One more appointment for the day, then I could go sink a few drinks and release my stresses. It had been a day fuelled by strong coffee, due to an unfortunate plague of dreams in which giant crows were scratching at my eyes the night before. I had awoken in terror sweats, and was just beginning to think the insomnia that preceded it was preferable. Both were borne, no doubt, from too many party drugs, too many dangerous affairs, too many loopholes I’d slipped through lately. Perhaps I should see a doctor.
“Yes, yes, come in, take a seat.” I waved the patient into the room without looking up from my keyboard. Only when I sensed reluctance did I register an imp of a man standing in the doorway, clutching a bowler hat and an umbrella. “Sir? Please take a seat.”
He shuffled forward, and came to perch on the very edge of the well worn chair beside my desk.
“Now, I don’t seem to have any referral notes, Mr -?”
“Mr Muninn. So perhaps you could tell me a little bit about why you’re here?”
He fumbled with the rim of the bowler for a while, and I began to worry I’d never get out of the place.
“I’m having some issues with the ego I share a body with,” he ventured.
“I’m not sure I follow…”
“Right. Of course you don’t. I mean, of course, my flat mate. I’m having some issues with my flat mate.”
I looked him in the eye to let him know he had my full attention, and that seemed to open the floodgates.
“The main issue is that he doesn’t understand potential energy. To be more specific, he doesn’t understand the potency of fantasy. He has this strange compulsion to mistake fantasies for desires, and he attempts to actually carry out every little whim that comes to mind.”
“And that’s causing you a problem?”
“Yes it is! He genuinely believes that everything that enters our head is an instruction for what he must do! And he does it with very little censoring I might add, very little adjustment for what the real world has to offer. He is making us misaligned and weak!”
I rubbed my temples. Why did I always get the difficult cases so late in the day? “Tell me more about this potential energy.”
Mr Munnin rolled his eyes as though I were asking the obvious, and what was to follow was merely to humour me.
“The energy raised from fantasy and potential in the mind is a wondrous thing. It makes us strong, and if honed it can quite literally transport us to new worlds. We can fly or become invisible or swim in the utmost depths of the sea! But by converting that potential energy into kinetic energy – doing energy – he’s giving it all away for the sake of affecting other things. He’s leaking energy all over the place!”
He had by now become quite animated: he’d set his umbrella down on the floor and was gesticulating close to my face. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with him.
“So you feel you want your flat mate to stop living out his fantasies because it’s draining your energy resources, is that correct?” I noted down in my illegible scrawl magical thinking.
“Let me put it a different way, doctor. We can’t escape the fact that external conditions are outside of our control. Social systems are long established and powerful. Factors exist in the real world that just don’t in fantasy. And yet he fails to take them into account! Nothing works out how he expects, and every single time we are both left high and dry.”
“Does your flat mate know how you feel about this?”
“I’ve tried telling him in the conventional way. That is to say, I’ve left him symbols in dreams.”
I raised an eyebrow, and he caught it.
“Well, how would you say it? I’ve been leaving sticky notes around the flat? Yes I suppose that’s it. But the thing is we speak very different languages. He sees an agitated raven and he doesn’t think ‘woah my flatmate’s really vexed about something I’d better listen up’ he thinks ‘this is inconvenient, why can’t I have that dream about Candy again?’ And then he’ll start up a whole new Candy fantasy and go round to her place to live it out even though she is married and it will all end terribly.”
I felt the blood draining away from my face, my jaw dropping. My phone buzzed in my pocket – Candy calling, I was late.
“So now, now I’m having to try unconventional methods of getting the message through before we haven’t even enough energy retained to go on living.”
I saw him fidgeting with the hat once more, and that was the last thing I remember before the nausea rushed over me, my eyes rolled shut involuntarily, and my head hit the desk.