Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The L.A.O.S. Part 2

 Catch up on Part 1!

Rolling her eyes, Megan pushed the door open and walked into the room. I hung back, not quite sure what I was expecting. A fanfare, maybe. Rabid applause. Maybe rotten fruit. But when nothing especially unusual was forthcoming, I stuck my head warily around the corner and peered into the room.

Four kids, two pretty normal looking and two looking like the King and Queen of the Geeks – glasses, ties, the pale, washed-out, pasty skin of people who spent too much time indoors, you know, the works – perched variously on chairs and desks, deep in conversation.

I stepped into the doorway, and they all completely ignored me. I forced my fists to unclench, shoving aside memories of my Chris-fit days, and cleared my throat. Nada. I cleared it again, louder this time.

The normal-looking guy lounging on one of the desks turned and nearly lost his eyebrows as they shot upwards. “What the hell?” he said, turning to Megan. (The other normal-looking kid. Not that anything about Megan is normal. It’s not normal to be super smart and wicked hot, is it? I mean, it’s just not fair on the rest of the gene pool. Never tell Megan I said that. Ever.)

“Easy there, mate,” I said, grinning my trademark bad-boy grin and raising my hands. “We’ll find your eyebrows again, don’t stress.”

“Greg.” Megan shot him a warning glare, which he kindly returned. She turned to me. “Guys, this is Chris. I told you he was one of us. Chris, this is Matt, Pip and Greg.”

The geeky guy and girl, who now I looked past the apparel were clearly related, nodded in a nonchalant sort of way. Greg, on the other hand, looked like he might fall off the desk. “What the hell, Megan?” he said. “You invited Chris? Are you insane? The guy’s fifty kinds of dick just on Mondays!”

“Thanks,” I said, shoving my hands into my pockets. “Nice to know my reputation precedes me.”

Megan rolled her eyes. “Seriously, can we put the testosterone away for like five second please? Greg, you should have heard the circles he ran Mr Hang-me in just now in maths. It was awesome.”

I totally didn’t glow at that. Totally.

Greg eyed me suspiciously. “He could’ve memorised it, or something.”

I raised an eyebrow, but Megan came gallantly to my rescue, shaking her head. “Nuh uh, he knew what he was talking about. He’s the real deal, Greg.”

Okay, I confess: I grinned. “Real deal, huh, Greg. She ever called you that?” I bounced on my toes.

Greg made to scramble off the desk, settling for killing me with his scary, scary eyes when Megan laid a restraining hand on his arm. I snickered.

“Oh, go wank yourself,” Greg muttered, and turned away.

I figured that was as good an invitation as I was going to get, so I strode into the room and pulled up a chair, flipping it around so I could lean on the back. “So,” I said. “What’s the deal?”

“Nothing,” Greg muttered again, but this time I had the distinct impression the angst wasn’t directed at me.

Sure enough, Megan shot him a filthy look before turning to me. “Officially or unofficially?”

I shrugged. “Whatever. Both.” I wouldn’t have admitted it for fifty bucks, but my heart began to pound. I was about to learn their big secret, and despite the fact that they were geeks to the max and the secret was probably about how they planned to finish extra credit homework before three pm, I was curious. And I hadn’t been curious about anything in a long time.

Megan’s lips twitched. “Officially,” she said carefully, “Greg is right. Nothing. Yet,” she stressed, shooting Greg another Look.

“And unofficially?” My palms itched and I rubbed them against my thighs.

Matt shifted in his chair. “Unofficially, we’re investigating the real-world effects of extreme scientific theory with the aim of utilising these theories to create an environment more conducive to justice, equity, and compassion.”

“We’re saving the world through science,” Pip added, smiling. She actually managed to be kind of pretty when she smiled – it was the contagious kind of smile that had me smiling back before I even realised what she’d said.

I shook my head. “Hang on, wait. What?” Again with the Confused Brethren act. Would I ever feel in control of a situation again?

“Justice, equity and compassion, dimwit,” Greg said helpfully. “Surely even your old band of miscreant friends have heard of the concepts?”

“Piss off, numbskull,” I countered, drawing on my superior wit and intelligence. Greg’s like that; he brings out the best in everyone.

Megan made a grumbling, growling sort of noise and tossed her hair. “This is going to be impossible if you two can’t get over yourselves.”

“Hey, you invited him,” Greg said, holding his hands up in defence.

“And it’s not my fault Greg’s insecure about having another male around,” I added, lifting an eyebrow. “Um, no offence,” I said quickly, nodding at Matt, who just shrugged.

“Oh, would you shut up,” Megan said, voice full of exasperation. “Do you want an explanation or not?”

I hesitated for just a second, then swallowed the bickering and nodded. “Yes.”

[To be continued next month!]

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Kitten Psychologist Tries to be Patient Through Email



(Just jumping in now? Read the previous installment, The Kitten Psychologist vs the Kitten's Owners, or start at the beginning with The Kitten Psychologist.)

Dear kitten,

I would absolutely love to speak with you, but your humans, as you say, have decided I can’t ever see you. You’ll have to deal with the tumblr thing on your own.
 

Sincerely,
Your psychologist



Dear psychologist human,
 

There is no reason to be rude with me. As you see perfectly well, we can talk through email. Your payment will be minimal to none as a result, but I still need your help, so you are still my psychologist.
 

My current dilemma has less to do with tumblr and more to do with the conversation you had with my humans. I overheard you, you know. What is this nonsense about cats not being moral? We are most certainly moral. Explain this to me.
 

I also seem to be having difficulties accessing my humans’ bank account. Do you have any solutions to that?
 

Sincerely,
You know who



Dear kitten,

That’s… not really how being a psychologist works. It’s a job. I need to get paid.


And, while I disagree with your owners on principle, your last paragraph sort of proves their point.


Sincerely,
Your psychologist



Dear psychologist human,

Thank you for Skyping with me. Finally. I hope you now understand the unfeasibility of my obtaining employment (not to mention a bank account of my own) in order to pay you. This really isn’t a moral matter so much as a pragmatic one.
 

I am a kitten. And I live in a world where kittens cannot get jobs. I, therefore, cannot get paid. You will have to help me, regardless.
 

Meanwhile, I’ve noticed my humans are more attentive to me of late. Not in the way I like. They have been keeping me from doing as I please in regards to electronics and leaving the house. 

Speaking to them about the matter has changed nothing.
 

How do I convince them that I am perfectly capable and trustworthy enough to be left on my own?
 

Sincerely,
You know who



Dear kitten,

If you’re actually going to take any advice I give, you’re going to pay me. Or work something else out. Otherwise, you’re telling me that you’re not trustworthy and that working for you isn’t working for you. It’s you using me.


Which, while I’m being perfectly honest with you, is what you’ve been doing with your owners.


Sincerely,
Your psychologist


Dammit. Maybe I shouldn’t have worded that so strongly, but I’d sent it before I could stop myself. I’d been emailing my friends, too. They wanted to know how to deal with their kitten, and I’d agreed to give them free sessions in exchange for keeping the money the kitten had paid me from their bank account.

It was one of those things you know is a bad idea, but you’re too worried about what might happen if you don’t that you say yes to it anyways.

Those sessions were… hard. They’re my friends, but I had to be their psychologist instead and, let me tell you, telling your friends to solve their own problems doesn’t ever go over very well. Especially when they’re dead set against it. All they wanted to do was figure out what to do to get the kitten to do what they wanted. All I wanted was to get them out of my office before I yelled at them.
I freak out over my finances too much. If I hadn’t, I never would have been in this situation. Now, if I could just get a time machine and go tell my past self that, that would be great.

Oh. A new email. Great.

Dear psychologist human,
 

And how, exactly, do you propose I “work something else out”?
 

Sincerely,
You know who


I could always turn off my computer and pretend I hadn’t read that. Or that my email had glitched and I’d never received the message.

Except that I’m doing that thing where I’m trying to get out of this darn mess.

Dear kitten,
 

Talk to your owners about it. And don’t let them tell you you’re not able to do anything. The moment you’re feeling helpless or powerless or incapable is the moment you’ve started going in the wrong direction.

Sincerely,
Your psychologist



Dear psychologist human,

I am never helpless, powerless, or incapable. I am a feline. But I will speak to them, since you obviously didn’t know what you meant in the first place.
 

Sincerely,
You know who


I’m never going to get over getting emails from a kitten that’s basically telling me it’s Voldemort. It’s certainly mean enough to be him. I wrote an angry reply which I deleted right afterwards as I sat back in my chair and sighed.

Seven or so more deleted angry replies later, another email arrived in my inbox. Two emails, actually.

Dear psychologist human,
 

You have a devious mind. I like you.
 

Sincerely,
You know who


And then, from my friends:

You’re not going to believe what our kitten just did. Can we have our next session earlier in the week?

I’m not sure what to feel about this.



I’m really not sure what to feel about this.

To my friends:

I’m open on Wednesday between 3pm and 5pm. Does that work for you?

It’s amazing what you can do on autopilot.

From my friends:

Yes, 3pm. This can’t wait.

Uh oh. What did the kitten go and do now?

And how am I going to get out of this with my skin intact?