Untitled Contest Entry

by Shmuel Ross

It seemed like just another day, that Tuesday, but deep down I hoped it would turn out to be different. My name's Arthur, and I'm a therapist. If you have a problem, be it with love or money, I'm ready to help. You'd better move fast though, because I've been losin' myself in debt, and might have to abandon my practice if business doesn't pick up soon.

There was a knock at the office door. I restrained the impulse to rush over and open it, and instead waited for my secretary to buzz in whoever it was. It turned out to be a young man who would have been rather handsome, if not for the downcast expression on his face. "What seems to be the problem?" I asked.

"It's my girlfriend," he said. "She just dumped me." He stared glumly out the window. "It seems like there's no more rhyme or reason in the universe anymore. How can this be?"

"Hmmm." I said, in my most professional manner.

"I mean, one day I meet this red hot girl right out of the blue, you know? And we just hit it off. I just knew we could be together forever. But I was wrong." He laughed bitterly.

"Hmmm." I said again. "What went wrong?"

"I don't know. She has these mood swings, you see, and she just freaked out. I wish I KNEW what went wrong."

"You had no problems at all until now?"

"We had our share of disagreements, but they weren't major. I really thought we'd be staying together for good! I was helplessly in love with her!"

"Did she feel the same way?"

"I thought so. But then I heard--"


"It's nothing, really."

"Come now, if you don't tell me the whole story, I can hardly help you."

He heaved a heavy sigh. "Very well. I heard these rumors. A little birdie told me that she liked to play the field. That when her family vacationed in England, she was on the streets of London with kisses for one and all. That in the still of the night, she was doing things that would shock your mama."

"Did you believe these rumors?"

"Of course not! But now... now, I wonder. Now I think about some of the things she said and did, and I'm beginning to read between the lines."

"Ah, yes. Did you get issue 7.12? It's a great one."

"Doctor, what on earth are you talking about?!"

"Oops. Never mind. So, what do you want to do now?"

"I was hoping you could suggest some way to win her back, if that's possible."

"Young man, anything is possible. But do you really want to try? If she's been fooling around..."

"Doctor, I don't care if she IS a fallen angel, she's still an angel, if only in my dreams. For better or worse, I know she should've been the one for me, and I want her! Now, I don't want any reverse psychology. Do you have it in your heart to help me, or am I gonna have to do this on my own?"

"That depends... do you have it in your wallet to pay my fees?" He nodded slowly. "In that case, it's good to see that you're willing to stand your ground. If you can get your friend to come by this time tomorrow, I'll see what I can do." He nodded again.

"Okay, doctor. I think I can manage that. Thanks." He walked out.

I leaned back in my chair. Financial solvency seemed just one step ahead. All I had to do was patch up some lover's quarrel, come up with a few creative expenses, and the electric bill was as good as paid. That left any number of other expenses... but I did have a few other clients. Which reminded me. "Sheila?" I said, leaning on the intercom button.

There was no answer. And, as my grandfather used to say, silence speaks a thousand words. Obviously, my secretary was taking a break. She's been somewhat unreliable since her husband died in a freak accident, having fallen off the Great Wall of China on a tourist excursion. All that was recognizable of him on the ground below was one hand, one heart. She came to me not long afterward. I keep trying to help her get over the Wall, but she still has trouble dealing with it. She's even joined a club devoted to preventing such tragedies in the future; their motto is "Tear Down These Walls!" It's sad, really.

About five minutes later, she came back in. "Where have you been?" I asked.

"Doctor, free me from this job already!" she snapped back at me.

"Calm down, Sheila. I've already told you that I'm not going to fire you until you're ready to face the world. And when I say no, that's just what I mean."

"I hate my life." she said. "I hate this job. I even hate this office. And I really hate these curtains you put in recently. What was wrong with the window shades of the past?"

"They were ugly, Sheila. They needed replacing. Now if only I could afford to patch up the roof, we could prevent against someone getting hurt next time another brick falls from it."

"Oh, who cares?"

"I do. Please try to stop with the negative energy, okay?"

"Oh, you want me to stop being a cranky middle-aged widow and turn into an electric youth, eh? It would take a miracle."

"This so-called miracle of yours isn't that far-fetched, you know... anyway, what's on my schedule for today?"

"Let's see. There's the drummer with the trembling wrists."

"Oh, yes. He's looking for help controlling his 'foolish beat,' and his physician referred him to me. Who else?"

"The insomniac baseball player's next."

"He always speaks in baseball terms, you know? Drives me batty. He actually told me he wants help to 'Lead them home my dreams,' rather than saying that he wants to get to sleep. Weird."

"Finally, there's the guy with the fetish for Groucho Marx glasses."

"Ah. He has a hunger for love in disguise. It happens."

"That's about it. May I be excused?"


During the remainder of the day, I dealt with the cases mentioned above, and a ridiculous paternity suit (I'd never even met the woman, and she's making claims that it must have been my boy. It'll never stand up in court.) I went home and went to sleep.

The next morning, I showered and went to work. (I'd like to report that I wake up to love, but my wife left me six months ago. She couldn't stand the hours I put in as a therapist. Women. Even my never-fail line, "Who loves ya baby?" failed to win her back.)

The next day, the guy's girlfriend came in. She opened the door, looked around the room, then smiled and sat down. "I think we're alone now," she said.

"Indeed," I replied. I decided to come straight to the point. "Your boyfriend says that he's lost in your eyes. That he can't shake your love. Why, weren't you once deeply in love with him yourself?"

"Could've been." she said.

"Tell me about it!" I said, while a glimmer of suspicion formed in my mind. "How did you meet?"

"I saw him standing there," she replied.

That clinched it. I could tell that this woman was not for him. I hated losing the money, but... "You're obviously not a fit companion for my client," I said, "so I guess you'd better go. Goodbye." She left.

It seemed like just another day, that Wednesday, but at least that innocent young man had been spared a relationship with a Tiffany fan.

Copyright 1995 by Shmuel Ross. All rights reserved.

("I Think We're Alone Now," "Could've Been" and "I Saw Him Standing There" are, of course, among Tiff's singles. (I actually LIKE Tiff, BTW.))

(All songs from the first four albums are here, along with 4 other DG songs thrown in free.)

Confused? Go to the highlighted titles version of this story!

Back to the writings page!