‘Doctors’ by Anneliese Mackintosh

Doctors by Anneliese Mackintosh, 2013

The magic trick:

Using second-person narration to take the reader on a journey through a Ph.D. program

“Doctors” starts as a lark. Its second-person narration is showy. Its way with a flippant tone and a humorous turn of phrase is even showier.

Consider the first sentence: “Congratulations and hurray for you!”

And maybe that’s all a bit much for you. I could reasonably support that stance. But give it a page or two. This story takes us on a journey – showy second person narration and all – and creates a devastating effect.

It’s all in the specifics. What start as broad strokes quickly turn into fine details. Soon you realize it’s not the pithy comments that last; it’s the emotional distance the narrator travels.

And that’s quite a trick on Mackintosh’s part.

The selection:

Congratulations and hurray for you!

What you have achieved is no mean feat. It makes you kind of special. Heroic, even. Not only did you get your Masters, you wee genius, but you got a Distinction. That’s right; with a capital ‘D.’ You can put M.Litt. at the end of your name now, if you want. You can show off about this for the rest of your life.

Thank goodness you didn’t go to Paris to become a mime artist, like you said you would. Christ no, the Masters was definitely the right choice.

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s