Transcript of 23rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, November 13, 1997 at 5:00 pm.

Ms. Herald: Hey Doc...listen I may have to cut things short tonight. Jonny and Greg are interviewing a prospective parent for one of their kittens, and they want me there for some outrageous reason; they trust my judgment of character or something.
Dr. Balis: Go ahead and sit, Chris, you know the drill. I'll be done clearing this up in just a second. I'm glad you mentioned the kittens, because I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I think that I would like that kitten after all, the one you brought with you that night. If she's not already spoken for.
Ms. Herald: No, no, she's available. I was sort of hoping you'd decide to take her, so I kept her reserved, more or less. I can bring her with me next week, or if you'd prefer I can bring her by earlier.
Dr. Balis: Next week should be fine. It will give me time to pick up the requisite supplies and kitten-proof my apartment.
Ms. Herald: Sure. I can give you the phone number of my new veterinarian, as well. He's great. Looks like Santa Claus--big white beard, red suspenders, the whole nine yards. Lancelot adores him.
Dr. Balis: Right. Now, I'm not going to be able to keep her in the office. Will she be okay in the apartment all day by herself?
Ms. Herald: Should be. Give her toys, things to scratch on, make up for it with extra affection on evenings and weekends. You know what I used to do for Lancelot?
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Herald: Turn on the TV. Specifically, the cartoon channel. Don't ask me why, but it worked. He was still relatively contented by the time I'd get home. The voices from the TV kept him company. I know it sounds like the worst sort of parent who uses TV as a babysitter, but I still had furniture by the time he was grown enough not to scratch on everything.
Dr. Balis: I'll remember that. I'm going to have to start making a list. Is there any sort of toy that's better than others?
Ms. Herald: Anything with catnip is usually a good bet. Things that roll and make noise are good too, little things like balls with bells in them, you know? Lancelot likes those huge furry looking quasi-rodent things. He uses them for attack practice. But the thing I absolutely swear by is actually a battery-powered children's toy. It's a green ball, about the size of a softball, with a long fluffy tail attached. Turn it on, and it flops and rolls around on its own. Really great stuff.
Dr. Balis: Right, right. What about food?
Ms. Herald: Food. Okay. I feed Lancelot this special food, recommended by vets and stuff. It's more healthy then regular dry cat food, less waste, more gets absorbed into kitty's system. Soft food is okay for a special treat, but I don't feed it to him regularly. I'll tell you something though. Pet stores sell these little tablets for cat treats, made from brewer's yeast. Cats go nuts over them, it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I don't think I've seen a cat yet that didn't love them. Those little dried fishy things stink, and Lance always just chewed the head off and left the rest. Am I getting too disgusting for you, Doc?
Dr. Balis: No, not at all. Brewer's yeast, hmm. Clever. You can stop looking so self-satisfied, young lady.
Ms. Herald: Can't help it, old man.
Dr. Balis: Hey, I'm not that old.
Ms. Herald: And I'm not all that young.
Dr. Balis: Touché. Will you be terribly offended if I change the cat's name?
Ms. Herald: Not at all. What were you going to call her?
Dr. Balis: I was thinking of calling're going to laugh.
Ms. Herald: No, I won't. I promise. What?
Dr. Balis: Portia. I was going to call her Portia.
Ms. Herald: I see...
Dr. Balis: It fits with the trend. And I happen to like the Merchant of Venice very much.
Ms. Herald: Uh huh.'s cute.
Dr. Balis: You want to laugh.
Ms. Herald: I do not!
Dr. Balis: You do. You're dying to laugh in fact.
Ms. Herald: I don't want to laugh. I like it, actually. I wish I'd thought of it.
Dr. Balis: You do?
Ms. Herald: Yes, I do. And even if I didn't, she's your cat. Capisce?
Dr. Balis: You're right, of course. I spend enough time saying similar things to you, after all.
Ms. Herald: What do you mean?
Dr. Balis: That it's what you think that's important and not what I think.
Ms. Herald: Oh, yeah. I vaguely remember that from somewhere back in the mists of time.
Dr. Balis: That irony suits your character. So, putting pet talk aside, how was your week?
Ms. Herald: Not bad at all. Want to hear about my time at the museum?
Dr. Balis: Ah, the baseball exhibit.
Ms. Herald: You remember. Good. Well, I had a fantastic time.
Dr. Balis: I would have liked to have gone myself, actually. How was it?
Ms. Herald: Amazing! You wouldn't believe some of the stuff they had there. And Decker, the guy I went with, is like a total baseball encyclopedia. He knew something, I think, about every item in this traveling collection. Statistics, trivia, history, you name it. I was really getting into it, strutting around in my little A's ball cap, practically dragging the poor man from exhibit to exhibit like a five year old. In retrospect I think I would have been embarrassed if he hadn't seemed to have been enjoying it as much as I was. He was sweet, too. We wound up holding hands through the last half of the exhibit. I don't know if it'll be a relationship--it's too early to tell--but I know I had a great time. We went for beers afterwards, still no double bock, but it wasn't too bad anyway, and talked some more. This time we actually traded numbers and such, and I'll probably make plans with him again this weekend. And no, he's not a skin head. The shaved head is just a look.
Dr. Balis: It certainly sounds like you had a good time. Do you think he might be relationship material?
Ms. Herald: Doc, I barely know the guy yet. I like what I see so far is all I know for sure, and I really would like to see him again. Beyond that, who can say? He's good looking, fun to be around, and sweet in a sort of shy way. Seems really normal, too. And after Kevin and Malcolm, normal is good. Very very good.
Dr. Balis: I would just hate to see you rush into anything.
Ms. Herald: I'm not going to rush, Doc...don't worry about me. I'm tough, remember? Grrr...
Dr. Balis: Stop flexing at me. I get your point. You don't do a terribly good bodybuilder imitation.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, but I'm prettier than just about any of them.
Dr. Balis: I certainly can't argue the point. Anything else going on?
Ms. Herald: Not too much. A couple of things. Some sad news. Jane Doe, my student who was pregnant, had a miscarriage Sunday night. I feel bad for her, she came back to school yesterday and just looked exhausted and miserable.
Dr. Balis: Oh, awful.
Ms. Herald: Uh huh. What do you say, besides that you'll be there if she needs to talk, and that you're sympathetic?
Dr. Balis: That's about all you can say.
Ms. Herald: I know. Still. Hey, I started reading the journals in the trunk. The things start in like 1938 and run all the way through '52. So I'm going to be busy for awhile. The really bad part is that they were all out of order. So I had to spend an evening reorganizing them. Thrill and a half. The trunk is magic, it's better than having a time machine. I walk around in those strappy red forties platform pumps and pick through the notebooks and all sorts of silly stuff. Great stress reliever, especially on the days when I can't cope with reality.
Dr. Balis: I see. Are the journals interesting?
Ms. Herald: Oh, yeah, really interesting. it's just so touching, really. My great-aunt lived with her uncle after her parents died, and he was a University professor. Really just little day to day stuff for now, but it's still lovely. What the...damn, I hate pagers.
Dr. Balis: Is that what that was? It sounded like some sort of weapon from a science fiction movie.
Ms. Herald: Yeah I know. Oh, look. Jonny's number. I guess it's my cue to go, Doc.
Dr. Balis: All right, you take care, Chris. Don't forget my cat next week.
Ms. Herald: Wouldn't dream of it. Just get all her stuff and I'll bring her to you. Have fun.
Dr. Balis: Thanks a lot.
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