A Psychiatrist at School
Meanwhile, in the sixth grade classroom, Mrs. Nophun, the sixth grade teacher, was addressing her students.
"You all probably remember that we are having a guest speaker in class today."
If the class did remember, they didn't care. At least, most of them didn't. Derrick was one of them. He just so happened to be doodling a super-battle between Superkid and Dr. Red in his notebook.
The only one who was paying an ounce of attention was Aaron. Actually, he paid the full amount of attention required and then some. Derrick actually found it entertaining to watch him—his eyes open wide like they'd pop out of their sockets, his necks stretched like a turtle's, his mouth pressed tightly like he was afraid his teeth would fall out, his hand gripping a pencil like he was about to run with it, and his legs wrapped around the legs of the chair like he was afraid someone would try to drag him away from it.
Mrs. Nophun continued, "Her name is Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin. She is coming to speak to you about the way people's minds work."
She glanced up at the clock. "She should be here in about…"
Suddenly, a woman poked her head in the room. Long, wavy, golden hair flowed from her head like a rippling waterfall.
"Is this Mrs. Nophun's classroom?" she asked, her voice like a musical crystal.
Mrs. Nophun finished with a wave at the woman, "Well, here she is."
At the sound of the new woman's voice, Derrick looked up. His mouth dropped open and his pencil clattered to his desk. His attention had been captured.
"So Doctor Doublin," the teacher said formally, "could you help us understand the mechanisms of the human mind?"
"Um sure." Doctor Doublin sounded somewhat shy. She walked quietly to the front of the class and glanced at everyone staring at her—some with the determined look of wanting to learn (Aaron), some with the curious look of what she was going to teach (most of the girls), and others with a look that marveled at how pretty she was (most of the boys, including Derrick).
"Hi," she said, smiling shyly, showing her pearly teeth. She clasped her hands together the way every stage-frightened person does.
"My name is Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin," she began, "I majored in psychology. I was born in Piner City. I lived there for seventeen years and then I went to Whutiver University. I became a psychologist and I guess I'm here to tell you how the mind works." She gave an embarrassed laugh. "I guess that was kind of obvious though."
Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin, Aaron mused. That sounds vaguely familiar…
"Okay," said Dr. Rowenna E. Doublin, clapping her hands together and pursing her lips thoughtfully. "Um, first of all, uh, how many of you have a hard time remembering stuff?"
Several dozen hands went up. Aaron's hand went up halfway to indicate his memory was half and half.
My memory's usually pretty good, he thought, but there are incidents where I can't remember what I was doing.
The doctor continued, "Well, in the study of memory, there are three main groups: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. You all probably know what short-term memory and long-term memory is, but does anyone know what sensory memory is?"
Aaron extended a hand into the air. Doctor Rowenna spotted him and said, "Yes, you in the blue shirt."
"Memory obtained through the use of the five senses?" Aaron guessed.
The woman smiled timidly. "Mmm… something like that. Sensory memory is fleeting memory—barely lasts a second. Your body is being hit with all these sensations—colors, sounds, how things feel—and it may remember how those things looked or sounded or felt for that fraction of a second, but it can't store all of them at once, so it drops most of them. But if it's important enough, then it's transferred to short-term memory."
I see, Derrick thought. He hadn't heard a word she had just said though. He was too distracted by her mere image and thus lost his sensory memory of what she had just explained on sensory memory.
Dr. Rowenna E. Doublin continued to explain how memory worked. And while she's doing that, there's something that's nagging me about this doctor that I want to figure out. It seems to me her name is somehow familiar but I can't figure out why. I know for certain she wasn't in the first edition, but still… Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin… Rowenna… E… Doublin… Doctor…
Wait a minute. Something's emerging from the dark depths of my mind (not a place I regularly go) but I don't know what it is… Doctor Rowenna E… Wait! I think I got it! Oh, nope it just ducked back into the dark. Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin… Why does it sound so familiar?
Anyways, Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin (I know I've heard her name before!) was now explaining that people could be hypnotized to remember incidents that they had no idea was in their memory banks. Aaron was listening intently—more so than usual at the mention of hypnotism. Aside from his usual signs, he now had white knuckles from gripping the edge of his desk so hard. He remembered clearly the man who had hypnotized him but he couldn't remember what it was the hypnotist made him do. He was afraid to know what it was.
"When you hypnotize people," said the doctor, "you're basically opening up the mind. It's a state of semi-consciousness. You can usually tell this hypnotized person to do whatever you want him to."
Aaron's face was pallid now. What was it that he was forced to do when hypnotized?
"It is a common misconception, however," the doctor continued, "that under hypnotism you can be forced to perform criminal acts."
At this, Aaron relaxed somewhat. Still, he wanted to know what it was that he did when he was hypnotized. He remembered that it was after he was hypnotized that all the trouble with his mom started. She had become extra protective, extra strict, and extra on his back! What had the hypnotist done?
He tried to recall the conversation he had had with the hypnotist but without any luck. The man seemed to have hypnotized it away. Aaron could not remember anything except for the man talking to him and then hypnotizing him. He couldn't even remember the man's face! It was just a blur in his memory. And the man's voice was slurred in his memory. Why couldn't he remember?
Meanwhile, in the desk in the third column and the fourth row, Derrick was enthralled. Not with the subject of hypnotism, no, that wasn't too interesting. It was the pretty lady that he was interested in. He nearly forgot about entertaining himself by looking at Aaron's serious learning expression. But he did eventually remember, so he looked away from the beauty queen—somewhat reluctantly—to Aaron. He was surprised to see Aaron focused not on the guest speaker but at his white knuckles. He seemed to think that something horrifying was on his knuckles for his eyes were wide and his face pale. There was even a bead of sweat glistening on his temple.
"What's wrong with him?" Derrick muttered, turning his attention back to Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin…
Doctor Rowenna E. Doublin… Doctor—Rowenna—E—Doublin… Why is it so familiar?