John's eyes swam for a moment as his nostrils and stomach adjusted to the place. Why had Dr. Chester requested they meet HERE, of all places? When John had made the appointment with the famous shrink, he had expected to come to a cushy office and rest comfortably on a padded couch while pouring out his soul to a little man taking furious notes on a pad. Instead, the doctor's receptionist had instructed him to come here, to the "Wilted Chicken" fast food joint, where the food was as stale as the patrons.
Glancing around the room, John frowned as his eyes rested on beefy truck drivers, leather jacketed bikers, grizzled old men and a scattering of women who either looked embarrassed at being there, or were as fearsome in appearance as the men, and just as heavily tattooed. What respectable shrink would have a new client meet him HERE for a first consultation? What insanity was this, anyway?
To make matters worse, John had no idea what the good doctor even looked like. All the receptionist had told him over the phone was that "Dr. Chester will find you, so you don’t need to worry. He will greet you as soon as you come in." Well, John was in, but he had not been greeted, even by a curious stare from anyone. He was being completely ignored by all of the patrons who continued to guzzle down "food" that was sure to give them indigestion before they even left the place.
"John Sanders, I presume?" said a sudden voice to John's left. Looking sharply around, John saw a large, obese man, seated at a booth next to the door. On the table in front of him was a splash of French fries and onion rings, as well as a partially eaten burger that looked rather green. The man sported a grey-white mustache and a goatee, which stood out in stark contrast to his nearly bald, shiny scalp.
The big man waved an arm toward the boy. "Come have a seat, John." Without making any attempt to rise, he extended a hand for John to shake. "I'm Franklin Chester, your psychologist."
In sudden alarm, John furtively dove into the booth and blurted in a hoarse whisper, "Did you have to announce you're my shrink in front of everyone?" The good doctor did not answer at once, but just started to guffaw with a rumbling sound like a distant thunderstorm. "No one here even heard me!" he guffawed at last. "Nobody pays any attention to anyone or to anything that is said in the Wilted Chicken. It's better than a stuffy office with a curious receptionist having an ear glued to the door. It's the ultimate in privacy! And you get to eat while working, too!"