Laurence arrived a few minutes late for his regular Thursday morning session, but his therapist usually ran late, so he wasn’t worried.
From behind the door of his therapist’s office, he heard a blood-curdling scream, and then a thump. A door opened somewhere, and Laurence heard a strange sound, almost as though something heavy was being dragged. He heard grunts, scraping, and the rhythmical percussion of something booming on the floor. Laurence looked around, and realized the secretary was not there. He also realized he was standing, tense.
The door to his therapist’s office creaked opened, and he heard a rough voice shout: “Ahoy Larry! Be ye out there laddie?”
“Come in, matey.”
Laurence walked unsteadily to the door and opened the door fully.
A pirate sat in his therapist’s chair. He had wild, unkempt hair held in by a greasy red bandanna, and a full dread-locked beard that looked like it was made out of black steel wool. He was wearing a stained white silk shirt, a sash of what was probably once a lovely dark green silk and pantaloons. He had one black boot, and he was missing a leg, which was replaced by a wooden peg that was carved into the shape of …
Laurence looked away.
“Arr matey, don’t ye like me leg?”
“Uh, it’s very creative,” Laurence said. “Um. Um, where is Dr. Glick?”
“She’s in-dee-sposed,” the pirate said. “She’s asked me to take care of her sessions today. Now, repeat after me: Arrrr!”
“No, like ye mean it. Take a deep breath. No, don’t sit down. Ye won’t be sitting down this morning Larry, ye’ll be workin’! Now, say it: arrrr!!!”
“Avast!” the pirate stood, the obscenely rounded end of his peg leg booming on the floor. A cutlass lay on Dr. Glick’s desk, and he picked it up. “I want to hear a real pirate yawlp before ye leave, ye bilge rat!”
Larry suddenly understood what that dragging sound had been. He looked around wildly for a weapon to defend himself; he picked up a pillow from the couch. Perhaps it would work as a shield.
“Would ye like a blankie too Larry? I won’t be caring if ye need to carry around a stuffed bear, as long as I hear ye. Now take a deep breath, and say it: arrrr!” The pirate’s voice was incredibly loud.
Laurence dropped the pillow and held his ears. He started shaking.
The pirate took a step closer and pointed the cutlass tip at Laurence’s throat; he lowered his voice and said menacingly: “I’ve slit the throats of better men than ye, Larry me boyo. Now say it, smartly lad, smartly!”
“Arr!” Larry managed, terror driving his voice several octaves higher.
“Grand! Grand!” the pirate enthused. “Now, let’s pretend you’ve got a pair, and say it again.”
“Arrr!” Larry shouted.
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“Arrr!” Larry screamed.
“Arrr!” the pirate joined in.
“Arrrrr……..” Their joint shouting tailed off, and Laurence realized that the pirate was grinning at him.
“So how do ye feel matey?”
Laurence wanted to say he felt good, but he know that wasn’t the right answer, so he just muttered: “arrrrr.”