Calendar Perplexities (flash fiction)

    Walking out of the gym, Devin smiled, delighted that he had scored a date with the new trainer.  Right there in his calendar, on Saturday, 2 May, was the notation “Linda, 4 PM, dinner.”  How lucky can you get, “pretty damn lucky,” he whispered to himself.

    On Saturday, Linda waited, but Devin failed to show up.

    Life with a calendar was confusing for Devin; he carried three.  At any given time Devin had no idea who the other two calendars belonged to.  All he knew was what the printed note taped on the front cover said, “Do not throw away, Ted needs you to hold this for him.”  He had no idea who Ted was; or Steven, the name on the third calendar.  Devin simply paid attention to the note placed there by someone else.  Ted and Steven's entries were a mystery to Devin.  He once looked through the calendar that belonged to Ted and was immediately taken aback by the fact that Ted had some of the same interests and friends as he, but Devin did not recall ever meeting Ted.  The same concerning Steven.  So, to make life simpler, Devin stopped looking inside the other two small red, soft cover calendars.

    Even with a calendar, Devin was late for appointments; sometimes missing them entirely.  He tried his hardest to keep up with his activity schedule, but to no avail.  Work was no different; Devin had a reputation for being late, a no-show, and just downright confused.  Thankfully he worked at the family business and lived with his parents, so being fired and homeless were not possibilities.

    The date with Linda that Devin missed on May 2nd was just another one in a long line of screw-ups.  On the following Monday he called Linda; his apology was not accepted.  He tried to tell her that he was sorry, but how could he tell her that he had no idea what he did on Saturday; or Sunday for that matter.  Days seemed to elude Devin, as did the mysterious reason he needed to carry around Ted and Steven’s calendars.

    Ted and Steven had the same problems as Devin.  In fact, on Saturday Ted, while driving home from work, saw this really attractive girl standing outside a restaurant.  She looked vaguely familiar.  He thought to himself that if he had a desirable woman like that she would not be eating alone.  At the next intersection Ted reached for his jacket that was draped over the passenger seatback and three calendars fell out.  They were red, with soft covers.  One was marked “Do not throw away, Steven needs you to hold this for him.”  For the millionth time, Ted asked aloud, “Who the hell is Steven!”  However, he did know the writer of the note and he trusted him.  So Ted put the two strangers’ calendars back in his jacket pocket and then made a note in his own calendar to ask about this the next time he saw him.

    The two commonalities of the three calendars were the entries for doctor appointments, each having been written by someone from the Doctor’s office, and the ‘if found’ phone number was the same.

    Devin made his next trip to the gym on the Thursday following his aborted date with Linda.  As expected, she would have nothing to do with him.  Well, she did tell him that he had some nerve giving her that lame excuse when she had seen him driving by the restaurant.  All the poor guy could do was say he was sorry again and slink away.

    Meanwhile, Ted, who was lurking in the background, would approach Linda a few hours later at a local Chinese takeout and be called very unflattering names which are unprintable.  Ted figured the girl had some mental problem; he had been polite, yet he received a tongue lashing as if she had already met and hated him.  Steven was probably luckier because Linda was not the type of woman that appealed to him.

    Nevertheless, Steven’s life was no less exasperating than Devin’s and Ted’s.  The problems ran from the mundane, overdue movie rentals, to the truly intolerable, not knowing enough sports trivia.  Steven loved sports.  Devin?  He could take it or leave it.  Their differences were the same with food.  Devin was a BBQ-man, while Ted went for Chinese.  And Steven, sea food; he could not stand Chinese.  Strange thing was the Chinese leftovers in his personal frige?  About the only things all three liked were their parents, a good game of chess, although Ted was impatient, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Another thing in common was unexplainable phobias; Steven crowded escalators, Ted rewashing his hands, and Devin white cats.

    Two weeks after the date fiasco, Devin found himself in court.  Someone named Ted was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.  Ted was leaving a parking lot when the policeman observed the tail light on his father’s car was out.  Pulled over, Ted produced his driver’s license and registration.  “Mr. Devin R. Kalowin?”  “Who?”  “Are you Mr. Kalowin?”  “Yes, but my name is Theodore R., not...who was that?”  The situation deteriorated from there.  Five hours later Ted’s father arrived, and Ted was released from jail.

    “Your honor,” interjected Devin’s lawyer, “No one had bothered to look at the stainless steel medical alert tag Ted was wearing.  Had they done so, they would have read ‘Dissociative identity disorder,’ and been instructed to contact Dr. Nathans.”

    “Since about the age of six, Devin, Ted, and Steven have coexisted.  Dissociative identity disorder, or DID, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a single person displays multiple dissimilar identities, or personalities, with each having its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the world.  There is also an associated memory loss that is greater than ordinary forgetfulness.”

    The city dropped the charges, Devin thanked his lawyer, and everyone left the courtroom.  When the lawyer's bill arrived, Steve tossed it with the junk mail.

(Calendar Perplexities, is a work of fiction, Copyright 2009 by Steven S. Walsky, all rights reserved.)

stevesw   stevesw wrote
on 9/7/2009 6:30:32 PM
Frederic, interesting. I am not sure about Linda, she may find it rewarding to get lots of gifts by dating 'two' men at once. Then, Steven would pose a problem. Thanks for the read, Steve

frederic   frederic wrote
on 9/6/2009 10:34:12 PM
But, if Devin is aware of having the dissociative disorder in his cognitive understanding (memory), as far as I know, he does know who Ted and Steve are, or that they occur within his brain. So, that brings up the question--with respect to quality fiction--of whether the revelation of a psychiatric disorder works. Yes and no. Yes because normality is undermined with such a disorder. Linda may or may not be out for such a man. Did you go through the trouble of reading any of those case histories? No because he is suffering from DID, as you tell us. Thus, what I make of this story is that calendars are not efficacious for DID. Perhaps medication is. Perhaps a different sequence. Fine writing here!

stevesw   stevesw wrote
on 9/6/2009 8:28:08 PM
scifiguy, appreciate your comments, Steve

stevesw   stevesw wrote
on 8/7/2009 2:07:35 PM
StarPoet, thanks for the nice comment, Steve

StarPoet   StarPoet wrote
on 8/5/2009 1:26:15 AM
Brilliant! And thanks for telling us about this disorder in such a way that made it understandable and symphatetic. I remember seeing the old 70's movie "Sybil" and feeling so sorry for her. Now I see some of what she went through with your story here.

Short Story
writing stevesw
poetry, narrative, flash fiction, novel
Bookmark and Share

You must log in to rate.
Rating: 8.0/10

Calendar Perplexities is a 1,000 word flash fiction.