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Contemporary Fantasy Fiction

“I don’t what you’re talking about fella.”

The truth was not only did I know what he was talking about, but I did hear his thoughts.

“This guy is bullshitting me. His sister said he would deny it and I can see it in his eyes.”

I’ve never heard that one before. My eyes? Yeah, they may be the window to my soul, but I always thought they were blank. Someone in my family must have told this jerk off about my curse or what they call ‘my special ability’. I don’t know if they realize the noise volume or cacophony of sound I endure. That’s why I always wear my ear buds and have the music at high volume. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned certain tricks to block out all the thoughts coming at me.

This guy is persistent. He’s blocking the sidewalk and has a goofy smile on his face. He must own dogs because Lila, my Great Dane, can’t stop sniffing his legs. To make things worse, she won’t move so I can’t walk around him. He seems pretty harmless with his red Best Dad in the World sweatshirt and L.A. Dodgers blue cap. Is he a journalist, a writer or just a collector of curiosities? I am certainly a curiosity and have been one all my life. I could hear people’s thoughts before I could speak. It took me a few years before I realized that not everyone could. My parents caught on quickly when I would answer their thoughts before they could verbalize them. My sisters hated that I could win every board game because I could anticipate their moves. They could never play any tricks on me because I knew what they were thinking. I knew about all their crushes and dirty thoughts. No one could hide anything from me. I spent much of my teenage years blushing because of my sisters’ and friends’ thoughts. Of course, there were many advantages. I knew which girls were interested in me and how far I could go with them. I tried my best not to take advantage of this foreknowledge but I’m only human.

Okay, I’m going to ask this guy what he wants and continue to deny my secret skill.

“Alright buddy. What is it you think I can do?”

He answered with a smile: “I think you already know because you can read my thoughts.”

I laughed heartily. “If only it was true! Then I wouldn’t be asking that question.” Oh. It was Sheryl, my oldest sister who told him. He thinks his son has a similar talent and wants me to mentor him. His thoughts are crystal clear despite the B-52s blasting through my ear buds. Still, I’m not going to admit to anything. I’ve never wanted my talent to go public. It would cause a lot of embarrassment for friends and acquaintances. My success in Las Vegas would be jeopardized. Who would play poker with me ever again? Still, I was intrigued by the possibility of meeting someone with the same skill. Maybe I could find a compromise and meet the son without admitting to anything. I tried to deflect as best I could.

“Listen fella, I don’t know who’s been feeding you this garbage. Maybe you have the wrong guy, if such a guy exists. If you’ll excuse me, I have to take my dog for a walk.” I tried to drag Lila around him, but she would not move. I wished I could read dog’s thoughts. Maybe she was a co-conspirator.

The man had fuzzy red hair and was built like a linebacker. He was maybe forty. I am short, slight and thirty. So, when he put an iron grip on my shoulder, I felt trapped. Lila and this linebacker were major obstacles. Still, I had to try and wiggle out of this situation.

“Please take your hand off of me and let me pass.”

The guy’s whole demeanor changed, and he backed away. He was thinking he had gone too far and didn’t want to alienate me. I was his only chance to reach little Ronny. What could he say to obtain my help? He was desperate.

His face reddened and I could almost see tears forming in his eyes as he spoke.

“Okay, okay. My wife, Sandi, is your sister, Sheryl’s friend. When Sandi shared with her our son’s unique problem, she seemed to indicate that you had a similar problem and were relatively well adjusted. Maybe we read too much into her words. I know you are a child psychologist. So, his case might interest you. He was misdiagnosed as autistic at an early age. His actions have always been a bit bizarre, and he tries to tune out. He’s bright and can interact with his environment when he is motivated. I noticed that he was always one step ahead of me and could anticipate my slightest move. I swear he could have been a grand master in chess by age eight. A year ago, I caught him answering my thoughts before I could verbalize them. It happened several times before I confronted him and tested my suspicion. He knew I was on to him before I ever verbalized it. My wife had had her suspicions, but we thought it impossible. We don’t believe in superpowers or the supernatural. Although I do love those superhero movies.”

I found this story intriguing, but I had to move. Lila was finally pulling on her leash ready for her two-mile walk. So, I interrupted. “Sorry buddy, gotta move on. You can make appointment at my office.”

The guy pursed his lips and walked along side me. “Look, my name is Will Roberts. I am a local dentist, not a crank. I know how I must sound. Just hear me out.”

I nodded and said: “Suit yourself.” I was still intrigued. Will continued to walk with us. Lilla seemed pleased. Dogs are good judges of character, so I felt safe and actually turned off my ear buds. Will’s thoughts and desperation overwhelmed me. He continued to speak.

“At first, we thought Ronny’s gift was a good thing. It seemed to be sensitive to other kids’ fears and concerns. Lately, he’s become mean, using the same knowledge to tease and hurt them. He teases his sister mercilessly and embarrasses Sandi regularly. I don’t think he’s a mean kid but this ability to read thoughts has corrupted or overwhelmed him. If you can help us in any way, it would be appreciated.”

Will was sincere but he was still certain that I could read his thoughts. He looked at me closely to verify his suspicions. I tried to maintain an air of detachment or disconnect. Still, I couldn’t help myself, I was intrigued and interested. I had never met anyone with my abilities.

“Will, I can feel your frustration and anxiety. I’d be happy to see Ronny in my office. I don’t have one of my cards with me but as you know I’m John Schonheimer. Google me and make an appointment.”

Did I go too far? Of course, he must know my name if he knows my sister. Damn her! As I know, no one in my family has ever leaked my secrets before. Will seemed satisfied although he still thought I was hiding my abilities. He let me know in his thoughts. At the turn around point, we parted. On my way home, I was deciding how I would confront Sandi. I was also intrigued by the possibility of meeting Ronny.


It was Tuesday morning 9 a.m. I had just finished seeing my first patient and I knew Ronny Roberts was next. Over the last several weeks, I have practiced blocking my thoughts. It was a method I had developed several years ago in anticipation of meeting someone like me. I don’t know if it works but I’m going to find out soon. Therapy may be facilitated or undermined by this kid’s ability. I want to be prepared for any eventuality.

After my receptionist alerted me that the Roberts family had arrived, I took some deep breaths and went out to the waiting room to greet them. Will was dressed in a shirt and tie and his red hair was combed back. He looked more like a professional than he had during our first encounter. Sandi was a petit Brunette, dressed modestly in a black skirt and gray sweater. Ronny was a tall thin redhead who wore a sweatshirt and jeans. Predictably, he wore large headphones, and I could hear Hip Hop blaring from where I stood across the room. He was blocking out the cacophony.

Sandi and Will stood and greeted me warmly. They were anxious and thought I was their best chance at normalizing their son’s behavior. They hoped I could really read thoughts but decided to greet me simply with “Thanks for seeing Ronny. I hope you can help him.”

I assured them that I looked forward to working with Ronny. Although I tried to be inscrutable, I noticed Ronny looking up and studying me. Ironically, an old Gordon Lightfoot song was playing overhead in the waiting room. If you could my mind love, what a tale my thoughts could tell…. I smiled but no one else got the irony except Ronny. He raised his eyebrows and nodded. I was certain he read my mind. That was my first clue that this kid was the real deal. I extended my hand to him and motioned for him to remove his headphones. His thoughts screamed: “Make me, faggot!” but he smiled and complied. It was going to be a struggle. I needed control of the situation so I said: “I would never make you do anything.” I wanted to comment on his use of a pejorative, but his parents were confused enough. Will suspected my comment had something to do with my mind reading. Ronny sat back in his seat, widened his eyes and glared at me. Before I could block it out, he may have my heard my thoughts calling him a motherfucker. I hoped my blocking method worked otherwise I would lose him right from the get-go.

Ronny and I left his parents and entered my office. He took a seat on the green sofa opposite my easy chair. He was thinking that I was a wimpy looking guy. He mocked my wispy beard, slight frame but liked my round wire glasses. They were called John Lennon glasses, but Ronny wouldn’t know that. I startled him by asking what he liked about the glasses. For a moment, he considered that I had read his mind but dismissed the possibility immediately. My blocking technique must have been working.

 I started the session with some routine questions about school and his home life. It was interesting to discover the divergence between his thoughts and his answers. It was typical. As the session wore on, I relaxed and let my guard down. Ronny immediately became aware that I was reading his thoughts and panicked. He stood and said: “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I had to move quickly to reassure him, so I motioned for him to sit and said: “I know it’s hard to deal with all the noise coming at you. I’ve dealt with it all my life. Our gift is unique and can be used to do a lot of good, but you need to control it. If you don’t, you’ll hurt a lot of people and it will destroy you. I can help you make your superpower a gift and not a curse. Do you like superhero comics and movies? Yes, I know you do. You can choose to be a hero or a villain. I can help you use your powers for good.”

Ronny was thinking about it. To my horror, he wasn’t sure which role he wanted. He heard my thoughts and laughed. Did I really want to be this kid’s mentor and therapist?

September 23, 2023 22:52

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1 comment

Mary Bendickson
19:39 Sep 26, 2023

Wild scenario!🙃😵‍💫


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