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(Level: 134.0 - Posts: 3778)
Tue, 31st Mar '09 9:33 PM
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE SHORT STORY
Surreyman tossed up a toughie. As a result, we only have three from which to choose.
Just vote at the end of the thread.
I keep my gaze focused straight ahead of me as I walk down the hall. Rule #1. Never, under any circumstances, make eye contact. This is one of those state run institutions where families abandon their dirty little secrets and leave them for dead. The population here is as dismal as the oatmeal colored walls. They are the lost causes, the incurable nutcases. They are Someone Else’s Problem. I enter the nurses’ station, quickly locate the chart I need, and head back to my office.
My office looks as if it has been invaded by gnomes, literally. Figurine painting is one of the Occupational Therapist’s latest attempts at engaging what’s left of our patients’ feeble minds, and apparently she has a thing for gnomes. As with projects past, they all seem to find their way to my office, clumsily made tokens of appreciation. (Appreciation for what? Pretending to listen to their inane blather for fifteen minutes a week and reducing them to drooling zombies through my cunning use of antipsychotics?) If one more whack-job enters my office bearing an ashtray, trivet, or painted gnome, I fear I am in very real danger of joining their ranks.
I turn my attention to the chart in front of me. It belongs to one Mr. Ben Willard, Medical Record #313, Someone Else’s Problem #313. Ben is a paranoid psychotic with a long history of refusing his meds, fearing they are a part of a government conspiracy to erase his memory of certain alien encounters. Ben enters my office carrying a hand painted garden gnome. Of course
“Have a seat Ben.” (And whatever you do, do not set that hideous little troll on my desk.) Ben places the gnome on my desk and sits down, slightly adjusting his chair so that he can keep one eye on the door. “I see from the nursing notes that you are still refusing your medications.” Ben scans the room, looking, I suspect, for evidence of wire tapping.
“Not meds, Doc, mind erasers, mind erasers.”
“Right, of course. Any more dreams, Ben?”
“Not dreams Doc, rememberings, rememberings.”
“Sorry. Right. Any more, um, rememberings then?”
“Just one. I’m camping by the lake when I see this thing in they sky. It looks like a mountain, except its flat. Then the flat mountain rose down to the sky.”
“Don’t you mean up, Ben?”
“No, down. To them, the people on the flat mountain, sky is water and water is sky.”
Throughout this entire exchange, I cannot take my eyes off the gnome sitting on my desk. I swear its features have formed themselves into something akin to a leer. Yes, no doubt about it, the little f****r is leering at me.
“All right Ben, I think I’ve heard quite enough. I’m not a doctor, you see, I’m actually an operative for the CIA. We’ve been following your case quite closely. The encounters you’ve experienced are very real indeed, and we can’t risk you continuing to talk about them. Given your resistance to our regime of mind erasers, you leave us little alternative but to perform a frontal lobotomy to remove these memories. That will be all.”
All in all, a productive session. In five minutes time, I’ve undone half a lifetime of psychotherapy and bought Ben another half a lifetime in purgatory.
T’was a warm summer evening and all was aplumb, here on Flat Mountain. The plan to get the flower garden off to a great start had been hatched and neither of us felt we had left anything in the fields. We rested with our “sweet tea” and joined in frolic.
The days went into weeks and we had nothing but happy times as the evenings ended with glee. Then up came the bounty and the seeds were aplenty as the dust settled onto the porch. We rocked, we sweated, we even undressed, and then we made love in the evening sunset.
One day the eider duck came. He was tired, he had no energy but he had found his birth place. With little effort he died at our feet, his feathers askew. Out of respect, she picked his tuffs and I mingled the pedals of the flower we chose and we each cast our Flat Mountain rose down, to the sky. Then we made love, again.
What in the heck am I doing hiking up a steep mountain trail on the shore of the South China Sea? Well, it is an interesting situation. It all started my last day as a lady’s shoe salesman.
A large lady entered the store just after lunch. She was about 5’2”, which was a shame. If she were a couple inches taller, she could have been perfectly spherical. Anyway, she sat down and ordered up a few pairs of shoe that she wanted to try on.
I was about halfway through the ordeal when I inadvertently broke the cardinal rule of lady’s shoe sales…I looked up. I saw a smiley face, but it wasn’t smiling. It was grimacing. When I came to in the emergency room, I was suffering from what the doctors called Hysterical Blindness.
The doctors said it would pass in a few weeks, but it didn’t. I tried several faith healers, miracle cures and new age cures to no avail. Finally, as a last resort, I was convinced to join a group with various incurable afflictions. We were going to China to seek the Mountain Rose of Liang Liu. It is said to cure all ailments for those who can find it.
Anyway, we traveled halfway around the world to Wuhan, China. We searched the mountains from top to bottom. We hunted for anyone who could help us on our quest. After 6 months it seemed hopeless. I was ready to resign myself to my fate. Then we found an elderly monk who said he could guide us to the rose if we promised to keep it secrecy, and to pay him a princely sum.
The next day we were on a boat down the Pearl River. From there we traveled the shore to a remote location to the west. At sunrise on the third day we landed at the base of a sheer cliff. The monk led us to a crude stairway, which he started leading us up. I am glad I was blind at the time, because I could have never scaled it, if I could see.
We climbed the entire day, finally resting at sunset, according to my friends. We were awakened the next morning and lead to a spot where I could hear water rushing and birds chirping. The air was scented with the aroma of exotic flora.
“We are above the sky,” said the monk. “We are at the foot of Heaven.”
“Is that the rose,” asked Joe in a hopeful voice.
“Yes,” said Cybil. “That is it, the Mountain Rose of Liang Liu.”
My five friends took turns approaching the rose and receiving its healing scent. They were all giddy with joy as Sharon took my hand and led me forward to receive the healing scent.
Suddenly, there was a huge, collective gasp, and my vision returned. I looked down, and sticking out from under my boot was the flat mountain rose.
“Down to the sky!” hollered Joe.”
“Sky h***!” screamed Sharon. “Down to the sea!”
The monk was going crazy. We were scared he might do some mystical thing of incredible consequence. With all haste, I used my newly returned sight to follow my friends down to the sky, and on down to the sea, where we escaped in our boat.
Now, three months later, we are off in search of the Giant Rat of Sumatra. Its musk oil will supposedly remove the monkey tails and bat ears we have all mysteriously grown.
(Level: 197.2 - Posts: 1302)
Tue, 31st Mar '09 9:43 PM
All very clever, but I'm going for #1.
(Level: 26.0 - Posts: 163)
Tue, 31st Mar '09 10:49 PM
I agree that all three stories are quite good, but, I too, give story #1 my vote.
(Level: 150.7 - Posts: 740)
Tue, 31st Mar '09 10:57 PM
Number 1 gets my vote as well. Good job by all three writers though.
(Level: 156.4 - Posts: 5316)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 12:38 AM
I liked the humor in the twist at the end of No. 2 and 3, but No. 1 gets my vote. Tough choice tho.
(Level: 173.5 - Posts: 754)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 1:25 AM
All three were wonderful, but I chose #1 as the best. (And I'm so sorry I must make a choice.)
(Level: 260.8 - Posts: 2770)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 4:48 AM
Yeh, very hard indeedy.
But I think I'll just edge for 3.
(Level: 122.4 - Posts: 39)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 8:59 AM
I liked the imagery in 2 so that one gets my vote.
btw sorry I didn't contribute a story, I thought it was a great line and got distracted with other stuff....
(Level: 210.9 - Posts: 5883)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 11:46 AM
(Level: 102.1 - Posts: 746)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 11:52 AM
(Level: 142.7 - Posts: 6057)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 12:46 PM
(Level: 193.1 - Posts: 1025)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 12:56 PM
Liked them all, but I'll be thinking about #2 for a while. And voting for it now.
(Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 9:43 PM
Have to with # 1
(Level: 21.5 - Posts: 647)
Wed, 1st Apr '09 11:37 PM
(Level: 219.6 - Posts: 101)
Thu, 2nd Apr '09 8:41 AM
(Level: 86.8 - Posts: 2266)
Thu, 2nd Apr '09 9:58 AM
Really a tough decision, but my vote is for #1
(Level: 153.6 - Posts: 252)
Fri, 3rd Apr '09 11:14 AM
no 1. because of the structure of the opening sentence. and thats my story and i am sticking to it. and thats the truth.
(Level: 141.8 - Posts: 41)
Fri, 3rd Apr '09 3:30 PM
(Level: 179.5 - Posts: 37)
Fri, 3rd Apr '09 9:27 PM
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