PSYCHOTHERAPY BEYOND THE FRINGE, continued
A Dysthymic Mimic
Six months later, Felicity was sitting in his office, bored out of his skull, scoring the umpteenth Rorschach test of the day. The phone rang. Now Felicity hates the telephone, agreeing heartily with Ambrose Bierce that it is “an instrument of the devil, which abrogates the advantages of distance.” However, the telephone might relieve for a few minutes the boredom he was feeling. So he answered it. A familiar voice greeted him. It was Alton. It occurred to Felicity that Alton probably had a reason for phoning. So he made an heroic effort to pay attention.
With a slightly capricious tone in his voice which alarmed Felicity, Alton said he was afraid that Felicity was going to have to deal with a homosexual again. Felicity had a tingling foreboding that the whole thing had returned and that Alton was back into his homosexual ways. He offered an appointment time and it was accepted. However, Alton added that the appointment would be kept by someone he called Alvin Trencher.
Felicity started to obsess. Had Alton sunk so deeply into his old ways that he had found it necessary to change his name? Had he decided he was a transsexual, and was he now altering his name progressively as he underwent the sex change procedures? Had Alton performed some dreadful crime so that he had to elude the police by adopting an alias? Had one of his gay contacts exposed Alton’s actions, so that he found it necessary to abandon his community and travel incognito? Was Alton in a fugue state when he phoned? Was he in one of his ‘twilight’ states of semi-sleep? Had Alton used a false name during their earlier contacts? Had Alton developed a multiple personality disorder with different names for each of his personalities? How many (hundreds of) personalities were tugging competitively at Alton’s consciousness? Felicity’s soap opera imaginings got him so on edge that he could hardly wait to find out what had happened.