It was unusual, to be sure. And Dr. Woolridge had certainly never seen anything like it in any of her patients. Then again, Charlie was not your garden variety head case, offering a mixture of symptoms that could be applied to many different facets of disorders in the DSM, as well as a number of inclinations that Dr. Woolridge had never encountered before, including the fact that he was a man with a raging libido that was in diametric opposition to how low the depths of his depression sank on a daily basis. She began seeing him–and prescribing a bizarre cocktail of medication–roughly two years ago now, and rather than noting the decrease in his sex drive as she upped the milligrams of his antidepressant dosage, she saw an unprecedented uptick in what she called to herself his “rape eyes,” looking at her as though she were a piece of meat and he a ravenous wolf during each of their sessions.
Dr. Woolridge ignored his overt glances, ceasing to wear her usual slit skirt and blazer ensemble on days when she would see him. She was a professional, after all, and did not want to unduly arouse him with her appearance. Though a part of her thought it might be prudent to refer him to a male psychiatrist, she knew that his easily ruffled feathers and light Borderline Personality Disorder would make even the mere suggestion feel like a huge affront to him. So she bit her tongue as he licked his lips, telling her the latest series of woes and slights in his life, interweaving anecdotes pertaining to his sexual hijinks throughout. It generally always involved a narrative that began at a bar, where he would inevitably bring home with him whoever was desperate and foolish enough to take him up on his offer of buying her “a” drink, which inevitably turned into one and then three and then five. More often than not, the woman that he attracted tended to be portly and overly horny from months or even years spent under a dry spell. One that Charlie was all too content to rain on. However, that ephemeral moment of contentedness during and shortly after orgasm ended up making him feel even lower and more lugubrious than before, setting off a vicious cycle of constantly wanting–needing–to replicate the feeling so as to never experience, for too long anyway, the intense lows brought on by his seemingly uncorrectable chemical imbalance. So it was that Dr. Woolridge was constantly counseling him regarding other ways to find release, offering such absurd gentle nudges as, “Why don’t you take up a hobby?”
“Masturbation?” he countered hostilely.
She gamely returned, “I reckon that’s already something you regularly participate in…so no. I was thinking something more along the lines of, I don’t know, painting or ceramics.”
“What am I, a middle-aged overweight woman with empty nest syndrome?”
Dr. Woolridge cleared her throat in annoyance. “Your views of women and people in general seem decidedly rooted in mid-twentieth century stereotypes.”
“Don’t act the pedantic superior with me, Dr. Wooldridge. You and I both know that certain stereotypes are still alive and well, and that they’re not going anywhere.”
She was careful in choosing which words to use next with him, not wanting to negate his purview on the matter, but not wanting to corroborate his narrow impressions of the world either. She decided to stall by doing something that, to Charlie, was incomprehensible: she extracted a cigarette out of an urn-like jar on her desk that he had formerly assumed actually contained ashes. All she had to do was pull the lid up to reveal a bevy of available cancer sticks that popped out like a jack-in-the-box. She then removed a matchbook from her breast pocket and asked innocently, as though they were in an old movie, “Do you mind if I smoke?”
“Won’t an alarm go off or something?”
“I disabled it.”
“Isn’t that against the law, endangering your patients in such a way?”
“I don’t know. Is it? Do you feel endangered?”
Oddly titillated, he declared, “No. Strangely, I feel safer than I ever have before in your office.”
“And why is that?” she asked, uncrossing her legs and lighting the cigarette.
“Because you’re finally revealing something to me about yourself.”
“That makes you feel what? A closeness?”
“I would never presume to think that you were the type of person that could be ‘gotten close to’.”
She exhaled. “Presumption is one of your main issues though.” Suddenly, she had no idea what she was doing, what direction she was taking this conversation in. She felt out of control and it was sending her down an ill-advised method of treatment, one she knew that Charlie had invariably fantasized about. She would have guessed even if he hadn’t made bizarre comments about the sexual tension between Dr. Melfi and Tony Soprano that, had it been addressed by physical consummation, might have saved their patient-therapist dynamic before it all unraveled by the end of the series. She didn’t probe him too much on that little theory, not wanting to draw any parallels between herself and Melfi. Not that she looked anything like that slightly plump Mediterranean woman struggling with the loss of her sexual appeal. No, Dr. Woolridge was blonde, thin and green-eyed. Her attractive appearance gave her constant pause about who she considered a viable client and who might prove a potential hazard to her license. A man like Charlie, she knew, was a huge risk to undertake. But she had grown so bored of taking on the entire suburban arsenal of pillhead mothers who hated their children for 1) taking their lives away from them and 2) living the unabashed selfish lives that they wanted. She needed to deviate slightly from the homogenous (unfortunately not homosexual) clientele to keep herself interested in the profession. Charlie provided that release.
She figured he wouldn’t become too much of a danger to her career because, as she initially supposed, someone with such a blatant history of clinical depression couldn’t possibly have much of a sex drive, if any at all. Over the course of just three sessions, however, it became obvious to Dr. Woolridge that he was flirting with her, catching him adjusting the position of his boner on multiple occasions without much embarrassment. The same boner he had at this very moment as she smoked her cigarette. Except, right now, he wasn’t even bothering to feign attempting to conceal it. He just let it rise, staring at her the entire time.
“Doc, do you mind if I unzip my pants?”
She shook herself out of her daze. “You need to go to the bathroom to…relieve yourself, Charlie. My office isn’t the place.”
“You’re telling me I gotta walk to the bathroom with this huge erection and then rub one out while other people potentially hear me?”
She gulped. “Yes.”
He laughed. Lightly, at first, but then with a sort of diabolical slant. It was making Dr. Woolridge extremely nervous. She had never seen him let out a laugh like that, let alone laugh at all in her presence. She was getting the sense that something strange and yet somehow totally expected was about to happen next. To avert it, she stubbed out her cigarette abruptly and concluded, “I think that’s all for today. We can pick up next week.”
But just as she turned around, he was right in her face, up against her, grinding his boner on the triangle he had formed by pressing against it. She was speechless. She wanted to yell, rebel against his advances. Yet something inside her instructed her to do nothing. To let it play out. And as he pulled unzipped her dress and slipped it off, she knew that there was no going back. This is what she had to do, she reasoned, in order to cure him of his inexplicable libido. Fulfill this fantasy he clearly had about fucking his therapist and then maybe all subsequent “stirrings” in his loins could be quelled. He groaned and grunted as he thrusted into her against the desk, whispering phrases and words that were as vulgar as they came, at one point sounding as though he were speaking in religious tongues.
It was quite some time before he orgasmed, refusing to do it until she herself was satisfied in “the matter.” She couldn’t do it, and finally, Charlie had to let it spew out as he released himself. The ejaculate, she soon found after the police arrested her, ended up in places she couldn’t even fathom. In her desk drawer, on the ceiling, on the spines of several books on her bookshelf.
“You don’t understand,” she insisted after Charlie had committed suicide because she wouldn’t let him fuck her again. “I was just trying to cure a depressive patient with a high libido.”
“Then you should have told him to watch porn regularly. Or get married,” the booking officer sneered.
“They’re one and the same, ain’t they Mac?” his associate joked.
Dr. Woolridge, though briefly suffering the shame of the incident in the local news, posted her bail thanks to the many wealthy fathers of the neighborhood who not only needed her to keep treating their fraught-nerved wives, but to, now, based on her newly discovered method of “healing,” treat them as well.