All The Worldby Randall Brown
When I walk into Hap's office, he's gone psychotic. No joke. He's standing on his black swivel chair, screaming, "I exist. I exist." His partner in the practice, the famous one, is yelling back, "Are you going? Are you? Just answer the fucking question." Psychiatrists Gone Wild.
They both catch sight of me at the same time. The partner points at Harold, calls him unprofessional, asks me if I liked this glimpse behind the curtain. He doesn't wait for my answer. I plop down on the leather couch. Hap's still on the swivel chair, unsteady.
"Do you need a minute?" I ask him. He used to be a drummer, has a careworn face from nightclubs, whiskey, cigarettes, a narcissistic fucked up partner.
"I'm done," Hap says. "Fucking done with this place." I stand up to help him down, his hands soaked. "Fucking done." He sits in the chair, puts his feet on the desk. "So? What do you think that was about?"
Back on the couch. I sit, never lie down. Sadly, I know, I tell Hap. I tell him that his partner is like the world, focused on itself, its own desires, like alcoholics, and I know alcoholics and I know narcissists, and I know it doesn't matter what you do, what you stand upon, what you shout, you don't matter to them unless you're 150 proof and able to be ingested and if it's not liquor, well it's something that isn't you. I tell Hap I get it. I tell him a hundred times a day I'd like to stand on a chair and shout "I'm here. You fuckers. I'm here."
"Do it, man." He gets up, sits beside me on the couch. "You're up."
I approach the chair cautiously. I hate role playing, even though it's my entire life.
"Who do you want me to be?" Hap asks, as I'm considering the chair, spinning it this way and that.
Oh, it can get to be a pity party as I go through the list of people whom I loved and didn't return it the way I wanted it to be returned. Maybe the problem resided in my desire for a love the world could never quite find in its heart for me. Maybe the world was just being honest. Maybe that's better than the world faking it.
"Just be you," I tell him.
"If only it were that easy," he says.
Atop the chair, it's pretty scary. The chair can't be controlled, wants to go in circles, back, forth. How did Hap manage going psycho up here? Hap looks small and deflated, a balloon blown-up, untied, let go, now empty and folded on the couch. I think I might cry.
"That's the hurt," Hap says. "Feel that. That's it. That's the hurt. All those fuckers."
"Do you love me?" I ask him. "Not, you know, that way. But in any way. Do you?" The chair keeps try to throw me. Hi ho, Silver Chair!
"It isn't about me," he says. "It's about that need to know. It's about that question."
It's about that heart, what it wants. "I just want to know."
"I know," he says. "I know you do."
"Where did he want you to go?" Hap has no idea what I'm talking about. "When I came in, he was asking you if you were going. Are you going somewhere?"
The chair keeps turning and I'm turning with it, now an LP. Dark Side of the Moon. Hap's leaving his practice, leaving me. I'm just this guy who gives him $160 a week. There he goes. Bye, bye, Hap. I have to hold on to the back of the chair to keep from toppling.
"Let go," Hap says.
Oh, I feel it now. That's the hurt. That's the past. That's the world full of nothing that can only spin me anytime it wants, never save me, just take me farther away from the world as it is, Dorothy's unspinning, black, white Kansas.
I jump off, stagger a bit.
"Good," Hap says. "Excellent."
I bow. A final performance. For both of us.