Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Broken Mirror Shards - Dr. Claw (Day 11)

Okay, 817 more words puts me at a grand total of 7,508. And yes, that is the grand total, because today is the final installment of Dr. Claw. Before we go further, though, here are the others who are participating.

Bria Burton 
Katherine Inskip
Rish Outfield

Check out their stories. Since my story is done now, I will be heading over to check out what they had to write. Anyway, here's the last segment:

Dr. Claw was waiting for him still in its usual place despite the passage of time.  Apparently claw machines don’t change much and therefore don’t need to be updated like other video games.  Brody’s head pounded in time with his heartbeat as he stepped up to the machine.  His vision seemed to blur and double as he looked down at the joystick.  Maybe his plan of getting roaring drunk last night wasn’t such a good one after all.  This time, at least, he’d brought a whole shit ton of quarters, $100 worth.  He put one in the slot.
“You’re back again?” the Round Table employee was at his side, “I thought I told you that nobody ever walks away happy from this thing.”
Brody didn’t even look over at him, instead he guided the claw with the joystick to the spot that he felt would be lucky.  He hit the drop button, and watched the claw plummet into the mountain of plush toys.
“I thought you said that you never said that at all,” Brody replied, “at least that’s what you said last time.”  Brody froze, as the claw rose from the toys with a silver and black plush football in its grip.  It dropped it into the hopper.
“Hey, wow, you actually won something,” said the man, “I’ve never seen anyone win something.  I guess you’ll go home happy after all.”
Brody pulled the ball out of the machine and examined it.  He pulled at the plush fur, squeezed it mercilessly, but could discover no hidden compartment or pull away lining.  As far as he could tell, this was just a regular prize from the machine.  He looked at it for a moment, remembering that this was the actual toy he had attempted to grab the first time he’d played this machine.  It certainly was no lottery ticket.
He turned and shoved the ball into the trash can beside the machine, and pulled out another quarter.
“You’re playing again?  But you just won.  What are you expecting to get?” the man asked.
“I don’t know,” Brody said, “It’s different every time, but it’s always amazing.”
“I don’t get you man.  I think I was right after all, you’ll never walk away from this machine happy.”
Brody shoved another quarter into the machine, and the claw lurched out over the toys again.  It dropped, and came up empty.
“Sooner or later,” he said to the man, but on turning toward him, discovered that he had gone.  “Uh...sooner or later, I’ll get what I came for,” he finished lamely to no one in particular.
He plugged in another quarter.  The machine went through its motions again, the claw lurching out, jerking back and forth as he manipulated the joystick, then diving into the mound of prizes.  Brody’s head still pounded along with his heartbeat, as the claw rose up.
His eyes widened and his stomach lurched when he saw that it had something in its grasp.  Something impossibly large.  How could that have been hiding within that pile of stuffed animals?  It was a large manilla envelope.  The claw steered it back to the start position, and dropped it in the bin.
Brody pulled the door open, and retrieved his prize.  On the outside, his name was written in clean, black letters.  He unfastened the hook, and opened the envelope.  Inside was a sheet of paper, and a sheet of film.  What was this?  How was this going to make me rich again?  He looked at the film.  It was like one of those films his teachers in grade school had put on the overhead projector before they finally got more up-to-date technology.  On it was a black and white rendering of someone’s brain.  Covering a huge portion of the brain’s right side was a large white circle.  At the bottom of the film in clean, black letters again was his name.
Brody looked at the sheet of paper that had come in the envelope.  It was on UC Davis Medical Center stationary, and contained a two paragraph statement written by a doctor about what he had found in the brain scan.  The patient, Brody Burton, had a malignant glioblastoma that, because of its massive size, was certainly inoperable.
Brody’s stomach dropped.  What was this? This wasn’t a lottery ticket or the keys to a Ferrari!  This was a death sentence! This couldn’t be real.  He’d never been to any doctor to get a brain scan.  He’d never seen this doctor about any glioblastoma or anything else for that matter.  He leaned against the claw machine, and slid down to his knees, crying.  He’d never bought a Ferrari either, yet there had been one parked outside for him when he’d won the keys, one with no miles on it whatsoever.
            He curled into a ball and cried.  Wow, had that guy been right. 

The End


  1. Great job, Big! It ended darker than I thought it would, but I see a silver lining. If he goes to the dr now and tells them about the tumor, maybe it will be soon enough and he can be saved. Except that didn't seem to be the point, so I don't think that's where you intend the thinking to go. This is a very cautionary tale, really. Enjoy what you have. Life is short. Nicely done.

  2. I think you accepted my challenge and created something unpredictable from it. Good work, sir.