This was originally performed for Esoterotica’s sci-fi themed show.
So many of my Nocturnal Admissions pieces end up referencing fellow performers since it’s set here. For those of you outside of New Orleans, Paul Oswell is both hilarious and British. You can regularly find him hosting Night Church at Sydney’s Saloon on Thursdays and Local Uproar at the AllWays Lounge on Saturdays.
Nocturnal Admissions: Doctor Who’s Your Daddy
by Zach Bartlett
At times I’m required to serve as an illegal third-shift relationship counselor in addition to my general illegal third-shift psychology practice. That’s not the weirdest thing you’ll hear about at my future arraignment hearing. The weirdest part was the British chick.
Her name was Bethany, since I don’t think I’m held to any kind of doctor-client confidentiality laws. I could tell she was going to be an amusing case from the first call I got from her to schedule an appointment.
“Can you make it in tomorrow at 11?” I’d asked.
“Eleven PM, tomorrow evening.”
“No, what actual date?”
“March Tenth. Tuesday.”
“Alright, yes, I can get away from him for then.” Then she hung up.
I had the number of some local womens’ shelters handy in case her last line was actually some kind of hint. Fortunately, she arrived at 11:01 looking fairly well-put-together, no suitcase under her arm or anything.
“Sorry I’m a bit late,” she said, “I literally just got into town.”
“You actually have a better sense of timing than a lot of locals I know.”
“I’d certainly think I would at this point.”
I didn’t know anything about her then– and I guess I still don’t — so I just smiled in response to the quip. We took seats in my office.
“So, we didn’t get to this on the phone the other night, but: what brings you here?”
“Well, I’m having trouble with a certain man.”
“That’s not an uncommon source of trouble. What’s his name?”
She pursed her lips in thought for a moment.
“That’s. . . part of the problem. I feel like I don’t really know him anymore.”
“He’s changed since you first met him?”
She nodded enthusiastically. “Several times.”
“Let’s start from there, then: what was he like when you two met?”
She sighed and leaned back in her chair. “It’ll sound so trite to say he saved me, but there’s no other way to describe it really.”
“Saved you from?”
She pursed her lips again. “Some. . . damaging forces in my life.”
“You don’t have to hide anything from me. I’m not casting any judgment and it’ll probably help me help you if I know what’s actually going on.”
She clasped her hands together before her mouth and thought for a moment. “Have you ever felt almost like everybody you know had just suddenly become robots, and that you were in danger of. . . losing your own mind to the same robots?”
“Oh, absolutely. It’s not uncommon at a certain stage in your life to feel alienated by your peers.”
“Robots, not aliens,” she said.
“We can use whatever metaphor you like. But this guy came in to your life and you were just blew you away with how different he was from those other ‘robots’ you knew.”
She laughed. “I’d have been blown away if he hadn’t shown up in the nick of time. And he was just so. . . so out of this world. The first night, I told him he could take me however he wanted. He pulled me into a phone booth and we played Seven Eons in Heaven.”
“Must’ve been pretty cramped spending that long in there.”
“You’d be surprised how roomy it can be in one of those,” she said.
“So it started off with amazing sex, but how was he as a person?”
“He was sort of somber and brooding at first. Severe haircut, black leather jacket and jeans, that sort of type.”
“Pretty bitchin’ car, too, I bet?”
“You have no idea. Anyways, after spending a few days together that felt like months he just up and vanished. I didn’t see him again until two months later, and he was. . . he was still the same man inside, but in an outwardly different way. He was irreverent, worldly, sharply-dressed in a fitted suit-”
“Wait. If this is Paul Oswell you’re dating, there’s some things you should probably know about him.”
“Different British guy. Anyways, he came back and Goddamn did he ever make me come back to him. He took me to the moon! Not even a metaphor; get a strong enough telescope and you can probably see our kneeprints in the Sea of Tranquility. But afterwards, as we were napping back in the booth. . . he called me Rose.”
“So there was another woman on the side.”
“He apparently has women in all sorts of directions with the way he travels. He tried apologizing, said he’d just gotten back from ancient Rome, visiting the Caligulasseum where everybody was cool with that kind of thing. Then he told me that in the Centauri Nebula they’ve realized everybody’s part of a multidimensional superconsciousness so polyamory is just kind of like masturbating with both hands to them. But I’d heard that exact line from Oswell before, and it didn’t work then.”
“But you’re still hung up on this guy?” I said.
“I turned him away, but a few months later he showed up again. Same guy at heart, but. . . less sure of himself, more distant. I’d wondered if these personality changes he was having were because of me.”
“You don’t have to feel responsible for other people’s emotions.”
“Well, I was responsible for the screaming-in-to-a-pillow orgasm I gave him during the makeup sex.”
“So you two are involved again at the moment?”
“Pfftyeah, the guy let me peg him! But ultimately I think it was a mistake, and I don’t really know how to back out of things again.”
“You think doing so would send him into another kind of multiple personality thing?”
“Yeah. You’re a doctor, you must’ve dealt with people like that before.”
“I’m not actually a doctor.”
“Hey, neither is he!”
“Anyways, um, does he have a means of. . . tracking you down if you try to escape from him?”
“Yes,” she said, “he knows when I live.”
“You mean where.”
“Look, it might be time to reunite with those ‘robots’ that you distanced yourself from for this guy. Re-establish a support network, and your friends will have your back when you kick this guy to the curb.”
“He did reverse their mindswipe algorithm as we escaped, so they should all be back in their original bodies.”
I let her use my phone to call one of her old friends, to make sure she had a place to stay. They answered and, after some apologizing, they agreed to let her spend a few days there and she left in better spirits than she’d arrived. Shortly afterward, there was another knock at my door.
It was an Englishman with a crew cut, wearing a black leather jacket and black t-shirt.
“My apologies,” he said, “I know this is short notice, but I’m kind of torn between two incredible women at the moment and could use a second opinion.”
I knew then exactly who I was dealing with. After all, you can’t travel through time without encountering a pair of doxies.