TARYN GRANT, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE for the U.S. Senate, suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, or so she'd been told by a psychologist in her third year at the Wharton School. He'd added, "I wouldn't worry too much about it, as long as you don't go into a life of crime. Half the people here are narcissists. The other half are psychopaths. Well, except for Roland Shafer. He's normal enough." Taryn didn't know Roland Shafer, but all these years later, she sometimes thought about him, and wondered what happened to him, being . . . "normal." The shrink had explained the disorder to her, in sketchy terms, perhaps trying to be kind. When she left his office, she'd gone straight to the library and looked it up, because she knew in her heart that she was far too perfect to have any kind of disorder. • • • NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER: Has excessive feelings of self-importance. Reacts to criticism with rage. Takes advantage of other people. Disregards the feelings of others. Preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, and intelligence. • • • EXCESSIVE FEELINGS OF SELF-IMPORTANCE? Did that idiot shrink know she'd inherit the better part of a billion dollars, that she already had enough money to buy an entire industry? She was important. Reacts to criticism with rage? Well, what do you do when you're mistreated? Shy away from conflict and go snuffle into a Kleenex? Hell no: you get up in their face, straighten them out. Takes advantage of other people? You don't get anywhere in this world by being a cupcake, cupcake. Disregards the feelings of others? Look: half the people in the world were below average, and "average" isn't anything to brag about. We should pay attention to the dumbasses in life? How about, "Preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, and intelligence"? Hey, had he taken a good look at her and her CV? She was in the running for class valedictorian; she looked like Marilyn Monroe, without the black spot on her cheek; and she had, at age twenty-two, thirty million dollars of her own, with twenty or thirty times more than that, yet to come. What fantasies? Welcome to my world, bub. • • • THAT HAD BEEN more than a decade ago.
( John Sandford )
[ Silken Prey ]