A Short Story- “She Laughed, but I cried”

A short story

Pattie Crider

“She Laughed, but I Cried”

I’m not sure if it’s safe to share my story with you.  I’m taking the risk just so someone knows.  My name is Madison and I’m twenty years old.  Life hasn’t been going very well for me.  I can’t sleep at night, so I pace trying to organize my jumbled thoughts.  By morning I’m exhausted and even more confused, but I try to continue living life as a normal college student.  There are days that pass without me having a panic attack or a touch of paranoia.  This is not one of those days.

Tomorrow I have a three page paper due and a quiz in math.  That doesn’t seem like much but focusing on my paper is impossible.  The notes and research I did complete make no sense to me.  Entire paragraphs seem to be written in foreign tongue.  Even worse, the algebra problems I attempt to solve are giving me hidden messages.  Why am I the chosen one to receive such knowledge?  Seriously, I just want to get through my days without classmates and professors staring at me.  I know when I miss class they talk about me!  Can they see in my eyes that I am receiving messages from a higher power? 

My best friend Jean was the only person I confided in.  About a month ago, I met Jean at a sushi restaurant to share my secrets.  I began with school and having trouble with my homework.  Adding in not sleeping well, feeling like I am being spied on and number of medications I’m on, I could see the look of concern forming on her face.  I paused and caught my breath, slurped my drink and sighed, “To top it all off, I’m scheduled for a CAT scan.” 

My doctor wants me to have a CAT scan.  Is he kidding me?!  Just the word “scan” gives me the heebie jeebies.  I know when they scan my brain aliens will take that very moment to access my thoughts.  What if they clone me in the few minutes they are given?  Will they let the old Madison behind to continue this struggle or send the clone to carry on in my life?  I don’t want my brain exposed to unnecessary chance. 

“Well, that’s a good idea.” Jean responded.  I immediately cried out, “No! It’s not!”  I realized I startled her and felt a twinge of guilt.  Poor Jean didn’t know what was going on with the aliens.  “Jean, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to scare you.”  Smiling reassuringly, her eyes encouraged me to continue.  “I have reason to believe that if I have a CAT scan, aliens might tamper with my brain.”   Jean, dropped her piece of sushi midway to her mouth and into her lap.  “What?!” she laughed, picking up her bite of raw fish with her fingers.  I realized she thought I was joking.   “Well, it could be possible!” I retorted.  This only caused her to laugh harder, grabbing her napkin to dab her eyes.  My best friend was laughing tears!  I felt tears welling up inside me.  Not the same type of tears.  Mine were tears of sadness and fear.  I never mentioned aliens to Jean again.  Probably best to let her think I was joking.

Mom always asks why I’m still awake.  She quizzes me on my medications too.  Mom and Dad both tell me the medicine will make things better but, I am certain they are in on this.  They’ve probably had an agreement with aliens since my birth, to use me as an experiment!  I took some of my pills, but honestly, others are stashed in my winter gloves and tucked into my top drawer. Currently I take five different pills a day.   I keep them in an Easter basket, nestled like plastic eggs with jellybeans inside.  No artificial grass though.  Let’s not get carried away here.   

I haven’t always felt this way and I’ve never been labeled crazy during my childhood. Where does that let me now?  My teenage years have passed and I suppose that makes me an adult.  If this is how adult life is, then for the record, I don’t like it.   Carrying around a basket of pills, prescribed to change how I think is more adult then I care to handle.  This CAT scan definitely falls into the adult category too.  CAT is a unique name for a scan.  I have a cat that I just love!  His name is Jigger, as in Thing-a-ma-jigger.   I have a cat named for a thing-ma-jigger.  My doctors want me to have a “cat” scan inside a hospital thing-a-ma-jig.  My friend thinks I should have the scan and there’s nothing to fear.  I don’t fear my cat, why should I fear a CAT scan.  I love my cat and he makes me feel safe.  I see the message clearly forming.  Now I was placing the pieces together with perfect sense.  Jigger wants me to be scanned to prove what is happening in my brain.  He must have more information to share with me.  I have to find Jigger and sit down for a talk.  Finally a breakthrough! 

Where is that cat?  I searched the house and even checked my parent’s bedroom.  He must have bolted out the door at some point today.  I threw on my jacket and stepped onto the back porch.  There he was, curled up in my dad’s ball cap, lying on the picnic table.  “My own cat in the hat!” I thought, giggling in my head.  Picking up Jigger, I sat down on the bench and stroked his soft fur.  He looked up at me with those yellow-green eyes and locked with my brown.  He began to purr and leaning towards him I whispered, “Ok cat, the jig is up.  Spill your guts, before the aliens catch on to us.”


  1. Dana Milakovic says:

    When is more coming? Any idea how many teens/young adults go through this and mire awareness is amazing, besides the fact that it is good.

    • I am leaning towards random fiction right now. A mix of stories with truth and actual events and absolute bull just for fun. Each short story will have parts family and friends might recognize or remember. Hopefully, people will subscribe to my blog that know me and let comments. If someone wants to comment but remain nameless, I’m fine with that too. 🙂
      thanks for being my first comment!

  2. Carla Whary says:

    I love reading your short stories, they are really good!!! Can’t wait to read more. Thanks.

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