Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Centaur Scrolls: Do Children Belong to Families?

Dear Reader,

I saw this video of MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who articulates in no uncertain terms, where the secular and liberal left is moving.  In our country and others, this mindset is pervading the culture and mindset of those who will be the future leaders of the world.  Listen in to what she has to say:

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we've always had kind of a private notion of children: your kids are your's, and totally your responsibility.  We haven't had a very collective notion of 'these are our children.'  So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.  Once it's everyone's responsibility, and not just the household's, then we start making better investments.

I cannot stress this enough: the time has come for us to act.  Never before has the opposition been this overt about its message.  Glenstorm the Centaur once remarked, "The time is right," and we can see signs in our culture similar to the ones he saw that night.  If we will not stem the tide that is coming, we will fall.

Wherever you are in the world, I encourage you to get involved in protecting parental rights in your nation: we need all the help we can get.

Watching the stars,


"We watch the skies for the great tides of evil or change that are sometimes marked there." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Part III: Dementia

Synopsis: Dr. Redd and his assistant, Fred Forge, encounter a patient battling schizophrenia.

This is the office of Dr. John Redd, M.T. How may I help you?”
I'm Daniel, and I need help; we've been to several doctors, but none of their medications work. A friend told me to see Dr. Redd.”
Alright, Dearie: let's setup an appointment for you for this morning.”
* * *
Fred walked down a white hallway to a thin white door with a keycard swipe and took a seat next to John in the small control room with four viewscreens.
Dr. Redd, there's a visitor for you, and boy does he seem nervous!”
Fred, you can call me 'John,' you know,” he replied with a chuckle.
If it's all the same to you, I think I'll call you 'Sir,'” Fred answered with a smile. “But seriously, have you ever seen someone more nervous?”
I don't think he's nervous,” John replied. “Study him intently for the next minute: I'll place the time on Screen Four,” he said, setting the computerized stopwatch for 0:60. As the time ran down, Fred wrote his observations on a flowpad, every now and then looking away, as if to think about what he saw:
Fidgety. Muttering. Constantly distracted. Distrusting. Short attention span. Well-kept.
Well, he's obviously mentally unstable,” Fred replied, as the timer read 0:13, “I think you should take him through the white hallway to the Johnson Room, like you did with Matt Black.”
Because his condition is similar?”
Fred nodded.
I disagree,” John replied. “You see, in Matt's case, his mind was unstable due to fear of something he did not understand. This man appears to be agitated by his inability to solve a problem – namely, that problem,” John added, pointing to the screen, as the man spoke sullenly to himself, first looking this way, then that.
Precisely. I'll go out to greet him to get a feel for his trust and willingness to cooperate, while you setup the Richardson Room. Oh,” John added as he prepared to leave, “and put up the Dresden picture, along with the Chariot Heroes picture.”
Yes sir,” Fred replied, “but what does that have to do with schizophrenia?”
Nothing,” John replied, “but it will lead perfectly into the means of recovery. What do we know about him?”
His name is Daniel Green, and he's a sophomore at Marsden College. He claims to have been on various medications on and off for at least five years--”
Then what we're seeing could be a conglomeration of the trauma he sustained from his medications, in addition to his other problem. That's good to know. Alright: I'll greet him, you stand ready in the room, and when we're done, I expect my coffee to be ready.”
You know you're not supposed to have two cups – wife's orders,” Fred smirked.
Now how did you know I had a cup already?” John said with a laugh.
The stain behind your tie,” Fred replied with a smile. “I had some downtime during those 47 seconds.”
* * *
Good morning, Dan,” John said as he entered the receptionist area.
Dr. Redd,” Daniel replied, standing to shake the doctor's hand, “A friend recommended you to me. He said you could help me cope with some of my...eccentricities.”
Well, Mr. Green,” John replied with a low chuckle and a knowing smile, “I can't do that: teaching you to cope with something that's bothering you is not my style. I would prefer to help you overcome your obstacles, so that your mind can be renewed.”
Yes! That's exactly what I want!” Dan replied eagerly.
Excellent! Then follow me,” John said, heading to a black door off of the receptionist area, and taking out a set of keys with nine brass keys and one red key. He sorted through the keys for a little while, selected a brass key, and with a twist-click-creak, he stepped through the door.
The hallway was dark, but one could make out the form of two doors to their right, and one door at the end of the short hallway. John walked up to the final door and opened it, ushering his guest into a small room with soft orange wallpaper, and two pictures on the wall. On the far wall, immediately apparent to the visitor, was a picture of a burning warehouse with planes flying overhead. To his right, Daniel could see a picture of a young man and a young woman in their teens riding in a chariot with their hands clasped and raised. In the middle of the room was a thin pine table with reclining chairs on either side, and on the table sat a black box. John motioned for Dan to take the closest chair, facing both the Dresden Picture and the Chariot Heroes Picture.
Are you going to begin asking me questions now, Dr. Redd?”
No, not exactly,” John replied. “You see, I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, Dan. I'm not going to ask you questions and give you a diagnosis, or hand you a canister of pills. I don't want to dissect you: I want to dialogue with you.”
Dan's face contorted in confusion. What did he mean?
I'll explain with an example, Dan. If I wanted to train you to become, say, an accountant: would it be best for me to start by giving you a quiz on your ability to add, subtract, and label particular expenses, or would it be wiser to discuss the different aspects of the company, your background knowledge and past experience, and why each part of the company exists as it does, so that you will be more familiar with the different expenses and subdivisions you will work with on a daily basis? One approach looks into the details of your performance, while the other paints a picture of you for me to examine, study, and help you to modify. The first approach teaches you to cope: you are given a standard set of questions by a professional, who then makes a diagnosis and labels the problem for you – in this case, schizophrenia. My approach gives me a strong sense of who you are and what you should be, so that I can help you move forward. Does that make sense?”
Dan nodded. “So, what do I have to do, then, if you're not going to ask me questions?”
It's quite simple, actually: on your part, I need you to fall asleep.”
And with that, John rose from his seat, placed his hands on the black box, and slowly lifted the lid. The lights in the room dimmed as he opened it, and the harsh, dissonant sound of a heavy metal tune streamed from the box.
* * *
Nice work with the lights there, Fred,” John whispered.
How is it that he didn't even notice me in the room?”
You weren't in plain view, and his eyes were drawn toward the pictures. Humanity has a tendency to miss things when they're distracted toward colorful, provoking images. Politicians use this frequently in their work too, if you hadn't noticed,” John said with a low chuckle as he took his seat in the empty chair.
Sir, aren't you going to stand by the box to talk to him?”
Take the lead on this one: start by addressing him, talk with him for a little, and then I'll enter and introduce you. You've seen me do this several times, so now it's your turn to try.”
But what if I mess up?”
We'll wake him up, tell him it was a dream, and start again,” John replied quietly with a smile. “Place yourself in his position, be ready with the siren and bomb sounds, and when you're set to proceed, talk to him. Engage, move at his pace, and whatever you do, don't be afraid to dream.”
* * *
When Dan opened his eyes, the midnight sky above him was lit up by a haze of reddened smoke, rising from the buildings that encircled him. It was only then that he began to hear the flames raging in the buildings around him, and the jolting boom-boom of fresh explosions all around him. Above the haze he could hear aircraft and the steady, searing screech of falling payloads toward the town. He got up quickly, staggering around the city square in fear, trying desperately to find some form of cover.
Let's head toward the factory,” said a young, assuring voice behind him.
Who are you?” Dan said, noticing the man behind him. “What's happening here?”
Your mind is under siege, Dan,” replied a calm, steady voice behind him.
Dr. Redd!” Dan replied, “Where are we? Are we dreaming?”
You're in Dresden, Germany, Dan,” John replied. “The city is under bombardment, and will soon be leveled in the wake of an invading army. Come,” he added, pointing to the factory behind them, “the factory's reinforced steel will provide us with greater cover.”
Is this how you plan to fix my mind?” Dan said in bewilderment and fear.
I intend to discover the source of the problem, Dan, and Fred is here to help me. Mr. Green, I'd like to introduce you to Fred Forge, my assistant.
Pleased to meet you,” Dan said, shaking his hand.
We'd really like to meet your friend, Dan, if he's here,” John replied. “I think he'd enjoy the shelter of the factory, too.”
Oh, you mean Leonard? He's a bit shy--”
But we're in your mind, Dan: he's here somewhere.”
Right: well, I don't see him around anywhere--”
Don't worry: I'm sure he'll find us.”
* * *
I never had many friends growing up,” Dan said, after they reached the shelter of the factory, “I was always the last kid picked for sports, was never invited to people's birthday parties, and was generally regarded as 'odd' by basically everyone.”
So that's how you met Leonard?”
Yep,” Dan replied cheerfully, “He was always there, willing to talk to me, encouraging me to do this or that, though sometimes he yelled at me and ordered me around.”
Do you ever tell him not to order you around?”
I can't talk to Leonard like that: it would hurt his feelings, and I don't want that—”
But he's taking advantage of you,” Fred replied. “He's enslaving you--”
No, you don't understand,” Leonard said firmly. “He really cares about me, and wants to be my friend....”
* * *
Fred,” John whispered, taking Fred by the shoulder. Both were standing by the box now. “I think we should let that line of thought go for now.”
But he needs to hear it,” Fred replied. “He's being enslaved to this idea, and it's not healthy for him--”
Yes, he is: but we want him to let go of Leonard naturally, not under compulsion. If only Leonard would show up, we'd have something to work wi--”
Shhh!” Fred said with an urgent finger to his lips. The sleeping Dan had silently whispered a word, and then turned his head quickly from left to right, looking around himself in the dream. Then his face smiled and looked straight ahead again, whispering the word:
* * *
Leonard was sitting on an old desk, with one leg up on the desk, the other dangling off of it idly, with his body hunched over his elevated leg, embracing it in a bear hug. He looked a lot like Dan, though his grin was more mischievous, and like the faint beard on his chin and cheekbones, it never left his face.
Leonard,” John said, in his usual low, calm, yet commanding voice, “My name is--”
Dr. John Redd,” Leonard interrupted. “Yes, I know who you are.”
I'd like to know more about you,” John replied.
You can ask me anything you wish,” Leonard replied slyly, jumping off of the desk, “...if you can catch me!”
And with that, Leonard took off running down one of the hallways. Dan tore off after him, shouting, “Leonard, he's just trying to help us!”
No! He's trying to shut me out of your mind, Dan!” Leonard shouted. “He's just like all of the other ones we've seen!”
Leonard,” John shouted, as he ran after the two of them, his voice still commanding and deep, but no longer calm, “I know what the other doctors did to you: they tried to convince Dan that you are a problem – something to be avoided--”
And you want to do the same thing,” Leonard shouted.
No, I don't: I want Dan to approach you on your own terms, and to see you as you are, not as what someone else says you are.”
John paused: Leonard had disappeared as he turned the corner, and was nowhere to be found. Dan was puffing hard and on the verge of breaking down in front of him.
Where do we turn now?” Fred asked quietly.
* * *
If Dan goes through too much more trauma, he's going to wake up screaming, and attempt to bolt out of the room,” John whispered. “We need to find a way to get him to reject Leonard on his own terms, before his natural inclination to defend him kicks in.”
What do you suggest?” Fred whispered back.
We need to change our location: let's put him in a place where he will think less of himself, and more about the truth.”
* * *
Dan could hear the sound of the bombs dropping on the city, and suddenly felt the factory shake and quiver under a direct hit.
The city is coming down, Dr. Redd!” Dan cried in fear. “We must escape!”
There is only one place that the bombers would not hit in this town,” John replied. “They won't bomb the cathedral, just up the road from here.”
Take me there,” Dan replied weakly, shivering and quaking in fear and hysterics.
As they entered the cathedral, they were greeted by a gangly young man, sitting on the back of the front pew, smiling and holding his leg.
Leonard,” John started softly.
Nope! I don't want to talk to you!” He said playfully, and took off toward the door that led to the bell tower.
Leonard!” Dan pleaded as he took off after him, tears almost welling up in his eyes.
Dan, let him go,” Fred said softly, taking him by the shoulder.
Stop it! Just stop it!” Dan said, breaking down in front of the altar. “Dr. Redd,” Dan said, sobbing, “why are you doing this? Stop making him run away. Can't you just leave us alone?”
Dan,” John replied, returning to his calm voice, “I need your help. I want you to describe Leonard to me: just give me a list of adjectives that best describe him, so that I can distinguish him from you. I need to know why he's attracted to you, and why you're attracted to him.”
Well,” Dan began, still sobbing and breathing hard, “He--” Dan began, but then trailed off to silence. Dan attempted a few more times to come up with an adjective, then threw his hands up in frustration. “I can't think of any.”
Because he has no character, Dan,” John replied. “He has no objective form. What he embodies for you is your desire for a companion and friend, and – at times – an image of those who take advantage of your softspoken, unassertive nature.”
Dan was really crying now. “So what do I do? I'm not strong enough to tell him to leave, but I can't keep going on like this forever.”
Leave it here,” Fred interrupted. “Leave it right here, at the altar, and a stronger Man will take it from there.”
Fred looked up at the cross at the front of the cathedral, and the Man that was hanging on it, with nails in His hands and feet. His head was bowed to His chest, weighed down by searing pain, a broken heart, and hopeless abandonment – not unlike the broken man that was now weeping at the foot of the altar. Dan was filled with the unbelief and skepticism of a broken man who is bewildered by promising news.
But what if He doesn't want to take it?”
He already has.”
And what if I can't let him go?”
That's a battle you will constantly fight,” Fred said hopefully, “but one that you can win.”
This doesn't change the fact that I feel alone,” Dan said between sniffles.
He's ready to change that, too,” John proposed. “And you'll find that He's a much more reliable friend than Leonard.”
Is it really that easy?”
There's only one way to find out.”
* * *
How are you this morning?” John asked the young man in the hospital bed.
I'm doing much better,” Dan replied. “What did you do to me?”
I didn't do anything: I helped you face your fears. That's all.”
John,” Fred said as they returned to the waiting room, “did that job count as hazard pay?”
Definitely hazard pay,” John replied with a low chuckle, “and do me a favor: get rid of that Dresden picture.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Centaur Scrolls: The Removal of "Gender Rolls" in Toys

Dear Reader,

So, I've been thinking about this article for some time now, but after confirming what the Atlantic reports about our favorite country to discuss on this blog - Sweden - I'm becoming more and more convinced that the "tolerance" agenda that is spreading in other countries is getting out of hand, and extending into areas that, frankly, no government should be entering.

I was reading an article in the Atlantic entitled, "You Can Give a Boy a Doll, But You Can't Make Him Play With It," discussing the swath of gender-neutral reforms going through Sweden's toy/entertainment industry.  Looking at what the Swedish Green Party promotes as its "model school," Christina Sommers looks at how the school views its students.  There are no "boys" and "girls" at this school: there are "buddies" and "friends."  She goes on to mention that this preschool threw out all of their toy cars because the boys favored them over the other toys.  So, to curb the increase in favoritism toward toys by a gender, they threw them out.

*Blink Blink*

Now, regardless of what you think about government involvement in conditioning children, we can all agree that the Atlantic is hardly what we would describe as a "conservative fortress" or homestead for traditional family values.  With Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as its founders, and James Bennet (New York Times, News & Observer, New Republic) as its current editor, this is hardly the "born in the red" conservative crew that is razzed by the intellectual community as standing against "progress" and "children's rights" in the debate over government involvement in the lives of children.  This is one of the reasons that this article stood out to me - it's not from the stereotyped base of support for the arguments found on this blog.

What is more, Mrs. Sommers goes on to describe the greater problem:
Few would deny that parents and teachers should expose children to a wide range of toys and play activities. But what the Swedes are now doing in some of their classrooms goes far beyond encouraging children to experiment with different toys and play styles—they are requiring it. And toy companies who resist the gender neutrality mandate face official censure. Is this kind of social engineering worth it? Is it even ethical? (Emphasis in original)
Her point is not only valid, but critical to our understanding of the internationalist agenda: to what extent can government involvement step in to "solve societal problems"?  Are there lines, and if so, where are they drawn?

Sweden's approach so far has been complete micromanagement of both companies (products, advertising, aims and goals, etc.) and children (what they play with, what they favor when choosing to play, etc.).  As the poster child for the international agenda, this raises flags for all of us in the States who are hearing that there will be "no ramifications" and "no effect" by giving in to the mindset through treaties, statutory laws, and school regulations.  Are these academically honest - let alone morally honest - claims?

I will not continue to elaborate here; you need merely read the Centaur Scrolls to find my opinion on that score.  What I will conclude with here, though, is (ironically) the end of the article: there is hope for those of us who believe in letting kids be kids, and leaving government micromanaging out of it.  The government-approved toy catalog "will almost certainly disappear in a few years, once parents who buy from it realize their kids don't want these toys" (Sommers, citing Prof. David Geary).  Time alone will tell what will happen in that country, but that is not the question for us today.  The question for us is whether we will properly discern what the aim of this mindset and mentality is, and whether we will allow it to enter our culture, wherever that may be.

Vigilance is the price of freedom - stand fast, friends,

Watching the stars,


"I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane - yes, with humans alongside me if I must." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Part II: Catharsis

Synopsis: Dr. John Redd is referred by a former patient, Matt Black, to a friend who needs help dealing with anger, hatred, and a broken friendship.

I’m here to see Dr. Redd,” a young man asked.
Do you have an appointment?” an elderly woman replied.
No, but a friend of mine said Dr. Redd could help me.”
We have a number of people here to see Dr. Redd today, but he seems to be free for the next hour. Your name?”
Fred; Fred Forge.”
Fred turned toward the waiting room, looking for an empty chair. The waiting room was a perfect square with about twenty chairs set around the walls of the room, with endtables in three of its four corners. The corner without the endtable was situated near the reception desk, with an opaque glass door between the wall and the desk, with a sign on it that read, “John Redd, M.T.”
Against the far wall, a brown-haired woman in a purple dress was reading “Goodnight Moon” to the two children on either side of her. Two girls about Fred’s age were sitting near her, painting their fingernails, deeply engrossed in a whisper-giggle-whisper-giggle conversation, and by the wall nearest him, an older man in a technician suit was dozing softly in his chair.
Fred took a seat near the elderly man, and nervously looked around the room. His friend Matt had shared with him how Dr. Redd used “unconventional techniques” to fix a relationship problem with his girlfriend, Melanie. “It may hurt a little,” Matt had explained, “but it works: he gets to the heart of the problem without digging into your past like most psychologists.” Fred had listened to Matt’s story--what he saw, what he did, and how Dr. Redd had done it--and he was skeptical and fearful of meeting this man.
His thoughts were interrupted by a middle-aged gentleman with graying hair and a steady gaze entering from the glass door. Though his hair color was changing, it was obvious from his form that he was still very strong, well within his prime. His grey eyes rested on the young man, who stood to meet him.
Fred, I’m John Redd,” he said, walking forward and extending his hand, “I understand one of my patients recommended me to you. How can I help you?”
Dr. Redd,” Fred replied, “I've had a ‘falling out’ with a friend of mine. I need your help.”
Come with me,” John replied, walking toward the entry door. Fred hadn’t realized that there was another door, a black door, near the entrance. As Dr. Redd stood near the black door rummaging through his key ring, Fred asked, “Aren’t we going to walk down the white hallway with the fluorescent overhead lights?”
As I told your friend,” John replied, placing a key in the lock, “there are many ways to enter the mind, and thus there are many ways to enter my office.” And with a twist-click-creak, the door opened, and John motioned for him to enter.
The door opened to a small room with two reclining chairs, situated around a brown oak table, and on the table was a black box. On the wall nearest him, he saw a picture of two Greek soldiers with spears and shields fighting a gigantic boar. On the far wall there was a black picture frame with an impressionist-style painting of a forest in the Rhine river valley. And in the corner, on a small endtable, there was a dark blue glass vase with a single orange rose in it.
Take a seat,” John said, calm and assuring. “I need to know a little more about your friendship before we begin.”
Matt said that you don't delve into your patient's past,” Fred said warily.
I don't,” John replied, seating himself in the other recliner, “I want to know about your present mental situation. What you used to think about him isn’t as important as your opinion of him now. Who he was and what he now is will converge at truth, so the past will be discovered in due time. Thus, I have a few preliminary questions. First, what is your friend's name?”
Grant,” Fred replied smugly.
And when I say, ‘Grant,’ are you led toward anger or hatred?”
Aren't they basically the same thing?”
Not at all," John replied, leaning forward in his recliner. “To feel anger toward a person is to desire justice for a wrong; 'hate' is to desire pain and torment on another person in order to satisfy my desire for gratification. With anger a standard (either proper or improper) of justice is vindicated, while hatred vindicates my personal desire for revenge, which may be excessive for the crime committed. So when you think of Grant, do you feel hatred, or anger?”
Anger,” Fred replied, “for a past wrong.”
Well then, let's examine this past wrong,” John said, rising from the recliner and placing his hands on the black box. “Are you ready?”
Aren't you going to turn out the lights?” Fred asked.
Would you like them out?”
I'll concentrate and sleep better if they are.”
Then I'll turn them out for you,” he said, walking over to the light switch.
As he clicked the switch off, all of the light in the room disappeared in a soup of darkness. Fred expected to hear Dr. Redd carefully and slowly walk back to the table, groping in the darkness that had instantly descended upon them. But to his amazement, John walked steadily--almost quickly--back to his place next to the table, and Fred could hear the keys rustling as they were removed from his pocket. A twist-click-creak, and the black box was unlocked. And as the lid rose, a soft electronica song began to play, filling the room with the complex yet soothing melody of the synthesizer.
Dream, Fred.”
* * *
Fred found himself flat on his back--or, at least, as flat as one can be while lying on a large tree root. He lay on the fringe of a small clearing, and above his head, he could see the large, shady branches of an oak tree. Everywhere around him was the varied sounds of what appeared to be an infinite forest. He slowly sat up, expecting at any moment for John to appear behind him, as he appeared to Matt in the bright hallway.
But he never appeared. In fact, nothing in sight appeared to stir or move. Yet everything about him--even the air he breathed--seemed to thrum in restless agitation, as if it was watching him, or something else, with weary and wary expectation. He debated for a moment whether he should explore the dark unknown around him, or whether he should stay where he was, avoiding potential dangers. In the end, he compromised by climbing a banyan tree nearby, hoping for a better vantage point.
From the higher elevation, Fred noticed that while he could hear birds chirping and calling, all of them were hidden from view. The patches of light that hit the forest floor seemed like daisies on a grave, sparse but consistent across the landscape. He could hear the sound of running water, but he could not see it. Fred began to wonder why everything was hidden from sight but present in sound – and it frightened him.
Matt mentioned that animals and places act differently in the dream,” Fred mused quietly to himself, “and that there is something to be gained from each peculiarity. I wonder--”
Fred’s thoughts were shattered as a loud, piercing grunt and snarl erupted deeper in the wood. Fred clung to the tree in horror as a massive boar, about ten feet tall, came barreling through the underbrush, tearing deep, long gashes in the oak trees with its large tusks as it charged into the clearing near the banyan tree.
The beast sniffed the earth where Fred awoke with his large snout, followed a low, deep growl. It reared its head as if to sniff the air, scanning the trees above him with two large nostrils and two small eyes. Fred's grip on the tree trunk rose with his fixation on the boar, terrified of what would happen to him if the boar discovered where he was.
Their eyes met.
The boar bellowed a guttural scream of fury, and charged the banyan tree full-speed. Fred, looking down at the earth below him, noticed that there was a patch of moss and loam at the base of the tree directly below him. It was now or never. He let go.
Fred hit the ground just before the impact, the roots and trunk of the banyan tree quivering and snapping before the juggernaut. Fred took off into the unknown, spotting a large, thick oak tree that might withstand the fury of the boar. At its base, he caught a glint of light from the sun above, and rushed to it to find a spear and shield partially covered with a leather covering.
As the large, black creature searched the ground for a trace of Fred, the young man looked for a branch or eye-hole that would allow him to climb the tree.
It's too high,” a familiar voice said from behind him.
Dr. Redd,” Fred said in a panic, “How do we get away from it?”
I thought you came to confront your problem,” Dr. Redd inquired.
I thought you meant my anger toward Grant, not a boar with primal fury!”
From the other side of the clearing, they heard a shout from a lone warrior, armed with a spear and shield, charging the beast. Fred started walking forward in bewilderment, which was stopped by a strong hand gripping his shoulder.
Why is Grant here?” Fred asked in furious amazement, freeing his shoulder from John’s grip with an angry jerk. “This is my mind’s world, isn’t it?”
Of course,” John replied. “Grant is one of your closest friends, isn’t he?”
Well, before Michelle, yeah. But since he stole her from me, I’ve hated him: whenever I see him--”
Hate him, Fred?”
Fred was quiet for a moment, but hot anger still blazed in his eyes as he looked into the calm green pair that studied him
I don’t know, alright? Seeing him fight bravely against this frightful thing makes the hairs on my back bristle, and my heart beats furiously and vengefully--”
Like a wild boar?”
Fred swallowed hard. He didn’t want to admit it. But there it was, standing before him.
Like a boar,” Fred replied slowly, “exactly like a boar.”
Are you going to help him,” John asked, his calm face turning suddenly stern. “Or are you going to leave him to die?”
Fred looked at the struggle--if it could be called a struggle. The boar was beating its tusks against Grant’s shield, flinging him back several feet on each attempt. Within a minute, his back would be against a tree, and the mauling process would begin.
I think I’ll enjoy this,” Fred began, and then suddenly cut himself off. He turned back toward John in shock, bowed his head, and added, “Why did I let that out? I don’t usually say things like that--”
Because we're in your mind, Fred: what you think is apparent here. There's no softening or camouflaging your thoughts in your mind, Fred. That’s why I work here: my patients can’t use pretenses and manners to mitigate their responses to my questions.”
So you’re interrogating me by looking around my mind?”
Precisely,” John replied, “though I can also ask you questions directly: are you sure that you only feel anger toward Grant, or is it hate?”
Fred dropped his head again. “You’ve already seen that it’s hate, haven’t you?”
I haven’t seen you charge that boar to save him yet,” John replied, his voice once again resuming its calm and assuring tone. “That would answer the question.”
Fred looked over the embankment. Grant’s shield was shattered on the ground, and he was staggering against a large oak tree, desperately struggling to ward off the monstrous beast with his spear. His heart sank: why couldn’t the beast just jump and lunge at him? Why couldn’t it just finish him off?
He checked himself. This is hate. This must be stopped.  Wishing evil upon his friend was wrong, regardless of the fact that he stole Michelle. But I don’t feel like helping him, his mind seemed to say. You don’t defend your enemy.
I don’t care,” Fred said aloud, responding to his thoughts, “we’re going to save Grant.”
He crawled up the embankment, raised his shield and spear, and charged at the beast. As he thrust his spear at its side, it glanced off of its scaly, bristling body with a sharp ping. It was only then, as he stood up-close-and-personal with the beast, that he noticed that it had scales under its thick bristles, instead of flesh. The beast turned and thrust its massive head into Fred’s shield. The impact flung him a few yards away, and the beast prepared to charge him.
Then Fred heard something strange: the steady tack-tack-tack of gunfire, and the beast wheeled around to charge its new attacker. John stood about sixty feet away near a large oak tree with an MP5 machine gun in his hands. Fred wondered where he found that, but his head rang louder than the bullets being fired into the iron beast, so his questions died away.
The boar charged John, roaring with anger. Dropping his firearm, John spread his hands in front of him, as if picturing the dimensions of a large, flat object. Almost instantly, John was hidden from Fred’s sight by a brick wall, at first cartoon-like, but then real and solid. The boar charged the wall, tearing it to pieces, but tripping over the shards of brick and mortar. Fred turned to see John shouldering Grant's weary body, and bolted with him toward the embankment.
How did you do that?” Fred asked in amazement.
Not now,” John replied. “Get behind the embankment.”
As they climbed to safety, Fred’s exasperated voice rose above the sound of John’s now-drawn Glock pistol, “How am I supposed to kill the boar, if I can't puncture it with my spear?”
Castor and Pollux didn’t kill the Calydonian Boar,” John replied, replacing his cartridge. “The princess Atalanta did. But the brothers didn't let their desire for personal glory get in the way of protecting each other, despite their intense desire to be the victor of the hunt. You have a choice, Fred,” John said, looking him in the eyes, “either to let her go and forgive your friend, or to attempt to win the conquest, and risk the safety of your friendship.”
The boar turned.
And choose quickly,” he added in a hurry, clicking his pistol from “Semi” to “Auto.”
The boar charged, foam falling from its mouth. Fred grabbed his spear, and as he jumped over the earthen wall, he let out a scream of anger and determination as he charged his fears.
Beast,” Fred shouted, “This must stop! Michelle is gone: no matter what happens to Grant, Michelle is gone. To hold onto this hate will only destroy us, and if that's what it comes down to, I'd rather die as a man, than live as a monster in my hate. Prepare to die,” he shouted, as he hefted his spear to strike, the beast only meters from him now.
An arrow struck the boar behind the ear, turning his course just beyond Fred's body. Fred rolled to the side to avoid the brute's massive bulk, the piercing squeal of the boar ringing through the forest. To his left, Fred heard the beat of hooves against the uneven earth, with a young woman dressed in dark blue on horseback. As the boar retreated, the Amazon continued to assault the boar.
Michelle,” Fred said, dazed by the sudden change in events.
Shall we pursue her?” John asked, looking into the distance, but honed on Fred's response.
No. She's gone – and I need to let her ride on without me.”
Then sleep in peace, Fred,” John replied with a smile.
* * *
When Fred awoke, he was in the recliner with the lights turned on. He rose slowly, looking for the doctor, and still taking in everything that had happened in his dreams. As he entered the lobby, he saw Dr. Redd sitting next to the woman in the purple dress, reading “The Ugly Duckling” to the small children on their laps. The two girls were done painting their nails, and were talking together until he entered the room. John put down the book, and rose to greet him.
Fred, I'd like you to meet my family,” John said, pointing to everyone in the room.
Fred nodded toward everyone generally with a shy “Hi,” and then gave John a probing look, full of the questions that he wanted to ask him, but didn't know how to express.
I know you have questions, Fred,” John said, “and I'd love to chat with you about them. You have a wonderful mind, son, and a better heart behind it.”
Well, thank you, sir,” Fred replied, “but what exactly did you have in mind?”
Well, I could always use an assistant,” John answered with a smile, “if you're game.”
As Fred thought about the proposition, one of the girls met his gaze, smiled, and then returned to talking with her sister. He looked back at John.
Tell me more.”