GK:....brought to you by your local SunBrite Drive-Through Counseling.
SS (SPEAKER): Yes, may I help you?
TR: I'm despondent, I can't sleep at night, and I am tortured by irrational anxieties that my eyeballs are falling out.
SS (SPEAKER): Okay. Do you want plain counselling or do you want drugs with that?
TR: Just counselling, thanks.
SS (SPEAKER): Counselling? Do you want the $1.79, the $2.59, or the $3.89?
TR: Uh. The $1.79.
SS (SPEAKER): Okay.
TR: No. Wait. The $2.59.
SS (SPEAKER): Very good. Would you like a small pamphlet with that or just the counseling?
TR: What kind of pamphlet?
SS (SPEAKER): We have one on despondency, one on sleeplessness, and one on eyeball loss.
TR: No thanks.
SS (SPEAKER): Just the counseling?
SS (SPEAKER): Okay. Your total is three dollars and eighteen cents. Please pull forward to Window No. 3. And thank you for coming to Drive-Through Counselling.
TR: Okay. (CAR PULL AHEAD SLOWLY, AND STOP. PAUSE. TR HEAVY BREATH, SIGH. PAUSE.)
TK (SPEAKER): You the guy with the despondency, the insomnia, and the fear of eyeball loss?
TK: Shape up, okay? Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Everybody's got problems, you're not the only one. Get a life. Okay? Get over it. Okay? Now get out of here.
TR: That's all.
TK: That's it.
TR: Could I have the $3.89 instead?
TR: You gave me the $2.59. I'd like the $3.89.
TK: You'll have to drive around and go through the line again.
TR: Okay. (CAR ROARS AWAY, CORNERS, ACCELERATES, BRAKES, AND CORNERS, ACCELERATES, BRAKES. STOP.)
SS (SPEAKER): Yeah?
TR: Despondency. Want the $3.89. No drugs. No pamphlets.
SS (SPEAKER): Okay. Go to window number 3. (CAR PULLS FORWARD. STOPS. PAUSE.)
TK (SPEAKER): You're depressed right now and that's a natural process, it's your body's way of creating a new agenda, so what you want to do is give yourself permission to be in a safe place and know that you're entitled to your feelings and to let go of them at your own speed. And take care of yourself.
TR: That's it?
TK: That's it. You want drugs?
TR: Okay. Give me some drugs.
TK: Here's a couple aspirin.
GK: Sunbrite Drive-Through Counselling.
© 1996 Garrison Keillor