No, this isn’t about the band Placebo – although, true story, their lead singer Brian Molko received a doctorate from Goldsmiths the same year as I got my MA. Sadly, I wasn’t at his graduation.
Anyway, new Friday story below. If you wanna vote for Hobson & Choi on Jukepop today, you can now sign in with Facebook instead of needing to actually register there.
On with the story. More available on the FridayFlash website if you so desire.
“Doctor, how’s it going? Good, cool, me too.”
“Yeah, it’s a bit awkward, I know. It’s like, we barely know each other, and I’m meant to tell you all my deepest secrets. Don’t you have a couch I can lie down on or anything?”
“Bet you get that all the time, huh?”
“Hah, yeah. Why did I seek therapy? I guess… Well, it’s hard to know where to start, isn’t it?”
“Okay, so, a few years ago, I was reading a paper on the placebo effect, you know the one? You give someone sick a fake pill, tell them it’s medicine, and their condition often improves?”
“I mean, I’m not sure it would work with cancer and AIDS or whatever, but you know, the common cold, broken legs, depression, I could see that.”
“Shit, you’d better not give me any placebos. I mean, I’ll be expecting it now anyway, so it won’t work.”
“Right, anyway. Not too long after that, my wife died. My daughter was three, and she was really torn up about it. I mean, truth be told, I was almost hoping she wouldn’t know what was happening, but unfortunately she was up with it and she totally fell apart. Crying, breaking stuff, refusing to come near me. I blame television.”
“So I started writing her these letters from her Mum. Beyond the grave type shit, told her it was our secret that she’d gotten in touch and she wasn’t to tell anyone and… weirdly, she’s been fine, not told anyone either.”
“Yeah, I have found I really enjoy writing the letters too. Maybe it’s been a bit like therapy, eh doc? I’d better not tell anyone or you’ll be out of a job.”
“So anyway. She’s five now, going to school soon, I’m terrified she’s going to mention her letters from the dead to some other kid and the whole placebo’s going to wear the fuck off. Don’t suppose you have any suggestions?”
“Well, other than that one.”
“Yeah. You know, I was going to try and end the whole thing in character, or whatever, hope she’s able to deal with her Mum disappearing better now she’s a bit older. So I started writing the goodbye letter and I just can’t get through it, it’s just…”
“Urgh. I can never tell whether I’m saying goodbye to my wife again or my little girl, but turns out, it’s pretty shit either way. Who knew, right?”
“Don’t suppose you have any idea what I can say, do ya? Any pointers? If you’ve got a pre-written example around, that’d be pretty handy too.”
“Do it myself? Christ. What the hell am I paying you for?”
Sulci CollectiveMarch 8, 2013 at 11:16 am
it's true, how to break out of a self-imposed coping delusion? Does the whole edifice come tumbling down…
nickMarch 8, 2013 at 11:52 am
COMING NEXT WEEK: Our hero returns to the therapist in the midst of a total breakdown.
(Not really. That'd just be miserable.)
ganymederMarch 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm
Ha! Brilliant. Love the voice.
jackkholtMarch 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm
Interesting approach, great concept. Brought to mind a recent Black Mirror episode regarding communicating with the dead (but not really). Anyway, great stuff, Nick!
nickMarch 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm
Glad you liked it, guys. Good point about that Black Mirror episode, though happily I didn't have enough space to get to the woman talking back.