Inkblot Interpretation

I kept trying to glance at the Doc's clipboard, but he had it at such an angle that made a sneak peek impossible. All that writing had made me nervous. Was that a good thing, or a bad thing?

After he set the clipboard down, he slid a small stack of cards out of a folder. "You've heard of the inkblot test, yes?" I nodded emphatically. "Good. Now, I'm going to show you a card, and you tell me what you see in the inkblot. Understand?" I nodded again.

The first card he slid before me was a rather wide, sweeping smudge. I tilted my head a few times, as if appreciating fine art. "It almost looks like... a pair of angels doing some kind of Scananavian dance," I mused, trailing off. "Oh! With the head of Anubis!" I looked up at the doctor. As much as he tried to hide it, I could tell he was completely and utterly shocked. He finished scribbling, keeping half a stunned eye on me.

"How about this?" he asked, flipping over the next one. This one was less opaque than the first one.

"Ooh, there's a lot going on in here." I thoughtfully rubbed my jawline a moment. "It's almost like one of those prints, where there's more than one scene overlapping... in the white, there are two frogs down there at the very bottom, a arrow-headed bird in the center, and two cats tilting their heads to the side, looking up." I turned my head in a similar manner to demonstrate. "Then in the black," I continued, pointing, "there are what look like two poodle-headed dachshunds climbing a rocky hill." I glanced at the Doc again. "Am I going too fast for you?"

"No! No, you're fine."

I was finding this quite fun. I almost lashed my hand out to flip over the next one, I was so eager. But I figured that would be rude, so I just sat on my hands instead.

"Those," I began without much hesitation, "are definitely two dancers."


"But they're indecisive, you see."

"How so?"

"They're wearing both tap shoes, or maybe character shoes, and tutus. And they're carrying a senser, and there's arcade machines and elephants in the background."

"I see..." I noticed that the more cards we did, the more furiously Doc Escobar scribbled. And it wasn't any more ledgible than before.

"And the next one?" he asked, flipping the card.

I furrowed my brow. Nothing was coming to me at the moment. I tilted my head, but ultimately decided just to turn the card upside-down. "Ah! That's better. Now it's a candlestick, with a small antenna coming out of where you'd put the candle... or maybe it's solar panels, I'm not sure. And there're gargoyles flanking it."

The doctor paused his feverish scrawling. "But why did you turn it upside-down?"

"I couldn't see anything, but I still wanted to give you some kind of answer."

He pondered the answer a moment, shrugged, and handed me the next print.

I grinned, probably rather childishly. I spread my arms in an airplane fashion, tilted in my chair, and answered, "It's a butterfly kite!"

"Not just a butterfly, or not just a kite?"

"Of course not!" I cried, almost indignantly. "There're holes in the wings, a butterfly wouldn't have holes in its wings!"

"But kites don't have holes either."

"They don't, but sometimes they have clear plastic over bits of it. Besides, butterflies don't have all those frillies on the wings." My arms returned, folded, to the tabletop. I was done being an airplane for the moment.

"Let's see about this one." I studied the next one for a few moments. "Ah! It's a snowflake! But wait! There's a tower, with a rather stubby antenna, for one of the points, and the center's an upside-down face..." I tilted my head so I could see this face a bit better. "It doesn't look particularly friendly."

He'd barely flipped over the following one when I clapped my hands in a mild epiphany. "More dancers! Except these ones are half-walking like Egyptians, and they each have a humungous hiking boot on one foot." I bit my lip, thinking. "Is is unusual to see this many dancers in these ink blots?" I asked the doc. He only shrugged his shoulders, not giving me any indication of the affirmative or the negative.

"Now this one," I said, cocking my head, "this one could go two different ways: it could be the brain scan of someone with extremely large ears, or a trophy of some kind." My interpretation went without comments beyond frantic pen-paper contact. I couldn't help but flip over the next card myself. "Ah! Cowboys. This one is most definitely cowboys."

"Most definitely?"

"Indubitibly. Can't you see the hat, the dowcast eyes, the neck of a guitar, a fence of some kind down the middle?" I asked, pointing to each detail in turn. No real response; only a nod and more scribbling. If it was at all possible, the doc was writing more frantically than before. I was a bit afraid that the pen tip would ignite the paper or something.

"One more," he announced. I looked at it, tilted my head until I was afraid my neck would turn to rubber, spun the card around a few times. This one was a bit of a stumper, I couldn't see much of anything. But I still wanted to give him an answer.

"Y'know what I see?"

"What do you see?"

"I see, upside-down, a Y, an M, and a C, and somewhere in there is an upside-right A. The rest is just splotchy. Isn't that odd?"

Doc Escobar didn't answer right away. He just kept looking from his clipboard, to the cards, to me, then back to the clipboard in astonishment. Finally his eyes came to rest somewhere between the three, his eyes ablaze with some kind of frenzied glee. Between the frantic scribbling, the cold questions, and those eyes, I had to throw my arms around myself to keep from shuddering.

"Doc? Are - are you alright?"

He jerked, but he kept his eyes fixed to the same unseen point. He nodded as a thin, satisfied smile crept across his lips. To be perfectly honest, I almost want to say there was something twisted in that smile.


The End

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