Lenny let his plastered arm drop to the cushion with a thud that sounded like pig skin crashing into a receiver’s chest.
“And that’s why you drove your truck into a ditch?” asked Dr. Emanuel.
“No, that was the beer,” Lenny explained.
“The tests would beg to differ,” Dr. Emanuel countered.
Dr. Emanuel pinched the screen of his iPad and turned it towards Lenny.
“The doctors tested your blood. Your BAC was .00,” Dr. Emanuel said, pointing to the results on the tablet.
“Well, I was in that ditch for awhile,” Lenny noted. “Maybe it worked itself out of my system?”
Dr. Emanuel made a few more finger swipes on his device and handed it to Lenny.
“According to the police report, a witness called 9-1-1 the moment you were ejected from your vehicle. You were emitted to the ER within 28 minutes.”
“So?” Lenny said, handing the tablet back to Dr. Emanuel.
“So, there’s no way your blood level could’ve dropped from DUI to nothing in less than thirty minutes.”
“Maybe it was one of the other drugs?”
“No other drugs were found in your system,” Dr. Emanuel stated, no longer bothering to pull up Lenny’s charts.
“Maybe I was roofied?” Lenny suggest.
“Although odorless and flavorless, Rohypnol can still be detected in your system. Which in your case, it was not.”
Lenny sat up and looked Dr. Emanuel in the eyes.
“What are you getting at, Doc?”
“The root of your problems.”
Lenny laid back down and stared at the textured ceiling that reminded him of painted turf in an end zone.
“My only problem is that goddamned throw that cost me a goddamned championship,” Lenny argued.
“That certainly is a problem,” said Dr. Emanuel, “but it’s not your only problem.”
“Well no-fucking-shit.” Lenny said, waving his cast arm towards the doctor.
“That’s two problems,” said Dr. Emanuel, “but I bet we can find more.”
“Heeere we go,” Lenny moaned. “Time to delve into my daddy issues.”
“Who said anything about your father?” Dr. Emanuel asked.
“Give me a break, Doc. You seem to have my entire life on that goddamned tablet.”
“Guilty,” Dr. Emanuel admitted, throwing up his hands. “But then again, so are you.”
“Of lying to me.”
“About your real problems.”
“Fine, guilty,” Lenny said, throwing up his arms to mock Dr. Emanuel. “I guess growing up around a self-destructive sociopath sticks with you.”
“And in you,” said Dr. Emanuel.
“Don’t you see a little bit of your father in you?”
“Yeah, every time I look in a mirror.”
“You know that’s not what I mean.”
“I am NOTHING like my dad,” Lenny said, standing up from the chair and inflating his chest.
“Are you going to hit me, Lenny?” Dr. Emanuel asked, more intrigued than intimidated.
“Then why are you standing over me like a territorial gorilla?”
Lenny turned away from Dr. Emanuel and began taking a lap around the office.
“I don’t know?” Lenny responded in stride.
“What makes you think your father was a self-destructive sociopath, Lenny?” Dr. Emanuel asked.
“My old therapist told me so.”
“Did he or she ever meet him?”
“No, she didn’t.”
“Then how could she diagnose him?”
“Well, the self-destructive part is kind of a no brainer.”
“Ask his liver.”
Dr. Emanuel’s eyes widened as he dragged his finger across the tablet.
“So your dad was a drinker?”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
“Is that why you don’t drink?”
“It certainly helps.”
Dr. Emanuel paused to take a quick note and continued.
“What about the sociopath thing, Lenny? Where did your therapist get that?”
“Where do I start?”
“Where did you start with her?”
“Probably his funeral,” Lenny said, retaking his seat on the chaise lounge.
“What was it about his funeral that stood out to you?
“No one came.”
“Nope, aside from a few family members.”
“Was your dad a secluded man?”
“Not at all. He was constantly trying to get other people’s attention, especially women.”
“When would he do this?
“Grocery stores. Restaurants. My peewee football games.”
Dr. Emanuel readied his iPad for a treasure trove of insights.
“What happened there?”
“Not my games, as far as he was concerned.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean he was too busy flirting with all the moms to even know what number I was wearing.”
“Were your parents divorced?”
“NO! My mom would be sitting right next to him, and he’d still turn and talk to Ms. Calvin’s big fake tits.”
“Did your mom say anything?”
“Hell no. That man could do no wrong in her eyes.”
“He used to be a dumb jock; she was his secret admirer; and it wasn’t until everyone else they knew went to college that they, ‘fell in love,’ as she tells it.”
“Ah ha,” Dr. Emanuel said, pressing his finger against the tablet so hard he almost cracked the screen. “Let me guess, your dad was a quarterback?”
“You’re brilliant, Doc,” Lenny answered.
“A high-school-championship quarterback?”
“Can’t get one past you.”
“And you’re angry that you’re not?”
“Are you a psychic?”
“And THAT is why you drove your truck into a ditch.”
Dr. Emanuel’s grin vanished and his finger stopped moving.
“Are you lying to me again, Lenny?”
“But you said you were disappointed about the loss?”
“But not disappointed enough to harm yourself?”
“Then why would you harm yourself?”
“What did she do?”
“It’s something she said.”
“After the game.”
“What did she say?”
“You remind me of your father.”
Dr. Emanuel rested the tablet on his lap and looked at Lenny.
“And that’s why you drove your truck into a ditch.”
Lenny’s eyes welled up with tears as he lifted his arms above his head.
Written by: Mark Killian
Photograph by: Omar Sanders