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Writing: Input Wanted Paul Goznac the Ornithological Statistician

  1. Dec 10, 2012 #1
    So I figured that since I got some of ideas for this story from physicsforums, it would be fitting if it ended its days or found a new beginning here. Input: I'd like to know if this is in any way or form entertaining. I'm not a natural comedian, but something (possibly stupid) prompted me to give it a try. This is not the very beginning of the story, but I've done my damnedest to find the most tone-consistent and entertaining bit I could.


    Light slowly dawned around him. As did sounds. Light gradually formed into shapes, such as a sphere, and sounds bubbled into words. After a while there was a familiar plump female face in front of him which was saying, “Paul, can you hear me?” He moved his head and discovered that the face belonged to an equally familiar plump female body (fortunately, the concept of double entendre hadn't happened to him yet, or he would have been more careful with his mental descriptions). There was a murmur, the meaning of which he didn't catch.

    “Paul, can you hear me?” the female repeated, stoically clutching her fists under her chest.

    He looked to the side and found a lot of white machinery, a smooth plastic-looking wall, and a vacuum-sealed-looking door.

    “Paul?” he heard again.

    He turned back to the female. She wore a bluish coat which associated in his head with sickness. He found himself compelled to say something.

    “Is my name Paul?” he said, and didn't recognize his voice, although he couldn't be sure, because he didn't quite remember his voice. In any case, currently it was rather monotone and raspy.

    Suddenly there was a lot of muffled noise somewhere, and the female seemed happy.

    “Yes, it is,” she said.

    He considered this fact. “Paul” sounded quite short, but in his current situation of not having a name it had to do.

    “Okay,” he said.

    “Paul, do you remember me?” the female said, with giddy overtones.

    He thought about it. He recalled that remembering someone included remembering their name, and he drew blank on that one.

    “Sort of... not... very well,” he said, pausing to study his voice.

    “I'm Domma, your cousin.”

    It sounded like it.

    “Hello,” he said. So he had relatives. He felt pleased. Under the circumstances he could have just as easily awoken on an island among a tribe of cannibals. As their grocery item.

    He wondered about his meaty parts and whether he should worry about their culinary attractiveness. He had vague impressions of being rather bony.

    “How are you feeling, Paul?” Domma asked.

    “I'm not,” he said, and then questioned the semantics.

    “Sorry?” Domma said.

    He coughed to cover his confusion, emitting the sound of an old microphone being blown at.

    “Are you alright?” Domma asked.

    “Yes, I'm fine, thank you,” he said quickly, and lapsed into a study of the sound of what he had just said. It had a certain... movie quality that he couldn't put his finger on. Something to do with a villain. For some reason he wanted to talk about “the Force”.

    “Do you remember what happened?” Domma said.

    “When?” he said.

    “Well, before you awoke now, for a start.”

    “I... think someone asked me to move my left pinky,” he confessed honestly.

    Domma glanced at the plastic wall to the side.

    “How about before that?”

    He probed around his memory.

    “I think... I was at a party.”

    “Not exactly,” Domma said. “But what else do you remember about it?”

    “I remember... a lot of people. Or maybe what looked like a lot,” he added. “Then I looked out of the window, and someone wrote on the sidewalk, “Happy dorkday, dork.”

    “Er. No, that's not it,” Domma said. She turned towards the window. He followed her gaze, realizing that his own was rather tunnel-y. He saw a blue sky and several small dark jittery shapes.

    Domma suddenly turned back to face him, and grasped one fist with the other tightly.

    “I'm afraid there was an accident!” she said very dramatically. After a pause, during which Paul (for lack of a better name) strove to become less perplexed, she clarified, “You were in it.”

    “Hm,” Paul said and started raising himself a bit and craning his neck to look at his body and legs. All he saw was a wavy white sheet over whatever remained of his body. He felt sort of numb, instead of the warmth of a bed under him and the smooth fabric over him. He considered being frantic, and gave it a pass. Then, with a sigh, he gave in to cliche.

    “How bad is it?”

    Domma breathed out.

    “I'm afraid you've lost quite a lot.”

    Paul studied his sensations. They kind of matched the description, but confusingly they also didn't.

    “At least I've got my arms,” he said. He tried to raise them and failed. Something was holding him.

    “Not exactly,” Domma said rather sourly.

    A commotion seemed to start behind a wall. Then the door opened with a whoosh of changing air pressure, and an angry man in a white coat looked in. He switched to pleased for a moment to say “Hi” to Paul, then angrily addressed Domma.

    “What are you doing?” he whispered, motioning her outside.

    Domma moved out with deliberate slowness.

    “Well, what can I do? I'm used to giving happy news to people...”

    The door closed with another whoosh and some rustling. Paul noticed a rather bright white wall behind the man. Something irked him about it. Things kind of wanted to start irking him generally. They certainly tried very hard to accidentally upset him.

    Then he felt sad. He wasn't sure who he was, why he was where he was, and whether he could trust anyone. He might have tried being reasonable if he remembered tips on positive thinking, but he didn't.

    'Am I, in fact, a person?' he asked himself. He certainly had some person-like memories. Unfortunately one of them involved a book about robots who didn't know they were robots because of implanted memories. If so, they (whoever they were) made a big mistake of implanting a memory about a book about robots who had implanted memories... However it could be a trick! They thought it would be too obvious if he had a memory like this and he would think that this was an improbable coincidence! But he wasn't the squarest patch of the chessboard, no!

    The door opened. Domma entered with her lips set firmly.

    “Paul, do you want to talk about anything?” she asked, relaxing.

    He thought to ask for the truth, but he wasn't going to fall for this cliche. He thought some more. The alternatives weren't very appealing (either lies or fantasy). So maybe he was.

    “What happened to me?” he said.

    Domma looked at the wall.

    “Er. You know, there was a Hawks game last night,” she said.

    “Hm. I don't think I'm into... whatever it is they play,” Paul said.

    “Oh, that's right.”

    Domma squinted at the window. The shapes could be birds. Paul thought he liked birds. Or maybe he hated them.

    “I know!” Domma said jubilantly. “You probably don't remember that we've got aliens on Earth!”

    “Wh...” Paul pretended that he didn't notice he was restrained.


    If you like you can use a code-phrase for "This sucks!" Just say, "Can I check out your serious stuff?":smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Its good, reminded me a little of the Twilight Zone episode where a woman wakes up in a darkened hospital room with nurses and doctors looking after her. Her head is bandaged and they are about to remove them. She can only see silouttes of the people there. They give her a mirror and you see her face reflected as radiately beautiful and then you see the medical staff drop back in horror with monstrous faces.

    The episode was called Eye of the Beholder, Season 2


    Also it reminded me a little of the Robocop movie.
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