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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

TITLE: Four Flew Over the Cuckoo's Tree
By Chely Roach


As the small band of misfits dribbled from their rooms for breakfast, they murmured amongst themselves about the boxes in the center of the common space.

When Meagan noticed them assembling, she emerged from the glass enclosed nursing station. She flinched when James sprung out of nowhere; he had used the plastic ficus tree for cover. Mental note: we need to address that blind spot…

“Why are you here? I thought it was your day off? What’s in the boxes, huh? Are they from the government? Is it a shock treatment table? It is, isn’t it?” James narrowed his eyes and raised his right eyebrow suspiciously.

“I am here today because I brought you guys a present,” Meagan said as she approached the boxes and opened one in front of her captive audience.

“Is it booze?” Maria asked, “Please tell me it’s booze…I’ll take anything you got…seriously, anything.”

Meagan rolled her eyes at Maria as she plucked the top third of artificial Christmas tree from a box. “I bought a new one, so I talked the doctors into letting me donate my old one to the Ward.”

Sherry squealed, ”Oh, goodie-goodie-goodie! I love Christmas trees!” Without any prompting, the group began pulling the branches out of the boxes and assembling them.

“Let me check it for bugs,” James snatched the tree stand from Sherry, “This is probably just a ploy to listen to our private conversations, ya know.”

“What’s that?” Boris’ head snapped to attention as he wiped the drool from his chin.

“Nurse Meagan brought us a Christmas tree!” Sherry clapped her hands as she delivered the news.

“Hey, that’s great. I’ll help, too…” but before he could get off the couch, his chin slumped back down to greet his chest, and the soft snores started immediately.

James pointed at Boris, “See, that’s what the government does to ya when you register to vote, they plant a little chip in your…”

“Nah, that’s what can happen when you mix bourbon with your meds,” Maria oozed nonchalantly as she lit a cigarette, “so you all should be making sure he ain’t getting my mail.”

Sherry began to dig through the last box, “Hey, where are the ornaments? And the garland? There’s nothing in here but old craft supplies.”

“Well guys, here’s the thing,” Meagan began laying the supplies on the table for them,” after the incident last year they gave the Ward’s Christmas tree to Oncology. We had to make some serious concessions to get them to agree to let you have a tree at all. That means definitely no lights, and no glass ornaments either…though we can make some with the craft stuff. We have glue and construction paper, some popsicle sticks and stuff like that. You can even use photos of your family if you want to. The only thing is that the charge nurse has to approve them to make sure that they are all safe.”

“Yippee…Nurse Ratched gets to be the fun police. Imagine that…" Maria blew rings of smoke like she was already bored with the whole project, “I guess I’m out of the loop. What happened last year?”

“Well, without going into too much detail, a patient…” Meagan unconsciously swallowed hard, “…a patient ate all the light bulbs from the tree and had to have emergency surgery on Christmas Eve.”

James snorted, “Come on…no one’s that crazy!” All eyes suddenly wandered over to Boris, who was on his feet and standing in front of the bathroom holding the door open wide.

“Well, we all have our issues, don’t we?” Meagan caught Sherry’s attention and emphatically brushed her bottom lip. Sherry’s eyes bulged as she quickly wiped the glob of school glue off her mouth. With most eyes on Boris, everyone missed this exchange…except for James.

“It was you!” he barked at Sherry, “You are certifiably crazy!”

“Yep, and I got the papers to prove it…” Sherry defiantly scooped up a tube of glitter and stomped past Boris to go sulk in front of the television.

Meagan went over to Boris to see what he was staring at, though nothing looked out of place. “Do you need some help, Boris?”

“I’m just looking for bacon and eggs to cook for my wife. It’s my day to make breakfast.”

As Maria sashayed past, she paused, “If he’s looking for food in the bathroom, perhaps we should put the Christmas tree up on a table. Heaven forbid he dreams that he’s taking a walk in the woods...”

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This article has been read 1083 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/16/08
Oh, I can just see this filmed as a scene from a larger work. Wonderful job on the characterization, and a wonderful change of pace from most Christmas stories. Thumbs up!
Laury Hubrich 10/18/08
Did someone dare you to end your story like that? How funny:) Great job. Loved all your characters.
T. F. Chezum10/19/08
This is great. I love all the characters and the interaction. Very well done.
Shelley Ledfors 10/19/08
Very creative piece! What interesting and, in their own way, charming characters. I love the humor in the ending! I really enjoyed the "difference" in this entry!
Celeste Ammirata10/19/08
I loved this! You described the scene very well. I saw it being played out. How did you come up with the patient eating the lights? This is definitely one of the most creative entries I've read so far. Excellent!
Sharlyn Guthrie10/19/08
Excellent character development! I enjoyed your unique story and the believable group of patients.
Marijo Phelps10/22/08
Incredibly creative. Having done one stint in psych nursing I can tell you that it is probably way too realistic.... it was a fun piece (and then I sit here being a Christina nurse and wondering how many of them could be free through deliverance... ah, well...)
Beth LaBuff 10/22/08
I had to smile at your title and then at "Nurse Ratched". What an entertaining story. :)
Leah Nichols 10/23/08
Yeah, I was worried about the scissors, too. :) Very creative, though it ended quite abruptly. I wanted to read more. Nice work!
Carole Robishaw 10/23/08
This really was fun to read. Where did yo ever come up with the idea? Good job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/23/08
So clever...Could have been a scene from "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." You really have a writing gift.
Catrina Bradley 10/23/08
Wonderful job on the story and the characters. Congrats on your EC, Chely!
Sheri Gordon10/23/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is quite the unique Christmas story, and you tell it so well. The last line is hilarious. Great job with the topic.
Yvette Roelofse10/23/08
Great characters, Chely! I liked the realism and the humour. Christmas in the real world ;)
Joshua Janoski11/04/08
Loved this entry! James reminded me of Uncle Lenny from one of my old stories. Those two guys would probably get along well with each other.

Each character has his/her own very unique personality. This was very deserving of the top honors it received. Of course what writing of yours isn't deserving of it? :)