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Therapy works, if you about it the right way. That's my experience, anyway, and I'm a professional. I do this for a living, and I make reasonably good money at it.
This morning, for example, I kicked off with Johnny Appleseed, a teenage kid whose fertilizing plans had nothing to do with anything so innocent as trees. His parents wanted me to persuade Johnny to keep his hands off cousin Lezella at the wedding coming up on the weekend.
Given as how it was cousin Lezella who was getting married, I could see why the parents wouldn't want Johnny playing the role of Romeo on that particular weekend.
"But I can't work miracles," I said.
"We'll pay you on a contingency basis," said Mr Appleseed. "Triple the money if you get the result. Plus, we'll throw in a free invitation to the wedding. We're serving caviar."
"Yeah, in quantity."
So I sat down with Johnny and did a couple of hours of childhood dream stuff, you know the kind of thing, until he was about at screaming pitch. Then I made him an offer. Also on a contingency basis. This weekend, Johnny will be just apple-polishing perfect, you can count on it. I'll pay him off afterwards, and we've already agree that, if his parents want to pay for more therapy, we can deliver the goods.
Johnny and me, we're a team.
Then it was two hours with Mr Harris, who is really easy because he just wants an excuse to escape from the office and yarn about baseball, and that's fine by me, as his insurance company is very good about paying the bills.
Then, technically, it was my lunch break, and I was all set to leave for the bar (a chance to study my fellow humans in the wild, so to speak) when this big hairy guy just walked right on in, his bare feet leaving bloody footprints on the carpet.
Now, there are only two types who have this wildman look, and the types we're talking about are, one, homeless people, and, two, gods. And, when I say "gods," I don't mean your highly polished high-theology types, no, I mean your ur-gods, the primitive originals, the unevolved. (Or, at best, the semi-evolved.)
And homeless people, on the whole, don't have so much confidence. So I guessed that this guy was a god, and, when you guess that, you hesitate a little before asking for some ID. At least, I do. I don't like to have to replace desks, walls, ceilings or secretaries.
And, speaking of secretaries, where was Ms Hennessy?
"Yeah, doc," said the incomer, gatecrashing my thoughts, barbing in with no self-introduction, no flash of a credit card, none of the social graces stuff, just right into it. "Doc, I got this problem, I want to eat my children."
"Good protein source, kids," I said.
I don't know why I came out with that. It's highly unprofessional to make jokes about one of your patient's cannibalistic tendencies, at least to his face. But I'd dealt with this type before, and I'd gotten away with it in the past.
"Before we go any further," I said, "let's talk payment."
"Payment?" said the patient, blankly.
"You know. Money. Bits of, uh ... heavy metal. Ring a bell? You give me a bit of heavy metal, I give you something good."
"You take plutonium?" said my patient.
"Gold, for preference," I said.
And there it was, a collapsing heap of gold dust which went slithering across the carpet in all directions. Well, assuming it was the real thing (and your ur-gods tend to be simple-minded, and don't go in for premeditated treachery) then I would be amply recompensed. As long as the stuff wasn't radioactive.
"Lie down on the couch," I said, "and let me wire you up to this machine."
"What is it?" said my patient.
"A relaxation device," I said, lying.
They're so gullible, these ur-gods.
"Just one thing," I said. As noted above, I didn't think he was a homeless person. Especially not after the trick with the gold dust. But you really ought to be sure. In my line of work, you can't be too careful. "Do you have any ID?"
"ID?" he said.
I explained the concept, patiently.
"I'm the great god Mulchagola," he said, grandly. "Great gods don't carry ID."
That was what I wanted to hear. I gave him ten minutes of current, direct from the mains, by the end of which time the room smelt like something had been cooking for rather too long, and the world was one great god shorter.
(No problem. Plenty more where that came from.)
I called Ms Hennessy on her cellphone and told her to take the afternoon off (some things she prefers not to know about) then posted the "therapist sick, all canceled" sign on the door, and set about cleaning up the gold dust. My removal man would take care of the immortal remains bit, later.
And so that's an example of how you handle the therapy of one of the ur-gods, if you should happen to get involved in that line of business. Later, maybe, if I have time, I'll tell you about how I first got involved with doing this god stuff. It's a bit tricky when you start out (knowing exactly where to advertize and so forth) and I almost got myself killed.
Got some money to invest? I could show you how to get started in therapy yourself, juvenile delinquents, great gods, the lot.
This therapy story story, "The Therapy of the Great God Mulchagola," was first published when posted online by Hugh Cook 2004 September 4 Saturday. Copyright © 2004 Hugh Cook. All rights reserved.
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alien god story
"They can't land!" said Evin Brahma. "My entire crop will go up in flames."
But the Amlok Macbeth was on its way, like it or not. And, legally, Evin Brahma had no business planting his crops on the spaceport in the first place.
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