“Will,” Hannibal said, opening his desk drawer and taking out a sizable stack of white index cards. “I don’t mean to impose upon you during our therapy time, but I would really like your assistance regarding a certain matter.”
“Uh, sure, Doctor Lecter.” Will took another sip of his wine—a lovely Merlot this evening—and straightened up in his chair. “As long as it’s not another grisly crime scene, I believe I can handle just about anything you throw my way.”
“I assure you, there is no death involved in this task…minus the death of the English language, that is.” Hannibal made his way back across the room with ease, index cards in hand, and held them out to Will.
“I can only imagine what you mean by that…” Will set his wine glass on the glass-top end table to his right before reaching to take the proffered stack, “And these are?”
“Flashcards.” Hannibal sat back down across from Will, crossing one leg over the other, “As a psychiatrist, I see many patients from various backgrounds and stages of life. In order to better understand my adolescent patients, I try to stay in-the-know, if you will, especially when it comes to colloquialisms or ‘slang’ terms. It’s particularly tiresome having to ask a patient to define a word every few minutes.”
"You want me to quiz you?”
“Alright then, let’s see what we’ve got here…” Will made a show of shuffling the cards for a moment—and not dropping them, miraculously—before reading the first one aloud. “’Kay, what does hella mean? Oh, and, uh, use it in a sentence.”
“Hella is an adjective meaning ‘very’ or ‘really.’” Only after Will nodded did Hannibal continue. “As for a sentence: Will, I believe that you are hella overworked and need to learn how to say ‘no’ to Jack Crawford.”
“Oh, so that’s how this is gonna go—you’re using slang to get me to talk about my feelings. Try to convince me that you’re one of the cool guys so I open up more?”
“Yes and no,” Hannibal replied, taking a quick sip from his glass, “Mostly, I thought this would be an amusing way to get the conversation flowing, and perhaps make you feel more relaxed.”
“Well, the joke’s on you, Doctor Lecter,” Will huffed, “I don’t know what any of these words even mean, so it’s not going to make me feel relaxed.”
“Then it shall simply be a learning experience for us both.”
“Yeah, whatever you say, Doctor.” Will inhaled a deep breath and read the next flawlessly hand-written word. “Same deal as before, but this time the word is…bae?”
“Bae is the shortened form of ‘before anyone else,’ but is also used as a term of endearment. You wanted Alana Bloom to be your bae, but she rejected you because you are too unstable.”
“Yeah, that’s correct, but do you have to be so harsh about it?” Will’s cheeks reddened in shame. That certainly wasn’t one of his best moments.
“I would rather get to the point instead of dancing around the issue, so, yes, I do have to be blunt. You react best that way. Now, onto the next one, if you please.”
“Fine. Uh…” Will flipped through the cards again, unfamiliar word after unfamiliar word, until one particular gem came into view. “Jive turkey? Really? Don’t tell me there’s somebody going around saying ‘jive turkey’ like it’s still the ‘60s?”
“You’d be surprised at the things I hear, dear Will. And, a jive turkey is an individual who is arrogant, foolish, and exaggerates the truth. Doctor Chilton once told me that he is the best psychiatrist and, seeing that he is not, I came to the conclusion that he is a jive turkey.” Hannibal gave a small chuckle, “I included this particular term because the first time a patient used it, I thought he was talking about ‘chive turkey’ and I felt compelled to give him a few tips on making sure the bird is fully cooked-through.”
Will flat-out laughed at that one, because hearing about the great, almighty Doctor Lecter making a mistake for once in his life was simply too outlandish for him to comprehend. Hannibal joined in briefly before finishing up his glass of wine and moving to refill it. For good measure, he refilled Will’s glass too, although the other man was far too engrossed in Hannibal’s flashcards to notice.
“Okay, okay, time for a more challenging one. Tell me, Doctor Lecter, what do I mean when I say that something is tore up from the floor up?”
“Oh my, that is quite a challenge.” Hannibal sat back down in his chair and swirled the fresh, deep burgundy liquid in his glass, deep in thought. “You shall have to give me a moment…”
“Ah, have I managed to finally stump the omniscient Doctor Lecter? And only three cards in, to boot! I feel like I should get a medal to commemorate this great achievement…”
“Not so fast, William. I find it quite tore up from the floor up—meaning outlandish, or ‘messed up’ if you will—that you think I’d give up so easily.”
“Showoff.” Will took a swig of wine then, frustrated by Hannibal’s apparent inability to fail at anything. “Do you even need my help with these, or are you just screwing with me?”
“Are you intimidated by my cray-cray amount of swag, Will?”
“What, I—excuse me?”
Hannibal smirked and cleaned closer, as if very concerned.
“There’s no reason to accuse me of being ratchet. I find it a complete and utter bummer that you would think of me as some kind of lame-ass dork.”
Will frantically searched through the hefty stack of index cards, but there were just too many terms to keep up with. And, to his dismay, Hannibal showed no sign of stopping anytime soon.
“Lighten up, broski. There’s more to me than these killer threads and my mad cooking skills. I am a righteous dude.”
“Uh, okay…” Will sets the index cards back down on the table and indulges in a large gulp of wine, propriety be damned.
“If you’re trying to get turnt, Will, then I suggest partaking in something with more alcohol content. I can make a wicked bodacious cocktail, you know.”
“Uh, I, uh…” Will stood up, eyes darting around the room, “I-I think I better go. Uh. Dogs to feed. It’s, uh, it’s gotten hella late—I mean, it’s gotten late, and I… Yeah, I’m just gonna-“
“Very well, then.” Hannibal smiled—he had won this strange little game, and it had been a most enjoyable experience. Perhaps he would repeat it again sometime… For now, though, he was content to stand and walk a very confused Will Graham to the door.
“Uh, good night, Doctor Lecter. I’ll, um, I’ll see you…I-I’ll see you around.”
“Indeed. Good night to you too, Will.” Will acknowledged him with a nod before briskly exiting the room. “Oh, and Will?”
The younger man stopped immediately, head snapping around to look back at his therapist.
“Remember to keep it real.”
Hannibal couldn’t help but smile when Will sighed and stormed out the door.