Read by Greg Page
The first time, Burton’s client arrived anticipating an avalanche of snakes. This is a common misapprehension. As an exposure therapist, he helps people overcome phobias, but contrary to their fears, there is no immediate confrontation. They are edged gently towards their tormentor.
At parties, he is often asked: what are you afraid of? He insists they change their question’s tense: what were you afraid of? Naturally, he explains, he has mastered his own fears before helping others overcome theirs.
His client is late. He abhors tardiness. The only client he had accepted this from was a man with a terror of time itself. In his drawer a muffled clock had tick-tocked innocuously as they worked towards an anxiety-free future.