Psych Hold

by Ron McIngle

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© Copyright 2018 - Ron McIngle - Used by permission

Storycodes: MF+/f; clinic; medical; exam; psych; discovery; M/f; bdsm; bond; spank; susp; punish; chastity; submissive; denial; cons/reluct; X

“Mr. and Mrs. Petersen, come in” the doctor said. “I am Doctor Lewis and I’ll be handling this case. This is regarding your daughter, Carla?”

“Yes.” Mr. Petersen said as he extended his hand for a handshake. “We are so relieved that something is finally being done.”

“I still think it’s a bit extreme” Mrs. Petersen said, the disapproval clear in her voice.

“Honey, we talked about it.” Mr. Petersen said in exasperation. “It’s for her own good. Better to have her in a mental hospital where she can get care than with an abuser!”

“I want to make it clear that she has been picked up on a fifty-one-fifty.” Dr. Lewis explained. “That allows us to hold her for up to 72 hours. Beyond that there would need to be clear evidence that she was a danger to herself or to others in order to hold her any longer.”

“I understand.” Mr. Petersen said. “Where is she now?”

“At the moment, she is awaiting an initial medical examination. We find it best to give a patient a complete examination immediately upon arrival.”

“Poor dear!” Mrs. Petersen exclaimed. “She is probably terrified! She never did like doctors.”

“If you would like, and she agrees, you may accompany her during the exam.” Dr. Lewis said.

“Oh, yes, please!” Mrs. Petersen said eagerly.

“I would offer the same to you Mr. Petersen, but it is a rather comprehensive exam and she might not appreciate a man being present.”

“That’s quite all right!” Mr. Petersen assured him. “I can wait here.”

“You can go downstairs to the admissions area.” Dr. Lewis said to Mrs. Petersen. “Tell the admissions desk that you are there to accompany the fifty-one-fifty patient Carla Petersen. They’ll direct you to the proper area.”

“Meanwhile,” Dr. Lewis said to Mr. Petersen as his wife slipped out of the office. “Perhaps you can explain what the problem is?”

“It really all started when she hit puberty.” Mr. Petersen explain. “She just started making a series of bad choices! Hanging around with the wrong crowd, wouldn’t keep her curfew, going to parties she had no business being at, that sort of thing. The doctors at the time said she might be bi-polar or ADHD, but the medications didn’t seem to help, and she refused to take them after a while.”

“What did you do when she acted up like this?”

“Well, we tried a bunch of things. We tried to confine her to her room but she just climbed out the window. Later we took her car keys away, but then she just stole my wife’s keys out of her purse and took her car. We tried shutting off her spending card but she made such a fuss that we turned it back on.”

“Did she graduate high school?”

“Yes, mediocre grades. Then went off to a state college, couldn’t get in anywhere else.” Mr. Petersen explained. It was clear from the tone of his voice that he was disappointed that his daughter hadn’t gone to USC or private college. “She muddled through that, although it took a fairly major contribution to the school on my part to keep her from being expelled. Seems like she was always getting into some sort of trouble.”

“What sort of trouble?”

“Drinking, drugs, always seemed to be in the middle of every frat house issue that came up. She managed to get a B.A. in Business, but then just failed in the job market. Then she got picked up for drugs, and I had to bail her out of jail. Fortunately, I retain a good lawyer and he was able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor.”

“And what sort of consequences did all this have?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Fortunately, none.” Mr. Petersen said. “Well, at least nothing major. A good lawyer and political contacts has kept her official record fairly clean.”

“I meant from you, Mr. Petersen.” Dr. Lewis said frankly.

“From us?” he said, shocked. “We made it clear that we weren’t going to tolerate that! But then she just left! I mean, we told her that we wouldn’t stand for it anymore, but we didn’t tell her that she had to leave! We wouldn’t have kicked her out! We didn’t!”

“So then what happened?”

“Well, we lost contact with her fairly quickly.” Mr. Petersen said. “Within a month her cell phone stopped working. My wife thinks it was stolen but I suspect she sold it to buy drugs. I hired a private detective to track her down, and he managed to find her living at some crack house, but before we could get to her she had vanished again.”

“How long ago was that?”

“About three years ago.” Mr. Petersen said. “And then nothing for about a year, when all of the sudden we get a letter from her. The post mark was local, so we knew she wasn’t far. But the letter just creeped us out.”

“Why is that?”

“It really didn’t say anything.” Mr. Petersen explained. “Just said that she was writing to let us know that she was okay. No explanation, no details, no return address. It was her handwriting though. A few months later we get a Christmas card, same thing; Merry Christmas, love Carla. We were convinced that she was forced to write it.”

“Why is that?”

“Carla had never sent a card or letter in her life!” Mr. Petersen exclaimed. “She communicates by text messages, not mail!”

“So I take it that you finally did locate her?”

“Yes, it took three different private detectives, but finally tracked her down about 6 months ago.” Mr. Petersen said proudly. “Found her shacked up with this ex-military guy, Paul Vonasek. Thought she might be in trouble so I hired a couple of guys to go in and get her out. Turns out this guy was a Navy Seal and the extraction didn’t go well.”

“Was she hurt?”

“Carla wasn’t, near as I know.” Mr. Petersen said. “The two guys I hired ended up in the hospital. Nothing serious, fortunately, but they aren’t willing to try again.”

“So, then what?”

“Well, I decided to set up surveillance. Watched the house, had her followed.” Mr. Petersen said. “Found she was working at an office downtown. Had her co-workers interviewed, found one person that claimed to be her friend.”

“So, what is the problem?”

“Come to find out that she is being abused.” Mr. Petersen explained. “The guy is beating her, and on a regular basis.”

“How do you know?”

“Her friends said as much.” Mr. Petersen said. “She would occasionally have marks that were noticed. Never on the face, nothing obvious. But like rope marks on her wrists, or she would be wearing long sleeve clothing on a hot day, or was walking with a bit of a limp. But the real clincher was when the surveillance on the house recorded her screams.”

“She was obviously in distress?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Oh, without a doubt!” Mr. Petersen assured him. “You could even pick out sounds that were like a whip or strap. Just awful!”

“What did you do?”

“The surveillance team called me right away, and I had the police dispatched immediately. But they didn’t have a search warrant so couldn’t go right in, and by the time they had talked their way in any evidence had been hidden. She refused to make any statement, and wouldn’t press charges, so there was nothing they could do.”

“I see.” Dr. Lewis said as he made notes in his ledger. “So then you decided that a psychiatric evaluation was in order?”

“Obviously!” Mr. Petersen said. “Get her out of his control, get her into a safe place, and bring the truth to light!”

“Yes, the truth.” Dr. Lewis mewed.

* * * *

“Carla?” Mrs. Petersen said cautiously as she stepped into the exam room.

“Mom?” Carla said in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

An awkward silence followed, as mother and daughter regarded each other. It had been three years since they had seen each other and neither one was sure how things stood. Mrs. Petersen liked what she saw: her daughter looked healthy, far better than she did the last time she had seen her.

Without saying a word Mrs. Petersen opened her arms in an invitation. Carla rushed in, welcoming the embrace.

“I’ve missed you!” Mrs. Petersen said as she hugged her daughter tightly. After a few moments she got a puzzled look on her face and pushed back, holding her daughter at arm’s length.

“You look good!” Mrs. Petersen said in surprise. Indeed, the last time she had hugged her daughter it was like hugging a bag of bones. Now there were curves and padding in all the right places. She smiled. “I have been so worried about you! I haven’t seen you in three years!”

“I’m sorry!” Carla cried, tears coming to her eyes. “It’s all my fault, I know that. Up to now I haven’t been ready to face you. But I think I am ready now. Did you get my Christmas card?”

“Yes, we did, but there was no return address!”

“Here, I’ll text you my contact info!” Carla said excitedly, digging her phone from her purse. A few swipes and taps and the information was on its way. “That will make Paul happy, he has been after me for months to call you!”

“The man you are living with? He wanted you to call?”

“My boyfriend.” Carla corrected. “He said I couldn’t keep ignoring you, that I needed to face the music. Hmm, I am not sure what that even means. But now here you are!”

“I am here to help.”

“I have been fine, Mom!” Carla assured her. “At least I am now. You have to understand that three years ago I wasn’t fine, I didn’t want to see anyone! Paul has been telling me to reestablish contact, but I just, well, until recently I was too ashamed. But it’s good to see you! How did you even know I was here?”

“Well, your father and I were upstairs talking to the psychiatrist and . . .”

“Wait! Dad’s here too?” Carla shouted, suddenly suspicious. “Is this another one of daddy’s interventions?”

“Like I said, we are concerned about you.”

“For once in my life I am happy.” Carla said firmly, her previous tone of tenderness and cooperation vanished. “Why can’t you just leave me alone?”

“We just want what’s best for you.”

“Best for me? Huh! Sorry I didn’t measure up to your standards, but this is the best you’re going to get!”

“Honey, I know you’re upset, but please try to cooperate!”

“Cooperate? Yeah, I am cooperating all right!” Cara huffed. “But only because Paul said I had to! Otherwise it would have been a cold day in hell before I put up with any of this! I’ve already had to pee in a cup and they have drawn more blood than a vampire! And now I am going to get a full exam! I bet that’s going to be fun! Oh, and a psychiatrist! Let me guess, I’ll be sitting down talking to him for a while, I bet!”

“I’m sorry dear, but –” Mrs. Petersen was cut off by a knock on the door, followed immediately by its opening and a nurse coming in.

“State your name and date of birth.” The nurse commanded.

“Carla Petersen, April 3rd.” Carla said, her words sharp and precise.

“I am going to check your vitals, and then the doctor will be in in a moment.” The nurse said as she started to wrap the blood pressure cuff around Carla’s arm. “This goes under your tongue.” The thermometer was put in place as the blood pressure cuff inflated, the machine recording her pulse and blood pressure.

“Blood pressure good, pulse is a bit high.” The nurse reported as she extracted the thermometer.

“Can’t imagine why my pulse might be a little high!” Carla responded sarcastically. “Surprised the blood pressure isn’t through the roof as well!”

“You will need to disrobe completely. There is a gown on the exam table you can put on, the opening goes in the back. Dr. will be in shortly.” The nurse said as she made notations on her chart, then exited the room.

“Of all the friggin B.S.!” Carla complained as she started unbuttoning her blouse.

“I can step out if you like.” Mrs. Petersen said.

“No, that’s okay. I quit caring who sees me naked years ago!” Carla retorted. “I just want to get this done and go home!”

“We would love to have you come home with us!” Mrs. Petersen exclaimed joyfully.

“I meant to MY home. Not yours.” Carla countered.

“I am sure that - . Oh! Are those bruises?” Mrs. Petersen exclaimed as Carla’s bra dropped away.

“Oh, yeah!” Carla said, a bit dreamily as she grabbed her breasts and squeezed them together. “Paul got a bit rough on them. You should have seen them right after! Been two weeks now, I guess.”

Carla continued holding her breasts for a few moments, a dreamy look on her face. Then the smile faded and her hands dropped away as she looked at the hospital gown. She shrugged and ignored it. In one quick motion she slid down her shorts and panties then hopped up on the exam table, not bothering with the gown.

“So, he is abusing you.” Mrs. Petersen said, wondering if her husband had been right.

“No.” Carla said firmly. “He is not.”

Another knock on the door prevented any more questions, and then a slim, middle aged women entered.

“Hello!” She said warmly. “I am doctor Ferguson. And you would be Carla.”

“What gave it away?” Carla said with considerable sarcasm. “Was it because I was the one who was naked?”

“I’m sorry, I know that this can be difficult for you.” The doctor said sympathetically. “I’ll try to make this as easy as possible for you. But I am required to do a full inspection, including vaginal.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” Carla complained. “Well get on with it then. I just want to get it over with and get out of here!”

The doctor paused briefly as she caught sight of the bruises on Carla’s breasts. Biting her lip, she stepped in closer. “I am just going to touch you a bit here” the doctor warned as she reached out to feel the breasts.

“No problem.” Carla said nonchalantly.

“What happened here?” The doctor asked.

“’Bout 50 lashes with a heavy leather belt.” Carla replied.

“Most of the bruising is on the underside.” The doctor observed. “I would have expected the tops to be the worst.”

“Well, I was hanging upside down at the time.” Carla explained.

“Is this a regular occurrence?” the doctor asked.

“Upside down? No, that was new”.

“I meant the beating.”

“Only when I misbehave.” Carla said. “Which I suppose is fairly regular.”

“I see.” The doctor said as she scribbled furiously on her chart. “Does this hurt?” she said as she pressed along the side of Carla’s rib cage. “Here? Here? How about here?”

“Nope, no pain there. Even the tits don’t hurt anymore. I’m fine, really!”

“Alright, let me listen to your chest.” The doctor said as she fitted her stethoscope to her ears. “Now breath in – hold it – breath out – again. Now cough. Well that all sounds good. Let me look in your mouth – open wide. Good, good. No sign of any injury there.”

“Of course not!” Carla said indigently. “Why would I have injuries in my mouth?”

“Many of the victims I see here do. Broken or missing teeth, lacerated cheeks, split lips, lacerations to the tongue. Not to mention broken noses and black eyes.”

“He has NEVER hit me in the face, not even a slap.”

“If I can get you to stand and turn around.”

“Sure.” Carla said as she hopped off the table.

“Oh my!” Mrs. Petersen gasped as she caught side of Carla’s buttocks.

“Yeah, he gave it to me good the other day.” Carla said. “I deserved it though.”

“What exactly caused this bruising?” The doctor asked.

“Hard to say, there were a number of things used. He started with just his hand, as usual.”

“As usual?”

“Yeah, bent over his knees. First on the pants, you know? Then the pants come down, and some more spanks. Then the panties come down and on the bare. He likes to warm me up. His hand doesn’t usually leave marks, so the bruises were probably from the hairbrush or the belt.”

“Does this happen often?”

“Once a week or so. The hand spanking at any rate. The whippings are less frequent, I have to have actually done something wrong before he will whip me.”

“Okay, I need you to lie back on the table, feet in the stirrups”

“Oh, no!” Carla complained. “You really going to poke around inside?”

“Sorry, but afraid so.” The doctor said. “It will be quick, I promise.”

Carla grumbled as she positioned herself, and then gasped as the cold stainless steel speculum was inserted in her vagina.

“You are sexually active.” It was more of a statement then a question.

“Yep! We fuck like bunnies!”

“Hmmm.” The doctor murmured.

“What?” Mrs. Petersen asked in alarm.

“I am seeing some swelling, and some signs of abrasion. Possibly from penetration with a foreign object.”

“A foreign object?” Mrs. Petersen gasped in alarm.

“Jeeze Mom!” Carla protested. “Don’t be such a prude! She means a vibrator, or dildo! Or it may have been that long neck beer bottle. Yeah, I might have gotten a bit carried away the other night! He had just finished whipping me, and gave me a really hard ‘punishment fuck’, you know, where he just slams me hard and comes fast? Well, I didn’t come, and was still a bit frustrated so he let me use some toys. I was so turned on and so needy that, well, I was a bit sore afterward. Oh, but it felt soooo good!”

“You said he let you use the vibrator? He controls that?”

“Yeah, I would get carried away otherwise. When he first took control he locked me in a chastity belt for a year until I got some self-control. That was the pits! He will still lock me in it for a while if I slip up more than once in a week. I really don’t like the belt so I avoid that.”

“A chastity belt!” Mrs. Petersen exclaimed. “How medieval!”

“Mom, the chastity belt was MY idea! I asked him to! Hell, Paul is the only guy I have ever known who has done what I asked! Or at least he does what I ask when I’m not going crazy!”

“Why would you want that? The chastity belt, I mean.”

“You don’t understand where I was back then!” Carla said emphatically. “Mom, I was in a terrible place, emotionally and physically! My mind was so messed up I couldn’t think straight, but even with what little thought process I had left I knew I couldn’t fix things on my own! Then I found someone that took an interest in ME. Not just what they could get from me, not a fuck buddy, someone that would actually look out for me and help me. I latched on like a drowning man clutches a log!”

“So you weren’t let out of the chastity belt for a whole year?”

“No, I meant to say he used it regularly for a year. He let me out almost every day! Supervised, of course. Usually with my hands tied behind my back. He would wash and shave me, frequently finger me a bit. And he would fuck me when he wanted to. It was really nice, you know?”

“So he allows you to masturbate once a week?”

“No, he doesn’t let me masturbate at all! At least not without expressed permission! But I still do, can’t help myself! Well, I probably could if he made the punishment worse, but it’s one of those things that he really doesn’t want to eliminate completely, just keep under control. He doesn’t resort to the chastity belt unless I have done it more than once in a week.”

“So you masturbate multiple times a week?” the doctor asked.

“Not EVERY week!” Carla laughed. “The usual punishment is a riding crop to the pussy! Man, that hurts! And then he wants to fuck me afterward, and it is hurting so much that I can’t reach orgasm myself and it just is even more frustrating! So when I get needy I will usually misbehave some other way.”


“He almost always fucks me after a spanking! I can climax with a sore ass, so that is a good trade!”

“I see. Do you have any irregular bleeding?” Doctor Ferguson asked, steering the conversation back to the examination.

“No, my period has been just like clockwork, at least for the last couple of years.”

“And before that?”

“Well,” Carla said hesitantly. “Before that I was rather messed up in all sorts of ways.”

“Messed up?”

“Drugs.” Carla admitted.

“And now?”

“Clean and sober!” Carla said proudly. “Over two years now.”

“Are you taking any drugs or medication?”

“I’m on the pill!” Carla said. “Does that count?”

“Just needs to be noted.” Doctor Ferguson. “How are you sleeping at night?”

“In a bed! At least most nights.”

“Honey, don’t be sarcastic!” Mrs. Petersen pleaded.

“Hey, that’s a big improvement over a few years ago! You want to know how many nights I spent in the back row of the number 37 bus? Now I have a bed that I can sleep in, unless Paul has me hog tied on the floor. Even then I sleep pretty well. I’ve never had any trouble sleeping. Course, used to be because I was passed out. Now I just sleep. I suppose that could be considered ‘normal’, but I have never really known was normal was.”

“Do you have to use the bathroom at night?”

“Hmmm. Never really thought about it. I used to be up several times, but now I can’t recall the last time I had to get up. Course, when I’m tied up I can’t get up.”

“Used to?” Doctor Ferguson queried.

“When you’re drunk you either get up to use the toilet or you piss and vomit in the bed. Or couch, or face down on the floor. But like I said, last two years, I’m good!”

“May I take a close look at your arms?”

“Sure!” Carla said proudly. “Track free! You might see some scarring, but that was from a few years ago.”

“Okay, just need to get your weight. If I can get you to step onto the scale.”

“The scale.” Carla said flatly, looking at the scale with obvious disgust. Her mom sighed, knowing that her battle with anorexia had made the scale her worst enemy.

“After everything else you are going to object to being weighed?” Mrs. Petersen asked.

“This is all confidential, right?” Carla asked. “I mean, nobody else will get to see this?”

“Medical records are always kept confidential.” Dr. Ferguson assured her.

“Well, shit!” Carla said. “Mom, you need to either step out or swear to secrecy!”

“What’s the problem?” Mrs. Petersen asked.

“It’s not unusual, especially among drug addicts.” Dr. Ferguson said. “Drugs lead to weight loss, which can lead to being hospitalized until the patient gains weight.”

“I’m not worried about you guys!” Carla exclaimed. “If Paul finds out what I really weigh I’ll be in deep shit!”

“Why is that?” Dr. Ferguson asked.

“I’ve been turning that little knob on our bathroom scale, and now it’s about 10 pounds off.”

“He would punish you for weighing too much?” Mrs. Petersen gasped.

“No, the other way!” Carla insisted. “He keeps trying to fatten me up.”

“Don’t worry, we won’t tell him!” Dr. Ferguson assured her.

“Okay, here goes!” Carla exhaled, steadied herself, then stepped lightly onto the scale. Dr. Ferguson slid the weights across until the beam balanced then recorded the result.

“112 lbs.”

“That’s good!” Mrs. Petersen said.

“Towards the light side for someone of her age and height, but completely within the accepted range. Anything over 110 would be considered healthy, and it wouldn’t be a medical concern until she got under 90.”

“Been there, done that!” Carla joked.

“You look really good!” Mrs. Petersen said. “In fact, you look better than I have seen you in a really long time.”

“I feel like I am as fat as a cow!” Carla complained.

“Carla has suffered from eating disorders.” Mrs. Petersen explained. “For a while she was only weighing 80 pounds! She looked awful! This is a vast improvement!”

“Are you kidding?” Carla objected, pinching a tiny bit of skin on her forearm. “Look at this!”

Mrs. Petersen looked, but saw nothing objectionable. If she pinched the fat on her arm it would be a lot more.

“What sort of eating disorder?”

“Basically not eating, and purging when she did.”

“Is that still a problem?”

“Not since Paul started punishing me for it!” Carla laughed.

“How does he punish you?”

“Well, he hasn’t recently, but that’s because I really don’t like the punishment and really try to avoid it! When he would catch me purging her would lock me in this head harness. Completely covered my mouth, had this short tube that was forced past my lips and teeth. The tube had a plug that could be locked in place. With that in place I couldn’t get a finger down my throat and if I did manage to puke it would, well, it would be disgusting. All over me, all over the bathroom.”

“That’s awful!” Mrs. Petersen exclaimed.

“I only managed that once!” Carla mused.

“I mean the harness.”

“The harness wasn’t bad! What I really objected to was that I couldn’t chew while wearing it and everything I ate had to pass through that damn tube! Paul would serve my plate as usual, then dump it all into the blender and then pour the puree into my mouth using a funnel! It makes me feel like one of those geese they force feed to make Foie gras!”

“How long did he make you wear it?”

“A week was the longest. That was before I had a job. Like I said, I haven’t done that in a while.”

“Eating a balanced diet?”

“A lot of meat and potatoes. Paul insists on that.”

“You were never good about eating your vegetables.” Mrs. Petersen declared.

“Well, you never punished me when I didn’t! Paul does. He serves me what he believes is a proper amount, won’t let me get up from the table until I have cleaned my plate! In fact, the tit beating here was to force me to eat my peas! Damn! You should try eating a bowl of peas while you are hanging upside down by your ankles and having your tits whipped!”

“You used to like peas. The only vegetable I could get you to eat.”

“Still do. I was just being obstinate, pushing a few buttons. Made a show of flicking the peas off the plate onto the floor so the dog would eat them. I was expecting to get the cane, as that is the usual punishment for wasting money, and wasting food is a waste of money. But he came up with this upside down pea eating challenge. Had one hand tied behind my back, and had to reach for the bowl with the other, and he whipped my tits with his belt for as long as it took! Christ, do you know how hard it is to swallow upside down?”

“You make it sound like you provoked him on purpose.” Dr. Ferguson observed.

“Yeah, I suppose I did. Wasn’t expecting that upside down thing though, that was a surprise. But I agreed to it, and he didn’t hold back much!”

“You agreed?”

“Everything we do is consensual.” Carla assured her. “We have a list of standard crimes and punishments all pre-negotiated. But for a new circumstance or a variation of the punishment we will negotiate.”

“Can you give me an example of a standard crime and punishment?”

“Heh! Long list! The catch all is ‘attitude’. He can put me over his knee and spank me for attitude, which can be any excuse really. But just using his hand, although he can hit pretty hard! A fairly common one is being late for work. My boss don’t care, but Paul insists that I arrive no later than 7:50. It’s a paddle swat for every minute late, and 10 swats for every minute late after 8:00! That doesn’t happen very often, we usually leave for work at the same time. Then there’s things like cursing. That’s twenty minutes standing in the corner with bar of soap in my mouth! Yuck! Hmmm, I hope he cuts me a break for tonight, else I might be spending all night in the corner. How many times have I cursed?”

“I haven’t been counting.” Dr. Ferguson said. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell.”

“Yeah, but I have to confess!” Carla insisted. “I don’t lie. That would just ruin everything.”

“Didn’t you just say that you were keeping your weight a secret?” Mrs. Petersen asked.

“Splitting hairs, I know!” Carla laughed. “But you see, Paul watches me get on the scale, I don’t ever ‘tell’ him my weight! It is a deception, yes, but not a direct lie. Paul interrogates me on the usual items: late for work, swearing, purging, etc. There may be an occasional ‘lie of omission’, but when asked a direct question I will give him an honest answer. I mean, what’s the point of all of it if I’m not going to be honest about it?”

“That’s an interesting perspective.” Dr. Ferguson said. “So corporal punishment and corner time are the forms of punishment he uses?”

“Oh, there are others!” Carla said nervously. “Far worse things than that!”

“Such as?”

“Well, he made me go without sweets for a month!” Carla said indigently.

“A month without sweets!” Dr. Ferguson said, amused.

“Hey! I’m talking no sugar in the coffee, no ice cream, no soda! It was a bitch! Then there was the weekend of community service, thought I would die of embarrassment, but it turned out to be not so bad. I actually liked it and started volunteering, which led to getting an actual paid job. So that all worked out for the best.”

“What is the worst punishment?”

“Worst? Fortunately it hasn’t actually happened, and I intend to make sure it doesn’t!”

“And what is it?”

“Well, you see, I am kind of embarrassed about this. See, I sort of got into a little fight with a co-worker. She said something, I said something back, and suddenly we were pulling hair and throwing punches. Boss sent me home for the rest of the day, told me to calm down. Paul was furious, said I could lose my job, or even get arrested. He locked me in this tiny closet that’s under the stairs. Full height at the door, but slants down towards the back. I was only in there about 10 minutes but was going nuts! He said that if I ever did something like that again he would lock me in there for the entire weekend!”

“And you wouldn’t want that?”

“Hell no! I’ll make a snide remark to get a spanking or throw some peas on the floor to get a whipping, but that closet was creepy! It’s dark and there were spiders, and, well, I’m just not going to go there.”

“So you can control your anger and hostility? When you want to?”

“Well, sure! I mean, with a little help I can. At least I have been for the last couple years. It helps knowing that there will be consequences to your actions, you know?”

“Yes, I think I know.” Dr. Ferguson agreed. “I think I am done here. I will consult with Dr. Lewis and he will make the final determination.”

“Determination of what?” Carla demanded.

“If you are to be held or not.”

“HELD? Held for what?”

“Psychiatric evaluation.”

“Really?” Carla said in exasperation. “Mom, you really think that I’m crazy?”

“We are concerned about you, dear!”

“You should have been concerned about me when I was in middle school!” Carla objected. “I was crazy then! This is the sanest I have ever been! I’m clean, I’m sober, I have a job! Well, at least I did have a job! I’ll lose that for sure if I am locked up in the loony bin! Do you have any idea how hard it is for someone like me to get a decent job? Add the ‘crazy’ label and no one will hire me!”

“Come in, Come in!” Dr. Lewis urged. “Mr. Petersen, Mrs. Petersen. And Carla, I presume. Hello, I’m Dr. Lewis.”

“Charmed.” Carla said indifferently as she plopped into an arm chair.

“I have been talking with my associate, Dr. Ferguson.”

“Hey!” Carla said, perking up. “She never read me my rights! None of what I told her would be admissible!”

“You aren’t under arrest.” Dr. Lewis assured her.

“Hmph! This is worse! I heard that you ain’t got no rights at all in the loony bin!”

“I can appreciate that you are not happy about the turn of events.” Dr. Lewis said.

“Is anyone ever happy about it?”

“You have to understand that people are concerned for you, and that they only want what’s best for you.”

“Concerned? They’re concerned about me all right. Concerned that I am an embarrassment to them. Concerned that I didn’t live up to their expectations. Concerned that they might lose status at the country club because they have a screw up daughter!”

“Honey!” Mrs. Petersen pleaded.

“Mom, you have to face it! I am a square peg you’re trying to fit into a round hole! I’m not like you. I will never be like you.”

“We just want you to be safe!”

“Safe? I am safe! I am safer now than I was ten years ago in middle school! A hell of a lot safer than I was 5 years ago when I would fuck anything that moved!”

“CARLA!” Mr. Petersen shouted.

“It’s true!” Carla protested. “I’m not proud of it, but I’m not going to lie about it either. Back then I was being stupid, just because I was rebelling against you. Once the drugs got control I would do anything to get that next fix. You won’t believe the depths that an addict will stoop to in order to get one more fix. Now I have finally gotten my head straight and got my shit together and things were starting to look up. And now this!”

“I’ve pulled your medical records.” Dr. Lewis said. “I see that you had been on Ritalin and Adderall. Are you still taking those?”

“Are you kidding?” Carla scoffed. “Those damn pills are what messed me up! You try taking those and see if you can think straight! I haven’t touched any of those since I was 14!”

“Your records indicate that they were prescribed up until you were 18.”

“Sold them.” Carla said proudly. “Some people like the feeling of being fucked up.”

“So, no prescription medications since you were 18?”

“Like I told the other Doc: Just the birth control pill.”

“She is a known drug user.” Mr. Petersen said.

“That was three years ago! I am CLEAN and SOBER now! People can change!”

“One thing I have learned is that you can’t trust an addict.” Mr. Petersen objected.

“I have the results of her hair, blood and urine tests.” Dr. Lewis said. “We did a complete drug panel.”

“My hair?” Carla asked in surprise.

“Yes, hair. It provides a longer-term history, up to 90 days.”

Dr. Lewis paused as he lay some papers out on his desk.

“These show that she is clean. No drugs, no indication of any significant alcohol use.”

“SEE!” Carla shouted triumphantly.

“I congratulate you!” Dr. Lewis said. “Drug addiction can be very difficult to break. If you were an addict as recently as three years ago I would say you are doing exceptionally well.”

“You can thank Paul for that.”

“Who is Paul?”

“He’s my boyfriend.”

“The one that is abusing her.” Mr. Petersen said.

“Oh jeeze! He’s NOT abusing me! He helped me through the detox, and is keeping me clean.”

“If he would beat you for not eating your peas I hate to think what he would do for using drugs!” Mrs. Petersen said.

“He did a lot of things.” Carla admitted. “What he NEVER did was give up on me. Dr. Lewis is right, quitting drugs is hard! It took me more than a year to get sober and STAY sober! I’d quit, go a few weeks and then use again. Paul was patient with me for a while, then he put his foot down. Got real strict. Kept me on a short leash. It was hard, but I got through it.”

“Is that when he started beating you?” Mr. Petersen asked.

“DISCIPLINING!” Carla corrected. “It helps, it keeps me focused. Whenever I feel the need to use I can just be a little bit bad instead, and then Paul reins me in. It might hurt a little but in the end it feels just as good as the drugs did.”

“Endorphins.” Dr. Lewis commented. “The body generates it, a natural anesthetic. Some people can get high on it.”

“Is it dangerous?”

“Not the endorphins itself. Sometimes the activity that leads to the endorphins can be.”

“Oh please!” Carla said. “I’m not in any danger! Paul wouldn’t really hurt me.”

“It’s abuse!” Mr. Petersen objected. “It’s criminal!”

“It’s consensual!” Carla rebuked.

“Dr. Lewis, I assume you have seen enough!”

“Yes, Mr. Petersen I have.”

“Oh, Crap!” Carla cried. “So, tell me what am I going to have to do to get out of here?”

“Simple. Get up out of the chair, go through the door, and the exit is just down the hall.”

“What? You mean I can leave?”

“Certainly. I don’t see any reason to keep you. I would appreciate a few more minutes of your time, if you don’t mind.”

“May I call my boyfriend? I will need a ride to get home, and it will take a while for him to drive down here.”

“Certainly, that would be a good idea.”

Carla wasted no time in digging the phone out of her purse and pressing a speed dial button. “Hey, sweetie! Hey, can you come get me? Yeah, they’re letting me go! No, actually, the doc was pretty cool! Oh, well, dad’s still unreasonable, don’t expect that to ever change. So, what, 15 minutes? Great! I think it’s raining outside, so if you could just text me when you arrive and I will come out? I’m wearing shorts and I’ll freeze my buns off if I wait outside. Course, I expect you’ll be warming them up for me when we get home! Oh, yes, very naughty! It will need to be worse than that! Oh, the wooden spoon, yes please! Uh, honey, I kind of have an audience, yeah. Great, see you in a few!”

Carla put the phone back in her purse, then smiled at her parents. Her dad was looking aghast, his mouth hanging open. Her mom blushed a bit, but smiled as if she were sharing a secret. Dr. Lewis looked on blankly.

“I thought you could hold her!” Mr. Petersen objected.

“A 5150 Psych hold would only be good for 72 hours.” Dr. Lewis said. “And I can only hold her for that long if she is considered to be a threat to herself or others. No one has said anything about any threats by her to others, and I see nothing that she is doing that is a threat to herself.”

“She is covered in bruises!”

“They weren’t self-inflicted, nor are they a health concern. She isn’t cutting herself or showing any indication of suicide. No indication of drug or alcohol abuse. She appears to be eating well, her body weight is fine, vital signs all healthy.”

“What about the abuse?”

“Have you heard about the ‘Domestic Violence Lethality Screen’ ?” Dr. Lewis asked after a few moments of silence.

“No.” Mr. Petersen said hesitantly.

“It’s a questionnaire that first responders will issue if they have any reason to suspect abuse. Eleven questions; three of the questions, if answered ‘yes’, will trigger a referral protocol. A yes on four or more of the other 8 will do likewise. Carla scored zero.”

“So you are saying this guy is not a threat.”

“I don’t know if he is or isn’t, just like I don’t know if you are a threat to her or not. What I can tell you is that there is no admissible evidence to suggest that she is in danger.”

“The bruises!”

“Carla, would you mind if I took a look at your cell phone?”

“Uh, sure.” Carla said as she dug the phone out of her purse. She woke it up, entered her passcode, then handed the phone over.

“Who’s Mindy?”

“Friend at work.”

“Looks like you text her a lot.”

“Yeah, we are always keeping tabs.”

“And Mary?”

“Also from work.”

“And Paul is your boyfriend?”


“And Fred?”

“He’s my boss.”


“One of the guys. We sometimes hang out.”

“Your boyfriend doesn’t object to you texting with other guys?”

“No. Hasn’t said anything.”

“Are you on Facebook?”

“No. Not anymore. Too many of the wrong type of friends.”


“Oh, lots of pictures on Instagram!”

“Mind if I look?”

“Go ahead.”

Dr. Lewis opened the app, then scrolled through pages of pictures. They were the standard assortment popular with the young crowd. Dr. Lewis made note that while others were holding wine glasses, beer cans or red solo cups, Carla was holding a soda can.

“Thank you, that was enlightening.” Dr. Lewis said as he handed the phone back.

“What was?” Mr. Petersen asked.

“Do you know what the number one tool is that an abuser uses?”


“No, it’s isolation.” Dr. Lewis explained. “Red flags of abuse are when the abused isn’t allowed to have a phone. A red flag would be when she has no friends at work, especially male friends. An abuser wouldn’t allow her to come here alone. He certainly wouldn’t encourage her to talk freely about their situation. Someone who is being abused will deny the abuse, make excuses. They would never admit to being beat.”

“Carla,” Dr. Lewis continued. “Gave some rather candid answers to Dr. Ferguson.”

“Yes, some of that was a bit shocking.” Mrs. Petersen admitted, although there was a hint of a smile on her face.

“A typical answer we will get, to explain bruises, would be: ‘ran into a door’ or ‘fell down the stairs’. Now, let’s see.” Dr. Lewis thumbed through the papers. “Carla’s explanation was ‘hanging by her ankles, breasts whipped with a belt.’ She doesn’t appear to be denying or hiding anything.”

“You guys are talking about me like I’m not here.” Carla said. “If you don’t mind, I will just wait out in the lobby.”

“You are free to go.” Dr. Lewis said. “I appreciate your candor. I apologize for any inconvenience.”

“Sure. No problem. I would say that it was nice meeting you, but it wasn’t!” Carla laughed. “Got to go!”

“Any suggestions?” Mr. Petersen asked once Carla had left the room.

“I can’t say that I approve of her lifestyle.” Dr. Lewis continued. “It is considered an ‘alternate’ lifestyle, and not all that uncommon. As long as it remains consensual it is considered legal. You may not like it, but there is nothing that I can do about it.”

“There has to be some legal channel, I mean he is beating her! Causing someone harm has got to be illegal! It’s appalling to me!”

“Mr. Petersen, do you find the Olympics to be appalling?”

“No, of course not. What’s that got to do with it?”

“In one of the events of the summer games, two men will enter a ring and try to beat each other senseless.”

“That’s boxing! That’s different!”

“Why is it different? Because it is called a sport? It is okay with you that two people will hurt each other for sport, but doing it for love or sex is bad?”

“So, what can I do?”

“Well, to start with, you should be rejoicing that your daughter has been clean and sober for two years! That is quite an accomplishment! Let me tell you, I see a LOT of really bad cases! I get parents and family members in here on a daily basis that would consider it akin to winning the lottery if they could trade places with you!”

“Are you saying I should accept her being with this guy?”

“It was on your watch that she became a drug addict. It has been on his watch that she got clean and sober. Just what, exactly, is your objection?”

“Look.” Dr. Lewis continued. “I don’t know what happened between you two, but it happened a long time ago. You can’t change the past, but you can influence the future. She is an adult and she has her own life now. If you want to be a part of her life then you will need to make some concessions. The first will be to respect her boundaries. You have to allow her to make her own mistakes. So far, she isn’t doing too badly with this guy.”

“What if things change, gets worse?” Mr. Petersen pleaded. “Someone needs to look out for her!”

“You can do that, if you can work your way back into her life. Have you considered inviting them over for dinner?”

“I believe that man is abusing my daughter! Why would I invite him into my house?”

“There is a saying that goes: you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The best way to keep tabs on your daughter is to develop an ongoing relationship, with the two of them.”

“Well, that didn’t go well!” Mr. Petersen griped once they were in the car, headed home.

“I thought it went great!” Mrs. Petersen countered. “Wasn’t that phone call she made just adorable? I remember when you used to call me sweetie!”

“You do realize that she was discussing the beating she would get when she got home, right?”

“Hmmm, yeah.” Mrs. Petersen said softly. “You know, my buns are kind of cold too.”


“Oh, nothing! What do you think about a week from Saturday?”

“A week from Saturday for what?”

“Dinner, of course! With Paul and Carla. You could barbecue, wouldn’t that be delightful?”

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