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DATo
August 9th, 2015, 01:21 PM
Acceptance

By

DATo

Professor Halbert had little difficulty finding a substitute for his ten o’clock class. He had always obliged others in this regard and for the first time in his teaching career he was calling in a favor. His appointment with Doctor Barnes was concluded quickly and he now had a little extra time on his hands before his two o’clock lecture. Halbert decided to treat himself to a cappuccino and a bagel at Bernie’s Deli on the way back to the university.

"Pardon me. Can you tell me where the men’s lavatory is?"

"Certainly. Down the hall to your right."

"Thank you so much."

Halbert stood at the urinal, his face inches away from the gleaming marble wall. His eyes focused on a tiny pebble in the mortar between the panels of marble. Where would that pebble be in a hundred years he wondered, a thousand, a million years? What would be found where he now stood relieving himself? Would there be a desert wasteland or a thousand story skyscraper? He smiled to think that questions of this kind had probably been pondered by countless generations of people. Funny that he had never considered it before.

He walked slowly to the wash basin and rinsed his hands and then splashed cool water on his face which felt invigorating. The water brought forth the smell of his aftershave lotion. He remembered patting his face with the aftershave that morning and noticing as he did so a grey hair in his mustache. This time he laughed out loud. That was only two hours ago. Two hours. What the hell is time anyway? It could have been two hours, two minutes or two years ago.

Professor Halbert left the medical building and stepped into the most beautiful spring day he could ever remember. The temperature was mild and a slight breeze wafted the scent of lilac from the meticulously landscaped and flowered path which lined his way to the parking lot. Today John Halbert would not buckle his seat belt. He felt daring and adventurous. Was it the promise of the cappuccino or the smell of lilac which had triggered this swashbuckling attitude? He smiled once more, then chuckled aloud. Would there be enough time to get the dayroom his wife Janice had always wanted done by summer’s end? He began to count on his fingers: June, July, August yes, it could certainly be built before her birthday in September.

I like Doctor Barnes, Halbert concluded. He’s a straight shooter but he is also a poet. Won’t be here for the holiday season, he had said. Halbert decided he liked that way of putting it; far more poetic than, You've got eight months.

Professor Halbert decided to have loads of cream cheese on his bagel. He didn’t think Doctor Barnes would disapprove this time.


EDITED STORY TEXT:
Changed "He doesn't mince words" to "but he is also a poet".

Moody
August 10th, 2015, 03:48 AM
This was a joy to read :apple:

WriterJohnB
August 10th, 2015, 01:42 PM
It's very nice writing but you confused me when you mentioned the deli then had him ask where the lavatory was. I thought he was already at the loo in the deli, since writers often leave out mundane details like a drive (or a walk) to another location. So it shocked me to learn he had not yet left the medical building.

JohnB

DATo
August 13th, 2015, 11:06 AM
It's very nice writing but you confused me when you mentioned the deli then had him ask where the lavatory was. I thought he was already at the loo in the deli, since writers often leave out mundane details like a drive (or a walk) to another location. So it shocked me to learn he had not yet left the medical building.

JohnB

Yes, after reading your comment I can see how that might be confusing. A bit of rework is in order. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

MindBlank
August 14th, 2015, 08:59 AM
Really enjoyed reading this. I was wondering what to make of this slightly eccentric professor, but his rambling to himself fits perfectly after you drop the reason why. The only criticism is what has already been said, I too thought he was already at the Deli, even though it doesn't actually say that. Perhaps when the professor asks for directions to the bathroom it could include something like;

He approached the Doctors secretary and asked, "Pardon me. Can you tell me where the men's lavatory is please?"

Or something along those lines. All in all, was a nice read, thanks!

DATo
August 14th, 2015, 05:46 PM
Really enjoyed reading this. I was wondering what to make of this slightly eccentric professor, but his rambling to himself fits perfectly after you drop the reason why. The only criticism is what has already been said, I too thought he was already at the Deli, even though it doesn't actually say that. Perhaps when the professor asks for directions to the bathroom it could include something like;

He approached the Doctors secretary and asked, "Pardon me. Can you tell me where the men's lavatory is please?"

Or something along those lines. All in all, was a nice read, thanks!

Thank you for your suggestion and I'm glad you enjoyed reading my story. Maybe a better approach would be to say ... He had one more thing to do before he left the medical building. Something like that?

Some things that are not very obvious ...

1) The underlying motif if the story is time. The concept of time is mentioned in every paragraph (with the exception of the dialogue) and I took special pains to make it the very last word of the story.

2) Halbert experiences an epiphany when he remembers the application of the after shave lotion. He realizes that time is an abstraction. It does not matter how much time remains but how he employs it.

3) The spring day he experiences - the most beautiful spring day he can ever remember - was the SAME day when he went INTO the medical building. He is now seeing the world with a new eyes.

4) After he knows Dr. Barnes' assessment of his condition, but before WE know this Halbert has already decided to give his 2 o'clock lecture. He will fulfill his obligations despite what he has learned. This is included to illustrate his character. He will not let Death maneuver him - he will maintain a self-imposed discipline and grace.

Bard_Daniel
August 17th, 2015, 03:54 AM
Hey DATo!

Nice little story you've got yourself here. I liked it. Short and sweet.

wainscottbl
August 20th, 2015, 05:03 AM
"
Pardon me. Can you tell me where the men’s lavatory is?"

"Certainly. Down the hall to your right.

"Thank you so much."

I think you should indicate who is talking with the first speaker's name. I became uncertain who was speaking until I read after. That makes me double back.


Professor Halbert left the medical building and stepped into the most beautiful spring day he could ever remember.

I find this sentimentally hokey. I think you could better put it. I like the idea. The epiphany of the reality of things. As a fan of Aristotle, I always think on this stuff. That time is relative and abstract. That all there is is Being. That everything else is a measure of Being--time, shape. They exist as a part of Being. "Before the world was, I AM" is profound, even if you believe in no God. It is poetic. "Before your father was, I AM" "What is your name, Lord?" "I AM". Not "God", but "I AM", he tells Moses. It's an infinite mind blowing thing! Anyway, given the profoundness of all this, I think you should find a way to make the idea be spoken more eloquently.

Overall, I like it.


I like the ending. It's poetic and quaint.