Do You Want to See the Videos

by Phil Sageser

She sent her husband to prison thanks to the videos which he had made of him abusing her. But now that she’s beginning to heal, he’s been released and she discovers she’s being stalked.

“Do you want to see the videos?”

They were already running in his head. And that made everything complicated enough. There certainly was a part of him that was ready to be graphically fascinated, but clearly that would not be helpful. The temptation was to be seduced by the images, to imagine that what you saw were “the facts,” that “the facts,” as Joe Friday, of Dragnet fame, used to suggest, were all that were important. But even Joe Friday wanted “just the facts, Mam” because he needed to be the one who figured out what “the facts” meant.

Do You Want to See the Videos is a psychological thriller about a young woman who is trying to make sense out of the facts of her life. But facts without a story are meaningless. While she has lived that story, she has never told it. As she tells her story to her therapist, she begins to decide what it means and so becomes, not merely a character in her story, but its author.

The other characters in her story have their own agendas, however, and some of them are not nice at all. She begins to find new videos that are being made of her, without her knowledge, to add to the collection that her husband had already made of her. What do these mean?

These are the “facts” of the story. It is a psychological thriller with the sort of expertise that Linda Fairstein brings to her work and as many plot twists as Gone Girl. But it is also a story about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, about the need to become the authors of our own stories rather than merely characters to whom “shit happens.” It deals with many of the same issues that are raised so courageously by Mac McClelland’s The Irritable Heart, particularly around sexuality. It is erotic without being graphic, allowing the readers to generate the most disturbing images for themselves and leaving them to wrestle with their own responses. The details are not on the page, but running through the “videos” in the reader’s own mind.
Psychological Thriller