"It's a duck playing snooker."
Dr Montrose said nothing, merely nodding encouragement at Mr Tommo.
"This is the duck," Mr Tommo said, gesturing to the image. "That's the duck's cue, he's trying to pot the green ball in the top pocket. That's the referee, you know, the woman with the glasses."
Of all the thousands of patients Dr Montrose had shown this particular inkblot test, this was the strangest answer of all. But what did it mean? What the psychological significance of seeing a duck playing snooker?
"What do you think the duck is feeling?" he asked.
"It's feeling 'If I can pot the green and brown the elk will need a snooker'."
"The one in the picture." He pointed to a blob.
Animals were always significant, Dr Montrose thought, but elks had no obvious connotations. The cue was obviously a phallic symbol, and the round balls being knocked into pockets was also sexually suggestive, as was the presence of a female snooker referee.
Now it had been pointed out to him, the picture really did look like a duck playing snooker. It wasn't like any of the other Rorschach inkblots, this wasn't an interpretive desciption of what the shapes suggested, it really did look like a picture of a snooker-playing duck. He could see it all now. There was the duck, with his cue, there was the table, and the snooker referee, you know the woman with the glasses, and there was the green ball, perfectly positioned to hold for the brown.
"The green is perfectly positioned to stun the cue ball and hold for the brown." Mr Tommo paused and looked directly at Dr Montrose. "But what does it all mean doc?"
Dr Montrose peered thoughtfully at Mr Tommo for some seconds before responding.
"It means that the elk is going to need snookers."