Konan scribbled his name on the board and handed it back to the guard, and then walked over to the lift and pressed the button for the fifth floor. Dr. Judith’s office sat on the left side of the hallway, about halfway down said hall. Konan checked his watch; he was fifteen minutes early to his appointment. He opened the door and walked into the foyer. A young, black-haired man sat behind the glass, and he gave Konan a small smile.
“Hi,” he said in a cheerful tone, “how may I help you today?”
“I’m Dr. Judith’s 1500 appointment, Thermopolis Konan.”
The young man tapped on the keys, and he nodded. “Okay, detective. You can have a seat, and I’ll let her know you’re here.”
“Thanks,” Konan muttered, as he took a seat over in the corner, his back to the television. Assorted magazines were piled up on the coffee table, so Konan picked up a Guns and Ammo magazine and cracked it open.
The young man opened the door and beckoned for Konan to follow him, and he led Konan back to a solid wood door. “Go on in,” the young man said, “She’s waiting for you.”
Konan turned the knob and walked in. Dr. Judith Roberts sat behind an antique cherry desk. She watched as Konan walked toward her. Her eyes seemed to light up as he drew near to her.
“Detective Konan, please have a seat. I am Judith, and it’s my pleasure to meet you.”
Konan sat in a black faux leather chair across from her. For a long moment she stared at Konan, and he stared back. She wasn’t hard to look at. Her golden-brown hair hung to the middle of her shoulders in tendrils, curved and winding they were, her eyes a smoldering grey you only read about in fantasy novels, her lips full and kissable, her neck long and slender, a lover’s delight, but it was her serenity that captured Konan’s attention. The woman possessed an unnatural talent for calmness.
“Nice to meet you ma’am. I’m Thermopolis Konan. Do you know why I am here?”
“That’s not the question, detective. Do you know why you’re here?”
Konan sighed in frustration and rested his elbows against his knees, his thumbs pushed into his forehead. “Yes,” he muttered. “I’m here for a full psychiatric evaluation.”
“Yes, that’s part of it.” Judith picked up his file and set it on the desk. She hadn’t removed the seal; the tape read ‘Confidential’, but Judith appeared to not care about what was in the file.
“Who are you, detective?”
“It’s all right there in that file, ma’am.”
“No,” Judith responded, “what people think about you is in this file. I’m asking you, who are you?”
“I told you. I’m Thermopolis Konan.”
“That’s your name, but past your name, below your traits, attributes, and ambition, there is you. Who is that at the bottom of all the insecurities, the self-doubts, the confidence, the lies, and the truth?”
“There’s a scared little boy chained to a wall, all alone in the dark.”
“And what is that little boy scared off?”
“Of not being enough, not being smart enough, and he’s torn by the thought his time has passed him by.”
Judith smiled at Konan and scribbled something in her notebook. Why did I say that? I’ve never confided that in anyone before. Konan gulped and swallowed hard.
“You seemed shocked you admitted that to me, detective. Let me assure you that everything you say here is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” She set her pen on the notebook and crossed her fingers.
“My name is Judith Terese Roberts. I understand ma’am is used in respect, but I don’t like it. Call me Judith.”
“Okay, Judith. Thank you.”
“Chief Janko called me and informed me of the death of Detective Tomas. He wants you to work through the issues that may arise from his passing. He didn’t come right out and say it, but he seemed to recognize you might struggle coping with this loss.”
Konan said nothing, but Judith watched as his mouth transformed into a hard line, and his eyes grew dark. “Would you like to tell me what happened?”
“I left him at Mary’s Pub, now he’s dead. All that remains is a ripped off portion of his lower left leg.”
“And you feel responsible for his death?”
“Yes, Judith. I was there, and I left.”
“What happened to Tomas wasn’t your fault. Bad things happen to good people. Even cops.”
“I know bad things happen to people, Judith.” Anger tinted his words, his voice flat and unemotional, and Judith watched Konan.
“How did you two get along at work? Did you socialize with each other outside of work?”
“We got along fine at work, both of us wanted the bad guys to pay. I don’t socialize with many people, I’m a bit of a loner.”
“So, given what you just said, you have no reason to feel guilty, detective. You didn’t socialize, you weren’t friends, and you said you’re a loner. Ergo, you’re not responsible.”
“I don’t think you understand…”
“Let me stop you, Konan. I’ve worked with cops my whole career and helped them through trauma. Don’t insult me by saying I don’t understand.”
“I was a solider, and one of the tenets we live our lives by is this: Leave no man behind. I failed Tomas.”