After the P.I.’s there was the therapist

June 3, 2010

posted and written by Caroline Picard

This continues from the piece posted yesterday about Private Investigators.

The Therapist I.

Obligatory interviews with the visiting therapist were no better.

It was one thing to have a death in the camp—a death in summer’s family—quite another to entertain interlopers from elsewhere, adults who came into their community to observe the behavior of respective camp inhabitants—many of whom were still convinced that Barry had not died at all.

The therapist—a middle-sized woman with gold jewelry and modest glasses and brown floofy hair—it was always down and set, mysteriously, in the exact same position, trimmed like a topiary, to create an oval of bushy brown that perfectly framed her very central, round face. She looked kind and smelled clean, she had no polish on her nails and always wore khaki, or white, shorts with the shirt tucked in, the waist just below her ample chest, tied with a thick belt. She wore ankle socks and Keds. She had pink cheeks.
She looked like a mother, someone said. But that’s just to trick you, someone else replied (at the campfire after Boggis and Bunts had left already, swilling hip flasks). She met kids in the cafeteria when the cafeteria was closed. When the cafeteria was closed it smelled something like old eggs and fresh-baking cookies and red peppers. Perhaps a dash of dish soap. Her perfume mingled and melded with everything, and within a short time, her scent seemed to distill the other smells, to overcome them such that by the end of her workday, just before supper, the cafeteria didn’t smell like any of the other things at all. It smelled simply of her—a sweet, clean smell. After a week her scent was oppressive, depressing, such that the campers avoided the dining hall at all cost.

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