To my regular readers: You guys should know by now that I don't have a very good attention span. Is ADHD contagious or latent or something? Maybe all of the coffee broke it.

It was a simple office with just a few touches of ornamentation. Dark browns, red, blacks, and whites were the central colors. A portrait of a red-headed woman similar to a fifty million dollar Renaissance was the focal point of one wall with two shelves of books to either side of it. A Persian rug rested at the feet of a black, leather couch and two plush chairs, end tables by each.

Several pictures were placed on a little-used, mahogany desk. A blonde woman and a small girl smiled blissfully from one. The next showed the same girl a little older and hugging a dog as large as she. Another was a drawing, its artist obviously a young, inexperienced one but with a mind full of imagination. There were no pictures of the man himself.

Lounging on the couch facing the floor to ceiling window giving him a view of the city from three stories up, Patrick Jane drank his tea slowly as he glanced at the ticking clock on the wall to his right. It told him that he had seven minutes until his next appointment. He was prepared for her and could have his secretary call her in now, but he needed these seven minutes in between sessions to himself. To prepare and plan for the variables each patient presented. To steep his tea with sufficient time to enjoy it.

He stood, crossed to the desk, and placed the empty tea cup on its saucer. Picking up the file of his most recent client, he slid it to one side and retrieved his very formal-looking notebook and white-gold pen, an olive branch gift from a bored millionaire who tried to steal his wife; the memory of it still amused him.

With that prompting a smile, he went and opened the door, stepping out into the reception area. He nodded to his secretary then he looked to his next appointment.

"Agent Lisbon, glad to make your acquaintance."

She tossed the health magazine onto the table and rose to greet him. She did not smile.

"Thank you."

"Well, I can see you're eager to get started. Shall we?"

He gestured to his office, and she entered with the air of a woman walking into a lion's den.


Seated in the chairs angled toward each, Teresa Lisbon had declined his offer of the couch and a cup of tea. No nonsense and to the point was this lady. He could respect that, but he would also do his best to bleed some of that out. In the meantime, he'd get straight to it.

"So you shot a man."


If she was surprised at his abrupt manner, she didn't show it. Patrick glanced down at the file on the table next to him, as if he needed to check the information he'd already memorized.

"Nine times."


"Eh, and you don't think you need this session."

"I don't."

He held her steady gaze a moment before ducking his head to scribble a few things in his notebook, mostly for show. Patients expected his type to write things down, but he actually remembered everything. It was about presentation.

"Well," he drawled, looking back up at her. "That's not really up to you or me for that matter. Just as it is your job to arrest and shoot people, it is my job to counsel people who shoot other people. Do you have any pets?"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

He blinked.

"Nothing. Just a question."

He wrote again.

"I'm fine, Mr. Jane. This is a waste of your time and mine."

"Yes. And yet your boss has made this mandatory for you to attend these sessions until I sign off on your mental condition. You don't like that?"

"That a stranger is supposed to evaluate my mental condition based on whether or not I had a happy childhood? Not really."

"Did you? Have a happy childhood, that is," he elaborated at her puzzled expression.


The hand holding the pen twitched, and he made a humming noise.

"You don't like shrinks, do you?"

"No offense, Mr. Jane, but I find people in your profession to be kinda intrusive."

"Jane or Patrick, Miss Lisbon, but enough of this Mister. And that is a very natural way of thinking when it comes to psychiatrists or therapists or police for that matter. Personally, I can't stand them. That is why I am a consultant."

"I'm supposed to talk to you about my feelings while you pick me apart and spout psycho-babble. The name doesn't make much of a difference."

"I assure you, I'm different enough from the rest. And I don't particularly need you to speak about your feelings or anything like that in order to 'pick you apart', as you put it. I also use as little psycho-babble as possible."

She sighed, "All right, okay. Can we just…do this already?"

"Whenever you're ready. Would you like to start with your supposedly 'happy' childhood?"

"Excuse you?"

His grin was toned down to a more sympathetic degree.

"You're the only girl with four brothers. Your mother died when you were still a child, and your father...he didn't handle it well. You took up the responsibility of raising your brothers as you are the eldest and treat them more like a mom than a sister. This has led to somewhat of a strain on your relationship with them.

"You were the kind of girl in school who held her friends three feet away and worshiped that one boy who didn't know you existed from afar while pushing the rest away. And you were in the band, not sure what instrument. I think perhaps the flute?"

"No," she scoffed. "You read my file. Congratulations on being literate."

"I did, yes, but not all of that is in it. A lot was conjecture and logical thinking. Trumpet?"

She shook her head.

"I'm sure it was some kind of wind instrument, and I will figure it out, Teresa."

"Lisbon or Ma'am, Jane."

He raised a brow. "Ma'am?"

She answered with a flat look.

"Ma'am," he repeated. "A tad formal and demanding a degree of respect and distance, but it follows with who you are."

Her eye brows, the quirk of her lips, the tension of her shoulders shifted minutely, but he caught it and responded. He rolled his eyes.

"Yes, yes, what do I know about who you are. I'm full of it, this is a waste of time, and all that. And no, I am not mocking you, Ma'am. I would never do that to a woman who could arrest me. Of course you are too much of a good cop to do that without proper cause unless I was guilty of something very heinous, like the man you shot."

"How –"

" – did I know what you were thinking? I can read your mind."


"It's true enough. For instance, right now you're thinking that you're so glad I can't really read minds."

"You're very annoying."

"So I'm told. I'm also very good at what I do, Ma'am, and it'd be better for you if you cooperated."

"Or I could shoot you and leave."

He laughed. "See, we're getting along better already. That was a very cute joke."

"…yeah. A joke."

"How about we skip the kid stuff and get to something a bit more recent then," he said, sensing that it really wasn't a joke, and she just might fetch one of her guns from her car. Teresa Lisbon was the kind of woman who didn't get into a vehicle without at least three guns.

He set aside the notepad and pen, leaning forward to show his interest and sincerity. Crossing his leg over the other, he tilted his head and said, "Let's talk about this man you killed. Tell me about Red John."