Fiction: Purely Mental

Excerpts from the Journal of Dr. Waller, as provided by Franko Stephens
Art by Errow Collins

July 27th, 2022

First journal entry on my first day of freedom! It’s weird, writing on paper. I haven’t used a pen since the third grade, when my idiot of a teacher decided that cursive was a lost art. Curriculum be damned, he said, you kids are going to learn this. Two days later, he was hospitalized after a horrible accident involving the metal frame of his chair and an unfortunately close electrical outlet. Sweet, sweet memories. I never did learn cursive.

Although this is never meant to be found … who am I kidding, I want some underfed scholar in the future to find this journal. My name is Dr. Ignacious Waller, Dr. Mental to the public, Iggy to my friends, if I ever make any. Twenty-seven years ago, I was arrested for the murder of 212 people in a cavern outside the city limits. My arch nemesis, Liberty Man, had failed to save them, though he nearly killed me before handing my battered body over to the authorities. In his defense, it was a trap, an unwinnable situation concocted by a brilliant mind. There was just one issue.

It was not my mind that created the trap.

Oh, I know. You’re thinking, of course he would not confess after being released, of course he would not write down his guilt like a moron. True, I am no moron, according to all the tests. Why am I even writing in a journal? The truth is, I need a focus. I need it badly. I need to start from the beginning, so that I may move forward in my own story.

Illustration of a man holding an apple towards someone hidden in the bushes.

I’m writing about Ian again because I’m pretty sure I saw him behind a tree in the apple orchard watching me. I’m pretty damn sure.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2020 collection.

Dr. Ignacious Waller, AKA Dr. Mental, Iggy to his friends, is an arrogantly self-described genius. He pursued technological and genetic engineering endeavors toward a mostly illegal direction. In other words, he was a criminal and loved the life. After his release from prison, his current whereabouts are technically listed as unknown.

Franko Stephens lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and children. In addition to the multitude of stories told to his kids just before bedtime, he has a novel, The Crooner, currently on Amazon Kindle. His short story, “The Werner and Chalsky Event,” was published by Mad Scientist Journal in 2016. He hopes to one day find a home for his new novel, That’s My Little Death God.

Errow is a comic artist and illustrator with a predilection towards mashing the surreal with the familiar. They pay their time to developing worlds not quite like our own with their fiancee and pushing the queer agenda. They probably left a candle burning somewhere. More of their work can be found at

“Purely Mental” is © 2019 Franko Stephens
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Errow Collins

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