Another Backfire


By Voyager

I had really forgotten how nice sleep was. The feel of the pillow, the feel of sheets on my skin, the dreams that did not have a 25 foot behemoth rampaging through the countryside… It had been a few weeks and I was sleeping much better, thanks to Doctor Morgan. I was not back to where I was in terms of a good eight hours, but I was sleeping a good six or so, and that felt like heaven. The nightmares were still there, but with less frequency, meaning fewer nights where I would wake up bathed in a cold sweat.

The therapy he was providing seemed to be working. I think a majority of it was simply being able to tell someone about my ordeal and be believed. Still, if that was simply the case, I would not still be in therapy. There was more, and Doctor Morgan was expertly chipping away at the nightmares and the lack of sleep. Yet…

Even I could tell that there was something he hadn’t gotten to yet, something he just couldn’t reach. I hadn’t increased the time I was sleeping in the past week, nor had the frequency of the nightmares decrease during that time. We had hit a wall. Dr. Morgan was trying every bit of conventional therapy he knew of to try to get past that wall, to get me fully cured. Nothing seemed to work. Whatever it was in my psyche, it was holding on tight. I was beginning to resign myself to pretty good sleep and fewer nightmares of Chuck.

It was with that on my mind that I entered his office to begin the next session. He looked more pensive than in the past few sessions. Since we shared the bond of having actually seen Chuck, we had actually been talking as friends, not just as doctor and patient, though he was professional enough not to go beyond a certain line. While in the office, it was relaxed, but professional. We had actually grabbed dinner together a couple of times, and the talk was of about anything but the sessions, so he could keep a good dividing line between the two. Today he did not look casual, but rather like he was about to have to give me a dose of castor oil.

I lay down on that oh so comfortable couch. Dr. Morgan started. “I don’t know what else to do”, he began, “I’ve tried everything and then some, and nothing seems to have worked. So…”, he continued, “as a former professor of mine said, when all conventional means have been exhausted, resort to unconventional means.” That surprised me, as I never thought of therapists to be ones that thought outside of the box. I asked him to go on.

“I think I know what the issue is. There is a conflict you can’t resolve in your mind, and until it is resolved, you can’t be fully cured.” I looked at him. “And I am paying you all this money for that observation, doc?”, I asked rather sarcastically. He smirked, “That you are, and I thank you, oh smart ass. May I continue?” I grinned and said yes.

“You told me in one of the sessions that you enjoyed seeing strength and muscle. You never really wanted to go any further…what was it you called that?”, he asked, flipping through his notebook, “…ah, yes, ‘flex, not sex’. Is that correct?”, he asked. I nodded and gave a verbal agreement. “Now”, he continued, “the one time when you really were able to have that demonstrated for and on you, it turned out to be with Chuck, and it resulted in injury to you and nearly loss of life. So although you still like that idea, you are also petrified of it because of what happened to you. There are two forces inside of you”, he said, pushing his fists against one another, “competing against one another for dominance, and until one wins, the sleeplessness and the nightmares will continue in some form or another.” I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, which usually means someone is exactly right and I don’t want to admit it. Swallowing hard, I asked, “So what do I do about this?”

Dr. Morgan paused and sighed a deep sigh. “I want to try a therapy with you to help resolve this. In layman’s terms, I need you to get back on the horse again.” I bolted up from the couch so fast I sent it sliding into the wall, causing a dent. “You want me to WHAT?”, I sputtered before I continued. “You want me to put myself back in the hands of that 25 foot tall, girder bending mass of testosterone?!!! Doc, are you NUTS??!!!”, I yelled.

“Now calm down, calm down”, he said, rising up and gently positioning me back onto the couch. “I would never ask you to do that. Remember, I saw what he could do and what he was doing to you. I’m on your side here.” I calmed down and lay back down on the couch. “What I am proposing is that we give you a safe muscle and strength experience. We find someone, screen him, and then you get to see his physique and strength displayed as you want it to be. I am hoping that once you see that Chuck was the aberration, your inner conflict will resolve itself and you once again get sound sleep and no more nightmares.” With that he paused to let me think it over and to let me unclench my fists.

As I tried to make my breathing regular again and stop the pounding in my head, I mulled over Doctor Morgan’s words. I thought back over the past several weeks. Whenever I did indulge in my muscle and strength daydreams, Chuck always barged into the picture, scooping me up, trying to crush me, urging me on to make him bigger. I had to admit it, the doc was good. But could this be the way to cure me? I stood up and walked over to the mirror. Though no longer steamer trunks under my eyes, I still had good sized suitcases under them. I looked like I had aged years. My clothes hung on me as I wasn’t eating right. I realized I could either try this and see if it worked or go on just getting by in life. I turned to the doctor. “What do you have in mind”, I asked.

For the next hour or so he outlined what his game plan was. He would screen candidates for this flexing and strength meeting, and then send the best candidate to me, on my approval. He would even supervise the meeting, if I wanted…an offer I rejected, knowing I could not do what I had to do with someone else watching. Just in case, I would have his pager number and other ways of communicating with him. I would never be out of touch with him, if that is what I wanted. Afterwards, I would meet with him to see if the desired results had come about. I agreed to all this. He asked if we might not meet for the next week and a half or so, since he would have to go about finding a way to first get candidates, then screen them. I would simply have to be patient.

The next week and a half I did not see or hear from Doctor Morgan. Things hadn’t gotten any better, but had not gotten any worse, either. Though intellectually I knew that this would take time to find and screen the right ‘hulk’, for lack of a better word, I was also growing impatient. I wanted this to work so much! Finally, the phone rang one afternoon, with Doctor Morgan on the other end.

“I have to tell you that, though I can never put this on my resume, this has been one of the most interesting psychoanalytic weeks and a half of my life.”, he began. “I have never seen so many facets of the human ego before. I must have looked at pictures of or interviewed 100 guys who responded to some discreet inquiries. Hell, I felt like a pimp!” We both laughed at that, and I asked him if I was to call him Velvet Jones. That caused him to laugh some more before continuing. “Some of these so called ‘musclemen’ were hilarious. Some were so skinny that the sun shone through them. Others were so fat that I was afraid the floor would give way.” I interjected, “Well, they might have been powerlifters…” He stopped me right there, “The only things these guys powerlifted were Big Macs…believe me…they had more rolls than a bakery.” I could tell he was enjoying this. “There were some decent candidates, but none quite right, I thought. Finally, after a week or so this guy walked into my office, took off his shirt, did a double bi, and I knew I found the right candidate. He is not only incredibly built, but a nice guy, as I found out in subsequent talks. He seemed a bit skeptical of what I wanted, but is willing to try it, as long as, in his words, ‘this dude isn’t into funny stuff’. I assured him you weren’t.” Doctor Morgan went on with recaps of some of his discussions with this young man, revealing someone who was literate, intelligent, and not interested in ripping apart people or things.

I began to smile. This guy just may be the answer to my problems, and he didn’t sound like a raving egomaniac or so dense that he thinks Jerry Springer is high class TV. After some further discussion, we set a time for this young man, Mitchell Brothers, to come over and meet with me. We reconfirmed all the numbers and addresses for Doctor Morgan just in case of an emergency, and hung up the phone. The good doctor would call again over the next couple of days just to see if I was ready or had any issues.

The appointed day and time came. Expecting possibly being lifted, I wore comfortable and large fitting clothes, but avoided any of the clothes I was wearing when Chuck came over. The doorbell rang. My heart jumped into my throat. My palms became sweaty. I forced out a small, “Be right there” and tried to calm myself down. The last thing this kid needed to see was this sweaty maniac at the door. I got hold of my emotions, crossed to the door and opened it.

The doorframe had been repaired from when Chuck had destroyed it on the outside portion of his rampage. During its repair, I became obsessed with knowing its precise dimensions. It stood six foot eight. I mention this because all I could see at the top of the doorframe was a chin, and a mouth. I could see nothing beyond the width of the doorframe because there was a body not only blocking it, but going beyond its width. I saw two arms rise up to rest themselves on the outside of the house and the chin bend down so the rest of the face was revealed. He smiled a big, toothy white smile, looked down at me and said, “Hi, I’m Mitchell Brothers. Doctor Morgan sent me?”

As Scott Bakula said at the beginning of each Quantum Leap TV series episode: Oh boy. •

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