In the Flesh by Paul Nelson cover


Paul Nelson

Opening scenes only

August 2009


Paul Nelson

Copyright August 2009 by Paul Nelson, all rights reserved.

No portion of this novel may be duplicated, transmitted, or stored in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this

copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement,

including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the

FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine

of $250,000.

This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and locations are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or people is coincidental

Published by

ISBN: 978-1-60215-104-8


Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God".

Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt.

Not one does what is right.

Psalms, 53:2

"Please boss. Just see her one time. Just for me? O.K.? She hasn't got anywhere else to go."

Josephine was pleading now, imploring me while making her big black eyes seem even larger. Almost pure Filipino, Josephine had a virtually flawless face. Long black hair surrounded a light olive countenance featuring a petite nose and a generous mouth with just enough oriental emphasis to add a little mystique to her attractive appearance. Her five-foot frame probably did not weigh over 100 lbs., but it could pack a lot of energy and right now all of it was devoted to convincing me to see a prospective client.

Josephine, or "Joe," was my chief screening paralegal responsible for sorting through the masses of prospective clients and weeding out the ones we would not handle. As a lawyer who specializes in personal injury lawsuits, I get a lot of kooks and frauds looking for a fast buck. Joe was usually pretty good at cutting through the chafe and getting rid of those prospective clients who were obvious bad risks, phonies or just plain crazies. As a part of this weeding process, Joe also referred out prospective clients whose needs fell outside our realm of practice but whose cases could be handled by other firms.

However, the client Joe wanted me to meet with on this particular morning was a different matter entirely. As far as I was concerned, she was a kook of the weirdest type. I wanted nothing to do with her.

Having attempted to get me to meet with this woman twice before, Joe refused to give up and here she was, back for a third time. I forgot to mention, Joe could be really stubborn when she wanted to and this was obviously one of those times.

As a PI lawyer, I don't like psychological mumbo jumbo. Broken bones and nasty scars are something to play show-and-tell with and sell to a jury. Paraplegics and quadriplegics can be wheeled in for jurors to see their discomfort and feel their pain.

But psychological pain? Physical pain and suffering brought about by mental stress? To top that off, this was a psychological trauma that science only recently accepted as real and was something I personally wasn't sure even existed. My level of excitement for taking this case was just about on par with retaking the Bar exam for kicks.

One thing I do know--if a lawyer doesn't believe in what he's selling, the jury usually isn't buying!

But Joe wouldn't let go. Unusually obstinate, she continued pleading with me to interview a prospective client with Multiple Personality Disorder, something I considered mumbo jumbo of the highest order. Hell, my guess is that everybody has different personalities, it just depends on a given set of circumstances as to which one you feel like exhibiting. But you controlled them, not the other way around. Just as in the courtroom, you wore the hat that fit the image you needed to convey.

Regardless of my personal reservations, it didn't take psychic powers to recognize that Josephine was cloaked in her most endearing, pleading and stubborn personality.

Well, I didn't want to start a war and I was sure that Joe wouldn't quit until she wrangled an interview out of me or I got upset and ordered her to cease and desist, which would then set the mood for several days of silent Asian sullenness. Not a fair choice, but a real one.

"O.K., O.K. Set up a conference; I'll give her 15 minutes and not a minute more. We'll do it in our library, not my office. I don't want her back here." I knew from experience that it was much easier to get away from an unwanted client by walking away from him or her than by having them escorted out of my personal office.

"And make sure she has that quack, I mean psyche with her, Dr. what's his name."

"Dr. Felton Trey," Joe responded, her face beaming while she tried unsuccessfully to hide an impish grin.

"Just like you want, boss. I'll set it all up in the law library. No problem." Joe was already backing out of my office. Having gotten exactly what she wanted, she knew better than to spoil it by hanging around.

"And wipe that silly grin off your face! It's just an interview. I did not say I'd take the case!" I thundered the last at her in mock severity, knowing full well who had won this battle.

"Yes boss, I know." Joe flung the words back over her shoulder as she bolted from my office.

* * * *

They were there, already seated at my conference table.

I had two actual conference rooms, but I liked the law library. I designed it myself, and it did look impressive. Rows of books lined three full walls in built-in shelving. A divider, consisting of more bookshelves, crossed the center of the room, and on either end were more books in recessed shelving and seating for comfort while perusing. To my immediate left in the far corner was an alcove that contained a couch, table and chairs where one could sit quietly while looking out through the windows over the Hillsborough River leading into greater Tampa Bay.

In the center of the space between the divider and the door entrance was a long rectangular conference table. Originally it had been one solid top, but after I purchased it I found that we could not get it up the six flights and into the library, so, I had it cut in half and reassembled. It was professionally done and looked great, but I had really hated to have it cut.

The conference table was ringed with eighteen chairs, and, as I entered the library, a man and a woman were seated in the two chairs at the end of the table on my right. Joe was seated in the second chair to my left, across from the woman, leaving an open chair next to her, directly across from the man at the end seat.

"Mr. Newton," (that's me), "meet Dr. Felton Trey and Judith Hoople," Joe said in introduction as I approached the table.

"Pleased to meet you." I shook hands with both of them.

Felton Trey was a trim man, about five foot six with dark eyes and a shock of black hair combed straight back. He wore tinted glasses, the kind that get lighter or darker as one goes from darkness to light, and they gave the impression of a man trying to couch his expressions behind them. Dr. Trey had an O.K. handshake, not as firm as I liked, but not as limp as a wet dish rag anyway.

"Mr. Newton," Dr. Trey acknowledged in a slightly high-pitched voice with definite nasal intonations.

Shaking hands with Judith, I noticed her warm hands and a slightly damp but surprisingly firm grip accompanied by a bright smile. "Pleased," she said in a throaty smoker's voice. I further noticed her brown hair was shoulder length with natural curls falling down over an otherwise unremarkable face. Not unattractive, but no raving beauty either. Female jurors wouldn't feel threatened and males would find her acceptable. She had big blue eyes and was dressed in a black, knee length dress and black pumps. Simple but nice. Her blue eyes were steady as she gazed through long lashes, watching me in an attentive fashion.

I dropped my legal pad on the table in front of my chair, looking from one to the other deciding the best approach to the interview. I needn't have worried, because as I took my seat, Dr. Trey cleared his throat. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with us about Judith's problem. She asked me to come along with her today and sort of speak on her behalf. You see, I've been Judith's psycho-therapist for about a year now and I know all about what happened to her".

Shifting in his chair, he continued. "Judith can well speak for herself, and will answer any questions you ask her, but to put things into perspective, I will try to lay the initial groundwork."

"Judith is thirty-four years old, and until recently, she led a normal life. She was working as a T.V. reporter for the local news station, part-time, and also for the Hillsborough Crisis Counseling Center, specifically for the crisis hotline."

"She is a divorced mother of two children, both girls; one eight and one twelve. Even though divorced, she is on good terms with her former husband and since the divorce they have shared homes on more than one occasion."

"Judith is a heavy smoker and so are most of her co-workers at the Rape Crisis Center. A couple years ago, a hypnotist came to Clearwater selling hypnosis as a cure for smoking. Some of Judith's co-workers signed up for the sessions. Judith also intended to, but could not get into a session that did not conflict with her schedule. In fact, several of her co-workers found themselves in the same boat--desire but no ability."

"Hearing of their problem, one of the psychologists at the Center offered that he was studying hypnosis and volunteered to treat this group for free. His name was Red Greely, and Judith and some of the others decided to take him up on his offer. They began a series of sessions, each one in private."

"At first things proceeded rather benignly, with Judith feeling little difference before or after a session. She was a willing subject and readily slipped into a hypnotic trance under Red's tutelage. In fact, after only a couple of sessions Red had only to say a few words and Judith was under."

Dr. Trey wiped his mouth with a handkerchief and continued. "After a few sessions, strange things began to happen. Strange things not connected to smoking cessation. Judith began having frightening dreams, waking up in bed while drenched in sweat and filled with almost paralyzing fear. Her nightmares invoked scenes of child rapes and blood sacrifices. More importantly, Red began to notice major changes in Judith's personality when she was under hypnosis."

"While under, Judith's voice and demeanor would change, and she would talk and act like a child. Sometimes, the effect was still present at the end of a session and she would be disoriented and not understand where she was."

"On the job, Judith became forgetful, unable to communicate, ill-tempered and physically exhausted. Her whole life was turning topsy-turvy. She did not and could not understand what was going on."

"Finally, Red sat her down after one session and told her that he suspected she suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder, MPD. He said he had some training in treating MPD and offered to treat Judith. He agreed to bill her group insurance company and accept what they paid and waive the difference. Since he had a private practice as well as his practice at the center, he could treat and bill her in a way that would not bring her under the scrutiny of her peers at the center."

"Desperately wanting to end this confusion and fear, Judith agreed to immediate treatment and the sessions began in earnest. Over time, Judith attended sessions in Red's office and in a trailer at the center. After many, many sessions, Red identified what he claimed were forty different personalities living in Judith's body."

Dr. Trey must have noticed my eyes rolling, for he stopped, looked hard at me. "How much do you know about MPD?"

"Other than watching the movie about the different faces of Eve, absolutely nothing." I replied. "In fact", I said, "I'm not at all sure that I believe in MPD. For all I know it's nothing more than psychological hocus pocus."

At this astute pronouncement, Joe rolled her eyes and let out a loud sigh. To his credit, Dr. Trey only smiled. Judith said nothing, and did not react at all to my statement, only sat there looking demure and waiting for Dr. Trey to get on with it.

"MPD is a very real psychological phenomenon and is recognized by the American Board of Psychiatry. Numerous cases have been diagnosed and subjected to in-depth studies. Thousands of cases are treated each year throughout the U.S. Almost all of the true MPD cases develop as a result of physical and psychological trauma of such a magnitude that the mind cannot cope with the problem head on. And, almost all of these traumas occur at a very early age, even as early as one year old or less."

"Generally, as the trauma develops, the young child, unable to cope with reality, develops a separate area of the mind that is devoted to assimilating the traumatic data. This isolated area of the mind preserves the data and keeps it secret from the rest of the mind, thus allowing the remainder of the mind and body to function in a normal state as though nothing untoward were occurring."

"There are different levels of importance with these personalities. The core personality is the primary personality of the individual. Picture, if you will, a large oak tree. The trunk of the tree is the core personality. The main branches are strong alternate personalities with the twigs and leaves being minor or insignificant personalities."

"Most MPDs have only two or three different personalities or alter egos, if you feel more comfortable with that. Judith has more. Although we have tentatively named and identified about thirty, probably between six and eight actual personalities truly exist. The rest are individual segments in time; leaves of the tree, if you will."

"Wait a minute," I said. "You're saying that this lady across the table from me has over thirty personalities, six or eight of which are actually other persons than the one I am looking at?"

"Exactly!" said Dr. Trey. "I know it may sound far-fetched, but bear with me and I'll try to resolve your doubts."

I looked at my watch. My fifteen minutes was long gone. However, in spite of the doctor's preposterous claims, I was curious. I had no idea how in the hell he'd try to resolve my doubts, but I was going to give him a few more minutes to try.

Seeing the look in my eyes, the doctor continued. "What we now know is that Judith was subjected to a series of rape incidences and devil worship at a very early age. Even, she believes, as an infant in diapers in her crib. As is often the case, these were by family members, Judith's father and uncle."

"The most dysfunctional personality of Judith's multiple personalities we call Baby Judy. Baby Judy was "born" as a result of the child Judith being repeatedly raped while in her crib. Her father would take off her diapers. Having dropped the side-rail of the crib, he'd pull her to him and, while he was standing there, he would force her to lie down while he spread her tiny legs and enter her. While raping her in this position, he would hold her down with her buttocks hanging over the rail of the crib with the rest of her little body pressed into the mattress. This placed the small of her back against the crib rail and the resulting pain was excruciating. Either her father failed to realize the pain, or, most probably, he didn't care."

"In any event, the young Judith, with a mind that was just beginning to develop, was unable to mentally cope with the reality of the situation. The pain, from the lower back down, was completely intolerable. So, Baby Judy was created. She was a separate baby, if you will, with a mind and a body all her own. Baby Judy absorbed all the pain and actually became a paraplegic and arthritic. When daddy struck to satisfy his demented sexual desires, Judith went to sleep and Baby Judy took the pain. A solid wall developed in Judith's mind, completely separating the two personalities. Judith was totally unaware of Baby Judy or of the despicable acts of her own father.

"There are many, many other episodes of abuse in Judith's young life, and several other personalities developed as a result of that abuse. All of them remained secret for over twenty years, until Red. Red, through his experimentation with hypnotherapy on Judith, all highly unprofessional and unethical, poked holes through the mental barriers awakening Judith's conscious mind to more reality than she could deal with.

"At first Red just plundered. Like a thief who has broken into a grocery store expecting to find a few hundred dollars and instead finding millions, Red was overwhelmed. He couldn't keep from going back, over and over. Not offering any solutions or resolving problems, just experimenting and leaving painful residue in his wake.

"Meanwhile, Judith became less and less able to cope with reality and daily living. She lost her job with the T.V. station, had to reduce her hours at the Center, and became irritable with her children. Worse yet, she became totally dependent upon Red. Her children personalities began to treat Red as the loving father they never had.

"In complete disregard of ethical considerations, Red encouraged the dependency of these childlike personalities. He often told them that he would never leave them and that, unlike their real father, he loved them deeply. Red's sessions became the highlights of their newly blossoming childhood lives. The children often sat on his lap and squealed with childish delight."

"Hold on just a minute, Doc. If I understand this, you're saying that a full-grown woman, Judith, sat in this doctor's lap squealing and playing like a young child?"

"Yes, yes. And much more, but I'm coming to that. As a part of his treatment of Judith, Red attempted many unorthodox and disastrous experiments. None was successful and many were highly detrimental. Two of the most controversial methods are worth noting at this point. First, in one period of treatment, Red had Judith mentally gather together all of the memories of all the personalities, forcing them in front of the core personality in a sort of fast forward fashion. Picture loading up your VCR and running it continuously on fast forward, through to the end."

"The result proposed by Red was to lead to a desensitization of the core personality, leaving Judith able to cope with the total reality of all that had happened to her. The actual result was just the opposite. Judith was totally traumatized and descended into a state of shock so severe that it took weeks to recover, and then only by realignment of all the original separate personalities; i.e., reinstating all the original barriers to avoid reality. Only now these barriers were fraught with holes and shadows.

"The second of Red's highly unorthodox treatments was an attempt to integrate all the personalities into the core personality. This would be considered a valid MPD treatment, but not through the use of regressive hypnosis, which is what Red fixated upon. In attempting to merge Baby Judy with Judith, Red crippled Judith. For weeks she was in severe pain, and required a wheelchair and then a walker. She was confined to bed for days at a time and still suffers intermittent pain, almost crippling at times. Once again, Red's treatment was a complete failure. He attempted to return to square one, only this time, as on his first experiment, he was only able to bring her part of the way back. Each time Judith wound up further depressed and less able to cope with life.

"Even with the horrible results of Red's experiments, the children's dependence upon Red continued to grow. Red began to include experiments where he would take the children on outings--for pizza, rides, park outings and visits to the zoo. Can you imagine, a thirty-four year old woman cavorting around the zoo squealing and laughing like an eight year old? "Daddy, look at that one! Can I have some popcorn, Daddy? Can you buy me one of those, Daddy?

"Red had his own living laboratory experiment going. Obviously he thought he had something in Judith that would eventually make him famous in the eyes of his peers.

"Then more disturbing things began to occur. Keep in mind that Judith had no immediate recollection of the children's visits, etc. When Judith would come out of her trance at the end of a session, she would find herself sitting in Red's lap. Sometimes her blouse was open and unbuttoned, sometimes her bra was off and, at other times, her panties were disheveled. Soon it was obvious that sex had become part of the 'therapy,' with different personalities competing for and becoming jealous of the amount of attention and affection Red dispensed to each.

"Still, Judith kept coming back to Red. She literally had no choice. Besides the dependency she had developed for Red, the children drove her crazy when she stayed away too long. Remember, Red was the Daddy who would never hurt or leave them.

"Finally, the inevitable happened. Unable to affect a cure and realizing that the psychiatric profession would never condone his outrageous treatments, Red tired of the game. At least part of this can be blamed upon the insurance policy running out of coverage. In any event, Red announced that he would no longer treat Judith nor visit the children.

"The children and Judith were devastated. One of the child alters got a gun and threatened to kill the body in front of Red. Another took glass and sliced the body on the arms, legs and face. Suicide and disfigurement were the desires of the children who had been hurt all over again.

"Today, Judith is literally a wreck. She has been to several doctors over the last year and a half. I have counseled her for several months myself. It will take years, if ever, to undo the damage Red caused. All of his treatment was unprofessional, unorthodox, unethical, incompetent, inappropriate and, in some cases, illegal. This is as clear a case of psychological malpractice as I have ever encountered."

With that, the doctor sat back in his chair and looked at me rather expectantly, waiting for my questions. It was only when I looked at my legal pad that I realized it was still blank. I hadn't written a thing. I looked at Joe's pad, and although not blank, it was almost bare as well. Joe normally took copious notes thus allowing me to pay close attention to the speaker. This time, she'd been as engrossed as I.

Obviously there was something wrong here, but how it could be resolved or prosecuted through the legal system was something I wasn't ready to commit to yet. I had some research to do, but first, I had some curiosity to satisfy.

Looking at Judith I asked, "Judith, is everything Dr. Trey recited accurate?"

"Oh yes," she said. "Of course there is a lot more to it than that. But that gives you enough of the basics to allow you to see what is going on. I also brought some things for you to look at."

Judith reached down alongside her chair and brought up a large folded poster sized paper and a file folder full of what looked to be handwritten pages, children's crayon pictures, drawings and writings.

Opening the large poster paper first, I could see a family tree, sort of. Only this family was all Judith, with the various members representing the various personalities.

Judith explained, "Dr. Trey and I have been trying to identify all the personalities by name and rank, using the tree we explained earlier. We think we have all of them, but I can never be sure."

"What do you mean, 'you can't be sure?'" I asked. "You think there may be more?" There were over thirty names on the tree. I met some folks from India once with eight to ten names each, but thirty names representing thirty different people sharing one body? My short spurt of enthusiasm was once again on the wane. How in the hell could you sell this to a jury?

Perhaps sensing my change of heart, Dr, Trey spoke up. "See this name here? We only discovered her two weeks ago. We also don't know if Red created any more. He did cause two that we are aware of, this one, Judy R., a record keeper, and Judith, here" he pointed his finger at the poster tree.

"Wait a minute," I said. "I thought Judith was the real person?"

"Judith is real," Dr. Trey said. "So are the others. But there are presently two Judiths. One is Mommy Judith, the one you are talking to, i.e., the woman you see before you, and the other is simply Judith. She was created by Red to be the supreme personality."

"How can you tell the difference?" I asked.

"You and I can't. But Judith knows. Sometimes I can, but not always."

Geeze! I'm beginning to feel like Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo."

"Maybe this will help." Judith pulled out some of the paperwork from the file folder. These are some of the drawings and writings from the children."

When I looked at the colorful pictures and drawings, it was obvious that this was children's work, and equally obvious that it was the work of several different children. I pulled out one page and studied it for a moment. It was a child's drawing of a young girl with brown hair, standing outside in the bright yellow sun. Lots of colors and a bright smile on the child's face made this a happy picture. It was signed in neat childlike writing, Judy R.

"I take it this was drawn and colored by the five year old record keeper, Judy R.?" I asked.

"That's right." Judith and Dr. Trey answered jointly.

"Is there anything written by her in this file?" I asked.

"Oh sure, she is a very prolific writer," Judith said while sorting through the file, looking for samples of Judy R's writings. She extracted a half dozen more pages of writing, some with drawings and some without.

I spent a couple minutes looking at them. They all look the same to me. I compared one against the other, but they all looked as though they had been written by the same young child.

"Dr. Trey, can you get Judy R. to appear, call her up or whatever it is you do to see her?" I asked.

"Certainly, but why don't you ask her yourself?"

"Funny, but I don't know how to hypnotize anyone. It was left out of my law school training."

Ignoring my sarcasm, Dr. Trey said, "With Judith, it is no longer necessary to use hypnosis, especially if the personality you are asking for is already in the light."

By now he had me truly confused. "What's this about the light? Not well lit enough in here for you or what?"

Judith spoke up "Since we have been treating with Dr. Trey, we have learned a lot about coping with so many people occupying one body. There are three principle areas we reside in at any given time. The one who is talking to you now, Judith, is where we call 'In The Flesh.' The ones who are hardest to get to right now are actually in their own private rooms in our mental mansion. In between the mansion and the flesh are always three to six others at any given time. We call them 'In The Light,' because they are conscious of what is going on and may be called up by the person in the flesh or they may ask to come up on their own at a moment's notice. Sometimes they actually fight to get out and it is a real battle, but usually they just wait."

A brief pause then. "Except for Jude, the only male. He's the protector of the body. He never comes out unless there is a physical threat to the body by an outsider. Then he takes over, all on his own."

Hoo boy!! Got a man in there too! Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

"Is Judy R. in the light now?" I asked.

"Yes she is."

"May I talk to her?"

Judith closed her eyes and sat still for a moment. Then, as if shot from a cannon, her eyes sprang open. Right in front of my eyes, a grown woman turned into a little five year old kid. One foot shoeless, she literally bounced onto the chair and sat in a very unladylike fashion, with her dress askew. She was energetic. Her eyes flashed and she had a big smile on her lips. Her hands and gestures took on the actual outer appearance of a small child.

Hell, put her in a bonnet and high collared dress and she would be nothing but an oversized kid.

Gallantly struggling to avert my eyes from below this child's waist, I said, "Hi. I'm Paul Newton. Who am I talking to?" Nothing but veritable words of wisdom flow from the mouth of this great orator. Especially when talking to a child in an adult's body.

"Silly, I know who you are, I was watching. And you know who I am, cause you asked for me...Judy R. Remember?"

The voice sounded utterly childlike and utterly without pretense.

"Yes, I forgot you had been waiting. Tell me, how old are you?"

"Five." She held up five fingers of her right hand fully opened. Just like any little girl proud of her age.

"Aah, five. What do you like to do, Judy R?"

"Oh, I like to write and draw and color and play. I used to play with Daddy Red lots of times. That was fun. But he don't love me any more. He's gone now. But I still love him." The last was said in a sad monotone.

"What kind of games did Daddy Red play with you?"

"He played riding horse on his leg and on his back. Not on his shoulders though. His beard tickled. He took me to the swings and to eat and even to the zoo. We got to play and feed the animals and a goat jumped right up on me. I got knocked down, but Daddy Red picked me up and brushed me off and kissed me all well." All was spoken in a great gush of words, one right after another.

Turning the handwritten papers and drawings face down on the table in true Columbo style, I asked Judy R. "Can you draw me a picture of the sun, and a little girl, and then write your name in the bottom of it for me?"

"Sure, I'd like that. Mommy says I'm the best writer of all. That's why I'm the records keeper, cause I'm so smart."

I gave her my legal pad and a pen and watched her begin to draw. Using her right hand she drew a sun in the middle of the paper, at the top. The top in this case being the center of the page as she was holding the legal pad lengthwise. After drawing the rays coming off the sun, she moved down to the little girl. A stick figure with curly hair, a dress, five fingered hands and shoes for feet. Then, satisfied with the drawing, she took the pen and wrote in block letters, JUDY R. on the bottom of the sheet.

"How's that?" She asked, obviously expecting praise for a job well done.

"Very good, very good. May I keep it?"

"Sure. You can keep it. I can always make more," she told me.

Just then the library door opened and Michelle, my secretary, interrupted. "Excuse me," she said, obviously flustered and blushing as she took in the scene and Judith's sitting posture and appearance as a child. "You have your telephonic hearing with the Special Master in the Marwick case in fifteen minutes and I need to know what you need for it."

I looked at my watch. My God, where had the time gone?

"O.K. Pull the file and I'll be right out."

"Judy R., I have to go now. So I'll have to say goodbye and ask you to let Judith come back. Will you do that for me?"

"Well, O.K. But I like you. Can you come again? Next time I'll bring my crayons and do a real good picture, with swings and everything. Bye."

And, with that short "bye," the eyes closed and moments later Judith returned, quickly straightening out her dress and sitting up ladylike.

Before she could say anything, I said, "I have a hearing in a few minutes and it will last for a couple hours. Would you mind if I had Joe make another appointment for you both? Also, I need you to leave the file folder and poster with me until you return."

"Does that mean you are taking us as your clients?" Judith asked.

"What it means is that I'm more interested than I thought I'd be and I want some time to do some research and think about it. I'll let you know when you come back next week." As I said that I couldn't help but see Josephine's smirk. I told you so was written all over her face. So much for the inscrutable oriental countenance.

With everyone in agreement, I shook hands and left the room, leaving Joe to take care of the details. I was not too fast to miss Judith putting her things together. No question; she was definitely left-handed.

I read the letter three times. She listed several sexual actions committed by Dr. Greely to Judith and the children alters. Fondling, kissing, petting, genital exposure of Dr. Greely to Judith and, finally, intercourse. Well, that covers the entire spectrum.

Another intriguing aspect of the demand letter was the charge that Dr. Greely failed to effect closing prior to terminating his professional relationship with Judith. Obviously, Judith had received some sort of professional help in drafting this letter. Cunning lawyer that I am, I could tell that this was no mere layman's demand. But it was not the best demand letter I had ever seen--probably something that Dr. Trey helped put together. At least I now knew who the insurance carrier was for Dr. Greely. More importantly, I knew that there was insurance.

Having satisfied myself that I had the basics of a malpractice action, a tort, a target and someone to pay for the damages, I began pulling the books on professional malpractice. I had previously handled both medical and legal malpractice cases, but never one based strictly on psychological malfeasance. Oh well, I mused, if one accepts a role as a professional, one accepts the benefits and the liabilities. Screw up someone's life in the process and you get called up to pay the piper.

By the end of the first hour of research, I was convinced of three things. First: psychological malpractice was handled basically the same as any other medical malpractice. Second: the statute of limitations was two years from the date one knew or should have known of the malpractice, leaving plenty of time before the statute ran out. Third: Red had definitely committed malpractice.

I also knew one more thing. I was the lawyer who was going to hang Red. I was taking the case.

We hope you've enjoyed this opening chapter from IN THE FLESH by Paul Nelson. You may purchase the entire novel, in multiple eBook formats (HTML, Adobe PDF, eReader/Palm Reader, Mobipocket/Kindle, Microsoft Reader, Sony Reader and ePub) by clicking the Buy Now button below. The price is only $3.99.