Doctor O: Beth – Session Five

It’s time for damage control. I prefer to be paving my patient’s road toward newfound love, but I often find myself filling in potholes. I can’t do it all myself, that’s why enlist the help of valuable players as I strategize. I’m a great coach. It also helps to be a good liar.

“Beth, I’m so sorry to hear about John. That’s horrible. How are you doing?”

“Why do I get the feeling you heard about this long before I did?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you going to sit there and tell me you didn’t have a hand in this?”

“How could I? It was a suicide.”

“They haven’t determined that yet.”

“I thought you said he jumped off a bridge with the money.”

“Maybe he was pushed.”

“Beth …”

“And, what money?”

“They recovered the money, right?”


“The police, I assume–whoever fished him out of the river.”

“There was no money, doc.”

“Where is it?”

“I assume John used it to pay whoever was threatening him. Eh, hem.”

“Beth, I hope you don’t think I had anything to do with this. I never met John, and I was nowhere near the river when he jumped. I was having dinner at Duke’s around plenty of witnesses.”

“So, his bookie killed him and took the money, right? How much was your cut?”

“Beth, I don’t …”

“He didn’t have to fucking die! What kind of animal are you? He was a shitty person, but he’s still the father of my children.”

“I had nothing to do with this. The timing was just coincidental.”

“Man, what kind of fool do you take me for? I can’t even go to the authorities about this because they’re gonna think I hired you to kill him. This is some fucked up shit right here. You’re a hit man and a therapist. They oughta make an HBO show about you.”

“That’s crazy talk, Beth.”

“OK, if you weren’t there, who did it?”

“He jumped. Look, I have some contacts downtown. I’ll try to get more information. Maybe the money floated away or sank.”

“I ain’t worried about the goddamn money. Don’t you dare say I’m better off now, because this just ain’t right. Rest of my life I gotta live with the thought that I had a hand in this.”

“You didn’t. I have people who can find out what happened. Maybe his bookie was involved. Who knows? Are they doing an autopsy?”

“Yep, we had to postpone the funeral. Bet they find your fingerprints. How you gonna explain that?”

“I wasn’t there, Beth. I had nothing to do with this. Stay calm and wait for the autopsy reports. I think you’re overreacting.”

“Overreacting? I tell you my life would be better without him, and two weeks later he’s floating face down on the river. Maybe I should go to the police before they come to me.”

“And do what? There’s no way to implicate me.”

“… without implicating myself, right?”

“It was a suicide. Let these paranoid thoughts go and move on.”

“I don’t know what to believe anymore. I just want to make food and find a man who won’t take advantage of me. I’m starting to think the second half of that is impossible.”

“It’s not impossible. You’re a fine woman with so much to offer. Once they finish the investigation, you’ll be OK.”

“How am I going to explain the fact that he signed over his share of the restaurant and the fifty-thousand dollars I gave him? They’re not gonna think something’s fishy?”

“Tell the truth. He came to you needing money, you offered a way for him to get it, and it was all signed and witnessed. It wasn’t like he was forced to do anything.”

“Except jump off a damn bridge.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I don’t even want to walk into my business. It feels dirty now.”

“If you don’t go about business-as-usual, you’re going to spiral down into depression. I know you loved John and certainly didn’t want anything like this to happen to him. He was an unstable man. He drank heavily, and mixed with dangerous people. He got himself into some trouble, which you tried to help him out of by giving him money. He couldn’t handle the pressure and snapped.”


“For your own sake, get rid of these crazy thoughts that either of us are to blame. John did this to himself. You’re not responsible. I’m not responsible. Nobody wanted it to happen this way, but he is totally out of your life now. You can either begin building the life you deserve or wallow in unjustified guilt.”

“This shit is gonna drive me to drink. Our sons are flying in this weekend for the services. I don’t know how I can even face them.”

“You’ll be fine, Beth. Once you hear from the coroner, you’ll see that your suspicions aren’t justified.”

“Let’s hope.”

“I’m going to prescribe something to calm your nerves. Get this filled and follow the instructions. You’ll be fine. Call me the minute you hear from the coroner, OK?”

“Fine. Doc, I like you, and I really hope you’re telling me the truth here.”

“I am. I promise. Go get some rest. I’ll talk to you soon.”


Diagnosis: As expected, she’s distraught and suspicious. If there’s an investigation I may be exposed. I need to find out where the money went. Could Rick or Ronnie have taken the money and thrown him off the bridge? I trust these guys, but people do funny things when there’s large sums of money involved. I need to bring them both in to get to the bottom of this. Rick said he saw the money floating next to John. Can’t imagine he’d be so greedy. Ronnie would probably kill him–badge or no badge.

Treatment: Stay on top of this and make sure Beth keeps quiet. Have Rick check on coroner. Crucial that this comes out as a suicide. May need to call in more favors. I’m losing leverage with some of my teammates. Not good.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.