Negotiating with Cookies – My Inner Flea

While sitting in the yard trying to read a book, my head is working overtime, the little voice in my thoughts is outdoing itself with a running commentary on my life. Need to do the dishes. Need to water the lawn, the plants, no, not now, wait until after the sun goes down so less water will evaporate. Need to practice drawing. Need to practice guitar. Need to practice the penny whistle.

“Please, enough already, just shut the frack up,” I half shout.

Fleegle looks up from the tennis ball he’s peeling the felt off of like it were an orange. “But I didn’t say anything.”

“Not you, me.”

“You’re telling yourself to shut up?”


“I’m very sure I’ve never told myself to shut up.” He watches me for a moment. “Well, it looks like it worked because I don’t hear you saying anything.”

“No, he’s still talking, telling me about the weeds on the parking strip in front of the house, worrying me about what the neighbors must think.”

“I don’t hear him.”

“He’s inside my head, my inner critic. He’s very active today.”

“Oh, I get it, like the people who live inside the radio. They sure can talk up a storm. Has your inner critic told you to buy a Squatty Potty yet?”

“I need a Squatty Potty like I need a hole in my head.”

“But you’ve already got a hole in your head, your mouth. Is that how your inner critic got in? If you go get the ice cream, I’ll try to lure him out. Then you just shut your mouth and not let him back in.”

I shake my head. “He doesn’t like ice cream. He says it makes me fat.”

“Boy, if he doesn’t like ice cream I sense he’s going to be a tough nut to crack. Maybe you could starve him out.”

“Nope. He loves misery.”

“Hmm… sometimes when a fly lands on me, I ignore it and it just flies away.”

“But you can’t say the same about fleas.”

“Ha, so your inner critic is a flea. Let’s eat garlic pasta tonight. Fleas hate garlic, and I love noodles.”

“He says no, we have to finish the leftovers from last night.”

“What a nag. He sure is a flea. What’s he saying now?”

“That I should check you for fleas.”

“Very clever. He’s using misdirection to get you off of his trail.”

“He wants to give you a bath.”

“Cat butt!” He scratches his ear with his hind leg. “Enough already, you tell him from me to shut the frack up and stop giving you horrible ideas.”

“He’s asking when your last bath was.”

“Tell him it was this morning.”

“He says you’re lying.”

“Tell him to come out and face me and I’ll show him who’s lying. Where I come from we eat fleas.”

“He says that’s why you have worms.”

“I do not have worms,” Fleegle says and gets up to leave.

“Where are you going?”

“Anywhere, as long as it’s away from your inner flea.”

I close my book and get up to follow.

Fleegle stops and looks at me over his shoulder. “Oh no you don’t. You’re not coming with me unless you leave your inner flea behind.”


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