I’m stretched out on the psychiatrist’s red leather couch, my first appointment seeking help.
“So what seems to be bothering you?” the psychiatrist asks from behind my shoulder where he sits out of view. His voice is vaguely familiar but I can’t place it.
“It’s my dog. He’s driving me crazy.”
“Dogs can do that. But they can also mirror back to us our own troublesome issues. Like the dog who poops in the husband’s shoes when he walks allover the wife, who is the dog’s favorite. The dog is trying to teach the wife to stand up for herself. Is your dog pooping in your girlfriend’s shoes? Maybe you could be more specific? What does your dog do that drives you crazy?”
“Let me rephrase that. It’s not that he’s driving me crazy with his bad behavior, but that I think I’m going crazy because he speaks to me, just like a person does. He’ll come into the room where I am and ask me what I’m doing, like a coworker or something. And I can understand him just as I can understand you now, doctor.”
“You must be a good companion to your dog. Consider yourself lucky. A lot more people would understand their dogs if they’d only stop and listen to them.” The familiarity of the psychiatrist’s voice nags at me. “But I tell you what, Mr. Kennedy, I’m going to write you a prescription that should help you with the anxiety you’re feeling.”
“A prescription for what?” I ask.
“Chocolate, of course.”
I finally recognize the voice, sit up and look over my shoulder. Fleegle sits in the psychiatrist’s chair, legs crossed, and a prescription pad on his knee with a pen shaped like a dog biscuit held ready over the page.
I run my hand down my face. “Have I dreamt myself into Fleegle World again?”
Fleegle shakes his head. “Oh no, this is Raudy Boy World. If this were Fleegle World, that red leather couch you’re sitting on would be brown and made of chocolate sponge cake. Wouldn’t that be comfortable?” He jumps off his chair in excitement. “Ooo, but look, you kept your Labrador tail. Maybe it’s there to stay and you’ll still have it when you wake up. Wouldn’t that be nice.”