Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entry #15

Outside the Lines
by Josh Vogt


Transcript Begins

Doctor: “Timothy’s attempted suicide placed him in intensive care, where, after stabbing a nurse with an IV needle, he was transferred to our psych ward.”

(Indistinct murmur)

“He claims self-defense, as the nurse’s soul had a rusty hue, indicating sadism.” (Papers shuffle.) “Timothy’s color synesthesia, once a boon to his painting career, has disconnected him from reality. He believes the ‘auras’ he perceives are measurements of one’s spiritual state, i.e. the soul.”

Attached crayon sketch details Timothy’s spectrum and associated soul characteristics.

“After several sessions, I decided to demonstrate that the soul—should it even exist—cannot be visually detected, nor treated as some metaphysical mood ring.” (Speaking away from recorder) “Timothy, observe your fellow patients on the other side of this window. What do you discern?”

(Pause before patient speaks.)

“That man’s soul is bruised. Did he beat his wife?”

“I…cannot divulge confidential information.”

“Okay. Well, that lady has two colors. Lavender and cyan. Schizophrenic? The guy with the piss-yellow soul must be majorly depressed.”

“Perhaps we should postpone—”

“And that guy…drug addict?”

“No. In fact—”

“Wait! Gambling addict. Shades of green are tricky.”

(Silence for several minutes)

Personal note: Double-check security cameras and confirm patient has never accessed case files.

“Timothy, I notice you’ve never volunteered the color of my soul.”

“No, sir.”

“Yet you’ve observed it?”

“…yes.”

“Come now. Why the hesitation? What do you see?”

“It’s…you…did something. A patient died. You covered it up. Your soul is bla—”

Transcript Ends

38 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

OOOOH! That's good! I think he'll be deleting that record, too. :) :)

Joni said...

Excellent, Josh. Just excellent. This one really took hold of me.

Mikki said...

Excellent! This piece was packed with suspense, emotion and humor. Your characters spoke through the page, and your voice was spot on. My favorite part, of course, was the ending.

Thank you for sharing!

pegjet said...

I loved this! I've written aura stories before, and especially appreciate how you used them in this piece. Innovative and original interpretation of the picture too.

Stephen Parrish said...

Pitch perfect. As usual.

fairyhedgehog said...

This is lovely. It reads well, it's easy to follow, it's interesting, and ends with a punch.

Jade L Blackwater said...

What Stephen said. ^ ^ ^

great pacing, and I love the writing mode with the multiple styles within the transcript.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Very, very well done. Poor Timothy. I suspect he is going to meet with an "accident" soon. Great story.

SzélsőFa said...

wow, it took me in!

Precie said...

So many excellent entries already. Josh, as reigning champ, you don't disappoint. The premise and structure are clever...the implications behind every statement are weighty. Excellent.

Catvibe said...

Perfect.

Catrina said...

Excellent build up of tension. The structure works perfectly. Good job!

Bexa said...

So succinct yet expressing such a fascinating premise. And the punch of a twist at the end, as always. Well done :)

pegjet said...

I came back to tell you I found myself telling others about this story today. I knew I loved it; but this is the one I'm remembering.

This is a contender.

Peter Dudley said...

Damn, another brilliant work from you. Outstanding. So what happened to the sadistic nurse? And will Timothy be facing TWO self-defense situations?

Aniket said...

Welcome to my top 5. I'm quite sure it'll stay there by the end of the competition. Darn it, you're good. :)

Thanks for such a well written and wonderfully entertaining read.

Josh said...

Thanks, everyone, for such encouraging comments! I've always loved this contest, and it never fails to bring out some amazing results.

bluesugarpoet said...

Color synesthesia - love it. Unfortunately for him, Timmy's assessments are spot on! Nice work. ~Jana

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Nicely done! A favorite for me...

Dottie :)

j a zobair said...

This is brilliant. I love the shades of green are tricky--it's a rich detail that helps make it all somehow plausible.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! Loved the ending - wonderful!! I was wondering where this was going when - wham!! Brilliant, thank you for sharing, take care
x

Ellis Bergstresser said...

I enjoyed this one. The pace of your revelations is perfect, as are the details.

Scribblers Inc said...

Spellbound.

[momentary loss of vocabulary]

Richard Levangie said...

My first time reading your work, Josh. Color me impressed. :-)

yamini said...

This one is the best so far..
A person's nature based on his aura is one intelligent concept..
The color of the soul - I like, I like I like!!

Very well done!

Damyanti said...

This one will get my vote :)

Sarah Hina said...

You always have a completely unique, utterly absorbing take on things, Josh. This piece is no exception.

I love how clinical the story is. The impact is that much greater for it.

C Sonberg Larson said...

I really like this. Very engaging. Super story development in such a short piece. I'd love to continue reading what happens next. Nicely done.

Chris Allinotte said...

Holy s#!t. This is how you write a 250 word story.

Just blown away by how skillfully this is constructed, how well it plays out, and most of all, what a great story it is.

Well done.

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

Pretty cool—a soul meter reader...in the old days, long before Freud and even longer before humans lost all discernment, they were called prophets. I would wager that Timothy's revelations...(how do you like it, Josh?)

Wendy said...

Josh, you always deliver! Love the various tones and weights of the piece. Good stuff.

JaneyV said...

Josh - *sigh* - you've done it again! Another totally unique, gripping and perfectly tuned piece. You really do totally rock this joint!

Damn fine writing and, as always, a total pleasure to read.

rocky wing said...

This was an amazing read, gripping, tension filled, a peek into the darker side of our humanity, all things I love. I read it to a group of people at a coffee shop and everyone gasped at the end. This one is one of my favorites.

pegjet said...

Congratulations on the Honorable Mention. I was happy to see your story in the Top 10.

I went back to the other contests to see who wrote what I thought was the most memorable story, about torturing the angel. I discovered that was yours too. You have amazing talent.

Wendy said...

Pegjet, you know it! That one stuck in my mind, too. I'm a big Josh fan!

Wavemancali said...

You were in my top 5, congratulations on Honorable Mention. Very tough to get there in this crowd :)

Josh said...

Everyone, thanks so much for the cheers and compliments. These contests are always enormous fun, and many congrats to the placers and Readers' Choice. Well-deserved, and some awesome writers in the bunch.

jason evans said...

Oh man, you don't disappoint! Super creative and masterfully told. High marks!

Congratulations on the Honorable Mention!