Monday, November 7, 2016

CLOCK STRIKES THREE and the Magnificent Helen Duvall

Figure One - NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Violence and mayhem ensue after
a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong. Could Anton Chigurh use a shrink?
In CLOCK STRIKES THREE,  I wrote about a troubled young man who is sent to a court-appointed psychiatrist by the judicial system. What did I know about psychiatry or psychology when I wrote this story? Nothing, except for some movies about the subject and a couple of psychology courses in college. Although, I was a somewhat successful manager in corporate America for many years, and all good people managers are part time psychologists, as well as their boss duties. I once had a boss who dabbled in psychology quite a lot and tried to use psychology to manipulate his management team, not from a positive perspective mind you, but as a way to control and undermine the cooperation between the members of his management team. He was a manipulative micromanager who loved being the pivot point for all important decisions and the conduit for discussions between his managers.   
When I wrote CLOCK STRIKES THREE about this troubled young man named Joey Gellar and his court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Holbrook Devon, I drew part of my psychiatrist character from the boss I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I wanted to portray Dr. Holbrook Devon as a person who needed to be in control of every second of every day. Ultimately, this obsession extended to his patients. In CLOCK STRIKES THREE,  I attempted to demonstrate how Dr. Devon manipulated a few select patients. I wanted to show how Dr. Devon looked for psychological weaknesses in his patients and if the patients were ripe for manipulation, he pushed them down his path. You will have to read CLOCK STRIKES THREE to see where Dr. Devon's path led. 

Now, let’s meet Dr. Devon and one of his patients, shall we? The passage below is from CLOCK STRIKES THREE. In this scene, Dr. Devon is meeting with a long time patient, the elegant Helen Duvall. Dr. Devon has gone too far in his treatment with Helen Duvall and she is beginning to realize what he is doing.         
Back at Dr. Devon’s office, he was meeting with one of his woman patients by the name of Helen Duvall. She was in her late fifties, but she still possessed the striking image of a fashion model. She was tall and willowy and walked with the grace of a gazelle. Her hair was gray, a beautiful dye-free, natural gray. She wore her hair in a loose bun, free enough to cover the tops of her ears. Her face was long and thin with a perfect nose set on it. Helen did have some wrinkles etched in her face, but they were slight and on her distinguished face, they symbolized wisdom and experience rather than age. She sat up straight in her chair, her posture as straight as an arrow, yet she did not look stiff and uncomfortable. Tiny trails of tears followed the contours of her cheeks, getting lost in pools on her long, pale neck. Dr. Devon, with fountain pen in hand, was taking careful notes and thinking through what Helen was telling him. Finally, she stopped talking long enough for the doctor to feel comfortable interrupting her.
“Please accept my condolences to you and your family in regards to the unexpected passing of your uncle,” Dr. Devon declared while shoving an open tissue box across the coffee table that separated him from Helen.
“Thank you,” Helen responded, slightly winded from unloading her emotions onto the doctor. She reached down with long manicured nails and plucked two tissues from the cardboard box. She gingerly dabbed at the tears on her cheeks.
“You have spoken about your uncle so many times in our sessions that I feel I knew him,” Dr. Devon declared and then after a pause, he stated, “But, I do feel it quite unusual for you to react the way you are in regards to your uncle’s death.”
Helen stopped drying her eyes and cheeks. Her facial expression tightened. “Why do you think that this is unusual, Holbrook?” she questioned, using the doctor’s first name.
Dr. Devon cleared his throat while thinking about the best way to answer Helen’s question. “Well…uh…I am not sure that this is the appropriate time…I mean…to revisit all of the horrific things your uncle did to you as a child,” the doctor hemmed and hawed.
Helen continued glaring at Dr. Devon, patiently waiting for him to finish his thought. She balled up the tissues in her white-knuckled fist. For the longest time, the doctor and Helen just sat there, she staring at him while his eyes looked down at the coffee table. The only sound came from the rhythmic ticking of the mantle clock as it measured the uncomfortable pause between doctor and patient.
Helen broke the silence, asking, “Well, doctor, are you finished?”
“Uh,” Dr. Devon mumbled, knowing that he was opening up a can of worms. After a long pause, he responded, “Your uncle was one of the main reasons you came to me five years ago. It has taken you most of your life and all of your inner strength to find the courage to forgive this monster for the emotional and physical damage he inflicted on you as a child.”
Figure Three - The beautiful and elegant Helen Duvall
What did her uncle do to Helen and how did Dr. Holbrook Devon get involved? Dr. Devon cannot stand not controlling every situation when it comes to his patients. You will have to read CLOCK STRIKES THREE to see what happens between Dr. Devon and Helen Duvall. I promise, you would never guess….CLICK TO ORDER CLOCK STRIKES THREE

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