“Hi, Doc. I've brought you your next client.” His sarcastic emphasis on the word
client wasn't lost on Dr. Young, a prison psychologist. Young stood up from behind his
desk, moving slowly towards his client on account of his excessive girth. He was in his
fifties; his black hair and goatee were well peppered with white strands.
“You can take off the cuffs.”
“But Doc, that's not procedure.”
“It's okay. Mr. Jakeson wasn't any trouble during our previous session, and I'm sure
Mr. Jakeson will not be any trouble today.” Mr. Jakeson didn't see the wink between
the psychologist and the guard. A prearranged agreement used to put the client at
ease and hopefully more open to revealing hidden thoughts that could assist with
Young's job. In this case, it was Mr. Jakeson's temporary insanity plea that had to be
“Welcome, Mr. Jakeson. I'm glad to see you again.”
“Please, call me Matt.”
“Fine, Matt. You may call me Stan if you like.”
Matt's eyes were hopeful, almost like a wounded dog when he shook the
“Why don't you choose a place you'd like to sit? I suggest one of the sofa chairs
because they're the most comfortable, and, I must say, easier on the back.” He waited
until Matt had ensconced himself into a chair before he too sat, but not until he grabbed
a lined-pad of paper. “Would you like a glass of water or a coffee before we begin?”
“Coffee please. I can get it,” Matt said, beginning to stand.
“No, that's alright.” A few moments passed in which Matt had the opportunity to
look around and slowly relax.
“Okay, we both know why you are here. My job is to determine whether your plea
of temporary insanity can be substantiated. I'm going to read out what you shared with
me yesterday, and then I'm going to let you add anything else that you may have
remembered that led up to your attack on your wife.
Matt was eager to talk. “Sure, that would be great.”
Dr. Young reiterated his notes from the previous session. “Your wife wanted you to
get some counseling because she instantly assumed you were going through a midlife
crisis. You've admitted that you went reluctantly to one or two marriage counseling
sessions. You began with the past and the events that led up to your attack on your
When you think of your siblings, you see that they were nothing more than the
suicidal offspring of dysfunctional parents. You used the word suicidal, because though
they aren't killing themselves literally, they are killing themselves in less obvious ways.
Their legacies were ones of physical, mental, and emotional pain not unlike your
parents' upbringing. It is no wonder that you Jakesons have grown into dysfunctional
adults just like them. Does that sound about right?”
Matt nodded in agreement.
“You're the eldest son, and you're married to a woman you don't really love.” Isn't
that an age old theme? “You wonder if you married her because you loved her, or you
were just tired of being alone all the time? After eighteen years of marriage and three
children, you guessed, you were in it for the long haul or until the kids left home.” How
many wives and husbands have used that for an excuse for staying in a bad
“You've said, you can't understand them half the time, and you're working like a dog
to keep them in that French Immersion School just so Brenda is happy. Brenda had a
fit when you quit your job after twenty-eight years to go to school. It was a six-month
course, and then you were a qualified butcher. Being a butcher allowed you to do more
of what you liked to do, hunting and fishing. It was the perfect transition for you, and
you hoped that your wife would come around. You believe your wife had it easy during
your years of marriage by you being able to provide her everything she needed and
more just so she could hobnob with her friends in town. All she had to do was ask her
daddy or mummy for something, and she got it.” This isn't a new theme.
“You then began to talk about your siblings. You said at least you've been married
longer than your sister has. She got married first and is now on her second husband.
What did she say the last time you talked with her? She said something about loving
her husband but not being in love with him. You didn't know what the hell she meant
because you're just a guy. You figured that, either you loved someone, or you didn't.
At least she doesn't have kids. They can't end up dysfunctional like you did. You
wonder what she really thought when you told her that you quit the railway.” The
railway? That was a surprise to hear yesterday. It's hard to believe he quit a railway job
to become a butcher. What was he thinking? “She sounded supportive and even
agreed to give you a generous deal on her old laptop.” Of course she was supportive!
She was your sister! Would she tell him he was nuts? If she's supporting him against
his wife and family, she doesn't sound dysfunctional. “You needed that laptop because
you would never have heard the end of it from the children if you took your home
computer to the city with you while you were at school. You left your wife and children
for six months and lived on your savings. You did say that didn't you?”
“Yes, we had enough to get by living on our savings, and I applied for student loans
and lived with my step-mother while I was in the city,” Matt replied.
At least your sister, April, was supportive. Your wife, Brenda ignored you for two weeks
straight and then something happened that triggered the assault. To date you haven't
mentioned what triggered the assault but that's why you are here so we can continue
our talk. Yes, what exactly caused you to punch your wife repeatedly until she died?
She assumed that you quit your job on a whim, but you feel that those jerks at the
railway were always on your back because you worked all the time and were constantly
on call. Management wouldn't give you recognition for your efforts, even though there
hadn't been a derailment the entire time you worked at the Peace River District. You've
worked for the railway since you were fifteen. You knew what had to be done
instinctively for your job not by some statistical analysis crap they kept throwing at
you. You didn't understand why Brenda didn't know that. She was the one that was
always complaining that you were never home, but once you were home, she was
constantly in a snit.” Her reaction is understandable.
“You tried talking long distance to your sister, but it wasn't the same as talking
personally with someone.” He talks to his sister not with her. Perhaps there is a
distinction between the two. “You could talk to your brother Russell, but you said you
sure, the hell wouldn't tell him you'd quit your job. You figured he'd say welcome to the
club or something snide like that, then you'd argue, and you'd be forced to plow him
one just to shut him up. You said your brother hasn't kept a job more than a few
months for his entire life and your sister said it had something to do with his low self-
esteem and how your mother used to beat up on him.” Hmm, his sister should have
my job. “You believe he's just lazy, plain and simple, because you were treated the
same, and you feel you turned out all right.
You find it's amazing Russell's wife, has stayed married to him for twenty-two
years. He must have married his sweetheart, or she just doesn't know any better. She
is under Russell's control so completely that she has no identity of her own. Russell's
a tyrant when he's drunk, and you know his daughters tiptoe around him even when he
hasn't been drinking just like you tiptoed around your dad. You wonder if he'll last at
that warehouse job he's been working at for the last three weeks. At least your niece
escaped his possessiveness by moving out as soon as she graduated from high school
but you sure feel sorry for the youngest daughter because she's stuck there for another
three years at least.
Furthermore, then there's your youngest brother, Will. He was, you believe, the
smartest of you all. He had everything going for him and the brains to match. He could
have gone to university. You couldn't understand how he could end up shacked up with
a hairdresser and into drugs. He's addicted to cocaine of all the drugs out there, but
you're glad it isn't Crystal Meth that he's addicted to. However, you guess it's the same
thing in the long run. It ruins lives. You haven't seen him for a year now that he lost his
home and job.
You feel you understand why you're all suicidal. April can't keep a relationship.
Russell is a bully and drinks. Will, well, he's closer to death than any of you, and he's
the youngest.” He does seem rather judgmental even unfeeling.
The first few days, after you quit your job, were tense between your wife and you.
Yes, it was only two weeks before Christmas when you quit, but you don't think any
time is a good time to quit a job.” Before Christmas? Wow, he's lucky his wife didn't
“You never imagined that quitting your job would have such an impact. You slept
better. You don't miss getting up early, staying up late or working weekends. You said
you felt like a newborn.” Sounds like a recovering workaholic.
“Your wife treated you like an idiot. You mentioned one incident where she arrived
at home and told you to watch the kids. Implying that you never knew how to look after
your own children. She said things like that ever since you quit. As far as you were
concerned, you were trying your hardest to make everything work. You care about your
family, but you were killing yourself by working constantly and you don't know why she
couldn't see that.
Once you finished school, you tried to start your own business. You were happy
that you saw your children more frequently than when you were overworking yourself.”
Doesn't he realize, starting a business means a lot of work and stress?
“Have I missed anything from yesterday?”
“No, I think you mentioned everything.”
“Did you think of anything new while I was speaking? Why don't we take a smoke
break for a few minutes before we continue?" As he spoke Dr. Young offered Matt a
cigarette and then lit it.
“Thanks, I needed one.”
“So, what kind of game have you been able to hunt in Peace River?”
“It's great. There are deer and moose mostly and sometimes bear but there have to
be permits for everything. They really need a butcher up there for the farmers too.”
“Like a slaughterhouse?”
“Exactly. The government is even willing to partially fund it.”
“That would help you, wouldn't it?”
“That's what I genuinely believed at first, but once I finished my course and returned
home it wasn't that easy. I hadn't realized that starting the business on my own land,
which is one hundred and eight acres, requires that certain standards in the building
and water must be met.”
“Were you able to meet the standards?”
“I tried to meet them. I tried to figure out the least expensive way to supply a
building and water and kept finding out there were other codes, building codes that
came into play. However, before I could even be considered for the government loan, I
had to pay out any outstanding debts. I owed on a motorcycle and my wife refused to
assist me. I asked my sister, and she lent the money. I've owed her for the computer
and the loan for over six months now, and I promised to pay after eight weeks.”
“Has she placed any pressure on you?”
“Not as much as she could, but I finished school eight months ago, the savings are
gone and I still don't have the loan. Now I'm going to have to wait until the spring if I
want to pour concrete for the building.”
“It sounds like the pressure has been developing over the last few months.”
“And your wife wasn't supportive?”
“No, it got worse and worse and time went on. She wouldn't stop arguing in front of
the kids. It was so demeaning, and they'd talk in French back and forth non-stop. She
threatened to leave with the kids and return to Quebec. I couldn't bear that! My dad left
us kids when we were young, and we never got over it.”
“You never got over it?” Dr. Young asked gently.
Matt sighed. Tears were streaming down his face, “No, I couldn't bear it. That's when I
Dr. Young took a final puff of his cigarette, carefully stubbed it out and opened his
arms. “It's all right to cry, Matt. It's time you started the healing process.”
Matt stepped forward and cried uncontrollably on Dr. Young's shoulder. Dr. Young
was patting Matt's back comfortingly while smiling at the victory he had won. Matt, if
Dr. Young could have seen his face, would have seen that Matt was also smiling for the
victory that he had won.