Tag Archives: Therapy

All About Eggs and Life and Then Death

Fried egg with seasonings.
Photo by Megha Mangal on Pexels.com

He started his session by talking to the therapist about eggs.

“When I was a child,” he began. “My mother once reprimanded me at a restaurant for not knowing how to properly order an egg.”

The gray gentleman therapist in white leaned forward. “What’s all this talk about eggs?”

“Like I said, when I was a child, we were at a restaurant, just my mother and me. We were having breakfast and I wanted an egg, just a fucking fried egg. When the waitress asked me how I wanted my egg I said: ‘Fried.’ My mother lost her shit, but mostly on the inside. She looked at me with that fake smiley laugh and said something like: ‘But how do you want your egg fried?’ I didn’t understand what the hell she was talking about, so I repeated: ‘Fried. I want my egg fried, Mother!’”

“I remember her scoffing and tugging her white gloves off and slapping them down on the table. She looked up at the waitress, shook her head, and told her with a hand half shielding her face: ‘Over easy.’”

“I was confused. My head moved to my mother and then to the waitress and then back again. After the waitress walked away my mother scowled at me: ‘You’re such an embarrassment, Mildrew. An absolute embarrassment.’  I asked her what I did wrong, and she told me that I had no idea how to properly order an egg. We were in a fancy restaurant. It was one of those restaurants where people drank champagne with their pancakes and smoked cigarettes attached to long filter sticks and laughed out loud but not too loud. I might have been wearing a little suit for boys and possibly a wool cap. It was winter in New York. That’s where we lived then.”

The gray gentleman therapist leaned back in his chair and sighed with amazed wonder. “So, you feel you were traumatized by this event?”

“Of course, I was. To this day I cannot order for myself at a restaurant. I always must tell whoever I’m with what I want to eat, and they order for me.”

“Always?” the gray gentleman therapist repeated in question form. “But what about when you’re by yourself? Who orders for you then?”

“I don’t ever go out alone.”

“So, these other people who order for you. Are they friends?”

“Sure, I guess,” Mildrew answered. “But also, co-workers, dates, my priest once. I got him to say ‘fishsticks.’

“Wait… Dates? You have dates order your meals for you?”

“Yes. I have to.”

“Do you ever have second dates with these women?”

“No. Not ever.”

“Mildrew,” the gray gentleman therapist began. “This whole act of having other people order for you must end. You’re a grown man. You’ll never be able to maintain a relationship with a woman who has to be your mother.”

“But… I just can’t do it. I have way too much anxiety.”

“Let’s go back to the original event… Did your mother do anything else to you for not knowing how to properly order an egg?”

Mildrew looked down at the floor. “When we got home… She beat the hell out of me.”

“She beat you?”

“Yes. That’s what I said. Aren’t you listening?”

“I’m sorry. Go on.”

“She beat me with her soft white knuckles. They were so damn clean and tender and feminine. Then she tied me to a kitchen chair and threw eggs at me. One after the other they hit me in the face. I was covered in broken shells and tears. I was spitting runny egg slime out of my mouth so I wouldn’t gag and stop breathing.”

“How many eggs?”

Mildrew looked up at the ceiling and thought about it. “Two or three cartons worth.”

“And then what happened?”

“She untied me and made me clean up the whole mess while she sat there and smoked cigarettes and listened to a Johnny Mathis record at high volume. Chances are, ’cause I wear a silly grin the moment you come into view… She would laugh at me, too. She called me an ‘idiot.’”

“That must be a very painful memory for you, Mildrew… But I’m glad you’re talking about it.”

“You know something, doc?”


“Did you realize that if you put a break in the letters of the word therapist, you get: The rapist?”

A man getting a fried egg from a pan.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Dr. Micah Schism, the gray gentleman therapist, sipped at a silvery chalice of iced water with a lime wedge attached to the lip of the glass. He reached for the lime wedge and squeezed it over the water. Droplets dripped. He glanced over at a nervous Mildrew sitting across from him. “Are you ready for our exercise today?” he asked him.

“No. I’m thirsty,” Mildrew complained.

“And you’ll get something to drink when you order it for yourself.”

“Can’t you just say ‘Orange Fanta’. Just this once?”

“No,” Dr. Micah Schism said with a stern grin. “I won’t. I don’t even care if you die of thirst.” He took a deep gulp of his lime-squirted water. “Mmmm. That is very refreshing.”

“You’re being mean,” Mildrew said. “I don’t like this at all. I want to go home.”

“I’m not being mean, Mildrew. This is therapy. I’m trying to help you by forcing you to face your fears head on… Now. Here comes the waiter again. Do it.”

He was tall, young, and thin, and wore a pleasant smile. “Have you decided on a beverage yet, sir?”

Mildrew trembled. He looked over at Dr. Schism who was nodding his head in a gesture of go on. “I’ll have an Orange Fanta!” Mildrew loudly sputtered.

The young waiter’s shoulders sank. “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We’re out of Orange Fanta.”

“Fuck!” Mildrew screamed, and he got up from the table and ran outside to the palm-tree lined street of a boisterous Los Angeles heavily clad in traffic and smog. He leaned against the outside of the building and began to weep. Dr. Schism came scurrying out and reached for Mildrew just as he began to slump to the ground.

It was weeks later and Mildrew sat on the soft lawn of the vast, rolling cemetery and stared at his mother’s tombstone. The sun was shining, and he was wearing dark sunglasses over his aching eyes. His clothes were wrinkled. His hair was mussed. He hadn’t showered in days. He lost his job. He wrecked his car. His cat died. He was on the verge of being evicted from his apartment. Dr. Micah Schism had given up on him completely. He was a hopeless case.

Mildrew stood and reached down for one of the three cartons of eggs he had there. He opened it. A dozen white, shiny Ork orbs poked up at him. He took one out and threw it at his mother’s gravestone. It made him giddy. Then he threw another and another and another until the entire carton was empty. He picked up the second carton, reloading himself like a war gun, and these too he violently threw at his mother’s now egg-caked tombstone. The engraved name of his mother, Arianna Shmoke, was glossed over with yolk and dripped with it.

After he emptied the second carton, he reached for the third and final one. This too he unloaded on his mother’s final resting place with a great fury, and he yelled out, “This is all your fault! All my problems are your fault! I hope you choke on eggs in hell!”

Once he was out of eggs and spent and panting like a dog, Mildrew collapsed back down into the grass and looked at the cranage he so artistically created. “It’s all your fault,” he mumbled one last time.

Mildrew got on a bus bound for Phoenix, Arizona. He took a window seat near the back. Once fully loaded, the bus coughed its black lung goodbye to LA and headed east out of the city.

The day was crisping over in a blue bruise sort of darkness mixed with orange and the opening act of stars in the sky when the bus pulled into a diner near Blythe so the travelers could get out, rest, and eat.

Mildrew stepped off the bus and walked across the graveled parking lot and into the diner. He took a seat in a booth by himself and pulled a menu out of a silver rack. It was sticky. He flipped through it. He didn’t even think about it, really. He was just moving and breathing and living and he suddenly didn’t care anymore if he was scared or embarrassed or even dead.

A waitress with large intelligent breasts came to the table and smiled at him. “What can I get you, honey,” she breathed in the tick-tock of dusk time.

Mildrew smiled at her without looking at her. His eyes went out the window and in the direction of a new life. “I’ll have a cheeseburger, medium-well, no tomato or onion. Crispy French fries. A chocolate malt… And can I get a silvery chalice of iced water with a lime wedge nestled into the lip of the glass?”


The Laguna Bungle (Session 5)

The Laguna Bungle. A highway through a desert is partially covered by sand. A woman in a blue dress stands in the middle of it.
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

The Desert Therapist

I was motoring toward a town called Feldspar, out there on the edge of the nothing land, that deep, crusted sandbox of California, the dim and salty place where the heat stirs like a devil and your own loneliness is echoed. I wasn’t too sure what was going on in the belfry lately, the bells were there and gently clanging, at times misfiring, must be my neurons or electrons or the emojicons in my brain. Regardless of what the science is, I’m never the same person all the time. I am liquid. I am fluid. I break and spill. I flow and damage. Other times I am as still as an unmuddied lake beneath an azure sky, brushstrokes against a canvas of lapis lazuli. It was always difficult to uncover my own thoughts, let alone decipher them.

Driving can be therapy. There’s something soothing about driving alone in the middle of nowhere. It’s akin to survival almost, because what would happen if the car broke down and I was miles from anything. What would happen to me? I would have to survive. That’s a sort of ridiculous notion considering all the eyes on us always — the cameras, the satellites, the snipers with their cell phones. It’s not the 1800s. Someone would find me sooner or later, that is, if I wanted to be found. Sometimes, I do not. Sometimes, I think it would be better to just sink down into the Earth and never return.

As I drove, I started thinking about astral projection and dreams and wondering if they were the same thing. I had a dream last night where I was playing volleyball with balloons, and I wasn’t very good at it. My strikes were continually misguided, and the other players were down on me, so down on me that it came to the point if the ball was coming toward me, they would yell for me to just get out of the way. I quit, walked away because I was purely fed up with people being down on me. I went off to some haunted house and looked out some windows at weird people looking in at me. It was unsettling. I woke up. The sheets were crumpled. Her scent was gone. I looked to my left. Her skin was gone. She was gone. Was it forever? I remembered I had a job to do. I had a case. I was hunting a wayward husband. But maybe she deserved it. Then again, maybe no one deserves it.

And then my cell phone rang. Carola Strawberry’s name illuminated.


“Mr. Smoke. It’s Carola Strawberry. How are you?”

“I’m fine. How can I help you Mrs. Strawberry?”

“Carola, please. For some reason being attached to that last name leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

“Right. So, what can I do for you?”

“My husband is planning a weekend getaway to Palm Springs. Something about golfing or whatever again, but of course I don’t believe him. The only holes he’s really planning on dropping his balls into belong to someone who is not me. I’m talking about another woman if that wasn’t clear.

“It’s very clear.”

“I thought it might be a perfect opportunity to launch your investigation. I mean, it may all be just a smokescreen, but I thought it was important to let you know.”

“Of course. Do you know what country club he was planning on casting away his vows at?”

“That’s an odd way to put it.”

“I’m a natural when it comes to putting things in an odd way.”

“He prefers the Far Wind Resort.”

“Far Wind… Got it. Anything else I need to know?”

Carola Strawberry paused on the other end. Was she shattered or would she stand up on her own? I wondered. She cleared her raspy South American throat. “I know that all this will break my heart, Mr. Smoke, and I know it’s what I want you to do, but if you could, be easy on me with the details. He was still my husband, so of course, part of me wishes it to be untrue. Does any of that make sense?”

“It makes sense. I’ll do what I need to do, Mrs. Strawberry… Carola. I’ll be in touch.”

I ended the call and grabbed the steering wheel with two hands and just hung on as the machine burrowed its way toward the sunbaked playground of the rich and the weak and the broken-souled.   

As I looked out at that chalky chocolate expanse of place, I started to wonder if the world was just done with me from the very start. As one gets older, one has more to look back on. The messes start piling up. The regrets fill every vessel. The guilty things start stabbing your heart. Why do I feel so damaged? Why has the world sat on me so often? Why do dreams always die?

I don’t know why, no one answered. But what about the good things? Why don’t you ever think about the good things, John Smoke? she said. Who was she? My phantom love, that fallen angel with the open arms. Did I pass right through them?

I had to get my thoughts back upon the road. This isn’t about me right now. I turned on the radio and flew upon the miles that waited for me.


You can read the previous part of this story HERE.