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Story Breakthrough
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Thread: Breakthrough

  1. #1
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    Breakthrough

    Breakthrough
    FMJ


    Dr. Thomas Walker parked his car in the lot and opened his private office door every Wednesday night a little before six to set up the conference room for his support group meeting at seven. He was the facilitator for the Bay area Abduction Support group and currently had six members attending with the promise of a new seventh member tonight.

    He had to admit that he had been skeptical at first about a sufficient number of individuals coming forward and sharing their private past experiences about such a controversial subject as abduction to make a support group necessary. He had always had an interest in the paranormal and when he discovered a disproportionate number of patients had begun to relate what could only be interpreted as a repressed memory of abduction, the support group was started.

    Once established, the group had taken on a life of its own attracting members seeking a non-judgmental forum to relate experiences that they could not discuss with friends or even with members of their own families.

    Dr. Walker was a clinical psychologist and demanded a “judgment free zone” of the support group he facilitated. He had always been quick to reassure the group members that “whatever is said here stays here.”

    Through these guarantees and a minimum of peer pressure to participate, he had been able to help a few individuals to make successful readjustments in their personal and public lives.
    Last edited by FMJ; 12-26-2017 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    In these modest goals, he felt as though his efforts had been successful and therefore worthwhile. Some members remained withdrawn, suspicious and paranoid, but as long as they continued to attend the weekly meetings, some progress was being made regardless of appearances.

    He turned on the lights and started the coffee maker before setting out cups, spoons, sugar and creamer. He knew that the support group members would soon begin to arrive and wanted the atmosphere to be familiar, comfortable and non-threatening.

    Towards these goals, he placed a loose circle of swivel office chairs in the corner of the conference room.

    One chair, he placed with the back facing the corner for Mike, the full time student who wore blue jeans and a hoodie and had an as yet undisclosed experience and exhibited a general distrust of the entire group.

    Two chairs, he placed farthest from the air conditioning vent to make Jean, a secretary, and Diane, a housewife more comfortable. Jean and Diane were tea drinkers and a small assortment of flavorful blends was always at their disposal.

    Bill, the UPS driver, and Steve, the production welder always preferred to be next to the AC vent and drank their coffee black.

    Dr. Walker placed his own chair with a slightly taller backrest with its back towards the door in what he hoped to impart as a position of authority and trust.

    A chair placed at his right was for Amy, a student and avid horse enthusiast who drank coffee with cream and sugar while another placed at his left was reserved for Chuck, the new member who, he hoped, would join the support group tonight.

    A small square glass topped table was placed between each chair to help define a personal space between the group members and provide a ready place to set a coffee cup.
    Last edited by FMJ; 12-26-2017 at 11:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    Interesting start. Keep going, I'll keep reading.
    It's later than you think!
    (Fr. Seraphim Rose)

  4. #4
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    At five minutes to seven, the group members began to file in led by the ever-punctual UPS driver, Bill and followed by the rest singly and in pairs.

    Last was Mike, the student who went predictably to the chair in the corner. Dr. Walker greeted them and welcomed them to another support group meeting while they fixed their drinks and talked quietly amongst themselves.

    Dr. Walker waited patiently while everyone took their seats.

    “Hey Doc!” called Steve. “What’s with the extra chair?” he asked inquisitively pointing to the empty chair at Dr. Walker’s left.

    “I’m glad you asked and I’ll get to that in a moment, Steve, but first I’d like to say hello and good evening. I would like to wait a few more minutes for a new prospective group member to arrive who may not be as familiar with our location and schedule as all of you have become,” said Dr. Walker.

    “Sure Dr. Walker. I already need a refill anyway,” added Bill. “Me too,” said Jean.

    The soft buzz of conversation was interrupted as the door to the conference room behind Dr. Walker opened and an unfamiliar man entered the room hesitantly.

    “Excuse me, is..., is this the support group meeting headed by Dr. Walker?’ he asked quietly.

    “Ah! You made it.” said Dr. Walker standing up. “You must be Chuck. I’m Dr. Walker; we spoke on the phone last week. We’ve been waiting for you. Please come in and sit down. Would you like something to drink?”

  5. #5
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    “Uh, no thanks. I’m fine,” he said as he took the remaining seat.

    “OK, now we’re all here and I’ll begin again,” offered Dr. Walker. “Hello and good evening. My name is Dr. Thomas Walker and I’m a state-certified clinical psychologist. I’m the facilitator of this support group.”

    As a group, all except Chuck, the new-comer, chorused, “Hello Dr. Walker."

    “Hello,” returned Dr. Walker with a grin. “I’m going to take a moment to cover our ground rules and principles for Chuck’s benefit so we are all on the same page,” he continued.

    “First and foremost in my opinion,” he said ticking off the item on his index finger, “Is the fact that this support group is a judgment free zone. The experiences and memories that our members may relate here to the group may include sensitive or even controversial subjects and no other member has the right to condemn or condone those actions.”

    “Second, what is said here stays here and does not leave the building. And finally, in consideration of all group members, ‘crosstalk’ is discouraged as it can lead to a point where a group member may feel the need to defend themselves and their actions,” he added.

    “Within those three constraints, I would like to open this support group for discussion,” he concluded.

  6. #6
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    Look forward to the development of this story. One of my previous student's uncle had a well document missing/abduction experience. As a rough and tumble logger, he was ridiculed by authorities and his community. When he relocated to our tiny town he had changed his name and occupation hoping to leave behind the shame of being labeled crazy. Sadly he ended up drinking himself to death. His niece told me it was after his passing that she read about his experience in a book on abductions. He never spoke to her part of the family about the ordeal. Pretty sad.

  7. #7
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    20

    Quote Originally Posted by Siskiyoumom View Post
    Look forward to the development of this story. One of my previous student's uncle had a well document missing/abduction experience. As a rough and tumble logger, he was ridiculed by authorities and his community. When he relocated to our tiny town he had changed his name and occupation hoping to leave behind the shame of being labeled crazy. Sadly he ended up drinking himself to death. His niece told me it was after his passing that she read about his experience in a book on abductions. He never spoke to her part of the family about the ordeal. Pretty sad.
    Have you ever seen the 1993 movie, "Fire in the Sky"?

    In 1975, a group of five men are driving home after working in a forest when they see a mysterious light. Intrigued, Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) leaves the truck -- only to be sucked up by a flying saucer. The other four men report the strange event, but they are skeptically interrogated by Lt. Frank Watters (James Garner), who suspects that murder is behind Walton's disappearance. When Walton reappears five days later, his story of alien abduction is met with disbelief.

  8. #8
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    Are there any pressing matters?” he asked opening his hands to implore.

    After a few moments of silence while the individual group members glanced around the circle to one another, Jean, who was a secretary for a financial planner offered,

    “I don’t know if she will ever come to one of these meetings, but I keep trying to get my sister to open up about what happened to us instead of keeping it all bottled up inside.”

    “She would benefit if what you both experienced is affecting her personal or public life,” advised Dr. Walker quietly.

    Jean nodded but her body language and lack of further comment told Dr. Walker she was already aware of her sister’s response.

    “Are there any other pressing matters?” he asked to shaking heads around the circle.
    “The topic for tonight’s discussion will involve the ‘readjustment’ as it identifies the type and extent of ‘coping skills’ utilized by our members in order to regain a sense of ‘normalcy’ in their lives after their own personal event. Members of the group sharing ‘coping skills’ can make real progress possible without everyone crossing the same ground and making the same mistakes. Are there any questions? No? Would anyone like to start?”

  9. #9
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    “OK, I’ll go,” said Bill the UPS driver. “I have really immersed myself in my job and tried to set performance goals using the programs at work to make me a more valuable and visible employee for the company I work for,” he explained to nodding heads around the circle.

    “I now know that the nightmares I had after my experience kept me from getting enough sleep and made me tired all the time and a real pain to be around,” he admitted.

    “I think that was the reason that I tried to drink my way into oblivion once to just get some dreamless sleep,” he added.

    “Over time and with a lot of help from this group, I’ve been able to separate, at least in my head, the experience I had and the dreams that almost cost me my marriage and my job,” he continued.

    “I’m not there yet, but at least I can look at that place in my mind where I was after my event, and not cringe inside anymore,” he admitted.

    “Good…in fact, very good, Bill,” Dr. Walker said as he added a note to a thick sheaf of papers he kept at his elbow.
    “I’m sure you already know that a balance between a work life and a home life is just as important so all I’m going to say is don’t neglect one for the other. But being able to look in that place now without fear is a substantial improvement. Well done,” said Dr. Walker.
    Last edited by FMJ; 12-28-2017 at 08:33 AM.

  10. #10
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    Diane, the housewife, sat forward and cleared her throat quietly.

    “Yes, Diane,” said Dr. Walker quietly. “Is there something that you would like to add?”

    “Yes. I mean…I haven’t been here as long as some of you have and I don’t have…I mean I can’t just come out and talk about it yet the way that Bill can but I just wanted to say that not all of us have a job to take our minds off of it and I have a lot of free time to think about it and the memories are just so,…um,...I’m not really making a whole lot of sense, am I?” Diane said in obvious distress.

    “Stop,” interrupted Dr. Walker. “No one here will think that there is something wrong with your ability to make sense because you are honestly and actually quite clearly trying to make yourself understood,” explained Dr. Walker.

    “The simple difficulty to make other people understand the experiences that almost all of you have shared is the reason that we are here and a reluctance to talk about it doesn’t mean that you are not making sense,” continued Dr. Walker in a soothing tone.

    “I remember quite clearly the depth and clarity of the experience that you related to me when you contacted me about this support group and I have the utmost confidence that someone with the mental strength and stability to deal with that memory on a daily basis can express themselves effectively. Don’t sell yourself short, Diane. We all hear you,” concluded the Doctor.

    “Would you like to continue or would you prefer to put your thoughts in order and complete your comment later?” Dr. Walker offered gently.

    “Later, I think,” said Diane quietly.

  11. #11
    very good story so far

  12. #12
    I like it!
    Been reading for years, just now starting to talk.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudlogger View Post
    I like it!
    "Been reading for years, just now starting to talk."

    Ha! You've got 2 more posts than me and I've been here 6 years longer.
    I don't talk much either but I like to write.
    Last edited by FMJ; 12-29-2017 at 07:08 AM. Reason: Added signature line for clarity.

  14. #14
    My husband reads Vox Day, Breitbart, zerohedge etc, and will tell me about a news story two days after I read about it here. I love tb.

    Him: Did you hear...

    Me: Yep. Two days ago.
    Been reading for years, just now starting to talk.

  15. #15
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    FMJ,

    An interesting story line that is becoming spell binding....

    I enjoy unwinding after a long day of work and this story fits the need....

    Thank you....

    Texican....
    An American Christian....
    Live Free and Die Free....
    Last edited by Texican; 12-29-2017 at 12:37 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    Very good! Thanks

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    “Very well, then. I look forward to it,” added Dr. Walker. “At this point, why don’t we take a short break to refresh our drinks and use the facilities before we continue? Say, five minutes?” asked Dr Walker as everyone nodded around the circle.

    Once they returned to their seats with fresh drinks amid quiet small talk or within their own silence, the Doctor again called the group to order.

    “Would anyone like to start?” asked the Doctor.

    Steve, the production welder sat up straight and said, “I’ve been having more trouble lately,” he bluntly stated. “I just can’t seem to get the images of my experience out of my head,” he continued.
    “Why are they still as vivid as they were the week after it happened and that was a year ago this past June?
    I thought that I saw..., something in the flash of the arc when I was at work the other day,” he added. “I practically jumped out of my skin and stopped the line but I told everyone that I had a hornet inside my welding shield and they all laughed so I didn’t get in any trouble,” he confided.

    “Quick thinking,” added Dr. Walker. “You saw an intensely bright light prior to your experience and I think that as you are constantly exposed to the light of the arc in your work, you are reminded of that event,” Dr. Walker said with his hand on his chin.

  18. #18
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    “Would there possibly be any other job that you could perform at your work without actually leaving the department for a short while, at least, until you can see if these images begin to fade?” offered Dr. Walker hopefully.
    “I don’t want you to think that I would ever callously offer a solution to a problem that could ultimately result in the loss of a job position that you might have worked for years to achieve without considering all the ramifications,” Dr. Walker explained patiently.

    “Yes actually, there is . . . I think I might try that, Doc,” said Steve thoughtfully.

    Just then, Chuck, the new member of the group leaned forward and looked directly at Dr. Walker.

    “Yes, Chuck. Would you like to say something?” asked the Doctor.

    “Um, I’ve never done this before so I don’t know how this will sound,” began Chuck.

    “Just tell us what is on your mind,” offered Dr. Walker quietly.

    “OK. My name is Chuck and I’m a hi-lo driver in a warehouse over in the industrial park east of town.

    “Hello Chuck,” chorused the members of the circle.

    “Heh, OK, here goes. I believe that I have been abducted once every year for as long as I can remember. It happens at almost the exact same time every year and I know this because there are distinct gaps in my memory that I can’t account for,” Chuck continued.

  19. #19
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    “I have lost a marriage, a career and several jobs because I have apparently just failed to show up for anywhere from a couple days to over a week without any recollection of ever doing so,” Chuck explained quietly.
    “For the past three years, I have even begun to take vacation time when I know that the time for it is approaching,” Chuck continued.
    “I have come to this abduction support group because I think I am starting to doubt my own sanity and I need to tell like-minded people that I have a problem and that I need help,” Chuck finished with a sigh.

    “Well, admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery,” said Dr. Walker.

    Mike, the student who had made no comment at all in at least the last two meetings leaned forward and to nearly everyone’s surprise said, “May I ask a question?”

    Dr. Walker said clearly, “Within the constraints of our ground rules and principles, yes, of course.”

    “Are you a drug user?” Mike asked without preamble.

    “I hardly think that is a fair question in light of…,” began Dr. Walker when Chuck cut him off with a wave.

    “No, I don’t mind. That is actually a fair question and I’ll answer it,” Chuck offered. “If you mean illegal drugs, then no, I don’t use anything stronger than aspirin, never have. I don’t even drink alcohol.”

  20. #20
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    Thank you, tension is building...
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  21. #21
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    “Bill, the UPS driver leaned forward and said, “May I ask a question?”

    Dr. Walker turned to Chuck and said,” You have every right to your privacy and may decline to answer if you choose.”

    “I’ve come this far and I will answer,” sighed Chuck.

    “Is there any evidence of an illness like maybe amnesia or epilepsy or Alzheimer’s that could explain the gaps in your memory that you described,” Bill asked.

    “No. In fact my current employer has an excellent health care plan that requires an annual physical that I have passed three years running with flying colors. My blood pressure is text book normal, my body mass index is perfect, I don’t wear glasses and I’ve never had a cavity."

    Into this stunned silence, Dr. Walker quietly said, “May I ask a question?”

    “Sure, Dr. Walker. That’s why I’m here,” said Chuck quietly.

    “When do you expect the next abduction to occur?” asked the Doctor inquisitively.

    “I started my vacation yesterday, so sometime soon I guess, maybe even tomorrow. It varies a little but not much,” said Chuck quietly.

  22. #22
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    At that moment, the lights in the office conference room flickered once and went out only to come back on a moment later, flickered again and went out with a note of finality. In the enveloping darkness someone said, “Well, should we just continue in the dark or cancel the meeting?”

    “Why don’t we just sit and wait for a moment to see if the power comes back on before we decide to cancel,” Dr. Walker’s reassuring voice came from the darkness.

    After several anxious moments that seemed to stretch on for far longer than they actually did, the power did come back on.

    The lights hummed and flickered as they started up before staying on with an even bright illumination that reassured the people in the conference room. Blinking as they adjusted to the returning light, the support group members glanced from one to another in the circle.

    “Hey Doc!” called Steve. “What’s with the extra chair?” he asked inquisitively pointing to the empty chair on Dr. Walker’s left.

    “I’m glad you asked and I’ll get to that in a moment, Steve, but first I’d like to say hello and good evening. I would like to wait a few more minutes for a new prospective group member to arrive who may not be as familiar with our location and schedule as all of you have become,” said Dr. Walker.

    “Sure Dr. Walker. I already need a refill anyway,” added Bill. “Me too,” said Jean who felt an unexplained moment of déjà vu.



    End

  23. #23
    Thanks for the neat short story!

  24. #24
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    And I was expecting Dr. Walker or one of the others to be an alien monitoring their test subjects. I will have to pass a suggestion up the chain of command about starting "support groups" to keep track of subjects and wanabes.
    The difference between being smart and being wise:
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes.
    Being wise is learning from the mistakes of others.
    My life has given others many opportunities to be wise.

  25. #25
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    End?

    END?!

    Intriguing short...well done

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