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A man is sitting in a conservatively organized small office lobby. There is one chair next to him, which no one is sitting in. Instead, there is a pile of magazines which span all kinds of subjects from women’s issues to housekeeping, to technology and politics. The dates on the magazines differ greatly. Some are recently dated, while, some are from six months ago. Needless to say, there is not much up-keep in terms of the magazine library in this office.

There is one “properly” placed plant. It is atop a table that is not too far from the ground but no higher than the one window in the lobby, whose sill is facing the man sitting in the chair next to that which houses the out-of-date magazine library.

The man that sits and waits has his one leg crossed over the other and laid on his lap is last week’s copy of The Economist. He is engrossed in an article he found in the “Technology Quarterly” section.

There is one other white door in the lobby, besides the one he came in. It stands adjacent to where he is sitting, and there are muffled noises coming from the other side of that door. They don’t disturb him at all.

When the white door opens, a woman probably in her late 20’s appears, smiling, saying “Thank You,” and leaving, passing the man who is still sitting. He nods to her, as if to simply acknowledge her presence. When she leaves the office entirely, closing the door behind her, the man in the office, while holding his glasses in one hand, motions with those glasses towards the man sitting in the chair. “Dr. Rawlingstone, I presume,” the doctor in the office says to Rawlingstone, as Rawlingstone gets up, placing The Economist atop the pile of outdated magazines. “Dr. Paul L. Fromage,” he replies, in shaking the man’s hand and entering the office.

After the two take their prospective seats, Rawlingstone in the overly comfortable chair of the “patient,” and Fromage in the somewhat uncomfortable chair of the “doctor,” a conversation ensues.

Dr. Fromage: “It’s been a while, Robert, may I ask what has been the delay?”

Robert: “Well, Paul, under the circumstances, I’m certain that you of all people would understand that life can become pressured at times, and in those times, we often retract from our normal patterns.”

Paul: “Certainly. And I’m sure that you can understand, Robert, my obligation to begin a session with such, shall we say, frivolous hub-bub…the nature of which only a fellow man of the shrunken head can comprehend.”

The two chuckle together.

Robert: “Shrunken head, I like that. It brings to mind immediately that ghoul that sat beside Keaton’s character “Beetlejuice,” in the film of that same such title. Remember that?”

Paul: “I do, Robert, I do. Although, I have to say that I prefer the earlier parts of the movie where Beetlejuice himself is first encountered by those dead folk played by Baldwin and jesus, who was it…that redhead that was popular in the 1980’s for a bit there…what was her name? I want to say “Gina,” or “Regina”…damn, it’s right on the tip of my tongue.

Robert: “It is “Geena,” actually. You had it right the firs time, although with a little twist. Her name is “Geena,” spelled with a double “E,” and not an “I.”

Paul: “Yeah, Yeah. Her big movie was the one where those two ladies go driving off the cliff.”

Robert: “Thelma and Louise.”

Paul: “That’s it.”

Robert: “An interesting side note on Ms. Davis. Did you know that she is a member of Mensa?”

Paul: “You don’t say.”

Robert: “Yup.”

Paul: “And yet, she married Jeff Goldblum. She can’t be that smart.”

The two chuckle again.

Robert: “Well, in her defense, she didn’t stay married to him.”

Paul: “We all try and learn from our mistakes, most definitely. And on that note, Robert, what brings you back? Stress of the practice?”

Robert: “In a way. After my relationship with Dr. Sweding dissolved, I pulled back from reality for a while. I pretty much shut down my practice and moved up to the hills for a while.”

Paul: “The hills, you say?”

Robert: “Literally, I moved up to the Catskills for a bit.”

Paul: “Ok. And did you find what you were looking for in the Catskills?”

Robert: “More or less. I found distance between Maureen and myself, which is what I was looking for.”

Paul: “Understandable.”

Robert: “I thought so.”

Paul: “So what did you do while you were up there? How long were you gone, exactly?”

Robert: “A few months, maybe six, I don’t really remember. I stayed at one of my cousin’s camps up there. He has a nice stretch…uses it for big game season mostly.”

Paul: “Well, since it is Spring, and you’re not really the hunting and fishing type, what did you do up there to pass the time?”

Robert: “I spent a lot of time gathering wild flowers.”

Paul: “Wild flowers, huh?”

Robert: “Yup. A lot of wild flowers. I spent a lot of time gathering wild flowers and I ate a lot of magic mushrooms during the time I was doing so. I see it, in retrospect as a whole-hearted investment into the natural state of things. I left the pavement for the dirt. You know what they say about the Catskills?”

Paul: “Um, I’m sure much is said about them, but what is it that you know is said, Dr. Rawlingstone?”

Robert: “They say that when you have two rocks for every dirt, you are in the Catskills.”

Paul: “Ah, yes. Well, on the subject of your ingestion of what you consider to be a large amount of “magic mushrooms,” Doctor, am I to assume that by magic you meant Psilocybin?”

Robert: “Yes, you should assume such, in fact, I can assure you that they were. I acquired a good size bag of caps and stems prior to my journey, and I ate them all up like Pez over the course of my stay. I have to say that it made my gathering of wild flowers that much more meaningful.”

Paul: “I can imagine that it might have. Did you find the overall experience a good one? Did it take your mind off Maureen?”

Robert: “It took my mind off a lot of things and directed it towards others.”

Paul: “Interesting, although, I must admit, having heard the stories of those who use mushrooms, not that original. Robert, as I have impending patients to tend to following this appointment, I must ask what is the purpose of your visit? Have you come to continue treatment? To continue where we left off? It doesn’t really seem that relevant anymore. Maybe that is just my quick assessment of the situation.”

Robert: “It is mine as well. I don’t really feel the way that I was, anymore. I mean, that is to say, I’m not that man any longer.”

Paul: “Clearly you are not. In that respect we are in agreement. You seem to have made some great progress since I last saw you, Robert, I must say. Regardless of how you got to this point, doctor to doctor, I must salute you. Given the unique characteristics of your dissolution with Maureen, most people I think would have taken longer to heal.”

Robert: “Well, thank you, Paul, for saying so. That really means a lot coming from you.”

Paul: “No problem, Robert. Am I to assume that I will not see you again then?”

Robert: “Geez, Dr. Fromage, you do a lot of assuming. But surely, I won’t be seeing you any longer, at least not in such a professional context. I may bump into you somewhere social, you never know.”

Paul: “You never do. Well, I thank you for this sort of anti-climatic closure. Robert, I do hope the best for you in your future endeavors, both professional and personal. You know where to find me if you are in need of conversation again.”

The two get up from their chairs almost simultaneously. Robert shakes Paul’s hand, and while doing so, he thanks him.

Robert: “You’ve been most helpful, Paul. You are a good doctor. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon.”

Robert leaves the office as quickly as he came in.

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The following comments are for "Shrink goes to the Shrink"
by delapruch

Head Shrinkers
It's interesting the way this conversation played out. It's almost as if the whole story is some sort of by-play to something much my head anyway. Still, I enjoyed the piece. You get a feel of the history between these two in the easy way they talk to each other. I'm curious if this stands alone or is part of a larger story, but either way a fine piece.


( Posted by: HeRoCoMpLeX [Member] On: July 24, 2011 )

@HeRoCoMpLeX. Thanks for reading, firstly. Nothing larger. This piece is a snapshot.

( Posted by: delapruch [Member] On: July 25, 2011 )

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