Nocturnal Admissions

This was a spur-of-the-moment creation for Esoterotica based, like most things of mine, on the title’s pun. Sorry if the punchline is too New Orleans-centric for people not from there to get.

Nocturnal Admissions
by Zach Bartlett

You’d probably expect some arm of law enforcement to come down on you if you set up a little practice calling yourself a psychologist when you don’t have a license or a degree, but I guess in New Orleans the law figures they have bigger problems than that. I wouldn’t be surprised — lots of people here have problems. And a lot of those lie in the field of psychology, or at least my hobbyist’s understanding of psychology.

I think the biggest factor in both the success of my practice and my lack of legal attention is that I’m the only psychologist I’ve ever heard of who works third shift. This helps accommodate clients in the service industry, and that career field leaves you with oh my god but the worst issues to sort through. Which I do for a reasonable price.

My odd hours also net me some clients who don’t even want to be seen going to a normal psychologist, often due to the sexual nature of their troubles.

I could immediately tell this one guy I had in last week wasn’t of my usual waitstaff demographic. He even bothered wearing a tie pin on his first visit, as though he needed to impress me for some reason. I’d definitely get him back in for that issue at a later date, but on his first visit he was concerned about stress management and its effect on his libido.

I asked about his career. He was a producer working in Hollywood South, and currently had his hands full with a film project where Adam Sandler plays a waaacky white Mardi Gras Indian. I didn’t need any more information on that field, so I moved on to other traditionally distressing areas.

“So how’s your sex life,” I said.

One of his hands tensed around the other in his lap.

“Do you mean with my wife, or my secretary?”

Ah.

“I think I’m starting to identify a significant stressor in your life. Let’s start with the wife.”

“Well, things haven’t been going so well there.” I could only nod. He continued: “We’ve been trying to have a kid, without results, for about six months now. We’re going at it practically every night, and it’s kind of. . . like we’re just doing it as part of our nightly routine along with brushing our teeth. We’ve also been having arguments about where we should move once our current lease is up. I’m adamant about wanting to get a penthouse in the CBD so I can be closer to the office, she wants to move to the Marigny because it’s sooo quaint. She also got this file-your-own-noise-complaint kit as a white elephant gift last Christmas that she’s really been wanting to try out.”

“And this constant tension and repetition has resulted in a loss of sexual passion for both of you.”

“I suppose that’s the cause for her. I think Marcus is the reason I’m not so passionate about her sexually.”

“I’m sorry; Marcus?”

He nodded. “My secretary.”

“And you think the fundamental reason for your lack of interest in your wife lies in him, not in you?”

“If by ‘reason’ you mean my-”

I cut him off, and asked him to keep it PG-13.

“Sorry. If you mean what it is that attracts me to him, well,” he blushed slightly and his gaze lowered, “he calls me Boss when we’re going at it.”

“And I assume your wife does not?”

“I’ve asked her a few times, but she’s not in to it.”

“So it’s the power fantasy that arouses you, regardless of the gender you’re subjugating.”

“I don’t think it’s a power fantasy; I actually am his boss.”

“But it’s having that feeling of authority over him that you’re getting off on.”

“Usually it’s the small of his back that I ge-”

“PEE GEE THIRTEEN,” I interjected.

“Sorry.” He fidgeted with his hands for a moment then leaned forwards and whispered, even though we were alone in my office: “Do you think I’m not able to get my wife pregnant because I’m gay?”

I wasn’t prepared to explain what was wrong with his question on short notice without cursing, and placed my pen over my lips to make it look like I was just thinking instead of silencing myself.

Based on how the conversation leading up to that had gone, it seemed that any reasonable discussion of his issues was going to just bounce right off of him like his wife after four or five minutes. We were nearing the end of our 30-minute session, and my next scheduled client was a lady with a Chelsea haircut, so I was interested in concluding things. I began to tally up his situation as it had been explained to me.

“So, you’re upper-middle class despite lacking ability in any sort of productive field, you have an unhappy marriage to a woman you aren’t attracted to, are sexually repressed, can’t decide where to purchase your next house, and get off on feelings of power.”

“That sounds about right,” he said.

“I’m afraid for this session I can only really advise you on one of your issues, though all of your other issues have helped contribute to my advice on that one.”

His eyes brightened as though he were expecting me to tell him about a pill that cures infidelity. But what I said to him was: “You should be purchasing a house Uptown. You’ll fit right in.”

Help Fund Stories for Chip!

There’s an IndieGoGo project to fund a tribute anthology for Samuel R. Delany: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stories-for-chip-a-tribute-to-samuel-r-delany

Should you donate to it? Of course I’d urge you to. Many others in the field of both academia and genre fiction can make much stronger, more impassioned cases than I can — several do in the video linked above. I can only argue for it in the only way I can do anything: wicked facetiously. So if the sheer wonder on display in Nova and the brilliant insights in About Writing aren’t reason enough to donate, here’s a small list of additional reasons:

  • Samuel R. Delany is Italian for “Samuel R. the lany.”
  • It is impossible to read Samuel R. Delany’s prose without your internal narrator assuming a mid-Atlantic accent. Even if you know Delany does not speak with a mid-Atlantic accent.
  • If you’ve been a good humanities major during the previous year, on Christmas Eve, Samuel R. Delany will fill your car’s gas tank halfway.
  • Samuel R. Delany’s beard and Alan Moore’s beard have never been photographed in the same room together.
  • If you stare at a photo of Samuel R. Delany on any book jacket for long enough, it will eventually wink at you.
  • Samuel R. Delany carries his young in a pouch on his belly until they’re strong enough to write their own literary essays.
  • Samuel R. Delany has been pissing off the Hugo Award’s Sad Puppies most likely since before you were born.
  • During his years as a professor at UMass Amherst, not one single fraternity member on campus was overheard bragging about their sexual conquests as they knew they were outclassed. Even today, those who do so look over their shoulders beforehand out of superstition.

Announcing my Candidacy

The recent millage vote here in New Orleans has gotten me all fired up for political advocacy, and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be running for mayor. I’m announcing it now to give me an ample head-start on the competition and give me time to research when the next election actually is. If you’re tired of insider politics, elect the ultimate outsider: a carpetbagger!
Here’s a small list of my policies:

1) Any employee in a customer-facing position in the city of New Orleans will be permitted to voice a single instance of “bitch please” or equivalent phrase to a customer per week without repercussions.

2) Locally-owned businesses will be permitted to charge a “tourist fee” of up to 5% on all transactions conducted with customers who are wearing beads outside of carnival season.

3) Po-boys which do not contain seafood must be referred to as grinders.

4) Flooding problems in certain areas of Uptown will not be remedied, but homes with children within five blocks of affected areas will be provided with inflatable water wings courtesy of the city.

5) It will be unlawful for film crews to prevent any member of the public from entering a filming location within city limits, or bar them from accessing the craft services table.

6) Alcoholic beverages are permitted in Orleans Parish District Court, and mandatory if one is directly involved in a trial. This is not so much a change of existing law as it is a codification of current practices.

7) All instances of the word “maximum” in recent noise ordinances affecting the French Quarter and Marigny neighborhoods are to be replaced with “minimum.”

8) Do what ‘cha wanna shall be the whole of the Law.*

*Gonna need an artist who can draw a cross between a fleur-de-lis and a unicursal hexagram as my campaign logo. Must be willing to work for exposure.

Rhode Island is top tier!

A recent study published on PLOS ONE has determined the most racist areas of the United States based on the frequency with which locals have searched for the N-bomb on Google. Just look at Little Rhody burning bright in the upper-right corner of Figure 1!

journal.pone.0122963.g001

Ten bucks says the researchers accidentally included the contents of H.P. Lovecraft’s collected letters in there with the search statistics.