“I never understood the difference. People would tell me that multiple personalities was really demonic possession and I’d scoff at that.”
“There’s a theory out there,” I said, “that there is no such thing as past lives. It’s just demonic possession through the generations: you’re only remembering what the demon did of your ancestor, or someone else they possessed.”
Dr. Bussard reached down for a kleenex and began to wipe his glasses. “I see, I see. And you’re certain?”
“A pity. My son could have used a date to his graduation this evening.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped. “Was that why --”
“No! No! It wasn’t.” He held up his hands. “I don’t suppose I can ask you to put the gun down?”
“Not even by telling me it’s a phallic symbol.” I smiled, or at least tried to fake it.
Dr. Bussard nodded, his adam’s apple bobbing like a captive balloon. “I see. Well, Warren, it’s quite simple. I thought -. Well. The signs were there. I assumed you were living a lie. That was the only reason.”
“My parents disowned me because of you.”
“Come now, Warren.” Dr. Bussard smiles ingeniously. “Surely we do nothing but because of who we are?”
“Try that in English or I swear to God I’m going to shoot you in the hand.”
He blinked, once. “Ah. I understand now! You never could escape your belief in God, and as such could not embrace the Goddess and your feminine side. I had worried at your dislike of dressing in women’s clothing, since most gay men aren’t homovestites.”
“I’m not gay.”
“So you say, but --”
“I said I’m not fucking gay, you conceited prick!”
“Because you watch football?”
“Watching grown men grope each other and pile up upon each other is perfectly straight, of course.” He didn’t stop smiling.
“I should shot you just to shut you up. I already told you. I’m not.”
“And that means what, precisely?”
“More than your - your quackery. How many people do you think you’ve saved, doctor?”
“I am not a priest.” Bussard’s smiled wavered for a moment and then returned. “I merely help people see themselves as they really are. So many of us build up walls, you knows. I’d rather have them down.”
“So you’re gay?”
“How do you know?”
His smile acquired a sad tinge, like an adult about to berate a favourite pet. “Because I’ve shown none of the signs.”
“What, like astrology?”
“Now you’re just being foolish, Warren. I have never been drawn to a man.”
I bit back the first thing that came to mind, reminding myself I had the gun. “Nor was I, except the once. I was ten years old. I’ve had girlfriends since then, before then. It was just sex! And then you come along, because my parents are worried about my grades, and I end up here, with your stupid theories and your idiotic conclusions.”
Dr. Bussard finished cleaning his glasses, hands barely shaking as he put them on again. “It was neat, logical and, perhaps, wrong. But I merely went with available evidence, Warren.”
“You made shit up.”
“You’re free to feel that way, of course.”
“Why do you do it?” I sat down in the plush faux leather chair on my side of the desk, resting my gun on a knee: it’s harder to stand and point a gun for long lengths of time than Hollywood would have us believe. “This is almost all you do, so why?”
“Because too many of us live lies, Warren. We all deceive, after all. Sometimes just strangers, or friends, or only family. Or just ourselves. I believe the truth is more important than lies. And this is an important thing.”
“But it’s not. It’s private. It’s who we fucking sleep with; that doesn’t define us!”
“Ah. You’re been reading.” He sounded pleased, in a teacherly away akin to calling me a good dog.
“Then you’re starting to learn. When did you buy the gun?”
“I stole it from the - date you convinced me to take. He wanted to - do things. Disgusting things.”
“Ah, so that is the real reason --”
“Would you be willing to dress up as Garfield and molest Jon?”
“Then why should I? I took the gun, after punching him away from me. He drew it and we fought over it and I left with it. And walked. Ended up here. To ask you questions. But the gun doesn’t seem to matter. Is this all about your son?”
“No.” He clasped his hand on the desk. “That was an unfortunate slip of the tongue, Warren. Listen to me --”
“Why? All you did was lie to me. Your Ex-Straight Conversion Therapy just ruined my damn life, doctor. You keep going on about the truth, but the truth isn’t important. How long do you think our civilization would last, if no one could lie? I doubt it would last very long: the point of communication is lying.”
“Shut up. That’s why we talk. Not to tell people things, but to hide them. And you never get that, because you write articles, and you think words are more important than they are. But they aren’t. They don’t actually do things.”
I raised the gun and fired, before I could second guess myself. The sound was loud, like thunder. I waited for the ringing in my ears to die down, shivering a little. “It’s lies that society is built on, lying that makes it work. It’s telling the truth that’s unnatural,” I said as he bled out over his desk. “People forget that, and they try and take down walls, and make people see things.
“But just because you see it doesn’t mean it’s there, doctor. I was never gay. Having sex with a guy didn’t mean I was gay: it just meant we had sex. Once. We were kids, we were experimenting. I’d like to have known about yours, about what you thought you really were, how your son drove you to this .... I bet he’s not even gay, doctor. Maybe you made him like that, because it’s trendy? Something to discuss at psychology conferences?”
I waited, but he didn’t reply. What with being dead and all. I put the gun in his hand, wiping it off to get rid of my prints. (I’d seen that done on TV shows.)
I listened for sirens, heard none, and left the office. The walls must have been thick, because the secretary didn’t look worried. I asked her out for a date.
She said yes.