“What are you waiting for?”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve been over this,” I snapped my fingers a couple of times. “Hello? You listening?”
“What the hell are you talking about!” the arms of the man in front of me were glued to his sides like a dead old tree stump, his hands shaking like all hell.
“It’s the only way you’ll ever get better. What are you waiting for?” I repeated, arms outstretched at my sides. I couldn’t believe he was doing this to me – not again.
“I don’t even know who you are… where am I?”
“Marcus,” I replied, coincidently in the same manner a person would speak to a misbehaving dog.
“Who are you!?”
“A friend. I’m here to help you, remember? You don’t remember me?” I walked over to him and forcibly (but gently) raised his right hand up at a ninety-degree angle, the cold metal of the gun in his hand leaving its residual sensation on my skin. The brightness of the room was beginning to annoy me, but not as much as my client was right now. Perhaps I should have selected a different setting.
“It’s easy,” I commented with a smile. I turned from him then, and took a couple of paces back to where I stood earlier. “We’ve been through this.”
“Why are you doing this to me!?”
“You’re losing yourself again,” I remarked, facing him again. “You are the one that requested these sessions, right? You’re the one who said you were ready. I am just the one you enlisted to help.”
He screamed again, covering his face and sobbing. “Wh- hu- why do you keep doing that? Your face!”
I sighed. I kept switching through faces in his memory; enemies, rivals, people he wouldn’t think twice about shooting in the face within the confines of a controlled setting. It usually helps but this wasn’t the usual case.
“I- don’t- know- what- to- dooo!” he fell to his knees now, the gun falling out of his hands and clacking across the blank white floor. I couldn’t help but let out my first visible sign of annoyance. I sighed and walked towards him again.
“I’m telling you! All you’re your fears and your anxieties will be gone! You just gotta’ take that leap! That’s what I’m here to do! To make you take that leap! It’s what you wanted! More than anything in this world– hey,” I crouched beside him, reaching out for his shoulder as my skin changed from white to black. “When I asked you what you wanted most in this world, what did you tell me?”
He started sobbing again, not paying attention. I shook my head.
“You’ve made so much progress… Sooo much progress. We are at the divide now. The one we both have worked so hard to get you to. There is nothing more I could do. Other than encourage you to take that leap.” He peered up at me again and let out another shrill shriek. Maybe the face changes weren’t the best idea. I picked up the gun again and nestled it into his grip. His hands were wet. I urged him to his feet, and once there, I took the initiative to drop to my knees myself. I looked up at him, hands and fingers crossed as if in prayer. “Don’t throw it all away now… It’s your last chance. Take the shot.”
He shook his head.
“Would a change of scenery help?”
The blank room turned into a vast grassy plain, rolling hills. New Zealand. The first thing that came to mind.
“That doesn’t help me! No amount of face changing or room changing is going to help! It doesn’t work that way! You’re asking me to kill a part of me!”
“A diseased, corrupted parasite that happened to reside within the boundaries of your existence. Sapping away at your delicate life, your happiness. I am the personification of this parasite, this tumor, that needs to be cut out. I am that tumor! And you are holding the scalpel. This is what it’s all about!”
I witnessed him calm down a bit, he wiped away a few tears and I decided to change forms again one final time. He didn’t flinch thankfully.
“This is what you wanted, isn’t it? You asked for this. We’ve worked for this. I’ve counselled you, trained you… and now you’re here. On the cusp of it all. I’m right here. Please. Take the shot.”
The wind felt so real on my face as it must have felt for him. The new-found warmth in the air filled me with its wonderful scent, as I hoped it did him.
“Time is running out.”
It really was, and I could physically see my paycheck getting picked up by the breeze behind him and fly out of eyeshot. I’m glad he didn’t get to see that. My own blips of thought making its way into the projection I had created for him.
He took a moment, then, slowly, he raised his arm at an angle, pointing it at my forehead finally.
“That’s it. Take the shot. You got this. One more step, and it’ll be done. You’ll be free!”
His hands were shaking now, branches in the wind.
“Take the shot Marcus.”
“Do not give up on this now. Take the shot.”
I yanked his arm and pressed the barrel against my temple. “Take the shot.”
“Take the shot.”
“FUCKING SHOOT ME.”
“I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN!”
“You’ve told me yourself! You hate me with all your heart! You would do anything to get rid of me! I, ruined, your, life! I ruined your life! I did! And now you can end it- end it all! The gun is in your hand! Shoot!”
The gun went off.