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Titular

by Jonathan Mosby 2 years ago in humanity
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The Room

Change starts from within...the room.

EXT. DOWNTOWN ATLANTA GEORGIA - DAY

Pan down on a big city in 2020, zoom in to a building showing a MAN inside standing behind one of its many windows. Inside a therapist's office, the MAN has his back turned on the THERAPIST, looking out the window, talking.

Man:

I don't know when it started, all I know is I want it to end. The suffering. The pain. The isolation. The feelings of failure. I made up my mind, I am going to kill myself tonight.

Therapist:

Why are you telling me all this, Jon? You know I'm going to have to notify--

Jon (turns to face her quickly):

Look, I've been coming to you for a while now, right? And every time we end the session, you tell me, "we all get to choose." So now I'm choosing to tell you I'm going to end my life tonight.

Therapist:

I see. And have you considered who it might affect? The consequences if--

Jon (sternly):

When.

Therapist:

When you actually go through with this?

Jon:

If you're talking about my kids, they'll be a'ight. They got potential parents like companies got potential employees. I am what's considered a "non-factor."

Therapist:

Who calls you that?

Jon:

Who doesn't? The point is, they'll be fine. In fact, my death may even benefit them by saving them the sheer embarrassment that comes with having a dad that's so much of a worthless, no-good, sorry piece of shit.

SEVERAL MOMENTS OF SILENCE GO BY

Therapist:

Have you considered why you think so little of yourself?

Jon (lighting a black and mild):

Oh all the time. I mean, I know I'm a good person, but what does that even mean? There are no good people. Everbody's got flaws. But my flaws are so self-destructive, they threaten to end my very existence.

Therapist:

You mean the smoking. Which you know you can't do in here.

Jon opens the window and PULLS a wooden chair across the hardwood floor slowly and sits down, facing outside. He BLOWS a cloud of smoke out the window and turns around to face her.

Jon:

Yeah, that's on the list too. I tried to quit, but I can't stop. My chest hurts sometimes when I take a puff, and it's really scaring me. But I can't stop, and I hate myself for it. Then again, I've hated myself for some time now.

Therapist:

You've said this many times, Jon. That you hated yourself. It's got me thinking there has to be some point in your life--look, you really can't smoke in here--

Jon (throwing it out the window):

Oh a'ight, damn. I just wanted to hit it a few times anyway. There. It's gone. Did you think I was going to jump? Because I wasn't.

While Jon's back is turned, the therapist glances at the clock.

Therapist:

Oh, I know. Can you close the window for me? As I was saying, I think there has to be some point in your life when you first developed these hateful feelings towards yourself. I don't believe it started with the inability to quit smoking. We've discussed your adult life for many of our sessions, but now I want you to revisit your childhood. Think back to the first time you were disappointed in yourself. You might need some time to recall exactly when and where you'd want to start this--

Jon:

April 15th, 1994. Atlanta, Georgia. Jockey Club apartments.

Therapist:

Okay.

Jon:

I was in the fourth grade, and I just got off the school bus.

BEGIN FLASHBACK:

EXT. JOCKEY CLUB APARTMENTS - DAY

A school bus turns into the complex. As the door opens, four blurs immediately rush off. An eight-year-old JON is running in front of 3 boys chasing him.

Boy #1:

We gon kill yo ass boy!!

Boy#2:

You dead!!

Boy#3:

Fuck you think you goin'?

A butter knife WHIZZES past JON'S head.

Jon:

Home! *the knife whizzes by* Shit!

Jon RUNS down a hill and turns a corner. He runs up the steps, his house key already in hand. When he gets to the top of the steps, the three boys turn the corner at the bottom. JON rushes to his door. When he opens it, the three boys are at the top of the steps. JON rushes in and SLAMS the door, locking it as he does. His babysitter TIFFANY hears the slam and comes into the living room.

Tiffany:

The hell is going on out here?

Jon:

There were these--

There is a BANGING at the door. Jon and Tiffany look at the door. Tiffany walks over to it.

Jon:

No don't!

She scoffs and locks the chain on the door and looks through the peephole. Jon stands behind her, holding on to her arm tightly.

Tiffany:

I don't see anyone.

She cracks the door to reveal a short fat white kid, breathing hard, his one deep blue eye meeting Jon's through the crack.

White Kid:

Don't come to school tomorrow.

Therapist: (O.S)

Did you go to school the next day?

Jon: (O.S)

Yeah, and I brought hell with me.

EXT. Dunaire Elementry school - DAY

A green Volvo pulls up and AGGRESSIVELY parks, taking up two spots. The school doors burst open, showing a pissed off MOM, complete with nightgown and curlers in her hair. An embarrassed Jon stands behind her, his head down in shame.

Mom:

Now, who the fuck, told my son not to come to school today?

All movement stops. The children look horrified. One kid is close to the doors as they flew open. She looks at him.

Mom:

Was it you?!

The kid screams and runs away. She turns to her right to see another kid, his mouth open clutching the straps of his book bag.

Mom:

Was it you, you little bitch?

The same kid with the bookbag is now holding a small female puppy. It whimpers and jumps out of the kids' arms and runs away. She then turns to see a kid in a wheelchair.

Jon (under his breath):

Oh my God..

Mom:

Was it--

Principal:

Mrs. Lee!

Jon:

Oh, thank God.

Mom:

What?!

INT - PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE

Principal:

I had no idea this happened. I assure you there will be disciplinary action for all involved.

Mom:

I'm sorry, but that ain't enough for me. They threw a knife at my baby. What if it hit him? Then what? There is no disciplinary action other than a funeral, Mr..

She looks at the name tag on his desk, but it just says the word "principal."

Principal:

It's principal. Well, technically it's pronounced Prin-Sip-Pee-AL, but it's easier to just call me principal.

Mom:

Right. I just need to at least put eyes on these delinquents who don't understand how fragile my child is. He's not like other kids.

She looks at Jon.

Mom (smiles):

He's different.

Jon: (O.S)

I'd never heard her call me fragile before. Different, yes, but never fragile.

Principal:

You mean his--

Mom:

Birth defect, yes. [She looks at Jon]. Sweetie, go sit outside and let me and the principal talk for a second, okay?

Jon goes and sits in the office outside the principal's office with the secretary. There is a glass window in front of him that shows the hallway where the kids are walking, going back to forth to class. He can still hear the muffled conversation between his mother and the principal behind the door.

Mom:

He was born deaf; the doctors said he would never be able to hear like a normal child. He was born with his face open, having to get surgeries every few months for fear of infection of the gaping wound that was just his default face. I couldn't breastfeed him, because there was no way he could latch on. My baby had to drink breast milk through a tube. I have a picture of it right here, look at this [she shows him the picture].

Principal:

Jesus.

Mom:

It took us years to get to where we are with his surgeries and I don't want all of that to be wasted because of some stupid little boys--

Jon sees the fat white kid passing in the hall. [In slow motion] They make eye contact. The fat white kid smirks as he disappears into the crowd. Things return to normal.

Mom:

...actin' tough, okay? I need to know who they are.

END FLASHBACK.

Therapist:

Did she ever find out?

Jon:

I don't know. I was in a brand new school the next day.

Therapist:

I see. Did you--

*TIMER DINGS*

Jon:

Welp, looks like we're quite outta time, Doc.

Therapist:

It seems so.

Jon:

I gotta say though, not bad for my last session. I hadn't thought about those boys in that fat white kid in a very long time.

Therapist:

You know I have to tell someone about your plan to kill yourself, right?

FADE IN/BEGIN FLASHBACK:

INT. Grandma's house- night

Jon lies on the sofa, talking on a cordless phone to his girlfriend MONIQUE. Grandma is cooking in the kitchen, and the television is PLAYING MUSIC in the background.

Jon:

Are you sure? Because it's real important that you be sure about this.

Title [Atlanta, Georgia, May 3rd, 2004]

Monique:

I'm sure. You know what this means?

Jon (laughing while smiling):

Yeah you know I know that it means I'm gonna be a daddy!

Monique:

I'm so scared. But also so happy.

Jon:

Yeah, it's a weird mix of emotions. But I'm here. Every step of the way.

Monique:

I know. But-

Jon:

But what?

Monique:

...You gotta get it together baby. This music...I know you love it, but it's not going to ever work out. You do know that, right?

Jon (DEJECETD):

Man..c'mon baby..

Monique:

No, I'm serious Jon. You need to quit. We can't raise the baby in your grandmother's living room.

Jon:

I know that. But I just need you to believe in me. I can finish college, work, and do music at the same time. I'm confident that before I graduate college, we'll be in our first house.

Monique:

Baby..

Jon:

No, I mean it. I just need four years. You'll see.

Monique:

Are you sure? Like really sure?

Jon:

Double-ultra-mega-sure, baby. There's nothing more I wanna do than spend the rest of my life with you. Just gotta create this foundation too, you know? And I'm so happy I get to share the world I'm about to build with you..you make me glad to be alive. You are my home. I love you so much.

Monique:

I love you too, baby. Always and forever...

Title [FOUR YEARS LATER]

INT. Grandma's house- day

Jon walks in his bedroom at his GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE after a long nightshift at work. He takes off his work gear, and as soon as he takes off his jacket and throws it on the sofa, his phone BUZZES inside of it. He grabs the phone. It's a text message.

"Aye chump, yo daughter need a winter coat, can you chip in? I know you broke af still livin' witcho grandma but you gotta at least be able to afford one coat!

Jon looks at his phone, visibly angry. He knows who this is. Another text comes in.

"Lol don't worry chump, I got it. Just like I been gettin' everything else she need these past two years. Monique don't need you either, lame ass nigga. I'm here to stay."

END FLASHBACK.

Therapist:

Jon?

Jon (snaps out of it):

Huh? Yeah, no I understand. I get it. It's your job. You have to tell someone.

Therapist:

Give me a sec, let me text them now.

Jon:

'Text them'? It's weird that you're texting. That's unprofessional, right?

Therapist:

The session's over. Besides, what do you care? You're going to kill yourself remember? No, but this is a very good friend of mine. We go way back and I know that he will treat you like he would treat me, instead of putting you in some institution. Besides, I think you guys would get along.

Jon:

You sure I don't need the padded cell, Doc?

Therapist:

No, not at all. I don't think that you are a danger to anyone or anything, except maybe your self-image. Stephen is a good guy. He'll take care of you.

Jon (uninterested):

Right.

There is a KNOCK on the door. The Therapist smiles at Jon and puts down the papers she was writing on.

Therapist:

That must be him.

The Therapist gets up and walks to the door and opens it. It's STEPHEN, a professor at Barnard College. The Therapist and Stephen hug and walk over to Jon. Jon stands up.

Jon:

You must be the savior that I've heard so much about 5 minutes ago.

Stephen (looks at the therapist while smiling):

I guess you can call me that.

They shake hands.

Stephen:

Why don't I take this guy off your hands, huh? [looks at Jon] I'll take you to my place and we will discuss things further.

Jon (sarcastically):

Oooh Ominous..#metoo.

STEPHEN smiles as he walks out the door with Jon. They walk downstairs and get into a car and drive off into the night.

EXT. STEPHEN'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Stephen and Jon pull up to Stephen's house.

Stephen:

Now before we go in here, you gotta promise me something.

Jon (disinterested):

Okay?

Stephen:

I want you to be honest about everything that you say. It's the only way this is going to work.

Jon:

The only way what's going to work

Stephen:

Just promise me.

Jon:

Okay, whatever. I've got nothing to lose anyway.

Stephen:

That's the spirit!

They get out of the car and walk up a pathway that leads to the front door. The 3-story house looks like mini-mansion, painted all black with statues of gargoyles at the entrance, on either side of Stephen and Jon as they reach the door.

Stephen:

I like The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Jon:

Ah.

They walk into a huge foyer and Stephen directs Jon to a room with two sofas facing each other--a few feet apart with a rectangular table in the middle with one candle on it burning.

Jon:

So is this like, a seance?

Stephen:

Sit.

They sit on opposite sofas as Stephen takes out his recorder and turns it on.

Stephen:

You okay?

Jon:

Kinda nervous with all the batman vibes you're giving me.

Stephen (chuckles):

Why are you nervous? You were going to kill yourself anyway, right? What does somebody like that have to be afraid of?

Jon:

I mean yeah, but I was going to do it myself. This place gives me the vibe like I'm going to be Saw-ed or something.

Stephen (laughs):

Oh no, none of that here. Although...

Jon:

Ah shit. See this how it start hell naw I'm out!

Jon gets up, walks out of the room and into the foyer. Stephen doesn't chase after him.

Stephen:

Well? What are you waiting for? The door's right there.

Jon looks at the doorknob. He sighs and turns around.

Jon:

All I ask, is that if you kill me to make it painless. Because it just dawned on me that I have no idea where the fuck I am.

Stephen:

What if you had the chance to fix everything in your life that was broken?

Jon:

What?

Stephen:

Step back into this room with me.

Jon:

Whatever man.

Jon steps back in the room and instantly it changes to outside. The two sofas and the table are still there, just in the middle of a parking space in an apartment complex.

Jon:

The fuck?

Stephen:

Do you recognize this place?

Jon:

Yeah. It's Jockey Club. My old apartments. It's just like how I remember it. Why are we outside, though?

A school bus pulls into the complex in the distance.

Stephen:

You really want to fix all the things that you say broke you in your life? Prove it.

Jon:

Wha--

Jon blinks and instantly he is on the school bus. He looks down at his hands and sees that they are the hands of a child. A spitball hits him in the cheek.

Fat White Boy:

You bout to get it, boy!

Boy #2:

Yeah nigga it's on!

Boy #3:

Hurry up bus driver open that door!

The whole day plays back in Jon's mind. He is caught up. He smirks. The school bus door opens. Jon darts off the bus running at full speed. When the boy throws the butterknife, Jon catches it in mid-air, and turns around.

Jon:

I have been waiting so long to do this.

The three boys incircle Jon. They taunt him. Jon kicks their asses, and after he delivers the final blow to the fat white kid, Jon says,

Jon:

Don't come to school tomorrow.

The whole neighborhood has gathered at this point, and as the three boys hobble away, the crowd disperses. When they finish dispersing, we see Stepen at the table sitting on one of the sofas in the parking space.

Stephen:

Feel better?

Jon: [as a child]:

I feel fucking great!

TIFFANY runs outside.

Tiffany:

I saw everything from the window, boy what the he--

Instantly everything changes and Jon is back in Stephen's house, in his adult body sitting on one of the sofas across from Stephen. There is now an open notebook on the table, next to the candle.

Stephen:

Questions?

Jon:

Was that real?

Stephen:

If you're asking if that was virtual reality, I can assure you it was not. What you just witnessed and experienced were your memories in real-time.

Jon:

Right..and how in the hell did I do that? H-How in the hell did we do that?

Stephen:

It's the reason why I told you to be totally honest with me about your past. Had you lied at any point in your anecdote you gave the therapist today, this would not have worked. The room would have stayed the same.

Jon:

What? How? Why? I'm beside myself right now man. This is all some overwhelming shit!

Stephen:

I can imagine you might need a moment.

Jon (gets up and walks around):

So where is the machine? Is it behind this bookshelf? Where the projector at, bruh.

Stephen:

No projector, bruh. How could I project you inside of your own young body? The whole room is a consciousness-transferring machine. Maybe one day I'll let you peek under the hood. But for now, you need to internalize the fact that you just experienced your memories in real-time.

Jon:

Right...Wait. How'd you know about that story I told my therapist today? Were you eavesdropping on my session?

Stephen:

If I didn't, you wouldn't be here.

Jon:

Well duh, no shit. If it weren't for you, I would be floating off into oblivion right now. Man that was a surreal ass experience. And it felt so real, too.

Stephen (chuckles):

You just don't know.

Jon:

Don't know what? What are you talking about?

Stephen:

You know Denise really cares about her patients, right? And I wasn't eavesdropping, Denise told me about the last session you guys had before you offed yourself in your bathroom.

Jon:

Well, I-

Stephen:

She was really concerned about you, Jon. So much so that she actually came to me for help. Me! Me and Denise go back a-ways, but she distanced herself from me when I told her about my fringe experiments. Time travel, dimensions, the mixtures of antimatter and brain chemistry, all that type stuff. She couldn't handle it. Until she lost you.

Jon:

What? What do you mean lost me

Stephen:

You didn't just talk about killing yourself, kid. You actually went through with it.

Jon:

What?

FLASHBACK

TWO DAYS EARLIER

DENISE is sitting in her office looking distraught. She has files scattered across her desk. Her phone rings.

Denise:

Hello?

Mom:

My baby!! My baby took his own life!

Denise:

Oh no...oh no.. oh my God..

Mom:

Yes, I'm standing outside his house and I just watched the ambulance drive off with my baby! You were the last number in his phone that he called! Who are you?

Denise:

I'm his therapist. Are you mom

Mom:

YES I'm his mother....my baby..my baby boy LORD WHY?

Denise:

I want to come down there can I meet you? Is that ok?

THE PHONE HANGS UP

Denise runs outside to her car and rushes to Jon's house. His mother is no longer there, but his door is unlocked. She goes in. She sees pictures on the wall, a living room with the television still on. She walks to the kitchen, then she goes to the bathroom where JON took his life. There are bloodstains in the bathtub. Denise sits on the closed toilet stool. She remembers all their sessions together. She begins to cry.

Denise (sobbing):

I've failed him.

She suddenly stops crying and looks up as if she realized something. She runs out of the house, gets in her car, and drives off. She arrives at Stephen's house banging on the door. He opens it, surprised to see her.

Stephen:

Hey there, it's been a while. What's the matter?

Denise:

Can I come inside?

Stephen:

Of course.

They sit at the dining room table. They talk for a little while, then Stephen takes her to the room with the two sofas. Before they cross the threshold to the room, Stephen tells Denise,

Stephen:

Now, remember, you have to do everything exactly the way that it happened originally. You may not remember everything, so just try to act as if nothing happened. Give the same answers, respond is him as if it's the first time you're doing this.

Denise:

Got it.

They cross over the threshold.

PRESENT

Jon:

So what you're saying is, I'm dead.

Stephen:

In another Universe you are, and in another timeline. But not here. You literally owe your life to your therapist. She went back in time to save you, kid. If that's not proof what you experienced wasn't virtual reality, I don't know what would convince you.

Jon:

So what you're saying is...I'm dead.

Stephen (chuckles):

It might be a little much to process at first, but she apparently believes you have a great purpose. And after all she's told and shown me about you, I happen to agree with her.

Jon: (stands up and walks about the room):

This is some heavy shit! I gotta call my mom, I gotta call everybody to tell them I'm okay!

Stephen (laughs):

You still don't get it, do you? If you called them now, they wouldn't have the slightest clue what you're talking about. None of that happened in this timeline. This reality is parallel to the reality your therapist originally came from. With my help and this room, we went back and experienced her memories in real-time, which took us to today- just a few hours before you killing yourself took place. The same blood that was spilled in your bathroom in her original timeline, is the same blood coursing through your veins right now. And you look very much alive to me.

Jon:

Uh-huh. Wait. What if I'd refused her help in seeing you tonight?

Stephen:

Then you'd be dead. But you and I exist in a timeline where you didn't refuse her help. And I knew you wouldn't.

Jon:

What? How?

Stephen:

Denise told me you'd throw the black and mild out of the window at 1:19 PM, and to start making my way up after it hit the ground.

Jon:

So...she wasn't texting anybody?

Stephen (chuckles):

What? Well, she wasn't texting me. I already knew when to come. Might have been a boyfriend or something. Or maybe a fling. Who knows. It's not like she was going to tell you who she was texting -- she's got a life outside of therapy, ya know?

Jon chuckles, then faints.

Stephen:

They always do that after they find out about the existence of parallel universes. Never fails.

He lifts Jon up and puts him on the sofa to let him sleep it off.

THE NEXT DAY

Jon wakes up on the sofa, under a plush blanket Stephen put on him. He rubs his eyes and yawns. When he opens them, he looks shocked-- he forgot where he was for a second. Then it all came back.

Jon (to himself):

I thought that was all a very bad dream. Did I really time travel yesterday?

Stephen walks into the room with a pan sizzling with eggs on it, wearing a white apron.

Stephen:

He's up! You like them scrambled, or sunnyside?

Jon:

I wanna know what kind of place this is. That's what I wanna like to know.

Stephen (chuckles):

You're still on about that? Come eat, kid. You'll need the energy.

Jon walks into the kitchen and sits down at the table. The kitchen is a modern one, greatly contrasting with the haunted house exterior outside. This seems to surprise Jon, as Stephen puts a plate in front of Jon with eggs, cheese grits, two buttered rolls. Jon notices a tiny piece of garnish on his cheese grits.

Stephen:

Eat.

humanity

About the author

Jonathan Mosby

Born and raised in Atlanta Ga, Flow brings an introspective flavor to hip-hop. Beginning in 2003 with beat making, and 2005 with protools, there has been an exponential growth in both productivity and creativity. Won't let me say more smh

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