If the Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat was ever going to disclose his secret, he wasn’t going to do it now. Both he and the Therapist Emeritus had other ideas.
The Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat told her about his visit to Kenilworth’s ancient burial ground and some of his interaction with one of the town’s forefathers. Having ghosts accosting him was the kind of thing he had to deal with all the time, just the thing he was trying to stop. He blamed her for it. If you want to get rid of ghosts, you have to go looking for them, she said. Well, it didn’t work. What else did she have? There had to be another way.
The Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat was careful in his account of the interaction with the Reverend Abraham Pierson to avoid any mention of a secret sin he possessed. He thoroughly avoided the solution to his problem that the good preacher suggested. All he needed to shake off the ghosts who wouldn’t leave him alone would be to do what the ghost suggested; but that was too simple, I guess. Too simple and too hard.
For her part, the Therapist Emeritus didn’t pick up on the fact that the Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat failed to tell her what the ghost said. This should have been an obvious omission. She was a better therapist emeritus than that. She could have been having an off day. She may have been blinded by the limits of her imagination.
The Therapist Emeritus knew who the Reverend Abraham Pierson was; a Kenilworth elementary school was named after him, as was a curvy, suburban street. There was a statue of him on the green. No proud resident of the town would ever fail to claim that Yale University held its first classes within its borders and the Reverend Pierson was the first instructor. Yes, the Therapist Emeritus knew who the Reverend Abraham Pierson was, she just couldn’t believe the Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat spoke to him. You see, the Therapist Emeritus didn’t believe in ghosts and, if you don’t believe in ghosts, then it doesn’t matter what they say.
So, what did the Therapist Emeritus do? What method of getting rid of ghosts did she recommend? Did she prescribe medication? No, she didn’t have a license to prescribe medication. Did she teach her client the difference between a projection and an introjection, repression and depression, fixation and sublimation? Did she deliver a well-timed psychodynamic interpretation? Not this time, she didn’t. Did she use all the skills she’d learned in workshops she had attended on NLP, CBT, EFT, DBT, ACT, or EMDR? Did she Rational Emotive his ass? No, she did the best thing a therapist emeritus can do in the circumstance, an intervention so well crafted, so exquisitely honed over years of experience that it should be patented, bottled, and sold; monetized in the open market.
She suggested he ask someone out on a date.
He needed a distraction, she said. Have fun, get to know someone, maybe get laid. No, the Therapist Emeritus did not tell the Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat to get laid, but she might as well have. He was a man, after all; and, for a man, getting laid is the answer to everything.
“Who would go out with me?” said the Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat.
“You never know until you ask.”
The Weather Beaten Man in a Cowboy Hat looked around the cafe and went right up to the Lisping Barista.
She said yes.