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Session 15
by Randall Morgan

Ok guys, Darren got off her sick bed to edit for me! YAY DARREN!! Here it is...deliberately vague, so don't go medieval on me! Enjoy, R. (P.S. If you have not seen the movie The Usual Suspects, rent it! My favorite film! And Brian's too, in my universe. If you don't want to know the trick ending in Usual Suspects, don't read this story!!)

Doctor's Notes: I left my brownstone to find a black limo and a handsome white man waiting for me. I still felt decidedly less like Cinderella than one might think. He handed me a steaming cup of cha, his peace offering. I had to laugh. I recorded our conversation on a portable recorder, with his permission.

Excerpt from Transcript:

Doctor: I wouldn't do this for just anyone, Brian. I must admit you intrigued me with your call. Psychiatry isn't normally practiced on the run from the back seat of a limo on the way to La Guardia.

(He closed the privacy screen between us and the driver.)

BK: I know. I really appreciate your riding out to the airport with me, Lydia. I know this adds an hour at least to your long day.

Doctor: At least. You said it was critical. And then you asked me what was my favorite movie. How do I juxtapose those two information bytes?

BK: My favorite movie is 'The Usual Suspects.' Have you seen it?

Doctor: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne. Yes, it's a fine little thriller.

BK: It's much more than that. I get something new out of it every time I watch it, which is often.

Doctor: I'm sure you didn't plead with me to see you in order to recommend a movie.

BK: (Smiled slightly.) Let me do this my way.

Doctor: Alright, Brian. Go on.

BK: At one point Verbal, the Spacey character, while discussing the arch villain, Kaiser Soze, says, 'The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is to convince the world he doesn't exist.'

Doctor: I vaguely remember that line. Why is it significant to you?

BK: Because it's so true.

Doctor: Go on, Brian.

BK: Evil, if identified as such, scares people off. People cross the street to avoid it. How can it impact your life if you never let it in?

Doctor: But I think we would both agree that evil exists, wouldn't we? Whether you call it the devil, or not.

BK: Of course. But the more pernicious and insidious it is, the more impact it can have. It doesn't have to force itself upon you, like a rape or a murder. You let it in, even welcome it.

Doctor: And then?

BK: Then it does the maximum amount of damage before you can find it out.

Doctor: What's happened, Brian?

BK: In that movie, Verbal seems like such an engaging harmless character. He talks a lot, but he's crippled and weak. He's the perfect sheep, not even the lead sheep, just a member of the flock. Then at the end, he's in the cop's office, being questioned. He has an answer for absolutely everything. He sounds scared and intimidated and hurt. He defends his friend, Keaton, from the cop's attack. He won't believe Keaton could be Kaiser, the villain. He interlaces the story with memories of his life: a barbershop quartet in Skokie, Illinois, picking coffee beans in Guatemala, a slick Californian drug dealer named Redman. It's all completely believable and convincing. The cop has to let him go, believing Verbal will be killed by the real Kaiser. Of course, coming over the fax in another room is a sketch of the real Kaiser, drawn by an actress who looks just like Melanie Marcus, by the way. Lindsay's lesbo spouse. The sketch is of Verbal. Verbal has taken little things in the room where the cop is questioning him, and built a story around them. The bulletin board is called 'Quartet' and was manufactured in Skokie. An ad for Guatemala, mentioning coffee, the name Redman on a list of names on the board.

Doctor: Yes, I remember how clever that was. And as he walked down the street, Spacey lost his affectation of a limp and other symbols of his character.

BK: But the cop never saw it until he stepped back and looked at everything together. You know when it dawned on me that Verbal was Kaiser, the first time I saw the movie?

Doctor: When?

BK: When he claimed his personal items from the guy manning the cage where they lock up the stuff when someone is arrested. He had a fancy solid gold watch and a solid gold lighter. I thought, a guy like Verbal wouldn't have that stuff. Leave it to me, to require a fashion accessory to figure out a mystery plot. (Chuckled.) Point is, I knew Verbal wouldn't have it, but Kaiser would.

Doctor: I didn't figure it out til the cop did, I must admit.

BK: On reviewing, I always watch to see if it holds up. If there's some little clue or misstep that doesn't fit with making Verbal into Kaiser. It's perfect. It hangs together nicely. It's a great little movie, in my opinion.

Doctor: I'll watch it again.

BK: You should.

Doctor: How does it meld with why I am here, Brian?

BK: Because last night, I realized I've been the dumb cop sitting on the edge of the desk, listening to the master criminal play me for a fool.

Doctor: Who is the master criminal, Brian?

BK: (Looked out window, paused.) I'd rather not say right now.

Doctor: What do you intend to do about it?

BK: I'm Irish. My grandfather always said, 'Don't get mad, get even.'

Doctor: How do you plan to do that?

BK: I'm not sure yet.

Doctor: Brian, I want to counsel you against acting precipitously. First of all, there's every chance your instincts are wrong. You're obviously upset.

BK: I'm upset, that's for sure, but I'm not having some massive anxiety attack, like before. I'm in control.

Doctor: Don't be so sure of that. The fact that you can breathe and function doesn't mean you're in control. I don't want to see you act out your anger until you know how to better manage it. Remember what happened with Ethan.

BK: Don't worry about that, Lydia. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Doctor: Now you're talking about revenge? Revenge is a waste of time, Brian. Revenge ensures you're the loser.

BK: 'Revenge is sweet saith the Lord'. An eye for an eye...I can go on.

Doctor: It's 'Vengeance belongeth onto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord'. I think that means we mortals are not equipped to handle that wrath. I know you're not, Brian. Not in your present state of mind.

BK: (Coldly.) You can't control this one, Lydia.

Doctor: You wouldn't have been so desperate to see me if you felt you could control this on your own, Brian.

BK: Some things a man has to do for himself. I'll be fine. I have a plan. It's a careful plan, and one that doesn't require immediate action. In fact, immediate action would ruin the long term impact of it.

Doctor: Brian, is this about Jeffrey?

BK: Why immediately assume it's Jeff who gamed me?

Doctor: I'm not assuming, I'm asking.

BK: He's involved, certainly.

Doctor: Is he your Kaiser Soze?

BK: (Long, hard stare.) I'm not answering that one, Lydia.

Doctor: Why not?

BK: Because that would be telling.

Doctor: Is it Justin?

BK: Same answer.

Doctor: Now who's gaming, Brian?

BK: Why didn't you warn me?

Doctor: About?

BK: (Angrily.) Aren't you supposed to be looking out for me? Why didn't you tell me you saw the signs. Don't deny you saw them. Why didn't you warn me?

Doctor: I'm not sure what you mean, Brian. But I am sure that you're very capable of making a huge mistake in judgment in your present emotional condition. And if I thought you were talking a physical vengeance, I would have to warn the person, and alert the law.

BK: Physical is too easy, too transitory. No, this has to hit him where he lives. It has to last. No one uses Brian Kinney. No one.

Doctor: Brian Kinney uses Brian Kinney. You're mad at yourself right now, Brian. You fucked up, or so you believe. You misread a situation or a motive or a person. You let yourself be used and now you're embarrassed and humiliated. You're beating yourself up. What you have to understand is that even the smartest and most canny person can be manipulated. Some people are masters at it, and the rest of us aren't equipped to deflect that kind of voodoo. There's no shame in that. There's no harm in believing the best about someone. It makes you a vulnerable and loving human being, not an idiot. Don't beat yourself up over it and don't tell yourself you have to get some kind of comic book revenge in order to save face.

BK: I can't do that, Lydia. I can't turn the other cheek. Not this time.

Doctor: That's because we haven't gone far enough in your therapy for you to find the inner strength to do so.

BK: Whatever the reason, it won't go down that way. But don't worry about it, Lydia. I'm not going to beat someone up. That's why God gave faggots an evil sense of humor. We know how to make people squirm without saying anything directly insulting.

Doctor: And then what, Brian? What will you be left with after this revenge?

BK: If I'm real lucky, my dignity. It seems to have gone missing along with my instincts.

Doctor: I predict a hollow victory that will leave you feeling as bad as your victim. Why? Because you're not the Brian Kinney you were when we started this therapy. You may not be the Brian Kinney you want to be, or can be, but you've left that other incarnation in the dust. You can't do this kind of thing without residual pain now, Brian. Is it worth it?

BK(Long pause): I think so.

Doctor: Why do you think so?

BK: Because someone has to do it, and it may as well be me.

Doctor: Double fallacy.

BK: (Angrily.) What would you have me do? Act like nothing happened? Let him think he won, that he played me like a violin?

Doctor: As long as you know he didn't win, what does it matter what he thinks?

BK: Are you really that forgiving or is this some kind of shrink speak?

Doctor: It's not about me, Brian. It's about you. You're obviously quietly furious. You feel cheated and victimized. How is this a good time to make any big decisions?

BK: I don't know that it is, but I do know I have to do what I have to do.

Doctor: Absolute nonsense. Of course you don't. We're a civilized species, for the most part. Civilization imposes rules on our behavior.

BK: Relax Lydia. I'm not burning someone's house down.

Doctor: Again, this isn't about your victim. This is about you, and how your actions will affect you.

BK: Isn't it possible that it will make me happy and relieved and proud of myself again?

Doctor: Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

BK: I've always been big on playing the odds. I'll take that chance.

Doctor: Brian, it's not like you to deliberately hold something back. Why do you feel you can't tell me?

BK: I don't want to debate it. I don't want to hear all the reasons I could be wrong about this...about him.

Doctor: If you're so sure you're right, why do you fear a debate? Clearly, you have some fear that you're wrong. You don't want to entertain a contrary opinion. What does that say to you?

BK: No. I'm not wrong.

Doctor: What happened last night?

BK: Jeffrey stopped by.

Doctor: Ah.

BK: Woke me up.

Doctor: That's too bad. You need your sleep. What did he have to say? Was he angry about Friedrich?

BK: Jeff doesn't really get angry. He was curious about my meeting with him, yes.

Doctor: How do you suppose he found out?

BK: (Paused.) Interesting. Haven't thought of that. I presume Freedy told him.

Doctor: Why would he?

BK: I don't know. It may have just happened. You talk to someone, it slips out.

Doctor: So they're still in contact?

BK: (Frustrated.) How the fuck do I know?

Doctor: Something Jeffrey said set this revenge of yours in motion?

BK: Not directly.

Doctor: Indirectly?

BK: Let's just say the conversation stimulated my little gray cells.

Doctor: I see. Care to elaborate?

BK: No, not really.

Doctor: Do you think this is a good time to go to Pittsburgh? When you're so angry?

BK: I have no choice.

Doctor: Of course you do.

BK: Not really. Justin asked me to come, and he doesn't do that lightly. This recovered memory is weighing heavily on him.

Doctor: You're not equipped to handle that crisis, Brian. He needs a professional to help him navigate those memories.

BK: I told him that.

Doctor: Stick to your guns on that point. He needs the help.

BK: (Long pause.) He needs something.

Doctor: Explain that remark.

BK: (Shakes head.) No.

Doctor: Brian, when do you plan on unveiling this revenge you're plotting?

BK:(Met my stare coldly.) When the moment is right and not before.

Doctor: And in the mean time?

BK: I'll act as though nothing is wrong. Business as usual.

Doctor: You really think you can do that?

BK: I know I can. I have to.

Doctor: Promise me we'll talk again before you do anything along those lines.

BK: I can't do that, Lydia. The chances are good we will, but I can't promise anything.

Doctor's Note: (The limo pulled up to the curb at the terminal and BK grabbed a leather valise and opened the door of the car. He glanced over his shoulder at me.)

BK: The driver is fully paid and will take you wherever you want to go.

Doctor: Brian, please think about this very carefully, and let's talk again. Call me anytime. When will you be back?

BK: Not sure. I'll work out of our Pittsburgh offices while I'm there. We'll talk, Lydia, we always do. But don't look so tragic. I'm fine.

Doctor: It's your belief that you're fine that scares me the most, Brian. You're far from fine.

BK: (Smiled.) Adios, Lydia.

End of excerpt.

Doctor's Notes: I am extremely concerned about BK's veneer of calm over what appears to be a significant emotional event. While he won't say what prompted a revelation that he is being used, it's tied to a visit from Jeffrey. I can't be certain if it's Jeffrey he is angry at, or if Jeffrey caused BK to reach an epiphany about JT, or even someone else. BK believes he is being gamed and expressed his intent to take a non-physical revenge for that abuse. This concerns me on two fronts. First, I believe he is too emotionally raw to be able to appropriately analyze a situation in order to determine whether he is being used and by whom. Second, he does not yet have his anger and pain management tools developed to the point where he knows how to cope with a powerful emotional confrontation. Witness his violent exchange with Ethan. I take some comfort in the fact he is not planning an immediate campaign, but the storm of emotions brewing under his deliberately cool fašade are dangerous to himself and will not be easily controlled. I would prefer that he not be out of town when they erupt. I will follow up with a call to him tomorrow to check his emotional status. This is a turning point for BK, and my fear is that he is not ready to manage it, which could create an irrevocable setback.


Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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July 25, 2004