Jan,Wacam, Mule and the Viper – Family Therapy!

“So, we have here Jan, Wacam, Mule and eh hm, Viper” “Yes.”Sqwk.” “Sure.” “Hisssss  – I’m here my dear.”

“Shurrup with your slimy ‘yes dears’ you slithering, hissing, horrible, horrid jumped up worm. It’s all your fault we’re here! Do us a favour and creep back to where you came from, leave us alone, I hate and detest the sight of you; I could kill you!”

“Oh my dear Mule don’t be like that, surely this is a time for reflection and reconciliation – hsssss.” “Don’t argue with him Mule, please don’t take on so, it’s my fault we’re here, I’ve allowed this to happen, I walked us all into the darkness.”

“Ah, hm, yes, I wonder if we could pause for a second so that I can see where you all are and if there are other opinions on this matter. I want you to see this session as a place of learning and enlightenment, that won’t happen if the time is spent apportioning blame. Are we agreed on that? Good. Now, Jan, when did you notice yourself walking ‘into the darkness’ as you describe it? How long has that been going on?”

“Do you mean how long this time or how much of my life?”

“There are no right or wrong answers Jan, just tell me about the ‘darkness’.”

“Okay. I would say it started when I was about 4 years old, so more or less all my life. This bad spell I’m having now reared up about a month back, it was subtle, slow at first  – but now it’s really got me in a strangle hold.”

Silence. This happens with many psycho-therapists, they leave spaces for their patients to fill, they give nothing of themselves, reflect back at you what you tell them. It’s got a fancy name but apparently it’s the hardest type of therapy to be in because you can hide behind your chair with your coat over your head shivering and sobbing and the most they will do is lean forward a little. I went through this for years and the way it ended was truly awful, even my GP was shocked – (GP General Practitioner, my doctor who works at the local surgery and is the person who refers me to a Consultant at a hospital if I need a specialist  examination and /or treatment.) I am not putting Wacam and Mule through that kind of cyberspace therapy!

“Can you describe it – any of you – can you tell me what it’s like for you now or when you knew there was a problem?”

“Skwk, skw, sk, s…..  ”

“Hmm, so you’re a little ….lethargic… Wacam?”

“No, he’s an idle, lazy, good for nothing son of a parrot who only shows up when he’s on easy street! When the going gets tough he takes his wings home and makes out he can’t fly anymore. SQUAWKKKKK help me oh help me because I have lost the will to fly….. Oh no, my feathers are losing their lustre, help me, oh help me… me…me..me..me..me…..”

“Skw….you’re a horrible mule Mule, I’m moulting, my sapphire blue feathers are dropping out in tufts… infact I’m almost bald and….. I am a Macaw, pure bred, Macaw… my parents are not common and garden parrots. You are offensive, aggressive and stubborn – you’re an ass! No, you’re an assho…”

“Wacam! There’s no need for that kind of talk! It would help me if you two would stop squabbling… as for you Mule, please stop pulling everyone to pieces and winding them up, we’re all in this together, TOGETHER… ”

“Skawry Jan.”  “I’ll try to curb my temper, sorry Jan.” “You don’t need to apologise, I’ve done this to you, stopped Wacam flying, made you a beast of burden with all my endless complaints…. but shouting and being nasty won’t help me to make you feel better – okay?”

“Hssss – sounds fine to me. The parrot’s weak and feeble, the mule is a plodding donkey and the Jan issss ssssooo happy to take the blame. You do know dear lady therapist that I’m only here to observe, I take it all those years of training haven’t blinded you to the obvious? The obviousssss, hsssss, not your strong point I sssussspect dear lady, hsssss….”

“Things are never quite so black and white, hmm, we may find that you’re more involved than you think….Viper?”

“V.I.P for sshhort… but feel free to call me… whatever, hssss.”

“Sqwa…. I wish you’d hissss off to where you came from and leave us alone.”

“Well, sense at last from the pathetic parrot! I don’t give a toss how important you think you are you long streak of …”   “MULE!” …” hiss, long streak of hiss.”

“I’m exhausted, it’s impossible to think straight, I cry a lot…everything looks black, everything is black. It’s a black hole, the gravity is so powerful I’m being sucked further in. I can feel it swirling and crushing my body into a tight space; there’s no light in a black hole, no breathing space… oblivion.”


The clock ticked,  steady, rhythmical – reassuring – a welcome break, a pause to consider and draw breath, a few moments without pressure.

“It’s as though I’m being smothered, I can’t breathe, can’t see – imagine an Egyptian mummy with thick, black bandages – and then, for no reason, everything changes and I experience the same emotions in a different but equally ghastly way.”

“Skww..a..a.. black is so not my colour. My feathers, my marvellous, exotic, multi-coloured magnificence….  I will be barred from all society of rank and breeding. Shunned by my blood relatives…. relegated to conversing with… with…. budgies!”

“Oh Wacam I’m so sorry to have done this to you, so sorry, it’s all my fault, you should never have associated with me, I do this to everyone; drag them into a world with no colour, bring them down, taint them with my presence. Please try to fly…. go back to The Calabar and convalesce, hitch a ride to Africa… try Wacam, try to fly!”

“Skwa… skw… sk… I can’t Jan, I don’t feel confident, I have no energy, no reason, no purpose, I may never fly again…. I may spend the rest of my days like this, shackled, imprisoned… grounded.”

“Oh dear, oh pass us the tissues… some of us have never flown but we’re not moaning and groaning, yearning for ‘skwour skafire skeathers’ and where we’ll be in society! Get a grip!”

 “Don’t be so angry Mule, I know it’s difficult for us but Wacam does have a point. He was born to fly and now he can’t so please allow him to be upset, it’s not his fault that you have never flown and have a rough, itchy, plain brown coat.”

“Brayeee…brayeee… just hang on a sec Jan, we can’t all have fancy clothes in lovely colours. My coat has served me well, it fits its purpose…. and it’s needed to with everything I’ve had to carry. The only wonder is that I haven’t broken my back or crushed my knees…. the burden has got heavier by the day. I’m not having a go at you… just stating the facts.”

“I know Mule, I know and I’m sorry, more sorry than you will ever know! I don’t deserve you, you’re a wonderful friend but I can’t cope with the tug of war, the arguing and bad feeling. The two of you should leave me and go to a place where you’ll be appreciated and people won’t endanger your sanity with crippling burdens! Leave Mule, leave me and drop off all the things that are weighing you down, go and live your life.”

“Hmm, could I intervene here for a second? Do I take it that you feel responsible for the feelings of Wacam and Mule? So much so that you want them to leave and begin their lives elsewhere even though you seem to have had, perhaps still have, a close relationship? Where does that leave you – and Viper?”

“Hisssss… have no qualms on my behalf dear lady, Jan and I have rarely been closer hisssss… I love her, I have no intention of leaving and, hissss, she doesn’t know how to get rid of me, we are hsssss – loversssss.”

“Skwaaaa…. she doesn’t like you…. shkwee told me, I don’t like you, we’re fine when you’re not here, we’re happy, we are aren’t we Jan, you love me don’t you, you love Wacam don’t you?”

“Oh Wacam I love you dearly…. I adore you…. but sometimes we fly a little too high and I fall and crash…. but never think I don’t love you, I will always  love you… there is so much  colour and vibrancy when you are around, so much fun…. ”

“Oh yesssss, sssooo much fun…. what a ssshhhame Jan always crashes when sssheee flies with you, sssooo difficult for Mule to to pick her up again…. perhapssss you ssshould be on your way. I’ll take care of Jan hisssss…”

“Oh don’t worry, we all know how well you’ll take care of her, you won’t be satisfied until she’s creeping along on her belly, listening to you whispering poison into her ear forever… you… you… snake in the grass!”

“Mule! Don’t antagonise it please, it doesn’t help! It’s my fault he’s here…. drop the burdens… take a rest, please, please …. graze, go somewhere lovely, a large field, a meadow… take a rest!”

“Hisssss – good advicccce… leave ussss Mule…. ssssave yourssself.”

“Oh Mule my dearest friend, I’ve worn you out, you’re exhausted. I have to go on alone from here, I have to search for a light, a glimmer of hope, this is all my fault.”

“Hisssss…hardly alone, hisssss, I’ll be there…. ‘it’ – I won’t forget that dear Jan…hisssss.”

“Right, well, our session is almost over, hmm, we need to see where today’s journey has taken us and sum up what we’ve learned. It seems to me that Wacam is desperately unhappy, Mule is anxious… and angry. Viper, you seem to be… contented… but I have to say hmm, there exists a palpable animosity between the three of you….and Jan, you take the blame for everything – which leaves you depressed, anxious, angry, bitter and…. confused. Am I near the mark or have I got you all wrong?”

” Swkno.”


“I think you’re on the right lines.”

“Viper? Do you have anything to add? I am going to recommend a further appointment, are you willing to attend?”

“Attend? Mmmhssss – I think you will find Jan goes nowhere without me…. indeed I am in the ascendancy, I dictate her every move… hisssss.”

“I see. Okay then, hmmm, same time next week? Does that suit the four of you?”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to come on fixed days and times, may we leave it open?”

“Of course. Hmm Jan – before you leave, hmm, have you considered medication, just as a prop whilst we talk this through?”

“I’m on the maximum amount that can be prescribed without being hospitalised. My doctor is coming on Wednesday, we’re going to discuss the situation.”

“Ahh, I see, I see.”

“I’m not sure if you or anyone else ‘sees’ for that matter… but I thank you… I owe thanks to so many people, more than you’ll ever know… I’ll do my best to turn up. Thank you for listening. Bye bye.”

The door closed.

Psss…psss… Jan, in here, Jan.”

“Who’s that? Viper? Where are you?”

“Psss, in here… in here Jan, look in the pouch…”

“Hank! Oh Hank, it’s so nice to see you, I thought you’d stayed on The Calabar… don’t get involved with this, it’s horrid.”

“Psss, shurrup, I’ve got a message for you, hik, soz, just had a lovely drop of rum, hik.”

“Honestly Hank!  You’re a devil! What’s the message?”

“Hic, hic, it’s from that French bird with the weird name, Len, Chan, Teurea….?”

“What is it Hank, what, come on, what is it?”

Hic, she says, hang on, I wrote it hic…down…got it…listen….”

“Tell me Hank, quickly!”

“It says, hic, ‘Go to the Abbey darling, your room is ready, there are friends waiting… the lights are on, look up sweetheart, lift up your eyes, walk toward the light.’ hic, hic, don’t cry Jan, please don’t cry……is it bad news, you don’t have to go there.”

“Don’t worry Hank, it’s not bad news, it’s not bad news at all.”



About jan2

I live in England.

Posted on December 4, 2006, in Abbey Residents. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. During those moments when dawn kiss is still faint and I have pinched out the Abbey Lantern, all is both
    clear shadows and misted light — and all are welcome, equal and innocent —
    and you’all can find peace


  2. This is very powerful. The Abbey is indeed a very safe place. Perhaps even Viper will benefit from it. Glad to see you writing again, Jan.


  3. What an utterly extraordary dialogue. This most certainly beats having a one way conversation with some doctor who is silent and just shifts a little in the chair as you speak. So courageous Jan. I am proud of you for tackling this.

  4. Thanks Heather, I’m proud of you for providing the will, setting, desire…. to even write this piece. It’s not easy to write a dialogue between 5 people, especially when they’re all one person.I think I may have cracked the ‘I can’t write dialogue’ issue. It’s quite a good piece as well… and for someone in my situation there is still a grain of wit and humour. Gosh Enchanteur – I’m proud of myself!!!

    Hugs all round!

  5. Enchanteur is smirking Jan. She looks very happy with herself really 🙂 Now remmember you have wings in that bag so that you can flit back and forth and the anchor – well I don’t think I need tell you what to do with that. You have already used it here in the Abbey. 🙂

  6. Jan, this is quite extraordinary. A really wonderful piece, and a tough one to write, I’m so proud of you.

    (I see the Abbey is your sanctuary, too!)

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