Monday, October 4, 2010


Another tempting prompt this week for Flash Fiction Friday. This time, the first sentence was supposed to be "Mom said I was going to be something one day." How can you pass that one up! Here's my story. Hope you enjoy.


Mom said I was going to be something one day. She meant it too. She always knew I was destined for greatness.”

“Oh, right. You. And , I suppose I was destined to reside in a cardboard box at the ass end of an alley.”

“Now, Randall, you know I didn’t mean anything like that. You always were a bright fellow. It’s just that, well, I am able to function comfortably on an academic level, and you seem to be more at home…”

“Where, Richard, you fucking moron? Academic level? You’re such a waste of good space. You’re afraid to leave the damn house. You want the groceries delivered to your doorstep. You want your mail shot silently through a slot in your front door. You keep all the six-inch thick curtains drawn and all of your stainless steel blinds closed. So, because I choose to live in the real world and actually have physical contact with other people, I’m not as good as you? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Of course not, Rand, and let’s not exaggerate about my choices in window dressings. It is simply that the sort of other people you desire to have physical contact with is, at times, most distressing. I am, of course, referring to those, um, unsanitary women. I will just never understand how you could bring such shame into our household. You broke our mother’s heart, you know. And dad? He was positively livid when he caught you with that three-legged woman. A three-legged woman, Ran? I mean, how could you?”

“Richard, Richard, Richard, don’t make such a big fucking deal out of it. It was only the one time, and I was basically just experimenting. There was no reason for the old man to go ballistic and start hollering and making her feel so bad. You know I’m right, don’t you? It was his fault to begin with. In the first place, he should have knocked. After all, I was in my own room, wasn’t I? Okay. So he just barged in and saw what he saw. You have to admit, it was kind of funny. Well, maybe not exactly funny, but regardless. Once he was in and when he was finished gasping, he should have just gone back to his den or wherever and left us alone. It wouldn’t have taken long, and the whole incident would have been forgotten. But, no. He had to go and grab mom and pull her in there and point at us, and then they’re both gasping and hollering… I had to do something, didn’t I? I had to react, didn’t I? I couldn’t just sit back and let them both call her ugly names and hurt her feelings, now, could I?”

“Well, no, I suppose not. But, Randall, I do believe you crossed a line. I mean, did you have to go so far as to…”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Dr. Milner, sir, I have a question if I may. How long has the patient been exhibiting this type of behavior--alternating between his own personality and that of his deceased brother?”

“Jackson, is it? Yes. Mr. Jackson. As a medical student, and frankly, even without any clinical training, common sense tells us that separation of conjoined twins is, at the very least, a complex process, physically. But, from a psychological standpoint, one can only imagine the trauma each party is experiencing before, during, and after the surgery. Now, add to that having your expectations and anticipations dashed when the other part of you is not only removed, but does not survive the procedure. Once recovery was well underway following the operation, he began speaking to, and for, his lost sibling. That is also when he began his violent attacks on the staff, and it was then that the decision was made that he, as well as his caregivers, would be safer if he remained in the isolation unit. It became more and more difficult to discern which of ‘them’ was initiating the attacks as well. Their identities have literally become a blur over time. But, as you can all see, that hasn’t diminished the bond with his brother--in his mind, that is. Therefore, we must exercise great caution when interacting with this particular patient or any of the others, for that matter, since the reality in their minds is the only reality they know. To feel compassion for them is to let your guard down, and unwittingly buy into their distorted view of their existence.

Any further questions? Simms?”

“Well, sir, a few of us were wondering about something. Under the law, did they murder their parents, or would the courts just consider one of them guilty, and is it even correct to refer to them as a ‘them’?”

“Absolutely, Mr. Simms, was it? They were two separate and distinct human beings joined at the hip, to put it very simply. As to who actually committed the murder, well, that depends on which one of them you were speaking with at the time. They were both covered with blood and they called each other by both names at the time, and since no one was ever really close to the family, it was impossible to make that determination. The hope was that by separating them physically, the truth might come to light. Of course, at present, that’s not relevant. Both in one body and both extremely dangerous. But since he’s confined for life, I suppose it could be said that justice has been served, no?

Well, let’s leave them to their verbal volleys, and head on over to the hospital cafeteria for a bite of lunch. Oh, look. It’s Bar-B-Q on special today. Pick up the pace, people. The line’s already out into the hallway. Following our meal, I thought we’d swing by Unit 11 to observe some of our younger killers. Not one over the age of 12 in there. There’s one you just have to observe to believe. That ten year old took two of the family’s carving knives and…

Wait. Cherry pie with whipped cream for dessert. Mr. Rivers, grab one and then pass it down to me. They always run out by the time I get to the desserts. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. The killer children. On a warm and breezy summer day not long ago, the ten year old fruit loop in Room 1107 gets up before mommy, daddy, and sissy...”


  1. My first laugh came at:
    "And, I suppose I was destined to reside in a cardboard box at the ass end of an alley.”
    And I laughed a lot subsequently.
    And the eating at the end was fittingly disgusting! Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Matt. I appreciate your time to read and comment. The 'ass end of an alley' did seem to be about the poorest location from a real estate standpoint. I'm dating myself here, but Marcus Welby or Hawkeye Pierce this doctor is not. But, I am a great fan of cherry pie...

  3. Joyce, fun read. Poor dad, coming in and seeing his boys' "experimentations". That could be a story in itself ---

  4. Hilarious, brilliant and well executed. You structure this so well Joyce.

  5. I can't conceptualize what life would be like conjoined. Especially severe cases. If anyone could absorb the personalities of a sibling, a conjoined twin would be a ringer. Nice story concept. It probably could be so much more with a little exploration.

    I read this last week, but some reason didn't respond.

  6. Chad, Glad you enjoyed it. Dad should have stayed in the den and watched the news! You're right though. A possible spin-off?

  7. Thanks much, Richard. Even in darkness, some humor must be found. Glad you liked it.

  8. Thanks, Ron. Every time I see individuals like this in documentaries, in no way can I even begin to imagine what life would be like. There's probably no limit to how far a story of this subject matter could go, especially moving forward from my ending (i.e., escape, or some such thing). Interesting possibilities.