The Recollection Script

The Recollection Script

A Story by Butterfly_Kid














Grinning, Dr. Gail Hawthorne closed the lid of her laptop and sat back in her padded leather chair. She sighed contently and took a sip of wine. Another major order had been placed; the third in as few as 24 hours. She was about to be a very rich woman, very soon. It felt good. The wine had an exquisite bouquet, it was a rather old vintage, and she had been saving it for just such an occasion. For such a success.

She rose from her seat and grabbed her jacket. Beneath it were several envelopes in a scattered pile marked ‘Final Notice’ and ‘Foreclosure’ in large red print. A horn honked on the street. She turned and glanced out the window, parting the sheer with her hand. Her cab had arrived, and sat rumbling out front for her. It was time to go home and relax for one night. She had a long month ahead of her. Many patients to interview, and many memories to collect.

As she headed for the door, she paused for a second and turned around to face her desk. Situated behind it was a stout wooden cabinet. It was a deep mahogany with antique brass hardware. It looked right at home in her office. Stately, and classic. No one would ever know what power it secretly held behind its doors. A device that she owed all of her future success to. A device she crafted over two decades of research and collaboration. And it would soon be put to the test.

She stood and listened for the device's faint but distinguishable pulsing hum. The sound contented her, and warmed her. It was the sound of her future.

The car's horn honked again, jarring her from her reverie. She sprinted for the door, and switched out the lights before slamming it shut. Behind her desk, the device quietly hummed, lulling the night into a melancholy slumber.

***

The next day her first patient had arrived. She greeted him and waved him in calmly. "Mr. Davidson, please do come in." As the patient approached, she shook his hand and directed him to the large leather chair that sat opposite hers. He sat, and they began.

"So nice to meet you, Mr. Davidson. As you know, I am new in town and have just begun accepting patients."

Mr. Davidson just nodded silently.    

Dr. Hawthorne cleared her throat. "Therefore, I am especially eager to get started. Have you read about my methods, Mr. Davidson?"

Mr. Davidson told her that he had read up on her, and was curious to find out if she could help him. He found the idea of her therapy involving electronics and machinery to be somewhat off-putting. But he needed help, and was willing to find it anywhere, however unorthodox it may be.

"Well, Mr. Davidson--Mike. May I call you Mike?--I'm pleased that you finally came to me. I guarantee my methods and procedures will leave you quite satisfied." She reached down and placed her hand on a beige folder on her lap. She put on her glasses and opened it. "I have your file here. Shall we discuss the reason why you've come to me?"

Mike Davidson nodded again silently.

"Let's see. Acute alcoholism, obsessive-compulsive behavior, violent outbursts, and symptoms of bi-polar disorder. Is that all correct?" She looked up at him and made eye contact. He finally spoke.

"Yes, Dr. Hawthorne. I stay heavily medicated in order to function like a normal human being, but it's slowly killing me. My liver is shot to begin with, but now I'm just a danger to myself. You know, last week I fell asleep with a lit cigarette in my hand? If it weren't for the old lady across the hall being home on account of her blindness, I'd be a dead man."

"I see. Well Mike, I have read your file extensively, and after a short interview, we can get started on treatment."

She conducted the interview with him. It was a series of canned psyche questions that she had just pulled out of an old textbook. Likely something he had done a million times before. Typical stuff. She assured him that the questionnaire was an essential part of the process. She pretended to take some notes on him, then prepared the treatment.

"Mike, there is a moment in every person's life that impacts them more deeply than anything else they’ve experienced. There is a turning point, where things can either go very well for a person--or in your case--they can go very badly. What I aim to do is tap into that moment, and explore it. If we can get to the essence and origin of your psychological issues, then we can better understand them--and with any luck, we can cure them."

She crouched down behind her desk and opened the mahogany cabinet. The device radiated heat in the enclosed space, as it hummed away quietly. She picked up a black, compact-looking and stylishly engineered headset from the cabinet. She pressed a discreet button in the side, and a bright blue LED came to life near the right temple. Fully charged and ready for use. She walked over and handed it to Mr. Davidson. "You can put it on," she said.

He placed the high-tech headset on the top of his balding head. The visor in the front covered his eyes completely. His ears were shrouded by some kind of headphones. "What's going to happen?" He asked.

She said, "I'm going to begin a relaxation period with you now. Just sit back in your seat, and try your best to calm yourself, Okay?" He nodded.

She opened her laptop and pressed play on the video. It was just a relaxation DVD she had bought from a department store. It wasn't anything innovative or original. But it worked to relax people, just the same. The video was played on the visor while the headphones pumped in calming ambiance music. Mr. Davidson relaxed. He seemed content for the first time since setting foot in her office. Excellent, she thought.

After ten minutes or so, the video was half way through. Dr. Hawthorne began to speak: "Mike, I'm going to begin the memory recollection script now. Are you ready?"

He nodded.

She went through the words that she had developed over several years. This script combined with the brain-scanning capabilities of her headset, were the key to collecting the memories she needed.

She paused and turned to the cabinet. But before she knelt and pressed the button on the device, she had a sudden pang of remorse. Was this the right thing to be doing? She needed the money sorely, but what about the ethical questions it all raised? And she wasn't even sure what the long term effects of exposure to this kind of procedure would be.

She thought more about what she was doing. The entire reason why she had gotten involved in all of this--why it all began, was because she had learned of a similar device that had been developed in Japan years prior. The wealthy and famous were secretly ordering the dreams and memories of others for their own personal entertainment. No longer were they content with the countless other sources of entertainment, no. They needed the next big rush, and were willing to pay top dollar for the chance to live the highs and lows of someone else's life, through their eyes. If she secured these few contracts, she would be the first in the Unites States. She would become enormously successful, and wealthy.

She continued reading. The script was almost complete, and now Dr. Hawthorne had her final words, "I want you to go back to the moment of your father's death. The drowning. I want you to go there and confront that moment. If you witness it again, you will see that it wasn't your fault. You will be freed."

She opened a window on her laptop. The screen displayed a blurry, and askew image of what Mr. Davidson was seeing in his mind’s eye. It was choppy for a few seconds, but then became clearer. Sure enough, it was the harrowing moment of his father's death. The scene was on a rushing river. The two were on a raft, and approaching a rock face rapidly. The massive white waves constricted their view of the imminent danger. Then it was too late, they made crashing contact with the rock, and Mike Davidson's father was flung from the raft. Mike's youthful-looking hand reached to grab for his father by the life jacket. He pulled hard. He began to scream. As he recoiled from a final pull, he saw that he had only ripped the life jacket from the body of his father. As she watched, Hawthorne knew this had only sealed his father's fate, rather than saving him. He continued to scream. 

As the scene played out on the screen, a red progress bar neared completion below. Dr. Hawthorne, turned around and kneeled again in front of the device. She opened a small door on the face of the machine. Inside was a tiny vial labeled 'M. Davidson', a glowing green liquid slowly dripped into the small glass receptacle, not unlike a common coffee maker. She grinned. Excellent, it's almost full.

Once the process was complete, Dr. Hawthorne asked Mr. Davidson to remove the headset, but he didn't seem to respond. She stepped closer and repeated herself. Still nothing. What had gone wrong? She reached down to his head and removed it herself. He at least appeared to be alive, good. But he still seemed unresponsive. Almost catatonic. "Mr. Davidson? Mike?" She asked. "Can you hear me?"


He blinked to life and turned to meet her eyes. "I feel wonderful." He said. "I feel just wonderful" again.

Relieved, Dr. Hawthorne cleared her throat, "Good, very good. Can you stand?"

He nodded and got to his feet. She had no idea what was going on. This man was technically her first human test trial. His brains could be scrambled for all she could tell.

"Thank you, Dr. Hawthorne. Have a nice day", he muttered to her in a monotone voice. Void of expression. He picked up his things and headed for the door. "I feel wonderful," he said finally as he left the office. Dr. Hawthorne peeked out the window, through the sheers as she watched him walk down the sidewalk. She wasn't certain, but she could swear she had heard him tunelessly humming to himself.

Dr. Hawthorne wasn't sure as to what had just happened. Did the machine actually cure his mental illness? Or did she just electronically lobotomize a man? She would have to worry about that later. For now, she had to prepare his vial. It needed to be securely packaged up and put in cold storage. She was going to fly to LA in a month--on the private jet of some celebrity who chose to remain anonymous--to deliver these memories in person.

She got to work, pausing to think about Mr. Davidson only once. After the vial was ready for transport and in refrigeration, Dr. Hawthorne placed a new vial into the front of the machine as it hummed along--almost graciously. She took out a black marker and wrote 'K. Randall' on a new label, sticking it to the new vial. She placed the headset back and closed the cabinet. She sat down at her chair. As she took out the next patient file, a middle-aged woman in glasses, with mousy hair and a wrinkly outfit--as well as a generally disheveled appearance--stepped through her office door. Hawthorne grinned, as the machine eagerly hummed in anticipation. 

"Ah, Mrs. Randall, please do come in. May I call you Karen?"

© 2013 Butterfly_Kid


Author's Note

Butterfly_Kid
This has been another one of my entries in a concept art writing prompt.

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Featured Review

good concept. You've got a good feel for the sci/fi genre. As a short story format, you might have spent too much time on how the Dr. felt, not sure, conflicted, and not really sure how the machine worked on human subjects before using it...

Here's just an idea thrown on the table: Instead of the vials of memories being for sale to the rich and celebrities, have them be for the doctor herself who turns out to lack feelings and emotions beyond the clinically professional. Kinda of an experience/emotion vampire... yeah I know, sounds cliche, but I think you can squeeze something better out of it.

This has lots of gravity and traction you can play with. Again, great concept.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Butterfly_Kid

8 Years Ago

Thanks again. I'm always striving to improve in various ways with each subsequent story.



Reviews

This is the kind of imagination I love, and I'm running out of ways to say your writing is excellent. There have been many great pieces but I like this one so much I'm going to share it on Facebook. I feel like you could be a well-known author if you want to. There are so many writers who sacrifice the story by over describing things. You are not one of them. You have like a sixth sense, a story sense.

Posted 6 Years Ago


good concept. You've got a good feel for the sci/fi genre. As a short story format, you might have spent too much time on how the Dr. felt, not sure, conflicted, and not really sure how the machine worked on human subjects before using it...

Here's just an idea thrown on the table: Instead of the vials of memories being for sale to the rich and celebrities, have them be for the doctor herself who turns out to lack feelings and emotions beyond the clinically professional. Kinda of an experience/emotion vampire... yeah I know, sounds cliche, but I think you can squeeze something better out of it.

This has lots of gravity and traction you can play with. Again, great concept.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Butterfly_Kid

8 Years Ago

Thanks again. I'm always striving to improve in various ways with each subsequent story.
Not bad. You have a good concept and you execute it fairly well, but I do think there's still room for expansion here - you leave the audience wanting perhaps a bit too much at the end. Other than that, well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Butterfly_Kid

8 Years Ago

I like to think of these short stories as something like an episode of an anothology TV series like .. read more
This is very interesting, it's not what I usually read but it definitely kept me occupied. I like how you explained her being confronted by her feelings of remorse, and yet you could see the temptation of the money she would make off of other people's memories taking over. Very good read.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Butterfly_Kid

8 Years Ago

Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.

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Added on March 16, 2013
Last Updated on August 3, 2013
Tags: Memories, psychology, psychiatry, doctor, lobotomy

Author

Butterfly_Kid
Butterfly_Kid

Canada



About
Please read and review. All criticisms welcome! -- I write in my spare time. It's as fun a passtime as reading, really. So that's why I do it. As I continue to get feedback and reviews on the chapters.. more..

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