Tag Archives: short story

Relating to Francis Webb

I can relate to the poetry and the life of Francis Webb. He was a poet who was plagued with mental illness, just as I am. He wrote through his depression to produce some amazing work. I too write, and paint, and take photos when I can break through the darkness enough, and get motivated.

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this bird felt as miserable as I did the day I took this.

This is a story I wrote when I was having some anxious moments on the bus. I am not so bad now, thanks to google maps. I can track my trip the whole way.

THOUGHTS OF A PARANOID PERSON

© Dave McGettigan 19 October 2012

I tried to get a seat facing the front, but there were none available. So now I have to face the back of the bus and I can’t see where we are of if my stop is coming up. It’s ok. Don’t panic. You are getting off at the last stop. The bus won’t go any further than the shopping centre. I relax a little.

Why is that woman looking at me?

She can’t know… can she?

No. Dr Stewart told me that nobody would know if I didn’t tell them.

Then why is she looking at me?

She is reaching for her phone. Is she calling the police? Perhaps she is calling Dr Stewart to tell him I am catching the bus by myself. No escort for me this morning.

She is talking in hushed tones on the phone.

Oh god, now she is laughing! What is she laughing at? I combed my hair. I made sure I washed my face after breakfast. I look down and make sure I had buttoned my shirt correctly and that my tie is straight. My fly is up, so it isn’t that. I don’t know why she is laughing.

She has finished her phone call, put her phone away and now she is looking at me again.

She smiled.

Perhaps she likes me. I sit straighter in the seat at the thought. Perhaps she wants to go out with me. No! She wouldn’t have been laughing at me if she likes me.

Maybe she knew me before…before I got sick; before I did those things to that man. I didn’t mean to do it! She must know… I have to tell her. I didn’t mean to do it lady. I was sick. But I’m better now. I can’t tell her that. She won’t understand. Nobody does. They all think I would do something like that again. But I won’t. I couldn’t do something like that if I take my pills. I am good when I take them. But one day of missing them and BAM! I could change so quickly. I touch my shirt pocket to assure myself that the pack is still in my pocket. I breathe a bit easier.

I have changed a lot physically since then anyway. It’s been ten years after all. I have gotten taller, grown whiskers on my face and filled out; so Nurse Stevens tells me. I don’t think she knows me. Besides, that all happened in Adelaide. This is Sydney.

Perhaps I remind her of someone. I hope that is a good thing. Perhaps the person I remind her of brings back some bad memories. But I think the opposite is true. I think I bring back happy memories. That’s why she laughed on the phone. That’s why she smiled at me.

My god, why won’t she stop looking at me! She looks at her watch, which in turn causes me to look at mine. Are we running late? Nope… right on time. But she looked worried.

Maybe she is worried that the police won’t arrive quick enough to grab me when the bus arrives at the shopping centre. No! You have been through all that. She did not call the police or Dr Stewart. She doesn’t know me, nor do I remind her of somebody. She is looking at me because I am facing the back.

Damn. I wish I could have gotten a seat facing the front. Then at least if people were looking at me I wouldn’t even know about it.

She is standing up. She is walking towards me! What is she going to say? Am I going to be ridiculed in front of all these people? I clench my fists in anticipation of the confrontation.

“I like your tie,” she says “My husband has one just like it.”

“Oh…he he,” I give a nervous laugh “Thanks.” I say as she walks past me to exit the bus.

I realise that we have reached the shopping centre and now I can lose myself in the crowd. I alight from the bus and walk the short distance to the entrance of the centre.

Why is that man looking at me…?



I too have been in a mental facility, following a suicide attempt and not able to leave by my own terms. My term was short, but I think that perhaps if I were unwell at the time of Francis Webb, I may have never known freedom again.

Image result for straight jacket

 

Francis Webb had a spiritual connection and held onto his faith during the time of his suffering.  Many of his poems are prayers; crying out for others to be aware of the suffering, and to provide comfort and relief. Jussi Bjorling provided comfort and relief for Francis Webb with his singing of Nessun Dorma.

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Week Away

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Louise with the The Storyteller’s Abode. Thank you Louise!

So where do you think you lost it?

I don’t know, if I knew that, I would go back and get it.

Think someone nicked it?

I don’t see how, it’s been in my bag all day.

What are we gonna tell the kids?

Let’s not tell them. The room is paid for; we have got enough in your wallet for food, and the beach is free. Let just enjoy our week away and worry about it when we get home.

Do you have to tell the banks and card companies?

No, I left all the cards at home so we couldn’t overspend, except…

What?

Except the card which grandpa gave me to spend while we are away.

They both laughed. Poor grandpa had not been with it lately. He gave them his old blockbuster card by mistake.

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The Journey

These are two more stories written on the same prompt… or perhaps it’s the same story written from different perspectives.

Enjoy

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I should never have come. It’s not my place. We are internet lovers. But this is real life.

He told me not to come, but I really wanted to be the first face he sees in this new city.

I wanted to make sure that he was going to be OK; to make sure his room was clean. I didn’t want him to be ripped off, swindled, as I was when I came from the country all those years ago.

He left home and came to the city to study; deciding that life on a farm was not for him, but life in a kitchen was.

“I just want to cook!” he screamed at his father.

Now he has come, but he is not alone.

“Brian, meet me boyfriend Dale”.

Word Count 130

 

 

“All this will be yours to look after, when I retire son’.

“Dad, it’s not that I am not grateful, but school has taught me that there is life beyond the barbed wire fences and the shearing shed. The wool you produce goes somewhere. The lambs that we raise are eaten by somebody. The wheat that we grow goes into food all over the world. Dad, life is doesn’t stop at the gate.”

I step from the train, into a world of strangers and strangeness. It’s scary for a small-town boy. But I will fight the demons within me and without. This is where my life begins.

Word Count 107

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Morning News

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The morning paper tells the world what happened overnight.

But they are words hurriedly put on a page. Words that sell papers. The truth is not what is wanted. “Never in Arlington,” they say, “not there”.

But indeed, yes, in Arlington. Nowhere is immune to the inhumaneness of humans.

The papers don’t know the full story. They don’t want to know. I wrap the pistol in the paper, and toss it in the trash. I pull my coat tighter, so the blood-stained shirt I wear is not visible and board the 902 to Boston.

 

(Reading a newspaper on the morning train has become a thing of the past. Now people look at the tiny screens of their phones, laptops, kindles and tablets. Its a dilemma. How does a murderer dispose of a gun these days?)

 

Word Count 94photo-20170220154614072.jpg

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I can jump puddles

 

I’m a big girl now

I can tie my own shoes

I can pick out my own dress and put it on

I can clean teeth by myself

But I can’t pour the milk for my cereal yet.

I can even write my name see… Annie

I can make my bed

I can put all my toys away

And I can use a knife to cut my food, but not any other time

I can walk to kindy all by myself, I know the way now

And I can jump puddles

…but who would wanna do that.

97 words.

Second entry on this prompt. Hope that’s OK.

Dave

 

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Red

Prompted by the colour of the backpack, I wrote the following story.

Red, the colour of the scarf that covers the scars on her neck. The scars of a relationship that soured. The scars on her heart take longer to heal.

Red, the colour of the blanket draped around her shoulders, and the soup given to her by the Sallies.

Red is the colour of her father’s eyes, his nose when he drank too much. The colour of his skin when he heard how James had treated her.

Red, the colour of the luscious strawberries that she bought for $1 per kilo in Cairns. She shared them with Bridget and Julian as they sang under the stars and Peter strummed his guitar and drank red wine.

Red, the colour of the shoes that they gave her to wear when she first graced the stage.

Red, the colour of the dress she wore when she accepted the Logie for Best Actress in a Musical.

And red is the colour of the satin sheets she sleeps on tonight, remembering yesterday and dreaming of tomorrow.

171 words. It still fits within the 150 +25… just.

Dave

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The Summons

Having inspected the bottle and considered it an unworthy vessel in which to curl up and go to sleep, the snake slithered around it, rubbing along its side until it retreated into the cool shade.

The smoke rose from the bottle just like in the movies, and lo, a genie, rather contemporarily dressed, emerged from the vessel.

“Who dared to summon the mighty Genie?”

Looking around, he saw nobody.

“That’s odd”, he thought “Well, at least I can have a stretch and enjoy the rays for a while”.

“What now”, he contemplated as he sat on the edge of the cliff.

You see, without a master, a genie has no purpose in life.

He jumped.

115 words. enjoy.

flash fiction

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