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AUTHOR'S NOTE - Since Dr. Freudine thinks she's running the show, continually having referred to herself as "I" or "Me," I will have to tolerate this fantasy of hers for the sake of clarity. After all, we can't have two "I"s (not to be confused with "eyes"), now can we?
Jankp knocks lightly on the door, waits for a response, then strides into Dr. Freudine's dimly-lit office. She frowns at once, wrinkling her Brooke Shields' eyebrows. "I thought I gave this place a window! Where is my mind these days?"
I widen my eyes. "Excuse me?"
"Oh, hi, there you are, sitting and writing. I'm the architect of the building. People these parts call me Jankp." She offers a hand with a bright smile that I, Dr. Freudine, couldn't possibly read. If she is a nutcase, it will take some cracking before it's obvious. The wisest course would be to go along with anything she says.
"Hello, Jankp. Can I be of assistance to you or did you just want to see my office?" I murmur.
The tall, slender woman laughs. "I thought I could be of assistance to you, Doc. I brought this book to show you that you will want to use in your therapy." She pulls out from her gym bag The Diet Cure by Julia Ross, smelling conspicuously of sweat, but I say nothing. "I know you read her second book, The Mood Cure, so I knew you would be interested in it."
"How do you know that?"
Jankp pauses, considering her answer. "I know 29th_Candidate. So do you want to hear about it?"
She plops onto the couch almost soundlessly and opens the book, already assuming my answer. I sit back in my chair, wondering if 29th sent her and if she really is an architect. I'll call him as soon as she leaves. This commentary on the book hopefully isn't too pompous and irritating!
"Well, first of all," she begins, "it should be noted that Ross, the author, doesn't recommend low-calorie diets. She points out in Chapter 2 that the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) regards 2500 calories as the minimum amount of calories an adolescent or adult woman needs and 2800 for men. Nutrient-rich calories, by the way. Not junk food. And the World Health Organization (WHO) is on record saying that starvation begins under 2100 calories a day and they should know."
I clear my throat and she eyes me. "Don't let me interrupt. Go on."
"On a sidenote, I never before considered that one could become addicted to the high starvation causes. Anyway, Ross writes this to dispel eight myths most people in this country have and they are the real reasons for overeating, weight gain and mood swings. I'll go through some of them to give you an idea. Like we think we're emotionally upset, but it's really depleted brain chemistry."
"Sounds like a rehash of The Mood Cure," I interject.
"In some ways it is. Another myth is of gluttony, but it's really a case of too much dieting. And we think we're overstressed when we've actually had a blood sugar crash. Or we feel lazy when it's an undiagnosed low thyroid. I like the last one a lot. If we can't resist fats, it's because we're not eating the right fats. Low-fat diets can be as harmful as low-cal ones because we need some essential fats and monounsaturated fats for proper functioning."
"Has this book changed the way you think or eat?" I am compelled to inquire. She certainly doesn't look like she has a weight problem or eating disorder.
"Not really. I'm experimenting with sardines, but I'm a vegan still. I question the validity of eating by your blood-type that she stresses, although I can affirm that people with AB blood have stronger immune systems than most. I really read it for you to use in therapy with diabetics, anorectics, bulimics and the thousands of tired, stressed-out women...and men...who keep dieting and gaining. The book then explains how you can eat to prevent blood sugar crashes, food allergies and cravings all the time. It goes into what the thyroid and adrenals are and symptoms of sluggish thyroid and adrenals, how to do an armpit test and how a doctor will diagnose you...Ross gives fast, natural solutions through change of diet and supplements."
"You seem impressed with The Diet Cure."
"For the most part, yeah, but she also annoys me with her constant assumption that vegetarians and especially vegans just eat simple carbs and junk food. I've been a vegetarian or vegan for over twenty years and I haven't ever eaten irresponsibly. I was ignorant, it's true, at first, but that changed when my looks started to suffer."
"I also was concerned that she advises a high-animal protein diet, but she includes tofu in many of her nonillustrated recipes and acknowledges it as a complete protein good for you. Since she's trying to help people who have dieted away their muscle tissue, I realize how important lots of protein is for them and that it can reduce cravings."
I nod at that. "I'll take a look at it. I don't know much about eating disorders and it sounds helpful. She has a successful practice using these supplements and, um, changing peoples' diets?"
"Uh huh. "Based on Ten Years Of Proven Clinical Results" as it says on the front."
"Well, thanks, Jankp."
"You're welcome! Here's the book." She slides it across the desk. "I need to get out of here. Your new clients will be arriving shortly."
I am shocked into silence. Whatever could she mean?
"This book will come in handy with them, no doubt, but, of course, you'll be the judge of that." She seems to be laughing at me or is it just my imagination that her eyes twinkled for a moment before darting away? I watch her ease out of the couch and grope for the doorknob. "Nice meetin' ya, Doc!"
"Uh, you, too."
"Bye!" She swings open the door, flooding the office with unnatural light. "Oh, here they come now." I hardly have time to blink. Two smiling women greet the outgoing Jankp, then turn their attention to me. The long-haired one with a quiet, almost dreamy, smile closes the door. I stand to take their hands, which they offer with only a "hello."
"I'm soooo relieved that Jankp has told you about us," gushes the one with multi-dyed hair done like a pageboy. "It could be uncomfortable just coming out with it. Hey, you reading that? Any good?"
I hear warning bells in my head and lick my lips. "You're new clients?"
The gushy one bursts out laughing.
"No," the other one scolds me. "We're sex surrogates that will work with you in your therapy with 29th_Candidate."
"And possibly DavidMac. Didn't she tell you?"
I gawk at the women as if they'd become aliens and with one quick move am out from behind my desk and yanking the door open. I peer down the hallway both ways. "Jankp! Come back here!"
But the squirrelly "architect" had disappeared.
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