i’m sorry, caller, what? [fic]

A Hannibal/Frasier vingette

Sometimes your most popular fic is a piece of wet garbage that you wish you’d never written. In about forty-eight hours, this less than 500-word trash heap where Will calls Dr. Crane’s radio show, garnered more views, comments, and kudos than any of my other fics at the time.

I wanted to shoot myself.

After about a year of randomly receiving comment and kudo notifications, I removed it from AO3. Yes, I get it; I shouldn’t be so ungrateful. After all, praise in all forms is nice to receive, but watching the fics you pour your soul into getting crickets while ten-minute cracky vignettes get all the glory is a painful reality no writers want to deal with.

For posterity’s sake, here it is in all of its unedited, former glory.

Rated: G

“Hello caller, welcome to the show.”

“Uh, hello. I’ve listened to your show for a while, Dr. Crane – trying to get a bead on one of my issues.”

“Please, caller, share with us your woes.”

“Well, uh … I’m having inappropriate feelings for a new person in my life.”

“That’s not uncommon, caller. Familiarity can sometimes gray the areas between friendship and love. What’s your relationship to this person?”

“He’s my psychiatrist.”

“Ah, well, I can see your problem. Does he seem to reciprocate your feelings?”

“Well, no … or maybe, yes. I don’t know.”

“Is he concerned with crossing a line with a patient? Because a good psychiatrist would be.”

“Ah, well that even greater complicates matters. Are you sure your feelings for your doctor aren’t simply a long-held desire to feel heard? Many people develop somewhat personal feelings for their psychiatrist because he or she knows such intimate details about their lives. Psychiatry is a very intimate field. It can get confusing.”

“That’s a concern, but probably not his biggest. I think I’m struggling because I know I feel something for him, but I don’t want to destroy our professional relationship if I’m wrong. We also work together, or worked together.”

“Maybe. I’ve only recently allowed myself to be … psychoanalysed. And it’s been a bumpy ride.”

“Examining oneself always is. Tell me, caller, has your doctor said or done anything to make you believe that he has more romantic feelings for you?”

“Well, he shoved an ear down my throat and framed me for murder, but that’s not really romantic.”

“He, um … I’m sorry caller, what?”

“I think he fed me a human heart once. That’s probably considered more romantic than the ear thing.”

“Excuse me, caller, I’m confused. He–he did what again?”

“It’s a long story. But recently he moved away while I was in the hospital. I woke up and he was just gone. That was hard for me to handle.”

“That sounds tragic. Did he say goodbye?”

“Well, yeah. That’s why I was in the hospital.”

“…”

“But I really feel this burning need to find him. What we have isn’t over yet.”

“I can understand your need for closure, caller, but if he left after a … painful goodbye, perhaps he’s telling you that he needs time apart.”

“But we parted on very bad terms … and I still have a lot I need to say to him.”

“I understand, but as unfortunate as that is, we cannot force others to listen nor should rely on someone else to give us closure – we need to find that ourselves. Tell me, caller, do you have any hobbies you could immerse yourself in for the time being?”

“I fly fish, but all my equipment was seized when the police raided my house.”

“Uh … right. Anything else?”

“Not really.”

“What about a pet? Perhaps a dog? Dogs are very therapeutic.”

“You think I should get a dog?”

“Dogs offer us a multitude–”

“I agree. I’m thinking an Aussie mix? I live in a farmhouse; lots of land around me … What about two dogs? Three? Do they become exponentially more therapeutic the more dogs you own?”

“Well, I don’t know, caller. After awhile they might stress your–”

“No. They wouldn’t be a problem. No stress. Just dogs … I think you might be on to something, doc.”

“Uh … I’m glad you think so, caller. While you are recovering from your former relationship, try to surround yourself with the things that bring you joy. It will aid in your recovery.”

“So, do you think I should take the dog with me when I go looking for him? Because I’ve taken dogs on planes and it’s not fun for me or the dog.”

“Well, no, the dog was to replace your trip, not to add to it. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to chase after someone who doesn’t seem as invested in the relationship as you.”

“Well, no that’s not really the case though. He’s invested in what we have, he’s just wanted by the police.”

“So he’s running from the police?”

“Yeah, hence the quick and painful goodbye.”

“… Dare I ask what he’s being charged with?”

“Well, I told you, he forced me to eat a human ear and framed me for murder. But also, a few other things … Do you really think I shouldn’t go after him? It seems like he really wants me to chase him. And after everything we’ve gone through, he feels like my partner now. I mean, we had a surrogate daughter together.”

“Ah, a family problem! I know who you need to call, Dr. Niles Crane – also in Seattle, he’ll fix you right up. Good luck, caller, and thanks for listening – Roz, next caller please!”

If you enjoy my writing, please consider dropping me a comment here or, if applicable, on AO3 or by supporting my hot beverage habit on Ko-fi. Thank you!

—joanielspeak
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