Couples Counseling –
From A Demonic Satire
By Greg Yingling
[Have a piano prepared to roll in. Have the main character sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, waiting. Note that Azazel and Phillip are played by the same actor, using different voices and attitudes to represent each.]
Azazel: We’re here, I hope you’re happy. I don’t really want to go through with this.
Phillip: If we’re going to live in my body without arguing we really need to get some sort of counseling, unless you were planning on leaving.
Azazel: No, no, I don’t plan on doing that anytime soon.
Phillip: Where is this psychiatrist? I was worried about missing the appointment, since they’re so hard to schedule, but we’ve been waiting a long time now.
Azazel: I can’t believe I agreed to do this. What’s wrong with me, I must be going mad, I mean come on, counseling for the possessed, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.
Phillip: Hey, you can’t back out now! You lost the bet, remember?
Azazel: I should’ve known you’d go and rig things.
Phillip: Rig things? I didn’t rig anything, I won fair and square; you just can’t admit it.
Azazel: If that’s what you need to tell yourself to sleep at night, go right ahead.
[Psychiatrist opens door and walks in and greets them.]
Psychiatrist: Welcome, welcome! Thank you so much for coming.
Azazel: Yeah, yeah, just get on with it. I’m already starting to get antsy.
Psychiatrist: Ah, yes… and your name is?
Azazel: I am Azazel.
Psychiatrist: Well that certainly is an unusual name. Why were you named that?
Azazel: Well that’s certainly a stupid question to ask. God named me that.
Azazel: You know, the big guy who made everything. I’m sure you’ve heard of him.
Psychiatrist: Well, yes, but I don’t see why he’d name you.
Azazel: I’m a demon for crying out loud, who else would have named me? Lucifer? His job never was naming.
Psychiatrist: And how long have you been in possession of the body?
Azazel: Three months.
Psychiatrist: And you’re only just now seeking counseling?! You should have come sooner! But now you are here, and I digress. And the demoniac, may I speak to him?
Phillip: I’m here.
Psychiatrist: And you are?
Phillip: My name is Phillip Swanson. I’m a lawyer.
Psychiatrist: This is all just glorious. So, let’s see. You’ve been possessed for 3 months. I’m going to start with you, and then move on to Azazel. Tell me, what was life like before you became possessed?
Phillip: Well, um, I guess it was alright. Could you be more specific with your question?
Psychiatrist: Yes, well, what was your childhood like?
Phillip: Um, well, I had a nice childhood, I think. I grew up in a small town with my mother and father.
Psychiatrist: Could you tell me more about life with your mother and father?
Phillip: Well, my mother took care of things around the home, and my father worked in the local steel mill.
Psychiatrist: That sounds like it could have been a hard life.
Phillip: I guess we were somewhat poor, but my parents did what they could.
Psychiatrist: Were you or anyone close to you ever abused in any way?
Phillip: Hmm, I don’t recall ever being abused, just the occasional fight with the neighborhood bully, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Psychiatrist: Anything traumatic while you were young? Anything that you might find difficult to recall?
Phillip: Well, um…. No. I don’t think so.
Psychiatrist: You hesitated there. Are you sure there isn’t something? I know this might be difficult, but you have to understand, I’m here to help you and everything is confidential.
Phillip: I… I can’t think of anything.
Azazel: Oh come off it already, just tell her what happened. Stop being such a baby.
Psychiatrist: What’s he talking about? It’s ok Phillip, I’m listening.
Phillip [Getting teary eyed]: Well…. when I was about seven…. my grandfather died. That upset me quite a bit; it was my first real bout with death.
Psychiatrist: I’m guessing you were close to him?
Phillip: Yes, I was very close to him. I remember being depressed for several months, but I got over it. There’s a lot of that period that I really can’t remember. I think that’s the only really traumatic thing that happened in my life.
Psychiatrist: Deaths can have that affect on children. Moving on to further questioning, I was wondering if you had any imaginary friends as a child?
[At this moment another demon walks into the room, however not possessing a physical body, the psychiatrist cannot see it, but Phillip can. Phillip attempts to hide this fact, fearing the psychiatrist might take him for a head case, but his body movement should indicate to the audience that something is amiss. This invisible demon will randomly mess around in the room, what exactly this entails shall be left up to the actor. Note: If conveying that only Phillip can see the demon is too difficult a slight revision of the script can be made.]
Phillip: I had a friend named Wally once, when I was eight. I had a vivid imagination back then, but that was a long time ago.
Invisible Demon (spoken while looking over psychiatrists should at pad): Hmm, possible previous delusions; perhaps resulting from the death of his grandfather, or various other unknown reasons.
Azazel: Of what relevance is all of this?
[The invisible demon starts to mess with the psychiatrist’s hair, and walks around the psychiatrist looking at her oddly. The psychiatrist will notice nothing.]
Psychiatrist: Calm down, I’m creating a psychological history here. You’ll get your turn soon enough. Could you tell me more about this Wally?
Phillip: Well, he was imaginary…so he wasn’t real. Liked to play practical jokes, I’d tag along for the fun. One time we filled old man Gruber’s front yard with lawn gnomes, gave him quite a scare when he woke up and went to get the paper.
Invisible Demon (spoken as before): Mischievous behavior resulting from childhood delusions, interesting.
Psychiatrist: Anyway, Phillip, had you been experiencing any sort of great stress before the possession occurred?
[The invisible demon motions that the psychiatrist is implying Phillip is crazy.]
Phillip: What?!? That’s crazy.
Psychiatrist: I’m sorry, what’s crazy?
Phillip: “Mischievous behavior resulting from childhood delusions,” that’s crazy. I’m not delusional; if anyone is delusional it’s you. This is counseling for the possessed, come on, who counsels the possessed, you just think I’m crazy.
Psychiatrist: I don’t know what you’re talking about. What we do here is very serious business. Nobody thinks you’re crazy. (Aside) How did he know what I was writing? (To Phillip) Please, let’s get back to the subject, had you experienced any sort of major stress just before the possession occurred?
Phillip: Well, I remember I’d been working on a case.
Psychiatrist: Could you tell me more about that?
Phillip: I guess. I’d been preparing a case to prosecute “El Diablo”, a.k.a. Simon Richards, the exercise fanatic/deranged political assassin. He was the guy who killed the leader of the Neo-Nazi Party and burnt down the “Little Orphan Annie Home for Children Seeking Adoption”. I guess I was a little stressed out at the time, because he’d threatened to kill me if I won the case, and the day before the possession occurred I won. I was also considering proposing to my girlfriend of four years, I guess you could consider that stressful.
Psychiatrist: Could you tell me about your previous history in relation to demons?
Phillip: I don’t think I follow you, I had never even believed in demons before. I thought they were just figurative representations of societal evils. Aside from having heard of them I’ve never had any relations with any prior to now, and the current relations are not by choice I might add.
Invisible Demon (again looking over the psychiatrist’s shoulder): Possible denial of previous events. I think he’s hiding something.
[At this point the invisible demon paces around the psychiatrist one last time and licks her on the cheek. Again no reaction from the psychiatrist, but Phillip is obviously irked and should show surprise.]
Psychiatrist: Is everything alright?
[Invisible demon leaves.]
Phillip: Um… yes, everything is fine.
Psychiatrist: You’re hesitating again. Are you sure everything is alright.
Phillip: Yes, it was nothing.
Psychiatrist: Alright, if you say so. I think it’s time to hear Azazel’s story. May I speak to him?
Azazel: If you must. Speak.
Psychiatrist: So, why are you possessing Phillip?
Azazel: That’s a rather silly question, isn’t it? I’m a demon, it’s what I do. I posses, I cause chaos and destruction, and I attempt to damn as many human souls as possible. I’m surprised you didn’t know this already. It’s fairly prevalent knowledge.
Psychiatrist: My apologies, I thought perhaps you had other motives. So, could you tell me about yourself? What’s your story?
Azazel: My story? My story’s a sad one, really it is. Do you have a piano handy? I like to tell this one to music.
Psychiatrist: How convenient, for some reason one was delivered this morning. Let me roll it in for you.
[Psychiatrist leaves, rolls in a piano, puts it off to the side of the stage]
Psychiatrist: There you go.
Azazel: Thank you. [Starts playing sad song, for now Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata: Adagio] This story starts a long time ago, way back at the beginning of the world. If you’ve read the Bible I’m sure you’ve read parts of it. It started in heaven, where life was bliss. I’d describe how great it was, but then you’d most definitely go mad. All I had to do was whatever it was God wanted, and since I was an angel, this wasn’t very hard at all. Then came that dreaded day, that awful, horrible, vile day. God had me doing some work along the perimeter of heaven, far away from everything else going on up there. Of all the days they chose to rebel, that had to be the day. Lucifer, that pompous fool and all his followers, they thought they could make themselves better than God; they should have known better. Of course God wasn’t going to let that happen. He kicked them out of course, in a massive pile of disarray, a stampeding chaos towards the edge, the edge on which I was standing. At first I thought it was some sort of celebration, the other angels were coming to bring me back, too late I realized the chaos. Too late was I to avoid the mass, too late to avoid falling with them, out of heaven, forever damned that horrible day. To think that I, who served God so well, should be cast out with all those usurpers. The horror of it all still lives with me today. But now I am damned, forever, and since I’m damned, I might as well have a good time [stops playing piano].
Psychiatrist: Oh my, such a sad story, I had no idea. I can’t even begin to feel your pain. How can you go on each day?
Azazel: Well, Doc, I go on living each day knowing that I can cause more people to be damned with me, so I won’t be so lonely in the end.
Psychiatrist: Yes, well, I suppose I can sympathize with that; no one would want to be alone for eternity.
Phillip: You’re sympathizing with a demon? Are you crazy? Do you really believe all of that nonsense? He’s lying! And what does any of this have to do with my body?
Azazel: Calm down.
Psychiatrist: Yes, please do. I was only sympathizing with his desire to not be alone. I’m not saying I approve of him damning countless souls to a life of torment. And Phillip does bring up a good point. How does possession bring about this goal of yours?
Azazel: By claiming a physical body I can more easily entice others to sin, I can kill those who have not yet taken the precautions necessary to prevent damnation, and I can just cause all out chaos, which is pretty fun if you ask me.
Psychiatrist: Well, that clears that up. You do realize however, that to continue to possess this body without going mad you’re going to have to keep good terms with its owner, don’t you?
Azazel: Yeah, yeah, well why do you think we’re here? Certainly not for the exciting conversation.
Psychiatrist: Alright, well, you’re both going to need to make sacrifices if you’re going to make this work. So, Azazel, perhaps you could…
Azazel: Hold on! What makes you think you’re fit to give out advice to people; much less those who are possessed?
Psychiatrist: I beg your pardon? Calm down Azazel.
Azazel: I will NOT calm down! Everything I’ve seen here so far is a joke.
[At the point our psychiatrist begins to get agitated and slightly hysterical.]
Psychiatrist: What do you mean a joke? This is a serious practice.
Azazel: Yeah, it’s serious alright. The whole reason you got into psychiatry was because you have schizophrenia. You’re not a psychiatrist, you’re a psychiatry case!
Psychiatrist (looking shocked): How did you know that?
Azazel: It doesn’t matter, what does matter though, is how exactly explain the bottle of Clozapine sitting in your desk drawer. You claim to be cured, but you’re taking schizophrenia medication; should a schizophrenic really be practicing psychiatry?
[The psychiatrist is becoming increasingly agitated]
Psychiatrist: I’m cured, really I am. The medication is just to prevent recurrent episodes, I swear.
Azazel: Of course. So when you go dancing about in the forest, thinking you’re an elf, all those other elves you see, aren’t actually delusions?
Azazel [cutting the psychiatrist off]: This doesn’t sound very profession to me, nor does the fact that every single one of your previous patients has committed suicide after just a single session with you.
[The psychiatrist is now ecstatic. She begins to fumble through her desk drawers looking for her heart medication. – omit?]
Psychiatrist: I have no control over the mental state of my patients; I can only attempt to help them overcome their problems!
Azazel: (interrupting with laughter): The mental state of your patients?!? What about your mental state? Are you sure your patients are even real?
Psychiatrist (shouting hysterically): What do you mean am I sure they’re even real?
Azazel: How do you know your patients aren’t just like your little elvish friends? Mere delusions; figments of your fractured mind.
Psychiatrist (In a frenzy, repeating quietly till her next line): I have no control over the mental state of my patients. I have no control over the mental state of my patients…
Azazel (shouting at her): Wake up! Your whole life is a farce, a trivial, meaningless, self-ingratiating delusion, signifying nothing!
Psychiatrist [looking around panicked and in confusion; then lunging at Azazel]: How dare you!
[At this point Azazel turns and subtly motions with his hand at which point our psychiatrist dies.]
Phillip: What did you do that for?!?
Azazel: I don’t know what you’re talking about; I had nothing to do with it. Just because I was bringing up her insecurities is no reason to assume it was related to her….unusual death.
Phillip: What do you mean you didn’t have anything to do with it? The likelihood of her just having a heart attack out of the blue is really unlikely; couldn’t you tell all of your yelling was agitating her?
Azazel: I don’t know if I like the fact that you keep associating me with all the scaring, coercing, and killing, it’s not all me. Sometimes it’s you, but you’re just too afraid to admit it. It’s too bad the doc died; maybe she could’ve helped you with that.
Phillip [grumbling]: Yeah, whatever.
Azazel: Come on, your vivid imagination is getting on my nerves. Let’s get out of here, dead people creep me out.
The End – of this act