Brad hated women.
It wasn’t his fault, but his parents’.
His mother was a loud brassy woman with a chainsaw tongue; his father a weak, insecure man whom his wife’s never-ending insults had made seek solace in alcohol. Brad’s father’s drinking however had made him violent, and after a while, when his wife insulted him, he beat her up, often bloodily.
And yet the pair had remained married.
Brad had silently absorbed all this. While he disliked his father for being a weakling, he hated his mother, particularly since she’d tongue-lashed him into insecurity too.
He’d run away from home at sixteen; drifting and taking on a succession of jobs.
Finally he’d had his first girlfriend, the emotional programming of his early years making him select Tyla, a woman as loud and irritating as his mother had been, with the inevitable results - unable to stomach her tongue, he’d snapped under the influence of drink and beaten her to within six inches of death.
He’d done five years in the state pen for aggravated assault - a reduced sentence because the judge’s son was an old classmate of his.
Once he left jail, Brad had decided it was safer to hate women than to love them.
He’d found no reasons to change his mind since then, and had had no relationships. It had occurred to him to simply date men instead, but here he had major reservations. Men were great for companionship and conversation, but romance . . . ?
Then the alien came.
* * *
Trina hated men. Here there was no ambiguous sublimations as if Brad’s case. She hated men because they’d abused her. She hated her father for not loving her, and her four elder brothers for beating her up regularly. Her mother had died when she was four so she’d had no protection from them.
Most of all she hated the drunk male driver who’d left her permanently in a wheelchair with a broken spine, and she hated all the men who never looked at her, only at her glossy friends.
“Homosexuality stalks in dark recesses of my mind,” she was fond of telling Trish, her glossiest friend. “In daytime visions alternate sexuality calls sweetly unto me. I currently seek the last male straw which breaks my heterosexual camel’s back.”
No lesbians came into her daytime actuality however. So Trina contented herself with hating men with all the passion she would have used to love them.
Then the alien came.
* * *
The alien was actually a robot, a silvery manlike humandroid with telescoping eyes. It arrived late one afternoon in a battered spaceship it parked out in the Arizona Desert, and set up shop in a prefabricated kiosk: ‘Dr. Sigmund Droid, Psychiatric Cures - Phobia Specialist.’
First there was skepticism in the nearby towns about the new ‘Doctor’, then a few people went into the desert and were cured of their fears of snakes and rats, then there was a deluge of patients and Brad and Trina went too.
* * *
“I had a woman in here yesterday with a similar problem to yours,” Dr. Sigmund Droid told Brad after hearing him out. “Only in her case she hated men."
“Why would she do that?” Brad asked, “Men are so cool. Women are the problem.”
“I’m sure Ms. Trina will think the same when I tell her your views of her sex,” the robot psychiatrist replied. “That however, is neither here nor there - it helps neither of you. I however, have a solution in mind - one which might cure you both. Are you willing to try it?”
Brad nodded. A few hours later, Trina nodded too.
Brad and Trina met in Dr. Sigmund Droid’s office and hated each another appropriately for an appropriate amount of time. Then the doctor placed metal caps over their heads wired to a humming gizmo on its desk and flicked a few switches.
The gizmo hummed louder and louder, then stopped. Dr. Sigmund Droid removed the caps from both their heads and stepped back.
“There, both of you should be cured now.”
“I don’t feel any different,” Brad said.
“Me neither,” Trina said.
“Oh but you do,” Dr. Droid said, “Try hating each other now.”
They tried, they really did.
Brad found that rather than hate the pretty woman stuck in the wheelchair, he now hated his dad who’d neglected him as a child, his four brothers who’d beaten the crap out of him, and he hated worst of all the driver who’d put him permanently in a wheelchair . . . shocked, he stopped hating for a moment and examined himself to ensure he was still whole. No, he didn’t hate women any more.
He however HATED those DISGUSTING MEN with a passion.
Trina made the same discovery. She now HATED WOMEN. Most of all she hated her foul-mouthed mother who’d made an alcoholic out of her loving father, and made her beat up her first girlfriend (who wasn’t any better than her stupid mother - YES she HAD been a lesbian that ONE time, SO WHAT!?) into a bloody pulp, and go to jail for it . . . Men were OKAY. But women? Shit, they were worse than crap. She HATED them.
Dr. Sigmund Droid smiled at the pair.
“Like I said, you’re both fine now - perfectly ready to cope with romance.”
* * *
“This is some weird shit Trina,” Brad said, “But I think you look cute in that wheelchair. You wanna go get a drink?”
“Okay but don’t get worried if I beat up a few guys; you know, I just can’t stand the sight of those disgusting pigs ogling my girl . . .”
“Me, it’s those waitresses I can’t stand, all slinky like snakes, trying to snare my boyfriend . . .”
“Boyfriend eh . . . ?”
Now properly maladjusted, they lived together happily ever after.
Copyright: © 2011 Wol-vriey
Wol-vriey is Nigerian, and quite tall. He believes that there actually are things that go bump in the night.