Mauve had schooled her share of psych interns. As the longest live-in resident of Elmwood Sanatorium, she was a favorite subject for rounds and more intensive interview sessions. It was a symbiotic relationship. For her ‘performance’ Mauve got an extra 3 hours of tv access and the program of her choice. For their part, the staff gained valuable insight into an intern’s potential. Mauve had a way of weeding out those who weren’t cut out for a specialty in psychology.
She plopped herself at the table, with a gleam in her eye, and studied her next…victim. He shuffled several cards without looking up.
“Hmmm, a hard nut to crack,” she thought, “but I like nuts. After all I am the queen of nuts!” Mauve chuckled. “Humph…those bloody ink blots again. There are exactly ten of them. I know them well.”
And know them she did. She could spin a delirious show for each; one that left most interns disturbed at best. Ultimately they would fail their evaluation, only to be rotated out of the psych ward to the general surgery wing or some other safe corner of the hospital. Yes, Mauve was an expert in ink blots. “This is going to be fun,” she sniggled under her breath.
“Hello Miss Martens. My name is Dr. Stevens. Shall we begin?”
“If we must,” Mauve sighed, leaning back in her chair.
“Alright then,” Dr Stevens announced, as he flipped the first card face up on the table in front of her. “Tell me how you feel about this image, Miss Martens. Tell me what you see.”
“First of all, call me Mauve. I detest being called Miss,” Mauve hissed as she leaned forward to eye the ink blot. “Which one will it be…the bat or the dancing bears?” she wondered.
As she studied the image Mauve grew agitated. Something was wrong! Terribly wrong! She had never seen this ink blot before. Mauve pushed away from the table abruptly.
“Is something wrong, Miss Mar…Mauve?” Dr. Stevens inquired.
“Who gave you permission to call me that? You don’t know me!” Mauve shrilled.
“I’m sorry, Miss. But back to the cards, please. Tell me. What do you…”
“You stop right there! Is this some kind of joke? What do YOU think this fucking card means? Hmmm?” Mauve pounded the table with her fist, lurching toward the doctor, eyes bulging, face flushed red. “Go on tell me if you’re so smart. There are rules Doctor, and you are breaking them! How dare you come in here with your fancy white coat and bother me with your stupid cards!”
Dr. Stevens tapped the card he’d laid on the table and cleared his throat. “The card, Mauve…Miss Martens…What. Do. You. See?”
It was too much! She had nothing. It was a trick. She was sure of it. She started to rock maniacally, humming to herself, eyes squeezed shut as she clutched the arms of the chair.
The room was spinning growing darker, darker. “Did someone say my name?” Mauve’s thoughts spun. “No one ever calls me Miss…”
Suddenly, she collected herself, sat upright in the chair, and tilted her head to the side as she leered at Stevens. “Well, well, aren’t you a looker. What do you say we forget this silly game and get down to what you really came here for. I know what men like you like…” she slurred in a guttural tone, licking her lips.
She cackled, “Ha! That little bitch? Why waste your time on her, Doc, especially when you have me…”
“And you are?”
“Trixie, Doc. The boys call me Trixie.”
A short story for Mind Love Misery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt based on the photo above.