Author: Ruby Zehnder

“So, Irvin says to me, Martha, you know there’s still a few bites of chocolate cake with the cool whip frosting you love in the fridge.”
“Are you sure it was Irvin speaking to you?” the doc asked.
“Of course it was. Who else would be speaking to me in my dreams?” Martha replied.
“So what happened?” the doc asked.
“I got out of bed and went to the fridge and ate the cake, of course,” she replied with a smug smile. The doc had guessed this. Even though the gutbuster had transformed Martha into a thin, fit specimen, he knew that underneath she was still a fat, ignorant slob.
“How long has your gut buster been communicating with you?” the doc asked.
“For the past few months. It started when Irvin got bored,” she replied.
“But Irvin is just a gut buster. He is – I mean, it can’t have feelings, you understand,” the doc added carefully.
“That’s exactly what he wants everyone to think. But, I know better,” Martha insisted.
“How do you know this, Martha?” the doc challenged.
“Because Irvin told me, of course,” she replied firmly.
The doc was purposefully withholding eye contact from this patient. He knew her type. Fat, stupid, and so lazy that she couldn’t control her own diet. She was crazy. Totally bonkers. Gut busters did not speak or communicate with their hosts. They just burned excess calories. They were the caloric catalytic converters of the human body, designed to allow unlimited overindulgence by weak-minded people like Martha.
The doc decided to try a new approach.
“First of all. Martha, I believe what you are telling me. I know that you think that your gut buster is alive and capable of speaking to you,” he began.
“He has a name, you know. It’s Irvin,” Martha insisted.
“Okay, I understand. Irvin is real to you even though he is nothing more than a genetically modified tapeworm that lives in your gut. I understand, Martha,” he told her gently. “But let’s be reasonable. How could a tapeworm speak to you? It doesn’t have a brain,” he explained with condescension.
Martha just stared at him. She was having none of this.
“Irvin speaks to me in my dreams,” she insisted. “He complains about being bored living in my gut with nothing better to do in life than consume calories. Irvin has dreams. He wants to have a family. Just like you and me, he is seeking a higher purpose in life,”
The doc said nothing. This idea of gut busters evolving was ludicrous. They were designed with a single purpose. These science deniers irritated him to no end. They were the most challenging patients to reach because they believed what they believed.
The alarm went off in his head. It was his internal timekeeper informing him that this session was over.
“Martha, we will talk further about your gut buster — ”
“Irvin,” she insisted.
“Irvin,” he conceded with exasperation, “in our next session.”
An orderly led Martha out of the room.
The doc’s internal timekeeper, Eva, informed him that his next patient believed that her microwave was sending cryptic messages from another galaxy.
“This is ludicrous,” the doc laughed.
“Totally,” Eva agreed.