I write a lot – I write stories, novellas, novels. And occasionally, I write very short-short stories, sometimes called flash fiction and usually under 500 words – some of mine are even shorter than that. There’s not much you can do with a one page story, so I’m going to share some of them with you. The best part of these stories – at least for me – is that they always leave the reader hanging. There’s no resolution, no happy ever after, just a “what the hell?” at the end. I love that.
You, Too, Can Be a Psychiatrist
The ad is in Lisa’s email when she gets home from her lousy, minimum wage, maximum asshole job. She hasn’t thought of becoming a psychiatrist though she’s spent a whole lot of time over the past five years thinking about changing jobs.
And why not psychiatrist?
Being a waitress in a grubby hole in the wall truck stop is probably better training for analysis than any medical school could be. She knows everything about everyone. And she knows it immediately. None of her patients will have to spend years in therapy, unless, that is, they’re rich and willing to pay her $200 an hour fee.
Lisa smiles to herself. Wicked, she thinks. She answers the email and waits for the miracle.
She doesn’t have to wait long. She takes $572.50 out of her bank account, basically wiping out five years worth of savings, and within two weeks, she has the diploma and certificate – beautifully framed in fake walnut – in her mail.
It’s so easy. She begins by buying a cell phone dedicated to her new career with a carefully concocted message responding to all callers. Then she passes out the cards she has composed and printed on the high-end color printer at the mall. She passes them out to everyone she sees. She leaves them pinned to the bulletin boards in malls and grocery stores and laundromats.
And her phone rings. It rings constantly. It’s as if the universe has been waiting for her to take this step.
Within two weeks, she has earned enough to rent an office in a mid-range office building in a relatively nice part of town. Within three months, she has moved to a bigger, brighter and way more expensive office on the best street in the downtown core. She is busy from morning to night and soon has to dump her first clients – the ones to whom she gave the deep discount so she could get started.
Six months after she read the email, Lisa is in hog heaven. She’s making more money than she could ever have imagined and she’s helping people. Of course, now they’re mostly people with a whole lot of money but she thinks that people with too much money need just as much help as people with too little. She buys a small condo, then quickly trades up to a much bigger one.
The TV talk show is just icing on the cake