Friday Flash Fiction #14: Well, How Did I Get Here?

I dropped the Friday Flash Fiction ball last week, even after getting a great starter sentence and half-way writing the darn thing, but let's see if I can't jump back in this week. The instructions mandate: "The story cannot center around a crime and it cannot be set in a post-apocalyptic world. It also cannot be a pseudo-existentialist piece." (I'm fine on the former, but on the latter, I may struggle (most pseudably).)

"Well, how did I get here?" That's all I could get down on the paper before we were called to dinner. At first, I was happy that Sharon had brought me this journal as a Christmas present, but when I couldn't think of anything I could write in it, it just made me angry. My therapist had told me the day before that I should write, that it might be therapeutic, but it really seemed more bothersome than anything else. There are times when I don't have anything better to do, that's true, but I don't really see the point in writing stuff no one will ever read.
Great, dinner was some sort of chicken heap with a nondescript casserole on the side... again. I'm pretty sure I've gained weight since I've been here and it's only been a month. I don't expect to be catered to, but talk about making a depressed guy depressed.

A guy named Matt had taken to sitting next to me at meals and it had thoroughly started to annoy and comfort me, both. He kept talking about himself, about his wife and his kids. If he whips out the pictures again, I think I'm gonna go psycho on his ass, today.

"I saw you had a visitor today. Who was that woman? Is she your wife, your sister?" Matt meddled. Matt's wife came to visit him every day, like clockwork, and he always talked about how wonderful it was. Though I was relieved when Sharon left, I did feel a pang of missing the outside world that I didn't expect after I had just asked her not to visit me anymore. Obviously, she and my therapist were ganging up on me with the journal thing, and I could tell she was feeling sorry for me. This goddamned glop WASN'T HELPING AT ALL! I flung my tray at the wall, and yelled at Matt, "WHEN WILL YOU JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP?"

I knew they were coming, so I just sat there waiting. When the guards' hands were on my arms, I started to calm down, and we all walked out of the cafeteria together. I waited on my bed for what seemed like a year for someone, anyone to come retrieve me to dispense my punishment. No one ever came.

I stared at the words in that damn book,
"Well, how did I get here?" With that fucking purple crayon, I wrote... "I made a mistake. I quit cutting too soon."

I did feel better. I knew what I had to do.


Randal Graves said...

If measured scientifically, this is sentimentally the exact 180° opposite of a perfected Xmas tale of maple syrup, which is a long-winded way of saying 'dude, period.'

Cormac Brown said...

Interesting, "Man Interrupted." I likes (sic).

Liberality said...

The first thing I thought when I read that starter sentence was the Talking Heads song. Remember how David keeps smacking his head and crying "same as it ever was, same as it ever was..."? But it isn't as if we are LETTING the days go by--they go on with or without us.

And yeah, glop is never good to eat ;)

PipeTobacco said...


The asylum is a perfect fit for the starter sentence! You did a very, very nice job. I enjoyed the writing of the writing in the journal, and the surprise "cutting" ending as well! Thank you!

I do have a question, though... the semi-"cowboy" fellow you selected for your image (damn, I need to learn how to incorporate an image with mine)... what do you envision his relationship with your story? Is he the main character? Is he another person at the asylum? Is he a reader in disbelief? For me, I am presuming you selected him to be the main character. It is interesting, however, that my mental image of the main character is more akin to Ford's Dr. Kimble in "The Fugitive" before he leaves prison such as seen:



David Barber said...

Short and sweet. A good old Christmas tale in the "nut house".

Great read, Freida.

Merry Christmas, david.