Listening In

Unfortunately I don’t recall any more of our conversation that evening. I suppose the LSD must have really kicked in at that point.

Even more unfortunately, however, I did have an audio recording of the whole thing.

As I sat down to listen to it the next morning, my hands were a little jittery (withdrawal) and my stomach was a jumble of knots (abject fear). What had I said? Had I destroyed all of my good work in one drug-addled parley? There was only one way to find out.

I pressed play on my tape recorder.

Me: Are you saying you’ve lost faith in my ability to help you?

Connor: No, Doc, not at all!

M: Are you saying that you wish to be treated by someone else here at the Institute?

C: That’s not really wha-

M (yelling): Have you even taken a single moment to consider how such a request might hurt my feelings?

C: Calm down, Doc! I -

M (still yelling): Have you considered the panda’s feelings?

*Lengthy pause*

C: The panda, sir?

M (calmer but clearly annoyed): You heard me.

C: Yes, I guess I did.

M: Well?

C: Ah, I guess not, sir. I… suppose I forgot to include the panda in my deliberations.

M: Big mistake. They can be very violent, you know.

*Lengthy pause*

C: Do you think we should ask the panda for his… her… his? His opinion on the matter?

*Lengthy counter-pause*

M: Are you suggesting that you have greater trust in the panda’s medical opinion than you do mine?

C: Doc -

M: Do you know where that beast got his degree?

C: He has a -

M (yelling again): Some community college in Bucktooth Nowhere!

C: That’s… actually kind of impressive. You know, considering he’s a panda and all.

M (quietly): You are trying my patience, Mister Connor. Steely. Mister Connor Steely.

C: I’m sorry, Doc, truly I am. I guess I’m just feeling out of sorts because I feel like I’ve only gotten worse since I came here.

M: And you think that’s my fault?

C: For crying out loud, no I -

M: Do you think that I’m making you nuttier on purpose?

I’ll be honest - I thought that I was going to have a heart attack when I heard that.

C: Why would I think that?

M: Why does the unicorn think she can sit in my chair whenever she pleases?

C: The…?

M: The world is full of mysteries, young man. It is my calling to try to understand but a few of them.

C: I can appreciate that.

M: Precisely.

C: … right.

M: Left!

*Short pause*

C: I’m feeling really tired, Doc. That must be what’s going on here. So if there’s nothing else, I’d love to get some sleep.

M: Of course. Just… one final thing. I’ve had a report from one of the staff that a snake has been spotted in the building.

C: A real snake, sir? Or just an imaginary one?

M: Why would anyone file a report on a made-up creature?

C: No reason, Doc. Go on.

M: Indeed.

*Lengthy pause*

C: Doc?

M: Hmm?

C: You were saying? About the snake?

M: Inform security immediately if you happen to see it. Apparently it’s one of those nasty poisonous ones.

C: Oh… oh, I see.

M (panicked): What, in here? Where is it?

C: No! What I meant to say was that I understood what you were saying.

M: Why didn’t you say so then? Give a poor doctor a stroke, why don’t you? Say, you’re not afraid of snakes too, are you?

C (barely audible): Deathly.

Oh well, at least one useful bit of information came out of that disastrous chat.

The End

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