Mademoisselle’s Syndrome

“Mademoiselle Belle, I am pleased you came back for a second visit. So, are you still laboring under this delusion that this beast who kidnapped you and held you captive has turned into a handsome prince?”
“Doctor Fulaybeans, I tell you he is not a beast! Merely misunderstood!
“He is a hideous, hairy monster with claws and fangs. The sooner you realize this, mademoiselle, the sooner you will be cured.”
“If loving him is a disease, then I never want to be cured.”
“Not so much a disease as a syndrome. When I write my paper to the medical society of Paris, I should give it a name. Perhaps the Paris Syndrome. No, no. They would be insulted. Better name it after a city that doesn’t mind being associated with a filthy, disgusting mental condition. Maybe Stockholm. Sordid Swedes. Who cares what they think?”
“I will not stand for you talking about my love in such a degrading manner. I don’t know why you are torturing me like this.”
“Because your father is paying me good money, that’s way.”
“Money he received from my lover. He did not tell you that, did he?”
“If your lover—as you call him—is so generous to your father, why would your father hate him so much?”
“The horse is missing. It was old. Probably wandered off to die.”
“Why was there blood in the barn? And bones, mane and tail? And did not your father see blood stains on the beast’s cummerbund?”
“He nicked himself shaving, that’s all.”
“He does not shave, Mademoiselle Belle.”
“Of course he shaves! He has beautiful fair cheeks and a clear complexion upon his strong jaw. Tender blue eyes. Pearly straight teeth. An aquiline nose.”
“I must make a note to myself to have your vision checked also.”
“It’s the villagers. They have turned my father against him.”
“And why would the villagers hate him if he is the kind handsome prince you say he is?”
“A few missing chickens, that’s all. Maybe some pigs, cows and sheep. Who knows what stories they will come up with next?”
“If you are so certain your lover is innocent of all charges, why did you return to my office?”
Belle stood to sweep across the room to the doctor. “I need your help to make others see him the way I see him.”
“My dear mademoiselle, I am a doctor, not a magician.”
At that moment the door opened, and the beast entered, wearing a purple satin top coat over his hairy body. Belle ran to him and planted a kiss upon his lips. When she pulled away, her lips were smeared with blood.
“Oh, darling, how sweet of you to accompany me home.”
The beast shook the doctor’s hand with his cloven hoof.
“I owe you an apology, doctor. I didn’t realize until after I ate the dog outside that it must have been your pet. Rest assured, I will recompense you handsomely for it.”

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