The accused: It was his own fault. I owed him only ten dollars, and every night he came into my dreams. I pleaded with him to wait till I got my wages, but he wouldn't relent. One midnight I fell into a drainpipe-the lid had been stolen by junkies, but the authorities pay no attention.
He showed his arm, cast in plaster. "You must be careful when you run, especially at midnight."
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The Animal Psychologist
By M. Foroozandeh
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 M. Foroozandeh
All rights reserved.
The judge, a plump man, and about fifty years old, comes angrily down the stairs and tells the interrogator, "I'll convict no other culprit until this roof is paved. This is the last time I mention this. My chair's hind legs are half sunk in clay. You call this a court?!" And leaves.
The interrogator, a forty-two years old man with black and disorderly beard, anxiously summons the accused through the servant. The interrogation session is held in the half-ruined justice hall, in one of the rooms still intact. A stout man, the interrogator sits at the desk. The accused, a man about thirty-two years old, enters and softly salutes. The interrogator mutters a reply to the thin man with the erect neck and says, "Sit down!" the interrogation starts.
The man sits across from him, setting his right arm, which i's plasters, on his lap.
"Some have seen you take the judge's car up on the roof of the house next to the court that is empty. What do you say?" "Who has seen? Whoever has seen let him come testify before me."
"How did the car go up on the roof then?, On wings?"
"How do I know?"
"No one but you was against the judge. Say, why were you in jail in the first place?"
"For the toilet."
"How is that?"
"I was in the toilet, unaware that His Honor was waiting impatiently behind the door. As I came out, he shouted at me, 'What are you doing here in the justice hall toilet, you bum!'
I said, 'Bum is your father."
"Then he threw you in jail?"
"What happened then?"
"I wrote him from the jail and said sorry for cursing your father -- should've cursed all your ancestors."
"What did he do then?"
"Set me free."
"For what reason?"
"Said I was crazy."
"What did you say?"
"Said if I were crazy I would set your car on fire."
"And why didn't you?"
"Found no oil, search though I did."
"Was that before or after your jail?"
"After my jail."
"How long were you jailing?"
"So they are right to say you took his car up on the roof?"
"They are not right, as I did no such thing."
"Four people have witnessed you, while you are only one. Assuming you are a fair witness in this affair, you are one against four witnesses. So obviously they are right. Besides, some have seen you look for oil."
"I told you–looked but didn't find. Besides, all by myself ..."
"Maybe you had help."
"But you said those four saw me take the car myself ..."
"Well, maybe those four didn't see your accomplice. Now that you're freed from jail after months, you're against the judge instead of thanking him?"
"But he ruined the justice hall."
"How does it concern you?"
"He did it on purpose so I couldn't use the toilet."
"There are so many departments, why should you use the justice hall toilet?"
"Nowhere is as good as the justice hall."
"Is the justice department for enforcing justice or not?"
"It is not for enforcing justice, but enforcing the law."
"What is the difference?"
"A lot! If they wanted to enforce justice, the judge was right—they had to demolish it."
"What is the source of your enmity with him?"
"Since when he was my teacher. One day a lady called him saying, "My child is too naughty at home." He said, "Should I punish him? No, replied the lady. 'Punish the child sitting next to him to scare him. 'Then he beat me as much as he could, although I didn't sit next to that child at all! But why?"
"The teacher was at fault. It is not fair. He should have been careful to punish the very next student. Not so with us in the justice department. We are at pains not to breach any one's right. How old were you then?" "Don't know."
"You look now about thirty or older."
"The one who punished you wasn't the judge."
"He was too! He had a big soar on his cheek just like the judge."
"What job have you had meanwhile?" "I was a teacher."
"What did you teach?"
"Jailers have reported that you yelled at nights in your cell saying, "why did you create the world this way? '... What did you mean?"
"Because the world too is chaotic, like the justice department."
"I don't get it, do you agree or disagree with ruining the justice hall?"
"If it is to enact justice, I agree; but if it is to bar me from using the toilet, no way."
"By the way, the judge has never been a teacher, at least within the past years, because I have worked in the justice hall for the last 15 years and have always seen him here."
"So who punished me then?"
"How do I know?"
"Why do you say that if you don't know?"
"It must have been someone else."
"No one but him, like him had a sore on the cheek."
"His Honor has no sore."
"How come he has one when I look, and not when you do? Maybe that's like your four witnesses."
"You're not saying four fair witnesses have lied against you! Why should they?"
"How do I know?"
"Well now that's clear. Say why did you take the car up to the roof?"
"I hated the sight of his car."
"Why didn't you burn it like the previous judge's car?"
"I didn't burn that one's car. I have no wife."
"How does it relate to a wife?"
"Because to every woman who wanted divorce, he would issue a verdict on her behalf and grant her all the husband's assets."
"That wasn't the last judge, but the one before him, whose wife was kidnapped. So he had to leave her. Seems you know everything about the justice department."
You must've been after information. Whose informer have you been?"
"My mom's! Dozens refer to the justice dept. everyday ..."
"But they are not spies. We checked them. They all pointed to you. And now you confessed."
"But my quarrel with the judge was only because I took too long and he was pissed off."
"Makes no difference. Why did you take too long in the toilet? Maybe you were setting up wire tapping?"
"This tapping ... what is it, in the first place?"
"Stop faking. All spies are that way. Well, tell me who else did you give the information to?"
"What's her job?"
"She does people's laundry."
"So she gets information that way. Now, why did you fuss so in the prison yard?"
"Because they took me out of solitude."
"But weren't you worse off there?"
"Not at all, I sang and danced by myself. What better bliss than solitude in the world?"
"How ... but books are full of complaints about loneliness."
"Nonsense. They don't understand."
"Well, say now, why did you cry blasphemies in your cell?"
"What blasphemy did I cry?"
"Do you know what blasphemy is? It means ingratitude toward God. So you've been a blasphemous spy who took the judge's car up on the roof ... now I recall :maybe the woman we arrested for espionage was your aunt?"
"My aunt isn't into these stuffs .But I don't know why she's been arrested."
"When she was cooking and doing the laundry, she asked the judge's wife suspicions questions."
"What kinds of questions?"
"For example, she asked "why do you have too many children?"
"And her answer?"
"She said, 'None of your business, are you a maid or a spy?' I've read too many spy books. I know one of their ways is using laundresses ... Now say about the hotel case! Your charges are not few."
"That was nothing. We took an ass to the third floor to scorch. Some who had smelled kebob, ran upstairs. As the ass started to yowl, a hotel clerk nervously called the cops. Not my fault."
"Whose idea was to scorch the ass?"
"The donkey him self."
"But why did you take him up to the fifth floor?"
"Not the fifth;, the third floor."
"Here it says the fifth floor."
"Wrong. Five star hotel, but third floor."
"But why did you take him to a hotel?"
"He didn't like other places."
"So why did he cry?"
"Because a hotel person took one of his carrots."
"So it wasn't because of scorching."
"Not at all. That's libel."
"How did the manager let you take him up?"
"I myself was the manager."
I've studied animal psychology."
"Well, did you pay him in return for scorching?"
"No, he said Just be a Good Samaritan."
"Such an ass."
"Ass is your dad."
"Be polite, you fool. This is a court."
"You are being offensive."
"I wonder how he let you scorch him without getting something from you!"
"Don't wonder. Not Everything is for money.
"Let's get to the point. How old is he?"
"How is his family life?"
"What's the point of these questions?"
"We want to make judgments based on psychological analysis so no one's rights are violated. You just answer!"
"He says he grew up with a step mother."
"Oh, poor thing."
"Because I myself grew up with a step mom."
"In fact he says she was kind. They are not like us."
"Didn't she pinch him on the sly?"
"Didn't say. But when his dad gave her kindly some oats, she went nuts .Once she burned the oats in the barn so he couldn't eat it."
"Just like my step mom."
"Your step - mom burned the oats too?"
"Worse. Anyway, how was he with his siblings?"
"What do you want with his siblings?"
"Well, you said you studied zoo psychology. We want to know what complex he had to want to be scorched. If he had any complex, we will lessen his punishment. That's justice for you.
Where did you study?"
"In Oxford you studied animal psychology?"
"No, I studied Russian literature there."
"But where did you study animal ..."
"How many brothers and sisters does he have?"
"Don't know exactly as his dad reproduced wherever he went. Said he had eight brothers & sisters from his own mom. But one brother is lame, because at his birth he was in a haste."
"Well, haste is waste. Anything else? By the way I heard you were a racing champion."
"Right. I ran a lot after bread."
"Did you get bread in the end?"
"No, but became a racing champ."
"Well, back to the main point. His familial relations must be investigated. Maybe he grew masochistic for their abuses. Can't just give a verdict."
"Who must investigate that?"
"Don't know that exactly. But we assigned similar cases to universities and research institutes. It's been reported that his dad was very proud of him.... Is he proud?"
"No, but he's pig-headed."
"What do you know about his mom?"
"Not much, except she gave birth two to three times a year and wouldn't relent."
"What do you know about his past?"
"I just know he was the lord's ass, but once the lord beat him badly and he went off to the wilderness."
"Why was he beaten, do you know?"
"He said once the lord's maids made him a tasty salty meal. Before serving it, the ass goes to the pot and eats from it. After the lord eats it all up, he noticed it was salty. Then he somehow finds out that the ass had eaten from it before him. So he gives orders to beat the beast for not telling him it was salty."
"Serves him right! And then?"
"Nothing. The beast ran off to freedom. In zoo psychology they say whatever throws you over, will enhance you."
"Well, what did he do now? Do you know?"
"He just made animals pregnant and ran off. I have heard"
"So that was his job. But didn't the lord send his servants after him?"
"Yes, but his job was now freedom. In zoo psychology they say the animal's character is formed by his job. Excuse me, I heard you arrested his dad?"
Searching through his papers the interrogator says casually, "That's right. One night in the street he was singing and disturbing the people's sleep."
"Did you find what he was singing?"
"Here, it was recorded, at midnight he was yelling:
Leave off cunning, o lover, go crazy, crazy then come and leave out with the lovers.".
"Didn't he say why?"
With his head down the interrogator softly says, "He said he wanted to give the people food for thought ... Tell me of his other traits."
"Another trait of these is that like us, they do not listen to advice. They must feel it."
"How is that?"
"Like when you tell them don't touch fire, they don't understand, but when they touch and burn, then they do."
"Strange! We don't have such issues in the field of law. Anyway, when he left the lord, what information about life did he have?"
"Like all freed prisoners, he knew nothing."
"How did he go to females then?"
"Maybe someone taught him. I just know they aren't decent, faithful and sincere like us. They go for anyone who comes across."
"Why do you think he doesn't surrender voluntarily?"
"He's scared of the lord's people."
"They want to assassinate him. "
"Because he lived for a long time in the lord's house and knows the secrets of his life and wives. At psychoanalysis he kept saying, "Never again will I have salty food," and kept looking behind him."
"How did he meet you in the first place?"
"I told you, I am an animal psychologist."
"How did he know your address?"
"Come on, I'm the best animal psychologist in town. Not only they, but even humans know my address. One sunset, he came to my door and knocked. I said who's there?"
"He said, it's me."
"I opened the door, and asked him to come in."
"He said, wanted to commit suicide.
I knew at once he had depression."
"What did you do then?"
"I offered him to come in, insisted till he accepted. On the way, I noticed he was humming:
"Any prince or pauper who found a way to this tavern has nothing but his heart's blood in his goblet."
Then I was sure of my diagnosis. I psychoanalyzed him and prescribed medication. Two days later he came back and asked to be scorched."
"Didn't you advise him against it?"
"Not really. Well, I have to make a living too. Besides I thought scorching him will make him feel better and forget suicide. But he insisted it to be in a classy place and offered to pay whatever the cost."
"So you took him to the hotel."
"Not me. Gave him the hotel address. He came by taxi."
"Why didn't he refer to another psychologist?"
"Come on, who better than me?"
"But as reported, a physician was in touch with you too."
"Not a physician, but a dentist. For him we brought the dentist."
"He had a tooth-ache, but wouldn't go to the dentist."
"Who paid the wage?"
"Well, didn't you tell him the lord's assassins are after him?"
"He knew it."
"Tell me his other traits."
"Through his psychoanalysis I found he was raised motherless."
"Is she dead?"
"He said his dad used to count the fruits and put them in the fridge."
"Wasn't that out of caprice?"
"Don't suppose so."
"Well say, what does he like, what does he fear?"
"I don't know what he likes, besides carrots. Just know that when he curses anyone he says I hope your happy days are filled with toothache. So when he got a toothache he cried for a dentist, whereas when he had stomach ache he never cried for a belly doc."
"It's reported you took bribes from him to let him in to the hotel."
"He brought me some money, but no bribe."
"How much was it?"
"A lot, three to four big packets."
"I asked him, 'What do you bring this money as? If it is as a bribe I won't accept .But if you intend it as a gift, it's okay.' He said, 'I swear it is only a gift.'"
"But were you the hotel owner to accept?
"No, but that concerned his intention, not the hotel owner's"
"Aren't you a teacher?"
"Yes, but afternoons I worked in a hotel."
"Didn't he say where he got the money? Not in a lottery!"
"I don't think so."
"I guess he pinched it from the lord and maybe that's why he insisted to be scorched --conscience pain."
"Maybe that why the lord's people are after him."
"Well, why didn't he go back to give back the money and rid himself of the agony?"
"Because he needed it."
"Another question -what do you know about his ancestors?"
"I guess his ancestors too were donkeys."
"All right. Let's move on to other topics. What's their status in other regards, such as adultery?"
"As far as I know, there is no rape among them. Their females are quite bashful."
"How about incest?"
"That's totally taboo for them,"
"How about adultery?"
"I have no idea. If I say something, you demand evidence."
"In this particular case evidence is not mandatory!"
"Sorry I can't help you there."
"I think that's rare among them, as we have only two or three such files in the justice department. By the way, you said you studied in Oxford?"
Excerpted from The Animal Psychologist by M. Foroozandeh. Copyright © 2014 M. Foroozandeh. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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