I sat staring at six faces who were staring back at me. I admit I had stage fright. I knew I was here to work. I figured this was good first step. I started to my left and tried my best to remember J’s description and the names she attached to the description. There was nothing playing on that channel in my mind. I started with what I knew, male, male. My brain came to a screeching stop, it skidded sideways. I tried desperately to regain control before I went over the edge. I was saved when J tossed me a lifeline.
With every effort in my surging testosterone laced body, I followed the sound of the voice. My heart surged with love like a spring avalanche in the Swiss Alps. My Venus was taking care of me. Oh wonder of wonders I thought. I don’t need to know their names. I uttered my first group meeting words, “Venus, would you bring me a cup of coffee and a Danish.”
I heard footsteps in the outer office. My Venus said, “Venus left for the day.”
J didn’t realize it, but her flashes of anger pushed every love button in my body. I grinned, tilted my head slightly and said, “Thanks, J. Make a note on my calendar I’m open today for dinner and drinks after work.”
J rolled her eyes, closed the door, leaving it a bit ajar, and left me alone with six people still staring at me. I remembered once in one of the few college classes I attended where I didn’t have a hangover and made an effort to pay attention the professor used something called an ice breaker or was it an ice wrecker or was it an ice cube? I’m not exactly sure of the right term. I’ll ask Mother and Father to talk to Pattybing and tell him I need a full time research assistant to do my research for me.
I looked at the group and said, “Let’s get something straight. I don’t want to be here. I don’t like you. I’m afraid you’re all beyond help. Any questions?”
Some guy with a cantaloupe shaped head said, “Excuse me Dr. Sanderstuff. Thank you for your brilliant opening. It is the best use of reverse psychology I’ve heard in my twenty years of therapy.”
If I was using reverse psychology I didn’t know it. I nodded at the dwarf and said, “Have you looked online to get lifts. You can add two inches to your height. That should make you four feet eight.”
The cantaloupe looked like he was going to come back at me. I did ‘t need a personality conflict on my first day. I jumped in and spoke to the whole group, “We all need to know each other. We’re going to do a Ritz Cracker to get things started.”
The door opened a bit and I heard my Venus say, “Ice breaker.”
If anything, I am quick to recover from a fail. I segued right into the appropriate language, “Thanks, J. These criminals are probably only familiar with the old school term of ice breaker. They’ve been in the joint so long, they don’t know what’s happening on the street.” I said this to demonstrate to the group I was hip and the coolest of the cool. I said, “How many of you are familiar with the term, “Ritz Cracker?”
They all raised their hand. I glanced at one of my future sexual fantasies, it was the woman with tight black leather pants and a white silk shirt unbuttoned far enough to expose her black lace bra. Isaid, “What does a Ritz Cracker mean to you? Do you mind telling the group your name?”
She said, “Do you want me to tell the group what a ritz cracker is if I was on the street and one of my clients asked for one.”
Before I could answer, the door swung open. J stood in the door frame. Her left hand rested on her cocked left hip. Her right hand pointed a forefinger at Amber, “Listen up sister. You bring your trash talk in here you and me gonna have a little talk after school’s over. You hear what I’m saying?”
Let me count the ways I love my Venus. I don’t think there are enough numbers in the whole world for me to mention. Amber gave a pout, folded her arms and looked away from me. The pout look was a turn on for me, then I remembered I was engaged to J even if J had not accepted my proposal. I was adoring Amber’s silk shirt when J’s voice brought me back to the present.
“Dr. Sanderstuff, why don’t you do the ice breaker you were telling me you was planning to do with this group.”
For a split second I didn’t who J was talking to when she said, Dr. Sanderstuff. Then I remembered reading the name on the door to my office. When the realization set it, I almost said, “I did?” I caught the phrase a split second before it passed my lips. Instead, I smiled at her and said, “J is interning. She’s going to be depth therapist and wanted to study under the greatest mind in psychology. Fortunately, I had an opening for an intern.”
J gave me a look I interpreted as you are the man I have been waiting for all my life. I’m very good at reading people’s mind, so I said, “When J is finished interning we’re getting married and going into practice together.”
The group broke into applause.
J walked out of the group room without saying a word, I assume she is the shy type. Then I heard from the reception area, “Yes, when hell freezes over.” I made a mental note to ask J who she was talking to.
I turned my attention to the group and said, “. We’re going to begin over here with you.” I pointed the finger at a tall, thin guy that looked like he was left in the spaghetti water ten minutes too long.”
“Me?” he said curling a long index finger toward his emaciated chest.
I was no longer afraid of the group, my muscle known to me as my Venus was in the next room listening to every word. I must be a good person to get all the breaks in life. I’m sure J will go home with me tonight and take me on a test drive. The skinny guy broke my train of thought.
“Uh, Dr. Sanderstuff, what am I supposed to do?”
Ice breaker. Ice breaker. I pushed the words through my mind and all I could come up with was a YouTube video I watched of a navy ship breaking up ice jams in the Arctic Ocean. A college buddy of mine once told me, ‘Martin, we’re filthy rich. People listen to us because they think we must be smart to be rich. We can say anything, as long as it looks like we’re confident, they’ll believe us. I decided to take his advice. “It’s obvious, don’t you agree group?” I said confidently.
I put a smirk on my face that said I know what I’m talking about and he’s a dunce. Everyone in the group nodded but the skinny guy.
I raised my hand policeman style stopping him. It was time for tough love. “How are we supposed to make progress in group if you don’t know how to do an ice breaker or a Ritz Cracker? Didn’t they teach you anything in prison?”
“Wanna know what I learned in prison?” said the short guy with a balloon sized head at the opposite end of the group. Everyone but the tall, skinny guy, broke out laughing. I sensed I was losing control. I needed J.
What to do. What to do. I did what came natural to me. When faced with trouble, turn away from it and hire someone to handle it. I couldn’t hire anyone at the moment, so I did the next best thing, I swiveled my chair and faced the ocean and began day dreaming of lounging on the beach with my black Venus. Me in my bathing suit, she in her bikini. Our lounge chairs pulled close together, drinks in our hand. The sun setting, a live band playing somewhere behind us. I was thinking I could stay here forever when my reverie was interrupted.
“Doctor. Sanderstuff? Doctor Sanderstuff, I know. I know. I know what an ice breaker is.”
I swiveled my chair and did a 360. Two more tries and I was facing the group and looking at woman waving her hand. There was something strange about her. Her lips were moving while she was speaking, but there were no lines or creases on her face when she spoke. I remembered J telling me something about Botox. I had my entry. I said, “Very good. Who did your Botox? You should sue. BTW, ask your friend next to you who did her breast enhancement, excellent work. I consider myself an expert on the subject. Here’s the icebreaker. We’ll begin with the extremely short guy who looks like he should be an enforcer for kindergarten. Is the shape of your head due to an allergy or was your mother a cantaloupe. I have a great sense of humor. I hope you’re catching on. After your turn we’ll go to my right or your left. No, let’s go to my left and your right. Okay short stuff, introduce yourself, keep it short, to the group and tell the group your fantasy.”
“There’s no one to my left. I am not short. It’s politically insensitive,” said the short guy.
I said, “That’s it, get your anger out. It wasn’t my idea to make fun of your size. That guy there, he told me you liked to be called by politically incorrect, derogatory names.” I pointed to a guy whose belly rested on his thighs.
The height challenged guy bolted from his chair, ran by me and leaped on the fat guy knocking him out of his chair. The landed in a twisted ball of arms and legs on the Persian rug. I didn’t want to get involved. I might get hurt. I looked at Amber and took a deep breath, grateful for the marvels of medicine and trying to remember my commitment to J. I said to her, “Do something.”
She unbuttoned the rest of her silk shirt and leaned over and said, “Boys!”
They stopped grappling and stared at her, “Un huh?” they said in unison.
“Play nice,” she said.
“Okay,” they said.
The door opened. Venus appeared. She said, “Bravo, Dr. S. Great group session. Anyone in here give you any crap?”
I pointed at animated version of a Korean robot. I said, “He was assaulting the fat guy.”
From the tangled mess on the floor, “I am not fat. It’s all muscle.”
From the other voice on the floor, “I didn’t assault him. I was defending all height challenged people.”
I was emotionally exhausted. I checked my iWatch, group’s been in session fifteen minutes. I said, “It’s been an emotional roller coaster this morning. We’ll break a few minutes early. Groups over. Go back to prison and think about our session and your fantasy. Tomorrow we’ll continue.
Amber called out, “Dr. S, you are my fantasy.”
“Girl, that’s strike one,” said J.
She loves me. Why else would she warn her? My Venus can’t resist my charm.
TRUST FUND BABY CONTINUES ON MONDAY