I get spooked when I see Nate Granger. I don’t like psychiatrists.
“So, you’re still handling the holy heat?”
Nate leans back and puts up his feet—puts his soft leather cowboy boots right up on his five thousand dollar oak desk. I cringe a bit, but try to ignore it.
I’m half-in and half-out—I stretched my vows out of shape, but still wear the collar and still am a priest, of sorts. Jesus still talks to me from the cross above the main altar—same way he did when I was seventeen.
Feed my sheep.
That’s how he talks—in parables and riddles you might say—cryptic phrases that make me wait to figure them out. Sometimes it takes weeks, months or years—or in my case, a lifetime, but who’s counting?
Then, there’s Claire. But why she waits, I have no idea. She sees something in me.
I beg her to forget me but she won’t, or can’t—and I can’t let go either, so we’re stuck.
And that’s why I’m here, talking to Nate Granger who looks like he’d be happier heading up the cattleman’s association than posing as a high-priced shrink in a penthouse office.
“Why do you bother shelling out cash for this ridiculously ostentatious office?”
“I like the view,” he smiles.
There it is—that engaging Jimmy Dean, ‘aw shucks’ grin that disarms you even when you don’t want to be disarmed.
“Damn it, Nate—can you take your feet off the furniture?”
He un-clumps his boots from the oak desk. “I will oblige you, Martin—as they say, Salus aegroti suprema lex.”
I have to smile in spite of myself. Only Nate can come across as a country hick and then quote from the Principles of Biomedical Ethics—in Latin—the patient’s wellbeing is the most important law.
“So you see,” Nate drawls on, “I’m concerned about putting you at ease so you’ll be reassured and tell me what’s bothering you, but I can guess it’s either a woman or a demon—and in your case, probably both.”
“Do you really want to hear this or are you just going to rely on discerning of spirits?”
“I’m sitting at your feet, Professor—proceed.”
It’s off-putting the way he uncannily puts his finger on my pulse while feigning disinterest.
He knows my history—archeologist priest, turned exorcist—and he probably has discerned my demons.
Yeah, Nate knows me well, but this time, even he may be surprised.