Inspection

From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time. Up close, we see now, he should not be here.

He sits alone at the same corner table every day, all day, playing solitaire. Narrating his rational plays, he slaps down cards so hard the table shakes. His sane voice, loud above the moans and snores of others. They sit slumped in wheelchairs or on upholstered couches with protective plastic seat covers. Some have spittle hanging from parched lips. Between hands, he talks to the teenage aide standing nearby. “I lost again. Nobody wins here. Did you see that string of clubs?” She nods, bored with her job.  “I want my Science magazine. They didn’t renew my subscription!”

How was this man, an inconvenience to someone, surviving here? We will definitely report this hellhole to authorities.

Written for Monday’s Prosery prompt at dVerse.
Kim hosts today, asking us to include the line “From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time” in a piece of flash fiction, exactly 144 words in length. The line is from D. H. Lawrence’s poem Humming Bird.

Image in public domain at Pixabay.com

43 thoughts on “Inspection

  1. calmkate October 12, 2020 / 2:15 pm

    lol love how both you and Bjorn post responses before the prompt is published!

    Sadly you describe nursing homes all too well, it’s cruel …

    Like

  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) October 12, 2020 / 2:43 pm

    I really love this… and shudder at the thought of ending up like that. Maybe the difference between him and the others is that they have succumbed to the place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ingrid October 12, 2020 / 11:48 pm

      I always appreciate this, because posts go live at 9pm CET for me, and by that time of day I struggle to create anything!

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:48 pm

      One can hope. I recently read a very fun book “The Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules” — she and her elderly friends in a nursing home decide to no longer take their little red pills….are suddenly not just drooling and sleeping all the time, and decide to get out of the place. Their shenanigans are hilarious. Made me laugh out loud!!! Highly recommend the book and it’s a quick read. Guaranteed to make you smile.

      Like

      • Björn Rudberg (brudberg) October 13, 2020 / 2:50 pm

        And I can recommend the book “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”

        Like

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:49 pm

      Sometimes I don’t know why something depressing comes from my pen…..I am generally a VERY happy person. There is hope at the end however, as this place will be reported to authorities.

      Like

  3. kim881 October 12, 2020 / 3:16 pm

    This reminds me of the home my mother was in, where there were people who definitely shouldn’t have been there. We were never sure if Mum realised where she was, although she did tell me she thought she was in prison, but I did wonder about the sane and rational residents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:50 pm

      I don’t me to disparage all nursing facilities. Some are very very good. And sometimes it is necessary to place a loved one in such a place…sometimes for their own safety. But yes…..sometimes I think people just can’t be bothered with an elderly relative and they simply “shelve” them in a place like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sanaarizvi October 12, 2020 / 3:21 pm

    This is heartwrenching and so true … it breaks my heart knowing elderly are put in nursing homes. Evocative write, Lillian 💝

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:52 pm

      Thank you, Sanaa. I do believe there are some very high quality places that care for the infirmed and elderly (not necessarily both at the same time). If one is in the position to place someone in such a place, I do think it absolutely necessary to do as much research as possible…and, if one can, do a surprise visit to the place.

      Like

  5. Lucy October 12, 2020 / 3:34 pm

    Very well-written and a heartbreaking scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:53 pm

      “bleakness” — yes, a very good word to attach to this tale.

      Like

  6. msjadeli October 12, 2020 / 4:32 pm

    Excellent writing, Lillian. You’re meticulous detailing brings it to life. In many cultures the elderly are venerated. The bored aide that couldn’t be bothered to play cards with him is shameful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:53 pm

      Glad you caught the detail of the bored aide. That to me, says it all . . . that a person like this is employed here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. rivrvlogr October 12, 2020 / 4:44 pm

    I’ve been in homes that were a blessing and others that left me shaking my head. This does seem like one of the sadder ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:54 pm

      I agree. There are some that are wonderful. This one, no. It is fiction….the most positive thing in this tale is that the place will be reported.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. peterfrankiswrites October 12, 2020 / 4:54 pm

    Strong, evocative, tragic. ‘Nobody wins here’ indeed – beautifully crafted. Hope the ‘authorities’ are listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you. Glad you caught that detail….”nobody wins here” could apply to the cards and to life in this hell hole

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ron. October 12, 2020 / 5:18 pm

    Oh, you nailed this. Been there (lots). Seen it all. Know this guy..
    BLAMMO!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:55 pm

      Yes. Sadly, even though this is fiction….it is reality for some.

      Like

  10. memadtwo October 12, 2020 / 7:08 pm

    Our elders have become disposable. It’s a sad comment on who we are. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rachel McBride October 12, 2020 / 7:44 pm

    I love how this smacks me in the face. Well-written.

    If you’d ever consider submitting some of your work for publication, Dixie State University has an online literary journal and is currently open for submissions. You can check us out at R7Review.com. The deadline to submit this year is November 6th.

    https://r7review.submittable.com/submit

    We also accept photography, audio recordings, visual art, book reviews, fiction, multimedia, nonfiction, etc.

    I’m happy to answer questions if you have any, but the Submittable page has the details.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:56 pm

      Thank you. I shall look you up.

      Like

  12. Dora October 12, 2020 / 8:56 pm

    “An inconvenience to someone” – sharp and damning indictment of how the elderly are treated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:56 pm

      Yes….that was a key line in this fictitious tale that is sadly, reality for some.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Tricia Sankey October 12, 2020 / 9:45 pm

    Very sad situation for some elderly. Makes me think back to my grandmother. She had a very expensive place she stayed at, but I never thought it was good enough. You strike the right nerve in this piece as we feel the abandonment that is a reality in some nursing homes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:57 pm

      Thank you for this personally reflective comment Tricia. Although my tale here is fictional, it is sadly a reality for too many.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ingrid October 12, 2020 / 11:47 pm

    This is so sad. To go through a whole life and have so much to share, and no one to share it with. I suppose the staff in these places just see to practical needs, but it would be great to have people go and visit who love listening to stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:58 pm

      I agree. Although this is a fictional tale, it is sadly the reality for far too many.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. hank77 October 13, 2020 / 1:46 am

    kaykuala

    They have all the time in the world. A pitiful prospect for the elderly. Great write in all its reality!

    Hank

    Liked by 1 person

  16. robtkistner October 13, 2020 / 1:23 pm

    Strong Lillian. Said, but even more sad is the fact that such a story is far too common.I think everyone at least thinks about such a sad possibility as we get older. Thankfully my children, especially my son and daughter-in-law, have made my elder years quite comfortable.I am a lucky man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 13, 2020 / 2:58 pm

      In my seventh decade, I am right there with you, Rob. Grateful for every day. Grateful for my spouse and family.

      Like

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