Den Warren © 2017
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
“Doctor Gilbert,” the receptionist said over the intercom, “your 2:30 is here.”
Doctor Gilbert was munching on some peanut butter filled pretzels. He cleared his teeth with his tongue so he could quickly respond. “Send him, please.”
When the tall man came into the psychiatrist’s examination room, he had that look. The look they have when their company is forcing to be there even though they think they don’t need to be there.
Dr. Gilbert was still trying to clean his teeth with his tongue while he did his best to ignore the patient’s unfriendly countenance. Gilbert looked at his tablet. “Mister . . . Wokoski?”
“Yes. Paul Wokoski.”
“Paul . . .” He swiped at the screen. “I like to be straight up. Your company really wants to work with you but you are saying you . . . can’t or won’t perform all of the tasks as requested?”
Paul took a deep breath.
“Just relax, Paul. We’ll get through this together.”
“It just makes me mad,” he shook his head, “no one else would do what they wanted me to do after what I saw.”
“Well, Paul, maybe I can be an advocate for you. I promise I will be as objective as I can.” He smiled and put his hands down, indicating he was in an active listening pose.
Paul shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah, whatever.” He took another deep breath. “They sent me down to Belem, Brazil to startup a new branch office. I really had no problem with going down there. Anyways, I flew into that big town in the middle of the jungle with huge rivers going all over. We were going to hurry up and look at a piece of property for the new office. It was getting late and I really didn’t feel like running around at night. Demetrio, who was my interpreter, was from that area. He said we could get to the area where the property was quicker if we took a boat on the river. I thought that would be kinda cool, you know.” Paul clearly looked nervous as he shifted around in his seat.
He continued, “Anyway, we get on this decent thirty foot boat. It has a terrible sounding motor. It starts to rain, which I guess being in the Amazon rain forest it rains there constantly. But it’s no big deal, since there’s like a roof on the old boat. The boats all got ‘em that way down there. Demetrio went inside the cabin with the captain. I was just standing there looking out across the water at the city shoreline. The city lights were just starting to come on. Heavy rain was running off of the roof of the boat. But then . . .” Paul stopped talking and put his head down.
“Can I get you something?” Dr. Gilbert offered.
Paul held up his hand to refuse the offer. “All of a sudden, I saw something.”
“What did it look like?”
“Honestly, from a distance it looked like one of those evil carnival masks or something, but not really like a mask, more like a real face. It was moving towards me. Then I could see it was an insanely hostile looking black face with huge fangs and it screamed in an unworldly deep voice, ‘Kenjaku!’ whatever that means. I thought my heart was going to explode. I ducked, fully expecting to be killed by this thing. I could barely breathe. But then I realized I was not dead. I looked again and it was gone. Demetrio and the captain were also fine. With that welcome, all I could think of was getting outta the continent and back home. Demetrio was pretty mad that we left without doing a deal. We never did go to look at the property.”
Doctor Gilbert asked, “Did anyone else see the flying mask?”
“I’m pretty sure you know they didn’t.”
“No, Paul. I said I would be objective.”
“No, they did not see it. I asked them and they looked at me like I was stupid or something. I really did see it. I don’t know what it was, but I know I saw it, I’m not . . . you know, crazy or anything.”
Doctor Gilbert said, “So you think the mask was real?”
“Maybe it was a ghost or something, but don’t doubt me, I did see it.”
“Did you have any alcoholic beverages before the incident?”
Paul sighed and slumped into his chair a little. “I had one drink, but it wasn’t too strong.”
“Mr. Wokoski, let me tell you what I think might have happened; You had lunch down there in some restaurant that had some exotic spices or mushrooms or something, then you go out on a rainy night, which heightens our anxieties, then you got onto that ramshackle boat and, for lack of a better term, it creeped you out a little. Next thing you know, you are having a nightmarish hallucination. Our brains do play tricks on us from time to time. It just makes you human.”
“I did have some local cuisine, but it was good. I didn’t notice anything funky about it. If I thought you were right, I would concede it.”
“Have you had any other recurrences of the thoughts?”
“No. Thank God I’m away from there. And I still think it was real. I wasn’t having any other mental problems before or after that. I think if I went back down there, the Kenjaku thing would come after me again. It scared me to the core. It’s message was to go away. That’s why I will never go to South America again.”
“Paul, do you understand why your employer sent you here to us?”
“Yeah, because they think I totally wacked out down there. You know, I never believed in demons or ghosts ‘til after that.”
“There is no empirical evidence that a spiritual world exists at all.”
“You don’t believe in God?”
“I actively choose not to. I like to work with just the facts.”
Paul said, “A guy told me once, ‘there is no evidence to prove that God exists because he is a real God in a real spiritual world. So it is dumb to think He doesn’t exist just because you can’t see Him. Now you are telling me that I shouldn’t believe in Kenjaku even though I did see it. If I go by that, I can look right at you and not know for sure if this conversation is even real or not.”
Dr. Gilbert said, “Descartes said, I think, therefore I am. So I know that I am real.”
“That’s really profound, doc. Evolution creates an entire fake universe that all came about by chance and fools just one real guy.” Paul started laughing. “That French dude must have been a complete narcissist.”
“Okay,” Dr. Gilbert said, “I suppose if you take his quote to an extreme . . .”
Paul said, “I don’t know about that; I could just be imagining that you are a delusion of mine making up lies. Can you really prove you exist? Or, how do you know for sure that I am a real person?”
“Regardless,” Dr. Gilbert said, “Let me prescribe something for you, and if the hallucinations return, it will help you relax.”
“I thought you were worried about something bad getting into my system and causing hallucinations, now you are saying I need some mind-bending drugs.”
“Just trying to help you out, Paul. We’re on the same team here, you know. So just take this script with you and we will schedule another appointment. I promise it won’t bend your mind in the least. There are some other things we can work on when you come back.”
“I’m not really interested. I mean, I’m not really perfect, but I can’t see hashing out all this other stuff when I really did see the Kenjaku. I’m not in denial or anything, you know, I really did see it.”
“A series of visits is a condition of your employment. They’ll pay for it.”
“Can they do that? Make me come here just to keep my job?”
“In this state, absolutely. We’ll set you up with another appointment. After awhile, I can send them a report that you contracted something that gave you the disturbing thoughts and you won’t have to go back. This way, everyone is satisfied.”
Paul Wokoski stood. “That’s a nice little racket. Whatever. Give me a call. I’ll be back.”
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