll like it - I may convert a few analysts.'
? `Are you going to be able to make lunch today?' I asked. 'When are you leaving forPhiladelphia?' ? 'Damn right. Want to show Mann my review. Plane leaves two. I'll miss your poker party tonight.' ? 'Er . . . Dr. Ecstein.' ? 'You read any more of my book?' Jake went on and gave me one of his piercing, squinting glances, which, had I been a patient, would have led me to repress for a decade all that was on my mind at that instant. ? 'No. No, I haven't. I must still have a psychological block: professional jealousy and all that.' `Er . . . Dr. Ecstein?' 'Hmmmm. Yeh. In Philly I'm gonna see that anal optometrist. I've been telling you about. Think we're about at a break through. Cured of his voyeurism, but still has visual blackouts. It's only been three months though. I'll bust him. Bust him right back to twenty-twenty.' He grinned. `Dr. Ecstein, sir,' said Miss Reingold, now standing. ? `Seeya Luke. Send in Mr. Klopper, Miss R.' ? As Jake, still carrying a handful of forms, exited briskly into his inner office, I asked Miss Reingold to check with Queensborough State Hospital about my afternoon appointments. 'Yes, Dr. Rhinehart,' she said. ? 'And what did you wish to communicate to Dr. Ecstein?' ? 'Oh, Doctor,' she smiled doubtfully. `Dr. Ecstein asked for the case notes on Miss Riffe and Mr. Klopper and I gave him by mistake the record sheets of our last year's budget.' ? `Don't worry, Miss Reingold,' I replied firmly. `This may another breakthrough.' It was 9.07 when I finally settled into my chair behind the outstretched form of Reginald Jenkins on my couch. Normally nothing upsets a patient more than a late analyst, 'but Jenkins was a masochist: I could count on him assuming that he deserved it. 'I'm sorry about being here,' he said, `but your secretary insisted I come in and lie down.' ? 'That's quite all right Mr. Jenkins. I'm sorry I'm late. Let's both relax and you can go right ahead.' Now the curious reader will want to know what kind of an analyst I was. It so happens that I practiced non-directive therapy. For those not familiar with it, the analyst is
passive, compassionate, non-interpretive, non-directing. More precisely, he resembles a redundant moron. For example, a session with a patient like Jenkins might go like this JENKINS: `I feel that no matter how hard I try I'm always going to fail; that some kind of internal mechanism always acts to screw up what I'm trying to do.' ? [Pause] ANALYST: `You feel that some part of you always forces you to fail.' JENKINS: `Yes. For example, that time when I had that date with that nice woman, really attractive - the librarian, you remember - and all I talked about at dinner and all evening was the New York Jets and what a great defensive secondary they have. I knew I should be talking books or asking her questions but I couldn't stop myself.' ANALYST: `You feel that some part of you consciously ruined the potential relationship with that girl: ? JENKINS: `And that job with Wessen, Wessen and Woof. I could have had it. But I took a month's vacation in Jamaica when I know they'd be wanting an interview! 'I see.' ? `What do you make of it all, Doctor? I suppose it's masochistic.' ? `You think it might be masochistic! 'I don't know. What do you think?' ? 'You aren't certain if it's masochistic but you do know that you often do things which are self-destructive.' `That's right. That's right. And yet I don't have any suicidal tendencies. Except in those dreams. Throwing myself under a herd of hippopotamuses. Or 'potami. Setting myself on fire in front of Wessen, Wessen and Woof. But I keep goofing up real opportunities.' `Although you never consciously think of suicide you have dreamed about it.' ? `Yes. But that's normal. Everybody does crazy things in dreams.' ? `You feel that your dreaming of self-destructive acts s normal because...' The intelligent reader gets the picture. The effect of non-directive therapy is to encourage the patient to speak more and more frankly, to gain total confidence in the non-threatening, totally accepting clod who's curing him, and eventually to diagnose and resolve his own conflicts, with old thirty-five dollars-an-hour echoing away through it all behind the couch. And it works. It works precisely as well as every other tested form of psychotherapy. It works sometimes and fails at others, and its success and failures are identical with other analysts' successes and failures. Of course at times the dialogue resembles a comedy routine. My patient the second hour, that morning was a hulking heir to a small fortune who had the build of a professional wrestler and the mentality of a professional wrestler. Frank Osterflood was the most depressing case I'd had in five years of practice. In the first two months of analysis he had seemed a rather nice empty socialite, worried halfheartedly about his inability to concentrate on anything. He tended to drift from job to job averaging two or three a year. He talked great deal about his jobs and about a mousy father and two disgusting brothers with families, but all with such cocktail party
patter that I knew we must be a long way from what was really bothering him. If anything was bothering him. The only clue I had to indicate that he was anything but a vacuous muscle was his occasional spitting hissing remarks - usually of a general nature - about women. When I asked one morning about his relations with women he hesitated and then said he found them boring. When I asked him how he found fulfillment for his sexual needs, he answered neutrally, `Prostitutes.' Two or three times in later sessions he described in detail how he liked to humiliate the call girls he hired, but he would never make any effort to analyze his behavior; he seemed to feel in his casual man-of-the-world way that humiliating women was good, normal, all American behavior. He found it more interesting to analyze why he left his last job; the office he worked in `smelled funny.' About halfway through the session that August day he interpreted his seemingly pleasant recollections of having single-handedly destroyed an East Side bar by sitting up on the couch and looking intensely but in my professional opinion, dumbly, at the floor. Even his face seemed bulging with muscles. He sat there in the same position for several minutes, grunting quietly to himself with a sound like a noisy refrigerator. Finally he said: 'I get so tied up inside I just have to . . . to do something or I'll explode,' he said. ? 'I understand.' ? [pause] ? `Do something. . , sexually or I'll explode.' ? `You get so tense you feel you must express yourself sexually. ? `Yes.' ? [Pause] `Don't you want to know how!' he asked. ? `If you'd like to tell me.' `Do you want to know? Don't you need to know to help me?' ? `I want you to tell me only what you feel like telling me.' ? `Well, I know you'd like to know, but I'm not going to tell you. I've told you about the fuckin' women I've fucked and how they make me want to puke with their snaky wet orgasms, but I guess I'll keep this to myself.' ? [Pause] ? `You feel that although I'd like to know, you've already told me about your relations with women sand so you won't tell me.'
? `Actually, it's sodomy. When I get tense - it might be right after I've fucked some white-satin slut, I get ... I need ... I want to ram the Goddam insides out of some woman .. . some girl . . . young . . . the younger the better.' ? `When you're very keyed up you want to ram the insides out of some woman.' ? `The Goddam insides. I want to sink my prick up that intestine into that belly through the esophagus up that throat and come right out the Goddam top of her head.' ? [Pause] ? `You'd like to penetrate through her whole body.' ? `Yeah, but up her ass. I want her to scream, to bleed, to be horrified.' ? [Pause. Long pause] ? `You'd like to penetrate her anus and make her bleed, scream and be horrified.' ? 'Yeah, but the whores I tried it with chewed gum and picked their nose.' ? [Pause] `The whores you tried it with were neither hurt nor horrified.' `Shit, they took their seventy-five bucks, shot their ass into the air and chewed gum or read a comic book. If I tried to get rough some guy six inches taller than me would appear in the doorway with a sledgehammer or something. [Pause] I found sodomy, per se [he smiled awkwardly] didn't end my tenseness.' `You were unable to release, your tension by relations with prostitutes when the women seemed to experience no pain or humiliation.' ? `So I knew I had to find someone who would scream.' ? [Pause] ? [Long pause] ? `You sought other alternatives to relieve your tensions.' ? `Yeah. Fact is I began raping and killing young girls.' ? [Pause]
? [Long pause] [Longer pause] ? `In an effort to relieve these tense feelings you began raping and killing young girls,' ? `Yeah. You're not allowed to tell, are you? I mean you told me professional ethics forbid your telling anything I say, right?' ? 'Yes.' ? [Pause] ? 'I find the raping and killing' of girls helps relieve the tension quite a bit and makes me feel better again.' ? `I see.' ? `My problem is that I'm beginning to get a little nervous ..about getting caught. I sort of hoped maybe analysis might help me find a little more normal way to reduce my tensions.' ? `You'd like to find a different way to reduce tensions other than raping and killing girls.' ? `Yeah. Either that or help me to stop worrying about getting caught ....' The alert reader may now be feeling that this stuff is slightly too sensational for a typical day at the office, but Mr. Osterflood really exists. Or rather existed - more of that later on. The fact is that I was writing a book entitled The Sado-Masochistic Personality in Transition, a work which was to describe cases in which the sadistic personality developed into a masochistic one and vice versa. For this reason my colleagues always sent me patients with a markedly strong sadistic or masochistic bent. Osterflood was admittedly the most professionally active sadist I'd treated, but the wards of mental hospitals have many like him. What is remarkable, I suppose, is Osterflood's walking around loose. Although after his confession I urged him to enter an institution, he refused and I couldn't order his being committed without breaking professional confidence; moreover no one else apparently suspected that he was an `enemy of society.' All I could do was warn my friends to keep their little girls away from Harlem playgrounds (where Osterflood obtained his victims) and try hard for a cure. Since my friends all kept their children out of Harlem playgrounds because of the danger of Negro rapists even my warnings were unnecessary. After Osterflood left that morning I brooded a little on my helplessness with him, made a few notes, and then decided I ought to work on my book.
? I dragged myself to it with the enthusiasm of a man with diarrhea moving toward the toilet: I had a compulsive need to get it out but had some months earlier come to the conclusion that all I was producing was shit. My book had become a bore: it was a pretentious failure. I had tried a few months before to get Random House to agree to publish it when it was finished, imagining that with extensive advertising the book would achieve national and then international fame, driving lake Ecstein to fury, women and reckless losses in the stock market. Random House had hedged, hawed, - considered and reconsidered . . . Random House wasn't interested. This morning, as on most recent mornings, neither was I. The flaw in the book was small but significant: it had nothing to say. The bulk of it was to be empirical descriptions of patients who had, changed from primarily sadistic behavior patterns to masochistic ones. My dream had been to discover a technique to lock the behavior of the patient at that precise point when he had passed away from sadism but had not become masochistic. If there were such a point. I had much dramatic evidence of complete crossovers; none of `frozen freedom,' a phrase describing the ideal mean state that came to me in an explosion of enlightenment one morning while echoing Mr. Jenkins. The problem was that Jake Ecstein, car-salesman front and all, had written two of the most rational and honest books about psychoanalytic therapy that I'd ever read, and their import essentially demonstrated that none of us knew or had any likelihood of knowing what we were doing. Jake cured patients as well as the next fellow and then published clear, brilliant accounts demonstrating that the key to his success was accident, that frequently it was his failure to follow his own theoretical structure which led to a `breakthrough' and the patient's improvement. When I ended my earlymorning dialogue with Miss Reingold joking that Jake's reading the 1967, get record sheets might lead to a breakthrough I was partly serious. Jake had shown again and again the significance of chance in therapeutic development, perhaps best dramatized in his famous `pencil-sharpening cure.' A female patient he'd had under treatment for fifteen months with so little success in changing her neurotic aplomb that even Jake was bored, achieved total and complete transformation when Jake, absentmindedly confusing her with his secretary, ordered her to sharpen his pencils. The patient, a wealthy housewife, went into the outer office to obey and suddenly, when about to insert a pencil into the sharpener, began to shriek, tear her hair and defecate. Three weeks later, `Mrs. P.' (Jake's choice of pseudonyms is only one of his unerring talents) was cured. ? I then, was coming to feel that my elaborate writing efforts were only idle, pretentious playing with words for publication. I thus spent the hour before lunch: (a) reading the financial section of The New York Times; (b) writing a page-and-ahalf case report on Mr. Osterflood in the form of a financial and budget report (`bearish outlook for prostitutes'; `bull market in Harlem playground girls'), and (c) drawing a picture on my 'book manuscript of an elaborate Victorian house being bombed by motorcycle planes piloted by Hell's Angels. Chapter 4 I lunched that day with my three closest colleagues: Dr. Ecstein, whom I mock because he's so intelligent and successful; Dr. Renata Felloni, the only female Italian-born practicing analyst in recent New York history; and Dr. Timothy Mann, the short, fat,
disheveled father figure who had psychoanalyzed me four years before and been mentoring me ever since. When Jake and I arrived, Dr. Mann was hunched over the table chewing heavily on a roll and blinking benevolently at Dr. Felloni seated opposite him. Dr. Mann was a big wheel: one of the directors at Queensborough State Hospital, where I worked twice a week; a member of the executive committee of PANY (Psychiatrists Association of New York), and the author of seventeen articles and three books, one of them the most frequently used text-on existentialist therapy in existence. It had been considered an extraordinary honor to be psychoanalyzed by Dr. Mann and I had appreciated it greatly until my increasing boredom and unhappiness had deluded me into believing that analysis had done me no good. Dr. Mann was concentrating on his eating and may or may not have been listening to the dignified discourse of Dr. Felloni. Renata Felloni resembles a spinsterish dean of women at a Presbyterian all-girls college: she has gray hair always neatly coiffured, spectacles and a slow, dignified, Italian-cum-New England twang that makes her discussions of penises, orgasms, sodomy and fellatio seem like a discussion of credit hours and home economics. Moreover, she had, as far as anyone knew, never been married and, with less certainty, had never in the seven years we had known her given any indication of ever having known a man (biblical `know'). Her dignity acted to prevent any of us from either direct or indirect investigations into her past. All we felt free to talk with her about were weather, stocks, penises, orgasms, sodomy and fellatio. The restaurant was noisy and expensive, and, except for Dr. Mann, who loved every trough he had ever fed in, we all hated it and went there because every other restaurant we had tried in the convenient area was also crowded, noisy and expensive. I usually spent so much nervous energy trying to hear what my friends were saying over the clattering of voices, dishes and 'soft' music and trying to avoid watching Dr. Mann eating that I never remember whether the food was good or not. At any rate I rarely got sick on it. 'Only ten percent of our subjects believe that masturbation is "punished by God eternally",' Dr. Felloni was saying as Jake I sat down opposite each other at the tiny table. She was apparently talking about a research project she and I were jointly directing and she smiled formally and equally to her left at Jake and to her right at me, and continued: 'Thirty and a third percent believe that masturbation is "punished by God finitely"; forty percent that it is physically unhealthy two and one-half percent believe that there is danger of pregnancy seventy-five per -' 'Danger of pregnancy?' Jake broke in as he turned from accepting a menu. 'We use the same multiple choices' she explained smiling, 'for masturbation, kissing, petting, premarital and postmarital heterosexual intercourse, homosexual petting, and homosexual sodomy So far, subjects have indicated that there is danger of pregnancy only with masturbation, petting to orgasm, and heterosexual intercourse.' I smiled to Jake, but he was squinting at Dr. Felloni. ? 'Well' Jake asked her, `what's the question you're reeling off percentages for?' ? 'We ask, "For what reasons, if any, do you believe that sexually exciting yourself through fantasy, reading, looking at pictures or manual excitation is bad?" ? `Do you give them a choice of reasons for why masturbation flood?'
? Dr. Mann asked, wiping his lower lip with a piece of roll. 'Certainly,' Dr. Felloni replied. `A subject can answer that he approves of masturbation for any of six options: (1) It is enjoyable (2) it releases tension; (3) it is a natural way of expressing love; (4) it is something one should experience to be complete (5) procreates the race; (6) it is the social thing to do.' Jake and I now both began laughing. When we quieted she assured Jake that only the first two choices had been chosen for masturbation, except for one person who had indicated that masturbation was valuable as a way of expressing love. She had determined in a recent interview, however, that the eject had checked that item in a cynical frame of mind. I don't know why you ever got involved in this thing,' Jake said, turning to me suddenly. `Social psychologists have been turning out studies like yours for decades. You're digging in sterile ground.' Dr. Felloni nodded politely at Jake's words as she did whenever someone was uttering anything which might vaguely be construed as criticism of her or her work. The more vigorous and direct the criticism the more vigorously she nodded her head. It was my hypothesis that were a prosecuting attorney ever to attack her for a full hour there would be no need for a guillotine: her neck would have melted away, and her head, still nodding, would be rolling on the floor at the prosecutor's feet. She replied to Jake: `Our plan to evaluate the validity of the multiple choice answers by in-depth interviews of every subject is, however, a genuine contribution.' ? `You'll spend - my God - a hundred and twenty hours verifying the obvious: namely, multiple-choice attitude tests are unreliable.' ? `Yes, but remember we got a foundation grant,' I said. ? `So what? Why didn't you request it fob something original, something worthwhile?' `We wanted a foundation grant,' I answered ironically. ? Jake gave me his I-see-into-your-soul squint and then laughed. ? `We couldn't think of anything original or worthwhile,' I added, laughing too, `so we decided to do this: Dr. Felloni managed to nod and frown, both vigorously. ? `You'll discover that sexual intercourse is more frequently approved after marriage than before,' said Jake, `that homosexuals approve of homosexuality, that-' `Our results' Dr. Felloni said quietly, `may not fulfil conventional expectation. We may discover from our in-depth interviews that subjects misrepresent their attitudes and experiences in a way that previous experimenters did not guess.' 'She's right, Jake. I agree the whole thing seems a mammoth bore and may lead to the verification of the obvious, but it might not.' ? `It will,' Dr. Mann said.
? `What?' I said. ? `It will verify the obvious and nothing more.' ? He looked up at me for the first time. His jowls were a Santa Claus pink, either from alcohol or anger. I couldn't tell. ? 'So why do you waste your time? Renata could do the whole thing herself without your help.' `It's an entertaining time-filler. I often daydream of publishing embellished results to parody such experiments. You know. "Ninety-five percent of American youth believe that masturbation is a better way of expressing friendship and love than intercourse." 'Your experiment is a parody without embellishment,' Dr. Mann said. ? There was a silence, if you can exclude the cacophony of voices, dishes and music of the surrounding hubbub. ? 'Our experiment,' Dr. Felloni finally said with a gallop of nods, `will offer new insight into the relations between sexual behavior, sexual tolerance and personality stability.' ? 'I read your letter to the Esso Foundation,' Dr. Mann said. 'I know a teen-age girl that could run intellectual rings around most of us here,' Jake said, changing the subject with out blinking an eye. `She knew everything, brains coming out of her ears. I was within weeks of a major breakthrough. But she died' 'She died?' I asked. ? 'Fell from the Williamsburg Bridge into the East River. I confess I see her as one of my two or three possible failures.' ? 'Look, Tim' I said turning back to Dr. Mann. `I agree our experiment borders on nonsense, but in an absurd world, one can only go with the flow.' ? 'I'm not interested in your metaphysical speculations.' `Or my scientific ones. Maybe I'd better stick to talking about the stock market.' '. `Oh come off it now, you too,' Jake said. `Ever since Luke wrote his paper on "Taoism, Zen and Analysis", Tim has been feting as if he'd been converted to astrology.' 'At least with astrology,' said Dr. Mann, looking coldly at `one still tries to predict something important. With Zen drifts into Nirvana without thought or effort' ? `One doesn't drift into Nirvana,' I said helpfully. 'The drifting is Nirvana.' ?
`A convenient theory,' Dr. Mann said. ? 'All good theories are.' ? 'Gold stocks and General Motors have risen an average of two points a week so far this month,' Dr. Felloni said, nodding. ? `Yeah,' said Jake, `and you'll notice that Waste Products, Inc., Dolly's Duds and Nadir Technology are all rising.' ? Dr. Mann and I continued to look at each other, he with warm red face and chill blue eyes, and I with what I intended to be cheerful detachment. ? `My stock seems rather low these days,' I said. ? `Perhaps it's gravitating to its natural level,' he replied. ? `It may yet rally.' ? `Drifters don't rally.' ? `Yes they do,' I said. 'You just don't understand Zen.' ? `I feel blessed,' Dr. Mann said. ? `You've got eating, let me have my Zen and sex experiments.' ? `Eating doesn't interfere with my productivity.' ? 'I rather imagine it increases it.' ? Ha flushed even more and pushed back his chair. ? `Oh shit,' said Jake. `Will you two stop it. Tim, you're sitting there like a fat Buddha attacking Luke's Buddhism, and Lu-' ? `You're right,' Dr. Mann said, sitting now as stiffly in his chair as his lumpy clothing and body would permit. `I apologize Luke. The rolls were cold today and I had to attack something.' ? `Sure,' I said. `I apologize too. My martini was diluted and I had to hit back.'
The waitress was at the table again and Jake was getting ready to order dessert, but Dr. Felloni spoke loudly to the general table: `My own portfolio has risen fourteen percent in the last three months despite a market decline of two percent.' `Pretty soon you'll found your own foundation, Renata,' Dr. Mann said. `Prudent investment,' she replied, `is like prudent experimentation: it sticks to the obvious.' ? For the rest of the lunch, the conversation was all downhill. ? Chapter Five After lunch I paid my ransom at the local parking lot and drove off through the rain for the hospital. I drove a Rambler American. My colleagues drive Jaguars, Mercedes, Cadillacs, Corvettes, Porsches, Thunderbirds and (occasional slummers) Mustangs: I drove a Rambler. At that time it was my most original contribution to New York City Psychoanalysis. I went east across Manhattan, up over the Queensborough Bridge and down onto the island in the East River where the State Hospital is located. The ancient buildings appeared bleak and macabre. Some looked abandoned. Three new buildings, built of cheerful yellow brick and pleasant, shiny bars, make hospital appear, together with the older horror houses, like a Hollywood movie set in which two movies, `My Mother Went Insane' and `Prison Riot', are being filmed simultaneously. I went directly to the Admissions Building, one of the old, low, blackened buildings which, it was reliably reported, was held together solely by the thirty-seven layers of pale green paint on all the interior walls and ceilings: A small office was available to me there every Monday and Wednesday afternoon for my therapy sessions with select patients. The patients were select in two senses: one, I selected them, and two, they were actually receiving therapy. I normally handled two patients meeting each for about an hour twice a week. A month before this, however, one of my two patients had attacked a hospital attendant with an eight-foot-long bench and in being subdued, had received three broken ribs, thirty-two stitches and a hernia. Since this was slightly less than he had inflicted upon the five attendants doing the subduing, no charges of hospital brutality seemed justified, and after his wounds healed, he was to be sent to a maximum-security hospital. To replace him, Dr. Mann had recommended to me a seventeen-year-old boy admitted for incipient divinity: he showed a tendency to act as if he were Jesus Christ. Whether Dr. Mann assumed all Christs to be masochistic or that the boy would be for my spiritual health was unclear. My other QSH patient was Arturo Toscanini Jones; a Negro lived every moment as if he were a Black Panther isolated on a half-acre island filled with white hunters armed with Howitzers. My primary difficulty in helping him was that his way of seeing the world seemed to be an eminently realistic evaluation of his life as it had been. Our sessions were usually, quiet ones: Arturo Toscanini Jones had very little to say to white hunters. Although I don't blame him, as a non-directive therapist I was a little handicapped; I needed sounds for my echo. Jones had been an honors student at City College of New York for three years before disturbing a meeting of the Young Conservatives Club by throwing in two hand grenades. This act would normally have earned long tenure in a penitentiary, but Jones's previous history of `mental disturbance' (marijuana and LSD user, `nervous breakdown' sophomore
year - he interrupted a political science class by shouting obscenities at his professor) and the failure of the two hand grenades to maim anything more valuable than a portrait of Barry Goldwater, earned him instead an indefinite stay at QSH. He had become my patient under the questionable assumption that anyone who throws hand grenades at Young Conservatives must be sadistic. That afternoon I decided to let myself go a bit and see if I couldn't provoke a dialogue. `Mr. Jones,' I began (fifteen minutes had already passed in total silence), `what makes you think that I can't or won't help you?' ? Sitting sideways to me in a straight wooden chair, he turned his eyes at me with serene disdain: `Experience,' he said. 'That nineteen consecutive white men have kicked you in the balls doesn't necessarily mean the twentieth will.' True,' he said, `but the brother whom came up to that next Charlie with his hands not protecting his crotch would be one big stupid bastard.' 'True, but he could still talk.' ? `No sub! We Niggahs gotta use our hands when we talk. Yessuh! We're physical, we are.' ? `You didn't use your hands then when you spoke.' ? `I'm white, man, didn't you know that? I'm with the CIA investigating the NAACP to see if there's any secret black influence on that organization.' ? His teeth and eyes glittered at me, in play or hatred I didn't know. ? 'Ah-then,' I said, `you can appreciate my disguise: `I'm black, man, didn't you know that? I'm with-' ? `You're not black, Rhinehart,' he interrupted sharply. `If you we'd both know it and only one of us would be here.' ? 'Still, black or white, I'd like to help you.' ? 'Black they wouldn't let you help me; white, you can't.' ? 'Suit yourself.' ? `That'll be the day.' When I lapsed into silence, he resumed his. The last fifteen minutes were spent with us both listening to the regular rhythmic shrieks from a man someplace in the Cosmold Building. After Mr. Jones left I stared out the gray window at the rain until a pretty little student nurse brought me the folder on Eric Cannon and said she'd bring the family to my office. After she left, I mused for a few seconds on what is called in the medical profession the `p' phenomenon: the tendency of starched 'purses' uniforms to make it seem as if all nurses were bountifully blessed in the bosom and thus shaped like
the letter `p'. It meant that doctors surveying the field could never be sure that a nurse they were flirting with was proportioned like two grapefruit on a stick or two peas on an ironing board. Some claimed it was the very essence of the mystery and allure of the medical profession. Eric Cannon's folder gave a rather detailed description of a latter-day sheep in wolf's clothing. Since the age of five the boy hail shown himself to be both remarkably precocious and a little simpleminded. Although the son of a Lutheran minister, he argued with his teachers, was truant from school, disobedient to teachers and parents, and a runaway from home on six mate occasions since the age of nine, the last episode occurring only six months before, when he disappeared for eight weeks before turning up in Cuba. At the age of twelve he began a career of priest baiting, which culminated in the boy's refusal to enter a church again. He also refused to go to school. He was caught possessing marijuana. He was stopped in what appeared to be the act of trying to immolate himself in front of the Central Brooklyn Selective Services Induction Centre. Pastor Cannon, his father, seemed to be a good man - in the traditional sense of the word: a conservative, restrained derider of the way things are. But his son had kept rebelling, had refused to be treated by a private psychiatrist; refused to work. Refused to live at home except when it suited him. His father had thus decided to send him to QSH, with the under standing that he would receive therapy with me. 'Dr. Rhinehart,' the pretty little student nurse was saying suddenly at my elbow. `This is Pastor Cannon and Mrs. Cannon.' ? `How do you do,' I said automatically and found myself grasping the chubby hand of a sweet-faced man with thick graying hair. He smiled fully as he shook my hand. ? `Glad to meet you, Doctor. Dr. Mann has told me a tot about you.' `How do you do, Doctor,' a woman's musical voice said, and I turned to Mrs. Cannon. Small and trim she was standing behind the left shoulder of her husband and smiling horribly her eyes kept flickering off to a line of female hags who were oozing noisily through the hallway outside our door. The patients were dressed with such indescribable ugliness they looked like character actors who had been rejected for Marat-Sade for being overdone. Behind her was the son, Eric. He was dressed in a suit and tie, but his long long hair, rimless glasses and sparkle in the eyes which was either idiotic or divine made him look anything but middle-class suburbanite. ? `That's him,' said Pastor Cannon with what honestly looked like a jovial smile. I nodded politely and motioned them all toward the chairs. The pastor and his wife pushed past me to sit down, but Eric was staring out at the last of the women passing in the hall. One of them, an ugly, toothless woman with dish-mop hair, had stopped and was smiling coyly at him. `Hi ya, cutie,' she said. `Come down and see me some time.' ? The boy stared a second, smiled and said, `I will.' ? Laughing, he darted a bright-eyed look at me and went to take a chair. A juvenile idiot.
I plumped my big bulk informally on the desk opposite the Cannons and tried my `geeit's-wonderful-to-be-able-totalk-to you' smile. The boy was sitting near the window to my right and slightly behind his parents, looking at me with friendly anticipation. `You understand, Pastor Cannon, I hope, in committing Eric to this hospital you are surrendering your authority over him. ? 'Of course, Dr. Rhinehart. I have complete confidence in Dr. Mann.' ? `Good. I assume also that both you and Eric know that this is no summer camp Eric is entering. This is a state mental hospital and-' ? `It's a fine place, Dr. Rhinehart,' said Pastor Cannon. `We in New York State have every right to be proud.' ? 'Hmmmmm, yes,' I said, and turned to Eric. `What do you think of it all?' ? 'There are groovy patterns in the soot on the windows.' ? `My son believes that the whole world, is insane.' ? Eric was still looking pleasantly out the window. `A plausible theory these days, one must admit,' I said to him, `but it doesn't get you out of this hospital.' ? 'No, it gets me in,' he replied. We stared at each other for the first time. ? `Do you want me to try to help you?' I asked. ? `How can you help anyone?' ? 'Somebody's paying me well for trying.' The boy's smile didn't seem to be sardonic, only friendly. ? `They pay my father for spreading the Truth.' ? `It may be ugly here you know,' I said. ? `I think I'll feel right at home here.' ? `Not many people here will want to create a better world,' his father said. ? `Everyone wants to create a better world,' Eric replied, with a hint of sharpness in his voice.
I eased myself off the desk and walked around behind it to pick up Eric's record. Peering over my glasses as if I could see without them I said to the father: `I'd like to talk with you about Eric before you leave. Would you prefer that we talk privately or would you like to have Eric here?' 'No difference to me,' he said. `He knows what I think. He'll probably act up a bit, but I'm used to it. Let him stay.' ? `Eric, do you want to remain or would you like to go to the ward now?' 'Full fathom five my father lies,' he said looking out the window. His mother winced, but his father simply shook his head slowly and adjusted his glasses. Since I was interested in getting the son's live reaction to his parents, I let him stay. 'Tell me about your son, Pastor Cannon,' I said, seating myself in the wooden desk chair and leaning forward with my sincere professional look. Pastor Cannon cocked his head judiciously, crossed one leg over the other and cleared his throat. `My son is a mystery,' he said. `It's incredible to me that he should exist. He's totally intolerant of others. You ... if you've read what's in that folder you know the details. Two weeks ago though - another example. Eric [he glanced nervously at the boy, who was apparently looking out or at the window) hasn't been eating well for a month. Hasn't been reading or writing. He burned everything he'd written oven two months ago. An incredible amount. He doesn't speak much to anyone anymore. I was surprised he answered you .... Two weeks ago, at the dinner table, Eric playing saint with a glass of water, I remarked to our guest that night, a Mr. Houston of Pace Industries, a vicepresident, that I almost hoped sometimes that there would be a third World War because I couldn't see how else the world would ever be rid of Communism. It's a thought we've all had at one time or another. Eric threw the water in my face. He smashed his glass on the floor.' He was peering intently at me, waiting for a reaction. When I merely looked back he went-on: `I wouldn't mind for myself, but you can imagine how upset my wife is made by such scenes, and this is typical.' ? `Yes,' I said. `Why do you think he did it?' `He's an egomaniac. He doesn't see things as you and I do. He doesn't want to live as we do. He thinks that all Catholic priests, most teachers and myself are all wrong, but so do many others without always making trouble about it. And that's the crux. He takes life too seriously. He never plays, or at least never when most people want him to. He's always playing, but never what he's supposed to. He's always making war for his way of life. This is a great land of freedom but it isn't made for people who insist on insisting on their own ideas. Tolerance is our byword and Eric is above all intolerant.' 'Sorry about that, Dad,' Eric suddenly said, and with a friendly smile got up and took a position directly behind and between his parents with a hand resting on the back of each of their chairs. Pastor Cannon looked at me as if he were trying to read by the expression on my face exactly how much longer he had to live. `Are you intolerant, Eric?' I asked. `I'm intolerant of evil and stupidity,' he said. ? `But who gives you the right,' his father said, turning partly around to confront his son, `to tell everyone what's good and evil?'
? 'It's the divine right of kings,' Eric replied, smiling. His father turned back to me and shrugged. `There you are,' he said. `And let me give you another example. Eric, when ha was thirteen years old, mind you, stands up in the middle of my church during a crowded midmorning Communion and says aloud above the kneeling figures: 'That it should come to this," and walks out.' We all remained as we were without speaking, as if I were the concentrating photographer and they about to have their family portrait taken. ? `You don't like modern Christianity?' I finally said to Eric. ? He rang his fingers through his long black hair, looked up briefly at the ceiling and screamed. ? His father and mother came out of their chairs like rats o$ as electric grid and both stood trembling, watching their son, hands at his side, a slight smile on his face, screaming. A white-suited Negro attendant entered the office and then another. They looked at me for instructions. I waited for Eric's second lungful scream to end to see if he would begin another. He didn't. When he had finished, he stood quietly for a moment and then said to no one in particular: Time to go.' `Take him to the admissions ward, to Dr. Vener for his physical. Give this prescription to Dr. Vener.' ? I scribbled out a note for a mild sedative and watched the two attendants look warily at the boy. ? `Will he come quietly?' the smaller of the two asked. ? Eric stood still a moment longer and then did a rapid two step followed by an irregular jig toward the door. He sang: `We're OFF to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We're OFF...' ? Exit dancing. Attendants follow, last seen each reaching to grasp one of his arms. Pastor Cannon had a comforting arm around his wife's shoulder. I had rung for a student nurse. ? `I'm very sorry, Dr. Rhinehart,' Pastor Cannon said. `I was afraid something like this would happen but I felt that you ought to see for yourself how he acts.' ? `You're absolutely right,' I said. Where's one other thing,' said Pastor Cannon. `My wife and I were wondering whether it might be possible if .. . I understand it is sometimes possible for a patient to have a single room. I came around my desk and walked up quite close to Pastor Cannon, who still had an arm around his wife.
`This is a Christian institution, Pastor,' I said. `We believe firmly in the brotherhood of all men. Your son will share a bedroom with fifteen other healthy, normal American mental patients. Gives them a feeling of belonging and togetherness. If your son feels the need for a single, have him slug an attendant or two, and they'll give him his own room: the state even provides a jacket for the occasion.' His wife flinched and averted her eyes, but Pastor Cannon hesitated only a second and then nodded his head. `Absolutely right. Teach the boy the realities of life. Now, about his clothing-' `Pastor Cannon,' I said sharply. `This is no Sunday school. This is a mental hospital. Men are sent here when they refuse to play our normal games of reality. Your son has been sucked up by the wards; you'll never see him the same again, for better or worse. Don't talk so blithely about rooms and clothes; your son is gone.' His eyes changed from momentary fright into a cold glare, and his arm fell from around his wife. ? `I never had a son,' he said. ? And they left. ? Chapter Six When I got home, Lillian and Arlene Ecstein were collapsed side by side on the couch in their slacks and both were laughing as if they'd just finished splitting a bottle of gin. Arlene, by the way, always seems permanently eclipsed by the brilliant pinwheeling light of her husband: A little short from my six foot-four point of view, she usually looked prim and prudish with thick horn-rimmed glasses like Jake's and undistinguished black hair tied back in a bun. Although there were unconfirmed rumors that on her otherwise slender body she owned two marvelously full breasts, the baggy sweaters, men's shirts, loose blouses and over sized smocks she always wore resulted in no one's noticing her breasts until they'd known her for several months - by which time they'd forgotten all about her. In her own sweet, simpleminded way I think she may once have given me a housewifely come-on, but being married, a dignified professional man, a loyal friend and having already forgotten all about her, I had resisted. (As I recall she spent one whole evening asking me to take pieces of lint off her smock: I spent the evening taking pieces of lint off her smock.) On the other hand, vaguely, late at night, after a hard day at the mental hospital, or when Lil and the children all had the 'flu or diarrhea or measles, I would feel regret at being married, a dignified professional man and a loyal friend. Twice I had daydreamed of somehow engulfing one entire Arlene breast in my mouth. It was clear that were fate ever to give me a reasonable opportunity - e.g. she were to climb naked into bed with me - I would yield; we would have one fine quick fire of first fornication and then settle into some dull routine of copulation on the q.t. But as long as the initiative were left to me I would never do anything about it. The two-thirds married professional man friend would always dominate the bored animal. And, as you, my friend, know, the combination would be miserable. Although Lil's laugh was loud, even raucous, Arlene's was like a steady muffled machine-gun; she slumped lower on the couch as she laughed, while Lil stiffened her back and chortled at the ceiling.
? `Well, what have you two been doing lately?' I asked, sliding my briefcase-under the desk and hanging my raincoat neatly in a puddle on the floor just inside the kitchen. ? `We've just been splitting a bottle of gin,' Lil said happily. ? `It was that or dope and we couldn't find any dope,' Arlene added. `Jake doesn't believe in LSD and Lil couldn't find yours.' ? `That's strange. Lil knows I always keep it in the boy's toy cabinet.' ? `I was wondering why Larry went off to school without a fuss this morning,' Lil said, and, having said something amusing, she stopped laughing. ? `Well, what's the occasion? Is one of you getting divorced or having an abortion?' I asked, fixing myself a martini from the still two-thirds full bottle of gin. `Don't be silly,' Lil said. `We'd never dream of such high points. Our lives ooze. Not ooze excitement or sex appeal, just ooze.' `Like vaginal jelly from a tube,' Arlene added. ? They sat slumped on the couch looking grief-stricken for half a minute and then Lil perked up. ? `We might form a Psychiatrists' Wives Invitational Club, Arlene,' she said. `And not invite Luke and Jake.' ? `I would hope not,' I said and pulled a desk chair around and, straddling it theatrically, drink in hand, faced the females with fatigue. ? `We could be charter members of PWIC,' Lil went on, scowling. `I can't quite figure out what good it will do us.' ? Then she giggled. `Perhaps, though, our PWIC will grow bigger than yours,' and both women, after staring at me pleasantly for a few seconds, began giggling stupidly. ? `We could have our first social project by changing husbands for a week,' said Arlene. ? `Neither of us would notice any difference,' Lil said. ? That's not true. Jake brushes his teeth in a very original way, and I bet Luke has abilities I don't know about.' ?
`Believe me,' Lil said, `he doesn't' ? `Sssss,' said Arlene. `You shouldn't show public contempt for your husband. It will bruise his ego.' ? `Thank you, Arlene,' I said. ? `Luke's an in-tell-i-gent man,' she managed to get out. `I'm not even a liberal arts woman, and he's studied .. he's studied...' ? `Urine and stools,' completed Lil, and they laughed. Why is grace, noisy. toward ? `Give us the word!' It was good to be back in the quiet of home and fireside after a trying day with the mentally disturbed. ? `O Master, help us, our lives are yours.' ? The effect of two crawling, begging, drunken women wiggling their way toward me was that I got an erection, not professionally or maritally the most helpful response, but sincere. Somehow I felt that more was expected of a sage. ? `Rise, my children,' I said gently and I myself now stood up before them. ? `O. Master, speak!' Arlene said, on her knees. ? `You wish to be saved? To be reborn?' `Oh, yes!' ? `You wish a new life?' ? 'Yes, yes!' ? 'Have you tried the new All with Borax?' ? They collapsed forward in groans and giggles, but straightened quickly with a `We have, we have, but still no satori' (from Lily, and `even Mr. Clean' (from Arlene). ? `You must cease caring,' I said. `You must surrender everything. EVERYTHING.' it that I can lead my life of quiet desperation with complete poise, dignity and while most women I know insist on leading lives of quiet desperation which are I was giving the question serious thought when I noticed Lil and Arlene crawling me on their knees, their, hands clasped in supplication.
`Save us, O Master of the Stools, we're bored.'
? `Oh. Master, here, in front of your wife!' and they both giggled and fluttered like sparrows in heat. ? `EVERYthing,' I boomed irritably. `Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire.' ? `We've tried.' ? `We've tried and still we desire.' ? `We still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion we can be without illusions.' ? `Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved. Become as weeds that grow and die unnoticed in the fields. Surrender to the wind.' ? Lillian suddenly stood up and walked to the liquor cabinet. ? `I've heard it all before,' she said, `and the wind turns out to be a lot of hot air.' ? `I thought you were drunk.' ? 'The sight of you preaching is enough to sober-anyone.' Arlene, still on her knees, said strangely, blinking through her thick glasses, `But I'm still not saved. I want to be saved.' ? 'You heard him, give up.' ? 'That's salvation?' ? "That's all he offers. Can Jake do better?' ? 'No, but I can get a family discount with Jake.' ? And they laughed. ? `Are you two really drunk?' I asked. ? 'I am, but Lil says she wants all her faculties intact to stay one up on you. Jake's not home so I've giving my faculty a vacation.' ?
`Luke never loses any of his faculties: they've all got tenure,' Lil said. `That's why they're all senile.' ? Lil smiled a first bitter and then pleased-with-herself smile and raised a fresh martini in mock toast to my senile faculties. With slow dignity I moved off to my study. There are moments even a pipe can't dignify. Chapter Seven The poker that evening was a disaster. Lillian and Arlene were exaggeratedly gay at first (their bottle of gin nearly empty) and, after a series of reckless raises, exaggeratedly broke thereafter. Lil then proceeded to raise even more recklessly (with my money), while Arlene subsided into a sensually blissful indifference. Dr. Mann's luck was deadening. In his totally bored, seemingly uninterested way, he proceeded to raise dramatically, win, bluff people out, win, or fold early and miss out on only small pots. He was an intelligent player, but when the cards went his way his blandness made him seem superhuman. That this blubbery god was crumbling potato chips all over the table was a further source of personal gloom, Lil seemed happy that it was Dr. Mann winning big and not I, but Dr. Felloni, by the vigor with which she nodded her head after losing a pot to him, also seemed vastly irritated. At about eleven Arlene asked to be dealt out, and, announcing drowsily that losing at poker made her feel sexy and sleepy, left for her apartment downstairs. Lil drank and battled on, won two huge pots at a seven-card-stud game with dice that she liked to play, became gay again, teased me affectionately, apologized for being irritable, teased Dr. Mann for winning so much, then ran from the table to vomit in the bathtub. She returned after a few minutes uninterested in playing poker. Announcing that losing made her feel a frigid insomniac, she retired to bed. We three doctors played on for another half-hour or so, discussing Dr. Ecstein's latest book, which I criticized brilliantly, and gradually losing interest in poker. Near midnight Dr. Felloni said it was time for her to leave, but instead of getting a ride cross-town with her, Dr. Mann said he'd stay a little longer and take a taxi home. After she'd left, we played four final hands of stud poker and with joy I won three of them. When we'd finished, he lifted himself out of the straight-backed chair and deposited himself in the overstuffed one near the long bookcase. I heard the toilet flush down the hall and wondered if Lil had been sick again. Dr. Mann drew out his pipe, stuffed and lighted it with all the speed of a slow-motion machine being photographed is slow motion, sucked in eternally at the pipe as he lit it and then, finally, boom, let loose a medium-megaton nuclear explosion up toward the ceiling, obscuring the books on the shelves beside him and generally astounding me with its magnitude. `How's your book coming, Luke?' he asked. He had a deep, gruff, old man's voice. ? `Not coming at all,' I said from my seat at the poker table. ? `Mmmmm.' ? `I don't think I'm on to much of value...' ? 'Un ... Un. Huh.' ?
`When I began it, I thought the transition from sadistic to masochistic might lead to something important.' ? I ran my finger over the soft green velvet of the poker table. ? `It leads from sadism to masochism.' I smiled. ? Puffing lightly and looking up at the picture of Freud hung on the wall opposite him, he asked `How many cases have you analyzed and written up in detail?' ? `Three.' ? `The same three?' 'The same three. I tell you, Tim, all I'm doing is un-interpreted case histories. The libraries are retching with them.' ? 'Nnnn.' ? I looked at him, he continued to look at Freud, and from the street below a police siren whined upward from Madison Avenue. ? `Why don't you finish the book anyway?' he asked mildly. `As your Zen says, go with the flow, even if the flow is meaningless." ? 'I am going with the flow. My flow with that book has totally stopped. I don't feel like pumping it up again.' ? `Nnnn.' ? I became aware that I was grinding a die into the green velvet. I tried to relax. ? `By the way, Tim, I had my first interview with that boy you had sent to QSH for me. I found him-' ? `I don't care about your patient at QSH, Luke, unless it's going to get into print.' ? He still didn't look at me, and the abruptness of the remark stunned me. ? `If you're not writing, you're not thinking,' he went on, `and if you're not thinking you're dead.' ? I used to feel that way.' ?
`Yes you did. Then you discovered Zen.' ? `Yes I did.' ? `And now you find writing a bore.' ? `Yes.' ? `And thinking?' ? `And thinking too,' I said. ? `Maybe there's something wrong with Zen,' he said. ? `Maybe there's something wrong with thinking.' ? `It's been fashionable among thinkers lately to say so, but saying, "I strongly think that thinking is nonsense," that stems rather absurd to me.' ? `It is absurd; so is psychoanalysis.' ? He looked over at me; the crinkles around his left eye twitched. ? `Psychoanalysis has led to more new knowledge of the human soul than all the previous two million years of thinking put together. Zen has been around a long time and I haven't noticed any great body of knowledge flowing from it.' Without apparent irritability he let out another vigorous mushroom cloud toward the ceiling. I was fingering one of the dice, nervously pressing my fingers into the little dots; I still looked at him, he at Freud. `Tim, I'm not going to argue the merits and demerits of Zen again with you. I've told you that whatever I've gained from Zen is not something I've been able to articulate.' 'What you've gained from Zen is intellectual anemia.' ? `Maybe I've gained sense. You know that eighty percent of the stuff in the psychoanalytic journals is crap. Useless crap. Including mine.' ? I paused. `Including . . . yours.' ? He hesitated, and then bubbled up a chuckle. ? `You know the first principle of medicine: you can't cure the patient without a sample of his crap,' he said.
? `Who needs to be cured?' ? He turned his eyes lazily into mine and said: `You do.' ? `You analyzed me. What's the matter?' I shot back stare for stare. . ? `Nothing the matter that a little reminder of what life is all about won't cure.' ? `Oh, piss,' I said. ? `You don't like to push yourself, and along comes Zen and till you to "go with the flow".' ? He paused and, still looking at me, dropped his pipe in an ashtray on the small table bide him. ? `Your flow is naturally stagnant.' ? `Makes a good breeding ground,' I said and tried to short laugh. ? `For Christ's sake, Luke, don't laugh,' he said loudly. `You're wasting your life these days, throwing it away.' ? `Aren't we all?' ? `No, we're not. Jake isn't. I'm not. Good men in every profession aren't. You weren't, until a year ago.' ? `When I was a child, I spoke like a child -' ? `Luke, Luke, listen to me.' ? He was an agitated old man. ? `Well -?' ? `Come back to analysis with me.' ? I rubbed the die against the back of my hand and, thinking nothing clearly, answered `No.'
`What's the matter with you?' he said sharply. `Why have you lost faith in the significance of your work? Will you please try to explain?' Without premeditation I surged up from my chair like a defensive tackle at the sight of a shot at the quarterback. I strode across the room in front of Dr. Mann to the big window looking along the street toward Central Park. `I'm bored. I'm bored. I'm sorry but that's about it. I'm sick of lifting unhappy patients up to normal boredom, sick of trivial experiments, empty articles `These are symptoms, not analysis.' `To experience something for the first time: a first balloon, a visit to a foreign land. A fine fierce fornication with a new woman. The first paycheck, or the surprise of first winning big at the poker table or the racetrack. The exciting isolation of leaning against the wind on the highway hitchhiking, waiting for someone to stop and offer me a lift, perhaps to a town three miles down the road, perhaps to new friendship, perhaps to death. The rich glow I felt when I knew I'd finally written a good paper, made a brilliant analysis or hit a good backhand lob. The excitement of a new philosophy of life. Or a new home. Or my first child. These are what we want from life and now ... they seem gone, and both Zen and psychoanalysis seem incapable of bringing them back.' `You sound like a disillusioned sophomore.' `The same old new lands, the same old fornication, the same getting and spending, the same drugged, desperate, repetitious faces appearing in the office for analysis, the same effective, meaningless lobs. The same old new philosophies. And the thing I'd really pinned my ego to, psychoanalysis, doesn't seem to be a bit relevant to the problem.' `It's totally relevant.' `Because analysis, were it really an the right track, should be able to change me, to change anything and anybody, to eliminate all undesired neurotic symptoms and to do it much more quickly than the two years necessary to produce most measurable changes in people.' `You're dreaming, Luke. It can't be done. In both theory and practice it's impossible to rid an individual of all his undesired habits, tensions, compulsions, inhibitions, what-have-you.' ? `Then maybe the theory and practice are wrong.' ? `Undoubtedly.' ? `We can perfect plants, alter machines, train animals, why not men?' `For God's sake!' Dr. Mann tapped his pipe vigorously against a bronze ashtray and glared up at me irritably. `You're dreaming. There are no Utopias: There can be no perfect man. Each of our lives is a finite series of errors, which tend to become rigid and repetitious and necessary. Every man's personal proverb about himself is: "Whatever is, is right, in the best of all possible people." The whole tendency is ... the whole tendency of the human personality is to solidify into the corpse. You don't change corpses. Corpses aren't bubbling with enthusiasm. You spruce them up a bit and make them fit to be looked at.'
? `I absolutely agree: psychoanalysis rarely breaks this solidifying flow of personality, it has nothing to offer the man who is bored.' ? Dr. Mann harumphed or snorted or something and I moved away from the window to look up at Freud. Freud stared down seriously; he didn't look pleased. ? 'There must be some other.. other secret [blasphemy!] some other . .. magic potion which would permit certain men to radically alter their lives,' I went on. `Try astrology, the I Ching, LSD.' `Freud gave me a taste for finding some philosophical equivalent of LSD, but the effect of Freud's own potion seems to be wearing off.' `You're dreaming. You expect too much. A human being, a human personality is the total pattern of the accumulated limitations and potentials of an individual. You take away all his habits, compulsions and channeled drives, and you take away him.' `Then perhaps, perhaps, we ought to do away with "him".' ? He paused as if trying to absorb what I'd said and when I turned to face him, he surprised me by booming two quick cannon shots of smoke out of the side of his mouth. `Oh Luke you're nibbling on that Goddamn Eastern mysticism again. If I weren't a consistent self, a glutton at the table, sloppy in dress, bland in speech and rigidly devoted to psychoanalysis, to success, to publication - and all of these things consistently - I'd never get anything done, and what would I be?' I didn't answer. `If I sometimes smoked one way,' he went on, `sometimes another, sometimes not at all, varied the way I dressed, was nervous, serene, ambitious, lazy, lecherous, gluttonous, ascetic - where would my "self" be? What would I achieve? It's the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy - and hence boredom - is not human. He's insane.' With a satisfied and relaxed grunt he placed his pipe down again and smiled pleasantly at me. For some reason I hated him. ? `And accepting these self-defeating limitations is mental health?' I said. ? `Mmmmm.' I stood facing him and felt a strange rush of rage surge through me. I wanted to crush Dr. Mann with a ten-ton block of concrete. I spat out my next words `We must be wrong. All psychotherapy is a tedious disaster. We must be making some fundamental, rock-bottom error that poisons all our thinking. Years from now men will look upon our therapeutic theories and our techniques as we do upon nineteenth-century bloodletting.' `You're sick, Luke,' he said quietly. ? `You and Jake are among the best and as humans you're both nothing.' ? He was sitting erect in his chair.
? `You're sick,' he said. `And don't feed me any more bull about Zen. I've been watching you for months now. You're not relaxed. Half the time you seem like 'a giggly schoolboy and the other half like a pompous ass.' ? `I'm a therapist and it's clear I, as a human, am a disaster. Physician heal thyself.' 'You've lost faith in the most important profession in the world because of an idealized expectation which even Zen says is unrealistic. You've gotten bored with the day-to-day miracles of making people slightly better. I don't see where letting them get slightly worse is much to be proud of.' 'I'm not proud of-' ? `Yes you are. You think you've got absolute truth or at least that you alone are seeking it. You're a classic case of Horney's: the man who comforts himself not with what he achieves but with what he dreams of achieving.' ? `I am.' ? I stated it flatly: it happened to be true. `But you, Tim, are a classic case of the normal human being, and I'm not impressed.' ? He stared at me not puffing, his face Rushed, and then abruptly, like a big balloon bouncing, arose from his chair with a grunt. ? `I'm sorry you feel that way,' he said and chugged toward the door. ? `There must be a method to change men more radically than we've discovered-' ? `Let me know when you find it,' he said. ? He stopped at the door and we looked at each other, two alien worlds. His face showed bitter contempt. ? `I will,' I said. ? `When you find it, just give me a ring. Oxford 4-0300.' ? We stood facing each other. ? `Goodnight,' I said. ? `Goodnight,' he said, turning. `Give my best to Lil in the morning. And Luke,' turning back to me, `try finishing Jake's book. It's always better to criticize a book after
you've read it.' ? `I didn't-' ? `Goodnight' and he opened the door, waddled out, hesitated at the elevator, then walked on to the stairwell and disappeared. ? Chapter Eight After closing the door I walked mechanically back into the living room. At the window I stared at the few lights and at the empty early morning streets below. Dr. Mann emerged from the building and moved off toward Madison Avenue; he looked, from three floors up, like a stuffed dwarf. I had an urge to pick up the easy chair he had been sitting in and throw it through the glass window after him. Distorted images swirled through my mind: Jake's book lying darkly on the white tablecloth at lunch; the boy Eric's black eyes staring at me warmly; Lil and Arlene wriggling toward me; blank pieces of paper on my desk; Dr. Mann's clouds of smoke mushrooming toward the ceiling; and Arlene as she had left the room a few hours earlier; an open, sensuous yawn. For some reason I felt like starting at one end of the room and running full speed to the other end and smashing right through the portrait of Freud which hung there. Instead I turned from the window and walked back and forth until I was looking up at the portrait. Freud stared down at me dignified, serious, productive, rational and stable: he was everything which a reasonable man might strive to be. I reached up and, grasping the portrait carefully, turned it around so that the face was toward the wall. I stared with rising satisfaction at the brown cardboard backing and then, with a sigh, returned to the poker table and put away the cards, chips and chairs. One of the two dice was missing but when I glanced at the floor it was not to be found. Turning to go to bed, I saw on the small table next to the chair Dr. Mann had been lecturing me from, a card the queen of spades - angled as if propped up against something. I went over and stared down at the card and knew that beneath it was the die. I stood that way for a full minute feeling a rising, incomprehensible rage: something of what Osterflood must feel, of what Lil may have been feeling during the afternoon, but directed at nothing, thoughtless, aimless rage. I vaguely remember an electric clock humming on the mantelpiece. Then a fog-horn blast groaned into the room from the East River and terror tore the arteries out of my heart and tied them in knots in my belly: if that die has a one face up, I thought, I'm going downstairs and rape Arlene. `If it's a one, I'll rape Arlene,' kept blinking on and off in my mind like a huge neon tight and my terror increased. But when I thought if it's not a one Ill go to bed, the terror was boiled away by a pleasant excitement and my mouth swelled into a gargantuan grin: a one means rape, the other numbers mean bed, the die is cast. Who am I to question the die? I picked up the queen of spades and saw staring at me a cyclopean eye: a one. I was shocked into immobility for perhaps five seconds, soldierly about-face and marched to our apartment door, outside, wheeled, and marched with mechanical precision the apartment, down the hall to our bedroom, opened the loudly: `I'm going for a walk, Lil.' Turning, I marched out of the apartment a second time. As I walked woodenly down the two flights of stairs I noticed rust spots on the railing and an abandoned advertising circular crumpled into a corner. `Think Big,' it urged. On but finally made an abrupt, opened it and took one pace and joyous excitement back into door a crack and announced
the Ecstein floor I wheeled like a puppet, marched to the door of their apartment and rang. My next clear thought swept with dignified panic through my mind: `Does Arlene really take the pill?' A smile colored my consciousness at the thought of Jack the Ripper, on his way to rape and strangle another woman, and worrying whether she was protected or not. ? After twenty seconds I rang again. ? A second smile (my face remained wooden) flowed through at the thought of someone else's already having discovered the' die and thus now busily banging away at Arlene on the floor just on the other side of the door. ? The door unlatched and opened a crack. ? `Jake?' a voice said sleepily. ? `It's me, Arlene,' I said. ? `What do you want?' ? The door stayed open only a crack. ? `I've come downstairs to rape you,' I said. ? `Oh,' she said, `just a minute.' She unlatched and opened the door. She was wearing an unattractive cotton bathrobe, possibly even Jake's, her black hair was straggling down her forehead, cold cream whitened her face, and she was squinting at me without her glasses like a blind beggar woman in a melodrama of the life of Christ. Closing, the door behind me I turned toward her and waited, wondering passively what I was going to do next. ? `What did you say you wanted?' she asked; she was groggy with sleep. ? `I've come downstairs to rape you,' I replied and advanced toward her, she continuing to stand there with a widening and perhaps wakening look of curiosity. Feeling for the first time a faint hint of sexual desire, I put my arms around her, lowered my head and planted my mouth on her neck. Almost immediately I felt her hands pushing hard against my chest and soon a long-drawnout `LuuuuUUke,' part terror, part question, part giggle. After a good solid wet arousing kissing of her upper dorsal region I released her. She stepped back a step and straightened her ugly bathrobe. We stared at each other, in our differently hypnotized states, like two drunks confronting each other, knowing they are expected to dance.
`Come,' I found myself saying after our mutual moment of awe, and I put my left arm around her waist and began drawing her toward the bedroom. ? `Let go of me,' she said sharply and pushed my arm away. With the mechanical swiftness of a superbly driven puppet my right hand slammed across her face. She was terror stricken. So was I. A second time we faced each other, her face now showing a blotch of red on the left side. I mechanically wiped some cold cream off my fingers onto my trousers, then I reached out and took hold of the front of her robe and pulled her to me. `Come,' I said again. ? `Get your hands off Jake's bathrobe,' she hissed uncertainly. ? I released her and said: `I want to rape you, Arlene. Now, this moment. Let's go.' ? Like a frightened kitten she hunched down away from me with her hands tugging her robe at the throat. Then she straightened. ? 'All right,' she said, and with a look which I can only describe as righteous indignation, began to move past me down the hall toward the bedroom, adding, `But you leave Jake's bathrobe alone.' The rape was then consummated with a minimum of violence on my part, in fact with no great amount of imagination, passion or pleasure. The pleasure was primarily Arlene's. I went through the appropriate motions of mouthing her breasts, squeezing her buttocks, caressing her labials, mounting her in the usual fashion and, after a longer time bucking and plunging than customary (I felt through the whole act like a puppet trained to demonstrate normal sexual intercourse to a group of slow teenagers), finished. She writhed and humped a few too many seconds longer and sighed. After a while she looked up at me. `Why did you do it, Luke?' ? `I had to, Arlene, I was driven to it.' ? `Jake won't like it.' ? `Ah. . . Jake?' ? `I tell him everything. It gives him valuable material, he says.' ? `But . . . this . . . have you been . . . raped before?' ? 'No. Not since getting married. Jake's the only one and he never rapes me.' ?
`Are you sure you have to tell him?' ? `Oh yes. He'd want to know.' `But won't he be tremendously upset?' ? 'Jake? No. He'll find it interesting. He finds everything interesting. If we'd committed sodomy that would be even more interesting.' ? 'Arlene, stop being bitter.' ? `I'm not bitter. Jake's a scientist.' ? `Well, maybe you're right but-' ? `Of course, there was that once...' ? `What once?' ? `That a colleague of his at Bellevue caressed one of my breasts with his elbow at a party and Jake split open his skull with a bottle of . . . bottle of . . . was it Cognac?' ? `Split his skull?' ? `Brandy. And another time when a man kissed me under mistletoe, Jake, you remember, you were there, told the guy `I'm remembering - so look, Arlene, don't be silly, don't tell Jake about tonight.' ? She considered this. ? `But if I don't tell him, it will imply I've done something wrong.' ? `No. I've done something wrong, Arlene. And I don't want to lose Jake's friendship and trust just because I've raped you.' ? `I understand.' ? `He'd be hurt.' ? `Yes he would. He wouldn't be objective. If he'd been drinking.' ? `Yes he would.'
? `I won't tell him.' We exchanged a few more words and that was that. About forty minutes after arriving, I left. Oh, there was one other incident. As I was leaving and Arlene and I were tonguing each other affectionately at the door to her apartment, she in a flimsy nightgown with one heavy breast plunging out and cupped in my hand, and I more or less dressed as when I entered, the sound of a key in the door suddenly split through our sensuality, we leapt apart, the apartment door opened and there stood Jacob Ecstein. For what seemed like sixteen and a half minutes (possibly five or six seconds) he gave me that scrutinizing look through his thick glasses and then said loudly `Luke, baby, you're just the guy I want to see. My anal optometrist? He's cured. I did it. I'm famous.' Chapter Nine Back upstairs in my living room I stared dreamily at the exposed one on the die. I scratched my balls and shook my head in dazed awe. Rape had been possible for years, decades even, but was realized only when I stopped looking at whether it were possible, or prudent, or even desirable, but without premeditation did it, feeling myself a puppet to a force outside me, a creature of the gods - the die - rather than a responsible agent. The cause was chance or fate, not me. The probability of that die being a one was only one in six. The chance of the die's being there under the card, maybe one in a million. My rape was obviously dictated by fate. Not guilty. Of course I could simply have broken my verbal promise of following the dictates of the die. True? True. But a promise! A solemn promise to obey the die! My word of honor! Can we expect a professional-man, a member of PANY, to break his word because the die, with the odds heavily against it, determined rape? No, obviously not. I am clearly not guilty. I felt like spitting neatly into some conveniently located spittoon in front of my jury. But on the whole it seemed a pretty weak defense, and I began vaguely hunting for a new one when I became ablaze at the thought: I am right: I must always obey the dice. Lead where they will, I must follow. All power to the die! Excited and proud, I stood for a moment on my own personal Rubicon. And then I stepped across. I established in my mind at that moment and for all time, the never-to-be-questioned principle that what the die dictates, I will perform. The next moment was anticlimactic. I picked up the die and announced: `If it's a one, three or five, I'll to go bed; if its a two I'll go downstairs and ask Jake if I can try to rape Arlene again; if it's a four or a six I'll stay up and think about this some more.' I shook the die violently in the cup of my two hands and flipped it, out onto the poker table, it rolled to a stop: five. Astonished and a bit let down, I went to bed. It was a lesson I was to learn many times in subsequent casts; the dive can show almost as poor judgment as a human. Chapter Ten By training I have learned to look for the casual insignificance of every overt cause. In the morning, after a caressless, buttockless period before breakfast, lukewarm coffee, and Lil's hungover imprecations, I wander into the living room to recreate the scene of the crime. Pacing back and forth I tried to demonstrate to myself that I would have gone down to Arlene whether the die had been a one, a four, or a box of matches. I remained unconvinced. I knew in my big hardpumping heart that only the die could have pushed me down those stairs and into Arlene's entranceway.
I tried then to prove that I had seen the die that was on the side table before it had been covered with a card or at any rate before I made my solemn vow to commit holy rape if it turned out to have a one face up. I tried to determine who had left the card and die there and guessed it must have been Lil during her headlong flight to the bathroom. It seemed thus that I couldn't have known that it was a one. Had I seen from the angle of my chair the sides of the die and thus unconsciously known that the die must have turned upward either a one or a six? I walked over to the little table and tumbled a die onto it and, without looking at what came face up, covered the die with the queen of spades more or less as it had been covered the night before. I went back and sat at the poker table. From there, staring through my glasses, squinting, straining, trying with superhuman effort, I managed to make out the table and the slightly humped playing card. If there was a die under the card it was unpublished news as far as my eyes were concerned. For me to have seen the die from my chair at the poker table I would have had to have an unconscious with telescopic sight. The case was clear: I couldn't possibly have known what was under the queen of spades; my rape was determined by fate. `What happened to the picture of Freud?' asked Lil, who had come in from the kitchen after turning the kids over to the maid. ? Seeing that Freud's portrait was still facing the wall, I said `I don't know. I assumed you did that last night as you went to bed. A symbolic rejection of me and my colleagues.' ? Lil, her messed blonde hair, reddish eyes and uncertain frown making her look unusually like a mouse approaching chase in a trap, looked at me suspiciously. `I did it?' she asked, her mind stumbling over the events of last night. `Sure. Don't you remember? You said something like "Now, Freud can look into the bowels of the house," and staggered off to the john.' `I did not,' she said. `I strode with great dignity.' ? `You're right. You strode with great dignity in a variety of directions.' ? 'But essentially I moved east' ? 'True.' ? `East and johnward.' We laughed and I asked her to bring another cup of coffee and a doughnut to my study. Evie and Larry momentarily escaped from the clutches of the maid and swooped through the living room like two desperadoes shooting up a town and disappeared back toward the kitchen. I retreated to my home within my home: my old oaken desk in the study. For a while I sat there throwing the two green dice across its scarred face and wondering what the events of the night before meant for me. My legs and loins felt heavy, my mind light, Last night I had done something I had vaguely felt like doing for two or three years. Having done it I was changed, not greatly, but changed. My life for a few weeks would be a little more complex, a little more exciting. Searching for a free hour to play with Arlene would while away time that in the recent past had been-spent not being able to work on my book, not being able to concentrate on my cases and
daydreaming about stock market coups. The time might not be better spent, but I would be better entertained. Thanks to the die. What else might the dice dictate? Well, that I stop writing silly psychoanalytic articles; that I sell all my stock, or buy all I could afford; that I make love to Arlene in our double bed while my wife slept on the other side; that I take a trip to San Francisco, Hawaii, Peking; that I bluff every time when playing poker; that I give up my home, my friends, my profession. After giving up my psychiatric practice I might become a college professor. .. a stockbroker . .. a real estate salesman .. Zen master ... used-car salesman ... travel agent ... elevator fan. My choice of profession seemed suddenly infinite. That I didn't want to be a used-car salesman, didn't respect the profession, seemed almost a limitation on my pall, as idiosyncrasy. My mind exploded with possibilities. The, boredom I had been feeling for so long seemed unnecessary. I pictured myself saving after each random decision. `The die is cast,' and sloshing stoically across some new, ever wider Rubicon. If one life was dead and boring, so what? Long live a new life! But what new life? During the last months nothing had seemed worth doing. Had the die changed that? What specifically did I want to do? Well, nothing specific. But in general? All power to the dice! Good enough, but what might they decide? Everything. Everything? Everything. ? Chapter Eleven ? Everything didn't turn out to be too much at first. That afternoon the dice scorned all sorts of exciting options and steered me instead to the corner drugstore to choose reading matter at random. Admittedly, browsing through the four magazines chosen - Agonizing Confessions; Your Pro-Football Handbook; Fuck-it and Health and You - was more interesting than my usual psychoanalytic fare, but I vaguely regretted not having been sent by the dice on a more important or absurd mission. Thai evening and the next day I seemed to avoid the dice. The result was that two nights after my great D-Day I lay in bed brooding about what to do with Arlene. I wanted, no doubt about it, to press her to my bosom once again, but the dangers, complications and comedy seemed almost too much to pay. I tossed and turned in indecision, anxiety and lust until Lil ordered me to take a sedative or sleep in the bathtub. I rolled out of bed and retreated to my study. I was halfway through a complicated imaginary conversation with Jake in which I was explaining with great clarity what I was doing under his bed and pointing out the legal complications involved in homicide, when I realized with a rush of relief that I'd simply let the dice decide. Indecisive? Uncertain? Worried? Let the rolling ivory tumble your burdens away. $2.50 per pair. I took out a pen and wrote out the numbers one to six. The first option to occur to my essentially conservative nature was to chuck the whole thing: I'd ignore my brief affair and treat Arlene as if nothing had happened. After all, the sporadic screwing of another man's wife might provide complications. When the woman is the wife of your Best Friend, nearest Neighbor, and closest Business Associate, the intrigue and betrayal are so complete that the end hardly seemed worth the effort. Arlene's end wasn't so different from Lil's that it justified painful hours of scheming as to how one might enter it in dice-dictated ways and painful hours of brooding about whether one should brood about having entered it. Nor were the convolutions of her soul likely to offer any more
originality than those of her body. Arlene and Jake had married seventeen years before when they were both juniors in high school. Jake had been a highly Precocious teenager and after seducing Arlene one summer, he found himself sexually inconvenienced in the fall when they were separated by his being away at Tapper's Boarding School for Brilliant Boys. Masturbation drove him to a fury of frustration since no daydream or self-caress remotely approached Arlene's round breasts cupped in his hands or filling his mouth. At Christmas he announced to his parents that he must either return to the public high school, commit suicide or marry Arlene. His parents brooded briefly between the last two of these options and then reluctantly permitted marriage. Arlene was quite happy to leave school and miss her algebra and chemistry finals; they were married over the Easter holiday and she began working to help support Jake through his schools. Arlene's education had thus come from life; and since her life had been spent clerking at Gimbel's, girl-Fridaying at Bache and Company, typing at Woolworth's and controlling a switchboard at the Fashion Institute of Technology, her education was a limited one. In the seven years since she'd stopped working, she had devoted herself to philanthropic causes of which no one had ever heard (The Penny Parade for Puppies, Dough for Diabetes, Help Afghanistanian Sheepherders!), and reading lurid fiction and advanced psychoanalytic journals. It's not clear to what degree she understood any of her activities. The day of his marriage was apparently the last time Jake had bothered to give a thought to the pursuit of women. He seemed to have acquired Arlene in the same spirit with which in later life he acquired a lifetime supply of aspirin, and, a little after that, a lifetime supply of laxatives. Moreover, just as the aspirin and laxative were guaranteed not to produce any annoying side effects, so too he saw to it that periodic use of Arlene would be free of such effects also. There was an ill-intended rumor that he had Arlene take the pill and use an inter-uterine device, a diaphragm and a douche, while he used a contraceptive, always used her anus anyway and then always practiced coitus interruptus. Whatever his methods, they had worked. They were childless, Jake was satisfied and Arlene was bored and longed to have a baby. So my first option was clear: no more affair. Feeling rebellious I wrote as number two option, `I'll do whatever Arlene says we ought to do' (rather courageous in those days), number three I would attempt to re-seduce Arlene as soon as possible. Too vague. I'd try to reseduce her, hummm, obviously Saturday evening. (The Ecsteins were having a cocktail party.) Number four, I - I seemed to have exhausted the three obvious courses of action - no, wait, number four, I would say to her whenever I could get her alone that although I loved her beyond words, I felt that we should keep our love Platonic for the sake of the children. Number five, I would play it by ear and let my impulses dictate my behavior (another chicken's squawk). Number six, I would go to her apartment Tuesday afternoon (the next time I knew her to be alone) and more realistically rape her (i.e. no effort at softness or seduction). I looked at the options, smiled happily and flipped a die four: Platonic love. Platonic love? How did that get in there? I was momentarily appalled. I decided that it was understood by number four that I might be dissuaded from Platonism by Arlene. That Saturday evening Arlene greeted me at the door wearing a lovely blue cocktail dress I'd never seen before (neither had Jake) with a glass of Scotch and with a wide-eyed stare: representing awe, fright or blindness from being without her glasses. After handing me the Scotch (Lil was upstairs still dressing), Arlene fled to the other side of the room. I drifted over to a small group of psychiatrists led by Jake and listened to a
consecutive series of monologues on methods of avoiding income taxes. Depressed, I drifted after Arlene, poetry poised like cookie crumbs on my lips. She was yo-yoing from the kitchen-bar to her guests, smiling bigly and blankly, and then rushing away in someone's midsentence on the presumed pretense of getting someone a drink. I'd never seen her so manic. When I finally followed her into the kitchen one time she was staring at a picture of the Empire State Budding, or rather at the calendar beneath it with all the banking holidays squared in orange. She turned and looked at me with the same wide-eyed awe, fear or blindness and asked in a frightening loud, nervous voice `What if I'm pregnant?' ? 'Shhhh,' I replied. ? `If I'm pregnant, Jake will never forgive me.' ? `But I thought you took the pill every morning.' ? `Jake tells me to but for the last two years, I've substituted little vitamin C tablets in my calendar clock.' ? `Oh my God, when, when... Do you think you're pregnant?' ? `Jake'll know I cheated on him and didn't take the pill.' ? 'But he'll think he's the father?' ? `Of course, who else could be?' ? `Well ... uh...' ? 'But you know how he detests the thought of having children.' ? 'Yes I do. Arlene...' ? `Excuse me, I've got to serve drinks.' She ran out with two martinis and returned with an empty highball glass. ? `Don't you dare to touch me again,' she said as she began preparing another drink. ? `Ah, Arlene, how can you say that? My love is like . . .' ? `This Tuesday, Jake is going to spend all day at the Library annex working on his new book. If you dare try anything like last night I'll phone the police.'
? 'Arlene . . .' ? `I've checked their number and I plan to always keep the phone near me.' ? 'Arlene, the feelings I have for you are...' `Although I told Lil yesterday that I'm going to was off again with a full whiskey and two pieces returned again Lil had arrived and I was trapped named Sidney Opt of the effect of the Beatles on came to poetry that night. I didn't even talk to afternoon. Westchester to see my Aunt Miriam.' She of chewed celery, and before she in an infinite analysis with a man American culture. It was the closest I Arlene again until, well, that Tuesday
'Arlene,' I said, trying to rope in a scream as she pressed the door convincingly against my foot, `you must let me in.' ? 'No,' she said. ? `If you don't let me in I won't tell you what I plan to do.' ? 'Plan to do?' ? `You'll never know what I'm going to say.' There was a long pause and then the door eased open and I limped into her apartment. She retreated decisively to the telephone and, standing stiffly with the receiver in her hand with one finger inserted into presumably the first digit, she said `Don't come any nearer.' `I won't, I won't. But you really should hang up the phone.' ? 'Absolutely not.' ? `If you keep it off the hook too long they'll disconnect the phone.' Hesitantly she replaced the receiver and sat at one end of the couch (next to the telephone); I seated myself at the other end. - After looking at me blankly for a few minutes (I was preparing my declaration of Platonic love), she suddenly began crying into her hands. `I can't stop yon,' she moaned. ? `I'm not trying to do anything!' ? 'I can't stop you, I know I can't. I'm weak.' ? 'But I won't touch you.' ?
`You're too strong, too forceful...' ? 'I won't touch you.' ? 'She looked up. ? `You won't?' ? 'Arlene, I love you..-.' ? `I knew it! Oh and I'm so weak.' ? `I love you in a way beyond words.' ? `You evil man.' 'But I have decided [I had become tight-upped with annoyance at her] that our love must always be Platonic.' She looked at me with narrowed, resentful eyes: I suppose that it was her equivalent of Jake's penetrating squint, but it made her look as if she were trying to read subtitles on an old Italian movie. `Platonic?' she asked. ? `Yes, it must always be Platonic.' ? 'Platonic.' She meditated. ? `Yes,' I said, `I want to love you with a love that is beyond words and beyond the mere touch of bodies. With a love of the spirit.' ? 'But what'll we do?' ? `We'll see each other as we have in the past, but now knowing we were meant to be lovers but that fate seventeen years ago made a mistake and gave you to Jake.' ? 'But what'll we do?' She held the phone to her ear. ? `And for the sake of the children we must remain faithful to our spouses and never again give into our passion.' ? `I know, but what will we do?' ? `Nothing.'
? `Nothing?' ? 'Er . . . nothing . . . unusual.' ? `Won't we see each other?' ? `Yes.' ? 'At least say we love each other?' ? 'Yes, I suppose so.' ? 'At least reassure me that you haven't forgotten?' ? `Perhaps.' ? 'Don't you like to touch me?' ? 'Ah Arlene yes, yes I do but for the sake of the children `What children?' ? `My children.' ? `Oh.' ? She was sitting on the couch, one arm in her lap and the other holding the telephone to her right ear. Her low-cut blue cocktail dress which for some reason she was wearing again was making me feel less and less Platonic. ? `But...'she seemed trying to find the right words. `How . .. how would your . . . raping me hurt your children?' `Because - how would my raping you hurt my children?' ? `Yes.' ? 'It would . . . were I to touch the magic of your body again I might well never be able to return to my family. I might have to drag you off with me to start a new life.' ? `Oh.' ? Wide-eyed, she stared at me. ?
`You're so strange,' she added. ? `Love has made me strange.' ? `You really love me?' ? `I have loved you ... I have loved you since ... since I realized how much there was hiding beneath the surface of your outward appearance, how much depth and fullness there is to your soul.' ? `I just don't understand it.' ? She put the phone down on the arm of the couch and raised her hands again to her face, but she didn't cry. ? 'Arlene, I must go now. We must never speak of our love again.' ? She looked up at me through her glasses with a new expression - one of fatigue or sadness, I couldn't tell. ? `Seventeen years.' ? I moved hesitantly away from the couch. She continued to stare at the spot I had vacated: `Seventeen years.' ? `I thank you for letting me speak to you.' ? She rose now and took off her glasses and put them next to the telephone. She came to me and put a trembling hand on the side of my arm. ? `You may stay,' she said. ? `No, I must leave.' ? `I'll never let you leave your children.' ? `I would be too strong. Nothing could stop me.' ? She hesitated, her eyes searching my face. `You're so strange.' ? 'Arlene, if only...'
? `Stay.' ? 'Stay?' `Please.' ? 'What for?' ? She pulled my head down to hers and gave me her lips and mouth in a kiss. ? `I won't be able to control myself,' I said. ? `You must try,' she said dreamily. `I have sworn never to go to bed with you again.' ? `You what?' ? I have sworn on my husband's honor never to get into bed with you again.' ? `I'll have to rape you.' ? She looked up at me sadly. `Yes, I suppose so.' ? Chapter Twelve During the first month the dice had rather small effect on my life. I used them to choose ways to spend my free time, and to choose alternatives when the normal `I' didn't particularly care. They decided that Lil and I would see the Edward Albee play rather than the Critic's Award play; that I read work x selected randomly from a huge collection; that I would cease writing my book and begin an article on `Why Psychoanalysis Usually Fails'; that I would buy General Envelopment Corporation rather than Wonderfilled Industries or Dynamicgo Company; that I would not go to a convention in Chicago; that I would make love to my wife in Kama-Sutra position number 23, number 52, number 8, etc.; that I see Arlene, that I don't see Arlene, etc.; that I see her in place x rather than place y and so on. In short the dice decided things which really didn't matter. Most of my options tended to be from among the great middle way of my tastes and personality. I learned to like to play with the probabilities I gave the various options I would create. In letting the dice choose among possible women I might pursue for a night, for example, I might give Lil one chance in six, some new woman chosen at random two chances in six, and Arlene three chances in six. If I played with two dice the subtleties in probability were much greater. Two principles I always took care to follow. First: never include an option I might be unwilling to fulfill; second: always begin to fulfill the option without thought and without quibble. The secret of the successful dicelife is to be a puppet on the strings of the die. Six weeks after sinking into Arlene I began letting the dice diddle with my patients: it was a decisive step. I began creating as options that I comment aggressively to a
patient as my insights arose; that I restudy some other standard analytic theory and method and adopt it for a specified number of hours with a patient; that I preach to my patients. Eventually I began also to include as an option that I give my patients assigned psychological exercises much as a coach gives his athletes physical exercises: shy girl assigned to date make-out artist; aggressive bully assigned to pick a fight with ninetyeight-pound weakling and purposely lose; studious grind assigned to see five movies, go to two dances and play bridge a minimum of five hours a day all week. Of course, most meaningful assignments involved a breach of the psychiatrist's code of ethics. In telling my patients what to do, I was booming legally responsible for any ill consequences which might result. Since everything a typical neurotic does eventually has ill consequences, my giving them assignments meant trouble. It meant, in fact, the probable end of my career, a thought which for some reason I found exhilarating. I was like a professional psychiatrist, the very jockstrap of my basic self; I was becoming belly to belly with whim. In the first few days the dice usually had me express freely my own feelings toward my patients - to break, in effect, the cardinal rule of all psychotherapy: do not judge. I began overtly condemning every shabby little weakness I could find in my sniveling, cringing patients. Great gob of God, that was fun. If you remember that for 'four years I had been acting like a saint, understanding, forgiving and accepting all sorts of human folly, cruelty and nonsense; that I had been thus repressing every normal reactive impulse, you can imagine the joy with which I responded to the dice letting me call my patients sadists, idiots, bastards, sluts, cowards and latent cretins. Joy. I had found another island of joy. My patients and colleagues didn't seem to appreciate my new roles. From this date my reputation began to decline and my notoriety to rise. My college professor of English at Yale, Orville Boggles, was the first troublemaker. A big, toothy man with tiny dull eyes, he had been coming to me off and on for six months to overcome a writing block. He hadn't been able to do more than sign his name for three years, and in order to maintain his academic reputation as a scholar he had been reduced to digging out term papers he had written as a sophomore at Michigan State, making small revisions and getting the articles published in quarterlies. Since no one read them past the second paragraph anyway, he hadn't been caught; in fact, on the basis of his impressive list of publications he had received tenure the year before he came to me. I had been unenthusiastically working on his ambivalent feelings toward his father, his latent homosexuality and his false image of himself, when under the impetus of the dictates of the dice I suddenly found myself one day exploding. `Boggles,' I said after he arrived one morning (I had always previously addressed him as Professor Boggles); `Boggles,' I said, `what say we cut the shit, and get down to basics? Why don't you consciously and publicly decide to quit writing?' Professor Boggles, who had just lain down and hadn't yet said a word, quivered like a huge sunflower leaf at the first breath of a storm. ? `I beg your pardon?' ? `Why try to write?'
? 'It is a pleasure I have long enjoyed' ? `Merde.' ? 'He sat up and looked toward the door as if he expected Batman to break in any moment and rescue him. ? `I came to you, not because I am neurotic, but in order to cure a very simple writing block. Now -' ? `You are a patient who came with a cold and who is dying of cancer.' ? `Now that you seem unable to cure the block you try to convince me not to write. I find this ' ? 'You find this uncomfortable. But just imagine all the fun you could be having if you gave up trying to publish? Have you looked at a tree in the last six years?' ? `I've seen many trees. I want to publish, and I don't know what you think you're doing this morning.' `I'm letting down the mask, Boggles. I've been playing the psychiatrist game with you, pretending we were after big things like anal stage, object cathexis, latent heterosexuality and the like, but I've decided that you can only be cured by being initiated into the mysteries behind the facade, into the straight poop, so to speak. The straight poop, that's symbolism, Boggles, that's-' `I have no desire to be initiated.' `I know you don't. None of us do. But I'm letting you pay me thirty-five dollars per hour, and I want to give you your money's worth. First of all, I want you to resign from the university and announce to your department chairman, the board of trustees and to the press that you are going to Africa to re-establish contact with your animal origins.' `That's nonsense!' ? 'Of course it is. That's the point. Think of the publicity you'll get: "Yale professor resigns to seek Truth." ? It'll get a lot more play than your last article in the Rhode Island Quarterly on "Henry James and the London Bus Service." Moreover-' ? 'But why Africa?' `Because it has nothing to do with literature, academic advancement and full professorships: You won't be able to fool yourself that you're gathering material for an article. Spend a year in the Congo, try to get involved with a revolutionary group or a counterrevolutionary group, shoot a few people, familiarize yourself with the native
drugs, let yourself get seduced by whatever comes alone, male, female, animal, vegetable, mineral. After that, if you still feel you want to write about Henry James for the quarterlies, I'll try to help you.' He was sitting on the edge of the couch looking at me with nervous dignity. He said `But why should you want me to stop wanting to write?' `Because as you are now, Boggles, and have been for forty-three years, you're a dead loss. Absolutely. I don't mean to sound critical, but absolutely. Deep down inside you know it, your colleagues know it and at all levels I know it. We've got to change you completely to make you worth taking money from. Normally I'd recommend that you have an affair with a student, but with your personality the only students who might open up for you would be worse off than you and no help.' Boggles had stood up but I went serenely on. ? `What you need is a more extensive personal experience with cruelty, with suffering, hunger, fear, sex. Once you've experienced more fully these basics there might be some hope of a major breakthrough. Until then none.' ? Old Boggles had his overcoat on now and with a toothy grimace was backing toward the door. ? 'Good day, Dr. Rhinehart, I hope you're better soon,' he said. ? `And a good day to you, Boggles. I wish I could hope the same for you, but unless you get captured by the Congolese rebels, or get sick in the jungle for eight months or become a Kurtzian ivory trader, I'm afraid there's not much hope.' ? I rose from behind my desk to shake hands with him, but he backed out the door. Six days later I got a polite letter from the president of the American Association of Practicing Psychiatrists (AAPP) noting that a patient of mine, a Dr. Orville Boggles of Yale, had paranoic hallucinations about me and had sent a long, nasty, highly literary complaint to the AAPP about my behavior. I sent a note to President Weinstein thanking him for his understanding and a note to Boggles suggesting that the length of his letter to the AAPP indicated progress vis-avis his writing block. I also gave him permission to try to have his letter published in the South Dakota Quarterly Review` Journal. Chapter Thirteen ? `Jerkins,' I said one morning to the masochist Milquetoast of Madison Avenue, `have you ever considered rape?' ? `I don't understand,' he said. `Forced carnal knowledge.' ? `I . . . don't understand how you mean that I should consider it.' ? `Have you ever daydreamed of killing someone or of raping someone?'
? `No. No, I never have. I feel almost no aggression toward anyone.' ? He paused. `Except myself.' ? `I was afraid of that, Jerkins, that's why we'd better give serious consideration to rape, theft or murder.' ? Jerkins lay neatly and quietly on the couch through this whole interview, not once raising his voice or stirring a muscle. ? `You . . . you mean daydream about such actions?' he asked. ? `I mean commit them. As it is, Jerkins, you're becoming just another dirty old man, aren't you?' ? 'P-p-pardon?' `Spend most of your time lying on your crumb-filled bed reading porno and fantasizing about lovely girls who need you to save them. After they've narrowly missed being crushed by the landslide, or cut in two by the cultivator, or stabbed by the lunatic or burnt by the fire, you rescue them and they give you a spiritual kiss on the fingertips, right? But when do you reach a climax, Mr. Jerkins?' `I . . . I don't know what . . . I don't understand?' ? `Does the final pleasure come when you're comforting the rescued girl or when the flames are licking at her face, the knife scraping along her veins, the cultivator about to mash her potatoes ...? When?' ? `But I want to help people. I feel no aggression. Ever.' ? "Look, Jerkins,' I'm sated with your passivity, your day dreaming. Haven't you ever done anything?' ? `No opportunity has ever `Have you ever hurt another human?' ? 'I can't. I don't want to. I want to save `First you've got to save yourself and that you can only do by breaking your inertia. I'm giving you an assignment for our Friday session. Will you do it for me?' ? `I don't know. I don't want to hurt people. My whole soul is based on that principle.' ? `I know it is. I know it is, and your soul's sick, remember? That's why you're here.' ?
`Please, I don't want to rape any-' ? `You've noticed I have a new receptionist. I mean a second one?' ? [She was a middle-aged call girl I had hired expressly to date Mr. Jerkins.] ? 'Er, yes, I have.' ? `She's lovely, isn't she?' `Yes, she is.' ? `And she's a nice person, too.' ? 'Yes,' he said. ? `I want you to rape her.' ? `Oh no, no, I, no, it would not be a good idea.' ? `All right then, would you like to date her?' ? `But . . . is it ethical?' ? `What are you planning to do to her?' ? `I mean . . . she's your receptionist . . . I thought-' `Not at all. Her private life is her own business. [It certainly was.] I want you to date her. Tonight. Take her to dinner and invite her back to your apartment and see what happens. If you get the urge to rape her, go ahead. Tell her it's part of your therapy.' 'Oh, no, no, I'd never want to do anything to hurt her. She seems such a lovely person.' ? 'She is, which makes her all the more rapable. But have it your own way. Just do your best to fuel aggression.' ? 'Do you really think it might help if I got a little aggressive?' ? `Absolutely. Change your whole life. With hard work you `might even make it to murder. But don't brood if at first all you can do is swear under your breath at pedestrians.' ? I stood up. `Now go. You'll need a couple of minutes to wheedle Rita into accepting a date.'
It took him twenty, despite Rita's trying to say `yes' from the moment he told her his name. After three and a half weeks of Jerkins-style courting he finally managed to seduce her in the front seat of his Volkswagen, much to the relief of all concerned. To the further relief of the principals, they shifted to Jenkins's apartment for further indoor work. The only evidence I was able to garner that Jerkins was trying to express aggression was that once he accidentally bumped her nose with his elbow and didn't say he was sorry. Rita toed the old game of `Oh you're so masterful, hit me,' but Jerkins responded by assuring her that no matter how masterful he was he would never hit anyone. She urged him to bite her breasts, but he said something about having weak gums. She tried to irritate him into anger by using her body to arouse him and then deny the desires she had aroused, but Jerkins sulked until she gave in. Meanwhile he was trying every trick in the masochist's trade to try to make Rita break off with him. He stood her up on two occasions (Rita sent a bill for her time), accidentally broke her wristwatch (I got the bill) and as a lover usually had his orgasm when she was least expecting it and in the middle of a yawn. Nevertheless, Rita clung lovingly - three hundred dollars a week - on. At the end of a month of solid success with her, Jerkins was definitely more comfortable with women; he even flirted for five minutes with Miss Reingold. But he was also perilously close to a total nervous breakdown. Being unable to contact a venereal disease, make Rita pregnant, infuriate her, cause her to leave him or fail in any other obvious way, he was desperate. Of course, he'd compensated by accelerating the rate of failure in all other areas of his life. Twice he lost his wallet. He left the water in the bathtub running while he was out and flooded his apartment. Finally, one day he told me he'd lost so much money on the stock market since taking over his own investing, that he'd have to drop therapy. I urged him to continue, but that afternoon he managed to get hit by a bulldozer while watching some construction and was hospitalized for six weeks. A few months later the dice told me to send him a bill for Rita's services and, I regret to report, he promptly paid it. I've tentatively listed his case as a failure. Other cases didn't work out too well either. With a woman plagued by compulsive promiscuity I tried the William James method number three for breaking habits: oversatiation. I convinced her to work at a busy Brooklyn brothel for a week, figuring that would be enough to drive anyone to chastity, but she stayed a month. With the money she earned she hired one of her male customers to accompany her on a vacation to Puerto Vallarta. I haven't seen her since, but have tentatively listed her case as a failure also. My analytic sessions became role-playing sessions without the dice. But instead of restricting such role playing to drama and play as in Moreno-like drama therapy, I restricted it to real life. Everything had to be done with real people in real life. In most cases over the next five months I assigned my patients to quit their jobs, leave their spouses, give up their hobbies, habits and homes, alter their religions, upset their sleeping, eating, copulation, thinking habits: in brief, to rediscover their unexpressed desires; to achieve their unfulfilled potential. But all this without telling them about the dice. Without introducing the patients to the use of the dice as in my later dice therapy, the results, as you have begun to see, were generally disastrous. In addition to two lawsuits, one patient committed suicide (thirty-five dollars an hour out of the window), one was arrested for leading to the delinquency of a minor, and a last disappeared at sea in a sailing canoe on his way to Tahiti. On the other hand, I had a few distinct successes.
One man, a highly paid advertising executive, gave up his job and family and joined the Peace Corps, spent two years in Peru, wrote a book on faking land reform in underdeveloped countries, a book highly praised by everyone except the governments of Peru and the United States, and is now living in a cabin in Tennessee writing a book on the effects of advertising on underdeveloped minds. Whenever he's in New York he drops in to suggest I write a book about the underdeveloped psyches of psychiatrists. My other successes were less obvious and immediate. There was Linda Reichman, for example. She was a slender, young rich girl who had spent her last four years living in Greenwich Village doing all the things rich, emancipated girls think they're expected to do in Greenwich Village. In four weeks of treatment prior to my own emancipation, I had learned that this was her third analysis, that she loved to talk about herself, particularly her promiscuity, with indifference to and cruelty toward men, and their stupid ineffectual efforts to hurt her. Her monologues were occasionally flooded by literary, philosophical and Freudian allusions and as abruptly empty of them. Each session she usually managed to say something intended to shock my bourgeois respectability. It was only three weeks after letting the dice dictate anarchy that I had a rather remarkable session with her. She'd come in even more keyed up than usual, swivel-hipped her rather swivelable hips across the room and flopped aggressively onto the couch. Much to my surprise she didn't say a thing for three minutes, for her an all-time record. Finally, with an edge to her voice, she said: `I get so sick and tired of this . . . shit. [Pause] I don't know why I come here. [Pause] You're about as much help as a chiropractor. Christ, what I'd give to meet a MAN some day. I meet nothing but ... ballless masturbators. [Pause] What a ... stupid world it is. How do people get through their crummy lives? I've got money, brains, sex - I'm bored stiff. What keeps all those little clods without anything, what keeps all those little clods going? [Pause] I'd like to blast the whole thing ... fucking city to pieces. [Long pause.]' `I spent the weekend with Curt Rollins. For your info, he's just published a novel that the Partisan Review calls - and I quote - "as stunningly poetic a piece of fiction as has appeared in years." Unquote. [Pause] He's got talent. His prose is like lightning: cutting, darting, brilliant; he's a Joyce with the energy of Henry Miller. [Pause] He's working on a new novel about fifteen minutes in the life of a young boy who's just lost his father. Fifteen minutes - a whole novel. Curt's cute, too. Most girls throw themselves at him. [Pause] He needs money. [Pause] It's funny, he doesn't seem to like sex much. Wham bam, back to the old writing board. Wham-bam. [Pause] He liked the way I sucked him off though. But . . . `I'd like to chop his hands off. Chop, chop. Then he could dictate his novel to me. [Pause] Chop his hands off: I suppose that means I want to castrate him. Could be. I don't think it would bother him much. I think he'd consider it gave him more time for his precious writing, his all-important fifteen minutes in the life of a little prick. [Pause] "Stunning novel" - Jesus, it had the grace of late Herman Melville and the power of a dying Emily Dickinson. You know what it was about? A sensitive young man who discovers that his mother is having an affair with the man that's teaching him to love poetry. Sensitive young man despairs. "Oh Shelley, why has thou forsaken me?" [Pause] He's another ball-less masturbator. [pause] `You sure are quiet today. Can't you even throw in a few uhhuhs or yesses? I'm paying you forty bucks an hour, remember? For that I should get at least two or three yesses a minute.' ?
`I don't feel like it today.' `You don't feel like it today? Who cares? You think I feel like spilling out my garbage three days a week? Come on Dr. Rhinehart, you've gotta like it. The world is built on the principle that all humans must eat shit regardless of taste: Come on, speak up. Act like a psychiatrist. Let's hear that faithful echo.' `Today I'd like to hear what you'd like to do if you could recreate the world to suite your own . . . highest dreams.' ? `Cut the crap: I'd turn it into a great big testicle, what else?' [Pause] [Longer pause] `I'd . . . I'd eliminate all the human beings first . . . except . . . eh ... maybe for a few. I'd destroy everything man has ever made, EVERYTHING, and I'd put - all the animals would still be there - No. No, they wouldn't. I'd eliminate all of them too. There'd be grass though, and flowers. [Pause] `I can't picture the humans. [Pause] I can't even picture me. I must have got wiped out. Ha! Woo. My highest dream is of as empty world. Boy, that's something. The little lays at Remo's would love that. But where are they in this world of mine? They're gone too. An empty, empty, empty world.' `Can you imagine a human being that you would like?' `Look, Doctor, I detest humans. I know it. Swift detested them, Mark Twain detested them. I'm in good company. It takes clods to appreciate clods, herd to appreciate herd. Whatever I am, I've got enough on the ball to realize that the best of humans is either weak or a phony. You too, obviously. In fact, you psychiatrists are the biggest phonies of all.' `Why do you say that?' `Your phony code of ethics. You hide behind it. I've sat here for four weeks telling you about my stupid, cruel, promiscuous, senseless behavior and you sit back there nodding away like a puppet and agreeing with everything I say. I've twitched my butt at you, flashed a little thigh, and you pretend you don't know what I'm doing. You acknowledge nothing except what I put into words. All right; I'd like to feel your prick. [Pause] And now the good doctor will say with his quiet asinine voice, "You say you'd like to feel my prick," and I'll say "Yes, it all goes back to when I was three years old and my father..." and you'll say "You feel the desire to feel my prick goes back..." and we'll both go right on acting as if the words didn't count.' Miss Reichman briefly paused and then raised herself on her elbows and without looking at me, spat, clearly and profusely, in a high arc, onto the rug in front of my desk. ? `I don't blame you: I've been acting like as automaton. Or, more concretely, an ass.' ? Miss Reichman sat up on the couch and turned from the waist to stare at me. `What did you say?' ? `You feel you don't know what I said?' ? But as I said this I put on a mock psychiatrist face and tried to grin intimately. ?
`Holy shit, there's a human being in there after all. [Pause] Well. Say something else. I've never heard you say anything before.' ? 'Well, Linda, I'd say it was time to end non-directive therapy. Time you heard some of my feelings about you. Right?' ? 'That's what I just said.' `First, I think we'd better acknowledge that you're outstandingly conceited. Second, that sexually you may offer much less than many women, since you are thin, with, to judge by superficial appearances only, a smallish bosom necessitating falsies [she sneered], and you probably bring the male racing to a climax before he's got his fly totally unzipped. Thirdly; that intellectually you are extremely limited in the depth and breath of your reading and understanding. In summation, that as human beings go you are mediocre in all respects except in the quantity of your fortune. The number of men you've slept with and who've proposed as well as propositioned, is a reflection of the openness of your legs and of your wallet, not of your personality.' Her sneer had expanded until it had nowhere else to go on her face and so spread to her shoulders and back, which writhed theatrically away from me in disdain. By the time I finished, her face was flushed and she spoke with an exaggerated slowness and serenity. `Oh poor poor Linda. Only big Lukie Rhinehart can save cesspool soul from hardening into concrete shit. [She abruptly changed pace] You conceited bastard. Who do you think you are sounding off about me? You don't know me at all. I haven't told you anything about myself except a few sensational superficialities. And you judge me by these.' `Do you want to show me your breasts?' ? `Fuck you.' ? `Do you have some essays, or stories or poems, or paintings that you can show me?' 'You can't judge a person by measurements or by essays. When I make love to a man they don't forget it. They know they've had a woman, and not some fluffed-up iceberg. And you'll hide behind your precious ethics and fuel superior because all you see is the surface.' `What other good qualities do you have?' ? `I call a spade a spade. I know. I'm not perfect and I say so, and I've learned that you psychiatrists are priggish little voyeurs and I tell you, and that's why you all end up attacking me. You can't stand the truth.' ? `My ethics kept me from making love to you?' ? `Yes, unless you're a fairy, like another headshrinker I knew.' `Let me then formally announce that in my future relations with you I will not seek to maintain the traditional patient doctor relationship and I will not abide by the standard of ethics set down in the code of the American Association of Practicing Psychiatrists. From now on I shall respond to you as human to human. As psychiatrist human I will advise you, but no more. How's that?'
Linda shifted her feet to the floor and looked over at me with a slow smile, meant to suggest sexiness? She was, in fact, reasonably sexy. She was slender, clearcomplexioned, full-lipped. As long as she had been my patient, however, I had not responded to her sexually one millimeter, or to any other female patient in five years, despite writhings, declarations, propositions, strippings and attempted rapes - all of which had occurred during one session or another. But the doctor-patient relationship froze my sexual awareness as completely as doing fifty push-ups under a cold shower. Looking at Linda Reichman smile and perceptibly arch her back and project her (true or false?) bosom, I felt my loins, for the first time in my analytic history, respond. Her smile slowly curled into a sneer. ? `It's better than you were, but that's not saying much.' ? `I thought you wanted to feel my prick.' ? `I can't be bothered.' ? `In that case, let's get back to you. Lie down again and let your mind go.' ? `What do you mean, lie down again. You just said you were going to be human. Humans don't talk to each other with their backs to each other.' ? 'True. So go ahead, we'll talk . . . eyeball to eyeball.' She looked at me again and her eyes narrowed slightly and her upper lip twitched twice. She stood up and faced me. The light from my desk picked up a light perspiration on her face, which revealed this time no suggestive smile although one may have been intended but rather a tense grimace. She roved slightly toward me, unbuttoning her skirt at the side as she approached. `I think maybe it would be good for both of us - if we got to know each other physically. Don't you?' She came to the chair and let her skirt fall to the floor. Her half-slip must have gone with it. She had on white silk bikini panties but no stockings. Sitting down in my lap (the chair tipped back another three inches with an undignified squeak), .her eyes half closed, she looked up into my face and said drowsily; 'Don't you?' Frankly, the answer was yes. I had a fine erection, my pulse was forty percent, my loins were being activated by all the requisite hormones and my mind, as nature intended it in such cases, was functioning vaguely and without energy. Her lips and tongue came wetly against and into my mouth, her fingers along my neck and into my hair. She was roleplaying Brigitte Bardot and I was responding accordingly. After a prolonged, satisfactory kiss, she stood up, and with a set, drowsy, mechanical half-smile removed, item by item, her blouse, bra (she hadn't needed falsies), bracelet, wristwatch and panties. Since I continued to sit with a blissfully unplanned and idiotic expression, she hesitated, and sensed that somewhere about now was my cue to embrace her passionately, carry her to the couch and consummate our union. I decided to miss the cue. After this brief hesitation (her now wet upper lip twitched once), she knelt down beside me and fingered my fly. She undid the belt, a hook and lowered the zipper. Since I didn't move
one millimeter (voluntarily) she had trouble extricating her desired object from my boxer undershorts. When, she had succeeded in freeing him from his cage, he stood with dignified stiffness, trembling slightly, like a young scholar about to have a doctoral hood lowered over his head. (The rest of me was cold and immobile as the code of ethics of AAPP encourages us.) She leaned forward to put her mouth over it. `Did you ever see the movie, The Treasure of Sierra Madre?' I asked. ? She stopped, startled, then closing her eyes completely, drew my penis into her mouth. She did what intelligent women, do in such cases. Although the warmth of her mouth and the pressure of her tongue produced predictable feelings of euphoria, I found I was not much mentally excited by what was happening. That mad scientist dice man was looking at everything too hard. After what began to seem like an embarrassingly long time (I sat mute, dignified, professional through it all), she rose up and whispered. `Take off your clothes and come.' ? She moved nicely to the couch and lay down on her stomach with her face to the wall. I felt that if I sat immobile any longer she would snap out of it and become angry, get dressed and demand her money back. I had seen her in two roles, sex kitten and intellectual bitch. Was there some sort of third Linda? I walked over (my left hand pants clutching) to the couch and sat down. Linda's white, nude body looked cold and babyish against the formal brown leather. Her face was turned away but my weight on the side of the couch let her know I had arrived. Whatever limitations Linda might have as a human being seemed adequately compensated for by a round and apparently firm posterior. Her instinct - or probably her well-learned habit - of stuffing her buttocks at an obviously aroused man seemed correct. My hand actually arrived within two and one-quarter inches of that flesh before the mad scientist in the London fog got the message through. `Roll over,' I said. (Get her best weapon aimed elsewhere.) She rolled slowly over, reached up two white arms and pulled my neck down until our mouths met. She began to groan authoritatively. She pressed first her mouth hard against mine and then, somehow getting me to lift my legs up on the couch beside hers, pressed her abdomen hard into mine. She tongued, writhed, groaned and clutched with intelligent abandon. I just lay, wondering not too acutely what to do. Apparently I had missed another cue, because she broke our kiss and pushed me slightly away. For an instant I thought she might be abandoning her role, but her half-closed eyes and twisted mouth told me otherwise. She had parted her legs and was reaching for potential posterity. `Linda,' I said quietly. (No nonsense about movies this time.) `Linda,' I said again. One of her hands was playing Virgil to my Dente and trying to lead him into the underworld, but I held Dente back. `Linda,' I said a third time. ? `Put it in,' she said. ? `Linda, wait a minute.' ?
`What's the matter; put it in.' ? She opened her eyes and stared up, not seeming to recognize me. ? `Linda, I've got my period.' ? Now why I said that Freud certainly knows, but searching for absurdity I had said it, and, realizing its psychoanalytic meaning, I felt quite shamed. ? Linda either hadn't read Freud or didn't care; she was, I saw regretfully, on the verge of passing from Bardot to bitch without any intermediate third Linda. ? She blinked once, started to say something which came out as a snort, twitched her upper lip three, four times, half closed her eyes again, groaned and said, `Oh come, please come into me, now. Now.' ? Although her hands weren't pulling, my stallion responded to those words with enthusiasm and had galloped to within one and one eighth inches of the valley of the stars when the mad scientist pulled the reins. `Linda, there's something I'd like you to do, first,' I said (What? What? For God's sake, what?) This was, in fact, the perfect statement: she couldn't tell whether it was something sexual I wanted her to do, in which case she could revel in her Bardot role, or something impractical having to do with my being a psychiatrist. Curiosity, stronger than Bardot or bitch, looked out of fully open eyes. `What?' she asked. ? `Lie here just as you are without moving, and close your eyes.' She looked at me - our bodies were separated by only three or four inches and one of her hands was still pulling me toward the great melting pot - and again she was neither Bardot nor bitch. When she sighed, let go of me and closed her eyes, I eased myself to a seat on the edge of the couch again. Try to relax,' I said. ? Her eyes shot open and her head jerked up like a doll's. ? `What the, bell do I want to relax for?' ? Please, for me, do this ... one thing. Lie there in your full beauty and let your arms, legs, face, everything relax. Please.' ? `What for? You're not relaxed.' And she laughed coldly at my denied, deprived, but still unbending middle leg. `Please, Linda, I want you. I want to make love to you, but first I want to caress you and kiss you and I want you to receive my love without - with complete relaxation. I know it's
impossible, so I'll suggest a way you might do it. I want you to think of - a little girl picking flowers in a field.. Can you do that?' Bitch glared up at me. ? Why?' `If you do it, you may - if you follow my instructions you may be in for a surprise. If I come into you now, neither of us will learn anything,' I brought my face dramatically down to within a few inches of hers. `A little girl picking flowers in a totally lush, green, beautiful but deserted field. Do you see that?' She-glared a moment longer, then lowered her head to the couch and closed her legs together. Two or three minutes passed. Very distantly I could hear Miss Reingold's typewriter tit-tatting away. ? `I see a little kid picking /tiger lilies near a swamp.' ? `Is the little girl a pretty girl?' ? [Pause] `Yeah, she's pretty.' ? `Parents - what are this little girl's parents like?' ? `There are little field daisies too, and lilac bushes.' [Pause] 'The parents are bastards. They beat the kid . . . the little gig. They buy long necklaces and they whip her with them. They tie her up with linked bracelets. They give her poison candy, which makes her sick, and then they force her to drink her own vomit. They never let the girl be alone. Whenever she goes to the fields, where she is now, they beat her when she comes home.' (I didn't say a word, but the impulse to say `and they beat her when she comes home' had the strength of Hercules.) There was a long pause. ? They beat her with books. They hit her on the head again and again with books. They stick pins and pencils in her. And tacks. When they're done with her they throw her in the cellar.' ? Linda was not relaxed; she wasn't crying; she seemed her bitchy self essentially, complaining against the parents but not able to feel sorry for the little girl. She felt only bitterness. ? `Look very closely at the little girl in the fields, Linda. Look very closely at her. ? [Pause] The little girl-?' ? [Pause] `The little girl . . . is crying.'
? `Why is the little . . . does she have . . . does the girl have any flowers?' ? 'Yes, she has It's a rose, a white rose. I don't know where. . .' ? [Pause] `What is she . . . how, does she feel toward the white rose?' The white rose is the only . . thing in the world which alms can talk to, the only thing that . . . loves her . . . She holds the flower in front of her eyes by the stem and she talks to it and . .. no . . . she doesn't even hold it. It floats to her . . . like magic, but she never, not once ever, touches it, and she never kisses it. She looks at it and it sees her and in those moments . . . in those moments ... the little girl ... is happy, The white rose, with the white rose ... she is happy.' After another minute Linda's eyes blinked open. She looked over, at me, at my wilted penis, at the walls, the ceiling. A buzzer sounded for what I now realized may have been the third or fourth time and I started. ? `The hour's up,' she said dazedly and then added: `What a funny, stupid story,' but without bitterness, dreamily. ? Except for the silent restoration of our clothing, the session was over. ? Chapter Fourteen During these first months of diceliving I never consciously decided to let the dice take over my whole life or to aim at becoming an organism whose every act was determined by the dice. The thought would have frightened me then. I tended to restrict, my options so that Lil and my colleagues wouldn't begin to suspect that I was into anything slightly unorthodox. I kept my shimmering green cubes hidden carefully 'from everyone, consulting them surreptitiously when necessary. But I found myself adapting quickly to following the die's sporadic whims. I might resent a particular command, but like a well-oiled automaton I went and did the job. The dice sent me to bars scattered throughout the city to sit, sip, listen, chat. They picked out strangers to whom I was sent to talk. They chose roles that I played with these strangers. I would be a veteran outfielder with the Detroit Tigers in town for a Yankee series (Bronx bar), English reporter with the Guardian (the Barbizon Plaza), playwright homosexual, alcoholic college professor, escaped criminal and so on. The dice determined that I try to seduce stranger chosen at random from the phone book of Brooklyn (actually Mrs. Anna Maria Sploglio was the lucky lady and she totally repulsed me. Thank God); that I try to borrow ten dollars from stranger `X' (another failure); that I give twenty dollars to stranger `Y' (he threatened to call the police, then took the money and ran, not walked, away). In bars, restaurants, theaters, taxis, stores whenever out of sight of those who knew me - I was soon never myself, my old `normal self.' I went bowling. I signed up at Vic Tanny's to muscle my middle. I went to concerts, baseball games, sit-ins, open parties; anything and everything that I had never done, I now created as options, and the dice threw me from one to the other - and rarely the same man from day to day. New places and new roles forced me into acute awareness of how
others were responding to me. When a human is being himself, flowing with his inner nature, wearing his natural appropriate masks, integrated with his environment, he is normally unaware of subtleties in another's behavior. Only if the other person breaks a conventional pattern is awareness stimulated. However, breaking my established patterns was threatening to my deeply ingrained selves and pricked me to a level of consciousness which is unusual, unusual since the whole instinct of human behavior is to find environments congenial to the relaxation of consciousness. By creating problems for myself I created thought. I also created problems. Although I tried to act so I would always give Lil a `rational' explanation for my eccentricities, I let the dice increasingly determine what kind of a father and husband I would be, especially during the three weeks Lil, Larry, Evie and I (for three-day weekends) spent in our rented farmhouse on eastern Long Island. Now historically, my friends, I had been a withdrawn, somewhat absentee father. My contacts with my two children had consisted primarily of: (a) yelling at them to stop yelling when I was on the telephone in the living room; (b) yelling at them to go play someplace else when I wanted to make love to Lil during the day; (c) yelling at them to obey their Mommy when they were most blatantly disobeying their Mommy; (d) yelling at Larry for being stupid when trying to do math homework. There were times when I would not yell at them, it is true. Whenever I was daydreaming about something (`Rhinehart Discovers Missing Link in Freudian Theory!' 'Sophia Loren to Divorce Ponti for NY Psychiatrist,' `Incredible Stock Market Coup by M.D. Amateur'), or thinking about something (how to discover missing link, win Miss Loren, make a coup) I would talk calmly to the children about whatever it was they felt like talking about (`That's a beautiful painting, Larry, especially the chimney.' Lil `That's a ballistic missile.'), and even, upon occasion, play with them. (`Bam bam, I got you Daddy.' I collapse to the floor. `Oh, Daddy, you're only wounded.') I liked my kids but primarily as potential Jungs, Adlers and Anna Freuds to my Sigmund. I was much too wrapped up in being a great psychiatrist to compete in the game of being a father. My paternal behavior manifested flaws. Among the alternatives which I gave the dice to consider were some fond father buried deep within, and others which gave full rein to despot: On the one hand the dice twice determined that I pay extra children, that I spend a minimum of five hours a day with them for (Such devotional! Such sacrifice) Mothers of the world, what would only five hours a day with your children?) which expressed the the not so benevolent attention to my each of three days. you give to spend
In September one day, after breakfast in the big old kitchen with white cupboards and built-in sunshine in the big old farmhouse on the big plot surrounded by big trees and bright, flowing fields of poison ivy, I asked the children what they wanted to do that day. Larry eyed me from his seat by the toaster. He had short red pants, white (in places) T-shirt, bare feet, built-in scratches and scabs on both chubby legs and bleached yellow hair hiding most of his suspicious frown. ? 'Play,' he answered. ? 'Play what?'
? 'I already took out the garbage yesterday.' ? 'I'd like to play with you today. What do you plan to do?' ? From her seat Evie looked at Larry wondering what they were going to do. ? 'You want to play with us?' 'Yes.' ? 'You won't hog the dump truck?' ? 'No. I'll let you be the complete boss.' ? 'You will?' ? 'Yep.' ? 'Hooray, let's go play in the sand.' The sand was actually the farmer's plowed field, which rectangled the farmhouse on three and a half sides. There, winding in an intricate maze among the green explosions of cabbage, was a road system to put Robert Moses to shame. For an hour I traveled in a 1963 pickup truck (Tonka, 00 h.p., .002 c.c. engine, needed new paint job) over these roads. There was frequent criticism that I wrecked too many secondary roads while maneuvering my bulk down tertiary roads, and that tunnels that had been standing for years through cyclones and hurricanes (three and a half days through one brief shower) had collapsed under the weight of my one errant elbow. Otherwise the children enjoyed my presence, and I enjoyed the earth and them. Children are really quite nice once you get to know them. They're more than nice. ? 'Daddy,' Larry said to me later that day when we were lying in the sand watching the surf of the Atlantic come rolling on to Westhampton Beach, 'why does the ocean make waves?' ? I considered my knowledge of oceans, tides and such, and decided on `Wind.' ? `But sometimes the wind doesn't blow, but the ocean always makes waves.' ? `It's the god of the sea breathing.' ? This time he considered. ?
`Breathing what?' he asked. ? 'Breathing water. In and out, in and out.' ? 'Where?' ? 'In the middle of the ocean.' ? 'How big is he?' ? 'One mile tall and as fat and muscley as Daddy.' ? 'Don't ships bump his head?' ? 'Sometimes. Then he makes hurricanes. That's what's called an "angry sea".' ? 'Daddy, why don't you play with us more?' It was like dropping a heavy sea anchor into my stomach. The phrase 'I'm too busy' came into my mind and I flushed with shame. 'I'd like to but-' entered and the flush got deeper. 'I don't know,' I said and huffed down to the surf and bulldozed my way in. By floating on my back just beyond the breakers all I could see was the sky, rising and falling. Both the dice and my own desires permitted me to be with the children more in August and September. The dice once dictated that I take them to a Coney Island Amusement Park for a day, and I look back on that afternoon as one of the two or three absolute islands of joy in my life. I brought toys home to them spontaneously a couple of times and their gratitude at this unexplained, unprecedented gift of the god was almost enough to make me give up psychiatry and the dice and devote myself to fulltime fatherhood. The third time I tried it, Larry's crane wouldn't work and the children fought solidly for three days over the other one. I considered vacationing in Alaska, the Sahara, the Amazon, anywhere, but alone. The dice made me a very unreliable disciplinarian. They willed that in the first two weeks in September I should never yell, scold or punish the children for anything. Never had the house been so quiet and peaceful for so long. In the last week of September (school had begun) the dice ordered that I be an absolute dictator regarding homework, table manners, noise, neatness and respect. Fifteen hard spanks were to be administered for all transgressions. By the sixth day of my trying to enforce my standards Lil, the maid and the children locked themselves in the playroom and refused to let me enter. When Lil chastised me for my sudden week-long spasm of tyranny I explained that I'd been overwhelmed by a speech by Spiro Agnew on the evils of permissiveness. Events like these strained, to say the least, my relations with Lil. One does not live seven years with a person an intelligent, sensitive person who (periodically) shows you great affection - without forming certain emotional ties. You do not father two handsome children by her without strengthening that bond.
Lil and I had met and mated when we were both twenty-five. We formed a deep, irrational, obviously neurotic need for one another: love is one of society's many socially accepted forms of madness. We got married: society's solution to loneliness, lust and laundry. We soon discovered that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being married which being single can't cure. Or so, for a while, it seemed to us. I was in medical school earning nothing, and Lil, the spoiled daughter of Peter Daupmann, successful real estate man, went to work to support me. Lil, sole support of Lucius Rhinehart, M.D. to be, became pregnant. Lucius, practical, firm (except at confining sperm to their quarters), urged abortion. Lil, sensitive, loving, female, urged child. Practical man sulked. Female fed foetus, foetus left female: handsome son Lawrence: happiness, pride, poverty. After two months, spoiled child Lil works again for dedicated, practical, impoverished Luke, M.D. (but under analysis and interning and not practicing). Lil soon develops healthy resentment of work, poverty and dedicated, practical M.D. our bond to each other grows, but the intense pleasurable passion of yesteryear diminishes. In brief, as the alert reader has concluded long before this, we were typically married. We had happy moments which we could share with no one; we had our insider jokes; we had our warm, sensual, sexual love as we had our mutual concern for (well, Lil anyway), interest in and pride in our children; and we had our two increasingly frustrated, isolated private selves. The aspirations we had for these selves did not find fulfillment in marriage, and all the twisting and writhing on the bed together couldn't erase this fact, although our very dissatisfaction united us. NOW the dice treated everything and everyone as objects and forced me to do the same. The emotions I was to feel for all things were determined by the dice and not by the intrinsic relationship between me and the person or thing. Love I saw as an irrational, arbitrary binding relationship to another object. It was compulsive. It was an important part of the historical self. It must be destroyed. Lillian must become an object: an object of as little intrinsic effect upon or interest for me as ... Nora Hammerhill (name picked at random from Manhattan phone book). Impossible, you say? Perhaps. But if a human being can be changed, this most basic of relationships must be susceptible to alteration. So I tried. The dice sometimes refused to cooperate. They commanded me to show her concern and generosity. They bought her the first piece of jewelry I'd given her in six years. She accused me of infidelity. Reassured, she was very pleased. The dice sent us to three dramas on three consecutive nights (I had averaged three plays a year, two of which were inevitably musicals with record short runs); we both felt cultured, avant-garde, unphilistine. We swore we'd see a play a week all year. The dice said otherwise. The dice one week requested that I give in to her every whim. Although she twice called me spineless and at the end of the week seemed disgusted with my lack of authority, I found myself listening and responding to her at times where normally I wouldn't have known she existed, and at times I touched her with my thoughtfulness. Lil even enjoyed the dice's sudden passion for awkward sexual positions, although when the dice ordered me to penetrate her from thirteen distinctly different positions before reaching my climax, she became quite angry as I was trying to maneuver her into position eleven. When she wondered why I was getting so many strange whims these days, I suggested that perhaps I was pregnant. But the medium is the message, and the dice decisions, no matter how pleasant they might sometimes be to Lil or Arlene or others, acted to separate me from people. Sexual dice decisions were particularly effective in destroying natural intimacy X" convincing a woman that one awkward sexual position is all 'that will satisfy you when she feels
otherwise). Such dice commands obviously involved my being able to manipulate (both psychologically and physically) the woman as well as myself. They once perversely chose that `I not partake of sexual intercourse for one week with any woman,' and thus caused considerable internal conflict; a serious matter of conscience and principle: precisely what was denoted by `sexual intercourse'? By the end of the first week I was desperate to know: did the dice intend to leave me free to participate in everything except penetration? Or except ejaculation? Deep down inside had the dice intended me to steer clear of all sexual activity? Whatever the die's intentions, on the seventh day I found myself on a couch, dressed conservatively in a Tshirt and two socks, beside Arlene Ecstein, dressed fetchingly in a lovely brassiere dangling around her waist, one stocking rolled up to midshin, two bracelets, one earring and one pair of panties modestly covering her left ankle. As part of her iron-clad code she had not been in a bed with me since D-Day, but her ironclad code had said nothing about cars, floors, chairs or couches, and the various parts of her body were being used against the various parts of mine with unmistakable intentions. Since I had permitted her caresses, indeed abetted them, I realized that I had reached the point when if she said, `Come into me,' and I said, `I don't feel like it,' she'd laugh me onto the rug. The decibel count of her groans indicated that in thirty-five seconds she would request my physical presence in her playroom. To postpone the seemingly unavoidable act I shifted around and placed my head between her legs and began articulate oral communication. Her response was equally articulate and her message was well-received. However, I knew that Arlene found such communication, while pleasant, a relatively poor substitute for orthodox toe-to-toe talk. My course of action became clear. My conscience had decided with remarkable facility that the dice had intended only that I abstain from genital intercourse, and although Arlene had once told me that she'd read that semen was fattening and didn't want to try it, it had become a matter of her code or that of the diceman. In another half-minute the diceman's honor was intact, I was sexually satisfied and Arlene was looking up at me wide-eyed and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Although I apologized for what I called my `incontinence' (`Is that what it's called?' she asked), Arlene cuddled up affectionately, apparently proud that she had so overexcited me that my passion had overflowed against my will. I redeclared my passionate Platonic love, stuck my fingers in her, kissed her breasts, her mouth . . . in another few minutes I would have been facing the same dilemma a second time with no escape possible, but remembering, I jumped off the couch and began conscientiously increasing my outer decor. Chapter Fifteen I was Christ for a day. As a pattern-breaking event, being a loving Jesus certainly qualified, and I was surprised `how humble and loving and compassionate I began to feel. The dice had ordered me to `Be as Jesus' and to be constantly filled with a Christian (pronounced `Chr-eye-steean') love for everybody I met. I voluntarily walked the children to school that morning, holding their little hands and feeling paternal, benevolent and loving. Larry's asking me `What's wrong, Daddy, why are you coming with us?' didn't faze me in the least. Back in my apartment study I re-read the Sermon on the Mount and most of the gospel of Mark, and when I said good-bye to Lil prior to her leaving on a shopping spree, I blessed her and showed her such tenderness that ,the assumed something was wrong. For a horrible instant I was about to confess my affair with Arlene and beg forgiveness, but instead I decided that that was another man - and another world. When I saw Lil again that evening she confessed that my love had helped her to spend three
times more than she usually did. I had a rendezvous scheduled with Arlene for late that very afternoon, but I knew then I would urge both her and myself to cease our sinning and pray for forgiveness. I tried to be especially compassionate with Frank Osterflood and Linda Reichman, my morning patients, but it didn't seem to have much effect. I got a slight stir out of Mr. Osterflood when I mentioned that perhaps raping little girls was a sin: he exploded that they deserved everything he did to them. When I read to him the Sermon on the Mount he became more and more agitated until I reached a part about if the right eye offend thee pluck it out and if the hand offend thee ... He lunged off the couch across my desk and had me by the throat before I'd even stopped reading. After Jake and Miss Reingold and Jake's patient for that hour had finally succeeded in parting us, Osterflood and I were both rather embarrassed and admitted very shyly that we had been discussing the Sermon on the Mount. Linda Reichman seemed put off when, after she had stripped to the waist, I suggested that we pray together. When she began kissing my ear I talked to her about the necessity of spiritual love. When she got angry, I begged her forgiveness, but when she unzipped my fly I began reading from the Sermon on the Mount again. `What the hell's the matter with you today?' she sneered. 'You're even worse than you were last time.' ? `I'm trying to show you that there's a spiritual love far more enriching than the most perfect of physical experiences.' ? `You really believe that crap?' she asked. ? `I believe that all men are lost until they become filled with a great warm love for all men, a spiritual love, the love of Jesus.' ? `You really believe that crap?' ? `Yes.' ? `I want my money back.' ` I almost cried that day when I met Jake for lunch. I so wanted to help him, trapped by that relentless overcharged engine of his, zooming through life missing everything, and especially missing the great love that filled me. He was forking down great gobs of beef stew and lima beans and telling me about a patient of his who had committed suicide by mistake. I was searching for some way to break down the seemingly impenetrable wall of his armored self and finding none. As the meal progressed I became sadder and sadder. I felt tears forming in my eyes. I irritably stopped the sentimentality and searched again for some way to his heart. `Some way to his heart,' was the very phrase I thought in that day. A certain vocabulary and style go with every personality and every religion; under the influence of being Jesus Christ I found I loved people, and the experience expressed itself in unfamiliar actions and in unfamiliar language. `Jake,' I finally said. `Do you ever feel great warmth and love toward people?'
? He stopped with fork at mouth and gaped at me for a second. ? `What's that?' he said: `Do you ever, have you ever felt a great rush of warmth and love toward some person or toward all humanity?' ? He stared a moment more, then said: `No. Freud associated such feelings with pantheism and the stage of development of two-year-olds. I'd say the irrational flooding of love was regression.' ? `And you've never felt it?' ? 'Nope. Why?' ? But what if such feelings are .. . wonderful. What if they seem better, more desirable than any other state? Would its being a regressive mode of feeling still make it undesirable?' ? `Sure. Who's the patient? That Cannon kid you were telling me about?' ? 'What if I were to tell you that I feel such a surge of love and warmth for everyone?' ? This stopped the steam-shovel machine. ? `And dally love for you,' I added. ? Jake blinked behind his glasses and looked - it's only my interpretation of a facial expression I'd never seen on his face before frightened. ? `I'd say you were regressing,' he said nervously. `You're blocked in some line of development and to escape responsibility and to find help you feel this great childish love for everyone.' ? He began eating again. `It'll pass.' ? `Do you think I'm joking about this feeling, Jake?' ? He looked away, his eyes jumping from object to object around the room like trapped sparrows. ? `Can't tell, Luke. You've been acting strangely lately. Might be a game, might be sincere. Maybe you ought to get back in analysis, talk it up with Tim there. I can't judge you here as a friend.'
? `All right, Jake. But I want you to know that I love you and I don't think it has anything at all to do with object cathexis or the anal stage.' ? He blinked at me nervously, not eating. ? `It's a Christeean love, or rather, a Judaic-Christ-Bean love, of course,' I added. ? He was looking more and more terrified. I began to be afraid of him. ? `I'm only referring to warm, passionate brotherly love, Jake, it's nothing to worry about.' ? He smiled nervously, snuck in a quick squint and asked `Have these attacks very often, Luke?' ? `Please don't worry about it. Tell me more about that patient. Have you finished your article about it?' Jake was soon back on the main line, throttle wide open, his colleague, love-filled Lucius Rhinehart, successfully sidetracked at Podunk Junction, there to be stationed hopefully until it was possible to write an article about him. `Sit down, my son,' I said to Eric Cannon when he entered my little green room at QSH that afternoon. I had was feeling very warm and Jesusy before buzzing for him to be brought in and, standing behind the desk, I looked at him now with love. He looked back at me as though he believed he could see into my soul, his large black eyes glimmering with apparent amusement. Despite his gray khakis and torn T-shirt he was serene and dignified, a lithe, long-haired Christ who looked as though he did gymnastics every day and had fucked every girl on the block. He dragged a chair over near the window as he always did and flopped down with casual unconcern, his legs stretched out in front of him, a hole staring mutely at me from the bottom of his left sneaker. ? Bowing my head, I said: `Let us pray. ? He stopped open-mouthed in mid-yawn, his arms clasped behind his head, and stared. Then he drew in his legs, leaned forward and lowered his head. ? `Dear God,' I said aloud. `Help us this hour to serve thy will, be in tune with Thy soul and breathe each breath to Thy glory. Amen.' I sat down with my eyes still lowered, wondering where I went from here. In most of my early sessions with Eric, I had been my usual non-directive self and, much to my discomfiture, he became the first patient in recorded psychiatric history who; through his first three consecutive therapy sessions, was able to sit silent and thoroughly relaxed. In the fourth he talked nonstop the entire hour on the state of the ward and world. In subsequent sessions he had alternated between silence and soliloquy. In the previous three weeks I had tried only a couple of dice-dictated experiments and had
assigned Eric to try feeling love for all figures of authority but he had met all my ploys with silence. When I raised my head now, he was looking at me alertly. Black eyes pinning me where I sat, he reached into his pocket, leaned forward and wordlessly offered me a Winston. `Thank you no,' I said. ? `Just one Jesus to another,' he said with a mocking smile. ? `No thank you.' ? `What's with the prayer bit?' he asked. ? 'I feel . . . religious today,' I answered, `and I ' ? `Good for you,' he said. ? `-wanted you to share my feeling.' ? `Who are you to be religious?' he asked with sudden coolness. ? `I . . . I am... I am Jesus,' I answered. ? For a moment his face held its cool alertness, then it broke into a contemptuous smile. ? `You haven't got the will,' he said. ? `What do you mean?' ? `You don't suffer, you don't care enough, you don't have the fire to be a Christ actually living on the earth.' ? `And you, my son?' ? `And I