I walked into the brick office building that was placed on the corner of Blueberry Lane and Porcupine Smut Street. The building was small, covered in jelly beans, toothpaste, and orange peels. It waited kindly for me as I rode in on my toy horse motorcycle. The revolving door made of licorice whips would probably melt by the end of the day but that didn't stop my hands getting all sticky as I pushed it. This office was dedicated to the opening of cranial tissue and extracting of the bubblegum spore thoughts that sit beneath the surface of the head dome.
Two signs stuck out to me. One that read Feeling and Thought Extraction of Superfluous Existence Spaghetti and another that said Readjustment of the Bodily Centers and Nerve Cookies. I was bound for Feeling and Thought Extraction today.
A plant to my left looked like he was having a miserable time. He grabbed at the leaves on his head and chewed on them with mousey bites. Occasionally a piece of leaf would fall to his lap and he’d brush it aside like dandruff or lint that annoyed him greatly. I decided he looked like he needed the company and sat on an orange bubble two seats away from him. I didn’t want to make him any more nervous than he already was. Bubbles are dangerous after all and his state of discomfort could be felt in the air.
“Hi there. Are you here for the barbecue banquet or the after party mint swimming?” I asked as I sat down next to him. He looked at me as one of the leaves on his head made a nervous twitch at the thought of someone strange igniting conversation.
“Huh? Oh, nah. I’m allergic to mints. I’m just waiting on someone. They’re in Feeling Extraction.” He munched on one of his leaves again and produced a fake smile for me. I tried not to point out the plant pieces stuck in between his gold teeth.
“Oh, I think I’m next then. Is it Dr. Poodle Crutch?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. Weird name, don’t you think?”
“Nah. I’ve heard of far stranger. I once met a thought extractor named Dr. Pimp Kitten Kafluffleknicker. Well, he was labeled as a thought extractor but he wasn’t very skilled at it. He was much more talented at Leg Spread Panty Drop Inducing Secret Induction Procedures.”
“Weird! I haven’t heard about one of those inducers in a long time. Don’t most of those get kicked out of practice eventually? Far too experimental therapy isn’t it?”
“Yeah, times change huh? Cheese equality and all that jazz. You know how it is. It’s a good thing, but if you ask me, does everyone need to make such a fuss about the taste of pink powdered cleats?” I shook my head in disagreement of the current state of mental health services offered to people because of the socio-political meat flapping environment.
“True story. Although, I prefer non-powdered cleats myself.”
“Wow, you’re a naughty one Mr. Plant! Careful, your thoughts might pop this bubble under my ass. Naughty thoughts are like a knife.”
“Well, I’m not the one going through thought extraction now am I? I’m just waiting for my wife.”
We both laughed uncomfortably as he turned his attention to a marshmallow television set which sat firmly on a shelf made of marbles and jump rope.
The well known reality show starring Lucky Lester and Violetta Bologna was airing. I never really cared for either of these reality stars and their adventures in the land of self inflicted monogamy acoma; but it became a real hit over the past twenty years. A real thinker of a show for the economy of acoma marriage body trading. I found it boring. Mostly because watching them literally sit in a coma for hours on end wasn’t my idea of entertainment. At least give them milkshakes overflowing with fruit pieces so they struggle to suck up the milkshake through the straw and die of hunger.
Most critics felt the show thought outside the box of traditional daytime reality television. It was so loved by the populace that a new line of soda called The Ringer that was officially endorsed by the Pope of Unicorn Island skyrocketed in sales. They claimed that most of the money was donated in finding a cure for the airborne virus Succubitus. I bought a can once. As I guzzled it down, I couldn’t tell if the populace's strange addiction was a cause of it’s commercial jingle or the flavor of crash test dummy fear and cherry lipstick ice cream that kept people coming back for more. I preferred the key lime edition myself but I rarely had more than a can a month. I once heard it caused cancer of the big toe, or was that elephantitis?
I checked my jelly doughnut watch, ten minutes needed to be eaten up before my appointment and I was bored so I took a nibble out of it. Ten minutes were gone. I should eat time up more often. It's fantastic.
The purple teddy bear sitting at the reception desk on the other side of the room called my name. I crossed the pyjama striped carpet and made sure to step on the correct spots to avoid the lava pits from opening up underneath me. The last thing I wanted was to plummet to the depths of the corporate hot spots under the city.
“That’s me.” I said as I approached.
She adjusted her black blazer and hung up one of the eight phones she was on. Seven of them rang and she picked them up one after the other.
“Please hold.” She placed one down.
“Please hold.” She placed another down.
“Please hold.” She placed yet another one down.
This continued until she’d managed to put all seven calls on hold. It was all rather illogical. After her arduous task was complete, she turned back to me.
“Sorry about that, I’m new here. I have a hard time with this archaic cotton candy phone system. I’m also not fully trained yet. There was a blue teddy bear here last month, but she quit because one of her eyes broke off. She went for plastic stitch surgery I think. Then she ran off to Teddywood. She’s not coming back.”
She was awfully talkative compared to the last receptionist.
“Oh, that’s too bad. I’m sure I’ll see you around here more often then? Nice to meet you.”
She checked one of her monitors as she smiled, “Ah here you are on the schedule, you’ll want to go down the hall to Feeling and Thought Extraction. Dr. Poodle Crutch will see you now.”
“Thanks Teddy.” They were all named Teddy so I never had a problem with a new receptionist every few months. Stuffed animals don't last long as desk sitters. People would rather cuddle and hold them hostage in bed. They really need to get their rights worked on. Guess that's the problem with being mass produced by factories around the globe.
“Have a good session.” Her body squeaked as she turned her attention back to the phones.
I hung a right past two vending machines, one that sold newspapers and another that sold gizzard flavored cigarettes. Sometimes I would sneak one after a session, just to get some stress relief. The newspaper had some good comics in it.
On my way through the small corridor, I passed a very peaceful looking woman with a pair of garden shears in her hands and a white watering can. She was obviously with Mr. Plant.
Her complacent drooling smile that stretched from ear to ear was alarming but kind.
The white padded door to Dr. Poodle’s office was slightly open and I slid in quietly.
“Serving number twenty-four.” A female voice blared from the speaker above the door.
A spherical room with dark oak walls covered in empty bookshelves echoed. Various paintings of encouraging quotes about how not to screw up your fountain coin diving experience, zucchinis, and hunting hot dogs plastered the walls.
I plopped down on the usual big fluffy red chair that resembled the human heart and waited patiently for the doctor. His fifteen foot high desk with a long flight of inflatable stairs glared down at me. I heard the doctor flush a toilet in his private bathroom. He whistled Old McDonald as I removed my coat and put it on my lap. The seat-belt was activated when it felt me get comfortable, it whipped out quickly and wrapped around me.
The doctor stepped out of the bathroom. He noticed me as I waited and removed his bathroom party hat.
“Well, back again are we? It’s good to see you. Maybe this time we can dig a little deeper. How have you been?”
“Alright. Mostly taking it easy.”
I watched as he crossed the room towards me. He was wearing a black bodysuit, a toolkit around his waist, and white fuzzy slippers. His right leg was limping and he pulled out a cane to keep himself stabilized. His dark hair was slicked back and parted to one side. I hated to admit it but part of the reason I enjoyed coming here was to get a glimpse of his refined features and fashion sense. Oh, we both shared a love of cheesecake Thursdays too. But I had to remember he wasn’t a panty drop inducer no matter how amazing he was, he was my thought and feeling extractor after all. He pulled down a welding mask over his face and walked towards me.
“Let’s take a look at what we have here.”
He pulled out a small hand bonesaw as I gripped onto the chair.
“Polka jazz radio. Low volume.” A radio came to life in the distance.
He held the top of my head with a free hand and cut a fine line into my skull. There was no pain or an explosion of sea foam. This time I came prepared. Recently I had the flesh exchanged with sponge cake and the skull replaced with jam. He pulled the top of my head off like a lid and placed it down. Jam dripped down my forehead.
“Oh, that’s marionberry? Delicious.” He placed a finger inside the rim of my cranium and tasted the jam.
“Really? Hmm, it was strawberry last month. I was pretty sure I asked for more strawberry.”
“Yes, marionberry now. Strange. Why would you pick this instead? Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this. Alright, I’m going to ask you some questions.” He gently touched my exposed brain.
“Okay. Oh, that tickles.” I blushed.
“Sorry. I do tickle patients sometimes to get them to lighten up. But I just remembered it wasn't official World Play Brain Poker and Win day.” He repositioned his forefinger and thumb at the front of my brain and squeezed.
“Now, tell me about what we conversed on last month.”
“Do you mean our conversation about rules or magical burning blender dating?” I turned my bottom lip down, I didn’t like this conversation.
“Yes. Tell me more. You grew up in a very strict home didn’t you?”
“It was. Very strict, in more than one way. It made it difficult to have much room to breathe or live without having brain replacement surgery. But it was also chaotic in other ways.”
He pulled up his mask and looked closer at my brain with a small nerf magnifying glass he pulled out of his toolbelt.
“I see. How did you manage the rule system your parents put in place.”
“I would follow them to the best of my ability but I ended up breaking a lot of them when I felt they were unjust, illogical, or infringed on individuality or freedom to choose no pants or nothing but pants.”
“How did your parents handle this?”
“Even stricter punishment. Oddly enough, I did find ways around the rules if I could bend them to give more freedom within the borders of said rules, but I usually only broke the rules that were being built around destroying my independence or free thought. Of course, it’s different now being an adult. A lot more numbers and driving involved.”
“Do you find this harder to do as you get older?”
“What? Breaking rules or bending them?”
“Breaking.” He moved to a different part of my brain and poked, I saw a traffic sign in my vision that played a banjo.
“Well, sometimes it’s easier to bend them instead of breaking them. Just last week I found myself bending a rule that benefited only alligator skin boots. But I very rarely break rules unless there is a strong necessity too. Though, being honest, sometimes I might do it because I want to have fun. Sometimes it’s inherent due to my upbringing and I don’t realize it. But I’ve never harmed someone intentionally by doing so. Well, there were a few times I broke the rules because another route was more interesting. But not because of some malicious intent. Maybe self defense out of fear of the pancake train?”
He moved around to another part of the brain. I saw an old man covered in oil playing a saxophone in a banana hammock.
“So you understand that constantly breaking rules is detrimental? But you still do it at times?”
“Of course. Without them one wouldn’t be able to navigate the world or get anything accomplished before midday corruption snacks. I’m not a rebel just because I can be. I don’t rebel all the time just because it might feel good to bake a car battery in my bathtub. That’s selfish and unsanitary. No one wants a battery cake. There has to be a reason for breaking the rules though. Usually it’s about integrity, love, the experience, getting away from the mundane; or maybe it’s about the color of my couch when it’s been sat on by a horny muddy jockey eating gummy bears half naked while he tugs one off to a commercial about crab legs. Not sure on that one.”
“Interesting. Have your relationships been affected negatively because of this?”
He poured orange juice over my brain. It was citrus fresh and burning.
“Well, I mean who hasn’t had a few crappy relationships? But for the most part, I only ever dated a few people that were hardcore about ruletime. I mean, two well functioning adults don’t really enforce rules that way on one another, at least most relationships that embody a true exchange of caffeine drip skydiving experiences or bodily fluid exchange of the infatuation gland. But boundaries and stipulations do exist for harmony to occur. How else would one make tubs of hot chocolate to dip into on a lazy Sunday?”
“You’ve never been in a relationship with someone who needed a more controlled atmosphere?”
“I have. More than once.”
“Fifteen years, thirty aeon gallons, and twenty-thousand goldfish lifespans.”
“Wow, that’s pretty good. Why?”
“Why so long or why didn’t me breaking the rules cut it short?”
He put another hand into my skull and massaged around the marionberry jam in a soft circular motion as he hummed.
“Well, probably because there were so many rules it worked.”
“He liked rules and I enjoyed breaking them. He liked that and it worked. Kept him sane because his logic is too insane. Oh, and he liked the way my heart profusely bled strawberry jam on my arm.”
“Yes and many ankle grabbing experiences or cuddling around a burning bush experiences.”
“Insightful, one moment. Try to sit still. I think I found the thought process.”
I waited patiently as he pulled up a long tangled wire and caressed it gently. The wire sparked and he wrapped his whole hand around it and yanked hard. It came out with a fizz pop bang. Everything turned black and white in my peripheral vision.
He fiddled with something inside a pouch on his toolbelt and showed it to me. A hot plate, a piece of yarn, and a bag of microwaveable popcorn.
“This should help regulate the innate problem you have with authority bending sexual impulsiveness and the problem you have with seeing colored views that blind your adult view of the world..”
He tossed them all into my skull and stirred with a yellow pair of pliers. As soon as he was finished, he plastered my head back together and handed me a lollipop.
“Taste that and tell me your thoughts now.”
“It tastes like dirt and worms at night. What? Don’t look at me like that. It’s like you’ve never counseled me before. You know that just because I’m a functioning adult doesn’t mean I don’t have to test the reciprocity of dirty situations.”
“Lick it again and tell me more.”
I licked, “I like going to bed at nine in the evening. I like watching television. I now conform to the industry standard of world views that place me in someone else’s idea of cage. I now buy into everything someone else tells me and I will accept it as reality.”
“Excellent. Come in next week and we will address feeling extraction.”
I was freed from the seat belt. As I walked towards the door I felt something dripping from my nose. A red warm thick liquid.
“Oh, you have something on your face.” Dr. Poodle walked towards me and wiped it away with his finger, sniffed it and had a taste. He bounced up and down and smiled.
“Strawberry! Delicious. Just what I wanted. Maybe next week we can try something new I’ve heard about. It's experimental. It involves macaroons and gourds, but it just might work a bit better on your brain chemistry. I just love strawberry jam so much I want to make sure you keep oozing the stuff all over the place. Yum!”
“Thank you. See you next week. I'm off to the mint pool party now.”
He was satisfied and I was too. Marionberry was off the menu and strawberry was the new quagmire of supplemental parenthood.