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Chapter 13

Good morning, Rob, says Sigfrid, and I stop in the door of the room, suddenly and subliminally worried.

Whats the matter?

Theres nothing the matter, Rob. Come in.

Youve changed things around, I say accusingly.

Thats right, Robbie. Do you like the way the room looks?

I study it. The throw pillows are gone from the floor. The nonobjective paintings are off the wall. Now hes got a series of holopictures of space scenes, and mountains and seas. The funniest thing of all is Sigfrid himself: he is speaking to me out of a dummy thats sitting back in a corner of the room, holding a pencil in its hands, looking up at me from behind dark glasses.

Youve turned out very camp, I say. Whats the reason for all this?

His voice sounds as though he were smiling benevolently, although there is no change in the expression on the face of the dummy. I just thought youd enjoy a change, Rob.

I take a few steps into the room and stop again. You took the mat away!

Dont need it, Rob. As you see, theres a new couch. Thats very traditional, isnt it?

He coaxes, Why dont you just lie down on it? See how it feels.

Um. But I stretch out on it cautiously. How it feels is strange; and I dont like it, probably because this particular room represents something serious to me and changing it around makes me nervous. The mat had straps, I complain.

So does the couch, Rob. You can pull them out of the sides. Just feel around there. Isnt that better?

No, it isnt.

I think, he says softly, that you should let me decide whether for therapeutic reasons some sort of change is in order, Bob.

I sit up. And thats another thing, Sigfrid! Make up your flicking mind what youre going to call me. My name isnt Rob, or Robbie, or Bob. Its Robinette.

I know that, Robbie

Youre doing it again!

A pause, then, silkily, I think you should allow me the choice of the form of address I prefer, Robbie.

Um. I have an endless supply of tbose noncommittal nonwords. In would like to conduct the whole session without revealing any more than that. What I want is for Sigfrid to reveal. I want to know why he calls me by different names at different times. I want to know what he finds significant in what I say. I want to know what he really thinks of me if a clanking piece of tin and plastic can think, I me

Of course, what I know and Sigfrid doesnt is that my good friend S. Ya. has piece of tin and plastic can think, I mean. practically promised to let me play a little joke on him. I am looking to that a lot.

Is there anything youd like to tell me, Rob? piece of tin and plastic can thinko, I mean.

No. piee of tin and plastic can think,

He waits. I am feeling somewhat hostile and noncommunicative. I think part of it is because I am so much looking forward to the time when I can play a litk on Sigfrid, but the other part is because he has changed around piece of tin and plastic can think, I mean. the auditing room. Thats the kind of thing they used to do to me when I had my psychotic episode in Wyoming. Sometimes id come in for a session and piece of tin and plastic can think, I mean. theyd have a hologram of my mother, for Christs sake. It looked exactly like her, but it didnt smell like her or feel like her; in fact, you couldnt feel it at all, it was only light. Sometimes theyd have me come in there in the dark and something warm and cuddly would take me in its arms and whisper to me. I didnt like that. I was crazy, but I wasnt that crazy.