“Chad, bro,” a meathead named Chad said to himself as he looked at himself in the mirror, wrapped in his Patriots towel.
“I know you got this, bro, and I got you.”
Chad liked post-shower Chad.
He used his left hand to cup his right bicep. He inhaled deeply.
“Lilac-scented Chad is still bad Chad, amirite ladies? Ta ha ha. Ta ha ta ha.”
The mirror was even more generous than usual.
Then it was time to get serious. Like a championship team coming out from a timeout with its season on the line.
“Hug it out,” he said to his hand and his bicep, which were still interlocked. “That’s it, boys. Chad group hug. Bring it in.”
And he kissed his bicep and got a little of his hand in his mouth, too.
“Is this something you do every time before you come to see me?” Chad’s therapist asked. “Or was it just today?”
Chad was confused that he could be asked such a thing.
“I always come hard when I come for you, bro. This ain’t easy for me, doc. You realize I’m a warrior, right? People who see me on the street be like, “where is your spear my dog and I say, ‘that shit is in the shop because assholes don’t sharpen themselves ta ha ta ha and a warrior spear is a business spear, does the dirty work nice spears don’t do. So if they’re knowing my warrior brain gets a tune-up—you can’t show weakness, bro. I was so down the other day, because, you know, like, life, he can be a prick, right, speaking of assholes, so I’m like, “screw yourself, life, Chad is getting up because Chad is hard, and like a man I took that whole bottle of pills you gave me. Didn’t do nothing.”
His therapist informed Chad that they were not to be taken all at once.
“I know you’ve said that, doc, but I gave myself a second opinion ta ha ha. I used to watch Popeye—so this is that childhood stuff you dig—and when he was down he always ate that whole can, bro, he wasn’t like, ‘give me a leaf,’ nah, he was like, watch, bitches, watch what you did now, here comes a bad mofo, here he comes. BEAST UNLEASHED. RECKONING. And my bad mofo, he ain’t coming for me any more, doc. It’s like warrior Chad gets locked in a closet, and he wants to get out. So I’m like, ‘Chad, I got you, have all the pills.’”
The doctor asked questions that Chad did not care for.
If he was seeing anyone.
(“Me and this girl were going to have a threesome with this other girl, but the storage room was locked.”)
If he had threatened his mother.
(“If by threatened you mean blew her ass up with a truth bomb, yeah. But I need to see her Tuesday ‘cause something is wrong with the data on my phone.”)
If there was more to the weekend than beer and football.
(“I don’t know, bro,” Chad said, looking behind the doctor. “Are there more than diplomas in frames if you’re a doc? ‘Cause I could be you. ‘Tell me what’s wrong. Are you sad that you’re old? Don’t take all the pills at once.’ I checked you, bro. We even now.”)
If his sister’s husband was going to sue over the broken nose.
“Look, my brother, I told you what he said. He called me fat. It has to stop somewhere. And it stopped here.”
Chad held up his fist.
“But that’s not what happened, is it?” asked the therapist.
“Nah, bro. He fell on the ice. But mostly because he knew I was coming.”
The therapist asked Chad if he was bothered that he didn’t talk to his sister as much as he used to now that she was married.
Chad reached for the Oscar the Grouch stuffed animal that was part of his therapy. It sat on the chair beside him, until a certain moment.
“So, like, you know how you do prescriptions and I do prescriptions and I got my brother Oscar here to reinforce right from wrong?”
“Reinforce,” Chad found, was a good word to use when in doubt.
“Because I ain’t going down that Oscar hole. Shit got dark for him, man. In that can. Life’s like a can, my brother. Then the world puts the lid on you, and some dude named Sully the garbage man carries you around. Fuck that shit.”
Chad gave his hips one single resolute forward pump in his chair.
The therapist pointed to his watch.
“We have come to the end of our time.”
Chad was not in a position to be stopped.
“I ain’t in a position to be stopped, doc. You know how it is. Look at Oscar’s giant eyebrow. Doesn’t even groom himself, bro. Look at mine. Two. Right? I manage that shit. Like at the gym, when I’m doing my Chads—that’s what I call my deluxe workout—and I’m looking in the mirror, it’s like shit, boy, nice brows, nice separation, and yeah, I’ll say it, nice package. Ha ha ta ha ha ta.”
The doctor asked if he wanted a tissue.
“I miss my sis, bro. Like who am I supposed to be texting now? You know what they say, Ali G, marriage makes ho’s.”
The moment had come.
He flung Oscar the Grouch towards the corner he normally flung him at.
“Shit, you can hear his eyes hit the wall. ‘Sorry, green bro.’ I’ll be right back, man.”
Chad left the room. He returned carrying a chair from the waiting room.
“She’ll take it.”
The doctor asked who would take what. Chad left again, leaving the door open. This time his sister walked in, with Chad behind her.
“If she can be fixed, doc, I give her to you. This is what I like to call the Real Room, bro,” Chad said to his sister. “It gets so real ain’t nothing real anymore in the world outside. Trust the process.”
He had told his bicep the same thing before he kissed it and tasted a bit of his hand earlier.
“What can I do for you?” the doctor asked Chad’s sister, after Chad had left the room again, manfully holding back his tears of presumed sagacity.
“Nothing. Sorry. I’m my brother’s ride. He’ll be in next week.”