‘So yeah, this SlickTiger guy, he’s got a site, I read some of it the other day, it’s really crazy shit up there. Really crazy shit. I mean, reading it I feel like we’re connected somehow – does that sound fucking crazy to you?’
Dr Schmeizer shifts slightly in his chair, sighs and rubs his eyes.
‘Yes. That does sound fucking crazy to me.’
‘Um, are you allowed to say that?’
‘I dunno, swear at me during a consultation?’
‘Under normal circumstances, no.’
I start to say something, but the good doctor cuts me off, ‘But considering you come in here sprouting the same gobbledy-gook week after week, month after month since we started these sessions, and considering your total lack of progress during that time, I hardly think it matters what I say or don’t say.’
‘Yeah, but I pay you to be professional. I pay you a lot to give a shit.’
‘Do you know how many sessions we’ve had so far?’
‘Of course! I’m paying for them, of course I know…’
‘Ok, how many?’
‘Um…’ I cast my mind back. I get as far as about a month ago, I’m wearing my ‘The Internet Is A Fad’ shirt, driving here. Some guy in the traffic is waving furiously at me. Do I know this person? I’m swerving to avoid getting side-swiped by the crazy fucker.
No, it can’t be a month, it must be longer. I cast my mind back further. It’s like throwing a fishing line out there. I remember when I was a kid learning to fly fish, watching my dad, the long, slow motion of his line like an extension of his arm, the way the reel used to spin, making that zinging sound as it unravelled. I do the same in my mind, I cast a line way the fuck out there, the reel zings, then snags abruptly, cutting the line.
I watch as the line floats through the air, anchored to nothing. It sails over the opaque waters of my mind, and lands like a long, thin snake on the water.
‘Um…’ I say again, stalling for time, ‘like, about three months?’
The good doctor’s head slumps forward and he stares at me through his thick, heavy brows. This is a passive-aggressive gesture, he’s doing it to show me he’s pissed off. I’m always pissing someone off.
‘Try six months. September 28th, that’s when you first started coming here, do you remember that?’
Do I remember that? Sure, I think I remember that. I mean, if he remembers it then it happened right?
‘I dunno doc, I try not to sweat the details, things like that, they’re neither here nor there really, I say three months, you say six months. I mean, in the universal sense of time, does it matter? In the universal sense of you know, the way things work, is it really a big deal? I don’t think it is. This conversation, my life, your life, I think maybe we j-‘
‘I took the liberty of recording our last session.’
‘And if you don’t mind…’ The doc opens his desk drawer and pulls out a dictaphone. He hits play, I’m saying something, but he stops and fast forwards it, he’s saying something, he stops and fast forwards again. I’m saying something. Boy do I love the sound of my own voice.
‘I dunno doc, I mean, life’s too short to sweat the small stuff, y’know? Does it really matter how long it’s been?’
‘Ok, phew, um…’ uncomfortable silence, broken only by the sound of me squirming in my chair, in the recording and in real life. ‘About 3 months?’
‘It’s been six months.’
‘What? Really, that long? Phwoar.’
‘Does that surprise you?’
‘Yes. No. A little. But really, in the bigger picture, is it really that important? I mean, in the universal sense of time, does it matter? In the universal sense of you know, the way things work, is it really a big deal? I don’t think it is. I could be wrong. But I don’t think it is…’
He hits the stop button. This profound silence hangs like a punching bag in the room.
‘You have a serious problem,’ he says, his hands doing that pyramid thing when people touch the ends of all their fingers together and move their palms forward and backward. I think this is supposed to have some kind of calming effect. It’s like watching lungs. Or a jellyfish.
‘Hahaha, okay, and it’s taken you six months to figure that out?’
‘Your memory is abnormally impaired. In most cases, once a number of weeks have elapsed, it seems you forget things completely. The people you’ve met, the things you’ve done. In other cases, it’s instant.’
‘Huh. You don’t say.’
‘It’s a rare condition, and I must admit, I’ve never seen it before. I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen it.’
‘Okay. That’s… fucking great…’
‘There are a number of psychiatric drugs we can put you on to try and improve your memory function and promote higher levels of concentration, I th-‘
‘What?! No fucking way. No drugs.’
‘You have a very serious problem and I really think what wou-‘
‘I didn’t come here to get dosed up to my eyeballs, what the fuck?! I came here so you could help me figure out why the fuck everyone thinks I’m someone I’m not!’
‘Yes! Fucking SlickTiger! Who the fuck is SlickTiger? Why the fuck does everyone think I’m SlickTiger?’
Dr Schmeizer stares at me through his brows again. Man is this going well. He presses fast forward on the Dictaphone. The sound of the heads whirring inside, intricate mechanisms spinning, working like tiny insect bones inside the machine.
He hits stop. He hits play.
‘I’m not interested in your bullshit miracle cures! What the fuck?! I didn’t come here to get prescribed a bunch of bullshit drugs that are going to make all my fucking problems go away! I came here for answers! I came here to figure out if I’m losing my mind or not! I need to know that shit!’
‘You need to know what shit?’
‘I need to know who the fuck SlickTiger is!’
It’s like staring into a mirror reflecting a mirror, reflecting a mirror, reflecting a mirror…
‘It’s you. It’s always been you. You just don’t remember.’
I say ‘Holy shit’ at the same time the me on tape says ‘Holy shit’.
The good doctor hits stop. I slump back in my seat. Sandbagged.
‘So… does this happen every week?’
‘For the last four weeks, yes.’
‘And you think drugs will help me?’
‘Yes, it can’t hurt to try.’
I sigh. Do I want to go down that road? There’s a reason I’m forgetting all this stuff, do I want to know what that reason is? It feels like a bottomless can of worms.
‘Okay, I’ll try it, what the fuck. Why not.’
‘Excellent. And in the meantime, I need you to do me a favour.’
‘What, like a homework assignment? I’m not good with favours, I always forget the- oh yeah, you already know that.’
‘I want you to get off your lazy fucking ass and write something funny for fuck’s sake!’
‘Something funny! I don’t read your site everyday for this metatextual bullshit! I read it for the Klapping Gym Boet articles! Stop fucking around or I’ll go read some other site. LOL-cats or something. Maybe Motifake. Do you understand me?’
I understand him. And I know what I have to do.
‘You’re fucking fired,’ I say as I get up to leave.
‘You say that every week.’
‘Yeah, but this time I’m fucking writing it down!’
I storm out of his office, slamming his door hard behind me. What a fucking jerk. I can’t believe I’ve been going to him for such a long time. Three months totally wasted, what the fuck.
Outside I light up a smoke. It looks like it’s going to rain, did I do any washing? Maybe. But fuck the washing, I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Like figuring out who the fuck this SlickTiger guy is.
Yeah… I think I’ll start there…