Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Entry #10

Silhouetted Volta
by Scott Ennis


And yet Saul’s recollection of the conversation was perfect as he ran up the stairs to the condo.

“Where are the passports?”
“I think they are in the safe. Why?”
“We need them to go to China.”
“China?”
“I have the suitcases ready and Paulette is dressed. Do you want to come with us? God didn’t say.”
“Yes. I would like to go to China with you. Give me a few minutes to get there. I’ll get the passports out of the safe.”
“Okay. I’ll pack a suit for you. We need to look our best.”


Suzanne sat patiently on the couch, dressed in her fitted gold dress. Paulette, in her black and white satin Sunday dress, was playing with her doll-sized suitcase like it was a vacuum cleaner.

“Saul,” asked Suzanne with a look of distant curiosity, “What’s happening? God wants us to go, but I don’t understand why. Are there cameras in the faucets? I think my department head is posting naked pictures of me on the Internet. What’s happening Saul?”

Paulette cried; Saul refrained. “I don’t want to go to Tanney’s. Mommy said we were going to China.”

His 4 year-old daughter’s tears echoed in the whimpering whisper of Suzanne’s voice late into the night as Saul sat at the foot of their bed. The doctor said she might not sleep that night, even with the Xanax.

“Can you smell the sweet onions? I saw the sky crack and a bird fell down through the pieces.”

39 comments:

Bernita said...

Frightening.
One can only sympathize with Saul.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Oh! Scary piece!

Aniket said...

Such horror depicted here...

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow. You write confusion and insanity very well.

Aerin said...

Oh, puckernuts. I was going to do insanity. Okay, must try something else - obviously no competing with you, M. Ennis.

Four Dinners said...

Insanity is good.

Especially this kind.

This is top drawer old bean.

Amias said...

I have lived with someone with mental illness, and you captured it well, chaos and confusion.

Meghan said...

A very powerful piece. It sounds like she needs more than Xanax...

Megs - Scattered Bits said...

My heart just broke over this.

Craig said...

You did a good and subtle job in creating sympathy for Saul. He has to deal with a mentally sick spouse and a daughter that doesn't understand the extent of the situation.

Chris Eldin said...

You captured so much in so few words. So sad and heartbreaking for Saul. I read this one a few times to catch all the nuances. Very well done.

catvibe said...

Mental illness is such a sad sad story for everybody involved. Really well written, very in touch, and very sad Scott.

pjd said...

I find this compelling, though to be honest I'm not exactly sure why. I'm a little confused by the first sentence. Why is he running, and what's the significance of the "and yet" to start? If the conversation just happened (i.e. over the phone, and he hustled home), why wouldn't he remember the conversation perfectly? Maybe I'm making too much of it, but the unusual construction of the first sentence captured my attention. But I don't understand its significance.

Preeti said...

Agonizingly beautiful. An amazing blend of staccato and smooth flow...Liked! :-)

Mayur said...

Wow

Kartik said...

Mental illnesses and confusion ... well done! But I'm afraid I couldn't connect it with the title of story.

Lena said...

Heartbreaking. Really good job here.

Scott Ennis said...

Thanks for all the comments. I always enjoy the challenge of trying to tell a story in 250 words or less.

pjd--The first sentence is critical and deliberate. I won't spell it out, but there is a clue in the title (which might help Kartik as well).

Actually, when you only have 250 words to work with, every word, every punctuation mark, every stylistic choice or deviation from convention becomes acutely critical and deliberate. It's as close to writing poetry as I can imagine.

Tara said...

Oooh wow. Eerie and sad. Gave me chills.

JaneyV said...

First of all let me say that I adored this. It was sad and compelling and it intrigued the Bejaysus out of me. I'm looking for significance in every detail.

(Volta was a physicist who invented the battery/ Why was she wearing gold?/ What's the significance of China and the suitcases?) - It's maddening that I don't know for sure. But that's brilliant too.

Terri said...

I was confused, but in a good way - you wrote the madness well. Then I read the comments and now I'm just plain confused.
I think I might quit reading comments ;-)
I feel for all 3 of them.

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

Oh poor Saul and poor, poor Suzanne! And my heart bleeds for Paulette.
Really. I don't mean to over-react but your story has so much pathos, it's actually overwhelming!
Ranee

Beth Harar said...

I had to read this several times to fully understand it, but once I did . . . wow. Very compelling.

laughingwolf said...

good one, scott...

austere said...

I thought I had it right, and then I realized I didn't quite....great the manner you've left your readers wondering.

Patsy said...

You've given us a good idea of the confusion this situation would create.

kashers said...

I wish I could say I haven't been there, but I have. Skilfully conveyed. Well done.

Kurt Hendricks said...

Well captured, very nice.

Laurel said...

Heartwrenching.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Okay, this is just too true to how insanity can look like.

Very well done, sir.

Jean Ann

Rabid Fox said...

Like a bird, this story flew right over my head. I'm gonna have to give it a few more rounds before I understand it.

Vonnie said...

Wow. That gave me chills.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Definitely demented or should I say dementia?

Dottie :)

stacy said...

I had to read the comments after to understand what was going on, but when I read it again with the understanding that Suzanne is mentally ill, I understood perfectly. You pack so much emotion into so few words.

McKoala said...

I didn't catch on until later in the story, but once I did things all fell into place. So it is a little tricky, but it rewards a careful reading and re-reading - it's a heartbreaking tale.

james r tomlinson said...

I think a story has to work on many different levels. I'm just not getting it at my level. Hey, what can I say? I'm a convict teacher.

Lee Hughes said...

Great writing. It took me two reads, but by the end of the second I had full apreciation.

Deb Smythe said...

Paranoid Schizophrenia aptly reflected in the writing style. I didn't pick up on all the nuances, but then this is a piece that requires more than a cursory read.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the merits of Mafia Wars or whether Katie Holmes should demand a divorce