This session is similar to the one that ended up in print. It was originally cut in two and “straddled” one of the present-day scenes. So you’ll want to read this first, then “Josh Has Shooting Practice,” then “Post-Boxing Session, Part II.”
When I cut the boxing scene and “Josh Has Shooting Practice,” this section suddenly had a lot of extraneous information and dialogue in it, so it was trimmed and combined into one. It became Session Transcript #155, starting on page 68.
Dr. Kennedy: How are you doing, Josh?
J. Mendel: OK.
Kennedy: That’s a nice shiner you’ve got there. Care to tell me how you got it?
Mendel: You already know.
Kennedy: What makes you think that?
Mendel: You get reports. You talk to people. You know everything before I even come in here.
Kennedy: That’s true, in some cases. And I do know about what happened at the Rec Center yesterday, but I’d like to hear it in your words.
Mendel: I don’t feel like telling it in my words, OK?
Kennedy: You were doing really well, Josh. We just cut back to twice a month. Do you think that was a mistake? Should we go back to every week?
Kennedy: This doesn’t work unless you’re willing to talk to me.
Mendel: I don’t care.
Kennedy: Fortunately, I don’t believe that. You’ve come a long way since we first started seeing each other. You’re usually willing to talk to me. Why is this time different?
Mendel: I don’t know.
Kennedy: Is it because of your mother?
Mendel: I don’t know.
Kennedy: I know what some of the boys said to you. Did that bother you?
Mendel: Isn’t it supposed to bother me?
Kennedy: Of course it is. That’s perfectly normal. Especially given your background. Look, Josh, I’m going to ask you a question, and I want you to think about it very carefully. And please don’t be upset by it. I’m asking you this as your doctor and as someone who’s concerned about you, OK?
Kennedy: Josh, do you… Your mother is pretty, isn’t she?
Mendel: I guess.
Kennedy: Josh, the way you were with Mrs. Sherman… Have you ever… Has your mother ever made you feel uncomfortable or touched you in a way—
Mendel: I do not want to fuck my mother!
Kennedy: Josh! Sit down! Please.
Mendel: You’re sick! You’re just like them. You think that—
Kennedy: Josh, I don’t think anything right now. I’m asking you a question. That’s how this works, remember? I ask you questions and you answer them and we figure out—
Mendel: I don’t want to talk about this. It’s sick.
Kennedy: With your background, it would be perfectly natural for you to—
Mendel: My mother never touched me, OK? Never.
Kennedy: After what you experienced with Mrs. Sherman, it would be understandable if you were attracted to more mature women. It’s called “imprinting” and it’s the basis of fetishes and—
Mendel: I hate that. I hate that shit.
Kennedy: What’s that?
Mendel: That psychological bullshit. “Imprinting” and “fetishes” and next you’ll be talking about Oedipus…
Kennedy: Actually, I wasn’t going to bring that up, but it’s interesting that you did. What do you know about the Oedipal Complex?
Mendel: I read things. I’m not stupid. I don’t hate my dad and I don’t want to sleep with my mom.
Kennedy: Well, you’re oversimplifying, but I’m glad to hear that you’re thinking about these things on your own.
Mendel: It’s all a bunch of crap.
Kennedy: To be fair, some of it is. Tell you what — if you catch me slipping into psychobabble, I’ll give you a buck. How about that?
Mendel: It’s your money.
Kennedy: OK. Let me try to explain this: Sometimes, when children are sexually abused, they become incapable of what’s considered a “normal” sexual response. Make sense so far?
Mendel: You mean they can only have sex with the person who abused them?
Kennedy: Well, no. But close. Look, as people grow older, they come to develop responses for situations, including sex, OK? But if you’re abused when you’re young, sometimes those responses can be twisted or changed. It could make it difficult for you to respond sexually to someone your own age, for example.
Mendel: Because I would want Eve instead?
Kennedy: Or someone like her.
Mendel: Back to my mother again.
Kennedy: Your mother is an older woman, like Mrs. Sherman. She’s in a position of authority over you, like Mrs. Sherman.
Mendel: This is bull. I don’t go crazy for every woman who’s older than me.
Kennedy: Do you have a girlfriend, Josh?
Mendel: You know the answer to that already.
Kennedy: Tell me again.
Mendel: No. I don’t. OK? Maybe I’m gay.
Kennedy: You’re not gay, Josh.
Mendel: Maybe I am. You don’t know.
Kennedy: Do you know?