Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writing Prompt #4

Writing Prompt #4
“He’s the cutest little boy. Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”

The doctor looked through the glass. In the playroom on the other side, he watched as the little boy happily stacked blocks into a tall, haphazard tower. His parents sat across the room, rarely taking their eyes off of him. Their faces feigned smiles, occasionally adding in a small word of happy encouragement to the boy whenever he glanced to make sure they were still there. But when the boy looked away, the doctor saw the dark cloud coast over each set of watery eyes.

“He’s the cutest little boy. Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”

The doctor just softly grunted to the assistant standing beside him. This boy truly was cute. More than cute. He was down right adorable. Barely five, his cheeks were still chubby with infant youth. They tightened into red little plums whenever he flashed his white, full-toothed smile at his watching parents. His eyes were a sparkling blue, catching every prism of light in the room and bouncing it back in handfuls of diamonds. Soft, light blonde hair danced back and forth across his smooth forehead as he moved from toy to toy, tossing his head in laughter. The doctor found his mind wandering, wondering what the parents might have looked like if…

“Doctor, its about time.”

“Yes, yes I can see that.” He peeled his eyes away from little boy, who was now happily coloring in one of the many books scattered across the room. From the corner of his eye he could see the door in the room open and the parents duck quietly out.

He made his way into the hallway. Behind him he could still hear the happy giggle of the little boy, oblivious to what was coming. With a sigh, the doctor swept his hand over his balding head, then made his way into the room across the hall. Inside there was only a small desk, with two hard chairs sitting on one side, and a soft rolling chair on the other. The parents were already perched on the wooden chairs. The doctor took them in. The mother’s hands were wrung together, nails ragged from nervous biting. Her dull brown eyes sad close together, still watery. Thin lips clenched together, the signs of acne still evident on her blotchy face. Next to her, her husband echoed her looks almost exactly. His hair was thin, shaggy and hanging down slightly over his dull, watery eyes. Though instead of ringing his hands, they hung limply at his side, dead of any movement.

The doctor sat down in the soft seat, swiveling himself to look at the parents face on. It seemed to often he had to see this face. The pudgy, dull, acne scarred face of the 4th class. It used to make him uneasy. Now, twenty years after starting his work in the field of Surgical Equality, he barely felt a twinge of neither disgust nor pity. Yet for some reason, that little boy’s face kept flashing through his mind, as if burned in there for keeps. Clearing his throat, the image disappeared.

“Hello Mister and Missus Cale. I see that you are two weeks past due from the scheduled appointment.”

The husband nervously glanced to his wife, then licked his thin lips. “We – we lost track of time. Work has been…demanding. We – uh -”

“Mister Cale, there is no need to pass excuses to me. Those in charge of your case will be assessing the reasoning for your delay. All I need you to do now is to sign the paperwork, and the surgery will commence.”

The wife suddenly looked directly into the doctor’s eyes. “No.”

For a moment, the word hung in the room. Then silence took over. The doctor stared back at her, letting the silence sink in.

“Missus Cale, may I remind you that with your consent or not, by law, this surgery will commence.”

“Then, doctor, I will still say no.” The husband shut his eyes tightly. He moved a limp hand to his wife’s shoulder, but she shrugged it off roughly. Her dull brown eyes seemed to light on fire, still ugly, but strikingly so.

Sighing, the doctor leaned back in the seat. It creaked under his weight, slowly echoing through the small room. The memorized words spilled from his lips, as though a play button had been pressed in some other hidden room. “Sixty years ago, head scientists found that with determined, undisputed classes set amongst the population, conflicts decreased. There was less fighting. Less homeless, less sex-related crimes. Eventually, less war. Merely ten years after Surgical Equality was voted into practiced law, the world saw an utter elimination of hostilities. With the pre-determined five-class system, everyone has learned his or her place. And with the surgical interventions, there is no mistaking each class as you pass them down the now safe streets. You, Mister and Missus Cale, are fourth class. I do not have to allow you further arguments or pity. It is law, and if you choose not to follow it, you will find yourself in a very unpleasant place.”

“It is law to make my son ugly,” the wife spat out. “It is that, because of MY birth, he will have to have non-stop surgery his entire life to make him sore to the eyes of anyone in any class above him. How, doctor, is this fair law?”

He looked a moment at her. “Fair law does not exist, Missus Cale. The only law that exists is the law that has been voted in, and proven to work.”

“I did not choose to be born to poor, lazy parents! Nor did my son choose to be born to parents who have been forced to be eternally ugly!”

“You cannot change genetic placement, Missus Cale. You can only deal with it.”

With that, she burst into bitter, angry tears. They ran down her scarred cheeks, leaving dark streaks that only enhanced the surgical imperfections given her. The husband finally reached over again, this time his hand welcome as he held her shaking shoulders. “Doctor.” His eyes looked up, full of pain. “Please…is there any way…”


“Then - ” He glanced to his wife. Closing his eyes a moment, his voice finally came out strong, clear. “Then we can only do the one last thing possible to stand up for our little boy. We cannot sign.”

The doctor looked at the parents a moment, then stood. He gathered the papers in his hands, and opened the metal door. “Have a nice day, Mister and Missus Cale.”

Outside the door, four armed police officers waited. The doctor passed them, blind to their smug smiles as they forced their way into the room. He could hear the sobbing of the wife, and the gentle voice of the husband trying to calm her one last time. Then he turned the corner, and the sounds disappeared behind him.

“Doctor.” His assistant waited next to the operating room door. “Patient is prepped and ready.”

“Thank you. I will be there in a moment.”

With that the assistant disappeared into the room. The doctor suddenly slouched against the cold white wall, his breath catching in his throat. The face of the little boy, smiling and laughing, passed in front of his clenched eyes. Then, slowly, he saw the image of his wife’s swollen belly, almost due with their first-born son. A knot, tight and threatening to never leave again, formed in his turning stomach.

What was he doing?

(Word count: 1236)