“I mean, I guess it’s a question that bothers everybody. At what point do you become a clown? What separates clown from non-clown. Blands we call them, us clowns. But when does that happen? What happens? What instills the clowniousity? You can’t be half a clown. Even midget clowns are clowns they’re not some fraction of a clown. So at some point you go from being a boring, plain, dull, useless bland, and BAM! Suddenly you’re a clown. What is it? Where is that line?”
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer. He kept four eyes on his patient, three on his notepad and one on the clock.
“Is it the nose? “
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer. Four of his legs were curled together, resting in his lap, in a way not at all indicative that they were about to spring forth and ensnare some hapless prey. Three adjusted his argyle sock. One jotted miniscule notes in a way that Mr. Squeak found both comforting and slightly anxiety provoking.
“I mean, that’s what they give you at The Academy. You get a nose at graduation. Ta-da, you’re a clown. But are you really? Are you really a clown? What were you the day before, the minute before? You can’t just read a passage or put a ring on or smash a glass and suddenly you’re something different. A rose is a rose is rose. Put a clown nose on it, switch the side of the tassel dip it in liquid nitrogen. It’s a rose. Isn’t it?“
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer. He slowly nodded his cephalothorax along with Mr. Squeak’s words. Mr. Squeak stared at the ceiling from the couch. Ceiling in that it was the portion of the transparent sphere opposite the couch. Couch in that it was the non-adherent, slightly inclined portion of web where the patient usually positioned himself. The sphere slowly nodded, as the gravitational force of the equidistant planets pulled it back and forth like the tide rolling in and out. Or like a psychiatrist’s nodding cephalothorax. Or like a unicorn, slowly swaying to music that he liked in general but wasn’t excited by.
“Sometimes I wonder if I’m a clown at all. I feel like an imposter. Like if you removed the nose and the facepaint with your acidic saliva I wouldn’t be a clown at all. Just a bland. A stupid bland with a melted face. Just like my father. Am I becoming my father? Becoming my mother? Am I becoming a rose?”
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer.
“I think I’m falling in love with you.”
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer.
“My father, it always comes back to my father. He’s always so proud of his stupid melted face. Yeah dad we get it, you’re hot. You’re classically attractive and people walk up and give you free passes to the dirigible races. We can’t all have melted faces DAD. Some of us have to work for a living. We can’t ALL be Prom Emperor and marry the most iridescent unicorn in the eugenic sector block and retire to the universal nexus at 13. He’s been living in a purgatorial void since he was 13! Is that fair?”
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer. He telekinetically adjusted the dials on his omnistat to increase the concentration of nitrogen, valium and neutrino radiation. He decreased the bad juju and purple aura. He adjusted the vibe, increased the white noise, decreased the green noise and added a hint of lavender. He sometimes regretted not going into anesthesiology or biodome maintenance.
“He doesn’t have to deal with matter like the rest of us. He doesn’t have to deal with anti-matter like the rest of us. Nothing matters to him. I had to go to the Weaponized Elderberry Bureau twice last week. I bet he’s never even been there. I had to use those elderberries to exorcize a whole gaggle of poltergeists, but not before they gave me shingles. I bet he’s never exorcized, or gotten shingles, or had a recurring dream where he was falling but then woke-up right before hitting the ground. Do you think I should put more into my 401k?”
Dr. Charlotte nearly answered, but then decided against it. He again used his omnistat to add some amygdalar nanites and probiotics to the interior of the sphere. He then added a dreamcatcher and emerald talisman for good measure. He felt good about his decision not to answer.
“I’m just upset. I think if he were a clown like a normal person I’d feel better. Knowing I was genetically a clown would really help my sense of self-worth and actualization. Not that a pedigree guarantees anything I guess. Some of the greatest clowns in the multiverse were blandborn. The Jovial Apotheosis has to start somewhere. But that’s exactly what’s bothering me. How do I know that I have it? How can I tell that I’ve stopped being the son of a face-melted bland and started to be a true harbinger of mirth?”
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer. He composed a brief note to Mr. Squeak’s father detailing the nature of his son’s insecurity and encouraging him to show encouragement or perhaps laugh at his jokes. He sent it as a priority message traveling along the synaptic web, to the intergalactic web, to the metaphysical web, to the neotelegraph. Due to the nature of the purgatorial void in the universal nexus, he simultaneously received his reply, the bill for the neotelegraph use, and the payment for the psychiatric consultation. Mr. Squeak’s father confirmed that he would be more supportive. Again, due to the nature of the purgatorial void in the universal nexus this had in fact already happened.
“You know doc, I’m feeling better. I’ve got a kid’s birthday party during our session next week so I’m not going to be able to make it. In fact, I’m not sure I need to stay in therapy. Everything seems to be coming up roses.”
Dr. Charlotte didn’t answer. He sat like a spider psychiatrist in a transparent orb precariously balanced between two planets considering his patient’s successful transition from insecure bland to insecure clown. For a moment he considered springing forth and ensnaring his prey. He considered spewing acidic saliva into Mr. Squeak’s face. Instead he sent another message on the synaptic web.
“You know doc, I’ve always had this thing for unicorns. I think we should talk about it. Can I start coming in twice a week?”