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The Limits of Therapy 

by Paul Kesler

It was bad enough when the mesmeric passes failed and the patient started to levitate, but when the wallpaper peeled abruptly into thin ragged slivers I feared the worst. Apparently, the energy could no longer be contained as I watched the paper shrivel into scrawny little crabs, work free from the plaster and wriggle to the floor. The crabs shook the dust off, rubbed their eyes ---- a collective rustle rose as they lifted their claws in quick, groping movements while the patient crashed loudly through the ceiling. I escaped, checked quickly from the clinic, hurrying up the street under the lamps toward dawn, the ghastly little scraps in tow. But there were other things ---- a bulb that had strayed from the office lamp bobbing among the pursuers, the hood of a car that had worked itself free ---- stirred by the wayward energy, they had joined the chase.

I ran, feeling like one of those jars children use to trap insects as the
night lowered, moon grinning narrowly as the white crabs  followed, the car hood clattering and a few loose doors which had come off their hinges. Disciples, like mad disciples they looked as they scattered and clawed, mating as I ran, catching glimpses, looking back, of the patient from the clinic, still rising tranquilly through the night sky as fitful winds blew her like a hammock. I guessed she was smiling but couldn't prove it ---- perhaps she'd sail into an orbit around the earth, like one of those
satellites you hear about that might fall at any moment on a barge in the
middle of the sea, or a picnic ---- the horde still following as the clouds
colluded and seemed to roll downward, or was that the rain, the raindrops joining the chase, veering sideways, not like the rain on a normal night, this was not normal as the patient rose, bloated like a yeast that won't stop, that keeps tilting moonwards, grinning as the door of my home bolted wide, the lights coughed out, and the door was gone because it skated down the sidewalk on a little patch of moon as the patient rose smiling like a missile that might fall at any moment on a picnic, or a schoolyard, or a running......

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