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Split Pea Soup and Padded Walls

The bar was thinly populated and most of the patrons were quiet and subdued matching the overcast sky outside. Only one waitress was on staff serving a few Bloody Mary’s to a bunch of haggard looking group of tired clubbers just coming off the after hours club scene. Only one other couple sat in the bar, closest to the window, talking softly.

Claire sat in Taggerty’s bar, reading the Sunday paper and sipping coffee. She was silently thankful that Trevor wasn’t working this morning. She would hate to have the day start off with that explosive of a start. Double-checking to see that her “favorite patient” hadn’t popped in, she pulled out the comics to read, “Cathy”. For some reason, she identified with that little, comically drawn character. Her perpetual singleness, her knack for knowing the “correct” answers to most things, and the fact that Cathy appeared to psychoanalyze men with the best of them.

Claire thought to herself, ”Why is it that I keep putting myself into situations with guys that I know are going to end up scarring me? Emotional baggage is fun to pack and unpack with patients but when you look at your own its not all fun and games.”

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There's no room
No space to rent in this town

You're out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you're not moving anywhere...

Sighing, she picked up her paper, paid her bill, and left the bar. Not watching where she was going, Claire bumped into the person who was just coming into the bar, spilling coffee down the front of her sweatshirt and soaking the person’s coat. Hair hanging in front of her eyes, she looked at her clothes then back at the person in front of her she started to apologize.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t see you coming in.” she spoke as she ran her hand down the front of her shirt trying to wipe away some of the coffee. “If I would have known that you would be doing that little move out front of Taggerty’s I would have come down sooner.”

You thought you'd found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand
In return for grace

It's a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away

Not even needing to look up to know who was speaking, Claire rang out the bottom of her sweatshirt and grimaced. There went the day and with that what had been for the most part a Trevor-free, peace filled, non-obnoxious weekend. Shaking her head and throwing her hair out of her eyes, she turned to face the doom that was known as Trevor.

“Tell me this, Trevor. If you are a god, like you claim to be, why is it that you didn’t foresee this happening?”

“How do you know I DIDN’T and that I just wanted to come down here so I could witness you touching yourself like that. You know, if you wanted to leave the doctor/patient world behind I know a person who could get you a really GREAT paying job where you could touch yourself like that all the time.” He said breaking into his own version of, “I Touch Myself” and dancing around the street corner thrusting his pelvis into the air.

“If you keep dancing like that I am going to reintroduce you to that doctor/patient thing I do. Padded cells and split pea soup sound appealing?” Claire said.

“As long as you are the one feeding it to me, baby!” Trevor said, laughing. “Besides, Claire-bear, you know that I am just joking with you.”

“Are you? It’s a fine line between reality and make believe with someone that is clinically diagnosed as being in a perpetual, delusional state.”

“Ahh, Sparky, you do care!” he shouted with an Irish accent. “So nice to see that you think about whether I am thinking clearly or not.”

“As much as I enjoy this banter and cold weather and even colder clothes I think that I should be leaving now.” Claire said as she headed off down the street.

Running to catch up to her, Trevor side stepped an elderly lady and catapulted over a downed garbage can. Out of breath, he fell into step along side Claire. Noticing him, Claire started to walk even faster. Struggling to keep up with her, Trevor looped his arm into hers and slowed her pace to match his.

“What’s the rush, Sparky? Have a hot morning brunch with a hunk-a-hunk-a burning beef cake?”

Stopping in her tracks, Claire swung her head around and looked Trevor in the eye. “If I had a brunch date with even Adonis you would be last on my list that I would tell, Trevor.”

“Adonis wasn’t anything. As I believe I have told you before, he just had great public relations people working for him.”

“Whatever. I am not going to tell you what I am doing today. Remember, I am still YOUR doctor. YOU are still my patient. Do we need to take a field trip to the mental hospital to remind you of that fact on our next session?”

“Doctor. Patient. Note taken.” Trevor said, growing a little exasperated.

“So, am I free to go now?” Claire asked.

“Sure. On one condition.”

“What’s that?” Claire responded, interested.

“You let me enter you into a wet t-shirt contest or mud wrestling event. By the show that you are putting on, even through that sweatshirt, I think that you could win! You could really go ALL-THE-WAY!”

“That’s it, Trevor. Good-bye. I will see you at our next session and not a moment sooner. If I even hear you, smell you, even so much as get the sense that you are near by it will be that soup and padded walls I reminded you of earlier for you.” Trevor opened up his mouth to protest but she was quicker. Throwing her hand up to completely muffle whatever he was saying, Claire continued. “No, Trevor, no butts, no rebuttals, no interruptions, no nothing.”

He squirmed against her hand finally breaking out of her make shift muzzle, he opened his mouth again barely even getting out the sound of the letter ‘b’ and Claire was on him again. “No, Trevor. Zip it. Shh. That entire Austin Powers gag. You know the drill.” She paused mid-tirade and thought for a second. “I am going now. You are not going to follow me. Understand?”

Silently, Trevor nodded his head up and down. “Good. See you on Thursday.”

With that Claire turned walking off down the street, not looking back. Trevor stood alone on the sidewalk.Waiting until Claire had turned the corner, Trevor smiled to himself. He turned around and started walking back to Tagerty’s, singing the most recent U2 song.

You're on the road
But you've got no destination
You're in the mud
In the maze of her imagination

You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over
And it's been all over you

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I'm not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

It was a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
Beautiful day

Just as Trevor reached his apartment building, a ray of sunlight broke through the clouds illuminating him and turning everything he saw into a golden haze. Laughing, Trevor looked up in to the sky. "Thank you, Zeus. You always know when I need a little pick me up to keep me going."

With that Trevor walked up the steps and into the apartment to scheme up new ways to torment Claire, match more couples, and get back home.

The end