"Welcome to Anger Management class, comrades."
Four men and one woman had stepped into the small room and taken seats. It was about noon, and the room was well lit by the autumn sky gently coming in the windows. The chairs were each rather comfortable looking and placed in a circle around a medium sized coffee table. There was a fresh pot of coffee off to the side of the room, its soothing aroma wafting around to each person in the room.
"I am glad you all could join me today. It is my privelege to help you all to achieve spiritual serenity." The man who was sitting in the room already when the five arrived had a stout Soviet accent to his voice, and a certainity behind it that immediately commanded respect without asking for it.
"You can all address me as Viktor. I am your equal," he explained, calmly addressing all of them in turn, "and I cannot tell you what to do, but I am here to be a guide, a muse, so that you may leave this program armed with the necessary tools to fight back against your fears, angers, and sadnesses that you find rushing to the surface and causing harm to those you love.
"Now, let us learn about each other. We will go clockwise." He waved to his left and nodded to the first man.
"Hi, I'm Paul." Paul looked nervous to go first but plunged in with success anyway. "I'm a lab technician... I work around people I like, and I have a wonderful family... a wife, and three kids I love to death."
Viktor nodded, then looked at the next man, signaling that that was all that the group needed from each individual.
"I'm Red," the next man explained. "I work in the copper mine. My wife left me years ago for another man, but we had a daughter together that we both cherish."
"I'm Alexandra, and I work at PetsMart. I've never married but I have a son who is fourteen."
"I'm Hank, and I have a wife and a son, and two daughters. I work at the scrapheap."
"My name's George, and I'm a dentist. My wife and I have never had children."
Viktor nodded. "That was very good, very good. We are all calm today... no one came to this meeting harboring hidden feelings of dissent and regret?" Lots of heads shaking no.
"Then let us commence.
"Every journey begins... with a single step. This... is step one." He looked around at them all, making respectful eye contact. "Step one, we will call, 'Secure the Keys.' It is a bit of a stretch of a metaphor for some, but I will do my best to help you digest it."
"Most recovery programs begin with admitting fault, and blaming oneself," Viktor explained. "Mine is unique in that it is a direct assault on our own psyche. Rage is a prison, my comrades. When we feel angry, we become someone we are not. What causes us to be angry? Those, my friends, are what we will call the 'prison guards.'
"Seven years ago I was trapped in my own world of anger, and those around me only suffered," Viktor reminisced aloud. "My own personal prison. In order for me, and you, to secure the keys, we must find and take out the prison guard.
"How do we do that? We must fake a fight to lure him out into the open. Hank."
"If you don't mind me asking, what was the initiator for your being here today?"
Hank looked around at the others, then looked down at the table. "I was at work," he began.
"See, at the scrapheap, we do a lot of heavy lifting, we get a lot of cuts, bruises, and so forth. We often don't treat injuries that arent serious until we are on break or something, so that we get the work done faster... we always clean open wounds, though, to prevent infection.
"A man and Durago and I, we go way back. We've been working for twenty years. The man is a great friend, one of the best men I've ever known." He sighed. "One day, Durago, myself, and a new worker named Frank, about twenty years old, were sorting out metal things when Durago got a cut along his arm.
"He probably could have kept working comfortably, he's a very strong man, but he went back to disinfect it anyway. It was just the smart thing to do, you know?
"Yet Frank decided to go on about how much of a pansy Durago was for taking a break from work. I don't know how, but I got mad, real fast, and before I knew it, Frank was eating a knuckle sandwich. Hank-style."
Viktor nodded. "I thank you for being so open about your incident. I know it is not easy.
"See, in that scenario, your anger caused you to overreact. When you start to react that way, a prison guard has come over to secure your cell door. But if instead we catch the prison guard by surprise, knock him out, and secure the keys, we have taken our first step to freedom, my friend. And once we Secure the Keys, we can move onto our second step.
"Step two; Ascend from Darkness." Victor Reznov smiled. "We have a meeting sceduled tomorrow afternoon, and I would like to continue this with all of you then. Until then, be free, my comrades."