Mulholland Books Popcorn Fiction Popcorn Fiction - A Day at the Office by Charles Key Bohem
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ABOUT

A high school kid talks his way through his shrink's session in this short tale from author Charles Key Bohem.

A Day at the Office

"How've you been?"

"Great." I grinned.

Nodding on both ends.

"Well, great how?"

"Just great. I mean, no complaints. I played a lot of COD yesterday; I ranked up like two times."

"And COD is…? Remind me. My sons always talk about it."

"Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Three."

"Is that something you do a lot?"

"Yeah, I guess. Dude, you ever heard of a PKP Pecheneg?"

"No."

"It's this LMG. It's Russian, belt fed. It's like the best gun in the game. You put a red dot sight on it and it's like, super accurate-"

"What's an LMG?"

"Oh. It means Light Machine Gun. So it's like halfway between an assault rifle and a fifty cal but it's man-portable."

"And it's your favorite gun?"

"Yeah. The AUG sucks."

More silence.

"How's school?"

"School's good."

"Your friends?"

"Eh. I just got in a fight with Drake." I grinned incongruously against what one would guess to be an unfortunate situation.

"A serious fight?"

"Oh, no, not like punching or anything. But he never wants to hang out with me, so I called him on it."

"What gives you that impression?"

"I asked him if he wanted to go see Expendables Two last weekend and he completely blew me off."

"What'd he say?"

"Ah, something about his mom wanting him home because his aunt was in town."

"Well when was the last time you two saw each other?"

"The weekend before last."

"Do you think it's a possibility that he was actually busy with his aunt last weekend?" He was patronizingly Socratic.

"It doesn't matter, this is like the fourth time that's happened in the last three months."

"How often do you see him when that's not the case?"

"Like every weekend, that's why that pisses me off so much. It's like a tradition."

"Just because he can't hang out, I don't think that necessarily has to mean he doesn't want to."

"You ever driven a Lamborghini?"

"No." He went along.

"Dude, it's so smooth. The acceleration's insanely responsive though, like I almost crashed it the first time."

"When have you driven a Lamborghini?" Bemused, disinterested curiosity. I guess it's part of the job to keep your distance.

"I rented one yesterday. I saved up for a month. My dad signs for me." His grin remained omnipresent.

"That sounds like fun." A smile.

"Oh yeah. Dude, it's amazing. I did a Ferrari last month."

"And how does the Ferrari compare?"

"I don't know, I liked the Lambo better."

More nodding on the part of my interviewer, slightly more bobblehead than human.

"Well, let's try and stay focused on school for the time being. Can you do that?"

"Sure."

"How're you doing academically?"

"Better, I think. I got an A in English this semester."

"Oh good. And your concentration? Is it easier for you to focus?"

My fingertips began to thrum rapidly. "Yeah. I can sort of follow the lesson more."

"Alright." Well-masked self-satisfaction rose in and seemed to solidify him enough to return to small talk. "And did you say you had a girlfriend last time?"

"Oh, nah." I laughed.

"Is there anyone you like, then?"

"Well, yeah, actually, there's this girl, Rosen."

"How's that spelled?"

"R-o-s-e-n."

"Mhm." He paused "Have you talked to her?"

"I try to sometimes, but she's usually with her friends."

"Ah. Are you in any classes with her?" His manner took what would otherwise have been a rather strange edge off of his filler questions.

"Yeah, we're in the same history block."

"Mm. History's the class you got in trouble in, correct?"

"Ha. Yeah."

"Did she laugh at your jokes?"

"Nah, she would always tell me to shut up." I said.

"Oh. That sounds mean."

"Nah, not really. She's cool."

"Mm. And how's everything with your history teacher now?"

"We're better. Hey, have you seen the iPhone Five?"

"No, I haven't. Mica, try and stay on topic though."

"It's got an A-Six processor. The frame rates are like twice as good as the last one."

"Mica, we can talk about phones when we're done talking about your history class. Now tell me how it's going." He said calmly.

"I did. It's going fine."

"What does 'fine' mean?"

"I haven't done anything disruptive in about a week. Mr. Jacobsen and I are on pretty good terms now." I pulled out my phone in the ensuing conversational lapse and picked an app.

"What're you doing?"

"Oh, I'm checking my stocks. I bought like, twenty shares of Fiat a couple months ago. They only cost five bucks and look." I turned the screen, "Up point seventeen!"

I was met with a chuckle. "Nice."

"Yeah. You see this phone?"

"Mhm?"

"The last one I had got scratched, but I've got an insurance plan with Verizon; Verizon's way better that AT and T. I've never had a call drop. All the places by my house that used to go dead don't anymore. But with this insurance plan, they'll replace my phone if it breaks. So I just dropped it a couple times until the screen went black, went to the store, and told them it had fallen down the stairs, and I got this baby free!"

An allowing smile. "So you conned the wireless shop?"

I chuckled. "Yeah, I guess. I got the sixty gig, too. I have a hundred twenty two apps on here. My score on Veggie Samurai is like one thousand two hundred now."

"What's Veggie Samurai?"

"It's like Fruit Ninja, only it's way better. In Fruit Ninja you can only slice the fruit once, in Veggie Samurai you can cut stuff in half, then cut the halves into quarters."

"Ah." He checked his watch as a formality. "Alright Mica, you can go sit in the waiting room for a second, I want to get your mom in here and talk to her for a bit."

"Ok." I said, eyes back to the phone.

My mother sat in the lobby thumbing through a two month old copy of People. Tom Cruise grinned at me, face distorted by the bending cover.

"Mrs. Shaw, Mica's just going to wait out here for a bit, do you think you can come in and talk to me?" She looked up, squinted, then removed her glasses and followed hastily. The door shut behind them. I refreshed the Fiat stock quote (0.19 percent) one more time before leaning in to press my ear against the door.

"He says he's gotten better."

"Did you hear about his English class?"

"Mhm, that's great. These are signs of improvement."

"He had a C plus before. A pretty big improvement."

"Well, that shows us that this is working. He is still showing signs though. If we were to move it up to thirty this month, as long as he doesn't have any trouble sleeping - which hasn't seemed to be a problem for him - he might benefit from it."

"Alright." She replied distantly.

"Now, just to remind you, there are some things you should keep an eye out for any time you change the dosage-"

I leapt away from the door, rattled the keys in the bowl beside the exit around to give the impression of my departure, grabbing the one leading to the men's room to solidify the alibi, and slipped out the door into the hallway. I got to the payphone as fast as I could short of a run.

"Mica?" A voice crackled on the other end.

"Yeah."

"How'd it go?"

"Got them."

"How much?"

"Thirties."

"I fucking love you."

I smiled, not the facial cramp inducing grin of oblivion I'd been wearing the past fifty minutes for Dr. Sagan, but a real, externally induced, beautifully involuntary smile. "I love you too, Rosen."

About the Author

Charlie Bohem, 16, is a high school student, writer, and is interested in pharmaceutical chemistry and its application to making bank.