: Back in his condominium on St. Claude Avenue, Bruce Halloran lowers the central air to 70 degrees and closes the heavy floor-length drapes against the afternoon onslaught of roasting sun directly into the living room. The room falls into complete darkness, lit only by the nighlight that burps to life automatically. He goes to the floor lamps on either side of the large overstuffed black leather sofa, twisting the knobs to illuminate the room in a bright halogen glow. On the sofa, directly in the middle is Miss Sara Joy, slowly licking himself clean. Halloran stares for a moment at this scene, then picks up a throw pillow and lobs it on top of the tiny dog with a casual, “you’re too comfortable, dog.”
Miss Sara Joy retreats from the expanse of the pillow, and runs over to the matching leather chair, jumping into the center of the seat and returning to his daily ablutions. Halloran flops his corpulence onto the sofa and picks up young Mr. Tschantz’s folder from the glass and iron coffee table. The boy is certainly efficient. Every passage he needs to see is highlighted with clinical precision. They tell a story of Dr. Youngblood he’d probably want everyone to ignore.
Dr. Guidry Stone was the first to file suit. He says in his deposition that “Jeremy had started seeing this young man named Jackson Harris. He was a psychology student at Tulane working on his graduate studies. At first, the other partners and I looked forward to the young man’s visits. Jeremy had been single for so long, he needed someone like Jackson. Then things began to change between them. Jackson started dressing differently, Jeremy started correcting him on every little thing. They both became irritable, sullen. Eventually the young man stopped coming around. We learned later that he had disappeared. Literally disappeared. They had a fight and Jackson just up and left town. Dropped out of Tulane, cut off ties with his family and friends. Just disappeared. For months afterwards, Jeremy (subject pauses) He just couldn’t function. We had to pick up his casework. It caused a serious strain on our working relationship.”
A few years later, the other two partners, Drs. Alberghetti and Pierce both talk about Jackson. As well as the others who had the same fate. Only with different results.
Dr. Alberghetti states “(H)is love life, it got in the way, every time. I most remember what happened with one man, Ellis Cambre. Medical student, I forget which area. What struck me was how much he looked like the first one, Jackson. They could have been brothers.”
The deposition veers off into financial jargon, blah blah blah, missing money, blah blah, here we go.
“It was because of the review of the books that I noticed the pattern happening again with Ellis. He changed the way he dressed, how he behaved. Dr. Youngblood was obviously controlling the fellow. When he first started coming around the offices, he was a bright, gregarious young man. But by the end he was quiet, moody, and nothing like the young man we originally met. I don’t know the details, but after they broke up, Dr. Youngblood once again stopped taking patients and started attending charity events professionally. Shortly before we started these legal proceedings we learned that Ellis’ body was found out in New Orleans East, near Michoud. Overdose. I can’t help but think that if he hadn’t gotten involved with Jeremy Youngblood, he would still be alive.”
A little over a month later, Dr. Pierce was also giving deposition, this time for his suit. His deposition is more direct and to the point than the others. By a lot.
“I finally had enough of Jeremy and his mind games with those men. The money I could have overlooked. It’s not like any of us are starving, and it was going to charity. A skilled book keeper would have found a way to write it all off and get a tidy tax credit on top. But I couldn’t take Jeremy’s hypocrisy any more. This last one was the final straw. Martin Collins, but for everything about him, you couldn’t tell him from Jackson or Ellis. Jeremy obviously has a type. Young, blonde, wide-eyed, and wanting someone to take care of them. But Martin was different from the others. He took to everything Jeremy told him to do like it was gospel. He became whatever it was that Jeremy was trying to create. And then, one day while he was doing some filing for the office, he snapped. Just broke. I had to leave a session to walk out and see Martin babbling incoherently, throwing the files all over the office, scaring the patients. Youngblood came out of his office and said something to the kid, and that was it. He became deranged. He attacked Youngblood, bloodying his lip and nose before he started breaking and smashing whatever he could get his hands on. The outer office was trashed, I had to call the police. After that, I knew there wasn’t any way to save the partnership.”
Bruce drops the pages across the open folder and stares at the wallpaper, a campy crimson flocked pattern Gary Pitts thought was too ugly not to have in his home. That was Sara Joy, finding little humors in the aesthetically awful. But at least he told you up front he was a bad person. Youngblood’s been masquerading behind his public image, racking up plaques and honors while he robbed his company and played Dr. Frankenstein with a line of Aryan medical students. How Mengele of him, thinks Halloran.
But it doesn’t make sense. According to the all the depositions, none of the partners were that upset with Youngblood making donations out of the company kitty. They all made a point of saying it. And he apparently struggled to pay back the company. So it’s not like he was making money out of the deal. All he literally got was personalized wall art for his office.
So, why the Patty Hearst routine on those men?
This guy’s business card is gay mental health. He’s made his name and career on it. He attracts three young, eager, one assumes bright young men with futures. And inside a just a few years he sends one packing, one to pills, and one to the parish prison. That’s a lot of P’s. P. Like Philsy.
Philsy. Like...Philsy. Of course. Dr. Youngblood was trying to build him a new Phil Tupperman. And I don’t think he was smart enough to realize he was doing it.
“Doctor, heal thyself,” Bruce grins, suddenly deciding that it’s time for a cocktail. He rises and walks to the bar, rather impressed with himself. As he pours himself a drink, Miss Sara Joy leaps down from the chair, his long, flowing fur giving him the look of a fashionable dustmop. With a single bound, he plops himself back up onto the sofa, where he walks to the very center of the open folder of papers, curls up, and makes himself at home.If his Master won’t pay attention to him now, he’s prepared to pee on this later...This Is My New Orleans.