Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

© Vickey Stamps 8/13/14

Gilded Golden letters showing his name, and title, decorated the frosted brown glass of the door that opened into his reception room and from there, the large simply furnished room he called his office.  It was filled with a small desk along with a few simple adult and child sized chairs.  Brightly colored toys lay about in slight disarray, meant to catch the eyes of his young clients, as well as bean bags and a television in one of the corners.  He was Dr. Isaiah Bumpkin, Child Psychiatrist.

His receptionist Scarlet wouldn’t be in for another half hour.  He liked to come in early and gather his thoughts for the day, to reflect on what lay ahead in his work world.  He’d risen early and taken time, as he always did, to check on their sleeping baby boy, and the twin girls, pulling the covers over them snugly and giving their cheeks a soft kiss.  He’d told his wife he loved her and wished her a day full of roses.  They didn’t often speak of what his day had been like, but she always seemed to sense when he’d come home troubled and do what she could to make his evenings better.

Now he put his desk chair against the wall, and put his feet upon the battered old desk, closing his eyes. Instead of focusing on what was ahead, he mused on that which lay behind him.

Isaiah could easily be called an ugly child.  He knew he was, for he was reminded of it almost every day at school.  “Hey Ugly Bumpkin”  and “Hey Fatso”  or it might be “Hey coca cola eyes”.  His glasses were as thick as those of a coke bottle and lay heavy upon his nose, held together with ugly black plastic frames.  Sometimes one of the meaner kids would come up and try to trip him and make him fall.  They’d often kick him in the shins and yell “Fatty Fatty, catch me if you can”.  There were other things said and seldom a kind word other than sometimes by a teacher, and rarely a class-mate.  Life was hard while to some extent, as he grew older, it has become slightly less harsh.  No one went to the effort to be his friend. 

He remembered how one day in his frustration, he’d secretly taken a needle and some thread from his mother to his lonely room.  He’d ripped up a plain white pillowcase and cut it up into a simple but ugly rag doll, stuffing it with the remnants of fabric left after sewing it almost shut.  He’d fashioned it in such a way as to look obese and ugly.  Its eyes were beady and no smile went upon its face.  He gave it no ears, for he had often wished he had none, and been unable to hear the taunts thrown his way.  He felt he had done the boy doll a kind deed in doing so.  He’d an extra pair of glasses.  He’s taken them to school. And in the loneliness of having no one to play with, had ground the lens down to doll size and fashioned them to fit the doll, as well as the frames.  Yes, it would look much like him.  He’d told his parents the extra glasses had gotten lost. 

Day after day, Ugly Bumpkin, as he’d learned to call himself secretly, now called the doll Ugly Bumpkin, Jr.  He treated him with the same disdain he suffered each day.  It became a habit.  Sometimes it helped him feel less bad and sometimes it helped not at all.  Life and the years of college passed. It became time to say good-by to his parents.  He wanted to make his own way now in the world.  He spied the old doll buddy he’d finally tossed aside, to live under the neatly folded clothes in a dresser drawer.  He tossed it into the trash can waiting for pick up that day.  They’d pick up the trash this morning.  He grimaced thinking the doll would have a better home at the land-fill then it had known in the home he’d grown up in.

The dog wasn’t so old in animal years, but it was alone and hungry.  Its owners had moved and left it behind. They had probably done him a favor, as they had rarely paid him much attention.  He’d been meant to be a guard dog, but as it turned out, was more apt to lick a stranger to death, then make them feel threatened. Now he roamed the streets finding bits of food where ever and whenever he could.  Now he watched as a young human threw something into a trash can.  Maybe it was food.  He waited patiently till he felt it safe to approach the cam.  Pushing with his nose, he moved the lid away enough to fit his paws over the edge and check the contents.  There was the good smell of bacon and eggs.  Bits of bread crust removed from this morning’s toast had been thrown away.  An un-eaten pancake had been tossed out.  He ate it quickly, licking away the remnants of bacon and egg that had come into contact with it.  He saw the doll lying on the side, and remembered seeing other dogs with something the humans called ‘Chew toys’.  He’d never had one.  Now he did. It would be his own people person and no one would ever take it away from him.  NEVER!

Two days later, the thin older dog was picked up.  Someone had called the humane society about it wandering the streets.  It had lain in the kennel cage, sharing an occasional conversation with the other creatures within their own crowded cages.  He had watched as others came to pick out the younger dogs, the happy outgoing dogs.  He watched as they wagged their tails in great happiness and was taken away as ‘rescue dogs’ to a new and hopefully better home.  He lay in his corner and pretended not to care.  After all, he had his own chew toy, his pretend human.  What else did he need?  He had become convinced that he and the toy loved one another and needed nothing more.

One day, a nice lady and her husband came to look and smile on first one and then another dog.  Finally they paused before him, making eye contact.  They smiled on him as well.    Now he walked to the front of his wire cage and gave a soft whine as if to say, “Please take me home”.  As if they understood, they went to the person in charge and made arrangements to make him their own.  In his great excitement and frantic tail wagging, he forgot his almost human doll chew friend, and went away with his new and human friends.

Of course it took little time to find he’d left his ‘friend’ behind.  Now he mourned for him, and the humans began to think about what might be wrong.  The man remembered the dog chewing on something.  Perhaps it was a favorite toy or something very special to him.  They got in the car and went back right away.  The gates were being closed, but the kind man in charge understood the importance of the need being explained.  Off they went to look inside the cage.  There it was in the lonely corner, neglected and feeling unloved and deserted once more.

What a happy life he had in the new home, his toy always within grabbing reach, should anyone try to take it away.  He wasn’t even made to share it with the other rescue dog and cat within this wonderful place.

Dr. Isaiah Bumpkin brought his mind back from remembering his childhood, and thinking of all that had happened since he’d left home.  He’d found a good job, saved his money and went back to college, working and learning at the same time.  He’d been a doctor before, but finally had earned his Doctorate in Psychiatry with a specialty in children abused mentally or otherwise.  He’d lost a great deal of weight, had eye surgery and now only required contact Lenses.  He’d gotten a small bit of plastic surgery and become quite a handsome man.  He knew that to be true, for his wife teased him all the time about how good looking he was.  How he loved her and his family.  He’d been blessed and he’d never let himself forget that fact.

He heard Scarlett as she let herself into her working area, and again as she hung up her coat and hat.  He knew she’d be sitting out the appointment book and waiting for the child and his parent to come in for the morning visit.  He thought of who was to be seen first.  His name was Donny.  It was a small name he thought for such a largely overweight and sad child.  His eyes looked larger than they really were, through the thick coke bottle like glasses that framed his face.  He had been a very unhappy child, but as the visits went on, he’d learned to accept Dr. Isaiah as a friend.  The smiles and laughter came more often.  Isiah knew he could help this child.  He would help this child.  There were no other options. 

“Dr. Isaiah, Dr. Isaiah” Donny called out before he was completely inside the door.  “You’ll never guess who came to live at my house. It’s a dog that is just for me.  He has a people person chew toy.  The toy looks a little bit like me. I love him to pieces.  He’s the ‘bestest’ dog in the whole world.  It won’t matter if the kids tease me so much, cause he gives me kisses and love. He’s a rescue dog, Dr. Isaiah.  He makes me happy.”



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