The woman who thought she was a mannequin

Elsa wouldn't sit on the chaise-longue, which made the newly fitted restraining straps rather useless in Dr. Fraud's opinion.  Instead she stood statuesquely in the middle of his office, her head carefully tilted to the left to present her profile and one leg slightly in front of the other.  She had, he felt, a rather admirable profile, one that reminded him of the matron at his boarding school in Danzig (as it was then).  That aroused feelings in him that he would have to talk to his own therapist about.

"Elsa," he said slowly, drawing the word out.  "I have a report from the police here.  They say that they found you wearing clothes you hadn't paid for and standing in the display window of Selfridges."

"Yes, Dr. Fraud," said Elsa without moving her lips.  Dr. Fraud watched her white, slim throat in fascination and could barely see any movement there either.  "I am a mannequin.  It is my job to display clothes that people might wish to buy.  I was part of the window dressing."

"The window dresser at the shop disagrees," said Dr. Fraud.  "He seems to be a rather hysterical young man, but he is quite clear that you were never employed by the shop.  Although he feels that you did add a certain je ne sais quoi to his display.  He asked if you had a brother."

"No, Dr. Fraud."

"Ah."

Dr. Fraud lifted one of the balls on the Newton's Cradle and let it fall, listening to the relaxing tick as they swung back and forth, proving that the laws of physics were still working within the walls of the office.

"Elsa, I think you might have PTSD.  Can you think of a time before you were a mannequin?"

"I was an air hostess," said Elsa.  She turned her head to the right and made a little moue with her mouth that set butterflies fluttering in Dr. Fraud's stomach.  "Then the aeroplane crashed and I became a mannequin.  It's a much safer job."

"Right.  Elsa, we have a new treatment for PTSD I want you to try."  Dr. Fraud unlocked a drawer of his desk, took out a small strongbox and unlocked that, and from that took out a small vial containing twelve pills.  Next to in the strongbox was a second vial with only two pills left in it.

"This is MDMA, with which to treat your PTSD," he said.  "As I understand the treatment, we'll need to simulate the plane crash again as well, but if that's the only way I can get a refill, that's what'll have to happen."

"I don't understand, Dr. Fraud."

"That's quite alright, Elsa.  This is psychoanalysis.  Just trust me.  I am a doctor, after all."

Dr. Fraud stood up to take the pills to Elsa just as the Liberty Bell egg timer on his desk gonged once and exploded, embedding tiny pieces of iron shrapnel in the chair where he'd just been sitting.  Elsa squeaked and instantly adopted the crash position, her arms encompassing Dr. Fraud and pulling him in towards her.

"Oh, my,..."

The End

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