General Fiction posted December 25, 2017

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Sometimes the doctor needs more help


by Stacia Ann

And how are you today, Mr. Gibb?

Actually, not so well, doctor. You can call me Tim, by the way.

Of course. And I wish you would call me Sophia. I like to think we are friends after so many years together. Confiding in each other.

Yes, well. Thank you. Sophia. There is this thing with my family I'd like to discuss...

Would you like to lie down, Tim?

Excuse me?

On the sofa. People get more relaxed that way.

No, thank you. I'm fine sitting.

You can tell me about your dreams better if you are lying down.

My dreams?

Dreams offer a lot of insight into a person's problems. Mine always do. I had a dream recently about my sister, for example. How she won a beauty contest, and I came in second place. And I realized from that my parents always treated me second to her. Because of her beauty. Not that she actually is more beautiful than I.

Yes, well. That's interesting, Doctor--Sophia. But I rarely dream.

That's too bad. Are you sure? They can really tell you a lot about how you are feeling.

But I already KNOW how I'm feeling. Really bad. See, as it happens, it's actually about my sister and brother-in-law, her new husband, that is. And--

I've always had tensions with my sister and her husband, too. Not the older sister who I dreamed won the beauty contest, I mean. We usually get along fine. But my younger sister and her husband have always been jealous of me.

I see. Well, Doctor, Sophia, it's not so much jealousy I'm dealing with. Or maybe so? I think you may have meant "envy" with your sister. With my sister, it's more about her husband's jealousy of her--his possessiveness, that is. See, she's the only family I have left, and--

Possessiveness is such an interesting theme in family dynamics, isn't it?

Well, I don't know about that. But with my family, see, it's a problem. See, an example. It's the holidays. And we held a little Christmas party at our house, my wife and I. And her husband wouldn't even let Julie, my sister, come. And I know she wanted to, and it's not like they were doing anything else. They stayed home. And it's so painful because Julie and I are the last of each other's birth family, and have always been close, and--

I hate Christmas. A lot of people do. Because of situations you describe.

But I don't hate Christmas even though it's not really my holiday--it's my wife's. I hate the way my sister's husband treats her.

You say Christmas is not your holiday? Well, doesn't that mean you hate it?

No. It means it's literally not my holiday. I'm Jewish.

Oh. Why didn't I know that?

You tell me. I raise the issue nearly every session as my faith is important to me.

I guess then I should have known it. Well, could it be Jill didn't attend your Christmas party because she's Jewish?

Who's Jill?

Your sister.

No, my sister's name is Julie, another thing you should know because I talk about her a lot, too. She's actually Christian now as she converted when she married. I'm pretty sure her husband made her. Or gave her some ultimatum, that he wouldn't marry her if she didn't.

So sad. My sister's husband is pretty controlling too.

Is this the beauty queen sister or the jealous sister?

The jealous sister. Oh, my heavens.


I just thought of something.


It's like the Cinderella tale, isn't it?

What is?

Cinderella had two sisters. And jealousy and envy are such a huge theme in that story.

Ah. Yeah. Interesting. But a lot of women have two sisters. And I'm pretty sure they're not all like Cinderella.

No, don't you see in Jungian terms, in which we cast ourselves in subconscious and universal roles, it's perfect. I am Cinderella fighting for freedom from the jealous and competitive sisters. It explains so much. Thank you so much for this insight.

Yeah, whatever. I'm not sure I did it. You seem to have thought it up all on your own.

No, I couldn't have done it without your help, without you as a sounding board. This is going to make all the difference in my life, this knowledge.

Well, that's nice and all. But one question.

Yes, of course. I'll tell you anything now.

No, please don't. I just want to suggest that maybe it's not really you who's Cinderella in this little story? That it's one of the other sisters--the beauty queen, for example? And you're really one of the ugly and jealous sisters?

What? How dare you--

Oh, sorry. I'm just trying to offer insight, as a sounding board and all.

How dare you suggest I am ugly and jealous when I am so clearly not? How dare you, how could you, attack my insecurities like that? I would never do that to you.

Do you even know what my insecurities are?

I--I--now you are going after my professional competence--

Doctor, would you like to lie down?


Dialogue Only Prompt writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story using only dialogue. No narration, descriptions, or sentence tags. Maximum word count: 1,000

Talk therapy seemed a natural for this contest.
Thank you jesuel for the lovely artwork.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by jesuel at

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