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NeoCaesar
June 24th, 2013, 03:55 PM
I had no idea where to post this -it is kind of a horror story but has a quirky ending.

Standing Room Only

The television image crackled and the speaker droned on. What was on had little consequence as it served merely to punctuate the silence of the room and mask the frequent moans of pain. It had no remote and was out of the reach of all who were wheeled under its watchful gaze. I stared at it, not trying to decipher the picture but contemplating the thick yellow coating of nicotine. Just how old was that TV? No doubt older than many of the employees here. I call them ‘employees’ as the term ‘carer’ doesn’t quite fit the bill. True, they often give care but then they have the power to take it away. One is reminded of the Stanford Prison Experiment; the staff have become corrupt and drunk with power. It is for that reason that I am watching. Always watching and noting down everything. I was a reporter by trade and I had no inclination to stop now. Taking notes was too risky so I would relay my findings to my son John when he visited. He would be here any day now. How long have I been here? 4 days? Must be 5 days, the monotony was so palpable they had all merged into one.
Nurse Saeva walked past me unsettling my train of thought. She looked at me and affected a face of false compassion. “Are we feeling better today, Mr. Smith?”
I had no appetite for being patronised and I had been playing dumb to lure them into a false sense of security. I groaned. She tutted and went on her way, pretending to care about the other residents. That was how most of our exchanges went in common areas. It was a different story when she got you alone, her cruel body fingers jabbed and grabbed at you and she snarled like a dragon. I wanted to ask her if my son had given any indication of when he would visit but I wouldn't give her the satisfaction. I looked at the clock, 7 o’clock. We would soon be wheeled off to our individual rooms. There was 2 hours of visiting left. I moved my head ever so slightly to the left to see a few people being wheeled through to their rooms by family members. So strange to see them smiling and laughing against such an oppressive backdrop –did they not tell them how cruel they were? Their brains must be addling and rotting at a faster rate than their decrepit bodies. No doubt Nurse Saeva and her icy claws will be preparing me for bed again this evening. I will not say a word and pay special attention to how criminal her actions are.
I must have dozed off as I looked up and the clock read 8:45. There was a young man sitting quite close to me on my right hand side, I tried to look at him but I must have slept on my neck awkwardly and was unable to move very much. He was speaking so I just relaxed and tried to make out what he was saying.
“…to see you like this is so hard for me. I know I haven’t been as much as I should have in the last 5 years, but you were always so capable I find it very hard to see you like this. I don’t know if you can hear me, they say your responses are limited to instinct only. Even so, I thought I should come and see you. I am moving away…”
Poor boy had me confused with his father; I would have to tell John when he comes.

J Anfinson
June 29th, 2013, 04:18 AM
I think this is a great idea, and you're pretty good at descriptions. I've made a few recommended changes, which are in Red. My thoughts are in Blue.



The television image crackled and the speaker droned on. What was on had little consequence as it served merely to punctuate the silence of the room and mask the frequent moans of pain. It had no remote and was out of the reach of all wheeled into place under its watchful gaze.(This phrase seems awkwardly written. Try reading it aloud.) I stared at it, not trying to decipher the picture but contemplating the thick yellow coating of nicotine. Just how old was that TV? No doubt older than many of the employees here. I call them ‘employees’ as the term ‘carer’ (Maybe I'm wrong, but 'caregiver' seems like a better word) doesn’t quite fit the bill. True, they often give care but then they have the power to take it away. One is reminded of the Stanford Prison Experiment; the staff have become corrupt and drunk with power. It is for that reason that I am watching. Always watching and noting down everything.<---I think this would work better as separate sentences. I was a reporter by trade and I had no inclination to stop now. Taking notes was too risky, so I would relay my findings to my son John when he visited. He would be here any day now. How long have I been here? 4 days? Must be 5 days, the monotony was so palpable they had all merged into one.
Nurse Saeva walked past, me unsettling my train of thought. She looked at me and affected a face of false compassion. “Are we feeling better today, Mr. Smith?”
I had no appetite for being patronised and I had been playing dumb to lure them into a false sense of security. I groaned. She tutted and went on her way, pretending to care about the other residents. That was how most of our exchanges went in common areas. It was a different story when she got you alone, her cruel body fingers jabbed and grabbed at you and she snarled like a dragon. I wanted to ask her if my son had given any indication of when he would visit, but I wouldn't give her the satisfaction. I looked at the clock.--7 o’clock; we would soon be wheeled off to our individual rooms. There was 2 hours of visiting left. I moved my head ever so slightly to the left to see a few people being wheeled through to their rooms by family members. So strange to see them smiling and laughing against such an oppressive backdrop –did they not tell them how cruel they were? Their brains must be addling and rotting at a faster rate than their decrepit bodies. No doubt Nurse Saeva and her icy claws will be preparing me for bed again this evening. I will not say a word, and pay special attention to how criminal her actions are.
I must have dozed off. as I I look looked up and at the clock--reads 8:45. There is was a young man sitting quite close to me on my right hand side, I try tried to turn to look at him but I must have slept on my neck awkwardly as I am was unable to move very much. He is was speaking so I just relax relaxed and try tried to make out what he is was saying.
“…to see you like this is so hard for me. I know I haven’t been as much as I should have in the last 5 years, but you were always so capable I find it very hard to see you like this. I don’t know if you can hear me, they say your responses are limited to instinct only. Even so, I thought I should come and see you. I am moving away…”
Poor boy has me confused with his father;, I thought. I will have to tell John when he comes.

For the most part, it's written well. The biggest problem I noticed was that near the end you switched from past to present tense, which shouldn't be done (as far as I know). There's a few spots where I think extra commas would help the flow, and one other thing: Try not to use semi-colons so much. They're not used all that much in fiction. From what I've read, publishers and agents generally despise them. They can be avoided by rewording the sentence, or in some cases simply starting a new sentence.

I'm not trying to be harsh, and please forgive me if it comes across that way. I'm not an expert by any means, and I doubt I ever will be. Maybe someone else will point out I'm wrong on one thing or another, who knows. Just trying to hopefully help you improve.

Good luck, and thanks for sharing this.

NeoCaesar
June 30th, 2013, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the advice regarding flow and tense. I must be more conscious of tense as that is a bad habit I have. I love a semi-colon, those publicists are probably just too tight to pay for the extra ink. :-) I never seem to want my sentences to end, there is always one more comma; and then a semi-colon after-thought for good measure.

Vitaly Ana
July 6th, 2013, 05:27 PM
This is well done. I was confused by tense as well. That is something I struggle with as well, so believe me I know it can be difficult.

The characters are well done and you seem to play well with the black and white of being the resident and caregiver. I think in a story this short, that sort of contrast lends well to the overall emotion and canvas of this piece.

Overall, job well done!

Kehawin
July 6th, 2013, 06:10 PM
I like this! Other than the tense, and some of the sentences that could be combined or split as already mentioned, I did notice one little typo- you said body fingers and I am sure that would be bony fingers. When the nurse walks by, I would love it to say "derailing my train of thought", however some might consider that cliche.

This reminds me, just a teensy bit, of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. That's not a bad thing. Being a nurse, it is this very idea that haunts me when I work in nursing homes or long-term care. I think you did an amazing job of getting the reader into the character's frame of mind, and then showing that frame of mind to be an unreliable narrator. Can't wait to see where you take this!

ToBeInspired
July 17th, 2013, 12:56 AM
Written well, but not sure if it should be in the Humour section. I believe you're a good writer, but your personality type may not really associate well with this thread.