Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Beginning 522

They tell me part of my brain was gooping out of a hole in my head and onto the street when they found me. The doctor says they scooped it back in and someone smooshed the skull over it and taped it down.

Later, they picked out small bits of tobacco and grass and dirty road gravel in 14 hours of surgery.

The doctors say they didn’t get all of me and some of me fell into the street and was trampled by all those black boots with their Vibram soles. That part is no longer me at all and is gone for good, but lots of parts of me are still around and that’s a miracle.

I’m special they tell me because I didn’t leave when I was stomped to death. I stuck around somehow and breathed by their machine and waited for myself to come around again. I didn’t do this on purpose--I had no intention of dying like I had no intention of living--but the doctors and the nurses don‘t think like I do. They think I had a will to live and I don’t know what to say to that. I wasn’t there when all of this was happening to me.

They hold me up in front of a mirror to let me see myself, bald, cratered like the moon. That's when I find the despair.

"Don't fret," Doc tells me. "We'll clag some filler in there, smoodge it over, caulk aroung the edges, add some color, you'll be good as new."

"I expected better," I said. "Even from an HMO."

"HMO? Sir, this is Home Depot."

So, I guess I wasn't the first to lose the will to live there.

Opening: Scott from Oregon.....Continuation: anon


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

They tell me part of my brain was gooping out of a hole in my head and onto the street when they found me.

Sorry, pal, I know I keep repeating myself but I'll get to the punchline soon. Hey, bartender. Pour me another Scotch, willya?


Well that’s what I tell them at least. They all get so caught up in such things as these miracles and I didn’t want the whole place going wild again. That’s what I tell myself at least.

I pulled my dog’s snout up until our eyes met. Then I whispered right in his ear so they couldn’t hear. “Now don’t you look at me like that. I know you know exactly what I’m saying. Just like I understand those mind messages you've been sending my way.”

Truth is it was the closeness to God that got me going and made me hush right up, too. You see those pieces of me that were all over that road and on those men’s boots are pieces of God and they didn’t really go anywhere. No they didn’t, wish they did. Why, you should hear them scream when night turns into deep night.


Whirlochre said...

A waking up / coming round scene that works. Hurrah.

I like this very much. My only nit-pick is that I wondered about the consistency of doctor numbers. It may be it doesn't matter as the protag is obviously a little confused, but I'd go with either 'the doctor' or 'the doctors' in both places medical staff are mentioned — unless you know better than we do and there's a good reason why you've written it as it is.

Bernita said...

Good stuff.Good voice.
Would change "was happening" to "happened."

Sarah Laurenson said...

Great word usage. Love the voice and the scene you're setting. I'd read on!

Kiersten White said...

I like it. My favorite parts were his musings on what the doctors and nurses were saying versus his actual feelings.

Good stuff here, Scott.

Anonymous said...

Good, good stuff Scott.

The tone is perfect.

I'd read on.


none said...

I like this.

And you won't see me type that very often :D.

Scott from Oregon said...

"I like this very much. My only nit-pick is that I wondered about the consistency of doctor numbers."

I keep trying to go back and correct that myself.

The theory here is like my grandma's piano.

When I was a kid, she would play us tunes on her piano, but the thing is, a couple of the strikers (that struck the strings) had lost the furry bits, making the notes sound different than they should have just for those keys.

The piano then, sounded like it looked and in accordance to the mechanical condition it was in.

The slightly "off" sound that came out of it was more genuine and comforting than a perfectly functioning and tuned sound.

So too, this poor man with the divot in his head. Since it is first person, and he is a recovering hole-in-head patient, still medicated, he is definately playing with some broken keys.

Both his logic and his grammar have missing fuzzy bits, which I imagine would drive an editor straight to Cherry Rosenbaum.

That's the idea, anyway.

Whirlochre said...

Scott — I thought you'd have a reason. I'm down to no nit-picks now.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, seems medically suspect to me. The brain is actually quite solid, though soft and easily squashed. It couldn't really come "gooping" out of the hole unless your protag has some kind of wierd liquefaction problem. Spattered might be better, or smooshed, or squished, or smattered. Just not gooping.

Anonymous said...

Seems medically suspect to me, too, but I figure that's the character's voice, and with a significant level of head trauma, he wouldn't understand necessarily what had actually occurred.

And it is more vivid imagery this way. :-D

I'd give a 'pass' on the brain-gooping and see where the tale went on page 2.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I found this selection to be both confusing and fascinating. It made me think about what it means to lose a piece of self, like people who lose a limb yet still have a sensation of its presence and experience phantom pain. I wonder if our spirit only knows us as our perfected selves and has trouble with the incongruent nature of “lost” pieces. So, thanks for that little mind dance – very entertaining.

Anyway! Maybe I’m way off base, but it seems to me the enticing puzzle you are gifting us in this piece might be more about where the main character was located when all this trauma went down as opposed to what everyone was telling him (her?) about it. If that’s the case you might wish to edit the beginning and add more space to land on your final idea.

Also, I like "Gooping". The way I see it, it might just be exactly how the main character is feeling.

Interesting...very intersting.

none said...

No, the explanation is more prosaic. When the parts of the brain used for the lost limb cease to be used, active parts of the body start taking those parts over. That causes the pain.

Dave Fragments said...

If you ever listened or read Bob Woodruff's story about his brain injury in Iraq (part of his skull is now plastic). This is convincing. The problem I have, is not addressed in the segment. That's one of time. This type of injury takes lots of time for a recovery. I can't tell from this segment if the narrator is talking about and event far enough in the past to have recovered as far as he did. I've also dealt with brain-injured people and this is not all that quirky but it does ring true.

This is a tough read because of the narrator's "offness" (as you put it). Be careful that in creating the narrator's voice, you don't lose the reader.

Beth said...

A fascinating opening. I'm hoping something concrete will happen soon, though.

Love the continuation. [g]

Scott from Oregon said...

Hi dave! Thanks for reminding me of that guy Woodruff.

I was iniially going to avoid most medical perpectives in this by staying with the TBI guy's POV.

If this is all new to him, he won't have an understanding of it as I present him.

But having started to read more about the psychology, the philosophy, and the physiology of the mind/brain dynamic, I need to locatehis head injury very carefully as well as give him symptoms that associate with the affected area.

For example, I know his frontal lobe is intact because his language and thinking skills are pretty much intact.

Shona Snowden said...

I really like this.