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by archgimp 

Posted: 23 February 2006
Word Count: 300
Summary: Entry for FFII week 7 challenge. Hope it counts. Five characters including the MC. Prosp, you run a tight ship, this was not easy.

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The kitchen door was already open: I’d overslept, so Martha had let herself in and prepared breakfast for all of us.

Susan was dressed, I could tell it was Susan by the way she held herself, I didn’t need to see her face.

“Morning!” My tone was bright. No work today, well, no paying work. Four wives was work enough for anyone, and my day had yet to begin.

“Good morning, darling.” She was spreading the runny yolk on her toast with a knife. This was Susan: fastidious, gentle, caring. My heart swelled with love and I stood a minute to just enjoy the moment with her.

Then Sarah came in. Susan shuddered and then was gone. She wouldn’t share her breakfast with Sarah.

“I hate runny eggs. You bastard!” Sarah began sobbing, then the rage was back. She swept the plate from the table. The yolks made a dangerous slick on the linoleum so I set about wiping them up before one of my other wives slipped and cut herself on the mess.

When I looked up, Samantha stood naked before me, touching herself intimately. She looked at me through brazen eyes, but I shook my head, dumping the remains of breakfast into the bin. Now was not the time.

By the time I turned round, Shelley was working at the Times crossword. Intent as always, it barely stimulated her incredible mind.

Then Susan was back. I saw the tears well in her eyes, and I could tell she was mouthing ‘sorry’.

I held her in my arms, stroking her head, whispering:

“It’s okay, darling. I love you, every bit. Dr. Sassman said the new pills will be better. Maybe the others will go away then, and it’ll be just you and me again. Forever.”

My tears joined hers.

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Comments by other Members

Prospero at 08:00 on 23 February 2006  Report this post
This really good David. A very clever take on the theme.

I would prefer a simpler word than 'detrius', it spoils the flow of the piece as does 'shards of porcelain.'

But these are just minor picks to put the final polish on an excellent piece of writing.

Well done


sazzyjack at 08:18 on 23 February 2006  Report this post
I really enjoyed this. It is a very clever piece of writing. The first time I read through, I was reading the guy as a bit of a knob, so the end surprised and saddened me and made me go back and read it again.
Thanks for the read.


optimist at 21:17 on 23 February 2006  Report this post
Hi David,

Very clever - I enjoyed this - love the matter of fact way you bring all the wives on stage and then the ending just completed the story so well - felt absolutely right.

Lovely understated style of writing -"Now was not the time" (!)

I'd consider losing "obscenely" maybe just touching herself or caressing - would he find it "obscene"?

Thanks for the read!


Dreamer at 01:36 on 24 February 2006  Report this post
Very good David.

All the 'S' names were initially confusing but then we understand why you did it.

The only other question I had was wasn't it Sarah that wiped out the breakfast and should be saying 'sorry' not Susan?

I like Sarah's point. Why not otuching herself 'suggestively'?

I don't think you need the last sentence.

Great writing, great story.


archgimp at 06:59 on 24 February 2006  Report this post
Hi all, thanks for reading! Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is a complex and deep subject, and covering it in 300 words was not an easy task. Originally I was going to write as an MC that showed five different aspects of his own personality, depending upon who he was interacting with. However, this proved to require either more words or a better writer. Given I didn't have either avaiable, I went for the MPD option.

I know a lady called Susan with MPD. Her personalitites are less extreme than these in most cases (although she, too, has a 'Sarah' personality). I've not met her many times, but I know her husband through work, and he tells me about the difficulties of living with the disorder. Some of those have come across in this piece I think, some have not. He once told me that even having a boiled egg could become a novel-length drama on some mornings, and although I didn't have the word-count of a novel to play with, I did manage to make a story for him. Apparently when he read this (I showed him *before* posting it) he felt like smiling and crying at the same time. I don't suppose I could have hoped for better praise than that.

Now, on to individual responses:

John, glad you liked it. 'Detritus', yes I can see after leaving the piece for a day how this looks. I shall edit after replying. 'Shards of porcelein' is less obvious to me, however, I could use the words I will get back for something else... Thanks for pointing them out. :)

Sarah (sazzyjack), glad you enjoyed it. You were supposed to think that way, so I'm glad you did. One of the lines I ultimately had to drop was "Nothing in my religion condemning my polygamy".

Sarah (optimist), Thank you for reading, it's a compliment indeed that it 'felt' right, as the feel of the piece was one of the main things that concerned me. What perhaps didn't come across was that the MC would find her behavious 'obscene'. I say this because the chap I nkow who's in the MC's position has told me in the past that on the rare occassions they try to go out, one of his mantras has to be 'Stop being so obscene!' However, I can think of another way of phrasing this to get the same point across...

Brian, Thanks for reading and commenting. I adressed the obscene point above (and have probably edited it by the time you read this). Now, about the apology. This may take a little explaining. Most MPD sufferers don't just suddenly form a whole slew of new personalities from nowehere. A common cause (we think, although of course it's still a ciminally under-researched condition) is a trauma, generally emotional, that casues ethe brain's defence mechanism to seperate the emotion felt from the rest of the mind. Now we all do it: who hasn't felt numb when told of a death or a tradgedy? However, with MPD sufferers, that part never becomes reacquainted. So often the hurt will become it's own personality, develop its own memory etc. In extreme cases (as with Susan in this story) the dual personality can split more times, each time taking some of the emotion and capability of the other personalities with it. So the apology was not for sweeping the plates from the table, as Sarah (the rage/unstable personality) would never apologise for that, and Susan wouldn't remember doing it. Susan's apology was just for being who she is, and for what the MC has to cope with on a daily basis. Again, this is rooted in what I've been told by a friend. Finally, the last line. I tried it without and with, showed one of each example ot a couple of different people. Without that line it seems to give the impression that he'll cope well, and that his jokes about multiple wives are heartfelt, instead of sardonic. With it, it shows that although he will always cope, he is every bit as unhappy as his poor wife. Not sure, jury's still out on that one I think... Still, glad you overall enjoyed it.

lieslj at 12:28 on 25 February 2006  Report this post
Excellent flash, David.

If I was the boss, I'd give you the prize. I've only heard about the disorder, but I think you've captured it really well.

Well done.


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