Monday, June 25, 2012

How Does This Make You Feel? An Exercise In Creative Writing

Black screen.

The silence is broken by the deep voice of the Narrator.  The words are crisp but spoken quickly and in a slightly loudish tone.  One gets the feeling that he is angry.

What happens when a life is terminated prematurely?

The picture explodes on the screen inducing the viewer to squint.  Obnoxiously bright light reflects off the pavement.  The protagonist is lying with his back to the ground and his arms open at his sides.  He appears to be in his twenties.  His hair is cropped and his body's muscular contour vaguely shows underneath his clothes.  His eyes are open and staring up and to the right.  He has a pinstripe shirt and tie tucked into tailored pants.  He wears a short white lab coat that ends at his waist.

As the camera moves in closer the viewer notices the lack of movement.  Is this a snapshot or video?  Footsteps are heard running back and forth in the distance. A trickle of blood breaks the stillness as the face comes into clearer view.  The blood wends its way down the suffocatingly pale contour.  Its origin from an undefinable position on the forehead.  It passes the chin and stains the collar before dribbling onto a name tag hanging from the shirt pocket. 

The blood passes an ordinary nondescript name and stops at the words:

Medical Student

The screen goes black.

Cue snapshots.  Each picture to remain on the screen for thirty seconds, enough time for the viewer to note the detail.

Still Life 1

The protagonist is a few years older.  His countenance is gruff and bears a few days of facial hair.  He wears a gown and is standing next to a physician in scrubs and a face mask.  A nurse stands by closely with a newborn baby in hand. 

The physician has placed one arm around the protagonist's shoulder.  It is clear that they are more than just doctor and patient.  With the other hand he holds the umbilical cord in a hemostat.

At the edge of the screen the viewer can barely make out the uncovered feet and ankles of the mother still resting in stirrups.  The protagonist holds a pair of scissors comfortably in his hand.  He is smiling.

The screen goes black.

Still Life 2

The protagonist's face has aged.  Wrinkle lines are noticeable on the cheeks and adjacent to the eyes.  He is shaking hands with a rather obese man in a suit.  Maybe a politician.  They are standing outside a newly remodeled building.  A sign on the front reads "Free Clinic" in over sized letters.

There is a crowd surrounding the two men.  Many of them are smiling.  Towards the edges of the gathering is a child in a wheel chair. She looks on quizzically.  She has been told that this is an important day but she doesn't know why.

Many participants are dressed in designer clothing. But not all.  Some wear the badge of poverty proudly and stand tall on this unique day. 

The screen goes black.

Still Life 3

Our friend is now gray and balding.  He sits in a room filled with machines and monitors.  His chair is pulled up against a bed uncomfortably, and he is leaning over to hold the hand of a lifeless body lying next to him.  Her face is obstructed by the plastic tubing sprouting out of her mouth.  He is looking gently into her eyes and perhaps whispering something into her ear.  His body is bent forward and the viewer is just barley able to make out the word "emeritus" inscribed in cursive on his long white lab coat.

Behind the protagonist stands a group of youngish looking men and women.  Some with long and others with short coats.  A few are watching the scene intently.  One is flipping through an IPad.  Another is holding his pager up to his eyes and squinting.

Past the glass doors of the room one can make out small details of a bustling nursing station.  There is a sense of hurry and continuous motion.

The screen goes black.

Still Life 4

The protagonist is now elderly.  He must be at least in his eighth decade.  He is lying in a hospital bed with his eyes closed.  A telemetry monitor above him shows a flat line going across the screen.  Ten people of different ages and sizes sit or stand around the room.  A small girl rests on her mother's lap and curls into her arms.

The setting is serene.  The expressions around the room are of both sadness and exaltation.  The protagonist is deadly still, much like in the opening scene.

As one looks over to the door of the room, they are surprised to see multiple faces peering in.  Doctors, nurses, orderlies are standing together silently and looking on.

Fade to black.

The voice of the Narrator now returns but softer, slower.

What happens when a life is terminated prematurely?

We all lose something.

The screen remains black.

Cue music.

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