Microcosms 147

Greetings, flash fictioneers, and welcome to Microcosms 147.

*** SOMETHING TO BEAR IN MIND ***

Daylight Saving in the UK and Ireland ended on Sunday 28-OCT; the clocks went back by one hour as we revert to Greenwich Mean Time. However, daylight saving in New York (EDT) does not end until Sunday 04-NOV.

So, for THIS week’s contest, the time difference between New York and the UK and Ireland will be 4 hours, rather than the usual 5 hours; UK and Ireland entrants should remember to submit entries by 04:00 am on Saturday rather than 05:00 am. The usual time difference of 5 hours will be restored in Round 148 when New York will have reverted to EST.

[ Other time zones are available! Please check the situation where you are located. ]

 

Today — 02-NOV — is the anniversary of the death in 1961 of James Thurber, American humorist and short story writer: a veritable role model for all you flashionistas.

One of his “acknowledged masterpieces” is the story ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, first published in the New Yorker magazine in 1939.

In the story, while on a shopping trip to town with his wife, the eponymous character drifts off into five separate fantasies.

‘Walter Mitty’ and the adjective ‘Mittyesque’ have entered the English language, denoting an ineffectual person who spends his time in heroic daydreams to escape the humdrum real world, or perhaps someone who intentionally seeks to convince others that he is something that he is not.

Geoff

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a guest host, please contact us.)

 

Our contest prompt this week consists of THREE elements: character, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are:

Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button below, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

REMEMBER!

(1) You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EDT) to write and submit your masterpiece.
(2) All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title)
(3) NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS
(4) Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
(5) Do NOT give details of your entry on social media, your blog, etc. until the Results post is live
(6) If you are new to Microcosms, PLEASE check out the full submission guidelines 

 

  • Daydreamer
  • Flying Boat Pilot
  • Surgeon
  • Killer
  • Fighter Pilot
  • Prisoner
  • Shopping Trip
  • Storm
  • Operating Theatre
  • Courtroom
  • Suicide Mission
  • Firing Squad
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Tragedy
  • Crime
  • Thriller
  • Horror

 

Spin!

Last week’s Community Pick, Nikky Olivier, has kindly agreed to act as the judge this time around.

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 148
Microcosms 146

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21 comments for “Microcosms 147

  1. 2 November 2018 at 2:21 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Daydreamer; Storm; Comedy

    So, That’s the Way Its Gotta Be, eh! – A Domestic Foible

    The wind’s picking up.

    Whistling.

    “Henry. Please. This is getting dangerous.”

    That’s my love’s voice. She is a good woman. By that I mean…in the way many women are good. In charge. Having a sense of purpose. Aware of their surroundings. Tolerant of male foibles. Of which there are many, if I am any judge.

    “Henry. We have to get ready. The storm will be here before we know it.”

    I sense her impatience. And I must say, she has a lovely soprano tone in her voice. Its quite pleasing, even when I am about to jump out of a Boeing 727. It has been over a month since I last went D. B. Coopering. Two hundred grand in hand, I am floating on air. Will I land safely? Will I be a corpse, hidden in underbrush, an appetizer for a host of woodland creatures, wolves, worms, seriously hungry crows?

    “Henry. Seriously. Snap out of it. The weather’s turning. Time to batten down the hatches.”

    That causes me to smile. We have no hatches. A few latches to tighten but absolutely no hatches. We do have a cellar. We’ve sat out a few storms there.

    Storms always remind me of Halloween, six years ago. We went as Bonnie and Clyde. I think I bear a slight resemblance to Warren. The original Clyde looked nothing like him. The thirties were littered with storms. Dust storms. Ice storms. Bonnie and Clyde died is a hailstorm of 130 bullets. I can feel them enter me. I reach out to Bonnie…I touch her bloodied breast…

    “Holy moly, Henry. The weather report says it’s going to be blowing maybe 100 kilometers an hour. I’m heading to the basement.”

    I suppose I’ll join her.

    We have plenty of blackberry jam.

    I hope she remembered the bread.

    1+
  2. Stephanie Cornelius
    2 November 2018 at 8:53 am

    @Ravenangel888
    300 words
    Prisoner; Operating Theatre; Horror

    Captive Heart

    ~Static crackles over the intercom~
    “Dr April to Operating Theatre 5. Dr April to Operating Theatre 5.”
    ~more static~

    The sound jogs me awake. Theatre 5? I vaguely recall the Roman Numeral V on the lintel of the OR that I was wheeled into a few moments ago. I’m a little confused though. Why would I need an operation for a tiny nick on my right cheek? The shank didn’t even sink in that deeply. I had worse injuries from the books I love reading in the Prison Library.

    “Ah, a perfect candidate! You’ve done well, Sarg. Prisoner 25852 is an ideal match. They’ll be bringing the Warden’s daughter in shortly. I’m sure the Warden will be suitably grateful.” I assume the woman speaking is Dr April that was being paged earlier. Her words don’t make much sense to me though.

    My mind plays back over the rumours that have been running rampant in Cell Block 8. Rumours of organ harvesting and inmates with minor injuries that are never seen again. Am I to be one of those rumours? It’s been the source of much gossip throughout the South Wing where CB8 is located.

    A young girl of about 10 is wheeled into the room, her skin ashen, the colour of a bad heart. The Dr walks towards me as the drugs finally take effect.

    ~6 months later~

    I wake up slowly, loathe to give up the beauty of sleep. I see hospital walls, a single door beckoning. My bladder is full to bursting. I swing out of bed, realising my legs are different. I make my way slowly to the bathroom. As I look in the mirror, the face staring back at me is not my own. I see a young girl, and a brand new future. A do-over

    1+
  3. Lesley Turrell
    2 November 2018 at 9:53 am

    297 words
    Daydreamer; Suicide Mission; Crime

    Frankenstein Chemicals

    On the quayside Steve feels a sense of impending doom. The guy is pale and lanky, wearing size 12 DMs and goal keeper’s gloves. ‘I could take him’, but then spots wires attached to a plunger. The messianic gleam in the man’s eye isn’t reassuring. ‘What type of bomb is it then?’
    ‘It’s a scientific experiment,’ comes the gruff retort.
    ‘In my view, if it’s designed to explode, then it’s a bomb.’
    ‘Limited thinking like yours has stifled science for years.’
    ‘What can I call you?‘
    ‘Jeremiah’
    ‘So Jeremiah, what are you aiming for? Shouldn’t we warn some people?
    ‘No contact,’ Jeremiah waves his hands in emphasis. ‘I am a neo-vitalist. I’m testing my hypothesis. If enough energy is added to fertiliser and water there will be rearrangement to produce life,’
    ‘Frankenstein chemicals.’
    ‘So you need to kill people to prove your point.’ Steve’s boss, Jacy’s voice is redolent with anger. She inserts her diminutive, uniformed frame right into Jeremiah’s space.
    ‘Back off, woman..’
    Jacy smashes a large piece of wood near Jeremiah’s hand. Steve takes advantage of the animosity between the two of them to detach the wire attached to the explosive .
    ‘Next time come prepared for a fight.’ Steve is breathing deeply.
    ‘I guessed you’d got yourself in trouble? Again!’
    ‘‘I thought he was just a dreamer.. How did you know it was more?
    Jacy explains.she suspects a genetic condition that causes long limbs that’s sometimes linked to schizophrenia.’
    ‘Marfans?’ Steve hasn’t heard of it.
    The lanky guy is meanwhile crawling like a slug towards the edge. ‘If you jump in, I’ll let you drown.’ Realising she means it, he slumps. Steve decides that his his boss is one seriously scary female. ‘Just another day at the office’ Jacy murmurs listening to distant sirens..

    0
  4. 2 November 2018 at 11:09 am

    300 words
    Daydreamer; Shopping Trip; Comedy

    On a Mission for M

    For once his wife had trusted him enough to send him to the shopping mall on his own. He left home in the knowledge that he was working solo; he was on a mission for M.

    Driving to the mall the secret agent watched his mirrors, looking for any sign of a tail. He swerved his way through the busy rush hour traffic, changing lanes at random to lose any followers. On parking his car at the mall he carefully weaved his way between the parked vehicles, in an effort to avoid the hidden assassins out to get him. On safely entering the mall he made his way towards his objective. It was his mission to retrieve a priceless artefact and get it back to base in one piece.

    Ducking and diving, dodging from door to door, he passed through the mall unseen. At times he doubled back to keep his enemies confused; he knew they’d be watching for him so he ascended two levels before dropping back to the level below. As he neared his objective, he rehearsed the passphrase under his breath. His destination was in sight, a large store, shelves heaving with books. Fearlessly, he pressed on.

    He entered a store teeming with customers, any of whom could have been working for the opposition. Straightening his tie he walked up to the designated rendezvous, it was disguised with a sign reading ‘Customer Services’. Just in case, he reached into his jacket ready to pull out his weapon of choice, an old-fashioned cheque book.

    A man approached him, uttering the secret passphrase, ‘Can I help you?’ With that our hero, inscrutable to the last, replied with the answering passphrase, ‘I’m here to pick up a book on behalf of my wife. My name is Mitty, Walter Mitty.’

    0
  5. Kate Cassidy
    2 November 2018 at 12:07 pm

    300 words
    Killer; Courtroom; Tragedy

    A Time to Fly

    I’ve read books where people described time moving so slowly that the hands on the clock appeared to tick in reverse. The reality is much worse. When I look at the clock mounted above the heads of the 12 people who will decide if I deserve life in a cage, I can’t make out the numbers at all. They blur. I squint to bring them into focus, but they melt into a black ooze that drips down the wall and on to the head of juror number 6. I watch the liquid run down his face and into his mouth as he slowly smiles.

    As if the world wasn’t mad enough, now I’m cracking up too. My lawyer places a hand on my shoulder, and I am transported.

    It’s the doctor who has his hand on my shoulder now, as he tells us that Claire’s cancer has spread to her lymph nodes and lungs. They will need to start a third round of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. I shift out of his grasp as he tells me to stay positive. My wife stares out the window, as if she’s flown straight out of it and into the sun. It’s only her body in this cold room, connected to tubes delivering it poison.

    On the drive home, she tells me that she doesn’t want to do this anymore. And at first, I think she’s just feeling defeated. I tell her that she can beat this; that I will be there. But this time is different. She is tired. So tired of the pain and the vomit and the adult diapers and the indignities of it all. She wants me to give her permission to fly out of that window for good. My crime is that I helped her spread her wings.

    2+
  6. 2 November 2018 at 12:56 pm

    @VicenteLRuiz
    300 words
    Fighter Pilot; Suicide Mission; Terror

    Kamikaze

    Dawn comes, but I haven’t slept. The ghost of my father visited me last night, and he kept me awake. And he wasn’t alone.

    We had always been told my grand-grand-grandfather had been a samurai. I always found it difficult to believe, since we were farmers. The story went that he had lived long enough to retire, and take up farming in his old age. I never believed it.

    It turned out to be true. He paid me a visit last night, in full samurai regalia, together with my father. They told me how proud they are. I can only shiver and hope they don’t notice.

    I wash my face and put on my uniform as the bell tolls. I wear my senninbari, and pick up the hachimaki for my head. As I leave my quarters for the last time, I don it. I tie the knot tight; I’ve never been too good at it. My pistol in its holster slaps my thigh as I walk.

    I see the other squadron pilots march towards the mess. Our table is ready there. We give Lieutenant Hamada our wills, that we wrote last night before bed, and salute each other as we drink our sake. It will be the last thing we drink.

    I board my plane, and busy myself with the take-off checklist over and over. It helps me not to think of what lies ahead. The radio crackles alive with the take-off order, and in seconds we’re gone.

    We fly in formation, maintaining radio silence.

    How beautiful the sky is. So blue. I’ll never see it again.

    The gaijin planes are expecting us, right where expected.

    Together, we soar high and attack the otherworldly creatures. The Americans have to keep their tentacles occupied, while we go for their bodies.

    Farewell…

    1+
  7. Angelique Pacheco
    2 November 2018 at 1:17 pm

    299 words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    The Hands that Heal

    “Are you saying that you know for a fact that Miss Farrah was dead?”

    He closed his eyes as he remembered…

    He selected his ten blade and started by cutting an incision, starting at the top of the chest, meeting at the lower point of the sternum. There was a lot of blood. Common for crush injuries. Hopefully some of the organs would be intact. Derrick switched on the bone saw. He neatly cut through the ribs on the costal cartilage, and then he cracked open the sternum. The wonders of the human body never failed to amaze him. He inspected the chest cavity closely for signs of trauma. The spleen was obliterated. He would remove that. Satisfied that none of the other organs were damaged, he started the repair. Once the spleen had been removed, he sent the rest of the staff out of the theatre. Sister Margret was not happy about this. She wanted a first-year resident to stitch up the surgical site, but he waved her away saying that the patient’s parents had requested that he do the job from start to finish. They all left then, knowing he was quite capable to finish the task. He put her on bypass, then he got to work. A kidney for a celebrity in Florida. The bladder for a princess in Europe. The liver for a drunk movie star. He was about to remove the heart when she woke up and started fighting the intubation. He told her to hush and took out the heart. She flatlined.

    “Dr. Jordan. Please answer the question.”

    The prosecutor looked at him, suspicion written over his face. He looked back smugly.

    “Yes, I’m sure she was dead.”

    Then he took a clear, plastic bag from his pocket that held a human heart.

    2+
  8. 2 November 2018 at 1:21 pm

    @alysia_ascovani
    300 Words
    Daydreamer; Courtroom; Drama

    Natural Jurisdiction

    “Could you please state your name for the record?”

    “Lily Voelkel, Your Majesty.”

    I sigh as the wind brushes through my hair, a crisp chill embracing my soul. Before me, a small stream bubbles kindly, asking me to slip under its halcyon sway.

    “Ms. Voelkel, please state your employment for the court.”

    Thunder crashes above, lightning parries in a resplendent waltz. Rain serenades me; I twirl in circles with the melody, tears adding to the rain.

    “I am a diviner.”

    Raucous laughter joins the lilting refrain, rising in serene crescendo. Through the rain, I see brilliant red weaving with the accompanying countermelody. Hypnotic in its trance, I smile at the blades of grass swirling around my feet.

    “Ms. Voelkel, this is a serious matter. Let me remind you that you have sworn to tell the truth. I will ask you again, what is the nature of your employment?”

    Silence falls, tension saturates the air. I laugh as I twirl through the song, edging closer to the stream, to the exquisite terror that awaits me.

    “Your Majesty, I am a diviner. I cannot offer you any other truth than that.”

    The roar of laughter rose again to fill my ears, propelling the passion of my dance to a discordant fervor. Thunder and lightning join the rain in a cacophonous lullaby, gentle mist floating off the empyrean stream.

    “Then you will be held in contempt of this court until you can.”

    My smile widens as I draw nearer to the stream. The melody deafens me, and I dance till I can go no faster.

    “I’m sorry, but–”

    I spin in the arms of the heavens, halting in the midst of disconcertion, the stream stroking my bare toes.

    “I think not.”

    The music grows soft. The storm fades. I am the blissful stream.

    2+
  9. 2 November 2018 at 1:45 pm

    @j_writes_stuff
    300 words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    At Loss

    “Dr. Thurber please tell us about the surgery you performed on 2nd of November.”

    “It was an amputation. The patient was a severe smoker and had irreparable nerve damage in his right hand. A fairly routine procedure. It went well.”

    “What happened with the severed hand after the surgery?”

    “It was placed on a tray. Then I wanted to take it down to the basement for cremation.”

    “You say ‘you wanted to’. Why didn’t you?”

    “When I was outside I realized that I had forgotten my watch in the sterilization room. I put the tray aside and went back inside. When I came back out, the hand was gone.”

    “How did you proceed?”

    “I looked everywhere. Then I reported the loss to my supervisor. We thought some younger patients might have taken it. Kind of a delayed Halloween joke. We told the nurses to keep an eye out for it.”

    “So one could say, you lost that hand by your own fault and didn’t do anything to retrieve it?”

    “Well, I really wouldn’t…”

    “Thank you. No further questions. The prosecution can proceed.”

    “Dr. Thurber could you please identify the man in the dock?”

    “That’s Mr. Putzen, our janitor.”

    “Thank you. Could you now tell us about the incident that occurred the day after the surgery?”

    “Well. There was a roomba driving down the hallway. The hospital bought some a while ago. At first it looked like there was something stuck to it. But then one of the nurses started screaming. And that’s when I saw it.”

    “Saw what?”

    “The thing that was stuck to the roomba… was the missing hand. And it was holding a duster.”

    The janitor burst into tears.

    “The corners!” he sobbed. “It was because of the corners! Those bloody robots just can’t get the corners clean!”

    3+
    • 3 November 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Drama, bordering on the comedic…I have to hand it to you, Johanna…

      1+
  10. 2 November 2018 at 2:11 pm

    @hollygeely
    137 words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    Fancy Murder

    The prosecutor called the sister of the deceased to the stand.

    “He went in to have his appendix out. After the surgery was done they let us in to see him. He looked okay but suddenly his machine started beeping and he was screaming. These horrible screams, like…like…”

    “A dying man?” the prosecutor suggested.

    “Yeah, like that. The nurses rushed in and we had to go back and wait in the lobby. Then they showed us the scans…”

    “These scans?” The prosecutor held up some printouts. At the witness’s affirmative, she showed the printouts to the jury.

    The members of the jury gasped in horror.

    “They…they showed us…most of his insides were replaced with fancy women’s underwear!” The witness could no longer contain her sobbing.

    In the end, they found the doctor guilty of murder by negligee.

    2+
    • Geoff Holme
      3 November 2018 at 8:27 am

      Love the negli-geely ending, Holly. 😀

      1+
    • 3 November 2018 at 2:23 pm

      For any medical procedure to go wrong, all it takes is a little slip…

      1+
  11. 2 November 2018 at 2:31 pm

    @geofflepard
    297 words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    There’s Always a Risk of Flooding

    ‘Mr. Martens?’
    Harold Martens started, momentarily lost in his thoughts. ‘Yes?’
    The questioner’s tone hardened. ‘Could talk us through the operation from your perspective? Why you did what you did? For Mrs. Golding.’
    ‘Golding?’ Left knee. Impact damage. Reconstruction. He could visualize the woman’s joint but nothing else about her.’
    ‘Well?’
    ‘Did I do something?’
    ‘Are you saying Mrs Golding’s death was caused by someone else? A colleague, divine interference?’
    Horrible man, using that tone. Funny that knee, though. It was exactly so like that cave he and Jim used to…’
    ‘If you prefer I will take you through what we have heard. You were her surgeon, you carried out the surgery, you determined the treatment plan…’
    They never planned those trips. Jim would call and off they’d go. If they’d planned they might have thought about the rain, the risk of a flood…
    ‘Mr Martens, please concentrate. When the mistake was…’
    ‘Objection!’
    No one ever objected, back then. They went where they wanted, just the two of them…
    ‘And then we come to the hemorrhage. The nub. Suddenly there was a tsunami of blood. Wasn’t that how we have heard it described?’
    A flood of blood? Certainly a flood and blood. Really funny, that knee, how he thought about that cave. If he’d grabbed the knife, cut the rope, Jim would have been ok. At least he’d done it this time. Jim wouldn’t have been caught. He could have swum…’
    ‘Witnesses have testified that you prevented them from staunching the flow, after you severed the femoral artery. Had you not done so then a disaster might not have become a tragedy. I think it would be good of you could explain exactly why you did what you did?’
    ‘Jim. For Jim.’ Harold smiled at the man.

    1+
  12. Donald Pearl
    2 November 2018 at 2:42 pm

    293 Words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    Slaying the Dragon

    The brave knight was all that stood between the realm and the fire-breathing monster. He stepped forward with his sword raised ready to be the hero of this story. Feint left and as the monster reacts hit hard right. The blade hits….

    “Hello, doctor. Are you going to answer my question?”

    “Sorry?”

    “Did your lack of attention during surgery cause the death of Ms. Jones?”

    “No way!”

    “Then explain what…”

    The knight’s sword hit its mark and black blood began to flow from the dragon’s side. It wasn’t a mortal wound He turns and breaths fire, but the knight is….

    “Doctor, please answer the question asked!”

    “Could you repeat it?”

    “What did you do after you nicked the patient’s aorta?”

    “Well, I…..”

    Was able to lift my shield at the last moment foiling the dragon’s attack. The dragon’s mistake was exposing his tender underside. The knight thrusts his sword through the thin skin here right towards his heart and…..

    “The nicked aorta doctor, what did you do afterward?”

    “I lead the surgery team to repair this nick before any trauma could befall the patient.”

    “Didn’t the patient then go into cardiac arrest?”

    “One event has nothing to do with the other.”

    “Then what do you make of doctor Park’s testimony about……”

    A direct hit to the heart of the monster! Black blood gushes forth and the monster falls to its side. A fair maiden comes out to congratulate him and…..

    “Do you understand this ruling doctor?”

    “Sorry?”

    “Your inattention has found you guilty of criminal neglect in this case. You are facing….”

    My hero, the fair maiden says. The doctor decides to stay here since this life is the one he wants!

    1+
  13. Muskan Dhiman
    2 November 2018 at 3:02 pm

    260 words
    Killer; Courtroom; Crime

    Those Eyes

    “The court has found the accused guilty of having committed the murder of his wife, Siya Malhotra…”

    I don’t hear what she says after that. I’m unable to.

    So this is how it ends. This is how it ends for me. I’ll have to spend the rest of my days in a rotting, stinking prison cell. Maybe I shouldn’t have killed her. But then, how could I have just let it go?

    I used to sweat it out at a cramped office all day, just so I could earn enough to keep her happy. I always tried my best to fulfill all her whims and fancies, to never give her any reason to complain. And how did she repay me? By whiling away with another man. The mere thought makes my blood boil.

    “Accordingly, the accused is convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and is sentenced to death. The sentence shall be carried out…”

    Death? Is everyone crazy in here? Do they not realize that I’m not the culprit, but the victim? Do they not realize how I was wronged, how I was cheated?

    I stare at the Judge. Her short hair is streaked with grey. She looks at me, shaking her head slightly. She has black eyes. Just like Siya. But Siya’s eyes were much more beautiful. They would make you think of starry skies and of dark, deep forests. Unfortunately, those beautiful eyes had a wild, frantic look when I last saw them.

    The bullets had hit her just above those very eyes.

    0
  14. Deanna Salser
    2 November 2018 at 3:08 pm

    @beadanna7
    300 words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    The Interrupted, Interrupting Surgeon

    “Sir, can you state your name for the record?”
    “Yes. My name is Dr. Mort Wittman.”
    “Raise your right hand and place your left on the bible. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
    “Yes, of course.”
    “You may be seated. Counselor, your witness.”
    “Thank you, your honor. Hello, Dr. Wittman.”
    “Hello.”
    “Dr. Wittman, on the night in question, do you remember seeing the defendant come into your operating room?”
    “Yes, I did. Totally contaminated my sterile field.”
    “What did the defendant do after he came into the room?”
    “He made me kill my patient.”
    “With a gun?”
    “Objection! Leading the witness!”
    “You can’t do that. Your honor?”
    “Doctor, you can’t do that, you’re the witness.”
    “Right, sorry. Carry on, then.”
    “Dr. Wittman, can you please answer the question?”
    “Right. The question. Um, what was the question?”
    “When the defendant disturbed your surgery, did he have a weapon?”
    “Oh. Yes. He had a gun.”
    (Sigh)
    “So, when he pointed this gun at you, you were in fear for your life, were you not?”
    “I was! He was most fearsome!”
    (Snicker)
    “So, then what happened?”
    “Excuse me?”
    “After he pointed the gun at you, did he talk to you?”
    “What are you implying, sir? Are you insinuating that I am in cahoots with that delinquent?!”
    “Oh, no, Dr. Wittman, I’m just trying to find out what happened.”
    “Oh. Well, okay then. Carry on.”
    “Okay. Did the defendant say anything to you, when he threatened you?”
    “Yeah, he said, “Put down that scalpel or I’ll kill you!”
    “And did that make you think you were about to die?”
    “Objection! Speculation!”
    “Doctor, I’ve already told you, you can’t do that.”
    “Right. Sorry. Carry on then.”
    (Sigh)
    “No further questions, your honor.”

    0
  15. Marie
    2 November 2018 at 4:48 pm

    300 Words
    Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama

    Hands

    The courtroom smells like aging wood. It takes me back to the times I helped my father cut down and split a tree for firewood in Wisconsin. He always said “Good work, Jack. You’ve always been a helper.”

    Helper, I was. Murderer, I could be. The silver-haired judge peeked through her thick, wiry glasses and pursed her wrinkled lips. The courtroom is full and buzzing in hushed voices. I could see familiar faces, nurses who toiled with me and the parents of that poor boy.

    I look down at my sweaty palms and notice the lines get deeper as I form two fists. I trust these hands. They’ve healed those who found themselves on my operating table. And yet here I was, deemed unworthy of grave responsibility.

    The morning of that fateful day, I did what I’ve always done. I slipped on my robe, washed my hands, and did my best to save a life. He was seven and barely alive. Twelve hours seemed like minutes as I tried to repair his heart. But I missed one thing, and it was everything. I had to call time of death. 2:22 AM.

    The judge asks both lawyers to give a final plea. The man next to me rose and fixes his tie. He appears anything but nervous. The panel leans forward.

    “… a doctor and a decorated veteran? A life was indeed lost, but not by the same hands that saved hundreds of lives in the operating table as much as he did on the battlefield. This man has always been a helper.”

    Some heads nod, while some faces stay still. The courtroom buzzes.

    We await the charge.

    “The jury finds the defendant… guilty of manslaughter.”

    I look down at my hands.

    These hands that sweat with blood… they’re mine.

    2+
  16. 2 November 2018 at 6:16 pm

    300 words
    Killer; Firing Squad; Drama

    An Officer’s Word

    ‘READY’

    He slumped against the courtyard wall. Tears trickled down from beneath his blindfold.

    ‘Please, please spare me

    The Redcoats lined up opposite him and primed and loaded their muskets. He had been one of them until his trial: a good soldier, a simple soul , more strength than intelligence.

    ‘AIM’

    They lifted their muskets and levelled at him, waiting for my final command.

    ‘Please, I’m innocent.’

    I’d requested the responsibilty of commanding the firing squad. As the principle witness at the court martial I’d been instrumental in securing his conviction. Once the guilty verdict was returned I’d explained that it was my duty to see the job through to a conclusion. No-one else had stepped forward. It was always a difficult task to arrange the execution of a comrade.

    The evidence had been convincing. He’d been seen talking to the girl earlier on the day in question. He’d told his mates that he’d thought that she was pretty. They were fairly sure that he’d never lain with a girl in his entire life. They knew that he had a bit of a temper when things didn’t work out for him, which was quite often as he wasn’t too bright. They could imagine that he might lose it if the girl had refused him.

    ‘FIRE’

    All that may have been insufficient without my evidence. I’d come across them on the edge of the village that evening just after he’d raped and killed her. Of course, he’d claimed that he’d arranged to meet her; that he’d stumbled upon us after I’d raped and killed her. It was his word against mine. The Court Martial had accepted my word as an officer. And now the only other witness lay dead at the foot of the courtyard wall.

    2+
  17. Matilda Rice
    2 November 2018 at 8:43 pm

    @Matilda40119810
    298 words
    Surgeon; Operating Theatre; Drama

    Music of Life

    The monitor beeps, each steady beat the perfect note in an endless composition. On the screen a green line dances, leaping and falling to the constant rhythm. A slow duet of sound and light, music and dance.

    I let it guide me.

    The scalpel lands, parting the skin beneath it. Blood trickles upwards, tentative at first, a timid beast afraid of the unknown, but the monitor’s melody draws it out. With each rhythmic beat more blood pulses to the surface, swelling in time with the music.

    I cut deeper.

    For one moment the monitor’s music wavers: a single beat falls out of place, a single jump travels too high. My attention wavers, but the rhythm has already returned, the dance is once again flawless. I turn my thoughts away, telling myself it’s no need for concern. Just an anomaly.

    I cut deeper.

    More blood swells to the surface, as if drawn by the monitor’s song. With each note blood seems to rise faster, frantically scrambling to leave the body, join the rhythm. I pull away, watching as the monitor’s steady beat soothes it, lulling it back into submission. I wait until it’s peaceful again.

    I cut deeper.

    Then something changes. I can feel it; sense it. Something is wrong. I look on, horrified, as the monitor’s tempo rises, switching from calm to wild, controlled to dangerous. I watch as the green line surges, soaring and plummeting faster and faster, its dance more frantic with each beat, the erratic melody spiraling out of control. Panic overcomes. I search for a solution, desperate.

    But it’s too late. Instead of a beat, I hear a single tone. Instead of a leaping dance, I see a flat line.

    The finale is over. The curtains close. Come the end there is no applause.

    5+
  18. Mileva Anastasiadou
    2 November 2018 at 11:23 pm

    @happymil_
    Surgeon; Operating Theatre; Drama
    300 words

    Ego Trips

    This patient is a hopeless case, yet I’m doing my best to save him. As I dig into his skull, images start forming before my eyes. I fainted the first time it happened. Not a good first impression for an aspiring brain surgeon. My supervisor gently advised me to give up and choose a less stressful specialty.

    I am now used to it. It all begins when I enter the skull. Depending on the areas I go into, the neuronal interconnections I cross, the memories of the patient rush into my brain. It took me lots of time to learn to concentrate on the surgery, yet now, it’s like listening to music. However pleasant or distressful, I manage to remain calm.

    He’s lying on the operating table. The huge hemorrhage has destroyed most of his brain tissue, yet somehow I see he has lived a fulfilling life.

    For a while, it’s like I’m looking in a mirror; I only see myself. A repetitive dream of flying comes to mind, formed the night my mom first told me the fairy tale of the snowman, coming into a kid’s life, then melting away next morning. That snowman became my superego, who came to visit me from time to time, taking me high into the sky, teaching me to tame the land below. We observed the city together, or my growing unconscious and the eternal battle would go on and on, the battle between high and low, if I didn’t choose to let go of his hand last night.

    His face is deformed, yet looking closely, I recognize him. He’s gone. My ego’s now free to mingle with the unconscious and wander through the darkness. I never chose sides, yet I finally feel free; my snowman crashed, instead of melting away

    2+

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