'And are you?' He gets ready to chuckle, like it's obvious I ain't. It might help if the judge thought I was bananas, but looking at Ole Mother Goosens just makes me want to tell him how I really feel, which is that everybody backed me into a nasty corner with their crashy fucken powerdimes.
'I guess it ain't up to me to say,' I tell him. It doesn't seem enough though; he stares and waits for more. As I catch his eye, I feel the past wheeze up my throat in a raft of bitter words. 'See, first everybody dissed me because my buddy was Mexican, then because he was weird, but I stood by him, I thought friendship was a sacred thing - then it all went to hell, and now I'm being punished for it, they're twisting every regular little fact to fit my guilt …'
Goosens raises a hand, and smiles gently. 'Alrighty, let's see what we can discover. Please continue to be candid - if you open yourself up to this process, in good faith, we won't have a problem at all. Now, tell me - how do you feel about what's happened?'
'Just wrecked. Wrecked dead away. And now everybody's calling me the psycho, I know they are.'
'Why do you think they might be doing that?'
'They need a skate-goat, they want to hang somebody high.'
'A scapegoat? You feel something intangible caused the tragedy?'
'Well, no, I mean - my friend Jesus ain't around, in person, to take any blame. He did all the shooting, I was just a witness, not even involved at all.' Goosens searches my face, and makes a note in his file.
'Alrighty. What can you tell me about your family life?'
'It's just regular.' Goosens holds his pen still, and looks at me. He knows he just found a major bug up my ass.
'The file notes that you live with your mother. What can you tell me about that relationship?'
'Uh, it's just - regular.' The whole subject drags a major tumor out of my ass, don't fucken ask me why. It just lies there on the floor, throbbing, glistening with gut-slime. Goosens even leans back in his chair, to avoid the heaving tang of my fucken family life.