FlashFic: Mind Games

Thoughts raced through his mind, some seeming to burrow tunnels. He couldn’t hear his scream above the noise in his head.

The money had looked good. More than the usual chump change for volunteering as a lab rat for the psych department. “Clinical depression a plus,” the listing said. Charles laughed. His depression was a plus?

He got to the psych lab early. Stacey gave him the forms. He used poetic license on them. “Do you think about suicide?” He checked “often.” “Have you ever attempted suicide?” “Are you currently taking medication?” He decided to be cautious, answering no for both. What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

Stacey called the next day. “Can you make it Saturday?” He sure could.

More forms, disclaimers listing possible complications. He had his appendix out, the consent forms were the same. Scary stuff listed, but never really happened. He signed and Stacey took the clipboard, nodding once.

He fidgeted in a small room with a big mirror. Finally Stacey opened the door. Putting a pill bottle and a Coke on the table, she sat. “It’s a new anti-depressant. You’re not taking medication, so we can begin today.” He agreed to return for a dose daily for ten days.

“It works in ten days?” He shook the pill bottle, surprised.

“We anticipate beneficial changes in brain chemistry within 48 hours,” Stacey told him. She took the bottle and dropped the capsule into his hand. He popped it, washing it down with soda.

Sleepiness hit hard that night. He was asleep by 11:00. Probably the Prozac and new med didn’t mix. He’d stop the Prozac. He woke suddenly, more than rested. He was ready to get going. Weird thing was it was only 4:00. No problem. That history paper needed work. An hour later, he hit PRINT. He finished the paper in an hour? This stuff was good. It was better than they said.

His mind worked overtime. Helped during calculus, but afterward he couldn’t stop doing proofs. New ideas chased each other, leaving no room for basic physical coordination. He stumbled through campus to the lab. This stuff was great. He just had to get control of it.

In the small room, he held his head and breathed deeply. Stacey frowned and turned to the mirror. A knock at the door. He listened to the rumble of the man’s voice. Stacey returned and gave him the capsule.

“We’d like you to stay for an hour this time, okay?” He nodded, his brain bouncing in his head.

He felt the med hit his bloodstream, blossoming in his mind. He smelled colors, heard the vibrations of molecules. Thoughts blasted together, drilling through his head. The noise was overwhelming. He didn’t feel himself fall from his chair, curl up under the table, cover his ears. He didn’t hear his own screams.

He didn’t hear Stacey. “I don’t understand. He got the placebo.”

© 2010 Jessica Rosen

Begun with one of my own #storystarters.

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18 thoughts on “FlashFic: Mind Games

  1. yearzerowriters April 9, 2010 at 5:21 am Reply

    Just shows the power of the mind if we can unlock it and stop hiding behind crutches, labels and external stimulants such as drugs.

    You nailed this perfectly.

    marc nash

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 9, 2010 at 8:32 am Reply

      Thanks, Marc. There’s a great deal of untapped energy in the human mind.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  2. mazzz_in_Leeds April 9, 2010 at 5:54 am Reply

    ha – great ending! Loved his hyper thoughts

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 9, 2010 at 8:33 am Reply

      Thanks! He loved the ride, but I think he forgot to buckle up first.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  3. Jen Brubacher April 9, 2010 at 6:30 am Reply

    This is a good story right up until the very last line and then it’s great. I was not expecting that! Fantastic!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 9, 2010 at 8:35 am Reply

      Thanks, Jen. “This is your brain. This is your brain on a placebo.” I’m glad it surprised you.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  4. Marisa Birns April 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm Reply

    Yes, the mind is a powerful drug in and of itself!

    Great story, did not expect it was a placebo. Perfect ending.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm Reply

      Thanks, Marisa. It’s so encouraging when the little twists at the end surprise and please people.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  5. Aislinn O'Connor April 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm Reply

    Brilliant!! Belief in your own ability to do something can move mountains… or get history papers written at top speed. Can picture Stacey’s bewilderment… 🙂

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm Reply

      Thanks a lot, Aislinn. I agree completely, we can do so much more than we think. Why? Because we think we can’t. It’s the old saying about the bumblebee being able to fly because no one’s told it that it’s aerodynamically impossible.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  6. Sam April 10, 2010 at 11:31 am Reply

    Fantastic, I loved this! It never fails to amaze me what we can do if we only put our minds to it. Charles got a bit more than he bargained for though, eh?

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm Reply

      Thanks, Sam. Charles managed to get more than he bargained for even while getting less than he thought. The mind is a powerful force. I appreciate your commenting.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  7. Eric Krause April 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm Reply

    Very cool. This really shows the power the mind truly holds. If you think you should be getting a reaction, the mind will make it so. Good story!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm Reply

      Thanks, Eric. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The mind’s a tricky thing, often tricking itself more than anything else.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  8. Johanna Harness April 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm Reply

    I was with you every step of the way. Great descriptions. Great ending.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 13, 2010 at 12:56 am Reply

      Thanks, Johanna. The story meandered while I did first draft. When I hit the ending, I was able to edit it properly. I rarely know what the last lines will be until I’ve written most of it. Being in the story’s voice leads me to it nicely.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  9. The Terrance Williams Experience April 26, 2010 at 5:38 am Reply

    Wow, I completely did not expect the ending. That was a great short story. Two thumbs up.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 26, 2010 at 5:50 am Reply

      Thanks so much. I’m happy to hear the ending surprised you. Your feedback is appreciated.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

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