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Stranded Starfish by Tori Moore

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Stranded Starfish 1

Are you comfortable?

//No. I want to run out of here// Yes.

Would you like anything to drink?

//Just run.// No thanks.

Just so you know, I record all my sessions. (Indicating the tape recorder) I hope it won't be a problem.

//Well it is. So long// Guess I don't have much of a choice do I?


No. It's fine. //No it isn't. None of this is fine.//

(A brief silence)

So tell me little about yourself, Micheal.

//Here we go.// Um, well, I'm 17. I just moved here recently from Phoenix with my mom and brother, Sammy. My parents got divorced. Don't you already have this stuff written down in some file somewhere?

Yes, but I'd like to here it from you.

(Silence) //Say something//


So. (More silence) It wasn't my idea to come here.

To see me or to Santa Carla?


What do you think of it?

What? You?

Any of it.

Santa Carla? We've only been here about a week. It's different. It's... weird.

"What's that smell?" Sam asked.
"That's the ocean air." Lucy said happily.
"Smells like someone died." he stated.
~~End Flashback~~

And me?

//She's not too hideous.//Don't really have an opinion yet. Other than I don't want to be here.

I can tell.

Trust me, there are plenty of other things I'd rather be doing on my summer vacation then sitting in some shrink's office. It was my mother's idea, she's "concerned." //She should be. Shut up, who asked you.//

Should she be?

I don't think so. Honestly, I think this is a waste of time, but I guess that's what we're here to find out.

Why is she 'concerned'?

//Because she's nuts.// Well, because I'm not happy. I mean, that shouldn't be a surprise. They got divorced, we had to move, we're broke - of course I'm not happy - I'm pissed off. She just worries too much.

Tell me about your mom.

Oh man. Well, she's okay I guess.


Yeah. You won't come across a nicer person. She's nice to everyone. She's such a hippie. Or she was. She's still trying to hold onto it. Why do people do that? It happened, it's over. Get over it. //Get over it. Everything's different. Your family is different. Your parents split up. Different town, different state. Nothing will be the same. Get over it//

Why does it bother you?

It doesn't, not really. //Liar.// She's okay. (A brief silence) I think she tries too hard though. She's always trying to be my friend. I don't want her to be my friend, I want her to be my mother.

That's very honest.

//Oh really? Do I get a prize?// Yeah well, she does the same thing to Sammy, 'cept it's a little different, 'cause he's so much younger. She really babies him sometimes.

Does that bother you?

//I don't like you// No. //liar, liar//

Do you think she's wrong to?

No. //Pants on fire.// Well maybe.


Because he's 14, not 4. He can figure things out on his own. He never will if she's constantly holding his hand. //You tell her, big man. Shut up.//

So you feel like it's an insult to his intelligence then?

//Yes. Sometimes.// Maybe. I haven't really thought of it that way before.
But yeah, Sammy's smart. Much smarter then he let's on sometimes.

Michael, Sam, and Lucy are sitting at the breakfast table, talking. Sam is telling her about his phone conversation with their dad. "So Dad says that the company is doing really good." He sounds so happy for him.

Mike wishes Sam wasn't. He wishes their dad's company wasn't doing good, that it was going under, that his dad would get fired. He wishes there was a gas leak and that it would burn to the ground. He wishes Sam was mad at their dad like he was. He wishes Sam would shut up.

"Well he sounds happy." Lucy says. //She's trying// Mike thinks.

"He says that maybe we can come visit for Thanksgiving or Christmas or something." he says excitedly. Mike wants to puke. Lucy just nods.

"I wonder if Vanessa will be there?" Sam says suddenly. Mike drops his fork nosily to his plate, his mother drops her dish into the sink. They stare at Sam, unbelieving.

"What?" he asks. "You know about Vanessa?" Mike asks.

"Yeah." he answers in a tone of voice that says, 'like, duh Mike.'

"How?" Lucy asks.

"I'm a kid, I'm not stupid." he answers bluntly. Mike laughs.
~~End Flashback~~

What's funny?

//Huh, oh shit// I was just remembering something that my brother said a few days ago.

Does he make you laugh often?

Sammy? Yeah. He's always doing something. Most of the time I'm laughing at him. He really is a kid sometimes.

He sounds entertaining.

Well I'll tell him you said so. //Woah, down boy//

Tell me about him.

//No.// Sammy's.he's.okay.

He's ok like your mom or he's ok like.

Like I love him to death. I don't know what I'd do without him, what we'd do without him.

Why's that?

He's..great. He's my best friend. Oh man, if he heard me say that I'd never live it down. He'd stand there, staring at me with those big eyes that he get's, grinning like an idiot.

Would it really bother you?

Maybe not. I mean, he knows it already. He's smart, he knows. I just don't say it, I don't have too. That's what so great about Sammy, he understands sometimes. He just gets it.

And your mother doesn't?

Not the way he does. She thinks she does, but she doesn't really. I have to explain it to her, I have to actually say things.


Yeah, what's bothering me, why I did whatever I did. Apologizing. She makes me apologize, makes me say the words right out. Sammy doesn't. He just gives me this look when I've said something mean or did something that hurt his feelings, which you're always bound to do, he so sensitive sometimes. Anyway, he just gives me this look and sometimes I say I'm sorry, but others I just change the subject or I ask if he wants the last ice cream cone or something and he knows. And it's ok. Sure he asks questions, but he doesn't push for answers. It's just nice not to have to say it sometimes. (Pause) He forgives me. He always forgives me.

He looks up to you.

Oh yeah. Don't all little brothers?

How does that make you feel? Oh, you knew that question was coming.

(Laughs) Yeah. It makes me feel great. The way he looks at me sometimes with so much..admiration..and respect in his eyes. And love. He always looks to me. And yeah, that makes me feel great.

That scares people sometimes. To have someone depend on them so much - to look up to them so much. They feel like they have to be perfect.

Sam's different. He knows that I make mistakes, he doesn't think any less of me if I do. He's great like that.

Maybe you should bring him in here sometime.

//No.// Here?

Yes, have a joint session.

//Fuck no.// I don't know if he would. I'll run it by him. //Like hell I will//

Will you?

//You already know the answer to that// Yeah, sure. //Liar//

Looks like our time is up.

//Hallelujah// Guess so. //Thank God//

So, how does twice a week sound?

//Like a hell of a lot// Twice? Do I really need it?

We'll see. If not, we can cut it down, but for now that sounds like a good plan.

//To who?// I guess so.

So we'll schedule you in for Monday at the same time. Okay?


Have a good afternoon Michael.

Yeah, you too.


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