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Monday, April 30

Chatting with the Ghost of Dr. Freud

"Chatting with the Ghost of Dr. Freud"
Short fiction - Paranormal
By Gayla Chaney

I appreciate you seeing me on such short notice, Doc. This couch is soft, and your photograph looks nice taped to the ceiling like that. I can’t remember what we’re supposed to do. Delve into my subconscious? Scour the bottom of my dark, hidden heart? Play word association games? Call me attention-span deficit, but I’m easily bored. My Id craves stimuli. I lose focus if I stare at something too long. Hey, that cigar you’re holding…is it a real cigar or a symbol from some future dream I’m going to have?

By way of introduction, consider me a Woody Guthrie song in the flesh. I reject hobo, bum, or transient, though I will confess to having migratory tendencies. But I am not lazy. It’s just that settling down seems dangerously close to rigor mortis in my book. Versatility is my strongest virtue. So, I’m a dishwasher, farmhand, cabdriver, and part-time landscaper who sometimes heads south in winter to drill for oil on offshore rigs. I can lay pipeline or cable, concrete or brick, and when necessary, I sleep in my truck. Mimicry makes all things possible.

My relationship with my mother? Oh, Doc, she gave me my nomadic soul. My name is not recorded in any family bible handed down from generation to generation. I think of myself as the product of selective breeding, a hybrid deposited like a cowbird’s egg in a robin’s nest. Wanderlust is my inheritance.

Routine affects me like an itch that I can't reach. But I'll be alright. I’m neither criminal nor insane. I just can’t remain in one place too long. A tank of gas and some cash in my wallet, that’s all I need. In motion, I come to life.

Maybe I am just redefining rugged individualism for the twenty-first century, carving out my own version of the American Dream. It’s not the Horatio Alger version, but it’s the only version I can stomach. Family and community? Chains and shackles. A picket fence or barbed wire? Any distinction is lost on me.

So, I live in this new, fluid frontier because I need diversity, plain and simple. My actions got nothing to do with repressed desires or symbolic dreams. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, right? By rejecting the tethers of kinship in favor of a loner’s lifestyle, I am simply expressing my individuality. Thank God I live in a country where it’s perfectly legal to do so. Tomayto, tomahto, and to each his own, I guess.

What do you think of my analysis, Doc? It works for me, mostly. Except for running into your ghost from time to time, in town after town, I’d probably never question why I dream of empty boots.

Gayla Chaney's work has appeared in Potomac Review, Paper Street, Natural Bridge, Thema, Carve, and online at Silverthought, Bewildering Stories, and Amarillo Bay. She lives and writes in central Texas.

2 reactions:

Kelly Parra said...

Great voice of the character, Gayla! And thanks for sharing with FM. :)

Gayla Chaney said...

Thanks, Kelly, for including my work. - Gayla