I walk into my therapist's office and slump down into the blue velour armchair facing the desk. DreamWorks has insisted I go to therapy since the bread incident, and I can't refuse because, in a bizarre turn of events inexplicable even to myself, the corporation is technically my legal guardian. Dr. Moore is a child psychologist, but he still sees me because of some IQ red tape. Still-shrinkwrapped board games lie stacked in the bookshelf’s bottom corner, slinkies stand in neat cylinders across the desk, a crystal jar floods with Jolly Ranchers; Dr. Moore's like a passive pedophile, waiting for children to abduct themselves into his sterilized toy store. Secret passageway to the sex dungeon? Probably underneath the rug.
Dr. Moore types something into his MacBook. He hasn't acknowledged my presence yet; I don't think he likes me. His hair, like always, is Brylcreamed back; his Chevron mustache collects sweat—or are those tears? I hope they're tears. I want to suck those tears off that broom-head of an upper lip, swallow those dejected beads of seawater, let them insulate my insides and ameliorate my melancholy, drip down my organs, blanket them with a familiar loneliness, the succor that a broken-hearted tweenager takes in listening to Bright Eyes for four hours straight. I want a broken-hearted tweenager living inside my body at all times, siphoning out my loneliness and using it for her DeviantArt account.
Dr. Moore looks me up and down, elevator eyes. Did I say any of that out loud? He lowers his glasses, points to my stomach. "Are you sure a broken-hearted tweenager wasn't pre-installed?"
He's making a fat joke; not very nice. My face puffs like a doughboy, and my gut juts out like an ogre's, but it's only because DreamWorks recently put me on the Mountain Dew It Diet, a three-week Dew-cleanse designed to plumb out my toxins. "It can't fail," they’d said, "This stuff already looks and smells like Drano." The only solid food I'm allowed to eat is frozen Code Red. I don't enjoy it, but it's my job. Well, I think it's my job.
"Funny," I say to Dr. Moore, "Now can we get down to business?"
"Business business business… What business, Smash Mouth Guy? What could I possibly help you with? Got any attachment issues? Do you latch onto your mom's leg before she goes to the grocery store, shackling yourself to her shin, keeping her by your side? What about behavioral stuff? Have you bitten the winky of every other kid in your kindergarten class? Hell, I'd even sort out an Oedipal Complex if you wanted! But no, all you talk about is that damn bread incident. People threw bread at you on stage; you freaked out; they threw more bread. What's the big deal? You've obsessed over it for"—he glances at the Shrek-themed wall calendar—"over a year and a half. Same thing every time, and frankly, I'm getting bored." Dr. Moore removes his glasses, rubs his eyes. "Come back when you want to kill yourself."
"I want to kill myself," I tell Dr. Moore.
He raises his eyebrows, puts his glasses on, and leans back in his chair. "Me-likey," he mutters. "Are you serious about this?" he asks, "Why do you want to do it?"
"Because I make no impact on the world anymore—I used to be an all-star, but now I'm just a punchline for ironic millennials who still live with their parents. I have no purpose, no life. My donkey is dying, too. And so I've been thinking about self-snuff a lot lately…"
Dr. Moore motions for me to continue.
"But my depression is too heavy, too dense. I'm worried that the rope would snap under the weight of my own melancholy."
Dr. Moore looks at my stomach. "Or, y'know, the weight of your own… weight."
I stare at the floor, scuff the rug with the heel of my Sketchers. "That was mean," I say.
"I'm sorry, Fat Man." He picks up a pink stress ball and tosses it to me. "Squeeze this, it'll make you feel better—but it's not candy, so don't eat it!" His affected chuckle is hollow and vindictive. I squeeze the stress ball anyways; it does make me feel better. "Now let's address these icky feelings," he says, "You're not purposeless. You still play shows, record a song every now and again; didn't you perform at MLB's All-Star game this year?"
I sniffle; he doesn't understand my pain. "The All-Star banquet," I say, "It's just for the players. I perform at the banquet every year. DreamWorks makes me do it. It's horrible."
I pause, anxious to switch the subject. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred makes me sign a non-disclosure agreement every year, and besides, I'd rather not relive these memories. Still, Dr. Moore seems intrigued; he's never interested in my life, so I continue:
"It's this ritualistic thing," I say, "Or more like animalistic, if you ask me, but whatever. The 60 players—dressed in cheesy, ill-fitting tuxedos—gather in their hotel's concert hall the night before the All-Star game. It's like prom: streamers hang from the ceiling, cheap purple and pink lights illuminate the dance floor, a punchbowl sits in the corner, waiting to be spiked. I stand on the stage and sing "All Star" for two hours straight, backed only by a karaoke machine. It's always awkward for the first 30 minutes—the jockiest jocks of the world acting like wallflowers—but then someone starts dancing, and soon enough they're all grinding against each other, rubbing their bodies together like primates in heat. Last year I saw Justin Verlander make out with Daniel Murphy while sticking his fingers in Corey Kluber's mouth. The worst part is, whenever I sing the line, 'We could all use a little change,' they pelt coins at me."
I lift up my shirt and show Dr. Moore the nickel-sized welt on my abdomen. "Fernando Rodney did this to me in 2014."
Dr. Moore nods, checks his watch. "You've given me a lot to chew on, Smash Mouth Guy, but unfortunately our time is up. I think we're headed for some major breakthroughs, though."
"It's been like 10 minutes," I say.
He walks to the door and opens it. His smile is wide and fake. "I measure our sessions by quality, not quantity. Now please, you must leave. I'm a very busy man."
I stand up. "What do you do when you're not working?" I ask. "Masturbate to reruns of Law & Order: SUV?"
I was kidding, but my joke must have struck a nerve, because his smile collapses and his cheeks grow red. He pulls me by the collar, inches from his face. "Have you been spying on me?" he asks. He pushes me out of the office before I can respond. "Just go," he says, "I'll see you next Friday."