This is my Friday Fright for the DarkMediacityCity group. Hypnotic sounds anyone?
“So, Bob,” the shrink says, “you need to relax. Your stress level is way too high.”
Rolling my eyes around, counting the tiles in the ceiling, and annoyed by the very fact that I’m even listening to this Bozo, I say, “And just how am I to accomplish this?”
Doc Reynolds knows I hate his guts and the only reason I even see him is because of work related mandates, so he sneers at me before saying, “You have a lot of options. Yoga would be good for one thing.”
I sneer back. “Yeah, right. Like I can sit still for that long or try to become a damn pretzel. That’s not an option.”
“You’re making this difficult for me.”
“No pity party from me. Earn your over-inflated salary. Give me a decent solution.”
Now the good doctor looks like he could use some stress reduction.
“You know that my recommendation comes pretty high as to whether you keep your job or not, Bob.”
Now I’m pissed. “Well, doc, it’s like this: you don’t scare me at all. I know I’m the best at what I do, stress or not. So go bark up another tree. What other solutions do you have?”
Seething, he tries to remain calm. “I know. Relaxation tapes. They’re perfect. Put one in your disk player, or whatever you have, when you go to bed, and the good vibes will be with you while you sleep.”
“Not those stinking flute playing tunes that go on for ever and become annoying within moments?”
“It doesn’t have to be. What about nature sounds? Flowing water from a brook rushing down a mountain stream maybe.”
“I’d probably have to get up in the middle of the night and take a piss.”
“You’re annoying me, Bob.”
“We’re still on the company’s dime, whether you’re annoyed or not. I tell you what: I’m tired of you not doing your job, so I’ll hunt through the stores tonight and find one on my own; one that I like. With the time I’ve saved you, you can grab that flask you keep in your top right draw and down some of your precious hootch.”
The look on his face says it all: how do I know.
“Don’t waste any gray matter thinking this over, doc. Number one, my nose is super sensitive. You smell like a gin mill. Number two, you didn’t close the drawer all the way. I’m thinking you need to see some professional help about your drinking problem.”
Seeing no sense in staying any longer, I get up and leave. This is the best session I’ve had with Reynolds.
After returning to work, the rest of my day goes pretty good. I still wonder about the shrink mandates in the company. What do they really expect to achieve? Sure there’s stress on the job, but is that an entirely bad thing? Maybe it helps to propel some of us to the next level by firing up the spark of ingenuity and helping us to become better than the guy in the next office. Oh well, I’ll humor the idiot mental health “professional” and look for some tapes.
My search is not going well at all in my favorite purveyor of soothing music. Okay, so my store of choice just happens to have more rock and metal tunes than anything else, but they have to have something to soothe the savage beast.
Yes! In the back with the old cassettes I find what I’m looking for. Nature tunes of all kinds. I’m even remembering the days when these things were produced: the days of warped, fucking flower children trying to spread their bull-shit philosophy to normal people. It didn’t work on me then. Why should it work now?
One of these buggers is talking to me, telling me to pick it up. Whoah! I don’t need this shit. I see the shrink because my company says I have to, not because I need to.
Yet still, I remember something about this particular tape. I never listened to it then, but my thinking has changed. “This is the one,” I think.
I still have a cassette player at home, so I’m all set for my relaxation experience. I pay for this cassette and some Pink Floyd tunes, and out the door I go. This should prove to be an interesting night.
I’m already feeling fairly mellow by the time I go to bed, a few beers and some good music relaxing me. But, I’ll try the doctor’s idea and listen to the cassette while I sleep. If it doesn’t work, I’ll have to be more difficult with him than usual.
The tape goes in and I fall asleep, listening to the sounds of the whales as they call out to one another. Over and over again they talk to each other, a strange sound distributed through the water. But . . . but is it as strange as it seems.
Morning comes, and with it a peace I have never felt before. My entire body is enveloped in a surreal feeling of contentment. Reynolds was right. This is what I needed
Two days later I’m back in the doctor’s office, my trusty cassette player and tape in hand.
“What do you have there, Bob?” he asks, not quite sure of what I’m up to.
“I took your advice, doc, and I found the perfect relaxation tape. I thought you might like to listen to it.”
Reynolds is confused, but he’s rather happy with himself, thinking that maybe we have reached some kind of common ground. “By all means, Bob. Play the tape.”
I slip the cassette in to the player and turn out the lights. “We don’t need the distraction, doc. Let’s imagine it’s evening and we’re going to sleep.”
There is no objection from the pride of the psychiatric profession. He is more than willing to listen to the sounds which have soothed me to the point where I am no longer a burr in his side. I can even detect a feeling of cockiness about him.
The whales talk to one another, the sounds producing a hypnotic effect on both of us, but for Doc Reynolds, the sounds are not the same as they are for me. I watch as he completely relaxes to the melodious tunes of nature, smiling, knowing what is to come from him. He is so enamored with the peaceful talk of the whales that he almost falls asleep, but the feeling does not last. A look of horror comes across his face as the impact of the tape manifests a different story.
“Stop the tape!” he hollers. “I can’t take it any more!”
“But doctor, this was all your idea. I find this very relaxing. Give in to the moment. Let the tape talk to you.”
He puts his hands over his ears, trying to stop the sound from penetrating in to his mind. But that is not going to happen. The peaceful sounds become higher pitched, tearing away at his eardrums, pushing him to the edge of insanity.
The edge, the abyss, is reached, and he falls over the cliff.
I watch as he borders on a comatose state. Picking up my tape player, I turn it off. Obviously, the good doctor did not feel at peace with himself after listening to the tape.
Myself? I am one with the whales. They reside in the sea and I on land. But we are kin.
Now I know who I am. What I am. The whales and I are not from this planet.
I leave the doctor’s office and go to the nurses’ station. “There’s something wrong with Doctor Reynolds,” I say. “I believe he needs some medical attention.”
The nurse rushes in as I calmly leave. “Too bad for him he couldn’t take a bit of his own advice,” I think.
But then again, he’s not like me, is he?