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The Good Stuff
Short Story
The Tragic and Triumphant Tale
of Dr Darryn
by Fiona Murray
Length: 789 words

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The Tragic and Triumphant Tale of Dr Darryn

It all started when he was three. The more mainstream children were happily scampering about playing with blocks and chasing each other around the cubby house. Meanwhile, Darryn was in the furthermost corner of the kindergarten grounds with a tub of glue sticking different objects together. His teachers would find him at the end of the day surrounded by leaves stuck onto twigs stuck onto insects stuck onto trees. 

“Why, Darryn?” his flabbergasted teachers would ask.

“Looks better.” The young Darryn would say in a squeaky voice. 

His mother was distraught at the possibility that her child had developmental problems. She once broke down in tears when the child psychologist showed her a bell curve representing the normal distribution of children’s progress. He pointed to the small sloping minority of child behaviour and announced that Darryn was most definitely at the far left of centre.

“What will my friends say? Their children will grow up to be successful and rich, and my Darryn will be sitting outside the normal distribution.” She wept frequently.

As he grew up little changed for Darryn. He still preferred to graft different objects together rather than play with the other children or pursue other age appropriate interests. When time came to start thinking about tertiary study he decided on only one thing: He wanted to go to art school to continue his passion for aesthetic creation.

When he expressed this view to his mother she replied promptly: 


“Why not?” Darryn asked.

“Because I’m not having an artist for a son. Your idealism will lead you to rely on government support, grow your hair inappropriately long, and increase your chance of mixing with homosexuals. You never think of your mother’s reputation Darryn.”

They fought about the matter for two whole years, avoided dinners and had silent car trips. Eventually his mother decided to have a conversation about the matter and called Darryn into the kitchen. At that point he was grafting half the cat onto the set of drawers as an expression of his teenage oppression.

“Darryn. You are going to medical school, and that’s final. Thankyou for having this dialogue with me.”


And so it was that on the first day of semester, Darryn packed his lunch of cheese sandwiches melted onto a salad, and wiped his tears away as he walked out the door. His mother wiped away her own tears (of pride and megalomania, not depression) away as she kissed Darryn on the cheek.

And so he sat, for seven whole years, studying dutifully and repressing any urge to mix two unrelated objects together.

After graduation he got a job as an orthopaedic surgeon. His mother squealed with glee, pleased that she could brag to her friends about his career.

“Finally,” she thought, “Nothing can go wrong with my troublesome son.”

Darryn was a fine orthopaedic surgeon, gained a good reputation with his colleagues and was loved by his patients. Until one day his long repressed artistic feelings came bubbling to the surface in the most predictable way.
Mrs Jones was the first to experience his artistic flair. As he was performing a simple hip replacement he suddenly realised that the lamp stand would look far better than a regular leg. Another man went in for an arm amputation and emerged groggily from his anaesthetic to find a pineapple grafted to his torso. 

At first their were some complaints about Dr Darryn’s competence as a surgeon. But in the lengthy time it took to raise the alarm with Queensland health, the patients soon became fond or their new surrealist appendages. 

Soon Darryn’s mother heard about the happenings at the hospital. Her girlfriend arrived at the bridge club with a rubber chicken instead of a finger. As she proudly showed off her new accessory Darryn’s mother quietly fumed. 

In fact, she fumed so much that her muscled tightened up, causing her to fall down the stairs and knock her head when she arrived home.

She was rushed to the emergency ward and rolled into theatre - the very theatre where Dr. Darryn was scrubbing up and putting on his gloves and gown!

The operation was successful. He replaced her head with a toaster.

“Why Darryn, Why?” she wailed, with an electrical buzz in her voice.

“Looks better.” He replied.

And in time she agreed. She saved on shampoo, and she never had to walk far to make toast. Better yet, she could continue her sedentary lifestyle with her cronies and they could check their reflection in her toaster-head.

So that is the story of Dr Darryn, who was destined to sit on the far left end of the bell curve, but ended up being artistically fulfilled by mixing different objects together.

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Alison Pearce   Australia
"A delightfully bizarre and humorous story! What a surreal world it would be!"

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