The woman in the armchair across from him is middle-aged and kind-eyed. She wears a soft sweater and a floral pin with a small clay dove. Her pen hovers over her clipboard.
"How have you been doing this week, Stephen?"
"Do we really have to do this?"
He's refused to lie down on the couch. He's sitting, instead, but hunched over.
"You could stop shooting me up with hormones I don't need. That'd help."
"I'm not hurting anybody."
"...I've been doing fine."
Someone else appears in her place.
"This is what you're holding out for?"
"You're not real."
"That's certainly news to me."
"I told you you can't have my soul."
Couldn't, he corrects himself. Even if this were real.
“And I told you that I don’t want to keep it.”
"I assure you that I'm being completely honest with you."
He crosses his heart, in an X rather than a †, and his finger leaves a brief trail of flame behind.
"...funny way for you to swear."
"It's far enough from its origins by now that I think it's fair game."
"...just because I'm a fucked-up person doesn't mean–"