Thursday, 23 September 2021

F Fic, Non-fic

Depression's Cure

by John Mirdo

depressions cure

Helen Martin is depressed – and why not. Last spring she lost her firstborn to suicide. Then, five months later, her young son contracted a rare form of leukemia and he too died. The result: no children, a husband who deserted her, taped wrists, and a diagnosis of suicidal clinical depression.

Helen’s brother, Thomas, loves his sister very much. He has tried everything to bring her out of a perpetual funk with no luck. He sits slouched on a sofa next to his girlfriend, Linda. A cigarette is wedged between two fingers on one hand while he slowly swirls the ice in a glass of vodka-with-vodka in his other hand.

Linda looks compassionately at Tom. “What now, Tom? You’ve tried everything.”

Tom casually flicks ashes onto the floor. “She consumes anti-depressant pills like breath mints. The psychologist was a joke, and a useless waste of time and money. His stupid recommendation was a change of scenery. Bull!”

Linda leans over and rests her hand on Tom’s knee. “You can’t work miracles. There’s only so much a person can do.”

Tom crushes his cigarette out amongst a dozen other butts on a nearby ash tray. “I was optimistic that the electroshock therapy might help but all it did was steal cherished memories from her.”

Tom exhales deeply and with the back of his hand swipes his forehead. “I just don’t know what to do. She can’t stay in the hospice forever. I’ll need to bring her home soon but then what? I’ve got to work. I can’t watch her every minute. I’m gonna go talk to her tomorrow and see how she’s doing.


Helen’s hospice accommodations are stark simplicity. They are clean and free of anything she might use to hurt herself. For her own safety, Tom has allowed a closed circuit TV camera to be installed in her room. “How are they treating you, Sis?”

Helen stares glassy-eyed out a window – a dazed look on her face, she turns to her brother and says without enthusiasm, “What?”

Tom speaks louder. “I asked, how are they treating you?”

“Okay, I guess. As long as they keep pumping me full of. . . whatever they keep pumping me full of.” She smiles wryly. “Of course trying to remember how to drive a car or make a shopping list eludes me.”

“I’m no good any more, Tom. You should move on with your life and forget you ever had a sister. I just can’t get past losing my kids, and my husband. There’s no one to love or to be loved by anyone.”

Tom is about to protest when Helen cuts him short, “Yes, yes, I know, you love me. And I treasure that, but everything else is finished. I have no purpose and no love in my life. I just want to be gone.”


It's been more than a week since Tom’s last visit to his sister. An important project at work keeps him preoccupied. On one of his breaks he does his usual Internet search for any information that might help Helen. Then, by chance, he stumbles on an ad that catches his eye. He puts his hand on his chin and grins. He thinks, This is it. The perfect cure for anyone’s depression! He picks up the phone, calls the number on the ad, speaks to a lady, then gets out his credit card.

He then calls the hospice and talks to Helen’s doctor. “Doc, I need you to release my sister. I have an idea to make her well.”

The doctor clears his throat. “I wouldn’t advise it. Your sister needs extensive psychiatric help.”

“Yes, I know, but I have a plan, and I need her to be completely free of medications.”

The doctor adds, “That could be dangerous for your sister.”

“You’re right, but I’ll be with her all the time. I’ve got to try one more thing, or I’m going to lose her.”

Reluctantly, the doctor agrees to sign Helen’s release papers. The next afternoon, Tom picks up his sister, and they drive to an empty office building belonging to his employer. Tom leads Helen into an empty office. “What are we doing here, Tom?”

“Trust me, Sis. My boss let me use this office for a special meeting. You are the focus of the gathering. Your life is about to change for the better and forever. Here. Sit on this mat in the center of the room. Cross your legs and be patient.”

Tom walks to a door on the far end of the room. He cracks it open and looks inside. A rustling can be heard. He looks at Helen and says, “You ready?”

“Yes Tom. What are we doing?”

Tom pulls the door wide open and in rushes a dozen frenzied puppies. Their tails wiggle like dancing antennas. They instantly swarm Helen. They jump on her back and clamber into her lap. A few manage to scramble their way up to Helen’s face and lick her mercilessly.

“See, Helen, you are loved. It cost a fortune to buy twelve Yorkshire Terriers – six male and six female for breeding. We’ll have a house full of love until the end of time!"


“Helen is overcome with joy. She can’t stop giggling and wrestling with the pups. Through her laughter, she says, “Tom, we can’t have a dozen dogs running all over the house.”

“Not to worry, Sis. Along with the pups, I bought cages, vitamins, and three months worth of dog food, and the breeder lady will help us get started.”

Helen claps her hands together then embraces three of the pups. Tears stream down her cheeks as a flood of emotion fills her. She falls on her back, consumed by puppy love. Breathless from laughter, she looks up at her brother and says, “Thank you. I am loved.”

The End

John Mirdo shares his mountain home with his two best friends - His dogs Sophie and Mattie. He has published several non-fiction articles for motorcycle magazines. Recently, his short story "Your God Makes Mistakes" was accepted for publication by Flash Fiction Magazine.

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