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Chap 1.4 - Page 5frangles: Skip book 1: Writer's Bricks
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            Only a bored plant studying a copy of the DSM-7 in the corner of the room gave Skip a hint of genuine attentiveness as Skip barged his recent breakthrough across the office at Dr. Vifps, jolting him into a full shrink-and-nothing-but-shrink alert mode.
            "Dr. Vifps!  I remember!  I remember everything!"
            "Ah, yes?  What?  I mean, hrm?"
            "My short-term amnesty--"
            " 'Amnesia?' '"
            "Yes, I forgot the word.  My short-term amnesty is back!  I remember everything since I can remember losing my long-term memory.  It's still not a gram there, but at the least, I remember everything that happened to me *since* then, because not being able to do so seemed a horrible burden on being able to retrieve it!"
            "But who in the hell *are* you?"
            Skip opened his mouth to respond, then locked it shut for a good long while as he tried to sift out the exact meaning in Dr. Vifps's tone.  For a brief mot he thought Dr. Vifps was giving him a cliche psychiatrist's interrogation response to his rant without having heard it very well.  Then he figured he might be mocking the cliche and poking fun at the lame formulation of psychiatric interaction in general, which would be a little less like him but even more likely to demonstrate Dr. Vifps wasn't about to be of any help.  Only after a moment thoroughly worrying about the situation did Skip realize with a relieved sigh that Dr. Vifps was talking to the humanoid splash of water who'd entered the room with him.
            "Oh!  Oh, this is Kilo.  I met him at the train station.  Or thought him up, or something like that.  I'm still not sure exactly why he's composed of water, but maybe you can help us figure that out.  He certainly needs some therapy too, for he has issues about wanting to be fire instead.  I suppose primal elements are more in the realm of philosophy than psychiatry, but his angst over the matter surely lands the issue somewhat in your ballpark of expertise."
            "No, not him.  He hasn't said anything crazy yet.  I was addressing you, Mr... Mr..."
            "Friter!  Skip Friter!"  Skip leaped back on his train of thought of what exactly could be happening.  A deja vu plethora of possibilities popped to mind, but to save time parsing them, Skip simply skipped to the least likely one to implode the universe or give him a seizure.  Dr. Vifps was *pretending* to have never met Skip for the sake of a quick laugh.
            "Ha!  An amnesia-diagnosing psychiatrist with amnesia himself!  I think that's what I'll call irony given I haven't decided what the word should mean since someone told me I'd coined it.  I hope you wrote up some thorough notes about me in my file, because you certainly can't give me much therapy if you're going to keep forgetting who I am!  Well done, Vifps; quite unexpected.  You really... you... yuhhh..."
            Skip's words drifted into the forgettable void of history into the alzheimers-infected nothingness of air outside his mouth, that knew quite well what to do with drifting psychotic rants even if it didn't have a firm grip on physical gravity.  Dr. Vifps' mirthless expression had seemed an exceptional deception for his joke, but now it's sheer stamina suggested something behind it much more tragic and less likely to enterain anyone in the room, least of all the freer, whatever that was.  As for Dr. Vifps, his glance kept flicking back and forth between the front office phone and his desk's.  Skip began to sense he was calculating which one of them was more likely to have 911 on speed dial and/or which he had a better chance at getting to before Skip pulled out a chainsaw or bloody axe.  An expressionless teen who could have been a high school droput drug dealer with an increasing past history of violence for all Dr. Vifps knew wasn't helping the situation.  Thankfully, he did seem distracted with with the cabinet to the side marked "SAMPLE MEDICATIONS" that harbored the stimulant meds that he somehow sensed were there..
            "You do... *remember* me, right?"
            Dr. Vifps frused some more and glanced back at the office phone.
            "Right??"
            Office phone.  Desk phone.  Office phone.  Desk phone.
            Finally, Dr. Vifps' expression said he'd either given up on his plan to escape in favor of some challenging therapy, or was preparing to create an elaborate deception that he was interested in the man's issues in order to gain the trust that would allow him to leave the room with all body parts intact.
             "My good fellow, I have never seen you before in my life.  Clearly at least one of us has suffered a psychotic break, and since I'm the psychiatrist, it's probably you.  So let's have a seat and get to the bottom of this, shall we?  I'm supposed to be meeting with a punctuality-impaired dyslexic alcoholic with ADHD about now, but she probably got drunk, distracted, took a wrong turn, then entirely forgot about the meeting altogether.  So I just happen to have the time for a session!  He lowered his voice just a little as he pushed the desk intercom button.  "Lila, call Darlene and tell her I have to cancel her 1:45 appointment, and clear my schedule for the day."  Skip humored a stray hope that the lack of an answer on the other side meant Dr. Vifps was crazy, too, and communicating wtih an imaginary secretary.
            Finally, Dr. Vifps sat down with a suspiciously welcoming expression.  Skip sat as well, and did Kilo, who's expression suggested mixed annoyance/relief that they were kicking off a sudden therapy session without any intention of dedicating it to his teen angst issues.  Both waited for Dr. Vifps to get to his first question.  He simply got out a notepad and waited for one of *them* to begin.  After a minute, he scribbled a bit on the pad while mumbling something about implosive social repression, then began.
            "Alright, you say you've met me before, Mr. Friter?"
            "Of course."
            "Well, let's introduce ourselves again, for my sake.  Just think of this as a roleplay regression to help you deal with the repressed trauma of meeting me a first time.
            "I don't think we were ever really introduced in the first place.  All I remember is you starting right off the bat as my shrink, with some intense storehouse of mental notes you'd collected on me."
            "That's about all shrink's ever do, yes, is collect dirt on their patients.  You should see my collection of coined phrases from my more creative linguists over the years.  And I have an exceptional collection of songs people didn't want stuck in their heads.  Tossed them off on me, just dandy.  Do you have any idea how long I've had Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" stuck in my head?  A patient burdened me with it when he purchased an uncomfortable mattress that gave him a piercing back pain.
            "You know, I can't remember ever being introduced to anyone, really--just bumping into people who claimed to have known me--or at least, nobody more sane than I am, given that some pigeons in an existential crisis and I more or less introduced ourselves this morning.  So, assuming *you're* sane--"
            "An excellent assumption given my framed degree and the lack of decapitated hookers in the back room--"
            "--I suppose you still have a leg up on me."
            At the strange new metaphor, Kilo tried to raise his leg and cross his ankle over his knee in boredom, but since it was exponentially heavier than the specs of dust he probably used to whirl for the same purpose, the attempt had the effect of spilling a half-bucket of water on the carpeted floor.  Dr. Vifps didn't even flinch, suggesting this happens quite frequently to younger patients who have minuscule control over their undeveloped muscle and motor systems or vifa system equivalents.
            "I suppose I *would* have a leg up if I bought your psychotic story that we've ever walked into the same room with each other before now, but since I don't, and we haven't--and it appears the same goes for Kilo--we all seem to have equal footing for the moment, which of course gives us plenty of common ground, over our heads in knee deep shallow waterpuns or not.  Dr. Vifps got out a bottled water and crossed his legs as Kilo got his even further stuck in the rug.
            "Anyway, I'm Dr. Vifps, and you seem to be Skip and Kilo.  Now we're introduced.  So; what's up with you both?"
            Kilo fumed.
            Skip frowned.  "Well, you're the one who thinks my sanity is up fo debate, so let's start with that."
            "Alright, this amnesia of yours; let's go over what you think you remember."
            "I don't *think* I remember, I *remember* it.  I *think* you're mistakenly equating faulty memories with fuzzy uncertainty regarding nonhallucinatory ones."  Dr. Vifps hesitated as his pupils beadily zig-zagged in a panicky possibility that his brand new schizophrenic patient had already correctly corrected him on a matter regarding mental competency.  He seemed to come to a decision, flipped on the token psychologist's mask used to shield the patient from developing insight into his own psyche, and responded in an ambivolent blandless that of course spilled his guilt and damaged ego out for all to see.
            "Alright, Kilo, how about you?"
            "Don't drag *me* into this, I just popped into existence a couple minutes ago.  I don't really have any memories at all before meeting Skip, so any factual errors in my head are probably his fault."  Dr. Vifps nodded understandingly and scribbled a few more notes.
            "Lack of empathy...  Denial of amnesia...  Blame projection via unresolved sibling rivalry..."
            "We're not siblings."
            Dr. Vifps nodded.  "Domesitc PTSD denial of childhood trauma, teen.. aaaangst... good!  I'm starting to feel better about our progress toward a full understanding of your emotional situations.  And when, precisely, Skip, does *your* denial of your long-term amnesia begin?"
            "No, see, I'm fully aware that I lost my long-term memory this morning.  I'm quite sure I existed before 1:11 this morning, and I would imagine Kilo's on target himself with *not* having existed before then."
            "Amnesia denial denial... Amnesia delusion projection...  Denial projection amnesia...  Wait, no, I think you missed a criterea for that one."  Dr. Vifps looked toward the DSM-7 but the plant seemed inseperably occupied with it.  "Alright, Kilo, and what do *you* think you remember?"
            "If I point out you just asked me that and you don't believe me, could I get some speed for my ADHD?  You do remember where it is, right?"
            "I know I asked you, but you didn't answer.  So let's try it a third time; perhaps the third time's a charm here."  Skip thought he heard Dr. Vifps mumble "learning disorder" and "drug addict" as he scribbled some more.
            "I thought I said I don't remember anything?"
            "Yes, well, you just inadvertantly mentioned that *while* refusing to answer, so let's have a nice straightforward one for the record!"
            "Alright, I just popped into existence and I don't remember much of anything before I met Skip."
            "*Dual* amnesia denial disorder, and two interacting cases of it to boot!  ... We're really getting somewhere!"  Kilo's leg was still stuck in the rug and his expression said he emphatically disagreed.
            The three continued conversing through everything there was to cover, which if narrated line by line would provide absolutely no more information than anyone following Skip's and Kilo's stories so far have come across, or that at the least, than Dr. Vifps' all-base-cover summary below.

            "So let me get this clear, Skip.  You clearly remember getting dropped off at Square One this morning with no memory of who you were or how you got there, then remember forgetting just about everything three more times as far back as you can remember, except with increasing deja vu all the while, which has now gotten so bad untreated that it's been fully cured via a full-blown half-hour of memories of things that never happened, and now that you're right back where you started--except worse because you now have false memories in addition to *no* memories--you're elated that you're making progress."
            "Sort of, but..."
            "--BUT, you *do* remember a teenager just suddenly flushing himself into existence from absolutely nowhere, without even the warning of an Atlantis offworld activation dialing sequence?"
            Kilo frused and half-nodded.  He'd probably never thought to compare himself to the trippy puddle-portal of a stargate, never mind one from Stargate Atlantis set in the dead middle of an eighty-billion mile radius ocean.  With any success of Skip's indirect lessons, he was even dedicating a little educational diligence to mentally splitting a verbal vs situational irony hair.
            Skip, on the other hand, fully nodded in full conscious deception via phobia of seeming argumentative, and tried to ignore Dr. Vifps mumbling "compulsive liar" as he scribbled on his pad.
            "Then in my expert opinion, you both downed some hallucinagens at the train station, and your prognosis is certain total recovery if you simply keep off the 'shrooms.  Case closed!"  He tossed the pad he'd been writing on in the trash and scribbled out two prescriptions.  Skip took a long minute to decipher the messy handwriting and could finally read it:

    REST.
    FIBER.
    WATER.
    NO SHROOMS.

            Kilo's expression said he'd hadn't had the same luck reading his, and he definitely lacked the glow of closure at the end of any helpful therapy session, since they hadn't even gotten to his self-esteem issues yet and his leg was still stuck in the floor to boot.  A strained drop of thought-water dripped right off the top of Kilo's head down toward the rug as the innermost area of water within the outermost area of water that comprised what might be considered his head, infinitesimally surged with the threat of turning into something more corporeal than the hovering liquid it was.
            Kilo seemed to be concentrating, and as he did, the puddle thickened like like powdered psylium husk into a fiber laxitive drink stirred way too long after the directed stirring time, the kind you occasionally keep stiring indefinitely to watch the water turn to slush, then goo, then gel-goo, then transparent playdough, and finally into a cup of dried concrete that you thank god you hadn't injested into your body.  Currently the vifa water in Kilo's head was just at the early slush-stage.
            Through all this, Kilo definitely had that "frused" look going on.  Since Kilo wasn't very transparent at as far as his emotions went, Skip didn't have much of a clue what was going on inside Kilo's head, but he could wage a guess he was either racking his brain with the flood of information that had just passed through him since they'd walked into the room, or just couldn't fathom the magnitude to which someone in it was being brainlessly retarded, if not all three of them.
            Finally, it flipped to a delinquent ambivolence akin to wiping a scheduled cat scan off a white board calendar with a wet psych mid-term, and Kilo resumed trying to pull his leg out of the carpet as if his response required too many upper water cells to spare at the moment.
            "A thought, Kilo?"
            "I repressed it until I get my f!@ing leg out of this thing."  He continued to struggle with it while Skip felt the need to jump in, as Kilo's elder and someone incredibly more verbatose.
            Dr. Vifps sighed in annoyance as at a 3-year old girl who'd fallen off a tricycle her first time trying to ride it.  Without looking, he reached under his chair and pulled out a small bottle of liquid marked "rubbing alcohol" and flicked a few drops near Kilo's leg.  He whipped out a match from a shirt pocket, and struck it on the rug just next to where Kilo's leg was stuck.  The rug--realizing too late it was probably flame resistant--caught on fire long enough for Kilo to yank back his leg.  The vifa air hovering around cursed  and whirled a little to put out the fire, and Kilo looked even more distraught now feeling he should have had some sort of role in putting out the fire.  He sat back and resumed his silent concentration.  If Skip had to guess, Kilo had switched his internal debate from whatever he was thinking, to whether there was enough time left in the session to bring up his chronic elemental issues that he'd had for as long as Skip had known him, just now being no exception.
            "I think what Kilo's trying to get at is between the two of us, is he seems to be supplemental.  He hasn't done or talked much of late and I think it's because of his teenage need to avoid the stressful issues of adult life, not to mention not quite being sure exactly what that is to begin with."
            "Thank you, Skip, but *I'm* the one playing psychiatrist here.  Err.. *am* the psychiatrist, you know what I mean."  Skip seemed too worried about the session's direction to consider milking Dr. Vifps's embarassing mistake for all it was worth.  Dr. Vifps glanced at the clock as if it itself was getting apathetic due to peer pressure via Kilo's denial to talk about anything significant.  "Since our session to day is completely unscheduled--not to mention unexpected, unorthodox, and unpaid--I'm afraid we don't have a lot of time left.  So, tabling an analysis of Kilo for another day as he seems the one of you more prone to ramble incessently about his problems, let me explain what I believe is going on with you two."
            Kilo yawned and licked his nails.
            Skip stared rhetorically as usual.
            Dr. Vifps glanced back at the trash he had thrown his pad into for dramatic effect and was likely wondering whether he would loose more face retrieving it or improvising without it.  "The direction of your lives in recent history--as well as your entire lives, for that matter--are utterly, entirely, apocalyptically textbook with what one would come to expect given the mental disorders of anyone in your positions."
            "And what are those?" Kilo asked with a hint of michief.
            "I meant, the ones I've mentioned.  Aren't those quite enough, Kilo?"
            "Yah, but what *were* they again?"
            Dr. Vifps frowned for only a moment wondering why Kilo had suddenly developed an interest in his skills, then looked obviously backward at the trash again as he realized he had done so too obviously before.  (And now twice.)  Skip assumed he was making a mental note to add another "lack of empathy" to Kilo's diagnosis to the pad when he retrieved it after Skip and Kilo left.  Quickly he figured offering Kilo an extension on his promised therapy for the session would make him less prone to shrink abuse, as it was probably where the hostility was rooted.
            "Kilo, let's move on to your sense of self-relation to your external environment.  How do you feel about your place in the world?  Do you feel *in* place?  *Out* of place?  Do you feel lost?  Found?  Existentially torn from any particle of a grounded perception of reality?
            "Well, I was feeling a pretty normal sense of purpose in life until I hit the Button in Darlene's office."
            "Button?"
            "Yah.  The big blue button that brought back Skip's short term memory and transported us here--or did we just walk over or something?  I forget; it's all so fuzy--and I get this weird feeling that was the whole point of it somehow; anyway, me and Skip ahd these sick plans to go take on the world, or whatever--and now it's like he's ditching them.  Just leaving me to rot when I finally had, like, you know, *goals*."  The last word seemed torn out of necessity from Kilo's mouth.
            "What do you mean, Kilo?  We still have our plans, we were just, getting some therapy for starters.  Don't you think we both needed some?"
            "But it's all been about you!  I've just sat here and done shit.  It's like, it's all your *story*, you know, like you have something all special and we're about to dive into the entire story of your life, like this is Interview with the Vampire without anything actually worth interviewing you for!"
            "Is that a book that appeals to you, Kilo?"
            "Not really."
            Scribble.  "Any vampiric inclinations this week?"
            "Not that I can remember."
            Scribble.
            "Do you like watching vampire shows?"
            "No, not really."
            "Which ones?"
            "What?"
            "Do you like Angel?"
            "No."
            "True Blood?"
            "I don't get cable."
            "Sanctuary?"
            "I think I've heard of it."
            "How about Dexter?  Do you like Dexter?"
            "As far as I've heard that's not exactly a vamp--"
            "Blue's Clues!  You must like Blues Clues."  Dr. Vifps' had gotten another pad out by now and his pen was hovering predatorily above it.  Skip could tell Kilo was wondering if some type of mischievous lie was in order to beat Dr. Vifps's mind game, or if that's exactly how Dr. Vifps was planning on catching him.
            "I love blues clues."
            "Denial of homicidal vampire fantasies!  *No one* likes Blues Clues."  Scribble, scribble.  "Now tell me more about this button you pushed."
            "I dunno, when I hit it I got this strange feeling like the only reason it was there was to distract the story of my life from whatever its main point was.  It didn't really make much sense.  I mean, I can't even remember whether we walked over from Office B or just sort of showed up here.  It's like... It's like it created a tear in the fabric of space-time and thrust me and Skip into some alternate time line where we were never supposed to be.  Like god had just dropped some... what do you call it, a *deus ex machina* plot point to solve all our problems or something, and now I'm caught up in some fourth dimension reality or something.
            "So in other words you can't separate Donnie Darko from reality."  Scribble.  "Kilo, You're definitely hiding behind someone else's fantasy life to avoid your own issues, which his doubly bad because Donnie's schizophrenic delusions were *already* inside a fictional movie, and we all know those aren't real.  Especially here in Flutonia."
            "Where?"
            Kilo and Skip--thinking this statement chalked up another strike against Dr. Vifps for being the crazy one in the room--stared in an unusually harmonnious unity in pseudo-genuine curiosity.
            "Flutonia!  That's where you are!  Don't tell me you don't even know where you are!"
            "I thought this was Earth," Kilo said.
            "I thought I was in this office," replied Skip.
            "I'm so sorry, my mistake..."  Both relaxed.  They didn't know what mistake Dr. Vifps had made, but clearly it was clearly to their benefit for Dr. Vifps to have admitted it.
            "...I overestimated your mental coherence.  The first question I should of asked you was, 'Do you have any idea where the hell you even are?' "
            "Perhaps you should have," Skip agreed.  Kilo opened his mouth to respond but the sudden tie-dye swirls of fractal chaos in the skies out the window that he just now noticed were there began to disprove his sense of being on Earth.
            "Maybe you actually have a point.  I think I need to be grounded.  How many shrooms did I have again, Skip?  Dr. Vifps, Do you have any antipsychotics in the cabinet?  I'm not sure whether I'm schizophrenic or high but I probably need some either way.  I'm ADHD too, it seemes, so you should probably prescribe me some heavy stimulants.  I don't think chocolate milk is going to suffice."  Kilo flicked the prescription Dr. Vifps had given him on the ground and Skip could see what it said now:

    REST.
    FIBER.
    CHOCOLATE MILK.
    NO SHROOMS.

            "No, no, this wole Earth idea of yours needs to go out the window.  You need to firmly grounded to *Flutonia*--in whatever vague sense Flutonia even has a ground--and for that you actually *need* the shrooms."  Kilo smiled and Skip look confused as Dr. Vifps started writing out another prescription.  "...But of course, they're illegal, so I'm forging you a coupon for some Relaxing Herbal Tea.  It should help you sleep at night as your insomnia has clearly pushed you into delusional mania.  And Skip, why don't you try some Melotonin and Tylenol, too.  Now, I have other things to do, you know, I actually have my sanity--and a life--and other whackos that need me, so off you go.  We'll discuss your perceptions of insurance info at the start of your next session, and if it works out you can stay for the whole thing."  He handed Kilo and Skip each another prescription.
            "Dr. Vifps!  You've told us nothing that can possibly be of any help.  We're both lost in a surreal nowhere that doesn't make any sense.  We have deferred dreams, no sense of purpose, multiple forms of amnesia and existential crises, and I don't even know what the hell this Flutonia is all about, even though I've spent a memorable lifetime here.  Not to mention my therapist and new best friend could be completley insane.  What in the hell are either of us supposed to do now?"
            "Aside from being the result of delusions I just gave you prescriptions for, those are all issues for you to figure out for yourselves.  They have nothing else to do with psychology other than you have severe anger problems about them to boot and could use some anger therapy as well.  Since you both have some sort of Truman Show complex, why don't you head over to the Developing Arts Council where they'll explain why everything's all about  you and why life doesn't make sense.  That's where I go whenever I feel depressed with my life of solving the problems of others, who only have issues with life because their lives have some sort of significant meaning, whereas--based on my lack of need for therapy as a psychiatrist--mine does not.  Perhaps that's why I chose this field."
            Skip and Kilo stared around the room.  They looked at each other, then Dr. Vifps, then the bored plant in the corner still studiously absorbed in the DSM-7.  Perhaps because of Dr. Vifps' rare heartfelt admission just now, he actually humored Kilo's psychotic world view for a moment; only the token psychiatrist's mask blanking his feelings prevented Skip and Kilo from figuring out whether he was begin genuine, mischievous, brainwashing, or was still engaged in his session-long ploy to ensure he and the plant reached the end of it alive.
            "If what you say is true, Kilo; and you, Skip, then perhaps this entire mess of amnesia, higher dimensional intervention, and incoherent plot continuity can be solved by some simple means you have yet to find.  Why don't you consider it your sense of purpose for the day to go find a time machine or theoretical physicist--or at least a Star Trek nerd who knows a thing or two about temporal singularities--and see if you can undo all this mess before it even began.  Maybe your blue button was... a mission from god to save yourselves!  Now off with you and Godspeed; you have your sense of purpose for the day.  Come back when you're psychoses have significantly changed, whether for the better or the worse.  Why don't you try returning with some aliens or talking birds next time to give your claims some minimal credibility."
            Skip and Kilo didn't feel obligated to pay for the session as they left the office with near-deadly migraines.

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