Fiction: Pygmalion

An essay by Jon, as provided by Faith Consiglio
Art by Luke Spooner


It’s been seven months since I gave consent. I still haven’t seen any of the money they promised. Soon, I’m thinking, it can’t go on forever, right?

I sit across from the lipstick-clad woman, who’s eyeing me with her legs crossed. I still don’t know what to call her. Therapist? Counselor? Consultant? Her role is to get my feedback, but sometimes her questions feel invasive, so personal I want to leave. But I need the money.

I typically talk as long as I want, getting her undivided attention. But not today. Today, something’s wrong. She shifts in her seat as if she has to pee. Something’s beeping, like a pager.

She actually stops our meeting.

“Excuse me; I’m obligated to check this.”

I halt, somewhat embarrassed. I’ve been going on about Sara, the only woman I ever loved. I still beam with pride thinking about her. I can’t believe she agreed to move in with me a month ago. It feels like a dream, one I’m afraid I’ll awake from when she realizes I don’t deserve her.

Because I don’t. I’m a medicine intern with mediocre feedback like, completed required tasks. Never anything better. My heart was never in it though… until I met her. Sara’s an internal medicine attending. Within her first month at the hospital, she had everyone’s attention. She knew the correct diagnoses, every time, before anyone else. She had unparalleled efficiency, seeing more patients than the entire team. But it wasn’t just her intellect that attracted, it was something else; something made her magnetic. Everyone wanted to be around her. She was inspiring, with an infectious optimism that made even me like medicine.

I hadn’t chased anything in a long time, but I went for her, expecting I’d be rejected. Only I wasn’t, and ever since we started dating, I’ve been a better version of myself.

I’ve been rambling. So when the counselor stops me, I blush. People must hate me. I found the one, and she’s undeniably special.

I look at the woman’s expression. It looks like she’s seen a ghost. She mumbles a few affirmations, then an, “I see.” She hangs up. Something’s wrong.

“I’m sorry, we have to end early.” She forces a glance at her tablet. “Next week we can meet for longer to make up for it.”

“Is everything ok?” I ask. “That sounded serious.”

“It’s nothing,” she says, waving a stiff hand.

I leave feeling unsettled. I decide to call Sara, but when I reach for my phone, I find the screen inundated with missed calls and texts, all from my team at the hospital.

Illustration of a woman with parts made to look like computer glitches. A silhouette of a person stands in the forground.

I know I’m acting differently. It’s like ideas are being put in my head, ones I don’t remember having before, or derived from any experience. I can’t make sense of it.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2019 collection.


Bio for Jon:

I always wanted to be a doctor. I briefly considered business school, but medicine sounded more interesting. We’ve advanced in so many areas; medicine seemed to just be catching up. The possibilities technologies could bring captivated me. But med school was a let down. Teaching methods were archaic, and rotations through the hospital were disappointing. I lost interest, but only after accumulating enough debt to make me feel trapped in this. Sara saved me. She made me want to excel and dream of the potentials again. So maybe I’ll be a doctor after all.


Bio for Faith Consiglio:

I grew up in Rockland County, NY, before completing college and medical school at Stony Brook in Long Island. I am currently a psychiatry resident physician in Westchester and have a passion for studying and creating characters.


Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.


“Pygmalion” is © 2019 Faith Consiglio
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Luke Spooner

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