Keira is excited to introduce the awesome Bob Dixon.
Bob Dixon is a a two-time Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest cartoon strip. He has created and written a number of comic book titles for Pocket Change Comics, including Assassinette: The Mind Stalker, Psyco Duck, Jester's Dead, The Holy Knight, Riplash, Shadow Slasher, and Warzone 3719. He has written two children books, Rooty the Tree Troll and Holiday Bunny.Bob is the author of Mouch and company :The Dream Psychic and co-author of A Tough Call In addition, Bob is a certified special education teacher who works with children who have emotional behavior disabilities.
Synopsis for Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic
“Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.”
“It’s a fun story, very well written, flows amazingly.”
“You were able to get in every one of the character's heads, excuse the pun, and I liked knowing what they were all thinking.”
Talsom Asylum was not the sanest place on the planet (and it really wouldn’t matter which planet you were on). It was the type of place where you locked people away and tried to forget that they had ever existed. It sat outside of town on the grounds of what had once been a shopping center, which means that from its conception it was designed for people who are mentally unstable.
The therapeutic floater moved around Room 19. The therapeutic floater was a device that some therapists used with certain patients who had a history of violence. It was a yellow metal ball, roughly the size of a beach ball, with human features painted on it to make the victim—patient—more comfortable. Floaters, however, have two major flaws as well as several lesser problems. The painted faces fail to relax anyone; instead, they generally have the opposite effect, often causing anxiety and, in some cases, paranoia. Additionally, since they are made of a gold colored metal, people tend to steal them, erroneously thinking they are of some value. This problem generally solved itself, because after having a floater in one’s possession for an hour or so, the thief would usually do just about anything to get away from it—up to and including turning themselves in to the police or jumping off of a very high building, depending on whichever they came to first.“So, how are you feeling today, Mouch?” asked the metallic ball as it moved around the psych ward.
“Usually with my hands,” replied the fourteen-year-old boy who was sitting in the middle of the room, looking rather annoyed, his long brown hair covering his eyes and most of his face.
“Will you skip the sarcastic comments today, Mouch? I am not really in the mood.”
“Are you still hearing voices?”
“I assume you’re referring to Sherman and Mav?” asked Mouch.
“Yes, but I thought we agreed that neither of them were real, that they were both nothing more than figments of your imagination,” sighed the therapeutic floater.
“No,” said Mouch, almost grinning, “that is what you decided. I, on the other hand, have been trying to convince you of their reality. For quite some time, I might add.”
“Mouch, how many times are we going to have to go over this nonsense?” The floater sounded a bit irritated. “You have been at Talsom Asylum for several years. In that time, we have done both room and body checks on a weekly basis. Nobody besides you has ever seen Sherman or Mav.”
“Hey, what can I say? Mav is shy and pretty good at hiding.” Mouch smirked. “As for Sherman, you have met him plenty of times.”
“Having a conversation with a sock puppet is a little different than meeting a living creature,” replied the floater. “You know it is that kind of talk that keeps you here at Talsom.”
“And all this time I thought it was the guards and locked doors. So silly of me.”
“Drop the sarcasm, Mouch,” the floater said, the anger noticeable in its voice.
“Why is the truth considered either insane or sarcastic?”
“We are not going to do this today, so you might as well quit it right now.”
“Okay,” replied Mouch, “have it your way.”
“May we continue now?”
“Sure. Do you hate your mother?”
“I just told you we are not doing this today, so stay on task and quit straying.” The floater was obviously irritated.
“You despise your mother so much that you don’t even want to discuss her. That is truly sad,” Mouch said, his voice eerily calm and soothing.
“You know as well as I do that we are not here to discuss me or my mother.” The floater was obviously trying to control its anger and not doing a very good job of it. “This is our time to try to solve your problems.”
“You could always unlock the doors and set me free. I’m not sure, but I believe it would be a big step toward solving most of my problems.”
“You would be a danger to yourself as well as to society,” the floater said sharply.
“So says you,” replied Mouch just as sharply.
“I don’t say that; it’s in your profile. If we set you free, you would either go around freaking out respectable members of society by talking to yourself—”
“God forbid respectable members of society get freaked out. Guess it would be okay if it were just the non-respectable ones, huh?”
“Or you would attack someone and blame it on your evil shadow twin,” the floater said, ignoring Mouch’s previous comment.
“I have to admit, Mav can be rather hostile at times.”
“Damn it, Mouch!” the floater screamed, enraged. “Sherman and Mav do not exist, and unless you can convince yourself of that, you may never get out of here!”
“You’ve always claimed our sessions were a search for the truth.” Mouch sounded rather pleased. “That being the case, why would you want me to convince myself to believe a lie?”
“This session is over. You’re not even making an attempt to solve your problems!”
The floater turned and left Mouch alone in the room, or as alone as Mouch ever got. He pulled a sock puppet from his pocket and put it on his hand.
“I think we ticked her off,” said Mouch.
“She’ll get over it,” said Sherman. The sock puppet seemed to spring to life as he slid onto Mouch's hand.
“I know,” sighed Mouch. “She always does.”
“Case number 53075,” Dr. Ashlynn Edwards spoke into the digital recorder. “Mouch is still suffering from multiple personality disorder and possible schizophrenia. There have been no evident signs of improvement. I am still using the therapeutic floater to conduct our sessions, although I no longer feel that it is necessary for safety reasons. Today I tried a new form of therapy, the Hanover Method, which is a more forceful approach, addressing his invisible friends as imaginary. It did not go as well as I would have hoped. Our session ended early due to his uncooperative attitude and unwillingness to accept Sherman and Mav as what they really are: creations of a creative mind. At this time, I fear Mouch may never be able to cope with society, much less fit in as a productive member. However, he might be a candidate for Brookewood Academy. I will make a recommendation that he be evaluated, and I’ll let them make that decision.”
****Mouch was returned to his small room. He looked around it as he had done so many times since being assigned to Talsom Asylum. The bed was bolted to the floor. A bookshelf hung over the toilet and sink in the corner of the room. There were a few personal items on another small bookshelf next to the bed, but not many.
After several minutes, Sherman spoke up. “Should we get started on the tunnel again?”
To anyone watching Mouch from outside of the room, Mouch appeared to be talking to himself, throwing his voice as a ventriloquist does. For Mouch, however, this was just another conversation with a best friend who rarely left his side. Oh, sure, there had been times when various people had tried to separate them. They had even taken Sherman away occasionally, but somehow by the next morning, he had eluded his captors and returned to Mouch’s hand. Doctors were baffled by this, especially when they were sure that they had locked Sherman in a drawer in their office for the night. Mouch's only response when asked about Sherman's reappearance was, “Mav rescued him. The three of us are a family. We’re friends, and nobody will keep us apart.” Eventually the doctors generally decided that having a sock puppet possibly wasn’t such a bad thing and gave up trying to separate the two.
Mouch held the spoon that he had stolen from the cafeteria in one hand and Sherman in the other. “I still don’t think we’re going to be able to tunnel through 10 feet of concrete with a metal spoon. I mean, I know the doctors all think I’m crazy, but if they catch me doing this, it’ll confirm their suspicions.”
Sherman frowned. “But they won’t catch you. I’ll keep watch while you and Mav dig, or I can help dig if you or Mav want to keep watch.”
Mouch looked at Sherman and then at the corner of the room. “To tell you the truth, you’re not that good at digging, and not much better at keeping watch. And Mav, all you do is play jokes on us, like trying to put the dirt back into the tunnel or trying to get us caught by the orderlies.
“Hmmph,” came a grunt from the shadow in the corner, which, oddly enough, sounded like Mouch throwing his voice again. “I help when you ask me to. Just remember, digging isn’t my thing. I’m more of the 'knock down the door and fight our way out' kind of guy.”
Mouch shook his head. “Mav, we're not going to fight our way out of here. Besides, both of you have already gotten me into enough trouble with that way of thinking. Sherman, you smart off to the other residents, and then they assume it’s me because we talk so much alike. And you, Mav, shove them once they say something to me and end up getting me into a fight with them. I notice you usually pick the biggest ones to fight. I’ve been meaning to ask you why you do that.”
“Hmmph.” Another grunt came from the corner. “I always protect you, though.”
“That you do, my friend,” Mouch said, and with that, they started working on the tunnel. Mouch thought to himself how lucky he was to have his friends, no matter how strange they might seem to the rest of the world.
After working on the tunnel and not getting very far (a metal spoon just doesn’t make much of a dent in a solid rock wall), Mouch drifted off to sleep. His dreams that night were odd, but then again, that was par for the course for Mouch. He had learned from discussing his dreams during therapy in the past that his dreams were not what most people considered normal. He'd also learned that it was often easiest to just tell people that he didn't remember his dreams. In tonight's dream, he, Sherman, and Mav were walking down the road as usual, when they came across an old teddy bear that had been abandoned by some child after it had apparently outlived its usefulness. Mouch suggested to the other two that they invite the teddy bear to join their group.The odd thing was that Mav didn’t object. “The little guy gives me a good feeling inside.” Needless to say, anything that gave Mav a good feeling was worth keeping around. Granted, the teddy bear wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but it is always better to say too little than to say too much.
“So, does the stuffed critter have a name?” Sherman asked.
“Hmm,” thought Mouch. “He can’t talk, so I suppose it would be okay for us to name him. How about Matt?”
“How ’bout no?” replied Sherman. “It sounds like a name you wipe your feet on.”
“Like a toilet.” Sherman laughed.
“You’re being difficult.”
“Just trying to protect the kid. I mean, after all, just because you got stuck with a lame name doesn't mean he has to.”
“How about Mickey?”
“Isn’t that the name of a cartoon rat?”
“Like a goat.” Sherman smirked.
“How about Percival?”
Sherman hung his head. “Where are you getting these names from? They’re terrible.”
“How about Narcissus?” Mouch grinned, showing that he was having fun with Sherman now.
“Mouch!” Sherman yelled.
“Nah, that one’s already taken, and it would be way too confusing to have two of us in one group.”
Mav smiled but remained quiet.
“I know—we’ll call him Teddy,” Mouch declared.
“That is absolutely the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” replied Sherman.
“I doubt that, considering what we have all been through,” said Mouch. “Besides, it may be redundant, but it’s not dumb.”
“Are you going to at least give him a last name?”
“Hmm… How about Ragamuffin?” Mouch asked, thinking out loud.
“I like it,” Mav and Sherman said at the same time.
“You know, going around with a stuffed animal means everybody is going to laugh at you,” Sherman laughed.
“Somehow, I doubt going around with him is going to affect my reputation as a sane member of society any more than you or Mav do.”
Mouch awoke the next morning, wiped the sleep out of his eyes, and noticed that the teddy bear from his dreams was at the end of the bed, right beside Sherman. Mouch smiled to himself, thinking that during therapy he would have to try to explain the mysterious appearance of the stuffed animal—either that or they would try to take Teddy from him. Mouch decided that whatever happened, he would handle it with the help of Sherman and Mav, as he always did. He washed his face, brushed his teeth, got dressed, and waited for his door to be unlocked for breakfast.
Mouch was eating breakfast with Sherman and Mav as usual. The hall looked like any normal cafeteria; the tables were twelve feet in length, with benches attached to each side. Mouch could have made friends at Talsom, but he found that the residents were all pretty much crazy, and he never really believed that he belonged there. One resident had multiple personalities and was apparently never quite sure who he was on any given day. One day he was Jesus, and repeatedly tried to heal Mouch. Another day he thought he was Satan, and attempted to trade Mouch a cup of chocolate pudding for his soul. Mouch, oddly enough, found himself quite tempted, but he decided against it just in case the guy had been possessed and the deal was binding.Mouch was halfway through his bacon and eggs when an older man sat down. The man was about 6 feet tall. He had clean cut gray hair and glasses. He wore a gray suit with a black tie and a white shirt.
“Good morning, Mouch,” said the man.
“Good morning.” Mouch didn't bother to look up.
“My name is Dr. Jenkins. I was wondering if I might have a moment of your time.”
“Hmm,” replied Sherman. “You’re a doctor. We’re patients against our will. If we say no, we get locked in confinement, so I'm betting we’ll give you that moment whether we want to or not.”
“No, no, I don’t work directly for Talsom,” the man assured him. “I have no right to take privileges away from you, but I would like to talk to you about getting you out of here.”
Mouch stopped eating. “Getting me out of here—you mean like for a day pass?”
Dr. Jenkins leaned forward and stared at the teenager before him. “No, I’m talking about permanently. Taking you to a place where your talents will not only be appreciated but nurtured.” Mouch looked dumbfounded for a second. “But I don’t really have any special talents. I’m just a kid in a mental asylum.”
“But you don’t really belong here, now do you?” asked Dr. Jenkins, smiling. “We both know you’re not crazy. A bit unique, I agree, but not crazy. So how would you feel about leaving here and going to my academy, where we can teach you to use your special skills and where we don’t lock you in your room at night?”
“What is this special ability you keep talking about?” Sherman asked.
“That’s quite simple, my boy.” Dr. Jenkins stood up. “You have psychic abilities.” Mouch stared at the man before him in disbelief.
“You can quit laughing now. Really, I’m serious… You have psychic abilities.” Dr. Jenkins sat back down as Mouch howled with laughter. 'Why is it that every time I tell someone this, they always think it’s a joke?' thought Dr. Jenkins. 'I suppose I should find a more convincing way of informing people of their special gift. Maybe I should start off the conversation by levitating in front of them.'
After a moment or two, Mouch composed himself enough to stop laughing. Many of the other residents were staring at him which was odd because disturbances were so frequent at Talsom that the residents tended to ignore almost everything. Mouch had learned, in fact, that no matter how weirdly he acted, if he simply did it quietly, people just seemed to look the other way.
“Seriously, Doc,” said Mouch, “I really appreciate the laugh this morning, because I definitely can use it before my therapy session. I might even bring up the fact that I have psychic powers during the session just to wig out Dr. Edwards. She seems to get freaked out easily, especially if I tell her something like this then have Mav grab her right afterward. But if there is nothing else to talk about, I have to go.” Mouch started to collect his breakfast plate and silverware. As he reached for his glass, he found it floating through the air toward his hand.
'Cute trick I learned when I was your age,' he heard Dr. Jenkins say in what seemed like a very loud and echoing voice, but Dr. Jenkins’s mouth was not moving. Mouch found himself a little taken aback by this. He sat back, very unsure of what was going on as the glass hovered untouched above the table in front of him. 'Don’t forget your napkin,' echoed the voice in his head again as the napkin moved to join the glass floating in the air. 'I’m talking to you through telepathy and using a small trick called telekinesis to move these objects. It is but a sample of what we will teach you to do. As I said, this is no joke.'
Mouch reached up and took the glass and napkin out of the air as Sherman spoke up. “Maybe we should hear him out.”
“Yeah,” said Mouch, “either that or run like hell. Okay, Doc, let’s hear what you have to say.”
But before Dr. Jenkins could get the first word out of his mouth, Mouch jumped from the table and began to sprint toward the open doors of the cafeteria, Mav close in tow. Without warning, the doors both swung shut in front of him. He slammed into the swinging doors, which were now as solid as a wall. Mouch, Sherman, and Mav crashed to the floor. They looked around, dazed and confused. Mouch saw the other residents staring at him. Granted, some of the residents were still staring off into space, more intrigued by whatever was going on in their own world than in reality. But the majority were watching as two interns helped Mouch to his feet.
“Calm down or we will get you something to calm you down.” Mouch knew that meant a very heavy dose of meds, in which case he would sit around all day drooling and wondering what world he was in.
Dr. Jenkins walked over. He never opened his mouth, but Mouch heard him speak to the interns. 'Remove your hands from the child at once. He is in my care, and everything here is fine.' The interns looked at each other and immediately let Mouch go. They went back about their duties.
Mav moved to stand between Mouch and Dr. Jenkins, readying himself to protect Mouch if the need should arise.
“Mav, is it?” Dr. Jenkins asked. “I’m not here to harm the three of you. Hmm, make that the four of you—I didn’t notice your friend the teddy bear there. I’m simply here to help you. Can we go finish our discussion now?”
“You can see Mav?” Mouch asked, shocked.
“When I look into your mind, yes,” said Dr. Jenkins calmly. “As I said, I know you’re not crazy, and you do have special gifts that I feel my academy can teach you how to use. Let’s take a walk out on the grounds so we can speak privately. If at the end of our talk you do not want to come with me, then that is your choice; but at least hear me out.”
“Okay,” said Mouch, “but answer a question for me. Why couldn’t I get through the doors?”
“I’m truly sorry about that,” said Dr. Jenkins, smiling, “but, truth be told, I’m getting much too old to chase potential students down anymore, so I shut them on you.”
“Quite painfully, I might add,” observed Sherman.
“It served the purpose for which it was intended, my little friend,” Dr. Jenkins said as he rubbed Sherman on the top of the head.
Mav reached to grab Dr. Jenkins’s hand, but Mouch shook his head. He didn’t believe that Dr. Jenkins had intended them any harm. If he had, he could have easily done so by now.
“Okay,” said Mouch. “Let’s hear what you have to say.”
Buy it now. http://www.amazon.com/Mouch-Company-Psychic
You can find Bob at...http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/dixonbob