Illustration by Bob AulAs a favor to your parents—who are my friends and who love you dearly—I began seeing the three of you for free in my therapy practice. You were out of control, and their only next step seemed to be to call the police and have you hauled out of their house in handcuffs. But it was your senior year of high school, and they wanted to do the right thing. I intervened. My mistake was in seeing you separately. When I pushed your parents to take a tougher line with you on drugs and sex—like, maybe, refusing to allow you to ball your boyfriends while whiffing eight-balls as they watched Jan and Paul Crouch in the next room—you played your Ace. You told me if I didn't back off, you'd tell your parents I molested you in our private sessions. I have to admit a part of me was tempted to call your bluff, to say something like, "If I'm going to be blamed for it, I might as well do it." Instead, I reminded you that you had signed a waiver allowing me to tape all of our conversations—including this one. "Kind of like Nixon," you said. "Smart girl," I said, "except in this case, you're the criminal." I bluffed a little myself at that moment, suggesting I might turn the tape over to a friend in the district attorney's office. I said it'd be interesting what they'd do with you, given how they'd handled that Haidl kid. You backed off. You've become an angel. I hear you're getting straight A's in college and that you make your bed every day. Good girl. Good, good girl. I still have the tape.
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